As we begin to head into Spring and the trees and flowers begin to grow new life again, there’s plenty of new issues blooming within the SEO industry. Once more, we sneak a peek into what’s been happening this April and the possible repercussions moving towards the Summer.
If you’ve so much as glanced at the news over the last year, chances are that you’ve picked up on the discussion surrounding fake news sites. Troubled by the visibility of such low-quality sites, Google in a recent blog post declared their intention to give users a greater ability to provide feedback so that such misleading content can be subsequently penalised.
This isn’t a new phenomenon however, and those of you who read the last instalment of our monthly round up will recall that a number of high-profile firms took exception to the fact that offensive and poor-quality adverts were showing up alongside their webpages. Google took their feedback on board, and has subsequently extended this policy of openness to the wider search engine user base. Now, authoritative sites that contain verified and checked facts will be rewarded for their accuracy, to push them up above those sites built around blatant lies.
Yet also this month, a number of websites noticed a significant fluctuation in their rankings despite not having done anything that could have produced either a positive or negative change. Early speculation seems to believe that perhaps Google sought to roll back some of the changes they made in their last major ‘Fred’ update, but they have not been forthcoming with any announcement if true.
The permanence of such swings though may not be as damaging as some believe, as further discussion has led many in the know to theorise that what has happened is Google laying the foundations for yet another major update sometime in the near future. With it being unlikely that reliable and well-constructed sites would see drops and all collectively at once, something certainly appears to be afoot.
Across the last few months, it has emerged that approximately 4000 sites that utilise WordPress have been compromised by a so-called plug-in called ‘WP-Base-SEO’.
Ostensibly, the plugin appears to be legitimate yet has been outed as a forgery of another plugin (WordPress SEO Tools). Digging down into the malware’s files, similar technology was found to that discovered last July, when WordPress sites were again targeted by the ‘CryptXXX’ ransomware. Subsequently, if you operate any pages that utilise WordPress then it’s best to take a detailed look at your add-ons, to ensure these malicious systems and others like them have not got you in their sites.
When you scroll through the gigantic list of results that Google provides to answer your queries, it can seem astounding that so many people have had similar thoughts. As it turns out though, apparently 15% of the searches entered into Google are totally unique, indicative of the incredible range of issues the Internet is always discussing.
This news, whilst perhaps not the most earth shattering, should give hope to anyone who has grown despondent over bolstering their search rankings. Whilst common terms will always be fiercely competitive, there will always be new avenues of discussion for you to tailor your content around. If you can stay aware of the latest trends and debates, you could be among the first to position yourself as an authority within the field, so keep your head up and your ears open!
Thanks to Google Home, the owners of such a system are even more connected to the digital sphere than ever before. A lot of talk has centred on the fact that voice searches will increasingly take the place of regular text searches, and this update will not quieten any voices.
By remembering each individual voice and their past search history, Google Home just like any other device should in theory be able to adjust its rankings based on each profile’s unique online imprint. This in turn will likely alter the hits on many pages, and webmasters will be rewarded if they have a history of authoritative and engaging information that keeps searchers coming back. The impact of Google Home and other similar devices shouldn’t be underestimated, and due consideration should be given to optimising for voice search as a result.