Google will not boost HTTPS ranking factor April 26/2017
Three years ago Google has launched the HTTPS ranking boost and began to use HTTPS as a signal for rankings in the search algorithm. Even though the signal appeared to be quite weak, it became a signal anyway. Since that time the ranking signal doesn't seem to become any stronger.
Gary Illyes commented on that in his Twitter account saying that today the company doesn't have any plans to lift the HTTPS ranking boost weight, at least it's not going to increase in comparison to what we already have. Although they were revising this idea several months ago, they made a decision that it wasn't necessary to change it or increase.
Google also confirmed that they hadn't increased the HTTPS ranking signal weight before. In general, there's nothing bad about going HTPPS, especially that Google can deal with ranking signals in case if you move.
On the one hand, this totally makes sense and makes things easier for the average users, who are looking for a relevant website, but not for the one with an HTPPS domain. But on the other hand, webmasters have to be really careful, because if they mess up while moving, it can affect the rankings significantly.
Google comments on the ranking for competitor's keywords April 24/2017
The question of ranking for competitor's keywords has never been widely discussed, although it really matters for those who want to achieve the best SEO results with their websites. So one webmaster asked John Mueller in Twitter if there was a chance to rank in such a way. The answer appeared to be predictable but surprising at the same time: “Why not? Also: why?”.
While this reply was totally confusing and made the issue even less clear, later John Mueller made it a little bit more understandable. He said that we definitely could do this in theory, but that we shouldn't do that. The thing is, if our goal is to attract more links to our content in a natural way, this is not the right thing to do.
All this situation around ranking for competitor's keywords makes many webmasters frustrated. Quite often when people have issues with the software and try to just leave and switch, this kind of ranking is very helpful, just like in many other cases. This must be the reason why, according to the comments, users are surprised by such a response of John Mueller.
Google is testing suggested video clips for a perfect search result April 21/2017
Google is currently working on an amazing new feature that will give you the opportunity to skip all the boring introductions in the video when looking for a specific how-to answer and let you get right to the answer provided in the video.
This feature is being tested at the moment by Ryan Rodden from Google office. In the test, Google demonstrates a certain video at the very top of the results list that opens right at the needed moment. In other words, they want Google to be able to figure out when the specific desired start time is in the clip and let you watch the video directly from that point. This feature is going to be called “suggested clip” and you will be able to benefit from it when dealing with how-to queries.
Today it became more difficult to find the needed answers in the results listing in comparison to how it was long before the company started showing the featured snippets based on texts. However, you are still able to find some answers in the video form in Google.
Many users have always been claiming that the worst thing about the video answers is that you need to wait until someone who is explaining certain matter in the video finishes his introduction and you can't skip because you have no idea when the solution itself is going to begin. Luckily enough, this new feature skips all the unnecessary stuff and lets you see what you were actually looking for.
New Google Earth features for Chrome and Android April 20/2017
Google has released a new version of Google Earth, which enables users to have exciting guided tours, explore the environment by the means of 3d images. Also, there's a new feature called “I'm feeling lucky”. Even though today the above mentioned updates are available only for the users of Chrome and Android, the company promises to release another version, the latest one, to make the program available for the users of iOS and other possible browsers.
While working on the new version of Google Earth, the company has been cooperating with nonprofit organizations, writers and scientists. Together, they established a Voyager, a program allowing users to explore planet in the form of guided tours, the main specificity of which is interactivity.
At the current moment, there are more than fifty tours available on Voyager website and as far as it is known, Google is going to add new tours every week. Right now everybody can enjoy virtual traveling in jungles and high mountains in any corner of the world, visit the most famous parks and hear researchers talking about their studies in real time. It's great for both children and adults to learn about the planet, its unique places and wildlife more.
In addition, there's also an “I'm feeling lucky” feature, choosing which will bring you randomly to any place on Earth among currently 20000 available.
More than that, users can also interchange their favorite images of Google Earth virtual travel tours. They can send the link and by clicking it their friends will be able to teleport right to that very place.
The company says that they've been working on the program for two years and although it's not currently available for all the browsers, they will improve it in the nearest future.
Holiday Easter eggs in the Google blog April 18/2017
Last week when Gary Illyes was visiting Zurich, where a lot of webmaster analysts live while working for the Google company, he said that that the Easter holidays were going to last beginning from Friday and to the Monday. Lately he also said in his Twitter account that they came up with idea of hiding some Easter eggs somewhere on their blog because of the holiday.
These eggs are not seen that easily. If you want to take a look at them, you will have to find them on your own. Actually it's not the fist time when Google does things like this. Previously they used to hide different kinds of holiday attributes on their blog as well.
In his post about Easter eggs, Gary Illyes asked users to let him know if someone manages to find them.
Google on the search console data bug April 17/2017
Last week we got to know that Google made a report on search console link data bug, which caused some panic in the SEO community. Most of the webmasters saw the “no data available” in that report, which appeared to be quite confusing. But until now we can see that link data bug spreading in the virtual world and showing up in the link reports of almost all webmasters.
