← Return to Blog

SEO Newsletter June

Google: 15% Of All Queries are Still Never Seen Before

It may come as a shock to learn that 15% of all web searches each day are brand new, never searched for before. What is even more interesting though is that way back in 2007 it was 25% of all queries. The figure was then measured again in 2013 and it had dropped down to 15%. This makes total sense as interest connectivity has expanded and now everyone has a device in their pocket all the time.

The key takeaway here is that there has been no change in the percentage of new queries between 2013 and now. This may fundamentally reflect the numerical scale of potential new searches, the web is a big place.

Snapchat has launched in-app AR shopping, with Adidas and Coty among the first sellers

Snapchat has announced plans to combine augmented reality with e-commerce within the app, following a joint in-app push with Nike.  Users in the UK and US will be able to buy products via a new solution which the messaging and camera app is calling ‘Shoppable AR’.

The Nike example, where Snapchat paired its AR lenses option with one-click product purchase, proved highly successful with its featured sneakers selling out in 23 minutes.  The promotion followed an NBA All Star game party, when Snapchat invited users to scan exclusive Snap codes (QR-style links) to open the app and purchase the shoes in minutes from within the app.

The technology works by letting advertisers add a ‘button’ onto any AR lenses they are running on Snap. This button has the ability to complete a number of actions, including directing users to retailers’ online stores or apps where they can purchase the products, all in a click. Adidas, beauty company Coty and gaming company King are among the first advertisers to make use of the capability. The lenses feature is popular with advertisers, with Netflix an early adopter of the technology.

McDonald’s invites weather conversations with reactive April campaign

McDonald’s partnered with the Met Office to bring Britain’s unpredictable weather to life on giant screens throughout the country. The burger chain sought to reimagine a typical menu as weather icons representing live temperature and 5-day forecasts.

The resulting weather map does away with more traditional icons to use the likes of an unwrapped burger to represent the sun and an upended box of French fries to denote rain. This unorthodox language consists of eight menu items in all to help denote the full range of April weather.

Google starts sending notification for Mobile-First indexing.

Google has started sending notification to people to let them know their site has been migrated to mobile-first indexing.

Even if the mobile-first indexing has started months ago from Google’s side, they are only now starting to notify webmasters.

Here is what the notification looks like:

Google has confirmed that sites who have been migrated to mobile-first indexing will see an activity increase from the Googlebot Smartphone crawler.

France.fr versus France.com

When a French-born American called Jean-Noël Frydman purchased the France.com domain name in 1994, his intention was to set up a site that would serve as a digital kiosk for expats and Francophiles alike.

In the 24 years since, internet use has grown exponentially and .com domains are by the far the most valuable, holding authority for both users and search engines. That’s why France (the country which uses France.fr) took out a lawsuit to claim France.com. Last year the Paris Court of Appeals ruled that France.com was violating French trademark law and France decided to go to Web.com directly to claim the contentious domain suffix.

In March 2018 Web.com transferred ownership of the domain to France without any compensation to the previous owner. Now, Frydman is suing the country of his birth saying of Web.com “I’ve been with them for 24 years… There’s never been any cases against France.com, and they just did that without any notice. I’ve never been treated like that by any company anywhere in the world. If it happened to me, it can happen to anyone.”

As digital marketers this not only reminds us of the importance of .com domain names, it also sparks a debate about what Frydman calls “reverse domain-name hijacking,”

Google has tested a question box for disappointed searchers

In May, Google took steps to address unanswered queries on the search engine by testing a question box. This new feature is currently in the testing phase but it works by users feeding a question to Google who pass the question on to content creators.

Why is Google doing this?

Ultimately Google wants to have more content that it can index and improve the search engine.

Who will answer the questions?

Google will not create the content but instead approach content creators. How they choose content creators is unclear, Google may approach the top-ranking site for the query.

Will the content created receive any preferential treatment from Google?

No, the content would not receive any ranking boosts, however it will be indexed and ranked like any other piece of content.

Could we see this rolled out across the search engine?

A Google spokesperson stated that this was a small-scale experiment looking into ways to improve the content found on the search engine and ultimately improve user experience.

New AMP features announced for geotargeting content

Google has announced a new component for AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) which will allow businesses to target users based on their location. The amp-geo function will allow content to be targeted towards readers based on their country. AMP’s new function will be particularly valuable to businesses who sell to multinational customers.

Google’s Mobile-First Index Notifications

Google has officially rolled out the mobile-first indexing in April. This means that search bots are now looking at mobile content, rather than desktop, when deciding to rank search results.

Google Search has sent out notifications for webmasters that reads “mobile-first indexing enabled for”, and specifies which domain of the site it was enabled for. Google’s notification also alerts that it is now shifted to mobile first indexing in the search results.

