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Digital Marketing News Round Up: Cutts Warns of Impending SEO Changes, Updates for Schema Markup, Knowledge Graph and Analytics

Last week was Google I/O, the search giant’s annual developer conference. Digital professionals have a love/hate relationship with the event: many of Google’s most exciting innovations tend to come out of it, but an equal number of future headaches are likely to debut. This year, the prospect of conversational search excited, while the spectre of a major new Penguin update caused a few sleepless nights.

Matt Cutts: Penguin 2.0 and other SEO changes coming soon

Ahead of Google I/O, Matt Cutts released a new video outlining what SEOs should expect to emerge as working priorities from the next few months of Google activity. We’ll let him speak for himself first:

The headline point is surely the looming potential of Penguin 2.0 which Cutts said will “go a little bit deeper and have a little bit more of an impact than the original version”. Also prioritised as a talking point in the video were advertorials: we already know that Google isn’t a fan, with several high-profile Page Rank demotions earlier in the year. Any sites violating webmaster guidelines and selling links can expect to be punished. He went on to mention the following:

  • “Porn” and “Payday Loans” – Webmasters who work in these sectors will need to be ready as Cutts specifically mentions these as examples of “problematic search”. He opted to not go into detail on what action Google was considering
  • Links – More sophisticated link analysis is in the pipe line to help find spammy links and de-value them
  • Hacked sites – Google are currently working on a new and improved feature that will detect and warn searchers of hacked sites. A section that will alert webmasters of such activity will be added to Webmaster Tools
  • Authority – If Google think you are an authority in your niche, you should expect to see better ranking than your competitors
  • Panda – Sites that have been “Panda slapped” and Google thinks are within the grey area of the algorithm may see some rankings reappear with a new Panda update as Google have added new factors to the algorithm
  • Clusters of domains in SERPs – If you have been seeing clusters of the same domain on the first page of SERPs you won’t be seeing them for much longer. Google plans to diversify the first page and so clusters of domains will be pushed deeper into the SERPs
  • Webmaster Tools – A greater amount of information will be passed on to webmasters including more details for sites which have been hacked and a larger example of URLs to help diagnose problems with your site

Organisation logos get their own Schema markup

Google now supports Schema markup specifically for the logos of organisations, allowing for this graphical element to appear alongside search results. Using the organisation markup, webmasters can add their preferred logo and Google will use this when appropriate.

Google Knowledge Graph improvements

Google Knowledge graph result on mobile handset

Image source: Inside Search

At Google I/O, Amit Singhal, Google’s senior VP of search, introduced a new feature in Knowledge Graph. Instead of only serving an enquiry with the answer you’re after, answers to questions you’re likely to follow up with are also provided. He explains:

You’ll also get smarter answers to questions like “what’s the population of Canada?” Not only will Google answer that question, but you also get an answer to the next few follow-up questions people often ask. In a single card, you’ll see how Canada’s population changed over time - and a comparison with California and Australia.

“OK Google” – conversational search

Google has offered a search by speech option on mobile devices and desktops for a while now, but soon Google will talk back to you and conduct a conversation, allowing you to find out more information from the same search.

Your devices will listen for the command “OK Google” and then listen to what you want to search for. Once your results have been returned, you can delve deeper into that search without having to start a new query from scratch. One example, from Google I/O:

Soon you’ll be able to just say, hands-free ‘OK Google, will it be sunny in Santa Cruz this weekend?’ and get a spoken answer. Then, you’ll be able to continue the conversation and just follow up with ‘how far is it from here?’ if you care about the drive or ‘how about Monterey?’ if you want to check weather somewhere else.

New Google Analytics filter fields

Google have added more custom filter fields allowing users to refine their data. Rather than just seeing ‘mobile’ data, users can now see if it was a mobile, a tablet, view its brand name, its model name and more. A full list of newly added fields can be found on the Google Analytics blog.

Return at the same time next week for more news, or check out our vacancies in digital marketing if you want to truly keep your finger on the pulse.



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