SEO – This day in search marketing history: January 28

SEO - This day in search marketing history: January 28

Google begins experimenting with featured snippets

in 2014, Google started answering complex questions at the top of its search results with detailed responses (or answers) taken from websites.

Does that sound like featured snippets? It should. Because it was.

We know from Google that featured snippets were introduced in January 2014. We don’t know the official date Google began testing it, but this was the day Search Engine Land first reported on the new search feature.

We didn’t yet know these answers were called “featured snippets” – Google’s Gary Illyes revealed the name in June 2015 – but clearly that’s what we were seeing. All Google would say at the time was: “we’re always experimenting with different types of answers, but we don’t have more details to share at this point.”

Read our coverage of what was then an experimental feature: Google Search OneBox Answers Are Getting More Detailed

Also on this day

‘Untitled’ search results sending users to spam sites, Google ‘working on it’

2022: Google’s Danny Sullivan said it was “something our systems normally would typically catch, so we’re checking on it to improve.”

SEO community mourns Hamlet Batista, advocate for automation in SEO and beloved friend

2021: Those who knew him, admired him, learned from him and loved him, were left reeling from the loss.

Google Search Console launches new removals tool

2020: The tool temporarily blocked URLs from showing in Google and showed outdated content and content filtered by SafeSearch.

A visual history of Google ad labeling in search results

2020: A look back at how Google had treated ads in search results, from blue shading to the latest version of today.

Botify partnership with Microsoft brings real-time content indexing to Bing

2020: Immediate indexing and more control over content were the benefits for publishers and site owners.

DuckDuckGo has other ideas for Google’s EU search choice screen

2020: The changes included more search engine options and an introductory screen aimed at reducing bias.

Google AMP errors widely reported by webmasters and publishers

2019: This was a Google issue and would be resolved.

DuckDuckGo is growing fast but not enough to grab SEOs’ attention

2019: The search engine’s share was small but some of its metrics were better than Bing’s, according to a third-party analysis.

Google Updates The General Guidelines Section Of Their Webmaster Guidelines

2016: It expanded on examples about how to help Google find your webpages, how to give them better ideas on what those pages were about and how to make webpages that are good for visitors.

iPhone Users, The AdWords App For iOS Has Arrived

2016: You could check AdWords campaign performance, change bids and adjust budgets from your phone.

New US Presidential “Candidate Cards” Are A Disaster For Google’s Search Quality

2016: They added little value in return for Google giving up its valuable search results space.

Yahoo Redesigns Home Page & App To Deliver Consistent Experience With More Relevant News

2016: With its nearly infinite news stream, Yahoo users no longer needed to open news articles in multiple browser tabs.

Google Now Supports Crawling & Indexing Locale-Adaptive Web Pages

2015: Google added support for webpages that dynamically changed their content based on IP origin or language settings.

Bing Maps Shows Super Bowl Spirit With New Venue Map, Streetside & Hi-Res Venue Imagery

2015: The updates involved new satellite and ground-level imagery, and a detailed seat map of the stadium itself.

Google’s Matt Cutts Explains That Older Sites Won’t Always Keep Their Current Rankings

2014: Cutts answers the question, “How can an older site maintain its ranking over time?”

Google Issues Subtle Warning To Affiliates That Have “Thin-Content”

2014: The warning was mostly directed at affiliate sites in the “adult” industry.

Moz 2014 Industry Survey Results: Google Webmaster Tools Ranked Top SEO Tool

2014: 68.8% of participants planned to focus on conversion rates and performance metrics in response to Google’s elimination of keyword data.

Google Showing Date Selector In Knowledge Graph Carousel For Hotels

2014: You could click on the start and/or end date and a calendar pop up would show up to change your check in and check out dates. 

The Search Agency: CPC Increases Across The Board, Weaker Bing Ads Spend In Q4 2013

2014: The report showed paid search spend rose 37.4% year-over-year.

DeepMind Buy Another Google “Moonshot” Of Sorts

2014: “It’s not hard to imagine that machine learning and AI would have broad application across Google, from search and mobile … to advertising, robots, autonomous cars, security and the connected home.”

5 Tactics Super Bowl Advertisers Are Using To Boost Their Paid Search Campaigns

2014: Five trends from the Super Bowl advertiser ads that ran on Google and the Yahoo Bing Network.

Google Details How It Responds To Government Requests For User & Search Data

2013: Governments routinely ask search engines like Google for access to user data for various reasons. Google said they take each request incredibly seriously.

Google Promoting AdWords Express In Google+ As Way “To Get More Followers”

2013: Google was apparently trying to cross-promote AdWords Express and Google+. 

With $14 Million More Q&A Site ChaCha Soldiers On

2013: Over the previous 18 months, ChaCha had seen 2 billion questions and organized 129 million Q&A pairs.

