Google Search Options, Rich Snippets And More!
Its been a busy week for Google. It started on Tuesday with Searchology 2009, where Google finally released the functionality we wrote about three months ago. Now everyone will have an ability to get the results they want, in the way they choose. I especially enjoy the extra text and the ability to get the most recent results. Just a quick note, the options menu will only be available when you are logged into your Google Account. If you don’t yet have a Google Account, this change is worth the price of admission. My real interest, as a marketer, is how this will change referral traffic and positioning in search engine results. I suspect most people will want the freshest results first, as opposed to a page from 2001. At the same time, though, I wonder if the average user will be even aware of search options and enable them. Time will only tell.
Other new products announced at Searchology 2009 were rich snippets and Google Squared. The rich snippets is an idea already in full function over at Yahoo! Search Monkey and is the most noteworthy for sites with reviews and ratings. With these changes, Google will make possible for the ratings and reviews to be part of their search results. See below for example:
While Yahoo! has much more functionality with their “rich snippets”, the adoption by Google, the main players on search will bring this into mainstream web design. Rich Snippets will be supported by Google via two major open standards microformats and RDFa.
Please note, to start Google is not allowing just any site to have to have annotated structured data in the results. If you are interested, you will need to apply. You can do that here.
The other big annoucement this week (and its not even Thursday) is an overhaul of the user interface (UI) for Webmaster Tools. There were two major changes. The first is a new one-stop Dashboard. Google has redesigned the dashboard so you won’t need to search to find the tools you need. All the popular tools are up front: Links to your site, Top search queries, Sitemaps, and Crawl errors. More details on changes here. The second major change is for security. Websites will now need to be verified to access any detailed functionality and features in Webmaster Tools. This includes Sitemaps, Test Robots.txt and Generate Robots.txt which were previously available for unverified sites.
The new user interface is available here. The old user interface still be available for a couple of weeks, but personally I love the new look and don’t know why you would wait. For more information, check out this video from Google:
We highly recommend if you are not using Google’s Webmaster Tools, you do so immediately. Its free to join, and will give you an insight how your site is doing at the most important search engine right now.
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