It’s important for any business to track ever-changing SEO updates and SEO trends to understand how they may affect your site(s), your earned media strategies, and what you can do to ensure neither are negatively affected. We’ve rounded up a few of the latest SEO updates and trends and what you need to know about them and organic search this year.
Non-HTTPS Sites to Be Labeled “Not Secure” Starting July 2018
Non-HTTPS sites will begin receiving a “Not Secure” message in Chrome.
Google has communicated a tangible timeline for when non-HTTPS sites will begin receiving a “Not Secure” message in Chrome. Beginning in July 2018, users in Google Chrome will begin seeing these markings on any site not delivered over secure HTTPS.
What You Need to Know About HTTPS & Non-HTTPS Sites
Q: What does this mean for my website and business?
A: If your site is already on HTTPS, then no action is necessary. You are already “future-proof” from this SEO update.
However, if your site is accessible via HTTPS or HTTP, now would be a good time to redirect your non-HTTPS version. If a user is able to navigate to a non-secure version of your site, then it is possible for them to still receive this messaging from a direct or referral visit. Having your site be accessible regardless of whether a user visits the HTTP or HTTPS version could also lead to some data inaccuracies in Analytics.
Q: Is this the same as a ranking algorithm update?
A: No, this will not directly affect organic search results and will only be applicable for users visiting non-secure sites in the Chrome browser. However, it is fully possible that Google will roll out an algorithm update to reinforce the desire of a fully secure web down the road.
For the time being, however, if the negative messaging leads to lower engagement (less time on site, higher bounce rates), Google could begin to attribute that poor user experience to site quality and indirectly adjust ranking/positioning in organic search based on those metrics. It is also possible that having a non-secure site after July 2018 could result in some form of a negative impact.
Google My Business Wants to Know: When Did Your Business First Open?
Google My Business (GMB) is now asking some business owners with verified listings to share how long they’ve been in business.
Some webmasters are saying this information was asked by Google in the older user interface but it was hidden.
Currently, Google My Business is asking for this in a bolder way, but it is unclear how they’re going to use/display this information. Business owners can enter the exact date if they want, but the month and year are sufficient.
Google Launches AMP Stories & Visual Stories in Mobile Search
AMP Stories – User interfaces with swipeable, tappable, full-screen content that will tell viewers a story. This new format enables the creation of visual content that is fast and user-first. Google has described these AMP Stories as a, “mobile-focused format for delivering news and information as visually rich, tap-through stories.”
To see these AMP Stories in search for yourself, head to g.co/ampstories on your mobile device. There is also a feature to ping Google with your AMP content, but we are told that this is not for search but for AMP to refresh your AMP page cache.
Features of AMP Stories:
- Supports visuals with native video and image performance.
- Enriches and boosts storytelling through animations and tappable interactions.
- Works across mobile and desktop devices.
- Builds on top of AMP’s component library to support features like analytics.
Google has currently launched AMP Stories with these partners, so far:
- Conde Nast
- “AMP stories have incredible potential to enhance how we create mobile content. Our team can easily create beautiful, media-rich stories that our users will now be able to access quickly across the web. We continue to be focused on creating the best content for every platform and the creative possibilities on AMP stories are endless.” – Doug Parker, Vice President of Digital Design
- Vox Media
- The Washington Post
- “As a source for breaking news and information, this format allows us to showcase our quality journalism when there are multiple elements we want to bring together. Combining reporting, photography, videos and motion graphics, this gives readers a more visual entry point when they are searching for our coverage.” – Greg Manifold, Design Director
Why Use AMP Stories
Immersive – Visually filling readers’ screens, these stories allow creative opportunities for storytelling and design. The new tappable feature and experience creates more of an engaging experience for the reader.
Fast – Built with the same technology used in AMP Pages, this means the new stories also load quickly, offering a smooth and easy experience.
Open – AMP Stories are a part of the open web, meaning they can be shared and embedded across sites and apps without being tied down to a single ecosystem.
Crawl Limit in Google Search Console Drastically Decreased
Webmasters are able to submit URLs to Google using the “fetch as Google” feature in Search Console.
- Crawl 500 individual URLs within a 30-day period
- Crawl 10 individual URLs and its direct links within a 30-day period
- Crawl 10 individual URLs within a 30-day period
- Crawl 2 individual URLs and its direct links within a 30-day period
While the change in limits is significant, most SEOs and organic search experts are using XML sitemaps to handle bulk content indexing. Therefore, this change is not presenting any obstacles.
Google Launches “People Also Search For” Box
Google has been testing its “people also search for” box and a finalized user interface is now officially live.
This new interface will show up after the user clicked on the result and then clicked the browser’s back button to go back to the search results. Download your copy of this latest industry update now.