Google has been very busy this month making some changes that will definitely impact your online properties. Here’s what you need to pay attention to:
Chrome browser now displaying “Not Secure” warnings for HTTP sites.
Yesterday (July 24), Google rolled out a “Not Secure” warning for websites with non-HTTPS URLs. (The Firefox browser made this change already.) Now whenever a Chrome user hits an HTTP site, their address bar shows a “Not Secure” warning:
This is no small thing since Chrome has the largest browser market share on both desktop (67%) and mobile (55%). If you haven’t yet migrated your site to HTTPS, do it now or you could lose a significant amount of traffic to your website. An HTTPS site means all the data exchanged between you and a user (like a sign-up or request form) is encrypted.
Search quality rater guidelines updated.
More than 10,000 search quality raters (i.e., humans) evaluate search results based on a set of criteria published by Google in its 164-page guidebook.
The guidebook is important because it tells us mere mortals interested in SEO what Google’s algorithm considers important for ranking well in search results. In the latest guidebook update, the following are the most important factors in page quality rating:
The most significant change is that raters look not only at the reputation of the website, but are also considering the reputation of the content creators. This means that your “About Us” and “Attorney Bios” pages need to be as detailed and complete as possible.
In addition, raters are focused on the “beneficial purpose” of your website content. If your content is not beneficial to the user, it won’t rank well.
Marketing products rebranded.
This isn’t that big of a deal — it’s primarily a name change to better reflect Google’s digital marketing products. Adwords has been changed to Google Ads. The Google Marketing Platform merges DoubleClick and Google Analytics to help marketers plan, purchase, measure and optimize digital media. And Google Ad Manager brings together DoubleClick for Publishers and DoubleClick Ad Exchange, used by large publishers to sell ad inventory in real time on Google and other platforms, including YouTube and Apple News, mobile apps and games, Accelerated Mobile Pages, live streams, connected TVs, etc.