Weekly Digital News Roundup: August 1 – August 5
Google’s New Way to Submit URLs & Updated Pages
- This week, Google launched a new way for site owners to request that specific web pages be crawled. This new method for submitting URLs to Google is limited, so you should use it when it’s important that certain pages be crawled right away.
- Dubbed the “Fetch as Googlebot” feature, it lets you direct Googlebot to crawl a specific URL on a site you’ve verified you own and see what response the bot gets back from the server. This process is helpful in debugging issues with the crawl that aren’t obvious when you load the site in a browser as a user.
- You can submit up to 50 URLs a week, but (as Google notes) requesting Googlebot’s attention doesn’t ensure the URL will in fact end up in the index; however, the page is much farther along in the process, so it’s worth checking out.
Google+ Draws 25 Million Visitors in a Month
- Google’s new social-networking service drew about 25 million visitors in less than a month, outpacing Facebook and Myspace in their early days, according to market researcher ComScore Inc.
- The Google+ service had 6.44 million visitors in the U.S., its biggest market, through July24th. Engagement on the site is also increasing, with the average number of days per week that U.S. visitors used the service rose 39%.
- These numbers look promising for Google’s latest effort to compete with social networking giant Facebook, though time will tell whether the novelty of Google+ will fade once it goes public.
How Yahoo Got to a Billion Clicks
- A glance at the Yahoo home page will show its addictive Today news module, which contains four news stories ranging from current events to celebrities to sports. Generally, there’s at least one story users can’t help but click on for more information – and that’s exactly what it’s supposed to do.
- The Today module is based on a sophisticated personalization algorithm which, combined with ever-savvier editors, has helped boost clicks on Yahoo’s home page to the tune of 270% increase in clicks since 2009. As an example of how impressive this algorithm is, consider the fact that the system generates 45,000 totally unique versions of the module every five minutes.
- Yahoo is now in the process of rolling out the algorithm, nicknamed CORE, to its other media properties in order to entice visitors to gobble up ever-more content in the Yahoo ecosystem. And the brains at Yahoo might be on to something, particularly since the Yahoo home page is the most visited page in the U.S. containing programmed content.
Mobile Users Expand Their Search Habits
- More than 91 million US consumers will use the internet through a mobile device at least monthly b the end of this year, eMarketer estimates, and research shows that the increase in on-the-go web usage goes hand in hand with more search activity for local content.
- According to research from comScore and the Local Search Association, 22% of all US mobile owners used search on their phone in January 2011, up from 16% a year earlier. There has also been a rise in frequency, with more than half of mobile search users now searching on their device at least weekly.
- Reports state that users are using apps and browsers to search for weather, news, and maps first and foremost, but there has been major growth in usage of other local content like classified ads, online retail, and restaurant info.