- Posted on 18 December 2013
Google Maps discontinues API v2
by Rhys Jackson
As of November 19th Google have discontinued their Google Maps API v2.
Back in 2009 Google stated that the primary motivation behind API v.3 was speed, especially for the rendering of maps on mobile browsers. This move towards a multi-device search experience has since been reinforced with the announcement that mobile page speed would be a ranking factor considered for mobile sites.
The old API is now only being served as a ‘wrapped’ version which should emulate most of the previous functionality and ensure nothing breaks immediately.
However, we have noticed that the wrapped API no longer seems to recognise top level domain name as an indication of search locality. For example, when making requests from a .co.uk website with a generic location name (‘Cambridge’ for example, rather than ‘CB1’), Maps will return US results due to the lack of region biasing and because the default location of Google Maps is in the US.
For brands which have not already done so, updating to APi v3 as soon as possible will not only improve page speed for mobile devices, but likely resolve any possible issues caused by the update as the API will be running natively rather than through a wrapper.
100+ links on a page: Manipulative tactic or not?
At the end of last month Matt Cutts posted a video where he revealed that Google is no longer enforcing guidelines which immediately penalise pages with more than 100 links.
The above rule has become less and less important in the last 5 years, though many natural search experts have continued to support the idea that having over 100 links on a single web page is a spammy tactic and could potentially lead to a manual action by Google.
So, could it? Well, it works on a case-by-case basis and depends on the nature of the website. Look at an authoritative, informative site like www.marketwatch.com, where many fresh news stories and useful resources are collected together, and it seems perfectly natural to have a large number of links from the homepage. Market Watch has over 450 links, but they are all to legitimate, useful pages; it would be unnatural to have less.
But Cutts makes it very clear that if Google reaches a page which includes too many links in a manipulative way then it may still take action. Creating a ‘forest’ of links will affect other areas which impact natural search. For example if a visitor reaches a page which has an excessive number of links they are likely to have a bad user experience. They will often leave, a pattern which can be seen in the form of high bounce rate metrics for such pages.
What’s more, PageRank is divided by the number of links on a page. So, if a page links to 4 different pages its PageRank is split into 4 pieces as well and if there are 100 links, the PageRank is divided by 100. The fewer the linked pages, the higher the PageRank that those pages will gain.
Webmasters will have to consider the quality as well as the quantity of linked pages to ensure they’re creating connections that are useful for the user, but not compromising the quality of their site.
Google Trends: A new update on searches for specific terms
by Juan Gomez
Google has recently announced an easier way to explore topics and entities in Google Trends which will lead to Google Trends being more useful and precise for everyone: it will now provide several topic predictions when you are searching for specific queries or titles.
This is an incredibly handy tool for those ambiguous terms with several meanings, as well as those terms that are commonly searched with misspellings and in different languages. Now, when you search for a term you are interested in, you will be given several options related to that term.
Now, when you search for a term you are interested in, you will be given several options related to that term. For instance, if you are searching for the term ‘Christmas’, you will be able to search not just for ‘Christmas’ as a holiday but also for related topics such as ‘Christmas tree’ or ‘Christmas Island’. Along with this, you are able to compare terms to each other.
Furthermore, enter a keyword such as ‘Apple’ and Google is now also able to provide information for ‘Apple’ as a fruit and ‘Apple’ as a brand separately. However, Google is still not able to distinguish the intention with which users are searching for. So, if you search for a term like ‘responsible’, Google will be able to provide several related terms such as ‘social responsibility’ but it won’t distinguish between ‘responsible’ as an obligation to do something and ‘responsible’ to mean to be blamed or credited for an event. This is something that Google is still struggling to do, though they are obviously heading in the right direction with updates such as Hummingbird.
Knowing more about what the people are searching for means you have one more valuable feature to help enhance your content marketing research and creation, increasing the engagement of your visitors by publishing content that really interests your audience.