This week: Google releases a new Search Console report with another one is on the way, RankBrain is used in every search, and AdWords ads are coming to the local 3-pack.
Here’s what happened this week in SEO.
Google Adds Rich Results Filter to Search Console
Google continues to add new features to the Search Console. This time, the search giant has added a rich results filter to its search analytics report.
The new filter gives you the option to see only rich results (including rich snippets and rich cards) in your search analytics.
To see it in action, fire up the Search Console, select your web property, and click on “Search Analytics” under “Search Traffic” in the left-hand sidebar. If you’re using rich snippets on your site, you’ll see a “Search Appearance” radio button at the top of the report. Just click on that to filter your results so that you only see rich results.
The resulting report will show you how well your rich content is performing in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Google Uses RankBrain for Every Search
Once upon a time, RankBrain was only used in 15% of Google searches. Now, it’s used all the time.
That news broke this week with Steven Levy’s story about artificial intelligence initiatives at Google.
Google is characteristically fuzzy on exactly how [RankBrain] improves search (something to do with the long tail? Better interpretation of ambiguous requests?) but [Jeff Dean, a leader in Google’s machine-learning efforts,] says that RankBrain is “involved in every query,” and affects the actual rankings “probably not in every query but in a lot of queries.”
What’s more, it’s hugely effective. Of the hundreds of “signals” Google search uses when it calculates its rankings (a signal might be the user’s geographical location, or whether the headline on a page matches the text in the query), RankBrain is now rated as the third most useful.
It should be noted that RankBrain doesn’t change the rank for every page. However, it does change the rank for “a lot” of pages.
Google Has Stopped Using Authorship Completely
Remember when you set your site up for Google Authorship and could see your pretty mugshot next to your listings in the SERPs? Those days are gone forever.
Of course, the mugshot element of Google Authorship has been gone for a while. Also, Google stopped using Authorship for everything except in-depth articles back in 2014.
According to Google’ Gary Illyes, the search giant knows who wrote an article by “reading” the content.
Inevitable: Ads Are Coming to the Local 3-Pack
This week, at the SMX Advanced Local Workshop, Google confirmed that ads are coming to the local 3-pack.
Google’s Global Product Lead for Local Ads, Ali Turhan, showed a screenshot of the local 3-pack that included a sample ad.
Since local ads tend to rank based on proximity, they might be a good option for marketers who want to appear in local search results, but whose businesses are usually far enough away from searchers to appear at the top of the local packs.
Google Is Retiring Custom Date Range Search Filter for Mobile Users
Soon, mobile searchers will no longer be able to Google for results based on a specific date range. The search giant is removing the date filter for mobile users.
The filter was accessible under the “Search Tools” option shown in the search results.
Here’s what Google had to say about removing the feature:
After much thought and consideration, Google has decided to retire the Search Custom Date Range Tool on mobile. Today we are starting to gradually unlaunch this feature for all users, as we believe we can create a better experience by focusing on more highly-utilized search features that work seamlessly across both mobile and desktop. Please note that this will still be available on desktop, and all other date restriction tools [e.g., “Past hour,” “Past 24 hours,” “Past week,” “Past month,” “Past year”] will remain on mobile.
The filter will remain available for desktop and laptop users.
The Search Console Will Soon Include a Mobile Usability Report
As if there weren’t enough new features in the Search Console, there’s yet another one on the horizon: a mobile usability report.
It looks like the new report is going to resemble the mobile testing tool that Google released a few weeks ago. Of course, there’s an added convenience to using it when it’s part of the Search Console.
The new feature isn’t available to the general public yet. It looks like it’s just in beta, with people who are participating in the beta program releasing screenshots of the report.
No release date has been given for the new feature.