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Google, the search engine giant, claimed today that it has reached a new milestone in search by extending its web index to over six billion items. This Google Index expansion includes 4.28 billion web pages, 880 million images, 845 million Usenet messages, and a growing collection of book-related information pages.

“Google Image Search has been significantly updated,” Sergey Brinn, Google co-founder and president or technology, said in a statement. “We’ve doubled the index to more than 880m images, enhanced search quality, and improved the user interface.”

Google’s collection of 6 billion items comprises 4.28 billion web pages, 880 million images, 845 million Usenet messages, and a growing collection of book-related information pages. Web surfers worldwide can now search across Google’s collection of items using the following services:

Google Web Search: The company’s flagship search service now offers 4.28 billion web pages. Google’s powerful and scalable technology searches this information and delivers a list of relevant results in an instant. Google Web Search also enables users to search for numerous non-HTML files, including PDF, Microsoft Office, and Corel documents.

Google Image Search: Comprising more than 880 million images, Google Image Search enables users to find electronic images relevant to a wide variety of topics. Advanced features include search by image size, format (JPEG and/or GIF), coloration, and the ability to restrict searches to specific sites or domains.

Google Groups: This 20-year archive of Usenet conversations is the largest of its kind and serves as a powerful reference tool, while offering insight into the history and culture of the Internet. Google Groups offers more than 845 million postings in more than 35,000 topical categories.

Google Print: A test service that enables Google users to immediately access a range of book related information, such as first chapters, reviews, and bibliographic information. These pages also offer users links to directly purchase titles.

With more than 4 billion web pages indexed, Google maintains its search market leader by both web pages and market share.

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Google Selling Motorola Mobility To Lenovo For $2.9 Billion

Well this is an interesting turn of events. It appears that Google has decided to sell its Motorola Mobility arm to electronics giant Lenovo for $2.91 billion. The deal is said to include the entire Motorola division and some 10,000 of its 17,000 patents.

If the deal gets approved, Google would be selling Motorola for far less than the $12.5 billion it paid for it back in 2011. It looks like it’s holding on to some of Motorola’s IP though, and retaining licenses to its other patents, so it wouldn’t be a total loss…

Google CEO Larry Page confirmed the sale in a blog post:

“We’ve just signed an agreement to sell Motorola to Lenovo for $2.91 billion. As this is an important move for Android users everywhere, I wanted to explain why in detail.

We acquired Motorola in 2012 to help supercharge the Android ecosystem by creating a stronger patent portfolio for Google and great smartphones for users. Over the past 19 months, Dennis Woodside and the Motorola team have done a tremendous job reinventing the company. They’ve focused on building a smaller number of great (and great value) smartphones that consumers love. Both the Moto G and the Moto X are doing really well, and I’m very excited about the smartphone lineup for 2014. And on the intellectual property side, Motorola’s patents have helped create a level playing field, which is good news for all Android’s users and partners.

But the smartphone market is super competitive, and to thrive it helps to be all-in when it comes to making mobile devices. It’s why we believe that Motorola will be better served by Lenovo—which has a rapidly growing smartphone business and is the largest (and fastest-growing) PC manufacturer in the world. This move will enable Google to devote our energy to driving innovation across the Android ecosystem, for the benefit of smartphone users everywhere. As a side note, this does not signal a larger shift for our other hardware efforts. The dynamics and maturity of the wearable and home markets, for example, are very different from that of the mobile industry. We’re excited by the opportunities to build amazing new products for users within these emerging ecosystems.

Lenovo has the expertise and track record to scale Motorola into a major player within the Android ecosystem. They have a lot of experience in hardware, and they have global reach. In addition, Lenovo intends to keep Motorola’s distinct brand identity—just as they did when they acquired ThinkPad from IBM in 2005. Google will retain the vast majority of Motorola’s patents, which we will continue to use to defend the entire Android ecosystem.

