Google Wars VI - Return of the PageRank

Google recently applied for a patent which providing the combined ranking of the plurality of web pages in response to the search query. From the Google Site:
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the combined ranking includes a ranking of web pages from a plurality of websites.3. The method of claim 1, wherein the combined ranking includes a ranking of a plurality of websites.4. The method of claim 1, wherein modifying the global ranking score for each responsive web page based on the onsite ranking score for the web page comprises limiting a degree of modification of the global ranking score of a first web page based on a measure of authority of the corresponding website relative to other websites.5. The method of claim 1, wherein modifying the global ranking score for each responsive web page based on the onsite ranking score for the web page comprises limiting a degree of modification of the global ranking score of a first web page based on a placement of the first web page in an internal structure of the corresponding website.6. The method of claim 1, wherein the onsite ranking score is further based on a relative placement of the web page within an internal structure of the corresponding website.7. The method of claim 1, wherein the onsite data includes, for each web page, a count of how many links exist to the web page from other web pages within the corresponding website.8. The method of claim 1, wherein the onsite ranking score for each web page of a website is based on relative term counts of terms of the search query occurring in each web page of the website.9. The method of claim 1, wherein the onsite ranking score is based on a type of the search query, a type of the corresponding website, a relative age of the particular resource with respect to other resources associated with the corresponding website, or a type of content associated with the web page.10. The method of claim 1, wherein the set of onsite ranking criteria used to rank the plurality of web pages is different than a set of criteria used to compute the global ranking scores for the plurality of web pages.
Highlights are mine. What do you think? Will PR make a comeback in 2016?


RankBrain - Google Now Using AI (Artificial Intelligence) To Help Sort Search Results

Will RankBrain fundamentally change search marketing?
Bloomberg Business reported yesterday that Google was using a new machine-learning artificial intelligence which it dubbed RankBrain. This new system will help sort through the plethora of results Google finds every second of every day. Since it is a machine learning system it will automatically adjust based on the information it finds rather than being dependent upon a person to provide an update to the way it functions.

What it's not: RankBrain is NOT a new Search Algorithm. That came along over two years ago and was named Hummingbird in 2013. RankBrain is simply a way to sort through all the noise out there in the form of many billions of pages on the web. It is a part of Hummingbird rather than a replacement for it. According to the Bloomberg article BrainRank is the third-most important signal contributing to how the results are organized and sorted. If you are like me, you probably asked, well...what are the first two? It is my opinion that links are and will remain #1 for the foreseeable future and would agree with Danny Sullivan that the second-most important factor is the proper use of words within your site's content.

Alright, so what does this new piece of the ranking puzzle do? Well, referring again to Danny and a conversation he had with Google it seems:
RankBrain is mainly used as a way to interpret the searches that people submit to find pages that might not have the exact words that were searched for. 
This is different from the existing technologies such as LSI and the Knowledge Graph by no longer relying on a person or website to curate the "strings not things". Think of how schema.org is an effort to organize data but relies on someone to create the tags and add them is subject to misuse (spam) and/or improper implementation.

This type of technology was unavoidable if Google wanted to stay relevant. Why? Because of the sheer volume of queries being performed every day (3 billion per day, 1 trillion per year!) along with the percent those queries which have never been searched before (15-25%). There is no way that manually manipulating the algorithm to filter out the duplicated, outdated, and spammy content is sustainable.

When will you see changes? Well, as with recent releases Google acknowledged the update has been live since the beginning of 2015. The changes will be gradual but will be noticeable over time. Time will also tell how many people are affected by this, or blame their ranking losses on RankBrain.


How to stop Firebug from jumping to changing code or script

How to keep Firebug from moving focus to changed code
First off, I love Firebug! It is a valuable tool for taking a look "behind the scenes" of the sites I work on. I really like that I can right click on an element and take a look at the code that is driving it. Recently however I have become frustrated with a "feature" of the tool. When looking at code on a page with a dynamic element such as a slide show, lightbox or ad the tool highlights and jumps to the code that has just changed. While I don't remember making any changes to the addin that would cause this to happen I'm not ruling it out. :) Either way, I couldn't figure out how to turn the darn thing off...until now.
It's actually very easy. Simply click on the HTML tab and uncheck the Highlight Changes, Expand Changes and Scroll Changes Into View lines. That's it. Really easy! Now I can look at the code I want to inspect without constantly having to scroll back to it or opening the tool in a new window.
Hope this helps!


Help Me Stop This Now!

Help me put an end to childhood cancer!
As a father of two I was deeply moved by this video:

I’m going to do something pretty extreme, and I’m asking you to support me with a donation for childhood cancer research!

What am I doing?  I’m going to have my head shaved at a St. Baldrick’s Foundation event.

With my bald head, I’ll stand in solidarity with kids being treated for cancer. But the real point of all this is to raise money for life-saving research.  I’m doing it for infants, children, teens and young adults fighting cancer.  While it’s especially hard to think of kids fighting cancer, I’m also glad to know that some of the research supported by this foundation ultimately helps to fight all cancers.

Please make a donation on my head and come watch us “Shaving the Way to Conquer Kids’ Cancer!”

March 10th at The Harp Irish Pub 1425 Market Blvd Suite 1339 Roswell, GA


Google Webmaster Tools Error

 I find it ironic that I got a 404 error when trying to download my 404 errors from Google Webmaster Tools:


Andrew in a 4H shirt at the Fort in St. Augustine

Picture taken of me last summer in St. Augustine Florida. Okay, maybe it wasn't last summer...it was summer though...circa 1981. lol


Google Rich Snippet Testing Tool

Google recently announced that it has released a new version of the rich snippet testing tool which it has also renamed the "structured data testing tool".
There are three changes to the tool:
  1. An improvement in how they display rich snippets in the testing tool to more closely match how they would appear in the search results.
  2.  They have tweaked the UI and appearance of the tool to make the data that is extracted and used from the page more transparent.
  3. Lastly, Google has made the tool available in more languages.

The tool also allows you to track the number of items (objects) and number of pages where the objects are found:

The tool can also be used to see what structured data other sites (including competitors) are using as well as what components Google is pulling from the page. The rich snippet testing tool is available to everyone (without logging in.) To try the tool yourself, visit: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets.
Here’s an example of the available data using a story from Bloomberg:

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