Welcome to the latest issue of our monthly newsletter, which covers news, tips and advice on effective website marketing, with a particular focus on search marketing techniques and trends.
In the first article this month, we take a look at Google’s ranking algorithm update, which should be extremely interesting for mobile search marketeers, as it will have a “significant impact” on mobile search results.
We also look at Google and Twitter’s new partnership which aims to benefits users by providing fast and democratic Twitter search results. Finally this month, we examine Microsoft’s recently announced, comprehensive overhaul of its Internet Explorer web browser with Project Spartan.
You can read more below, or you can also browse through previous editions of the newsletter, either by month or by subject. You can also follow us on Twitter for the latest developments during the month, or follow our Facebook page or Google+ page for updates.
On to this month’s edition…
Google’s Mobile Ranking Algorithm Update
In a follow up to our December 2014 articles on ‘Google’s Mobile-Friendly Search Results’ and ‘Using Mobile Performance’, we take a look at, more specifically, the algorithm update that will have a “significant impact” on mobile search results worldwide for mobile searchers.
Not only is it beneficial to ensure that you have a mobile or responsive site, but also to test it to see how mobile-friendly Google deems it to be, so the ‘mobile-friendly’ accolade can be displayed in the mobile search results for your site. As we covered previously, this can be done by using the Mobile-Friendly Test tool. Note that the mobile-friendly update only affects mobile search results – i.e. searches from smart phones and tablets, not those conducted on a desktop or laptop computer.
Google recently stated that on April 21st 2015 its mobile ranking factors will not only label your site as mobile-friendly (as it has already been doing for those that it deems as such), but will also use that to determine if your site should rank higher in the search results. This is expanding on its mobile ranking demotion algorithm launched back in 2013 and from that “users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimised for their devices.”
This has been announced in advance, as Google said it wants sites to prepare. So, you have a few weeks to get your websites mobile-friendly! It stated it had been experimenting with mobile ranking factors recently, and now the changes to the algorithm are almost here.
Google’s Zineb Ait Bahajji from the Webmaster Trends team was recently quoted as saying that the “upcoming mobile-friendly ranking algorithm will have more of an impact on Google’s search results than the Google Panda update and the Google Penguin update did”. Unlike those, it is only impacting the mobile results but even so, it will have more of an impact than them. She didn’t specifically release a percentage of queries impacted, but believes that about 50% of all searches done on Google are on mobile devices.
This algorithm update would not be so important if mobile search wasn’t becoming so dominant. While some industries may not see a significant number of consumer driven searches coming from smart phones and tablets, many, if not most, do. Last year saw the very first moment where mobile search overtook that of desktop and the year ahead will continue along that path.
The critical point from this is that if 50% of your traffic from Google comes from mobile devices and if it seems you are not mobile-friendly, virtually all of that traffic from mobile is at huge risk. So if that’s the case, then it can’t be emphasised strongly enough that it’s imperative to get to work on it immediately.
If you want to know more about how the imminent algorithm update may impact your specific website’s mobile ranking results, contact us now.
Google and Twitter Announce New Partnership
Google and Twitter recently announced that they are back together again and had reached an agreement that will provide Google full access to Twitter’s content stream.
The partnership means that Google now has access to the stream of tweets known as the ‘firehose’. The ‘firehose’, aptly named, sprays nearly 9,000 tweets per second into the ether of the Internet. Previously, Google used to crawl Twitter in order to pull out relevant tweets for search results. That didn’t work well because when Google tried to crawl Twitter at the appropriate rate, there was a possibility of a Twitter server meltdown.
Instead, Google now has complete access to the ‘firehose’ and it benefits from this because Google is about all about indexing fresh information, which is what Twitter provides. Users aren’t satisfied with the information that is four hours old. They want information that is four seconds fresh. That’s precisely why Twitter was invented.
Google’s priorities are to “focus on the user and all else will follow”, understand that “fast is better than slow” and that “democracy on the web works.” So this partnership is about users. Also it’s fast and it’s democratic, so it’s ideal for Google.
The original Twitter/Google partnership fizzled out in Summer 2011, partly due to Twitter’s growing pains. Both companies have since grown, matured, and are ready for something long-term and serious.
Twitter is the quintessential real-time news feed and soon tweets will appear in search results for the world’s most dominating search presence. But it could take as much as a few months, as Google doesn’t yet have a method of featuring tweets in the results. Then they will start to be visible in them as soon as they’re posted. Most likely, Google may feature them on the main results pages, or position the feed to the right of the results.
Social search is bigger than ever and when Google and Twitter combine forces, it will be even harder to determine where one ends and the other begins. So it’s imperative that Search Engine Marketeers are aware of social. Social Media Marketeers also need to be aware of search marketing as these days, as there’s less to distinguish between the two.
If you would like to know more about how this partnership may impact your online marketing, contact us now for more details.
Microsoft Announces Project Spartan
Microsoft recently announced that it will radically overhaul Internet Explorer with ‘Spartan’, a new web browsing experience for Windows 10. The new browser will have the most advanced features ever and have an all-new rendering engine, but beyond that Microsoft wanted to focus on three new features.
Chief among those new features is new linking support that lets users annotate web pages and sync all of those notes to OneDrive and share them with collaborators — a service that makes sense, given Microsoft’s focus on the stylus with its Surface lineup.
There’s also a new reading mode that strips away the clutter of a page and makes it more like reading a book, which is a feature that Apple has offered for a while in Safari on both the Mac and on iOS devices.
A second major feature for Spartan will be the integration of Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant. Microsoft is planning to use Cortana to surface information on flights, hotel bookings, package tracking and other data within the traditional address bar. Cortana integration in the Spartan browser is planned to replace every instance of the existing Bing methods in Internet Explorer.
Another key feature includes a new way to group tabs together to de-clutter the occasionally messy interface of multiple browser tabs. Spartan will allow users to group tabs however they want, making it easier, for example, to split up personal tabs from work ones.
Microsoft is planning to keep the look and feel of Spartan very similar across phones, tablets, and PCs as it’s designed to be a single browser across all devices. It will be a Windows Store app, enabling the company to quickly and easily update the browser in future. The desktop version looks like a simplified version of Chrome, with a tabbed interface above the address bar, alongside options to go back, forward, and refresh a page. It’s all designed to look lightweight, without the bloat typically associated with older versions of Internet Explorer.
Microsoft will continue to include Internet Explorer in Windows 10, primarily for legacy compatibility reasons. Spartan is the main browser in Windows 10 however, and most users will be accessing the web using it. While Spartan is a codename, it’s not yet clear if Microsoft plans to continue the Internet Explorer branding with its new browser.
It you want more information about Microsoft’s Project Spartan, contact us now.
We hope you’ve found this month’s newsletter useful. Please contact us if you need any more information on the items covered, or our advice on any aspect of your website’s performance. Also, if there are any issues you would like to see in future editions of this newsletter, please submit your suggestions to us.