The deal has yet to be approved in the U.S. or China, and this usually takes time. So until then, it’s business as usual. I’m phenomenally impressed with everything the Motorola team has achieved and confident that with Lenovo as a partner, Motorola will build more and more great products for people everywhere.” 

When Google acquired Motorola, it said that it would “supercharge the Android ecosystem.” But in the 3 years since then, the purchase has yielded little fruit. In recent quarters, the Mobility division has even begun losing money—some $250 million in Q4.

On the flip side, Lenovo currently offers a selection of Android phones that have seen success in China and other parts of Asia, but little in the US. As a longtime electronics-maker, it’s unlikely it wants Motorola’s hardware. So is it after the name? The patents?

It’ll be interesting to see how this all unfolds.

What’s your take on all of this?

Msn Does Not Steal Google Results To Seed New Index

MSN Does Not Steal Google Results to Seed New Index

My first impressions were that (1) it was not true, (2) if it was, it would be extremely unethical, (3) they have no reason to go that path, (4) if someone found out, it would ruin them in the short term, (5) and there might be some legal issues (not that I know for sure).

Of course, many of the forums are discussing this topic. Over at WebmasterWorld, the official MSN representative said the following in respond to these rumors; “Also regarding relevance, there has been some speculation on some online forums about MSNBot using Google search result pages to build our index. Let us set the record straight – that is simply not true. We respect chúng tôi and as a result we will not crawl Google’s search result pages.” Which GoogleGuy (the official Google representative) responds to “Hey msndude, thanks for the pointers, and thanks for debunking the notion that MSN is crawling via scraping Google’s index somehow. I saw an email that someone wrote to us, and it didn’t sound like something MSN would do. Glad to hear it from the source though. :)”

So what does leading industry expert, Danny Sullivan think? In his post in the the SEW thread named Microsoft Scraping Google and Yahoo! SERPS?, he also debunks this rumor. I like every word of his post, so I will quote it now.

There are plenty of software packages that will screen scape search results in order to create search fodder for those trying to generate AdSense or other traffic.

It’s entirely possible that MSN has simply crawled one of these pages. So yes, it would have crawled Google search results — but these could have been Google search results that were copied and transferred to a different site.

The actual story is also just incorrect. MSN never required a fee to be spidered. MSN still, on the flagship site, partners with Yahoo for its search results. Yahoo has operated a paid inclusion program but as many will attest, has also spidered pages for free aside from this. MSN dropped paid inclusion pages back in July — but despite this, they already were and still are crawling the web for free via Yahoo (and via themselves, on the beta site).

And the fastest way to get relevant pages is to crawl Google for every page listed from a site? Not. You’d instead do what the other crawlers do, harvest links from across the web and start indexing the ones you see most often.

Of course I am not angry at my buddy Jason, this is a simple blog to blog debate now.

Columnist Barry Schwartz is the Editor of Editor of Search Engine Roundtable and President of RustyBrick, Inc., a Web services firm specializing in customized online technology that helps companies decrease costs and increase sales.

Google Explains How To Use Search Console’s Index Coverage Report

Google published a new Search Console training video all about how to use the index coverage report.

Google’s Daniel Waisberg explains how to use Search Console to learn which pages have been crawled and indexed by Google, and how to deal with any problems found during that process.

First, the video gives an overview of the different components of the index coverage report and how to read the data included in them.

What’s Contained in the Index Coverage Report?

Search Console’s index coverage report provides a detailed look at all pages of a website that Google has either indexed or tried to index. The report also logs all errors Googlebot encountered when crawling a page.

The index coverage report is made up of the following components:

Errors: These are critical issues that prevent pages from being indexed. Errors could include pages with the ‘noindex’ directive, pages with a server error, or pages with a 404 error.

Valid with warnings: This section includes pages that may or may not be shown in search results depending on the issue. An example is an indexed page that’s blocked by robots.txt.

Valid: These are indexed pages that are eligible to be served in search results.

Excluded: These are pages that are intentionally not indexed and won’t be included in search results.

How Should I Use The Index Coverage Report?

