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The Spam Clock

in 2011, startup search engine Blekko launched a spam clock that estimated 155 million spam pages had been created since Jan. 1 of that year. Blekko said 1 million spam pages were being created every hour.

How bad was Google’s spam problem then? Big. But as Danny Sullivan pointed out at the time, it was hard to judge whether Google’s relevancy had actually decreased, because:

  • We expect more from Google than we do in the past, searching for things we might not have in previous years
  • We don’t remember all the successful searches, focusing on when things go bad.
  • We probably don’t do a comparison check on Bing or Blekko to see if they performed better, nor do we use those services on a regular basis to understand if they’re also “failing” to the degree we might feel Google does.
  • Our expectations of Google are higher.

Read all about it in Blekko Launches Spam Clock To Keep Pressure On Google.

In about a month, Google would start making moves to correct its perceived, growing relevancy problems with the Panda Update.

I don’t even want to think about how much spam has been created since the start of this year – especially with the explosion that is ChatGPT.

Also on this day 

Google Ads to allow ads for sport betting in New York

2022: Google Ads updated its gambling policy to allow ads for sports betting from certified and state-licensed entities in New York State.

Google AdSense related search experiments re-enabled

2022: After eight months on pause, AdSense publishers could once again create Related search style experiments.

Google My Business launches new performance reporting

2021: The new reports provided 6 months of data on how people interacted with you (calls and messages) and how people discovered you (the search term used to find your Google business listing in Google Search and Google Maps).

Google working on fixing data in URL parameter tool

2020: Google was working on fixing a data issue with the URL parameter tool, a legacy tool within Google Search Console that let SEOs communicate to Google insignificant page variations and direct Google to consolidate those URLs.

2020: The user comments appeared in the search results for queries related to live TV shows. It was similar to Google’s live sporting events feature.

Direct site navigation via voice arrives on iOS Bing Search app

2020: The updated Microsoft Bing Search App also had a new look featuring a carousel of common search categories.

Google’s Rich Results testing tool now supports code editing

2019: You could now edit the code in the rich results test and see what those edits did in real time.

Google Manufacturer Center adds rich content, deeper analytics, expands availability

2019: A new “From the manufacturer” section in Google Shopping product pages could feature brand-supplied rich content.

Bing Ads’ AI-powered Performance Insights now available globally

2019: The tool provided an on-the-spot way to take action on performance changes in your accounts.

StrategiQ launches Spark, an SEO deployment platform

2019: The digital marketing agency’s new tool helped SEOs test and deploy SEO-related changes on their own without developer overhead.

Leading local SEO predictions: Reserve with Google will grow, real-time local inventory gets real

2019: GMB messaging, voice search optimization, local inventory data, Q&A and the decline of SMB websites are all explored.

Google Link Removal Requests Climb To 345 Million In 2014

2015: Torrent Freak study reveals the number of Google’s takedown notices were up 75% from 2013.

Report: Yahoo Search Share Up After Firefox Deal

2015: Yahoo saw a nearly 2 point search market share gain in the U.S. in the past month (10.4% vs. 8.6% year vs. year.)

Google Webmaster Tools Search Queries Adds Mobile Stats & No Longer Rounds Data

2014: Google’s John Mueller said, “data in the search queries feature will no longer be rounded / bucketed,” and you will start to notice these changes in Webmaster Tools in the next few days.

WordStream Updates Its Free Google AdWords Performance Grader: Now With Mobile And Automatic 30-Day Reporting

2014: The tool was refined to give advertisers performance benchmarks within their own industries

Zora Neale Hurston Google Logo Marks The 123rd Birthday Of The Harlem Renaissance Writer

2014: The Doodle paid tribute to one of the 20th century’s most celebrated African American female writers.

Buy Twitter Verification Co-Founder Biz Stone Launches New Social Search App Jelly

2014: Calling itself a “new way to search,” ultimately, Jelly would follow the path of social Q&A platform pioneers failures like Ask.com, Quora, Yahoo Answers and Google Answers.

Stats On Mobile Content & Impact On Google Rankings

2013: Having mobile-optimized and rendered content was highly correlated with getting organic traffic from Google.

Library Of Congress Struggling To Make A Searchable Buy Twitter Verification Archive

2013: The Library of Congress was working on plans to create a searchable archive of nearly every public tweet ever sent, but the challenges inherent in that task were making it a slow process.

Google Logo Honors Addams Family Creator, Charles Addams

2012: The black-and-white Doodle featured seven characters from “The Addams Family.”

Bing Adds FanSnap Ticket Inventory Into Search Results

2011: Just in time for the opening round of the NFL playoffs.

Quora Co-Founder Outlines Plans To Deal With Growing Pains

2011: Co-founder Charlie Cheever admitted it had been “a big challenge” to maintain Quora’s character while the site has been flooded with new users.