However, the good new is, this isn't any danger to your website. Quite soon things will come back to how they used to be, which was said by John Mueller several times during different forums. He also said that situations like this do not happen that often and they are working on its improvement. According to his words, any of reporting bugs will influence your website or pages rankings, so there is no reason to worry about it.
Google comments on disavow files update April 14/2017
Recently we were discussing the reason why many webmasters used disavow files. In most of cases, people who worry about their SEO tend to use disavow files because they think it will keep them secure. However, the latest comment of Gary Illyes in his Twitter account on this issue makes us doubt if disavow files really play that role and whether we should even bother ourselves with this.
As a matter of fact, Gary Illyes literally said that there isn't anything more unnecessary and unworthy paying our attention than the disavow files. More that that, it is the worst thing to actually use if you are obsessed with the SEO or afraid of negative SEO. He assured webmasters that it would be much more useful to focus on other matters rather than dealing with disavow files and getting stuck to the idea of negative SEO.
Shortly speaking, the key message of Gary's comment is that we all have to spend our time on things more important to the success of our websites and not bother much about negative SEO. However, it wouldn't be true if we said that all the webmasters agree with this statement. Some of them argue that this is a new page rank sculpting, others complain that recent messages from Google are confusing and they want a clearer explanation of things like this.
Google is working hard to fix bug with the pages linking April 12/2017
Lately webmasters and site owners are very concerned about the Google search console report on the bug with the links to the websites, because they are afraid it can affect page rankings. However, there is no need to worry that much, since it's only a report and it won't influence rankings in any way.
Google commented on this issue and said that they are currently working hard to fix the bug issue with the search console. For this reason, there was a short period last week when users couldn't see the link info, because the tool has been showing an icon with words “no data available”. In fact, this kind of reporting is not really unusual, and it is known already that it has literally no impact on your current search rankings. So the fact that you can't see any data for your links doesn't mean that your website's links are not available for Google or that it can't find them. It is no more than just a report.
According to the words of John Mueller from Google, they know about this problem and do their best to solve it in the nearest future.
Did Google really release an update on March 30th? April 04/2017
There were significant changes and spikes in the Google pages rankings last week. Eventually, they were noticed by the majority of the automated tools of tracking, which are designed for monitoring of the fluctuation in the original Google search results. In most of cases this would point at the appearance of the new algorithm update, which we are completely overwhelmed by lately. However, we believe there's a really small chance that any major update has something to do with the changes this time.
It's true that some websites were facing considerable ups and downs in their rankings disturbing their owners and webmasters, but it could hardly happen at the level of such major updates as Fred and others. We tend to think that the reason why this happened is related to certain changes in the Google features, which led to such reaction of the tracking tools. Of course, most of webmasters who had to watch their pages rankings change rapidly were confused and wanted to know the reason, while blaming updates, as usual.
However, it can't be another major algorithm update, otherwise such changes would hit much more websites and more webmasters would complain about that. The SEO community is not bothered with this issue lately at all and even Black Hat forums don't discuss it too much, which only shows that these fluctuations were random and didn't hit such number of sites to make a big deal of it.
Four billion Google AdWords visits and further improvement plans March 31/2017
It was announced that Google AdWords reached the point where there was more than four billion visits tracked all over the world. This is quite an inspirational news, followed by further statement that Google developed new innovation technologies allowing to achieve a bigger number of visits for those advertisers who are currently exploiting these insights for having more complete performance pattern.
The announced innovations include the following: better accuracy together with improved store visits data; improvements in predicting challenging situations and dealing with them by means of deeper learning; more accurate identification of location due to the newly developed mapping technologies; store visits verification by means of survey data of a higher quality.
The above mentioned innovations are expected to increase the store visits, while making the counts more reliable. Despite the fact that this kind of tracking is quite challenging, Google is definitely aimed to do it in the nearest future.
Google doesn't use Facebook likes for search engine rankings March 30/2017
Google has already repeated twice that social networks likes don't matter when it comes to pages rankings. First, the company said that Facebook likes had no impact on the overall search engine rankings around six years ago. But this is just as true today, as it was in 2011, which is proved for the second time by the tweet of Gary Illets.
However, some people in SEO community wonder why this question doesn't appear more frequently. It's really interesting to know for what reason Google ignores Facebook likes to rank pages, isn't it? The answer may seem obvious, because Facebook likes are very easy to manipulate and because Google may not have free access to the data because it can be blocked from the company.
There's a chance Googlers were thinking about using Facebook likes in pages ranking, but due to one of the above mentioned reasons they decided not to do that. It is actually quite an arguable issue, because SEO specialists tend not to completely believe in the fact that Facebook likes don't play any tiny role n the rankings. Anyway, it was not a bad idea to discuss it at least a little after such a long time of not mentioning this topic anywhere at all.
