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Google Webmaster Blog Round Up – May

It’s been another busy month at Google towers. The big news from the Webmaster blog is that the Page Speed metric will now be part of the Google analytics offering. This will essentially allow users to identify ‘slow spots’ in their web properties and monitor the impact of page load time on conversions.  The ultimate aim is to promote faster speeds across the web and true to Google’s mantra ‘a more positive user experience’.  As a further attempt to help the dust settle on Panda, this month Google gives us some pointers to shift our focus away from algorithms and rankings and towards the quality of our content. On the subject of content, Google have now upgraded their Instant Preview feature to support Flash elements on your webpage. However they are keen to emphasise the need for html versions to ensure that all important ‘positive user experience’. Happy Reading!

Page Speed Online has a shiny new API

On May 11th, Google unveiled the Page Speed Online API as part of the Google Analytics offering to an excited online community. 

“Today, as part of Google I/O, we are excited to introduce the Page Speed Online API as part of the Google APIs.  With this API, developers now have the ability to integrate performance analysis very simply in their command-line tools and web performance dashboards”.

Google have provided a getting started guide that should help users get up and running quickly with the feature. Once the Page Speed API has been implemented, users will be able to start monitoring performance and optimizing their web pages to improve bounce rates and ultimately conversion data.

Flash Support in Instant Previews

Instant Previews, a function introduced by Google in Nov 2010, allows users to see a snapshot of a search result before clicking through to the content. Google have made a number of improvements to this feature since its introduction and the good news is that it now been upgraded to support Flash.  In the majority of cases, where the preview for a page is generated through Google’s regular crawl, a snapshot of any Flash components on the page will appear. Below is an example of an Instant preview with rich content rendered.

More guidance on building high quality sites

Google wants to encourage online publishers simply to deliver the best user experience and avoid fixating on the Panda algorithm change. So what constitutes a high-quality site exactly? The Google team puts forward the following questions:-

– Does the site contain trusted content from a respected source?

– Does the site have duplicate or overlapping articles?

– Is the content well edited or hastily produced?

– Do the articles present a balanced view?

– Do the articles contain insight or analysis beyond the obvious?

– Does the site offer content that you would be keen to share or recommend?

– Would you feel comfortable giving you credit card information to the site?

Answering these questions honestly should help a user identify weak areas in their web sites. Google insist that by remedying these weaknesses, rather than obsessing over current algorithms, they will see their successful ascent up the rankings.

Do 404s harm my Site?

Have you ever been using Webmaster Tools to monitor site performance and the Crawl errors page is full of 404 (Not found) errors? What is happening, does this effect a site’s ranking and what should be done to rectify the errors?

 

Easier URL removals for site owners

Google have recently made a change to the Remove URL tool that can be found in Webmaster Tools to eliminate the requirement for site owners to block the webpage’s URL, before it can be removed from Google’s search listings.  Essentially, this should facilitate the removal of unwanted pages for those who have already verified ownership of their site.