It’s recommended that site owners start by checking the chart on the summary page to learn if the valid pages trend is somewhat steady. Some amount of fluctuation is normal here. If you’re aware of content being published or removed you will see that reflected in the report.

Next, move onto reviewing the various error sections. You can quickly identity the most pressing issues because they’re sorted by severity. Start at the top of the list and work your way down.

Once you know what needs to be fixed you can either fix the issues yourself, if you feel comfortable doing so, or share the details with your developer who can make code changes to your website.

How Often Should I Check the Index Coverage Report?

It’s not necessary to check the index coverage report every day, Google says, because emails will be sent out whenever Search Console detects a new indexing error.

However, if an existing error gets worse, Google will not send out an email notification. So it’s necessary to check on the report at least once in a while to make sure nothing is going from bad to worse.

Those are the basics of the Search Console index coverage report. See the full video below:

How To Add A Hyperlinked Index Sheet In Google Sheets

Admit it, we’ve all been there. Getting frustrated trying to find a specific sheet inside a huge workbook, and not being able to see it amongst all the other sheets.

Well, here’s a quick Apps Script to create a hyperlinked index page at the start of your workbook.

Here it is in action:

What if we already have a sheet by the name ‘Index’?

Well, you’ll be prompted to enter a different index name or to cancel the operation:

Steps to create your own hyperlinked index sheet in Google Sheets

New to Apps Script? Start here.

Step 2: Clear out all of the myFunction boilerplate code and paste in the following:

function onOpen() { ui.createMenu('Index Menu') .addItem('Create Index', 'createIndex') .addItem('Update Index', 'updateIndex') .addToUi(); } function createIndex() { var sheets = ss.getSheets(); var namesArray = sheetNamesIds(sheets); var indexSheetNames = namesArray[0]; var indexSheetIds = namesArray[1]; if (ss.getSheetByName('index') == null) { var indexSheet = ss.insertSheet('Index',0); } else { var indexNewName = Browser.inputBox('The name Index is already being used, please choose a different name:', 'Please choose another name', Browser.Buttons.OK_CANCEL); if (indexNewName != 'cancel') { var indexSheet = ss.insertSheet(indexNewName,0); } else { Browser.msgBox('No index sheet created'); } } if (indexSheet) { printIndex(indexSheet,indexSheetNames,indexSheetIds); } } function updateIndex() { var sheets = ss.getSheets(); var indexSheet = sheets[0]; var namesArray = sheetNamesIds(sheets); var indexSheetNames = namesArray[0]; var indexSheetIds = namesArray[1]; printIndex(indexSheet,indexSheetNames,indexSheetIds); } function printIndex(sheet,names,formulas) { sheet.clearContents(); sheet.getRange(1,1).setValue('Workbook Index').setFontWeight('bold'); sheet.getRange(3,1,names.length,1).setValues(names); sheet.getRange(3,2,formulas.length,1).setFormulas(formulas); } function sheetNamesIds(sheets) { var indexSheetNames = []; var indexSheetIds = []; sheets.forEach(function(sheet){ indexSheetNames.push([sheet.getSheetName()]); indexSheetIds.push(['=hyperlink("#gid=' + sheet.getSheetId() + '","' + sheet.getSheetName() + '")']); }); return [indexSheetNames, indexSheetIds]; }

Code is also here on GitHub.

Step 3: Hit Save and give your script project a new name: “Index”

Step 4: Select the onOpen function in the toolbar (1) and hit the run button (2):

Step 5: When prompted, grant the necessary permissions to apps script (one-time procedure):

Step 6: Navigate back to your sheet and use the newly created Index Menu to run the program and create your hyperlinked index:

+ '";"'

Create a hyperlinked index list in a sidebar

Thanks to reader Clarence for this brilliant suggestion.

Instead of a new sheet at the front of your workbook, we can create an index list in a sidebar so that we can see from any tab of our Google Sheet. The code is a little more complex because we have the HTML sidebar which we need to pass the sheet names and IDs to. Unfortunately, the sidebar version cannot opens the link (i.e. the tab you want to navigate to) in a new browser tab.