Google goes public calling out companies for selling links March 29/2017
As a rule, Google doesn't discuss anything in public and there has something extremely huge and undeniably obvious to happen to force it into making public announcements or comments. Google is also not really public when it comes to addressing to those who are violating webmaster guidelines, designed specially for SEO community.
However, last week Gary Illyes did what he usually didn't when calling out a company for selling links. His post on Twitter was seen by thousands of users, where he said, “How much for the link?” mentioning the company he was addressing to. More than that, he used the period before the company's name to ensure all his followers could see the tweet.
It doesn't mean that the mentioned company will be seriously punished, but it is obvious that Google is going to watch every its step from now on. The company didn't respond on Tweeter, although they seem to be quite active in social networks on the whole. The company's website doesn't contain too much information, although there are reasons to assume that they are running a business off of the link network.
Google Mobile-first Index experiment launching is still in the process March 24/2017
Not so long ago we all heard about Google mobile-first index and tried to figure out what was really supposed to change due to this update. Shortly speaking, it's about crawling and indexing the mobile look of your website without changing the content. According to Google's comments, first of all the mobile version of the content provided on a particular website has to deal with pages ranking in order to make information more structured and understandable, as well as to demonstrate web pages snippets in search results.
However, this change hasn't been launched yet and it's hard to say when it's actually going to happen. Google explains it by the fact that they are waiting for the “quality neutral” results. In other words, they want the search results to remain the same when users switch into the mobile-first index mode, which would be the guarantee that the quality of the results will not get any worse. They even expect it to be better due to a couple of new features. Until they see this kind of “quality neutral” search results, there won't be any launch.
Googlers also say that achieving this is not that easy as it may seem. In fact, it may be a completely new web launched for the mobile phones with a totally new index, which of course requires time to be developed.
Googlers talk about ranking and actions on Google March 22/2017
During the keynote conversation in San Jose Googlers were discussing ranking and actions on Google that marketers and developers should know about. The main focus in the discussion was on the Google Assistant, particularly on the developer ecosystem and actions, which are determined as tools and all kinds of features developed in order to allow brands and marketers to participate in the interaction with their users by the use of Google Assistant. These actions are very similar in their functions to apps, used by smartphone and tablet users.
It was mentioned that the ultimate Google's mission is to structure and organize all the world's information so that everyone could find what he needs as soon as possible. Currently they are working on the access to the information to enable users find exactly what they are looking for and to make the content match perfectly the request.
Google Assistant was created to help the users not only find the required information, but just to get things done in their daily life, like ordering food and buying tickets. It serves as an assistance, with which you can communicate and get the needed help using simple language. Googlers are currently developing Google Assistant to make it understand not only words as such, but the context as well, while recognizing the user's speech. To achieve this, Google needs to know specific information about the user, like his location, situation etc., which is now possible due to the innovative technologies.
The number of hacked sites is increasing March 21/2017
According to the observation in 2016, the number of hacked websites is constantly growing. For this reason, Google suggests webmasters and owners of websites verifying their sites in order to avoid the attack or to fix them, if they are already hacked, in Google Search Console.
Comparing to 2015, the amount of hacked sites grew up to more than 30%, which was reported in the State of Website Security. Unfortunately, there is no reason to assume that hacker attacks will slow down in the next year. Instead, the current tendencies are obviously showing the opposite. Hackers are becoming more aggressive, while many webmasters and site owners hesitate with updating their content management systems, which leads to increased vulnerability and opens more security holes.
Even though many sites are not protected appropriately and can be hacked easier than others, Google still cannot explain the reason of attacking these sites and why hackers are actually showing such an increased activity. At the same time, Google says that it is crucial to verify all the sites by means of Search Console and those who spend some time on doing it, will keep their sites more safe than the others.
Google is very concerned about this situation and it tries to inform all the users about the thread. However, some of them claim that they have never received any messages form Google, were not expecting any attack and didn't know that their websites were infected. Moreover, they didn't know that this could be related to the absence of verification in Search Console. Verification itself is not the ultimate solution, but it certainly helps avoid a lot of hacker attacks.
Does Google Identify The Black Hat Communities and Forums? March 18/2017
Since the beginning of times Googlers never missed an opportunity to see what's new in the black hat communities and forums, visiting them once in a while on a regular basis. Black hat SEO tool suite is kind of a community with huge resources and live case studies, and the number of communities like this is constantly growing. Years ago, it was a commonly known fact that Googlers used to visit black hat forums and briefings. They never avoided even private forums and were always trying to keep the information about their single step updated. However, nowadays nobody knows if they still do the same.
All we can assume in this regard is that visiting this kind of forums is no more on the list of Google priorities. Not so long ago Gary Illyes from the Google office commented on this issue on Twitter, answering the question about identifying black hat forums and companies. According to his words, he personally hasn't done it for years. He also said that based on Barry's reports, there is no need for Google to identify all these companies individually. We cannot know for sure, however, whether it concerns all the team in the Google office or it's just a personal reply.