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Weekly Google news roundup

Google have had a busy week in the news after a number of important changes to the algorithm, high profile court hearings and the acquisition of mapping software Waze.

We run though some of the highlights that may affect SEO from the past 5 days:

Ranking Update

Google engineer Matt Cutts recently announced the release of a new ranking update that is said to affect approximately 0.3% – 0.5% of all English search queries.

The update intends to target spammy search queries such as payday loans and pornographic websites. Cutts was quick to stress that this update was a work in progress and to expect changes in the coming months. Check out the video here: http://t.co/KOMozoc3lo

Smartphone ranking changes

A recent blog post on the Webmaster Central Blog has mentioned that sites that are poorly written for smartphone users will be hurt in search results. Google want webmasters to focus on bringing the richness of the web to smartphone users, something that has never been so important. The blog post highlights two common problems:

  1. Faulty redirects – when a webpage redirects smartphones to an irrelevant page on a mobile site.
  2. Smartphone-only errors – when websites work for desktop users but give error pages for smartphone users.

Google acquires Waze

Israeli mapping service Waze was purchased by Google this week for an estimated $1.1bn in a bid for the company to dominate the mobile navigation market. Waze is a mobile application that gathers road user information to provide up-to-date traffic and road news as well as give directions.

The acquisition will no doubt enhance the Google Maps experience, with added social and advertising opportunity adding new dimensions to the undisputable king of the online maps.

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