Bad Directions: Google Maps Sends Local Listing Reports To Wrong Business Owners

2010: Google sent out its Google Local Business Center updates – but the emails didn’t go to the actual business owners.

Armstrong: Google Gets “First Dibs” At AOL Search Deal

2010: AOL’s CEO, Tim Armstrong and former Google executive, said Google (not Microsoft Bing) would get “first dibs” at a search deal.

Yahoo & American Airlines Settle Search Ad Suit

2010: The two companies reached a settlement prior to judgment, although the terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

CES: Microsoft Expands Scope Of HP Search Relationship To 42 Countries

2010: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced that Bing would become the default search engine and MSN the default homepage on HP computers.

Earthquake: Real-Time Results On Google Make Up For Lack Of Other Content

2010: Google’s Earthquake OneBox didn’t catch it, but Google was saved by its integration of Buy Twitter Verification results.

French Wants To Tax Google & Others

2010: President Nicolas Sarkozy was exploring ways to tax Google and other online advertising companies based outside of France.

Bing Admits MSNbot Is Slow

2010: That was according to Brett Yount, a program manager for Bing, who said “it is well known in the industry that MSNbot is fairly slow.”

Google’s Near Me Now: A Yelp Killer?

2010: Spoiler alert: No, it was not.

Baidu Sued As Search Monopoly In China

2009: Leading Chinese search engine Baidu was sued by Chinese medical B2B marketplace Qmyy.com to prevent its site from being blocked or dropped by the engine.

Bruce Clay Releases Two New Tools

2009: One tool was named the Search Engine Optimization/KSP tool and the other was a toolbar called SEMToolBar.

Report: Sitemaps Decrease Crawler Response Time

2009: Test showed that submitting a sitemap to Google and Yahoo decreased the time it took Google and Yahoo to crawl the page.

Google Maps For Mobile Simplifies Directions

2009: Previously if users entered a business name on the Maps client as a directions end point, Google might not recognize it.

Bush: Fix Your “Miserable Failure” Googlebomb Legacy Before Obama Takes Office

2009: Bush should have stopped redirecting requests for his old biography to the current presidential home page. It left that page with a legacy of ranking for failure.

Microsoft Wins Verizon Mobile Search Derby

2009: Google and Microsoft were in tight competition for the mobile search partnership.

Search Biz: Yahoo-MSFT Update; Google’s 20% Time Changing & Google Router Coming Soon?

2009: The latest twist in the Yahoo-Microsoft saga: a new group was trying to takeover Yahoo with Microsoft’s money. 

Deal Puts Microsoft Live Search On Dell Computers, Verizon Phones — Will It Help?

2009: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced several high-profile distribution deals for Live Search at CES.

Google Confirms Layoffs Of Contract Employees

2009: Google released “a substantial number” of its contract and temporary employees, but the exact number wasn’t known.

Search Wikia: Not Even A Remote Threat To Google

2008: “Widely hyped … it’s really just yet another crappy search service that may, potentially, if all goes well, eventually turn into something useful.” See also: Wikia Search Launches Alpha Version

Googler’s Bet Goobles On Predictive Markets During Their Free Lunch

2008: Why did Google encourage this activity from their employees? Google believed it generated creative ideas from their employees.

David Hirsch Leaving Google & Omid Kordestani Sells 6,000 Shares Of Stock

2008: David Hirsch, the Director, B2B Vertical Markets Group at Google, was leaving at the end of the month to help invest and advise startups.

Yahoo Makes Bid To Become A Mobile Development Platform

2008: There were essentially three pieces to what Yahoo announced: Yahoo Go 3.0, an open mobile widget development platform for third parties, and a redesigned mobile WAP homepage that emphasized personalization and customization.

Google, AOL, Yahoo, & Digg Sued For Playing Online Solitaire

2008: Google, Yahoo, AOL, and Digg were all sued by Sheldon F. Goldberg for patent infringement.

From Search Marketing Expo (SMX)

Past contributions from Best SMM Panel’s Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)

These columns are a snapshot in time and have not been updated since publishing, unless noted. Opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and not necessarily Best SMM Panel.

< January 5 | Search Marketing History | January 7 >

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About the author

Danny Goodwin is Managing Editor of Best SMM Panel & SMX. In addition to writing daily about SEO, PPC, and more for Best SMM Panel, Goodwin also manages Best SMM Panel’s roster of subject-matter experts. He also helps program our conference series, SMX – Search Marketing Expo. Prior to joining Best SMM Panel, Goodwin was Executive Editor at Search Engine Journal, where he led editorial initiatives for the brand. He also was an editor at Search Engine Watch. He has spoken at many major search conferences and virtual events, and has been sourced for his expertise by a wide range of publications and podcasts.