• author: Google Search Central

Google's "State of the Index" in 2008 and 2009

This is Matt Cutts, coming to you from the Googleplex, where he recently conducted a “State of the Index” presentation at the WebmasterWorld's PubCon conference in Las Vegas. In case anyone missed the conference, Cutts recreated his talk and discussed what Google accomplished in 2008 and what could we expect in 2009.

In his presentation, Cutts covered several topics, including:

The release of Google Chrome

Google Chrome was one of the significant releases of 2008. The Chrome browser is not only fast and efficient, but the development team frequently updates it, with new versions available every week.

The introduction of Android

Although primarily designed for mobile phones, Android offers a unique capability for developers to build their applications, and users to have access to mini Unix computers in their pockets. Users can now run any application, including SSH, and others, thus providing a comprehensive and user-friendly system.

Better Machine Translation and Voice Recognition

Google introduced significant improvements in voice recognition and machine translation, making it possible to translate languages more accurately.

Google Suggest

Cutts explained that Google has been working on optimizing the interface for Google Suggest to ensure it does not negatively affect the user experience, nor does it slow down web searching.


The recently launched SearchWiki allows users to adjust their search results, moving them up or down the page or even dismissing them altogether clicking on the little “X” button.

Personalization and Universal Search

Improving personalization and universal search results continue to be a significant focus for the Google team and have contributed to better search results overall in the last year.

Reviving Search Indexes

Cutts mentioned that Google revived old search indexes from 2001, jokingly pinning after the days of cleaning up simple queries.

Google Trends

Using the Google Trends tool, marketers can determine what sites are popular in their industry, and evaluate relevant trends. Marketers can also survey up to four different sites for comparison.

Tools for Marketers

Google offers several tools to help advertisers and marketers, including Google Ad Manager and Google Ad Planner. Cutts emphasized that they were there to help everyone, not only advertisers.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for PDFs

Google added OCR for PDFs, allowing the information to get indexed, making those documents more easily searchable.

Cutts' presentation covered more topics, such as malware detection and stricter spam policies, but these are just some of the highlights. Through his well-structured and informative presentation, Cutts gave us a glimpse into what the year 2008 brought for Google, as well as what we might expect for 2009.

Google's Advances in Webmaster Tools

Google has made some significant changes to its webmaster tools that are helping webmasters to improve their sites' performance and accessibility. In this article, we will highlight some of these changes, which include:

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for PDFs

Google has introduced OCR for some PDFs, making it possible to extract text from these documents. This is particularly useful for inaccessible PDFs, where only a snapshot of the page was available before. By converting PDFs into indexable text, Google is able to improve search results for users.

Better Crawling of Flash

Google has improved its crawling of Flash, enabling search engines to click through Flash files, iterate through states, and index content, including text. However, it is important for webmasters to consider that not all users have Flash enabled on their devices.

Web Spam Filters and JavaScript Processing

Google has made improvements to its web spam filters, particularly in detecting keyword spam and gibberish in multiple languages. Additionally, Google's crawl and index teams are better able to process JavaScript. This means that search engines can find URLs and process JavaScript more effectively.

Advanced Segmentation in Google Analytics

In terms of analytics, Google's free analytics package, Google Analytics, has introduced advanced segmentation, which allows users to compare different aspects of their website's performance, including paid clicks versus organic traffic, for example.

On-Demand Indexing for Google Custom Search Engines

Google announced the availability of on-demand indexing for Custom Search Engines. This feature allows webmasters to request the indexing of specific pages, which can be particularly useful for websites with rapidly changing content or when using Custom Search Engines.

Webmaster APIs and Translation Gadget

Webmasters can use Google's Webmaster APIs to access their data, and GData for web hosting. Google has also made available a Translation Gadget for webmasters to enable visitors to translate their website into different languages.

Webmaster Communication

Google has increased its communication with webmasters through videos, webmaster chats, and blog posts. Google has even created country-specific webmaster blogs in Chinese, German, and Spanish, and continues to produce posts covering various topics related to search quality. Additionally, Google made registration for Webmaster Central more accessible and increased the waiting time for messages, making it easier for webmasters to access relevant information.

By improving OCR in PDFs, better crawling of Flash, and detecting web spam, Google is making strides in providing a better user experience for web visitors. Further upgrades in analytics, indexing, and communication make it easier for webmasters to create high-quality websites that are accessible to all.

State of Google's Index in 2008-2009: Trends and Challenges

As Google's webmaster services continue to evolve, webmasters face challenges in keeping up with the updates and the ever-changing landscape of SEO. In this article, we will delve into the trends and challenges faced by webmasters and SEO professionals in 2008-2009.

The Challenges

Lack of Information for New Registrants

Before 2008, if a website owner signed up for Google Webmaster Central after their website was hacked, they could only receive messages from that point forward. However, Google changed this to make messages waiting for new registrants as soon as they sign up. This improvement is very beneficial for those who previously didn't know about Webmaster Central.

Websites Targeted For Exploitation

Google identifies sites that are vulnerable to hacking and warns the webmasters. We started with WordPress sites that were known to be hackable, and expanded our crawl to include others. If Google sees a signature that indicates a site is vulnerable, a small message drops into the Message Center, just another reason why Google's Webmaster Console is worth a try.

Availability of PDF Guide

Google produced a 22-page beginner's guide on SEO that offers simplistic information for people that require a detailed introduction. The guide, written by Brandon Falls, is available internally within Google and used for responding to queries originated in other Google properties about SEO. It refutes the commonly held perception that Google dislikes SEO by acknowledging its importance in positioning websites.

The Trends

Continual Black Hat Trend

Using expired domain names and also hacking websites to redirect them is an ongoing trend that continues to threaten the visibility of legitimate sites. These black hat spammers are becoming increasingly malicious in pursuing their goals. For example, one Googler encountered a hacked website that did not belong to him. The attacker had installed multiple subdomains and used cross-site scripting to redirect the visitor to a site that attempted to install malware, indicating the continued evolution of black hat techniques.

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