BREAKING: Google Rolling Out New SERP Design

So apparently Google have rolled out a new home page to some regional datacenters today with significant changes to both the search function and Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

Search Engine College tutor Micky Stuivenberg (@contentwriteroz) alerted me to the changes via Twitter - which she had been observing on Google Australia since midday today. Micky says she is seeing the following:

1) The radio button options that used to appear under the search box at Google.com.au to Search: *the web* or *pages from Australia* have disappeared.

2) A searcher’s default location now appears under the search box on the SERPs (Micky’s says Sydney although she is located on the NSW mid North coast). See this demonstrated in image 2 below.

3) On SERPs, the main search options that used to appear at the top of the page and are now also listed in a left hand navigation column:

  • Everything (default)
  • News
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Maps
  • Blogs
  • Shopping
  • Books
  • More

These options appear to be dynamic, based on your user search preferences. You can filter the navigation to only display *blogs* for example.

3) Underneath that it has the option to search only pages from your region (a long way from the search box!)

4) Then there are 3 options to search results for

  • Any time (default)
  • Latest
  • past 2 days

5) Then the standard view (default) with Wonder wheel.

6) At the bottom of the redesigned SERPs is a button for *More search tools*.

Here’s a couple of screen grabs of the changes:

A major difference is that all the above options are now displayed permanently on the SERPs, whereas before you had to click *show options* to see all of them. The changes can only be viewed on selected data-centers right now - I’m not seeing them yet so am grateful to Micky for the scoop!

I haven’t seen any posts about it on official Google blogs, although it may be related to the local search changes they announced recently.

I’ve only seen one other blog discussing the revisions so far, so I think it’s fair to call BREAKING on this one.

* images courtesy of @contentwriteroz and Softpedia

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Twitter Says Yahoo! to a Larger Audience

Yahoo and Twitter announced a partnership today that will see Twitter provide Yahoo with access to their full tweet feed, nicknamed The Firehose.

The deal will result in tweets appearing in Yahoo Search as well as other Yahoo properties such as the Yahoo Homepage, Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Sports. Yahoo will also integrate Twitter clients into their various applications so that Twitter users can tweet from within the Yahoo network.

The partnership announcement was delivered to media with an embargo, but within a few hours the story broke on the blogosphere and Yahoo pretty much gave the game away with the *clues* they posted on Twitter.

With a worldwide audience of 600 million, Yahoo offers Twitter significant exposure to add to their existing partnerships with the other major search giants Bing and Google.

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An Overview of Bing Webmaster Center

Hands up those of you who have verified your sites with Google Webmaster Tools? Ok, good. Now keep your hands up if you’ve done the same for Yahoo Site Explorer? Hmmm a few hands dropped then.

Now keep your hands up if you’ve verified your site with Bing Webmaster Center? Oh dear.

Seems quite a few webmasters are concentrating on Google and forgetting about the other major search engines. If you want to understand how search engines interact with your site and find potential issues before they impact your traffic, you really need to verify your site and sitemaps with the big 3 and monitor your stats regularly.

Most people are familiar with Google Webmaster Tools and Yahoo Site Explorer, but today I want to give you a brief overview of Bing Webmaster Center.

To add a site to Bing Webmaster Center, simply login to your Bing account (or create a new one) and then type in a URL and a sitemap if you have one. You will be prompted to verify your site via either a meta verification tag you place in your home page header, or an XML file that you upload to your server.

Once you’ve verified your first site, you’ll see a dashboard that looks quite similar to Google Webmaster Tools, with the following tabs:

  • Summary - lists the date Bing last crawled your site, the number of indexed pages, your domain score and the top 5 pages of your site.
  • Profile - lists your URL, the verification process you used and the email address associated with your site.
  • Crawl Issues - lists any issues Bing discovered while crawling and indexing your site, such as 404 errors, malware infections and long dynamic URLs.
  • Backlinks - lists which webpages (including your own) are linking to your site.
  • Outbound Links - lists the web pages your site is linking to.
  • Keywords - allows you to see how your pages are performing in search results for specific keywords.
  • Sitemaps - provides various ways for you to notify MSNBot of new sitemaps or when you change an existing sitemap.

The following additional tools are available when you’re logged into Webmaster Center:

  • Robots.txt validator
  • HTTP verifier
  • Keyword research tool

So don’t ignore Bing Webmaster Center. Remember that Google is NOT the Internet.

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Microhoo Deal Given Thumbs Up to Proceed

Microsoft and Yahoo announced today that their planned Search Alliance has been given the go-ahead by the U.S. Department of Justice and the European Commission without any restrictions.

The exact implementation is yet to be announced, but will involve Yahoo shifting their organic and paid search operations to Microsoft. Yahoo will then display primary search results from Bing and enhance them with Yahoo content.

From Yahoo’s official press release:

“Implementation of the deal is expected to begin in the coming days and will involve transitioning Yahoo!’s algorithmic and paid search platforms to Microsoft, with Yahoo! becoming the exclusive relationship sales force for both companies’ premium search advertisers globally. Once the transition is completed, the companies’ unified search marketplace will deliver improved innovation for consumers, better volume and efficiency for advertisers and better monetization opportunities for web publishers through a platform that contains a larger pool of search queries.”

Advertising for both companies will be managed by Microsoft’s adCenter platform (meaning the closure of Yahoo Search Marketing) and prices for all search ads will be set by AdCenter’s automated auction process.

According to a memo sent to all Yahoo advertisers today:

  • Yahoo Search Marketing advertisers will log into one place - Microsoft’s adCenter - to manage campaigns, for greater efficiency and a better ROI.
  • Yahoo is hoping to transition advertisers and partners in the U.S. prior to October 2010, but may wait until 2011 for efficiency reasons.
  • Advertisers will reach users on Yahoo! and Microsoft sites as well as other premium partner sites, with a single buy on adCenter.
  • Yahoo will give Search Marketing advertisers 3 months warning of any changes to take place.

The two search giants have created a web site dedicated to the partnership and Yahoo has implemented a Transition Center for advertisers.

What does it mean for the search industry? To use a silly dinosaur analogy, (because who doesn’t like those?), it means that Bing the Triceratops and Yahoo the Brontosaurus have just combined to become an aggressive Tyrannosaurus Rex that’s going on a hunt for the Google Gigantosaurus.

Should be quite a spectacle.

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February Search Light Newsletter: the *let’s pretend it’s January* edition

Search LightThe latest issue of the Search Light newsletter published this week. And we’re pretending it’s January, even though it’s February - if that makes sense. Hopefully our February issue will come out in February rather than March!

Believe it or not, 2010 is our 10th year of publishing The Search Light. My, how things have changed in the search engine landscape since we published our first ever issue nearly 10 years ago.

This month’s newsletter includes an article about how to choose the most effective SEO keywords, written by Search Engine College Assistant Tutor, Micky Stuivenberg. It also contains some of the more interesting FAQs answered in this blog and a blurb about the upcoming Search Marketing Expo (SMX) Conference in Sydney.

If you’re not yet a newsletter subscriber catch it here and then quickly go and subscribe before I find out.

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