Are Google to Replace Featured Snippets with Ads?

Over in the USA, reports are saying that Google are looking to get advertisers to create “how to” content and videos for searches on Google Assistant (voice search). The “how to” search would provide users with step-by-step instructions in video format when the user asks how to do something.

Currently, when a user searches how to do something, many search results bring up a featured snippet which has steps on how to complete the search query. These results appear organically and depend on the quality and formatting of the content. If Google are to go down this avenue, this is yet another way for Google to monetize not just the search result (SERPs) landscape but also Google Assistant/Home.

Below is how the SERPs appear if you what to know how to make pancakes. Next to it is a mock-up of what the SERPs could look like…

Google Confirm Core Algorithm Update

Towards the end of April, Google confirmed a broad core update to their algorithm. The details were not specified and this type of update involves routine changes that are carried out several times a year.

If your rankings increased (or decreased) around the end of April into beginning of May, this update could have played a part in that change. Aa ever, if your rankings did take a drop, Google’s response to what to do to recover was, “really nothing”.


Closed Job Listings Could Mean a Manual Penalty

Google have updated their guidelines around job postings and listings so that websites must remove any job posts and listings that have been filled. If a job post or listing that has been filled is still present, it could result in a getting a manual action from Google and penalise the website from showing job posting/listing schema in the future.

There are four ways to remove job posts or listings:

– Remove the page entirely (so that it returns a 404 or 410 status code)

– Remove the JobPosting mark-up (schema) from the page

– Add a “noindex” meta tag

– validThrough property is populated and in the past

This is quite a good step from Google as it’ll reduce the amount of “fake” job posts/listings from appearing.

Structured Data Does Not Give a Ranking Boost… But it Can Help Rankings…

The title says it all. Very confusing… Structured data doesn’t increase rankings, but it can increase rankings is our synopsis of that title.

However, if we delve into a bit more detail, Google does try to explain its rationale which is nothing new that we didn’t already know… Structured data alone does not directly impact rankings. What structured data does is provide Google (and other search engines) more information about the content; helps them understand the content which enables search engines then to rank the most relevant pages that meet the user’s search query. Structured data (rich snippets/cards) also enables different features such as star ratings to appear that also help click through rates.


Google Algorithm can Generate Content Not for Search

Everybody knows that Google loves new high quality content, but this takes time and effort to produce. One less than ethical tactic has been to autogenerate new content using a computer and back in 2015 this was a hot topic of tech discussions. Generally, though if you try to autogenerate content for your website Google is unlikely to see this as good content.

Now, however, it has been reported that Google’s AI has started generating its own content. Fundamentally, Google can now create new articles from processing other articles on the net. It definitely has enough data to learn from.

GDPR: the best and worst repermission campaigns

May 25th saw the compliance deadline for GDPR, prompting a raft of re-permission campaign emails hitting inboxes everywhere. Some companies used it as an opportunity to use their creative prowess to connect with their audience.

The Best: Cancer Research were ahead of the game for GDPR, choosing to go opt-in only in July 2017. The charity backed up its move with an engaging ‘Just A Tick’ campaign, which included an informative yet creative video, which makes it very clear to its supporters how vital consent is in the fight against cancer. The video ends with the tagline ‘A tick doesn’t sound like much, but it has the power to do great things’.

Using creative content to focus on the company’s offer and objectives, a very powerful message was sent to its user base.


The Worst: not offering users privacy AND pizza

Google Says PDFs Are Not Mobile Friendly

Whilst being asked on Twitter, Google’s John Muller confirmed that PDF documents are not mobile friendly. They require users to pinch and zoom to fully see the content and therefore are not optimised for mobile devices.

However, this doesn’t stop them for being Mobile-first indexed. John Muller stated: “we don’t flag any PDF as mobile-friendly …. [but]… Mobile-first indexing is independent of whether something is mobile-friendly, so that wouldn’t play a role either.

Google Chrome will label HTTP websites as not secure

Google has announced that Google Chrome, their web browser, will change the labels of HTTP and HTTPs sites in the future. When October 2018 comes, Googe Chrome version 7.0 will start showing the red “not secure” sign next to the HTTP pages, while the “HTTPs” sites will have the green “Secure” symbol next to it.

Google Does Have a Bias Towards Scientific Truth in Search

One of the top Google engineers confirmed last month that Google does have bias towards “scientific truth” in their search results. According to Google’s quality guidelines, section 3.2 explains how a webpage/website must show an amount of expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (E-A-T).

This revelation can allow search marketers to test new strategies such as data led content which could be seen as “scientific truth” and help drive performance.