A Google algorithm update likely occurred this week, according to data from various tracking tools. Google’s ongoing legal troubles in Europe have concluded with the EU issuing an outrageous fine.
Notable changes to Google’s search policies have been introduced – some of which were voluntary and others that were forced on the search giant.
Google also made a change to its advertising policies, introduced a new mobile testing tool, and is offering early access to some of its newest products.
More details about these stories are included in this week’s SEO & SEM news roundup.
Google Algorithm Update on June 25th
According to data from a number of tracking tools, and analysis from Rank Ranger, a significant update to Google’s search algorithm likely occurred on June 25th. If you haven’t noticed it yet, it could be because you’re not looking hard enough.
Rank Ranger’s analysis indicates pages ranking in positions 6-10 have been hit the hardest by this update. That means if you’re only tracking rankings for pages in the top 5 positions, this update could have gone unnoticed.
A tracking tool called SEMRush gave this update a score of 9.5, which is the highest score it has given to any Google update all year. There is no discernible trend with respect to which types of pages are being targeted. It appears that pages for businesses in the food & beverage industry have been hit harder than most, followed by health & fitness, gambling, retail, and travel sites.
Supreme Court of Canada Orders Google to Remove Search Results Worldwide
Canada’s Supreme Court has ordered Google to remove a particular set of search results worldwide. This ruling stems from a claim by a Canadian technology company that another distributor was stealing trade secrets and manufacturing competing products.
Google was ordered to remove all search results for the law-breaking company worldwide. Why? Since Google’s search results are accessible worldwide, the court believes removing search results in Canada alone would not solve the problem.
This sets a potentially dangerous precedent, as Google has never before received a court order to remove search results in all countries. This could change how legal disputes over search results are handled in the future.
Preparing for Google’s Mobile-First Index
Google’s mobile-first index isn’t due to roll out until next year, but it’s not too early to prepare for it. Gary Illyes, a Google Webmaster Trends analyst, has been tweeting out advice on how to prepare for the forthcoming change to Google’s index.
In one of his more recent tweet, Illyes recommends going through mobile pages and making sure they are free of noindex tags and N1 redirects.
A noindex meta tag is a directive for Google to not index a page in search results. So if you or your clients have separate mobile and desktop pages, make sure the mobile pages are able to be crawled and indexed.
An N1 redirect is another name for a faulty redirect. This refers to pages that redirect users to another page they didn’t intend to visit. For example, some site owners redirect all mobile traffic from desktop pages to their mobile homepage.
That’s not the page users intended to visit, and it will also prevent Googlebot from being able to crawl the mobile page since it’s being redirected to the homepage as well. When using redirects from desktop pages to mobile pages, always redirect to an equivalent page.
Google Gets Fined 2.7 Billion Dollars
Google’s legal troubles continued this past week, as the European Union slapped the search giant with a monumental fine for “abusing search engine dominance.” The EU claims Google is intentionally ranking its Google Shopping service ahead of competitive services. Many industry analysts are calling the fine outrageous – not only due to the dollar amount, but because they don’t believe Google has done anything wrong.
Results for Google Shopping rank within the paid listings. That means, theoretically, competitors could rank ahead of Google Shopping if they outbid the company for the top position. There are varying opinions as to whether or not that’s fair. Regardless of what anyone thinks, the fine still stands. Google has been given 90 days to change its search practices in Europe or else it will face further penalties.
Google May Now Remove Medical Records from Search Results
Another change to Google’s search policies occurred recently, this time it was at the company’s own discretion. Google may now remove content from search results if it contains “confidential, personal medical records of private people.” Such records will only be removed at the request of an individual, Google will not be actively seeking out personal medical records and removing them. Rather, content will be removed on a case-by-case basis. If the information can be found on a government website, Google will not remove it.
Google’s ‘Test My Site’ Tool Now Shows How Many Users You’re Driving Away
According to Google, most sites lose half their visitors while waiting for a page to load. In an effort to combat this problem, Google updated its Test My Site tool to show how many visitors you’re driving away as a result of how long it takes your pages to load. The tool will also show your mobile page speed, how your business compares to competitors, and how to speed up your site.
To learn more about this tool, and others like it, see our new guide to Google’s free testing tools.
Google Will No Longer Use Information in Gmail to Deliver Personalized Ads
Google has decided to stop using information in Gmail to target personalized ads within Gmail itself. Ads will still be served in Gmail, but they will be less targeted going forward. There are no other Google ads that use information in Gmail to deliver targeted advertisements, so Google made this decision in order to keep Gmail ads in line with its other ad units.
YouTube Reaches New Monthly Active Users Milestone
Google’s YouTube celebrated a milestone this past week, as it revealed there are now 1.5 billion logged-in users accessing the service every month. That’s not even counting the number of people who visit YouTube without being logged-in, so the total number of monthly active users could be even higher.
YouTube shared more data in its announcement, stating that mobile users spend an average of 1 hour per day watching YouTube videos. While that may sound like a decent number, the company’s fastest growing medium is on good ole television. The number of people watching YouTube on their TV is growing 90% year over year. Consider these metrics if you’re thinking about adding more video to your marketing campaigns.
Early Access to Google’s Experimental Products
Google is giving users the opportunity to sign up for early access to experimental products from its Area 120 incubator. Area 120 is where Google employees can spend 20% of their time working on projects that are not directly related to their job. Several of Google’s most important products have been created as a result of its “20% rule,” including Gmail, Google Maps, Google News, and AdSense.
Who knows, you may end up getting early access to Google’s next breakthrough product. It’s not known what is coming out next from Area 120, but you can be one of the first to know by signing up here.
- A significant Google update likely occurred on June 25.
- Google found itself in a hot mess of legal trouble.
- YouTube is growing at a considerable pace.
- Google is no longer using information in Gmail to target Gmail ads.
- There are new updates to Google’s Test My Site tool.
- Gary Illyes is tweeting out advice regarding how to prepare for the mobile-first index.
- Users can sign up for early access to projects from Google’s Area 120 incubator.