Happy 2018! We’re back for another year with the latest Search Marketing Roundup. Read on for a summary of the key developments in the search marketing industry throughout the month of January.
GoogleBot doesn’t make up URLs to crawl & index
On January 3, Google dispelled this long-running theory in the SEO world: Google will sometimes make up URLs with the aim to try and discover, crawl and index pages that they’re unable to find.
John Mueller said that if unusual URLS are found (which aren’t in your sitemap file), ‘it’s likely that they were linked to from somewhere within your website’, and have likely since been removed.
SEO myth busted!
Google launches the new Search Console
After releasing its new beta version of Search Console exclusively to a limited number of users a few months ago, on January 8, Google announced that it has started to roll it out to all users.
The new Search Console has improved functionality and a number of new features to improve the experience for all users. The beta version of Search Console will not replace the existing version, and will instead sit alongside it until the new search console is complete. Google will continue to add the original Search Console features you are all familiar with to the new version.
New features include Search Performance, AMP status, Job posting reports and Index Coverage. A key feature of the new Search Console is the ability to share urgent issues that appear in reports with multiple team members, helping to improve the efficiency of information exchange and have problems addressed more quickly.
Google said that the new reports provide: “more transparency into Google’s indexing, stateful two-way communications between Google and website owners to help resolve issues faster, and a responsive user-interface.”
Google encourages publishers to optimise content for Google Assistant.
In an unpresented move, on January 9 it was reported that Google sent out notices via Search Console to publishers with recommendations on how to make their content easier for Google Assistant to find.
Among those who received notifications were US podcast, news and recipe publishers who have previously invested in AMP or structured data markup. They were advised to claim their actions directory page, which allows them to edit or unpublish it if they do not wish their content to be discovered by Google Assistant.
This enables the publisher to change how their content will be surfaced by Google Assistant by editing their name, optimising the description and uploading a logo.
Google announces that page speed WILL become a ranking factor in mobile search
On January 17, it was announced that Google is set to launch a new update which will downgrade pages that ‘deliver the slowest experience to users’ on mobile. Interesting, fast pages will not be rewarded with ranking boosts.
This signals an interesting departure from Google’s previous assertion that page speed was a ranking factor, but it was only ‘focused on desktop searches’ in 2010.
After Fred, Panda and Penguin, the new update has been, somewhat disappointingly, coined the ‘Speed Update’.
The Speed Update will not go live until July 2018, so there’s plenty of time for webmasters to prepare, however, Google have said that very few pages are likely to affected. Google also confirmed that the new update is completely independent from the Mobile First Index.
Google’s Zhiheng Wang and Doantam Phan noted that: ‘The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content’.
As always, please feel free to get in touch and share your thoughts with us. We look forward to seeing you again soon!