This week evidence was revealed that an unofficial but significant Google algorithm update occurred in February, Google gave its official recommendations on how to hire an SEO consultant, the search giant is now offering up “fun facts” in search results, Google’s iOS app received an update, and Bing Ads has improved its audience targeting capabilities.
More details are included about each of these stories in this week’s SEO and SEM news roundup.
Live Website & Google Analytics Audits by the Pam Ann Marketing Team
Before we get to the search engine news, we’d like to share a little news of our own. We’re hosting a webinar on Friday, February 24th where you have the rare opportunity to get your site audited for FREE by our ENTIRE team. This is not something we’ve ever offered before, so if you’re interested, reserve your spot here while there’s still some available. Even if you don’t want to submit your site for auditing, you’re more than welcome to tune in as an audience member. Get the full details here.
Google Algorithm Update Occurred on February 7th
Glenn Gabe of G-Squared Interactive has compiled evidence that an unofficial but significant Google update occurred earlier this month. As a result of the update, some sites saw big changes in their keywords rankings. In some instances, rankings jumped ten to twenty spots or more. Evidence points to this update being similar to other “core” ranking updates which target overall website quality. This includes user experience, content quality, page speed, ad placements, and so on.
It boils down to something Gabe calls “quality user engagement”:
”Understand the barriers you are presenting to users and address those. For example, aggressive ad placement, deception for monetization purposes, broken UX, autoplay video and audio, aggressive popups and interstitials, and more.”
If you’ve seen a dip in traffic and/or rankings since February 7, Gabe recommends reviewing Google’s Quality Rating Guidelines, which explains how pages should be assessed from a quality standpoint. Reviewing the guidelines could help diagnose the problems which caused you to be affected by this recent update.
If you believe you’ve been affected by this update, you’re a perfect candidate for our upcoming webinar. Register today and you may be selected to have our team audit your site so we can help get you back on track.
45% Of Google’s Top Search Results Are HTTPS
While on the topic of search rankings, an interesting statistic was revealed this week by Dr. Pete from Moz, the number of HTTPS pages on the first page of search results is on its way to reaching 50%.
Page-1 HTTPS results topped 45% in our 10K tracking set. Trendline predicts we'll hit 50% in three months… pic.twitter.com/9hsUZoesgR
— Dr. Pete Meyers (@dr_pete) February 16, 2017
It’s important to keep in mind that correlation does not always equal causation. Don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that HTTPS equals better rankings. Yes, Google does give a slight ranking boost to HTTPS pages — but more HTTPS pages ranking on the front page could also be due to the fact there are more HTTPS pages on the web these days than there have been in the past.
Google’s iOS App Updated
Google rolled out an update to its iOS app this week, bringing it with it a feature it quite frankly should have had a long time ago. When searching on the app, Google will now be able to return Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) in search results. AMPs will be indicated by the familiar lighting bolt icon you may have grown accustomed to seeing in mobile browser searches.
In addition, new local search filters allow you to sort results by top rated businesses, as well as businesses that are currently open at the time of search. The updated app also has built-in Gboard integration, which is Google’s custom keyboard that has been available for iOS and Android as a standalone download for some time now. However, using Gboard is completely optional, you can still continue to use the regular keyboard if you prefer.
How to Hire an SEO Consultant, According to Google
Google’s Maile Ohye published a video on YouTube this week detailing what a business should look for when hiring an SEO consultant. Ohye affirmed that no matter who you hire, you should expect a minimum of 4 to 12 months to see results from any kind of SEO efforts. In addition, we were pleased to hear the process she laid out includes more or less the exact steps we follow when on-boarding/working with a new client.
If you want to gain a better understanding of what it’s like to work with Pam Ann Marketing, or how to hire a good SEO agency in general, we highly recommend watching the full video below:
Google is Now Returning “Fun Facts” in Search Results
An update to both the mobile and desktop versions of Google search allows people to instantly receive “fun facts” about plants, animals, fruits, and vegetables. Just conduct a search like “fun facts about kittens” and Google will return an instant answer at the top of its search results. Living up to its name, it is a fun feature to play around with, but very limited at this point. Hopefully Google will expand this feature to include other types of searches. For example, facts about things like people, places, businesses, and technology would be incredibly useful additions in the future.
Exclude Irrelevant Audiences from Bing Ads Campaigns
Bing Ads has become more efficient at narrowing down target audiences. The company has introduced the ability to exclude irrelevant audiences from remarketing advertising campaigns. That means if there are audiences you definitely don’t want to advertise to, you can now prevent remarketing ads from being served to them. For more information on how to do this, see Bing’s official announcement.
Wrapping it Up
A significant Google core algorithm update occurred February 7th, nearly half of Google’s front page search results are populated by HTTPS pages, Google’s iOS app received an update, the search giant gave some advice on how to hire an SEO consultant, you can get instant “fun facts” in Google’s search results, and Bing Ads updated the targeting options for remarketing campaigns.