First of all, I hope you have all had a Merry Christmas and a Happy new year! I know a lot of our clients have had a busy holiday season and have seen some fantastic user traffic during December/January – which is great to hear! So let’s dive into the latest news from the world of search for January..
Search Engines Focus for 2019
As we are starting a new year, Google have released their latest guidelines to what will be the main areas for Search engine optimisation for 2019. The Google guidelines, as the name suggests, is a guide to what Google favours in their search engine algorithm. It takes more than just building links, creating any old content, and adding a few keywords to improve your organic search rankings and increase the visibility of your business or brand.
Google’s main areas of focus in 2019 will be:
- Mobile friendly websites
- Safe websites with SSL certification
- Well structured web pages with Schema
- The Emerging trends (e.g., voice search)
- Up to date key-worded content
- Write for humans not search engines
- Overall site speed
For me, a well-structured website should be a given to anyone who wants their website to rank well on search engines, and we are long past encouraging site owners to make sure the site is mobile friendly, so for me to this year content as always will be key to giving users what they are looking for, which is up to date, interesting content which will encourage them to bookmark your site!
Google Lens – released
In last November’s month in search, we talked about how Google had been paying a lot of attention to how well your online images are being optimised, concentrating on file size, Alt tags and accurate descriptions. I boldly stated this may be due to a new mobile app google had in development called Google Lens.
Well this month Google has released Google Lens for Android and IOS, which to recap is an app which when you take a photo through Google Lens you can tap the camera icon on the top and ask Google to search for related images and Lens will return results based on the photo you have just taken – clever right!
More information & download links can be found here at www.lens.google.com
If you are a WordPress user and you would like more information on image optimisation, then please check our step-by-step guide to WordPress Image optimisation here
Do users like your posts
Last year we talked about the new features Google have been rolling out in Google my business. This is one of the most important and underused free tools available to any online business.
One of the features rolled out last year was the ability to create a promotional post for products, services and blog post etc. Well, it looks like Google are looking to improve this feature once again by testing a like button which looks very much like the thumbs up button you can find on Facebook posts.
This could be massive as I would not be surprised if this feature would be incorporated into Google’s search Algorithm and act as a website ranking signal. So we will wait and see if this feature gets the go-ahead to go live.
Google’s official WordPress Plugin
Google is working on an official Google plug-in called Site Kit for WordPress users, which will bring insights from Google analytics, console and Adwords to users through their WordPress dashboards. Site Kit won’t give you any new insights that are not already available in Google’s designated applications , but it does make the data easier to interpret and easier to access. I can really see this being a very popular extension as it will simplify the sometimes complicated data google produces.
Currently in Beta testing, if you would like early access you can sign up to the there beta testing program here – Google beta test program
It’s not very often my predictions come true.. so I might eat out on this for a bit! As back in August Month in Search we talked about a rumoured change to the way Google’s search engine results are displayed. Last month Google officially launched a new desktop search results user interface, where the search bar header is now more rounded and sticks to the top for the results page once you start to scroll down.
There has been a lot of negative chatter online, but I like it! Let me know your thoughts!
Think twice about using Emojis
I don’t understand this one, but recently I have noticed Site owners using emojis in there metadata! I would not recommend this for two reasons. First of all, metadata is as the word suggests data about data, so why would you take the risk of search engines not understanding exactly what the data is about! Secondly does this not portray a wrong impression! Yes if you have a website for younger users I can see an advantage, but for most site owners this would be a big no-no!
In a recent Webmaster hangout with John Mueller from Google, the topic of emojis in metadata came up and John said
“Although Google supports emojis in search results, it may choose to filter them out in certain circumstances”
So I strongly suggest you think twice about this if you are contemplating the use of emojis in your metadata, as to what impression you are giving your target audience and are you going to harm your ranking.
As you know here at Verve we love a good Google Doodle, as they act as small reminders of pioneers, special events and days in our history we should never forget. My highlight last was in October which saw Varvara Stepanova 124th birthday being remembered in an amazing 1920’s feel Google doodle.
So we have to start the year with last years Doodle for New Years Eve 2018…
I hope you have enjoyed reading our Month in Search as much as I have enjoyed writing them, I have really enjoyed the feedback I am receiving from site owners who are trying to navigate the complicated world of Search Engine Optimisation.
So as always if you have any questions or feedback on the things we have talked about today – drop me a line here at Verve [email protected] until next month keeeep searching!