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Yahoo Aims To Become The Default Search Engine On Apple Devices

Yahoo is apparently attempting to persuade Apple to make it the default search engine on Apple devices like the iPad and iPhone. Google is the current default choice, although users can change to Yahoo or Bing by changing the settings of their device. Yahoo has a good relationship with Apple, as they already provide stock and weather information for Apple apps, but Marissa Mayer is said to have prepared a presentation and has already sounded out a number of executives from the tech giant.

Safari currently offers Google as its default search engine, and while it is possible to change the site that is used to conduct searches, the majority of users will simply stick with the default. Users can change by selecting Settings, clicking on Safari, and then locating the section labelled Search Engine under the General tab. Clicking the name of the current Search Engine, typically Google, will bring up a list of options including Yahoo. Make the selection and a check mark will appear next to the new choice.

Switching from Google to Yahoo is a simple process, but the vast majority of people will stick to the default choice, either because it is the one they prefer, because web browsers may have been optimised for an improved experience with that particular search engine, or simply because they don’t want to mess around in the settings section of their phone.

Yahoo has undergone considerable changes since Marissa Mayer took over as CEO, and they have been particularly active acquiring and taking over a number of social and mobile companies and apps. The mobile sector is clearly important to what was once the world’s leading search engine, and while iOS may not be the most popular mobile operating system any longer, it is a good place to start, and it seems far more likely that Mayer and her crew will be able to persuade Apple to make the move than they would Google.

Cornering the Apple corner of the mobile browser market would be a major coup for Yahoo, and it would represent a sign of intent by the company. Rather than continuing to buy new companies, they would be placing a marker down in the sand and presenting something of a challenge for the likes of Google.

What Is The Google Penguin 3.0 Refresh?

For those that frequent Webmaster forums and discussion boards, it will come as little surprise to learn that Google has released the latest update in the Penguin algorithm history. However, while it is an update in the literal sense, it is not an update in the algorithmic sense, and Googlers have been keen to point out that it is merely a refresh. Like hitting the f5 button, Google has simply run the most recent Penguin algorithm again, without making any changes, in order to level results.

The Penguin algorithm takes a direct sweep at unnatural and black hat linking techniques. In particular, it has penalised websites for the use of spammy links, and during the first and second rounds of Penguin updates, this saw many pages drop a long way down rankings. Webmasters were given the opportunity to make amends, following Penguin 2.0 and 2.1, by manually having links removed, or using the Google disavow tool.

This refresh, which has come just over a year since the last one, will have some negative connotations for a small number of sites. Those with unnatural links last time around will have already seen the impact of the penalty, so it is only those sites that have recently adopted black hat techniques, or new sites that have started on the wrong foot.

However, for those webmasters that have been diligently contacting site owners and asking to have links removed, while using the disavow tool, the news could be much more positive. Because the Penguin algorithm does not run automatically, it means that any link removal and disavowing that has been done will not have yielded results, as yet. However, Google’s clicking of the refresh button, means that those changes will now lead to a reverse in fortunes for sites owners that experienced a drop in rankings.

The refresh isn’t yet complete, with Google stating that it could take a few weeks to complete. It is too late to affect any positive changes for this round of updates, but it is possible that another refresh will occur at a later date, so webmasters that are affected this time around or not have taken action since the last update should still look to manually remove poor quality links.

Yahoo Acquires Messaging App Blink To Get At Talent

Yahoo has continued its prolonged acquisition spree, this time buying innovative messaging app Blink. The Blink and Kismet apps will be shut down, and the talent behind Meh Labs, which created both, will be absorbed into the Yahoo team in order to concentrate on smart communications techniques and methods. The app was seen as a competitor to Snapchat and enabled users to send messages that were automatically destroyed after sending.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has overseen the acquisition of approximately 40 companies and startups since taking over, and this is only the latest in a long string of acquisitions. While some of the companies that the former search leader has bought have remained fully operational, Blink is set to go down over the space of the next few weeks. It is unclear precisely what roles the Meh Labs executives will play in Yahoo, but they will be taken on in order to advance the company’s smart communications solutions.

