Google Algorithm Weather Report: July 2015
Welcome to July 2015’s Google Algorithm Weather Report. We’ve had another relatively quiet month for SEO news, with one major exception: Panda 4.2 is finally rolling out after a very long wait to the joy of many business and website owners.
Google’s New “Home-Service” Ads.
Google has been seen previewing their Home-Service ads in search results, this new feature will connect local home-service providers such as plumbers, roofers, electricians, etc.
When a searcher finds a local home-service ad, they will be presented with relevant information regarding the provider such as his / her qualifications, whether or not they have been background checked, what kind of contractor license they hold, their opening hours, contact information and website, as well as a map indicating the areas they cover.
Below is an image of the search results as they appear for your query, in this case “san francisco plumber”:
This is how it looks when you click on a provider’s listing:
and finally below is a screenshot of the request form:
This has the potential for widespread impact across local organic search results. As you can see in the above screenshots, there is a clear absence of local map results that are currently appearing for other searches (see below).
Search Console .JS & .CSS Errors
If you are receiving this warning too, it is a very simple fix. You can start with unblocking /wp-includes/ from your robots.txt, but you can also simply add
Google has finally released Panda 4.2 after a long wait of 10 months. Google confirmed that the Panda refresh began over the 18th / 19th weekend but is rolling out extremely slowly, and will take months to completely roll out, so any changes you are expecting may not be instant.
Unfortunately, making changes to your site now while Panda is rolling out will result in no benefit, but will absolutely help for the next time Panda rolls around.
This update was confirmed by Gary Illyes on Twitter:
@rustybrick Yes, last weekend we began rolling out a Panda refresh that will take a few months to complete. It affects 2-3% of the queries.
— Gary Illyes (@methode) July 24, 2015
and was later confirmed to be a global update by the same person:
@dnespo it’s rolling out slowly globally — Gary Illyes (@methode) July 29, 2015
Unsure what Panda is all about or want to make sure you’ve done all the right things to your site? Our handy Google Panda Algorithm Checklist was designed for just that.
“People Also Ask”
Back in April, Google was spotted testing a new search result called “people also ask”, this new feature shows similar questions that other searchers have asked with their relevant answers. This has now been seen by a wider group of people, which indicates that Google is actually rolling it out to everyone.
The new feature can be seen by searching for a query such as “Buy Xbox One Online”.
The Penguin Refresh is “Months Away”, says Google
Gary Illyes stated on twitter that it will be months and months before we see a Penguin refresh due to Google still working hard to make the algorithm run faster. The tweet can be seen below:
@mrjamiedodd No. Penguin refresh is months away
— Gary Illyes (@methode) July 11, 2015
Penguin was released on April 24th, 2012, the algorithm has had 5 subsequent releases after that (1.1, 1.2, 2.0, 2.1, 3.0). There was a wait of a whole year between Penguin 2.1 and 3.0 indicating that it’s more than likely we will be waiting until at least the end of the year, if not next year, before we see any Penguin changes.
New Search Console API Released
Google has released their new Search Analytics API for Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) . This new API gives webmasters more control over their tools and gives a way to report directly from the data given by the new Search Analytics Report (see below)
Google has provided a few examples of the kind of data you can pull:
Verify the presence of data (What’s the most recent date you can request?)
Top 10 queries by click count
Top 10 pages
Top 10 queries in India
Top 10 mobile queries in India
Bing’s Rolling Out Search Encryption And Could Be Causing a Drop In Organic Referrals
Webmasters were concerned over significant drops in organic referrals for Bing as the tools reported a drop in these while simultaneously reporting a spike in traffic from referring sites. A Bing spokesperson was contacted regarding this and they explained that it was being caused by Bing’s migration to encrypted search (as reported here). Expect this to continue for a while as Bing slowly rolls out HTTPS to more and more users.