Posts Tagged google

⚡ Google’s New AMP Pages ⚡

google amp

Google has announced their modified html called AMP – Accelerated Mobile Pages – will be visible to users in results pages. The AMP pages are indicated by a little lightning bolt⚡. It’s an attempt at creating faster mobile load times and is not to be confused with ExactTarget’s AMPscript language.

The rundown:

1) It’s extremely similar to html with a few small changes

2) You define the document by using the lightning emoji ⚡ which is pretty great.

3) You can set what content gets loaded first. This is super helpful for the user, because currently many sites do not define whether ads or share buttons get loaded before content.

4) It sets the size of items on the page so there’s no resizing while reading content. This makes things quicker and prevents content from jumping around.

5) It doesn’t affect SEO rankings – but maybe it does? From Search Engine Land:

I spoke with Google’s VP of Engineering David Besbris yesterday. He told me that AMP pages will not receive a ranking boost, though Google has suggested in the past load time and page speed are (or will become) mobile ranking factors.

6) There will be two pages – one desktop and one mobile.

7) AMP pages are 4x faster and use around 10x less data than non-AMP.

This is a huge development for publishers with a lot of content and ads. Many larger publishers have already adopted it – eBay, Reddit, etc. Google, of course, sells and distributes a lot of display advertising for these large publishers, so it makes sense they want a more harmonious experience.

The only problem is that it is kind of taking a step backwards in order to move forwards. Responsive sites eliminated the need for a mobile version and a desktop version of the site which looks like what is happening again. Anybody in dev will have to take a close look to see whether the benefits will outweigh the need to manage two sites again. Then again, AMP pages are way faster and use way less data so it looks like it might happen no matter what.

Here’s Google Developer’s video Intro to AMP.

Google’s new ad layouts: was the panic legit?

It’s been a few weeks since Google switched up the ad layout on its search results pages. If you missed the news, here’s a recap: the ads that used to be on the right-hand side of the search results are now on the top and bottom of the search pages, bordering the search results like  bread in a sandwich.

By cutting out the right side ads, Google has created room for knowledge graphs and product listings, as seen here in this screenshot of a sample search.

SEO results - running shoes

Keep in mind these changes only affect desktop browsing. In mobile view, the ads look the same as they did before.

Why did Google switch it up? Some people are claiming Google wanted to make its layout consistent for all screen sizes. And some people are saying the big G just wanted to pull in more profits: by reducing the amount of ads available, the competition for ads will be fiercer, and, so the theory goes, the top spot could end up costing more.

Whenever Google makes a change, the internet is full of commentary, and this is no exception. We’ve seen mild predictions that it won’t matter very much in the end and dramatic predictions that it’s the end of small businesses forever.

If you’re in the latter camp, take heart. Be buoyed by these facts:

  • These changes only affect desktop views. As we all (or should by now) know, more and more people are using mobile, and desktop searches are steadily taking up less and less of the total search numbers.
  • We broke the news before, but take some time and let this soak in: the new desktop ad layouts, with ads before and after the organic listings, are pretty much the equivalent of what mobile users have been seeing for a long time.
  • It doesn’t have to mean your cost per clicks (CPCs) go through the roof. Just like marketing pro Nitin Kumar said in this article on the Business 2 Community site, your CPC will go down if you have stellar copy, keywords and landing pages.

So, grasshoppers, just like when the Henny Pennys  of the web wrung their hands over Mobilegeddon and we took the “wait and see” approach, we are going to sit tight and wait for more data. Just like we had a much gentler interpretation of Mobilegeddon, we’re expecting to stay rather Zen about these changes too. In the meantime, take a deep breath and keep focused on the basics.

Google’s New Logo

google logo

 

You’ve probably noticed by now that Google’s logo looks a little bit different. The search giant revealed its new look last week: a serif-free, open-faced font that loses the embossed look and replaces its icon—formerly a lower-case ‘g’—with an upper-case, multi-coloured letter. It’s also a heck of a lot lighter (around 300 kb as compared to the old logo’s 14,000 kb load).

As with any branding change, the new logo has been met with some very mixed opinions. In ditching the serifs, Google has been accused of “filing off its dignity” with letters that look like refrigerator magnets, while a poll by Mashable  reports that just over half of respondents in a 3,000-person survey  actually like the change.

 

Google logo

In a blog post about the update, Google says the old logo was built in the days when “Google was one destination that you reached from one device: a desktop PC” and states the new look reflects the fact that users interact with Google via many different platforms.

What does the Status Bureau crew think of the new look? It’s about time! We see the Google logo around 200 times per day, and in our books, this is a fantastic update. The old logo was designed more than 15 years ago, so it was definitely time for an update, and Google did the right thing by refreshing the logo rather than redesigning it. Simplifying and modernizing is always safer than a total overhaul. Brand recognition is a valuable thing, and Google’s logo is still recognizable.

