We’re back with the latest Search Marketing Roundup, summarising all of the key developments in the search industry throughout the month of February 2018.
Google sets a deadline for HTTPS, warning publishers to upgrade.
Google has announced a deadline of July 2018 for when Chrome will begin to explicitly warn users if a site is insecure. Over half of Internet browsers worldwide are Chrome which means this is set to have a significant impact on web publishers.
The warning will indicate to users that all http websites are “Not Secure” in Chrome’s address bar. This may affect how secure users feel when using a site, potentially prompting them to leave which will have a negative impact on the site’s bounce rate, advertising impressions, sales and lead generation.
The announcement comes in a bid to warn users of insecure sites and further encourage web publishers to upgrade to HTTPS. However, it did not address whether mixed content warnings would trigger a warning.
For those debating whether upgrading to HTTPS is worth the monetary cost, the answer is clear. Google has now set a date and the consideration should be made by all web publishers and not simply e-commerce sites.
Google releases a tool that measures 10 SEO metrics.
On 5th February, Google’s Webmaster Central Blog announced they were introducing an SEO audit category to the Lighthouse Chrome Extension. The browser plugin is an automated auditing tool for improving the quality of web pages to help create the best user experience possible.
Google has now added an SEO auditing category to this plugin but acknowledges that the information the reports generate is certainly not exhaustive. Instead, it aims to reflect the SEO basics that every site should be getting right. Google does confirm however that this is simply the starting point and they “hope to add more and more in-depth audits and guidance” in the future.
The ten SEO factors that the Lighthouse Chrome Extension measures:
- Meta Viewport Element
- Title Element
- Meta Description
- Page has successful HTTP status code
- Links have descriptive text
- Page isn’t blocked from indexing
- Document has a valid hreflang
- Document has a valid rel=canonical
- Document uses legible font sizes
- Document avoids browser plugins
Google introduces breadcrumb SERPs.
Google has implemented a new search results format that has unofficially been named the breadcrumb SERP. The breadcrumbs are a set of results that mirror search refinement at the top of the page. They are accompanied by a carousel of clickable images and show up for informational queries. The breadcrumbs are also clickable, enabling users to go back up the hierarchy of information.
There has been no official confirmation from Google so it is unclear how widespread this format is but, Roger Montti suggests that breadcrumb SERPs are apart of Google’s evolving mobile first index which has been understood to favour sites that render well on mobile devices.
An example of Google’s breadcrumb display:
On mobile, the images can be swiped and by clicking on one of the results, Google will take you to a second search result with more information.
The breadcrumb will expand to include the entity that is clicked on:
This is a user friendly way to navigate search results on mobile without having to type to find out more information.
Without an official announcement from Google and not much research into the way they select the images and sites shown in breadcrumb results, it remains unclear whether you should optimise for them or not. Added to this, similar search phrases do not feature advertising so such queries may not influence sales or lead gen.
Search Engine Journal reveals 7 insights into how Google ranks websites.
Search Engine Journal have developed insights into the way Google understands user intent and how it uses that information to rank sites.
- Multiple User Intents: almost every query contains multiple user intents so Google ranks pages about the most popular user intents first.
- Search Results Are Ordered By User Intent: top slots are reserved for results that satisfy the most popular user intent.
- It’s Not All About Links: Search results are no longer just about links. Nor are they about keyword relevance, title or heading tags. Again, user intent is said to be the leading determinant of what ranks first.
- Google Shows Results That Are Most Likely To Satisfy Users: This means showing the web page that the most users expect to see.
- Google’s Search Results Are Biased: People find video content useful, this is why Google shows YouTube videos in the search results.
- Drops In Ranking Sometimes Are Related To UI: Some drops in ranking can be explained by a shift in how Google interprets user intent.
- Click Data Helps Determine User Intent.
As always, please feel free to get in touch and share your thoughts with us. We look forward to seeing you again soon!