This week's SEO news in brief: Mobile ads take off, Facebook work on search engine, while Google catches link cheats, tracks users locations, loves Amazon and drops non-local businesses.
Recent reports have indicated that Wikipedia appears on page one of over 40% of Google searches. This was somewhat controversial news but when you consider that Wikipedia is a helpful reference to hundreds of millions of people every month, without taking any profit for themselves (when they could be making billions), it's seems wrong to resent them.
More worryingly, a new study suggests that Wikipedia isn't Google's most recommended website. In fact a very much, profit-lead website is dominating the search results, that website being Amazon. In fairness, the keywords used in the research focused on high value keywords which are more likely to be searched for by people looking to make purchases, but perhaps that makes it worse.
The question is, should Google be directing so many users to one retailer which ensures a good experience for its users, or should they be taking a larger social responsibility and supporting thousands of smaller businesses?
A new report indicates that at the current growth rates, a massive 25% of search ad clicks will come from mobile devices by December 2012. It might be time to put a little more thought into that mobile strategy!
In recent months there has been a growing concern about the number of websites making successful businesses out of spam link networks. These networks are usually made up of a large number of websites which don't provide people with anything useful, but include links to anyone who pays in order to fool Google into thinking a website is important.
So it is heartening to learn that one such network has decided to close down, since on the 19th of March Google deindexed the "overwhelming majority" of their websites. There are also reports that a number of other networks were hit.
Google Maps is now reporting how busy roads are in real-time. Google have stated that the information comes from a "combination of data from third party sources and information that Android users have chosen to share by opting in to the My Location feature on Google Maps"
A team of engines from Facebook, headed by an ex-Google employee, are working on improving its inbuilt search feature. It is unlikely that Facebook would dare to challenge Google in this area but there are benefits from revamping search within its own website. Users would be able to find which other users are talking about subjects that interest them and Facebook would benefit from PPC ads as well as more data mining, allowing for even more targeted advertising.
Several small businesses have reported receiving phone calls from Google asking if they serve customers at their business address. A few days later their Google Places listing has been taken down.
On the 22th of March Google updated their quality guidelines to read:
"If you don't receive customers at your location, you must select the "Do not show my business address on my Maps listing" option within your dashboard. If you don't hide your address, your listing may be removed from Google Maps."
The good news is that it seems that changing your address setting, as suggested above, will quickly bring your listing back. So don't get too worried!