Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Rich snippets go international

As part of our efforts to make search results more useful to our users around the world, we’re announcing the international availability of rich snippets. If you’ve been following our blog posts, you already know that rich snippets let users see additional facts and data from your site in search results.

For example, we recently launched rich snippets for recipes which, for certain sites, lets users see quick recipe facts as part of the snippet and makes it easier to determine if the page has what they are looking for:

We’ve had a lot of questions on our blogs and forums about international support for rich snippets - and we know

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

URL removal explained, Part III: Removing Content That You Don't Own

Welcome to the third episode of our URL removals series! In episodes one and two, we talked about expediting the removal of content that's under your control and requesting expedited cache removals. Today, we're covering how to use Google's public URL removal tool to request removal of content from Google’s search results when the content originates on a website not under your control.

Google offers two tools that provide a way to request expedited removal of content:

1. Verified URL removal tool: for requesting to remove content from Google’s search results when it’s published on a site of which you’re a verified owner in Webmaster Tools (like your blog or your company’s site)

2. Public URL removal tool: for requesting to remove content from Google’s search results when it’s published on a site which you can’t verify ownership (like your friend’s blog)

Sometimes a situation arises where the information you want to remove originates from a site that you don't own or can't control.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Webmasters - Configure Google Services at Your Hosting Panel

Today, as announced on the Official Google Blog, we’ve taken an additional step to improve access to Google webmaster services. Parallels, one of the leading providers of control panel software to hosting companies, has integrated Google Services for Websites into Parallels Plesk Panel, used by millions of website owners globally to manage their websites.

If you use Plesk for managing your hosting and website services, you can easily configure Webmaster Tools, Custom Search, Site Search, Web Elements and AdSense for your website right from within Plesk.

Since Plesk knows what domains you own, it automatically registers your domains to Webmaster Tools and allows you to automatically login to the Webmaster Tools console to verify your sites, as shown below.

Using Site Speed in Web Search Ranking

You may have heard that here at Google we're obsessed with speed, in our products and on the web. As part of that effort, today we're including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests.

Speeding up websites is important — not just to site owners, but to all Internet users. Faster sites create happy users and we've seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there. But faster sites don't just improve user experience; recent data shows that improving site speed also reduces operating costs. Like us, our users place a lot of value in speed — that's why we've decided to take site speed into account in our search rankings. We use a variety of sources to determine the speed of a site relative to other sites.

If you are a site owner, webmaster or a web author, here are some free tools that you can use to evaluate the speed of your site:
  • Page Speed, an open source Firefox/Firebug add-on that evaluates the performance of web pages and gives suggestions for improvement.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Adding Images to your Sitemaps

Sitemaps are an invaluable resource for search engines. They can highlight the important content on a site and allow crawlers to quickly discover it. Images are an important element of many sites and search engines could equally benefit from knowing which images you consider important. This is particularly true for images that are only accessible via JavaScript forms, or for pages that contain many images but only some of which are integral to the page content.

Now you can use a Sitemaps extension to provide Google with exactly this information. For each URL you list in your Sitemap, you can add additional information about important images that exist on that page. You don’t need to create a new Sitemap, you can just add information on images to the Sitemap you already use.

With image search, just as with web search, Google's goal is to provide the best and most relevant search results to our users. Following Google's Webmaster Guidelines and best practices for publishing images can increase the likelihood that your images will be returned in those search results.

In addition, you can also use Sitemaps to give Google additional information about the images on your site's URLs. Doing this can help Google discover images we might not otherwise find (such as images that are reached via JavaScript forms), and also enables you to identify the most important images on a page. For example, if your site uses templates,

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

URL Removals Explained, Part II: Removing Sensitive Text from a Page

Change can happen—sometimes, as we saw in our previous post on URL removals, you may completely block or remove a page from your site. Other times you might only change parts of a page, or remove certain pieces of text. Depending on how frequently a page is being crawled, it can take some time before these changes get reflected in our search results. In this blog post we'll look at the steps you can take if we're still showing old, removed content in our search results, either in the form of a "snippet" or on the cached page that's linked to from the search result. Doing this makes sense when the old content contains sensitive information that needs to be removed quickly—it's not necessary to do this when you just update a website normally.

As an example, let's look at the following fictitious search result:

Walter E. Coyote < Title
Chief Development Officer at Acme Corp 1948-2003: worked on the top secret velocitus incalculii capturing device which has shown potential ... < Snippet
... - Cached < URL + link to cached page

To change the content shown in the snippet (or on the linked cached page), you'll first need to change the content on the actual (live) page. Unless a page's publicly visible content is changed, Google's automatic processes will continue to show parts of the original content in our search results.

Once the page's content has been changed, there are several options available to make those changes visible in our search results:

Thursday, April 1, 2010

URL Removal Explained, Part I: URLs & Directories

There's a lot of content on the Internet these days. At some point, something may turn up online that you would rather not have out there—anything from an inflammatory blog post you regret publishing, to confidential data that accidentally got exposed. In most cases, deleting or restricting access to this content will cause it to naturally drop out of search results after a while. However, if you urgently need to remove unwanted content that has gotten indexed by Google and you can't wait for it to naturally disappear, you can use our URL removal tool to expedite the removal of content from our search results as long as it meets certain criteria (which we'll discuss below).

We've got a series of blog posts lined up for you explaining how to successfully remove various types of content, and common mistakes to avoid. In this first post, I'm going to cover a few basic scenarios: removing a single URL, removing an entire directory or site, and reincluding removed content. I also strongly recommend our previous post on managing what information is available about you online.

Removing a single URL

In general, in order for your removal requests to be successful, the owner of the URL(s) in question—whether that's you, or someone else—must have indicated that it's okay to remove that content. For an individual URL, this can be indicated in any of three ways:
Before submitting a removal request, you can check...