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    A Month In Search: September 2018

    Verve Team Julian Smout Managing Director Written By Julian - Managing Director at Verve
    Search News September Search News September

    Well it’s October already!

    Again September has been a busy month in the world of search, there has been a big birthday to talk about, some more details on the fall out from Google’s search algorithm update and much more. So let’s get stuck in!

    Google algorithm update

    Firstly as mentioned last month Google recently updated their core search algorithm, and yes everyone started to panic! So, one month on from the update what do we know?

    It seems the update has been quite soft! but Google has once again aimed their algorithm towards page content and the relevance to the users’ search query. If you are confident that your content is following on-page copy ‘best practices’ then you shouldn’t have seen much difference in your website traffic.

    If you have noticed a loss! then you may have a problem, and it would be worth you checking the content of every one of your pages to make should you are delivering the right message to the right people! If you have concerns as always let me know and we will run a quick audit for you.

    Should you remove web pages with low traffic?

    While we are focusing on website content, in this month’s Google+ webmaster hangout, the conversation was unsurprisingly about last months recent Google search algorithm update and the relevance of on-page content to site traffic and should pages with a low traffic rate be removed?

    The simple answer is no… The answer to this has been known by SEO experts for some time, but it made me think about others who are creating content and managing their own Content Managed Site (CMS).

    Page views are a metric we use to identify low quality or irrelevant content, but it’s not an automatic indicator that a web page is not valuable and should be removed. If you have a poorly performing web page, I would recommend looking to making sure the content is still applicable and richer in nature!

    Website Image optimisation

    If You Want Images to rank don’t forget the Alt text

    While we are talking about the importance of imagery, Google’s John Mueller – Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, has reiterated this month that if you would like your images to rank in Google Image search, it is extremely helpful to Google if you add alt text to your images. The advice itself is not new as it dates back over 10 years, but this is a nice reminder.

    In last months – ‘Month in Search’ we talked about the importance Google is putting on image search and how on average it has a link through rate of over 63%.

    New image metadata tags

    As part of a collaboration between Google and the photo industry, you can now access image rights-related image metadata in Google Images. Now you can click on the menu in google image search which will allow you to view the image credits to the original creator, and the owner. Traditionally it has been difficult to know these important copyright details and copyright infringements have been hard to prove!

    No more Google Beta!

    Search console

    This month Google told us “Today we mark an important milestone in the Search Console’s history: we are graduating the new Search Console out of beta!”
    Is this good news…hrr no! Don’t get me wrong some of the new features we have been talking about while Google console was in the beta stage of development have been welcomed, but we are still waiting for some of the functionally of the older console to either be moved to the new console or improved upon like the new performance tool! Moan over… sorry about that!

    Data studio

    Another piece of software which has officially come out of there beta testing program this month is Google’s Data Studio. Data studio which is a part of Google’s Marketing tools, is a free data reporting tool that brings Google data together to help generate reports. Data studio also announced this month a better integration with non Google data related programs such as social media.

    Google Chrome 0.69 – update

    I might be alone with this news… but does anyone else get excited about a new browser update… If it’s only me here then please feel free to skip this bit of news. But for the smarter, more intelligent people like myself who like a good software update, I will go through some of the key changes to Google Chrome browser.

    1, New rounded redesign

    Chrome has redesigned their tabs, menu bar and search field, making them a lot lighter in design with a very much rounded design. Which makes me think the recent rumoured changes to the Search engine results page from last month in search might have some legs?

    2, Smart answers

    Called Smart answers Google chrome now gives you answers to everyday questions. So if you type a question into the URL bar you now get answers directly within the search field, So if for example, you ask what is the weather in Shrewsbury today? you will be given the answer! without having to hit return or wait to enter a website.

    3, Hidden URL

    The one update which hasn’t been so popular is the hiding of the full URL. In past versions of chrome 0.68 the URL would be fully displayed for example – https://verve-design.co.uk but now in the recent update it just displays – www.verve-design.co.uk. You can tap on the toolbar twice to display the full URL so not the end of the world.

    But it is still causing a lot of chatter online – I think this will be one change they might roll back – I might be wrong.. I often am!

    Is pdf content a rank factor

    As we all know Google has never liked the .pdf file format, As Google has always treated these documents like an image file and not valuable sources of information. But recently Google rumoured this might be all about to change as they are currently testing a new function which would convert your pdf files into HTML code format, which would make them easy to index like a web page and also readable by search engine bots, which would turn pdfs into a relevant ranking factor.

    This would be a welcomed change, as people would need to put a lot more value in to keeping the information current & relevant! How many times have you downloaded a .pdf file to only find it is out of date!

    Redirects to your home page

    Google’s recently confirmed that redirecting a lot of old URLs to your home page is bad practice. Instead, you should redirect those URLs on a one by one basis to a new page with similar information. We have seen sites with every redirect aimed to the home page so ask your developer for a copy of your redirected URLs just to keep them on their toes!

    Google’s doodles

    Finally this month we have had a big birthday!

    Yes, this month Google Search Engines turned 20 years old! Where were you 20 years ago? I know where Larry Page and Sergey Brin were! They were building a new search engine with a bold mission statement of how we will organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

    So this month’s Google Doodle is a video for you to share, exploring the most popular searches over the last two decades of search.

    So until next month.. Enjoy a trip down memory lane!