Episode 5 - Google Updates Search Quality Guidelines

In this video

In this week's roundup of search news, the Canonical Chronicle covers:

  • Google's new search quality guidelines

  • Google Releases Speakable Markup

  • Google Fights Clickbait and Fake News

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Video summary

Google updates search quality guidelines

Google has revised it’s 164 page document that they use to help human quality raters to make decisions about the quality of a website in the Google index.

SEO vet Jennifer Slegg commented that the biggest change was that Google was looking to not only understand the quality of the website but also the author that is publishing the material. So maybe it’s time to dust off that Google Plus account Markup you site with authorship markup and start boosting that Klout score ……...or not.

Google Fights Clickbait and Fake News

Another interesting update was Google asking rater to down rank articles with sensationalist titles like

“Housewife discovers one weird trick and cosmetic companies hate her”

You get the picture.

Working with one of the biggest viral news companies in the world, we have seen the Facebook have already done this with publishers so it’s a welcome move by Google. The question is how is it going to play out in the long run.

Beneficial Purpose

Google also wants raters to check if there is a “beneficial purpose” to the content. For example, if you create content to just try to rank for a term to drive affiliate revenue or ad revenue then they are likely to downgrade it. When they say “beneficial purpose” I hear that it needs to be purposely beneficial to their bottom line. For me this is such a gangster mafia style move. The biggest advertising platform on the planet is saying that they are not happy with you getting free traffic for them and monetising through ads…… why? Cause it’s not their ads. They are happy with 50% of ALL digital marketing revenues - they want it all. First they went for flights and I said nothing. Then hotels and I said nothing and now they’ve come for me. We call them Big G for a reason. Because there business moves are straight up gangster.

Google Event Search Updates

Talking about squeezing industries and being the middleman, Google have also updated it’s search results for event based searches in the US. You can now click into the event details and see times, event details and…...ticketing providers. But pray tell, how does one get on the list of ticketing providers. We assume it’s using the same algorithm that would rank a site on standard serps but much like flights and hotels…...just you wait for a paid option or preferential treatment for the companies striking deals with the big G allowing them to get a cut of the action.

Google to stop URL submissions to the index

In completely underwhelming news, Google announced we can no longer submit URLs to their index via the public submission form. Well that’s GoDaddy’s SEO proposition out the window

Chrome Starts Telling Users that Sites are not secure

The secure - pocalypse is among us. Chrome has officially started showing “not-secure” on all browsers without SSL certification. So if you’re site doesn't have HTTPS yet…...sort your life out.

Google Releases Speakable Markup

New in voice. You can now markup “speakable” sections of your site if you are a publisher. Now, the skeptical amongst you will be saying - Ross - we monetize through ad impressions why in gods name would we want to bypass our own sites and serve voice content via Google. Well my friends, it’s because you have no choice and need to start carving out market share early with voice so when paid subscription models for voice news become a thing, you can monetise that. Imagine, you are the guardian and every single article is marked up. Let’s say that voice based news hits 25% adoption. You’ve enjoyed over 70% brand penetration with your articles being read most of the time. Google and Amazon then flip on the paid for subscription switch and when you articles get read you can now autocharge 10p or upsell a £10 annual subscription. Way more than your dwindling CPM ad revenues are driving PLUS you don’t need to deal with shitty advertisers or debase yourself with click bait in order to get the impressions. You just focus on telling the best stories and providing the best journalism.