Want to get up to speed with the biggest SEO news from July 2017?
Last month, there were three major Google updates that every online marketer should know about: Google Instant was retired, hidden content was given the green light, and Google Analytics became a whole lot easier to use. If you’re not sure what these developments mean for your site, don’t miss our advice below.
Google Instant is given the boot
Google has scrapped Google Instant, the feature that generated search results while you typed. You’ll no longer see search results before hitting enter or selecting a search suggestion.
When Google Instant was launched back in 2010, Google said it would save users 2–5 seconds per search. So why is it retiring the system?
It’s all down to an increasingly mobile userbase, a spokesperson told Search Engine Land. Google Instant isn’t great on small touchscreens, so the company is looking at ways to “make search even faster and more fluid on all devices”.
This seemingly subtle change could prove significant for SEO.
Users who searched for ‘football boots size 10’ in the past would see the results for ‘football boots’ before they’d finished typing. Some clicked a result for this short-tail query rather than continuing with their long-tail search.
Google Instant’s death means short-tail keywords can no longer steal traffic from their long-tail cousins in this way. And that means long-tail rankings are much more valuable.
Google gives hidden content the green light
Content tabs on the HMV website
In a recent Webmaster Hangout, Google’s John Mueller revealed that content hidden by tabs and folders will now be “treated as normal content on the page […] even if it is hidden on the initial view”.
Google has been ignoring or even penalising hidden content for years, because black-hat SEOs once used it to stuff keywords onto a page without the user noticing.
However, with over 50% of searches performed via mobile, Google has to prioritise the small-screen experience. And that means allowing tabbed and ‘click to read more’ content, rather than encouraging webmasters to present large blocks of text.
With the mobile-first index on the horizon, now’s the time to review your site’s mobile user experience and take a mobile-centric approach to design.
Google Analytics starts speaking English
You can now ask Google Analytics questions and expect a plain-English answer.
Making it far easier to access the information you need, this new Analytics Intelligence feature provides immediate and straightforward answers to questions like ‘How many mobile visitors did we get last week?’ and ‘What was our organic revenue yesterday?’
Check out the video to find out more:
Digital marketing stats
- Content ranking in the top 3 is 45% longer than content in 20th position (SEMrush)
- Click-through rates for ads in the top 4 Google positions have increased by 49.04% year-on-year (AccuraCast)
- 35% of search result pages had a featured snippet in April (STAT)
- The most-clicked B2B headline phrase is ‘the future of’, with an average of 402 LinkedIn shares (BuzzSumo)
Highlights from Twitter
When it comes to bolding onsite content, Google’s John Mueller says you should think of users first:
You’ll probably get more out of bolding text for human users / usability in the end. Bots might like, but they’re not going to buy anything.
— John ☆.o(≧▽≦)o.☆ (@JohnMu) July 6, 2017
Honesty truly is the best policy, according to Moz’s Dr Pete Meyers:
— Dr. Pete Meyers (@dr_pete) July 18, 2017
Google’s Gary Ilyes doesn’t want you to focus on increasing your site’s PageRank or Domain Authority (DA) scores:
Thanks Ammon. My Monday wasn’t bad enough:)
— Gary “鯨理” Illyes (@methode) July 17, 2017