It is a new year, and as is always the case, Google is looking to make changes this year in order to keep up with competitors, address customers’ concerns, and anticipate the growing demands of internet users. This means changes to Ad Sense, Google+, Google’s Core Algorithm Updates, Google Drive, and Google’s Knowledge Panel. Sound confusing? Here’s an easy-to-follow breakdown of what you need to know about Google heading into 2016.
Ad Sense Optimization Tab
According to Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Roundtable, Google is launching a new optimization tab for Ad Sense. Though not a major change, it is important to be aware of this should you wish to navigate the new tab effectively. Ben Birt of Google states that the feature helps to make website more profitable by allowing users to “explore more opportunities”. It will do this by allowing you to run experiments and compare results so you can maximize your returns, all well consolidating the optimization options in one place. Given that Google Ad Sense is one of the best ways to monetize your site, keeping an eye on this is a good idea. Keep in mind, it is in beta testing right now, but will be rolled out later this year.
Google + Android Update 7.0.0
Luke Wroblewski of Google announced that the Google+ Android App will be getting a makeover to address several key issues, by
- Eliminating nearly 70 bugs
- Resolving over a dozen accessibility issues
- Hiding the bottom tab bar while users are scrolling (note: the notifications screen will not have this feature)
- Remembering your streaming position when you return to it
- Displaying autocomplete suggestions as you enter searches
- Including prompts for to make Collections or Communities visible on your profile
Core Algorithm Updates (of course)
As usual, Google has updated its Core Algorithm, much to the dismay and delight of various webmasters. Google announced that it was not a Penguin update, but simply a change to their Core Algorithm. I’m always hesitant to recommend that anybody create or write content with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in mind, because the algorithms are always changing. Instead, it is best to keep your audience in mind when creating content, which is, after all, what the algorithms are designed to do. Pay attention to the updates, but focus on writing quality content in a format that your readers will enjoy. Do this, and positive SEO results should follow.
- A ‘Move’ icon for both files in your drive, and for the ‘Add to My Drive’ option
- An icon that allows you to add files being previewed to any folder
- The ability to drag and drop files into folders (how was this not an option before!)
These changes should make the process of using Google Drive more effective.
Google’s Knowledge Panel
Google business listings have always proven problematic as misinformation is often included accidentally, while essential information to a given business may be excluded. Chris Crum, though, recently wrote a post stating that businesses can now access Google’s Knowledge Panel to verify that correct and pertinent information is present of Google’s business listings. Though problematic as others might be able to maliciously change information about a business, it is something businesses need to keep an eye on. Just as businesses should claim and maintain their Yelp! page, they should likewise monitor their Google business listing as this will be the first impression many web users will see.
There is no doubt that by the end of February 2016, several of these may already be obsolete, but because Google is such a significant part of the online world, it is important to keep up to date on their most recent changes. The Ad Sense updates will likely stay current throughout the year and are worth exploring, and if you own a business that people are likely to look up, keeping tabs on your Google business listing is always a good idea. As for the Google Drive and Android updates, both of these should help you to maximize your time when using these tools, and as always, don’t fret about the SEO updates; simply write content with the goal of satisfying your readers. Keeping these thigns in mind should help you stay on top of Google’s changes heading into the new year, but be sure to check back here for regular updates for both Google and Bing.
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