So it’s been a busy few weeks in search. We’ve had Google Pigeon drop in, further tweaks to authorship and now we’re looking at the possibility of having your site rankings rewarded if it’s properly secured.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of these recent changes and see what the industry commentators have to say.
First up, Google Pigeon. Search Engine Land named it in this initial post. I’m sticking to my guns in suggesting that this was a name waiting for an update, but that’s beside the point. This update has given us a shakeup of local search queries, in some instances changing whether a query gets a local pack or not. We’re seeing suggestions that this may depend on whether or not the query is consider spammy, but with a continuing roll out and varying results across the globe it’s all a bit inconsistent. At least for the time being.
Another purported effect is that some directories are seeing an increased SERP presence – as noted in the charmingly titled Picking through Google’s Pigeon Droppings. Certainly higher quality ones including TripAdvisor and Yelp have done well out of this. Yelp had previously complained that they weren’t ranking as highly as they should for queries that explicitly mention Yelp.
Next up the authorship confusion. This is another work in progess from Google as we’re seeing some confusion. It all started with the announcement that the authorship images would disappear from the SERPs, which they largely did, then followed the suggestion that they would still show for people in a logged in G+ user’s circles, debate over the CTR boost effect and now changes to authorship stats. Oh and let’s not forget the news that Google’s Ad CTR went up following the changes. News which caused a certain amount of cynicism over the original claim that they were doing it because removal would unify the layout across devices.
In our opinion it’s still worth setting up authorship as part of an overall optimisation plan.
Finally, there’s yesterdays announcement that a secured site will eventually start to be a positive ranking factor. Before you rush to implement HTTPS/SSL bear in mind it’s only a weak factor (for now) and currently impacts “fewer than 1% of global queries.”
What’s next? Well personally I expect there to be more shuffling with Google Pigeon and authorship before things finally start to settle in a week or two. By which time we’ll surely be ready for a major algorithm update.
May I suggest we call this one Google Parrot?