This week, a longtime Google employee confirmed his resignation from the company, Google announced plans to revive a failing product, and some tests involving AdWords and YouTube have been discovered which could end up being permanent fixtures of search results.
More details about each of these headlines are included in this week’s SEO news roundup.
Matt Cutts Resigns from Google
Anyone who has either been working in the industry or following Google news for the past several years has likely heard the name Matt Cutts. He was once the head of Google’s webspam team, monitoring the quality of search results and ensuring sites couldn’t spam their way to the top using black hat techniques. In fact, Cutts was one of Google’s first and most tenured employees.
A couple of years ago Cutts decided to take a leave of absence from Google to work a short 3-month stint with the United States Digital Service (USDS). That 3 months turned into almost 3 years until he finally confirmed this week he’s leaving the company for good.
According to Cutts, he feels so strongly about the work being done by the USDS that he wants to continue working for them on a permanent basis. Cutts will probably be best remembered for his Q&A-style YouTube videos, which helped provide guidance to countless SEOs and webmasters looking for help with improving their rankings. Just do a quick YouTube search for “Matt Cutts” and you’ll see what we mean.
Google Explains What “Crawl Budget” Means
Ever since Matt Cutts initially took his leave of absence, Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes has stepped in to become the communication bridge between Google and site owners. This week he published a detailed explainer on the meaning of “crawl budget”. Crawl budget is a term that’s getting thrown around a lot these days by people who may or may not have a clear understanding of what it means.
Illyes explains that crawl budget is a combination of crawl rate (how fast Google can crawl a site), and crawl demand (how frequently Google believes it should crawl URLs based on their popularity). Every site has a unique crawl budget based on the site’s speed and level of user engagement with its content.
The bottom line is crawl budget is not a ranking factor, but it’s still important when it comes to keeping content fresh in Google’s index. For more information, you can refer to his article here.
Google Working on An All-New Version of Google+
Google is still refusing to give up on its social network, Google+, which by all accounts has failed to live up to expectations. In an announcement this week, the company says it is saying goodbye to the “classic” Google+ and introducing a new version. The “new” Google+ has a renewed focus on creating events, a fresh design which places more of an emphasis on content, and new ways to engage with photos on desktop. Read more here.
Good Ads Showing Local Story Inventory
Google has been spotted running a test of local shopping ads which indicate whether or not the item you’re searching for is in stock at a local store. This appears to be a limited test at the moment with no word on whether it will see a wider rollout. Local search expert Mike Blumenthal has the scoop along with some screenshots over on his blog.
Auto-Playing YouTube Videos in Google Image Search
Another Google test has been spotted this week where auto-playing YouTube videos are being featured at the top of certain image searches. Alex Chitu, who made the discovery, notes this feature shows up primarily for fashion-related searches. More details and screenshots are available on his blog.
Google says goodbye to Matt Cutts, but site owners are still in good hands with helpful Webmaster Trends Analysts like Gary Illyes. Google refuses to say goodbye to Google+ as it revamps the product, while also running some new tests in search results this week.
Another busy week in search, and don’t worry, we’re not going anywhere. You can always rely on us to keep you informed with the latest search headlines of the week.