Not a month goes by in the world of SEO when something isn’t changing or making the news. Which means when maintaining a strong web presence, it is now more business-critical than ever to keep updated with the consistent changes so that you and your website don’t get left behind.
Despite the world recovering from a global pandemic, nothing has really stopped in the world of SEO and digital marketing. The internet doesn’t stop – so why should we!
Instead, with so many of us at home and online almost 24/7, there have been some remarkable trends emerging. Have we ever been more online? – We don’t think so!
Settle yourself down somewhere comfortable, and get ready to take note of the big changes you need to start taking action on.
SEO & Marketing Updates
If you thought May’s SEO updates were like a bad-hangover, wait until you see what happened in June – it’s like the after-party!
With new reports released on how businesses are being found online, to yet another algorithm update – June has a whole host of big changes coming through which could make some big waves much further in the year.
Take note of what’s coming, because trust us – the prepared will prevail!
The State of Local SEO 2020 Report
Moz are notoriously known in the SEO industry for providing some of the most in-depth insights into how we can optimise our websites performance for our audience. And once again they’re delivering the goods.
In their latest report – The State of Local SEO – Moz dive deep into what’s supporting local businesses gain traffic, and of course, business.
As local independent businesses were the most impacted by the outbreak of covid-19, this report has highlighted a few significant factors.
For example, Google My Business pages has risen to be the most important ranking factor of local searches. That means if you haven’t already, it’s time to get that My Google Business page alive and kicking!
Other findings from the report are a little more obvious. For example, Moz has found that 51% of businesses intend to permanently offer amenities such as home delivery, collection or video conferencing. Many of which had not implemented these strategies until the outbreak of covid-19.
Google Reveals Spam Problem
No, this isn’t a spam problem of the meaty kind – but the kind that makes you want to throw your laptop out of the window.
In June, Google revealed it’s Webspam Report. Highlighting the rigorous action the company is taking in order to annihilate spam on the web.
According to the report, Google discovered more than 25 billion pages of spam each day!
For many of the cases reported, Google automatically identifies spammy behaviour and ensures that those pages don’t rank well in search results. However, the company does also have to use human analysts to check millions of these sites to determine if the content really is spam.
When Google finds a spam website, it is often demoted or removed completely from the search results.
As Google says, every search matters. And that means they are working harder than ever to ensure that our experience of Google search remains a high quality and easy experience.
In the Webspam report, Google reveals that in 2019 it generated over 90 million messages to site owners about the fact that their website and content was being flagged as spam and that it needed to make significant improvements.
The report clearly shows what a huge task Google has on its hand to keep its search ecosystem, providing legitimate results. As well as keeping search users happy, Google also needs to keep their advertisers happy. Happy users equal happy advertisers.
Google Hints at Another Update!
Not another Google update we hear you cry! – But come on, this is the way Google works. And it wouldn’t be the search engine we all rely on if it didn’t keep its standards high. Even if that does mean our work is never done.
The good news is this update won’t be live until 2021. The interesting news is that this new update will focus more on user experience. Yet again, another update that is making us always think of how we are serving our audience.
Google confirmed that the new ranking algorithm is designed to judge web pages on how the users interact with the page. This means if Google thinks your website users will have a bad experience, you could see your rankings for those pages begin to drop away!
As you should be well aware by now, a users experience of a page brings in many factors;
- How quickly the site loads
- Whether it’s mobile-friendly
- If it’s HTTPS secure
- No intrusive ads or pop-ups
Google will now use all of these factors to help identify the users of experience of web pages.
While this algorithm update won’t go live until 2021, Google has promised it will give six-months notice before it does go live to give sites time to ensure they have made the necessary adjustments. This is pretty kind considering we usually have to guess when an update has happened.
With this algorithm news in mind, it is now more important than ever to ensure your website is proving the best user-experience. We recommend putting this at the top of your SEO strategy over the coming months.
There’s a New Search Kid Coming to Town
Let’s be honest – is there really a competitor to Google search?