Two Weeks In, Google Says “Search Plus Your World” Going Well, Critics Should Give It Time

2012: Amit Singhal told Search Engine Land: “… People are judging a product and an overall direction that we have in the first two weeks of a launch … We’re clearly not done. The product is not complete. It will improve.”

Google Logo For Largest Observed Snowflake

2012: It happened 125 years earlier, in Fort Keogh, Montana.

Google launches algorithm to fight low-quality scraper content

2011: The change to their algorithm was to prevent low quality scraper content in Google’s index. It impacted slightly over 2% of queries.

Microsoft Q2 Revs Almost $20 Billion, “Bing Division” Still Losing Money Despite Search Revenue Increase

2011: Online Services, which houses all Microsoft’s online operations including MSN and Bing, posted a $543 million loss. That was up from $463 million in 2010.

AdWords Homepage Gets More Modular, Customizable

2011: Google redesigned the homepage for its AdWords advertiser interface in an effort to bring more relevant, customized information up front for marketers.

Bing Travel Now Offers Destination Comparison Tool

2011: Bing’s destination pages let searchers compare several destinations at once in a side-by-side layout.

Google’s Legal Woes Not Impacting Brand: Survey

2011: Did scandals or an antitrust investigation make people less trusting of Google or tarnish its brand? Not at all.

Google, Connecticut-led Coalition Agree To Negotiate WiFi Data Collection Issues

2011: Google and the Connecticut-led coalition of 40 US states would begin negotiations aimed at settling issues related to Google’s collection of personal data over unsecured WiFi networks.

Google Event on Feb. 2 To Showcase Honeycomb, Tablets

2011: Demos of several tablets were expected

Search In Pics: Google Mannequins, Google Voice Signs & Freezing Yahoo

2011: The latest images showing what people eat at the search engine companies, how they play, who they meet, where they speak, what toys they have, and more.

Google Maps’ Search Suggestions Get Personal

2010: Google tarted personalizing search suggestions that appeared on Google Maps.

Survey: Only 42% Of Americans Have Googled Themselves

2010: That was slightly higher than the 36% of UK consumers who had done so, but far less than in Germany (59%) and France (56%).

Google Updates Google Book Search After Apple iPad Launch

2010: Less than 24 hours after Apple announced the Apple iPad, Google announced improvements to the Google Books home page.

Google Formally Introduces “Clickable Phone Numbers” In Mobile Search Ads

2010: It was a call for the price of a click on mobile handsets.

Bing Debuts In-Depth Stock Pages

2010: Bing’s “Stocks and Funds page” offered in-depth information for users following or doing research related to stocks and finances.

Ballmer Blogs His Thoughts On Google, China

2010: “We have done business in China for more than 20 years and we intend to stay engaged, which means our business must respect the laws of China.”

Click Fraud Rate Hits Highest Level Yet

2009: Click Forensics estimated the overall average click fraud rate for Q4 2008 at 17.1%, the highest level since they began tracking it in 2006.

Yahoo Tries To Justify Automatic Account Optimization

2009: The purpose: to help small- and mid-sized advertisers suffering from “performance issues.”

Pew: Young Or Old, Search Cuts Across Age Categories

2009: Search was almost equally used by all groups across the board.

New “Addressless” Search Feature On Google Maps

2008: Users could get directions or locations of businesses without inputting a destination address.

Google Experimental Search Adds Info View & Map View

2008: Google added map view and a new info view that allows you to show different results on the page.

Google A “Mystery Buyer” In Colorado?

2008: “It’s like dealing with the CIA.” 

Today Is “Data Privacy Day;” Bush Admin Launches Internet Monitoring Initiative

2008: Google added a new video to its existing series of privacy videos, plus it developed a privacy booklet (PDF) to educate consumers and parents about online data privacy.

New UK-Based Real Estate Search Engine DotHomes Launches In US

2008: DotHomes sought to become “the Google of property search” and was crawling for listings.

Google Lego Logo: Google Offers Lego 50th Birthday Wishes

2008: The Google logo was made up of legos.

YouTube to Begin Revenue Sharing for Video Providers

2007: This would give original video creators the ability to earn revenue each time their videos were watched on YouTube.

Past contributions from Search Engine Land’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 Search Engine Land.

< January 27 | Search Marketing History | January 29 >

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About the author

Danny Goodwin

Danny Goodwin is Managing Editor of Search Engine Land & SMX. In addition to writing daily about SEO, PPC, and more for Search Engine Land, Goodwin also manages Search Engine Land’s roster of subject-matter experts. He also helps program our conference series, SMX – Search Marketing Expo.

Prior to joining Search Engine Land, 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.

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