Guess who’s back? Back again.
Canonical Chronicle is back, tell a friend and coming from our
brand-new studio space. ♪ [music] ♪ First up, google.com are now showing the
Discover newsfeed on all mobile devices. So I know being vintage is, like,
the “in” thing at the moment but when it comes to mobile devices, definitely not.
Right now, if you look at the Google homepage on your phone,
it literally looks like Yahoo in 1995. You may actually wondering how they
actually get those news results onto your feed. They really say they’re
making the decisions about what you see is based on what you already like and what
they know about your search history. I don’t know about you but I’ve made a
couple of searches that I don’t want randomly bubbling up when I’m looking for
directions somewhere. So in the name of science,
what I’m going to do is see what they’re targeting me with right now to see if it’s
interesting. And because we’ve got a video editor on hand, we can take out anything
that’s not safe for work. Okay, so first up, we’ve got something
about a plane crashing, something about Formula One, some cricket,
some football. This is a miserable news feed. Essentially,
they’re just saying, “He’s a bloke. Show him sports, close but no cigar.
Next up, Google Maps has introduced a follow button for all Google My Business
holders. So a couple of months ago, you could actually start uploading content
kind of like it’s a social network but to your Maps listing.
You can add images and little updates up to 300 words at a time. So,
if you got something to promote or something cool you want to surface when
people are googling your business, you can do that but inside the maps
interface itself. If you look at the timing of this, they’ve actually killed
off Google+ and a couple of weeks later, you can now randomly follow businesses on
maps. So they clearly want some sort of social thing going on and maybe maps is
their root to business or social. Because God knows
it wasn’t Google+. It’s not a ranking
factor at the moment, but I can imagine the more followers you
have and the more people that care about your business and the more people
are doing brand searches for you, the more that’s going to influence ranking
especially in the map rank. Next up and absolutely terrifying news
Google Lens is now available inside of image search results. So,
you know, Google Lens, right? It’s that incredibly terrifying AI robotic
thing where you can literally take a picture of anything and it automatically
knows what it is. So not only does Google know what every single entity is in text
and also an image what it can now do is take that image, put it through a search
and Google will search its entire database all of human knowledge condensed that will
understand what that image is and show you related images. That is terrifying. Now, with regards to
business implementation, if you’re a business owner particularly in
retail, what I’d make sure is all of your products are marked up with proper schema
and really good, crystal clear images so it’s easy for them to understand what it
is and match it to real-life scenarios. And I’d also make sure that your ads guy
is making sure that you’ve got showcase ads and shopping ads running with all of
the relevant products. So if someone does take an image
and push it through a search, it’s your product that’s coming up.
And you’re going get the sale for them. Next up Google Search Console is now
giving us notifications if your pages are super slow. Now, I appreciate that might
seem like a really small, minor update. But if you think about the client-agency
relationship for a second, it’s actually a massive update.
Lighthouse is amazing to get you buy-in with the CTO and all the text and all the
devs in the client’s side. But ultimately, if I run up to the CMO and say,
“Your critical rendering path needs to be fixed. Your time to
first payment is terrible.” He’s going to be like, “What?”
But if you have a report from search console that says, “Hey,
these pages are slow. It’s affecting your rankings.
And the most powerful machine known to man when it comes to data collection is having
trouble crawling it because it’s so slow,” that’s going to get your buy-in.
And from there, you can make it a part of the wider organization and get it from
the top down instead of trying to get the devs to canvas the CMO.
Little minor effects, but when it comes agency-client comms, love it. Next up,
Google has now fixed the 404 caching issue for mobile first indexing.
Let me tell you a little story. This time last month we were taking one
site that was beautiful HTML and CSS. The client comes to us with this beautiful
HTML and CSS wonder and says, “Hey, I want to change this to a one-page
ReactJS site with server-side rendering.” Now, we’re all professionals so it
shouldn’t be a problem. Made sure that server-side rendering was working great.
Done the migration, ran it through Screaming Frog,
and all of our 301s finalized in a 200. Great job done, pat on the back until when
I went to check the home page to see what Google was seeing by running it through
the cache, I realized that it was a 404. Now, that wasn’t a problem because inside
of search console when you do a fetch and render, boom comes up not an issue.
But, the client was, like, “It’s 404ing in the cache.
I think you broke something.” Thankfully, Google have come out and said
that it was just a UI issue, and it was a bug; nothing to do with your
rankings, nothing to do with the impressions or clicks
you’re getting to the site. Literally, just a UI fix that’s now
been patched. Next up, you can now see branded analytics in your
Google My Business profile. Now, one of my favorite things to do
especially at SEO conferences is speak to black hat guys and ask them what they
think ranking factors are. And when they ask me back what I think
ranking factors are, I like to say, “Brand.” Now,
I say that partially flippantly just to get a reaction from people. However,
the fact that Google is now not only taking brand into consideration for local
businesses but surfacing that in your analytics that’s got to mean something.
Think about it. The more and more brand searches you get, surely,
that’s a trust signal. So, if you’re a local business,
now would be the time to make sure that people are googling your brand correctly
and those numbers are going up over time as well as genetic searches for the
products and services that you sell. Next up, another very small search console
update. You can now get search console results inside the SERPS themselves.
What do I mean by this? Essentially, well, when you Google a keyword,
it will surface impressions, clicks, and average position in
the SERP, right next to your search result. So again,
why should we care about that? Listen, we’ve all had clients who will go
and be furiously googling things every single week, every single month. “Oh,
on Wednesday I was number one, Oh, on Thursday, I was number three.
At the weekend I was number five. And now I’m back to number one.
What are you guys doing to my website to cause this fluctuation so much?”
And the answer is well, we’re not doing anything that’s just
natural search patterns. So what I’d recommend is get your client’s
personal email registered with search console so when they do that furious
googling, they get impressions, clicks, and average position. Why is this good?
Well, it kind of helps the agency-client dynamic when you can take a little bit of
a zoom out and start to have a more grown-up conversation about the metrics
that actually matter and how search is affecting their business.
That’s all the news for this week. Tune in next week for another episode of
Canonical Chronicle. And, in the meantime, feel free to follow us on social.
We’ll see you later.