In your worksheet script editor, you’ll want to have the following two files, one a GS file, the other an HTML file:


The code in the chúng tôi file is:

/** * menu */ function onOpen() { .createMenu('Sidebar Menu') .addItem('Show sidebar', 'showSidebar') .addToUi(); } /** * show sidebar */ function showSidebar() { var ui = HtmlService.createTemplateFromFile('sidebar.html') .evaluate() .setSandboxMode(HtmlService.SandboxMode.IFRAME) .setTitle('Index Sidebar'); } /** * get the sheet names */ function getSheetNames() { var sheets = ss.getSheets(); return sheetNamesIds(sheets); } function sheetNamesIds(sheets) { var indexOfSheets = []; sheets.forEach(function(sheet){ indexOfSheets.push([sheet.getSheetName(),sheet.getSheetId()]); }); return indexOfSheets; }

See this file on GitHub here.

Then the code in the chúng tôi file is:

<?!= getSheetNames().map(function(d) { }).join('');

See this file on GitHub here.

Here’s the Google Sheet if you want to make your own copy.

And this is the index sidebar script in action:

Update: Google added functionality to link to specific cells within your worksheet, so that might be worth checking out.

Google Broad Core Updates And Why Some Health Sites Affected

Google’s John Mueller has stated that Google’s broad core updates have not been targeting health sites. But there is a perception that some health related sites tend to be sensitive to Google updates. What kinds of changes can affect health sites while not specifically targeting health sites?

User Satisfaction Metrics

Rank Brain and Neural Matching

Over the past few years Google introduced Neural Matching and Rank Brain to help Google better understand search queries (neural matching) and to help Google understand web pages better by matching pages to concepts (rank brain).

In my opinion, a better understanding of what users mean when they ask a query could affect health related sites. Health topics can be divided between strictly scientific meanings and alternative and so-called natural cures.

Thus, if Google better understands that a query requires a scientific response, then it makes sense that sites promoting non-medical alternative solutions will suffer.

It’s not that Google is targeting health sites, but that Google is getting better at understanding what users want and are satisfied with when they make these kinds of queries.

The Mercola managed to sail through the 2023 Google broad core updates, even though it offered the same kind of “alternative” health information that other losing sites offered.

That points in the direction that an additional signal was added or possibly that other signals were dialed down.

Even if your site is not in the health niche, it may be useful to read the conversation about health sites and traffic losses. Whatever is affecting them could be affecting your sites as well.

Dr. Pete Meyers on Health Sites and Traffic Losses

I asked Dr. Pete why health sites tend to keep being affected.

Here is what he offered:

“(1) There’s clearly a correlation between sites impacted in later core updates and the original core update. It seems logical that the levers that Google pulls in a “core” update are going to be qualitatively different than the levers they pull in more routine updates (even if we don’t know what those levers are), so there’s going to be a connection between them.

(2) It seems very likely that any given core update is imperfect and successive core updates will iterate on it. The data we’ve seen matches that assumption, to some degree. That doesn’t mean Core Update #5 is going to reverse Core Update #4, but we can expect that some changes won’t measure up to Google’s expectations and they’ll work to mitigate and refine those changes.

(3) Do we know for a fact that the update didn’t target health sites? I find Google’s language — while often accurate — to be very precise (almost to a fault). I believe that Google wasn’t hand-targeting specific medical sites, but we know that YMYL queries, for example, are very important to them. It’s possible this is even broader — mechanisms, for example, that try to analyze trust in verticals where trust is especially important (or where untrustworthy information is dangerous). Does that mean they “targeted” health sites? No, but they didn’t not target health queries 🙂

(4) Related to #3, something in this article (Google Tweaked Algorithm After Rise in US Shootings)  struck me as very interesting:

“In these last few years, there’s been a tragic increase in shootings,” Nayak said. “And it turns out that during these shootings, in the fog of events that are unfolding, a lot of misinformation can arise in various ways.