Not right now. In fact, many have tried to compete for our love for Google search, but Bing has never cut it, and all the other triers haven’t exactly made the history books. But that could be about to change.
According to reports from the New York Times, former Googler, Sridhar Ramaswamy, has announced that a new search engine and a direct competitor to Google will be launched this year.
Named ‘Neeva’, the key differences to Google will be that the Neeva search engine will not have advertising and be subscription-supported. Unlike Google, it will also not track users.
So far, the company has raised $37.5 million and has 25 employees.
Criticism is always rife when anyone tries to compete with Google. After all, after being able to search for free, are we really going to hand over funds to search ad free? Does that really matter to many of us?
Plus, there’s the big question of whether Neeva will be able to keep up with the demand of search quality we have got used to through Google.
Initially, Neeva will sit on top of existing content and data sources; Bing search results, Apple Maps and weather.com.
When it launches, Neeva will have its work cut out to bring on subscribers. If it can do this, and make those users firm advocates, it could stand a chance.
Google currently accounts for roughly 90% of all searches globally. There have been many Davids that have tried to battle the Google goliath, so it will be fascinating to watch this new battle for search dominance take place.
Google Plays Eye Spy on Facebook
On June 16th, it was discovered that Google My Business is pulling data from Facebook.
Tom Waddington, Google My Business Expert, discovered the link when a plumber’s My Business Listing was provided by a post on Facebook that mentions the owner’s name.
Will business owners be happy about this connection?
There’s always been a hint that Google picks up on other sources, but does this confirm that Google is using social data as well? – It’s a strange discovery, and one we know is going to take us all down a rabbit hole of new information.
It Keeps Getting Legal for Google
According to a report in June from Bloomberg, Google competitor DuckDuckGo is working with the U.S authorities to limit Google’s dominance in the search market.
CEO Gabrial Weinberg is in talks with the U.S Justice Department, regarding an investigation into Google’s alleged anti-competitive practices.
The main problem being discussed is whether Google should be providing users of Android phones with alternative search browsers. DuckDuckGo alleges that Google is engaging in anti-competitive behaviour by having Google chrome as the default browser on Android.
The U.S authorities have not yet made a statement about the investigation.
This piece of the puzzle is just another part of a lawsuit being potentially set against Google by attorneys who are seeking to sue the company for anti-trust violations.
Little more has been revealed about the case, but it is believed that U.S authorities are talking to businesses who feel they have been hurt by Google’s practices.
Bloomberg has called this “one of the most significant anti-trust cases in the U.S since the government sued Microsoft in 1998.”
Keen for Some Content?
As a global dominator, it’s no surprise that Google has it’s own internal incubator team that experiments with new app and service ideas. – After all, how do you think they manage to stay ahead of all the biggest tech trends?
Google’s Area 120 team are those whizz kids. And in June, they launched Keen, a potential rival for Pinterest.
Now we know what you’re thinking – why re-invent the wheel?
But Google has been very savvy with its launch of Keen. Firstly it has been quiet about the launch. Secondly, it looks very outside of the traditional Google brand – just look at the minimalist design – where are those primary colours we are so used to?
The idea for Keen came from a Googler who wanted to share an interest with a partner. Just like you do on Pinterest, they were saving images, and resources to share with each other.
So we hear you – what makes Keen so different from Pinterest?
Essentially Keen uses Google search and machine learning to help you discover content that is related to your interest.
As you continue to add more to your ‘Keen’ collection, the app gets even better at finding content that may be of us.
The two questions in our minds are, will users truly convert over from Pinterest, and will it become a useful tool for our content to get discovered?
According to the SEO wizards in the industry, Keen is far more than a competitor for Pinterest.
On Pinterest, you have to actively search for ideas of what you’re looking for. Its intelligence has only come so far with providing suggestion based content.
However, Keen works differently. Keen actively recommends content that you will enjoy.
It’s safe to say that if it’s intuitive as it makes out this could be a game-changer in the way we source content for all those life and work projects we keep trying to manage.