It is believed that Yahoo aims to become a mobile and app platform, rather than attempting to compete directly with Google and Bing. While Yahoo was once the leading name in search engines, it has fallen some way behind its main rivals in recent years. Google has a major market share of search engine traffic, with Bing falling some way behind in second place, and Yahoo search results are now powered by Bing.

Yahoo underwent something of a rebranding when the company attempted to market itself as a media company, rather than a search engine. However, this move proved largely unsuccessful, and the string of acquisitions made by the Mayer led Yahoo would certainly point to the fact that the Sunnyvale company is heading in a mobile direction.

Other notable Yahoo acquisitions this year include Vizify in March, Wander in February, and Tomfoolery, Cloud Party, and Aviate in January. Precise financial details of this latest deal have not been made available, and strong quarterly results indicate that Mayer and her team have enough money to continue along the acquisition trail, so further purchases are likely in the future.

Google Now Indexing Rendered Pages

On their Webmasters Central Blog Google announced during this week that they are updating how the crawl and index webpages. Historically it has always been the case that Google has dealt with its indexing of webpages by crawling those pages as a text based browser such as Lynx. This news and the update that Google are bringing in this crawl of webpages and websites means that website owners and webmasters really now should allow Googlebot access to the CSS, JavaScript and image files that your webpages and website use. This can be quite simply done by amending and updating the robots.txt file that should be stored within your sites root directory. You can find out more about robots.txt files by clicking here.

Through this blog I have often written about the importance of page load speed when developing and optimising websites. It has sometimes been dismissed by others as a secondary issue when there is other work that can be done. With this update from Google and the way they will be rendering pages through their crawl, it means that the page load speed is now a metric that can be analysed by Google at this very early stage. With that in mind, please ensure that your website is working at optimal efficiency, your .htaccess file is properly configured to take maximum effect of compression, such as gzip and that there is no undue load time for your CSS and JavaScript.

If you have any questions or issues over this article please do not hesitate to contact us at Big Red Rocket on 0844 332 6657 or you can send the author and email on

Penguin 3.0 Rollout Still Ongoing

More than a year since the most recent refresh, Google has once again confirmed that it is the process of refreshing its Penguin algorithm. The algorithm caused a stir in May last year, when version 2.0 was rolled out. Approximately 2.3% of queries were affected, and because it was an update, most of the sites that saw changes experienced a major slide in results. This most recent refresh, however, could reasonably be seen as Google giving webmasters, that have undertaken the very manual process of cleaning their link profile, the opportunity to see their rankings rise again.


Penguin is a search algorithm that is run manually, and therefore is not include in the general search algorithm. If Penguin isn’t manually rolled out, then its ranking factors are not taken into account.

A Positive Refresh?

Despite the need for manual action, Google has waited more than a year to run what is basically a refresh. No additional ranking factors have been added, and none removed. As such, it looks like the search engine is using this opportunity to reward webmasters that took the time to remove unnatural links, and to use the link disavow tool that they were offered. The recovery process was manual, and would have taken considerable time for some websites, so the one year wait will have benefited many.

Just A Refresh?

Many site owners and SEOs were expecting a meaty update, complete with additional changes and further penalties. Following the furore surrounding guest posting and private blog networks, there were those that expected to see penalties introduced for these types of link. However, no such penalties were added. Despite the 12 month wait, all that has happened is that the exact same algorithm that was run a year ago, is being run again.

What Next?

Although this may only be a refresh, and most changes will be positive ones, there will undoubtedly be some sites that are negatively impacted. Once again, the key will be to clean up link profiles and to start to encourage natural, organic links. Many will also consider it a sensible approach to move away from artificial guest posting and the use of private blog networks, in anticipation of future changes.