As the new year approaches, Google has announced a significant change coming in January that will affect non-HTTPS websites. Google has also cleared up some misconceptions about its upcoming mobile-first index, and completely revamped recipe searches. As if there wasn’t already enough concern about protecting your reputation on the web, a new negative SEO tactic has been spotted that site owners should know about.
Full details about each of these stories are included in this week’s SEO news update.
Sites to be Marked As Non-Secure in Chrome if They Collect Sensitive Information
Sites that collect sensitive information, such as passwords and credit cards, are going to be marked as non-secure in Chrome if they’re not on a HTTPS server. Google issued a warning that this change will come into effect at the end of January 2017. If your site collects sensitive information and is not HTTPS, you should make every effort to migrate to a secure server before the end of January. Chrome holds over 50% market share among both desktop and mobile browsers, so that’s a significant amount of the web browsing population you would be turning away if you don’t make the switch.
Google’s Mobile-First Index Has Not Yet Gone Live
It is known that, in the near future, Google will be introducing a mobile-first index. In a nutshell, that means content will be indexed in mobile search results first, and updated more frequently that desktop search results. There is some misunderstanding that the mobile-first index has already gone live, but that’s not the case. This was made clear in a Twitter exchange between two Google Search Analysts this week, which you can see below. Kazushi’s surprise at the article’s claim and Gary’s lighthearted response indicate that no such rollout has actually happened yet.
we're missing the memos like a boss ¯_(ツ)_/¯
— Gary 鯨理／경리 Illyes (@methode) December 27, 2016
New Negative SEO Tactic: Malicious Images in Google My Business
Web security watchdog, Sucuri, made an announcement this week about a new negative SEO tactic that has been making waves. However, this technique doesn’t involve compromising the security of a website, it involves the uploading of derogatory images to a business’s Google Maps listing. Anyone can upload distasteful images to a Google Maps listing, which have the possibility to be shown in search results. This can tarnish a business’s reputation, which is why it is considered a negative SEO tactic. Luckily, you can easily protect yourself from it by being aware of the images uploaded to your Google Maps listing and removing any that may have been uploaded by ill-intentioned users.
Google Revamps Recipe Search
Just in time for your New Year’s Eve party, Google has made a few updates to the user interface of its recipe search results. Now when you search for a recipe, Google will help you narrow down your search with a new carousel of recipe suggestions. This is a small but notable feature that could perhaps encourage more recipe searches on Google, or drive more traffic to sites publishing those recipes. You can see an example of what it looks like on Alex Chitu’s blog, who was the first to spot the new feature.
These are your top headlines to wrap up 2016! We hope everyone has a happy and healthy new year with much success and organic traffic in 2017!