As a business with content online, this could become a powerful recommendation tool. After all, nothing beats getting your content referred to naturally, from one friend to another!
With Keen still being in infancy, we’re intrigued to see where this goes.
Will it become another app to go into the Google graveyard (ahem Google+), or will it dominate and take over our love of Pinterest?
Only time will tell.
Still Waiting to Rank – This Might Be Why
If you’ve launched a new website over the past six to eight months and wondering why you’re not seeing any results, Google has revealed why.
On a webinar in June, Google’s John Mueller was providing more insight into how long it takes new websites to gain ranks.
Mueller advised it could in some cases take up to a year for a new website to gain ranking positions, but this isn’t overly dependent on anything that is right or wrong with the website.
On the webinar, Mueller revealed that with ‘fresh’ websites, Google’s algorithm is still trying to figure out how the website should be ranked amongst the endless amount of content that is on the web. Mueller confirmed that it could take at least a year before rankings start to level off and give a more accurate position.
Google Wants You to Think
Blink, and you might have missed it, but Google has successfully launched a new resource area called ‘Think with Google’.
As data is at the heart of Google’s actions and behaviours, the new resource hub provides a wealth of knowledge on a multitude of topics. From their latest reports and insight, right down to ethical standpoints on creating a diverse and inclusive culture.
A version of Think With Google first launched in 2013, as ‘Think Insights’. The goal of the resource area was to bring Google’s data forward to provide marketers with insights on trends.
Now its reinvention, Think With Google, is now more of a content hub from the company, rather than just a space for data-led research.
The next time you’re looking to hear more from Google, we recommend you make this your bookmarked destination.
Google Ad Provides Covid-credits
Every business in the world was affected by the coronavirus pandemic in some way or another.
To support businesses boost back, Google confirmed in June that it would be giving out credits to Google Ads advertisers for covid-19.
In a statement from Google, the company revealed that this credit is to help businesses come back from the downturn that was faced during the pandemic.
The ad credit will be automatically applied to your Google Ad account and is valid until December 31st 2020, and the amount of credit will depend on how much you currently spend on your Google Ads.
For many businesses, this will be a welcome gesture to give their business a boost post-covid.
Goodbye Fake Products
As a retail brand, you will be all too aware of the prolific amount of counterfeit goods that plague the internet. For designer and branded products especially, this can be a nightmare, causing millions of pound in lost revenue every year.
However, Google has announced you can now submit a form to request Google to review and take down counterfeit goods you’ve found from a Google search.
At present, Google Ads already prohibits counterfeit goods from being advertised on Google. But taking it all a step further, Google has now added an option to submit a legal troubleshooter form. Similar to where you report copyright and other legal notices.
For the time being, this process is all manual by Google. Which means it could take time for goods to be removed from the search. Google has said that it will use all forms submitted to work on how it can improve its algorithm to identify false goods.
Have You Checked Your Vitals?
As we mentioned earlier, Google is set to launch a new algorithm in 2021 with a pure focus on user experience. In order to help you understand where your website may fare once this algorithm launches, Google has updated it’s Speed Report in Google Search Console, to Web Vitals.
These set of vitals are to help website owners distinguish where the biggest gaps exist with their user’s experience.
Google uses a handy traffic light system to help you see what’s looking good, and what needs some improvement.
For those who are not from the world of SEO, the jargon-filled web vitals page certainly gives us a lot to say about Google’s own user-experience! – But here’s what it all means, and what you need to be on the lookout for.
LCP = This is page loading performance. When users navigate from one page to another, pages must load fast in order to support the users journey.
FID = This is how users are interacting with the page, and measures the frequency of unexpected page layout shifts.
CLS = This is about visual stability. Your website must not have elements jumping around and providing a frustrating experience for the users.
Without a doubt June has been a heavy month for SEO updates, and there’s many areas that businesses now have to start considering in their SEO strategy for at least the next year.
Take action from these insights, as we expect some big shifts in rankings to occur as more of these updates begin to get rolled out post-covid.