Archive for November, 2015

Title: The Next Big Phase of Google Search Is Coming Early Next Year

Search Engine News, Search Engine Optimization

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Last month, Google announced Accelerated Mobile Pages, a new open source project, which is basically its answer to Facebook’s Instant Articles. Like Instant Articles, the purpose of the project is to enable web pages to load more quickly on mobile devices.

Google announced on Tuesday that it will begin sending traffic to AMP pages in Google search beginning early next year. They didn’t give a specific date, but said they intend to share “more concrete specifics on timing very soon.” Stay tuned for that. It remains to be seen whether or not these pages will get a ranking boost by default, but given Google’s emphasis on the mobile experience, it seems very likely that AMPs will benefit.

Are you planning to implement Accelerated Mobile Pages? Let us know in the comments.

“We want webpages with rich content like video, animations and graphics to work alongside smart ads, and to load instantaneously,” Google explained when the project was announced. “We also want the same code to work across multiple platforms and devices so that content can appear everywhere in an instant—no matter what type of phone, tablet or mobile device you’re using.”

The program utilizes a new open framework called AMP HTML, which is built on existing web technologies, and is aimed at letting websites build light-weight pages.

As far as ranking goes, Danny Sullivan said in a tweet last month that AMP pages won’t rank better because they’re AMP, but noted that Google already rewards speedy pages, so they can still benefit.

Google has already made mobile-friendliness a ranking signal, and the whole point of AMPs is to make for a better mobile experience. It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which AMPs aren’t benefiting in rankings.

“Thousands of publishers have expressed interest in AMP since the preview launched with the likes of the BBC, Sankei, New York Times, News Corp, Washington Post and more,” write David Besbris (Vice President of Engineering, Google Search) and Richard Gingras (Head of News, Google) in a blog post. “Since then, many others have committed their support to the project, including R7.com and NZN Group in Brazil; CBS Interactive, AOL, Thrillist, Slate, International Business Times/Newsweek, Al Jazeera America and The Next Web in the US; El Universal and Milenio in Mexico; The Globe and Mail and Postmedia in Canada, as well as many more across the globe. The Local Media Consortium (LMC), a partnership of 70+ media companies collectively representing 1,600 local newspapers and television stations, has also voiced their support.”

The two also announced that Outbrain, AOL, OpenX, DoubleCLick, and AdSense are working within the project’s framework to improve the ad experience for users, publishers, and advertisers. More information on this will come in the near future, they say.

“Ensuring that traffic to AMP articles is counted just like current web articles is also a major focus of the project,” they write. “comScore, Adobe Analytics, Parse.ly and Chartbeat have all stated that they intend to provide analytics for AMP pages within their tools. They have since been joined by many others: Nielsen, ClickTale and Google Analytics. This development is significant for the AMP Project because publishers developing for AMP will not skip a beat in terms of analytics and measurement — analytics for AMP are real time and will work within your existing provider.”

According to Google, there are over 4,500 developers expressing interest in AMP with over 250 contributions of new code, samples, and documentation having been made. Discussions are also underway related to analytics and template features.

With Google Search the mobile experience has been they key narrative throughout 2015, and it looks like that will continue throughout next year, largely driven by AMP.

Has this development been on your radar thus far? What do you think of the project? Discuss.

Image via Google/AMPProject.org

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Title: Facebook Lets Google Index Mobile App

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Google is now reportedly indexing Facebook’s mobile app as part of its app indexing efforts.

Google has been encouraging app developers to utilize its app indexing resources to enable mobile users to get to content within apps from Google search results. Google has even made app indexing a ranking signal.

Apparently Facebook wasn’t getting involved until now. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Facebook is now allowing Google to crawl in-app content. Of course the content is the same stuff Google was already accessing on the web version, such as public profile information. From the report:

The agreement means that results from Google searches on smartphones will display some content from Facebook’s app, including public profile information. The listings will appear as “deep links” that will take users to the relevant part of the Facebook app, the spokeswoman said.

Google can’t show content shared through logged-in and private Facebook app sessions, meaning it is still locked out of most information inside the walled garden of Facebook’s social network. For those searches, users will have to use Facebook’s search service, which it recently updated.

Facebook has been going to great lengths to improve its own search service. The company recently announced some major improvements to search across personal connections and public posts, and is now testing in-profile search.

It’s unclear from the Journal’s report whether Google is indexing Facebook’s app on just Android, just iOS, or both. The ability to index Android apps has been around for a longer time, but Google recently expanded its efforts to include iOS.

For more on app indexing, view our related coverage here.

Image via Google Play

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Title: Google My Business Gets Special Hours Feature

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Google My Business is getting a new feature that lets you pre-schedule specific hours for holidays or special events. Now that we’re into November, the feature couldn’t have come any sooner.

When a business provides special hours to Google My Business for a known holiday in their region, Google will tell customers they’re seeing holiday-specific opening hours. If you don’t provide special hours for a known holiday in your region (even if you update your regular hours), Google will add a disclaimer to let customers know that “hours might differ” for the holiday.

“The holiday season is fast approaching and with it customers looking for last minute gifts,” says Google’s Marissa Nordahl in the Google and Your Business Help Forum (via Rise Insight).”They are wondering when they can visit your business and counting on your business information being correct on Google.”

“Special Hours are not just for the holidays,” she says. “With Special Hours in Google My Business, merchants can pre-schedule exceptional hours up to 365 days in advance. This feature is particularly useful for special events where normal business hours do not apply. Simply use Google My Business to tell us the date with special hours, and we’ll display those instead of the regular business hours for that date. No need to return and reupload your hours, we’ll display your regular hours automatically after the date you specified for your special event.”

There’s a Google Help Center article about setting up special hours here. You can only use the feature if you’ve provided regular hours of course.

Images via Google

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