The simplicity that comes with a lightened graphic load means it’s going to undoubtedly resemble other logos, which is unfortunate, but remember, logos are often not good or bad on their own: the organization’s performance feeds into the meaning. See Nike and Coca-Cola: bad logos from a design perspective, but the crowd still goes wild. So we can debate and dismiss all we like, but in the end, the only real judge is time itself.

Tweets Now in Desktop Google Results

tweets in google results

Expanded previews of single tweets are now showing up in desktop Google results. They’re in a carousel format which is a nice layout option. You may have noticed that tweets were embedded on mobile results since May.

This is another positive bonus for brands as their own content will be displayed above third party sites.

Vancouver: Rude, Awesome, Hates Keith

Google Autocomplete is the function that fills in the rest of the search field when you start googling. It’s suggestions are based on volume, location and other factors. These are my favourites.

Are we that rude?

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Not so bad when compared to Torontonians…

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The ABC’s of Vancouverites: awesome, boring, cold.

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Wait, do we have an accent?

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More importantly, do we need name tags?

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How much does Gregor make?

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Don’t forget about the Canucks.

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I’ll answer this one. Yes, many people celebrate Halloween AND Thanksgiving.

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And finally. Why Does Vancouver Hate Keith? What does my mother have to do with this?

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Mobilegeddon: The Rollout

mobilegeddon

Image credit

Mobilegeddon: it was supposed to shatter SEO and leave ranking-less all non-mobile-friendly websites. But, so far, Mobilegeddon doesn’t seem to have lived up to the hype. Although the update is still rolling out and hasn’t yet hit every Google data centre, we haven’t seen many changes for our clients. Here’s our two-point summary of the update:

 

1) It wasn’t a big deal…

2) …but it did hit some bigger sites.

There are a lot of reports of small changes, but Searchmetrics has found some larger ones.

Losers:

mobilegeddon-losers

Winners:

mobilegeddon-winners

Mobilegeddon: Early Days

google mobilegeddon

It’s very early days into Google’s mobile update. There have been some rumblings online about ranking drops, but not many. The important things to note:

• The full roll-out will take a few weeks, so ranking drops will appear over time
• There isn’t enough data yet to make many meaningful decisions
• Desktop rankings will not be affected
• The update is applied to pages, not entire sites
• Google has a mobile-friendly test: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

The bottom line is that if you don’t have a mobile-friendly site, this update should be one more encouragement to get one, but should you panic? At this point, we don’t have enough data to know.

 

Google’s Easter Eggs

Here’s a collection from Buzzfeed of all of the great easter eggs that Google has thrown together.

1) Atari Breakout. Google image search “Atari Breakout” and you get to play the classic Atari game!

2) Google in 1998. This search brings up the old school version of the search engine.

3) Do a barrel roll. Google literally does a barrel roll.

4) Legoland in Google maps. It changes the icon from Pegman to Legoman.

5) Kennedy Space Center in Google Maps. This changes Pegman to an astronaut.

6) Bacon number. Google has built Bacon Numbers into their algorithm.

7) Anagram. They suggest an anagram for anagram – nag a ram.

8) Zerg rush. Performs a zerg rush (an overwhelming attack in video games) in the search results.

 

And here are a few of our favourites they’ve missed.

 

9) Askew or tilt. These searches tilt the browser worthy of Reddit’s Mildly Infuriating.

10) Festivus. It brings a Festivus pole up on the left hand side of the screen.

11) Google Pacman. This term allows a for a quick game of Pacman.

12) Blink tag. This search uses the unfortunate html element <blink> in the code.

 

Google Highlights Mobile Friendly Sites

Mobile results tag

Mobile SEO is taking a leap forward. Google is introducing a “Mobile-friendly” tag when users google from their handheld devices.

This is key because click through rates in organic rankings are a key indicator to Google that it is an important website, and one they should rank higher. We are assuming that their spiders will return values back to the server that indicate mobile focused items such as:

• text size
• use of Flash
• page width
• a mobile specific theme or url

If you haven’t invested in a mobile theme or responsive site, now might be the time to consider it.

Latest Google Panda Update & Quality Content

Content marketers & SEOs beware. The new Panda update is taking further strides in order to identify quality content. Google’s Pierre Far had this to say on Google + recently:

 

 

This comes as no surprise as the recognition of quality content has been at the root of many of the previous algorithm updates.

Pierre’s last comment regarding “high-quality small- and medium-sized sites ranking higher…” is a fantastic glimpse into what Google is trying to accomplish. Reward those with great content, not those with a lot of content.

Great move. Looking forward to it.

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