This week’s updates have been largely focused around design, with a new Google desktop search interface, a new look for the Google app, and a new version of WordPress. In addition, there’s a quirky new way to conduct local searches, Yahoo has revealed its top searches for 2016, and new types of referral spam have been spotted.
Full details about each of these headlines are included in this week’s SEO news update.
Google Rolls Out a New Desktop Search Interface
Gooogle has tweaked the look of its desktop search results into a new, more card-based layout. In addition to the front page looking cleaner and more organized, you’ll also notice that the ‘In the News’ section has been replaced with ‘Top Stories’. This change was made after Google came under scrutiny for promoting “fake news” on the front page. The new look should be live for everyone, but in case you can’t see it yet, here is a screenshot of what the new layout looks like:
Google Redesigns Its Mobile App
Google has redesigned its mobile app which now sees the cards separated into two sections: one section for personal interests, and the other for upcoming information. This update is available now for Android and is coming soon to iOS. Within the personal interests section, you’ll find the latest on sports, news, and entertainment. All stories are personalized for you based on your search history. On the upcoming information side, you’ll find the latest about what’s going on in your day including calendar events, flight times, and traffic conditions, among other bits of info. Now you can more easily access the information you need to see when you need to see it.
Search Google by Tweeting Emoji to @Google
A quirky new feature has been rolled out in which you can tweet emoji to Google’s Twitter account and it will reply with a link to a set of relevant search results. For example, if you tweet a pizza emoji at Google, it will respond with a link to search results for the query “pizza nearby”. Google is reportedly capable of understanding and providing helpful responses to over 200 emoji. Emoji it understands range from food, to products, to events, and more.
Warning to Webmasters: New Types of Referral Spam
Referral spam can rear its ugly head in Google Analytics when spammers want to draw your attention to a particular website. They send thousands of hits of fake traffic towards your website so their referral source appears prominently in your reports.
A new type of referral spam began appearing in early November in the Language section of referral sources with the following message: “Secret.ɢoogle.com You are invited! Enter only with this ticket URL. Copy it. Vote for Trump!”
Despite the election being over, this particular language-spam tactic is still very much present and problematic, and has evolved to make it look like domains such as Lifehacker, Reddit, and The Next Web are sending generous amounts of traffic your way. However, this is just more spam from clever hackers. You can read more about the new types of referral spam, and how to filter them out, in this article.
Yahoo’s Top Searches of 2016
Yahoo has revealed its top searches of 2016, which are mostly by dominated by political and celebrity-related searches. In any case, here are Yahoo’s overall top 10 searches:
- 2016 Election
- Donald Trump
- Gwen Stefani
- 2016 Olympics
- Khloe Kardashian
- Megyn Kelly
- Jodie Sweetin
- Kim Kardashian-West
- Hillary Clinton
Yahoo’s top news stories were full of politics and tragedy, as you can see from the following list:
- Election Day
- Prince Dies
- Pulse Nightclub Massacre
- Deadly Attack in Istanbul
- Hurricane Matthew
- Baton Rouge Police Shooting
- EgyptAir Flight 804 Located
- Trump Protests
- Clinton Emails
- Presidential Debates
For more information about what was popular on Yahoo this year, see their full report.
New Version of WordPress Now Available
WordPress, our number one most recommended platform for search engine optimization, has received an update which you can download automatically from the WordPress dashboard. WordPress 4.7 comes with a new default theme for 2017, easier customization abilities, and the brand new option to add video headers to pages. For more technical details behind the WordPress 4.7 update, see the company’s official announcement.
New designs for Google and WordPress, tweeting emoji at Google returns local searches, and Yahoo’s top searches of 2016 have been revealed.