Google asserts TLD keywords do not influence search results

Last month, an article circulated claiming that a lawyer has changed the top level domain name for his website form .com to .attorney, and had seen a substantial increase in organic traffic. The article suggested that tailored, target TLD keywords could help boost traffic. However, Google has since stamped out any such rumours.

During a Google Hangout on the 14th of June, John Mueller explained that TLD’s crammed with keywords do not factor into Google rankings. Mueller went so far as to state that Google’s algorithm completely ignores top level domain names. Both John Mueller and Gary Illyes from Google urged webmasters not to listen to rumour, and to stick with their current top level domains, rather than change them following “vague promises” for increased traffic.

Google to remove custom date range search filter for mobile users

Google is set to remove a further search filter, and this time around it only affects mobile users. In a forum, Google explained that they are the removing the functionality that allows mobile browsers to search results filtered by a start and end date. Mobile users wishing to search using this filter can still do so via the desktop version of Google.

Instead of the ‘custom range’ time option, mobile Googlers can still search for articles based on pre-specified periods of time since they were posted, such as past hour, past 24 hours and so on.

Google commented:

“After much thought and consideration, Google has decided to retire the Search Custom Date Range Tool on mobile. Today we are starting to gradually unlaunch this feature for all users, as we believe we can create a better experience by focusing on more highly-utilized search features that work seamlessly across both mobile and desktop. Please note that this will still be available on desktop, and all other date restriction tools [e.g., ‘Past hour,’ ‘Past 24 hours,’ ‘Past week,’ ‘Past month,’ ‘Past year’] will remain on mobile.”

Apple brings Siri to Mac, new exposure for non-Google search engines

Apple has announced that it will be bringing its Siri technology to the Mac. While seemingly, innocuous, this development means that Mac users will have access to search from the macOS operating system, and the results presented to them will not be solely from Google.

Apple demonstrated the new technology during its Worldwide Developers Conference, showing eager viewers how Siri will work when it arrives on the latest macOS, “Sierra”, later this year. Users will be able to speak their requests to Siri and will receive a selection of results not only from Google, but from competitor search engines such as Bing and Yelp. This could lead to higher usage and increased exposure for these less commonly used search engines.

Google still stands as the default search engine when opening Apple’s Safari feature, however, as the result of a long standing deal between the two companies. When the deal expired last year, it was anticipated that Apple would consider dropping Google, however, despite the face that no formal announcement was ever made, it looks as though the two companies will continue working together.

Google now using ‘Rankbrain’ for every search query

The mysterious Google algorithm, ‘Rankbrain’, has apparently been a success. Since Google first made the announcement of the vaguely defined ranking method last year, it’s use in searches has gone from 15% to 100%, meaning that all two trillion searches per year are handled with input from Rankbrain. In short, Google is clearly incredibly confident in the ill-defined system, and is now using it to filter every query it receives.

Google has stated that Rankbrain is the third-most useful criteria when handling a query, and selecting the results to present. There are hundreds of factors (or ‘signals) Google considers when weighing up a query, such as geographical location and whether a website’s headline matches the wording of the query. The fact that Rankbrain is the third most important says something about the nature of the technology being developed.

It is generally assumed that Rankbrain works by internally rearranging the wording of a query to allow for the best quality results. A search along the lines of “best places to go for lunch in Headingley” might be rearranged to “best Leeds restaurants”. In this way, more popular search terms are used in order for Google to extract more in depth and extensive data for its search results.