We’ve returned with our latest Search Marketing Roundup for April 2017.
Semetrical have recently been at the European Search Awards 2017, where we celebrated winning Best Small SEO Agency & Best PPC Campaign in Europe.
During our time in Krakow, we got to discuss the latest developments in the search industry with other professionals – so sit back and enjoy catching up on the latest news from the search industry!
Google unveil latest quality improvements for Search
Ben Gomes, VP of Engineering at Google, released a statement on April 25th that the search engine giant was “taking the next step toward continuing to surface more high-quality content from the web” which focuses on improvements in Search ranking, easier ways for users to give direct feedback, and greater transparency around how Search works.
Google stated that around 0.25 percent of search queries are returning clearly misleading and offensive content. They have claimed that now the evaluation methods have been improved, along with algorithm updates which surface authoritative content more regularly. Google have recently done the following as part of ‘Project Owl’:
- Updated the Search Quality Rater guidelines which are used by real people who evaluate Google’s search ranking experiments. The Search Quality Rater guidelines now provide more detailed examples of low-quality webpages for raters to flag – this can include unexpected offensive results, hoaxes, unsupported conspiracy theories and misleading information.
- Adjusted the ranking signals to help surface a greater amount of authoritative pages, and to demote low-quality content.
Google now has introduced ‘Direct feedback tools’ which can allow users to report inappropriate content which can appear in the Featured Snippets, as well as the Autocomplete predictions.
Half of Page-1 Google Results Are New HTTPS – A Study From Dr. Peter J. Meyers
A recent study from Dr. Peter J. Meyers has shown that in the past 9 months, the Google results for 10,000 tracked keywords have changed so that now 50% of page 1 results were HTTPS, increasing from 30% in the previous study.
The graph above taken from Moz shows that the transition has been a steady adoption of HTTPS, rather than a major algorithm update – although the end result 9 months on is dramatic. MozCast and Rank Ranger (two different sets of data) compared their results, and both had around 50% of all results on page 1.
When projecting a stable trend line forward, the study suggests that HTTPS could peak at roughly 65% of page 1 results by the end of 2017. Dr. Pete Myers did ask Gary Illyes if HTTPS would be boosted in the algorithm to reward secure websites. The answer was “No. We revisited the idea a few months back but we decided against it.” Google knows that not all of the largest websites (e.g. eBay) have made the switch to HTTPs, and will bide their time as the adoption rate increases.
We’d recommend that new websites are setup as HTTPS, even if Google states it will not be boosted as a ranking factor currently.
Google now lets you submit URLs for indexing straight into Search
As can be seen with Google’s move to enable users to report inappropriate content in the SERPs via the Featured Snippets and Autocomplete predictions; they also now allow users to submit URLs for indexing strategy from the search results as reported by Barry Schwartz for Search Engine Land.
There is now a smart interactive answer to submit a URL directly from the search results when using the search query “submit url to google”. This does not mean that it will 1) definitely be included in the index, and 2) it will be shown in the rankings.
Google announced it’s similar items schema for image search on mobile
Google’s Image Search team announced the launch of “Similar items” on mobile web and the Android Search app. This new “Similar items” feature uses machine vision technology which identifies products in lifestyle images and subsequently displaces matching produces to the user. At present, the “Similar items” feature supports shows, handbags and sunglasses. In the coming months, it will also cover home & garden and other apparel categories.
The “Similar items” feature allows users to browse and shop inspirational fashion photography, and then open results from queries such as [designer handbags]. Search marketers will need to do the following to ensure that their products are eligible for “Similar items”:
- Maintain schema.org product metadata on their pages.
- Test pages with Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to verify that the product markup if formatted correctly.
- Be able to see images on image search using the query “site:yourdomain.com”.
Google has reaffirmed that 15% of all searches made are new, and haven’t been searched before
Google stated in their press release on improving search quality that 15% of searches are new every day. This means the search engine is constantly working to provide people with the best answers to their queries from a wide range of legitimate sources.