Google thinks it has all the answers, or at least that’s what it’s aiming for.
We learned in a new development this week that Google’s quick answer boxes are appearing much more frequently in search results. This is good news for users, but bad news for site owners. More on that in a minute.
Search Marketing Expo East took place this past week, which Pam attended, and some news broke out of that conference in regards to what kinds of sites are ranking on the first page of Google. What are these sites doing differently in relation to all other sites on the web? I’ll get to that as well.
And finally, it was also revealed at SMX East that a new Google algorithm update may be on its way as early as next week. What do you need to know to prepare for it? I’ll let you know all about that too.
Latest SEO News – Week Ending 10/3/14)
Search marketing software company Moz published a report this week showing that Google’s quick answer boxes are showing up 44% more often, with one type of answer box in particular appearing 98% more frequently.
An answer box is a block of text that appears immediately underneath the search bar when asking Google a specific question. The information is pulled from the website of a reputable source, usually Wikipedia, and the source is always credited in the answer box.
Here is an example of a Google answer box:
These answer boxes are good for searchers, because who doesn’t love to get immediate answers? However, this has the potential to be bad news for site owners as one of the downsides of Google’s quick answers is they can reduce traffic to other websites. When Google has already given you the answer you need, why click on any of the search results?
Several well respected SEO professionals weighed in on this subject over at Search Engine Land, with most saying this news doesn’t concern them at all. I recommend reading their thoughts as they present a variety of different opinions on the subject.
At SMX East it was revealed by Google’s Gary Illyes that 30% of Google’s page one results are HTTPS. HTTPS means the sites are hosted on a secure server, which is something Google announced a couple of months ago they would be giving preference to.
Illyes did not state why so many HTTPS sites are on the first page, and he was careful not to admit that HTTPS equals first page Google rankings or anything like that. But it sure is interesting to note only 10% of sites on the web are HTTPS, and 30% of page one results include HTTPS sites. I don’t want to jump to any conclusions, but the numbers look good for HTTPS as a ranking signal.
Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes, spoke at SMX East this week and dropped the bomb that Google may be launching a Penguin algorithm refresh sometime next week. This won’t be just any algorithm update, it will be a large re-write of the Penguin algorithm that took Google almost a full year to release.
Penguin targets sites that try to manipulate their search rankings with large amounts of unnatural backlinks. The upcoming update is said to be a “delight” for most people, presumably meaning a lot of sites will see a boost in rankings as opposed to a drop, but we won’t know for sure until the update is actually announced.
Unfortunately, it was also said that it’s too late to do anything to prepare for this Penguin refresh. However, going forward Penguin refreshes will be more frequent, so if you have been dinged by Google for bad links there is help on the way. Just make sure to contact us and we’ll clean up your inbound link profile.
If you have any questions, or need further details about any of these headlines, just leave a comment below and I will get back to you!