It’s a new year! Which means, a whole new year of updates to the digital marketing industry. Here is a recap what happened in the last 30 days in SEO, Content, Social:
- Did Google Deliver an Update Over the Holidays?
- Google’s “Intrusive Interstitials” Crackdown Rolled Out on January 10th
- Amazon Is Winning Over Google’s Share in E-Commerce
- Chrome Will Begin to Serve a Warning For Login Forms That Are Not HTTPS
- Product Schema Markup Comes to Google Image Search
- Too Slow Also Means “Not Mobile Friendly”
- AMP Results Are Showing Up in Google Image Search
Want more details? Learn even more by watching the full webinar recording for January’s edition.
Did Google Deliver an Update Over The Holidays?
The answer? Probably not. Google employees are humans too, and they take the same holidays as the rest of us. They usually stay away from releasing any updates during the holiday season. Despite all the rumors, no one woke up to see coal in their stocking or a Google update to respond to. All was quiet on the Google front during this holiday season.
Our clients’ analytics didn’t show any indicators of algorithm changes either. Just the normal fluctuations in rankings. So, no, Google wasn’t testing mobile-first indexing or any other new schemes over the holidays. John Mueller later went ahead to confirm it as well:
@Neuromancer My guess those are normal fluctuations, independent of the mobile-first index experiments. Happy to look if you have a URL.
— John ☆.o(≧▽≦)o.☆ (@JohnMu) December 29, 2016
Google’s “Intrusive Interstitial Ads” Crackdown Rolled Out on January 10th
— John ☆.o(≧▽≦)o.☆ (@JohnMu) January 11, 2017
— Gary Illyes ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ (@methode) January 10, 2017
But before you worry, not all interstitials will be affected. The penalty will only target interstitials that are immediately visible when someone lands on your page from Google’s mobile SERPs.
You are in the clear if:
- The interstitial pops up when the user moves beyond the first page of your website.
- It appears as a response to legal obligations e.g. cookie usage.
- It’s a login form for non-public content e.g. no-index content behind a paywall.
But you may get slapped if you are guilty of the following:
Check out this post on Search Engine Land for more guidelines. In the next few weeks as Google makes that full jump to a mobile-first index, anyone with intrusive interstitials as part of their mobile experience could see an effect on their ranking.
Amazon Is Winning Over Google’s Share in E-Commerce
Business Insider has published a really interesting study showing how Amazon is taking over Google in e-commerce search. Take a look at these numbers:
What is worse, Google is losing the battle for future customers to Amazon.
Will this trend hold out? I can’t imagine it won’t, particularly considering the move toward voice-search technology like Amazon’s Alexa. Amazon has grown significantly over the past few years, and its continual growth might begin to make Google nervous.
Chrome Will Begin to Serve a Warning For Login Forms That Are Not HTTPS
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Remember when Google gradually pushed everyone to become mobile-friendly?
It looks like Google will deploy the same strategy for HTTPS adoption. Earlier in 2016, Google announced the shift towards a more secure web and encouraged switching to HTTPS.
Now it’s January 2017 and the new Chrome browser (version 56) will add a not-secure tag to HTTP pages collecting credit card and/or personal customer data:
And eventually shift towards this label:
The message is clear – Google wants every page to be secure. If you don’t want your business to get stigmatized, you’ll have to move to HTTPS connection within the next 18 months tops.
Product Schema Markup Comes to Google Image Search
Great news for all retailers – your product listings can now look more attractive and rank better in Google Image Search results with product schema markup.
This is a really exciting change. For retailers especially, rich product descriptions (with price, availability, reviews etc.) can attract more potential buyers from image search and increase click through rates. This is an update that everyone, retailers and otherwise, should take advantage of moving forward.
Here are the official implementation guidelines.
Too Slow Also Means “Not Mobile Friendly”
In a recent Google Hangout, John Mueller made an interesting statement:
“There’s one aspect there that does sometimes play a role there in that if you look at things like PageSpeed insights. That we will put together a mobile score for page and if a website is technically mobile-friendly in that the UI kind of works on mobile but it really has really bad PageSpeed insights scores then that’s something where we might also think that this probably isn’t a good mobile page.”
Google will begin to take into account your page speed as a factor that determines your user’s quality of experience. A slow loading page would indicate a bad user experience and could earn you a “not mobile-friendly” label. My advice? Go check your speed score here and make the adjustments if necessary.
AMP Results Are Showing Up in Google Image Search
If you plan to embrace AMP any time soon, consider making your images AMP enabled. That’s what Google proactively suggests you do moving forward.