And so to address that we have developed algorithms that recognize that a bad event is taking place and that we should increase our notions of ‘authority‘, increase the weight of ‘authority‘ in our ranking so that we surface high quality content rather than misinformation in this critical time here.”

That almost makes it sound like authority is situational; in some cases, Google isn’t going to require high authority, since it’s not necessary or not risky. But in other cases they’re going to set a high authority threshold. Note that ‘authority’ here could mean something more akin to trust/expertise than link equity.”

I followed up on Pete’s response saying that the important question, which he addressed and I agree on, is what factors? Authority? Truth?

Here is how Pete answered:

“Yeah, that’s the kicker — How has Google actually translated these ideas into code? Generally speaking, do I think E-A-T is a good idea? Absolutely. You should build Expertise, Authority, and Trust, if you want to build a legitimate business/career. That’s going to be good for marketing, and at least indirectly good for SEO. Does that mean E-A-T is specifically built into the algorithm? No. If E or A or T are built in (which is likely, to some degree), it also doesn’t tell us how that translates into factors.

Of course, Google doesn’t want us to have that granular information that could be gamed.”

Cyrus Shepard on Why Health Sites May Be Sensitive to Updates

Cyrus Shepard contributed several thoughtful ideas about why health related sites seem to be sensitive to Google’s broad core algorithm updates:

“I suspect for YMYL queries, Google is tightening the screws on less reputable sites in 1 of 3 ways:

One of the top sites hit, chúng tôi has a ton of negative articles written about it. Because it’s in the health space, Google may be extra sensitive to this sentiment.

Evidence is scant, but it seems Google may be favoring sites with links closer to a trusted seed set. See Bill Slawski’s writeup of Google patents in this area.

Finally, for YMYL queries, Google may be demoting sites that it sees as dangerous if they disagree with standardized “facts” — such as those obtained from entity graphs. Sites such as Diet Doctor (promotes fasting) and Dr. Mercola (promotes anti-vax theories) disagree with conventional medical wisdom, and could thus be demoted.

In reality, it could be one of these factors, or a combination of all three. Regardless, it’s obvious Google is moving towards presenting a standardized set of information from authoritative sites for YMYL queries.

SEO Signals Lab Facebook Group Opinions

I asked Steve Kang, the admin of the popular SEO Signals Lab Facebook Group (only members can see discussions) to ask members about this topic. A lively discussion ensued.

Verified Facts and Negative Sentiment

A member suggested that medical information is factual and can be cross referenced for validity by published research and regulatory warnings sent by organizations like the FDA to web publishers.

This is what that person in the Facebook group said:

“Health/health care is 1/6 of the economy and deals with critical life-and-death issues. So while there are huge opportunities for fraud or quackery there is also massive amounts of research coupled with massive regulatory oversight.

It’s a simple matter of “Stay in your lane”… you want to talk about acupuncture for pain management? Fine, because this is something that credentialed medical professionals and orgs will discuss. You start talking about acupuncture for depression, it’s bye-bye.”

Crackdown on Fake Information?

“With governments working to assign accountability to Facebook, Google and et al for fake news, so-called hate postings, etc., tech companies are motivated to avoid liability.

Lawsuits in the health industry offer some of the largest payouts making it a magnet for greedy lawyers and impetus for Google to avoid exposure.

Unless you’re the Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic or an accredited provider, earning authority from Google won’t be easy.”


There are many possible reasons why health sites tend to be sensitive to Google broad core updates. Factors such as what users want to see when they type a query, factual correctness of information and sentiment analysis can all play a role. But we don’t know that as facts.

What is known is that Google has not been targeting health sites. So this means that the changes may affect a broad range of sites, not just health related sites. It may be useful to investigate why some health sites are losing traffic because that may give clues as to what is affecting some non-health websites.

Images by Shutterstock, Modified by Author

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