Q and A: Do search engines announce when they make algorithm changes?

QuestionHi Kalena

I’ve been slowly teaching myself SEO for about 2 years now and I think I am finally getting quite good at it. The only time I find myself completely out of my depth is when big algorithm changes like Panda hit my client web sites and they lose ranking. Then I find myself clambering to work out what’s happened and how I can fix it.

I can usually claw things back a little bit, but my clients are understandably confused as to why the drops occur and why I wasn’t prepared for them.

Do search engines like Google announce when they are about to make algorithm changes or provide a list of tweaks and fixes like software companies do after a new version is released?

Thanks
Galen

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Hi Galen

It’s not in the interests of search engines like Google to reveal full details of their algorithm adjustments, as this would not only impact the security of their servers, but also affect their shareholder price! Search engines need to keep vital parts of their technical infrastructure private as they form a large chunk of intellectual property. Apart from that, they need to protect the quality of the search results from hackers and black-hat SEO operators who would seek to compromise them for their own benefit.

That said, Google DO provide a monthly blog post on algorithm changes called the Search Quality Highlights Series. The first post in the series was published shortly after the Panda II algorithm tweaks were made last November (which caused a fresh round of frustration and confusion for webmasters). The latest post in the series was made earlier this month and features detail of 17 new quality improvements made to Google’s algorithm in January 2012.

The blog series is part of Google’s ongoing effort to be more transparent about how search works and to share the methodology and process behind their search ranking, evaluation and algorithmic changes.

I’m not sure if other major search engines offer a similar algorithm news service, but if anyone knows of any, please post in the comments.

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Google Celebrates Art Clokey’s Birthday

gumby-doodleNot many people will recognize the name Art Clokey. But a lot more people will recognize the green clay animated character Gumby that he created.

Art Clokey was the pioneer of stop motion clay animation, bringing to life Gumby and his horse Pokey, who first appeared on the American kid’s show Howdy Doody. Art Clokey died last year, but to celebrate what would have been Clokey’s 90th birthday yesterday, Google’s home page featured the tribute doodle you see pictured.

The initial image shows a toy block and 5 balls of colored clay representing the letters in GOOGLE. Clicking on any one of the clay balls launches a delightful animation of the clay taking the shape of one of Clokey’s famous animated characters. A link above the doodle takes you to SERPs for Art Clokey and his life.

One of Google’s better doodles!

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Article: Making Sense of Trademarks in AdWords

The issue of trademark usage in Google AdWords ad text and keyword bidding was raised on this blog recently thanks to a question submitted by Dom.

As I discovered when I resarched the topic for Dom, AdWords trademark usage rules are different for advertisers in different countries and they differ also based on the use of trademarks in ad text and bid keywords. The subject proved so complex that I decided to write an article about it in order to clarify the issue for confused advertisers.

Coincidently, a landmark case about this very issue was playing out here in Australia while I was writing the article and the Federal court made their decision just in time for me to add the outcome to the article.

The article is called Making Sense of Trademarks in AdWords and was published today by SiteProNews.

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Google Meets Teenage Angst

Google turns 13Today marks Google’s 13th birthday. No longer a tween, Google’s a teen!

To celebrate, Google’s home page sports a tribute doodle 3D birthday card. The card features a retro-inspired birthday party scene complete with party hats, balloons and nanna’s flowery tablecloth. Clicking on the doodle takes you to SERPs for, (unsurprisingly) Google.

Seems like just yesterday that Google was still in diapers, clutching lovingly at the legs of it’s users at every opportunity. Teething was tricky, with quite a few painful months sucking on everything across the web in an effort to stop the pain. Independence came early, with Google spending less time with it’s family of users and more time with those naughty shareholder kids in an attempt to grow up too fast.

Then Google went through that greedy stage, eating everything in sight, including smaller competitors. No wonder it’s grown so large, although we did warn it.

Last year was a challenge, with Google getting bullied by the neighbor kids Bing and Yahoo. But this year has been the hardest of all, with Google getting all emo over Facebook status updates.

Let’s hope the rest of Google’s teenage years aren’t full of angst and acne.

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Q and A: How do I login to my YouTube channel?

QuestionHi Kalena,

I have been working on some new YouTube clips and have been trying to add them to our company channel we opened a couple of years ago. Problem is that I’ve forgotten our YouTube login and no-one here at the office remembers the username or password.

I have had a lot of problems with Gmail as every time I try to get onto a mail address it rejects the password. It will not accept a new password when I attempt a try.  This has left me with 12 or more email addresses.

I understand all the videos have to be in one channel, but due to the lack of support and communication, I have a mess. I know when it comes to search this is important. I’ve managed to put a new video up on Facebook and also uploaded to google+ and what I thought was my YouTube channel but I was wrong. I tried to find out answers in Google Q & A but no luck for me.

Can you help?

Thanks
Terry

Hi Terry

You can login to YouTube using either your Google email address associated with the account as the username OR the YouTube channel name as the username. But if you’ve already got another Google account open, it will assume you are logged in already and ask you for a password for *that* account. So you need to log out of all Gmail and Google+ accounts and any Google programs such as AdWords and then go to YouTube.com and login from scratch.

It can be confusing, especially if you’ve got multiple Google email accounts or if you’re using Google Apps, so I would advise following the help prompts or browsing the YouTube help forums. There seem to be a lot of people in those forums with the same issue. If you’re still stuck, try contacting Google Support directly.

Kalena

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