HTTP = “not secure”
Google has confirmed that HTTP is now marked as “not secure” in Chrome. HTTPS encrypts the connection you have with a site, meaning that information like credit card details remain private.
By September, Google plans to have removed the “secure” notification alongside the URL as this will become the norm. And in October, Google will change the “not secure” notification to red when users are entering details.
Speed update released
In July, Google confirmed on Twitter that the new speed update had been released, which will affect the slowest mobile sites, therefore only impacting a small number of sites, but important to know nonetheless.
Keep making changes to your site to improve speed but if you have a fast site already, there may be no change to its current ranking if you make it faster (although users always appreciate a site that is as fast as possible).
Google confirms update
Google announced on Twitter that there was a broad core algorithm update towards the end of July, which could explain why your site may have experienced visibility changes.
The algorithm was released to improve search results for users and there is no current way to adjust to these changes but they serve as a reminder for the need to create the best content available so your site has a good chance of benefiting from these algorithm changes.
Google doesn’t factor sentiment
Google’s Danny Sullivan stated on Twitter this month that Google does not rank pages based on positive or negative sentiment.
This means that for example, if there is positive word about your site online, it will not affect your ranking position in terms of moving it up the SERPs because it has gained positive visits.
It will, as usual, take links to your site into account, but it can’t see if these links are for a positive or negative reason.
“Call now” button for businesses
Posts on Google My Business can now have a “call now” button added to them, which will be linked to the phone number provided on the GMB listing.
The feature will be available for all business categories but the calls will not be able to use a tracking number as the number on the listing will be the one that is called.
What search queries are used for your business?
We will now be able to see what kind of queries users search when they are looking for business information in the last seven or 28 days.
This information can be found in the Insights tab and it shows the most commonly used search terms for a specific business. The query information is not currently visible to all Google My Business users but Google is intending to roll this out to all.
Hotel knowledge panels
A new location tab is being tested for hotel knowledge panels, which will provide a range of information about surrounding areas around the hotel, including sightseeing spots and how to get around the area, which is marked with a “location score” so users can see if the information is relevant and whether the location is suitable for them.
Google makes it easier to search for jobs
There is now a new Google job search feature which appears in the SERP’s when you make a job-related search.
It is now easier than ever to search for a job role that suits you, especially when it is possible to sign into Google Maps and see how much of a commute you would have.
If you are signed into your Google account, you can save jobs that look good to apply for another time on a different device and you can receive emails when new relevant jobs are posted.
Plan trips on Bing Maps
As well as Google making many updates to its local search tools, Bing is also alert and making similar changes to improve user experience.
You can now customise “Bing Itineraries” on Bing Maps to be able to plan trips without having to leave the page. This planning option will be available for UK and US destinations.