This week: The next Penguin update could be the last, Google results display TV show times, and say goodbye to the PageRank toolbar.
Here’s what happened this week in SEO.
Google Results Include Air Times for TV Shows
When you Google the name of your favorite TV show, what are you expecting to find in the search results? A forum where you can discuss the show with like-minded fans? A blog that reveals lesser-known facts about the program?
Soon, when you Google the name of a TV show, you’ll be informed about its next air date. Effectively, Google is the new TV Guide.
That new feature will offer stiff competition to websites that people currently use to get air times. But there’s no denying that many people will want to see show times when they Google the name of their favorite program.
PageRank Is Gone
It’s official. PageRank is no longer available to the general public.
Once upon a time, SEO professionals used PageRank to determine the quality of a particular website. PageRank returned a number from 1-10 that measured the authority level of a site, with 10 being the best.
That information is important to people in SEO who are creating backlink profiles for their clients to generate link juice. The higher the PageRank metric of a website with the backlink, the more “credit” Google gives the link, thus making it easier to rank pages with backlinks from quality sites.
Google will still use the PageRank metric to determine the quality of a site, and use that metric to pass link juice to linked sites, but the data won’t be available to people outside of the company.
Prediction: SEO Spending Reaches $80 Billion by 2020
Good news if you’re an SEO professional. Your industry is growing.
According to local media forecaster Borrell Associates, total SEO spending will reach just over $65 billion this year. However, by 2020, that number is expected to grow to $80 billion.
The report also says that businesses will spend an estimated $613 billion in digital marketing this year.
Changes for Local Search Marketers
Google recently made a couple of changes that affect local search marketers.
First, ads now appear in the Local Finder results. You might have noticed that when you Google a local search term, you’ll often see the “3-pack” in the search engine results pages (SERPs). That’s a listing of 3 local businesses that match the search criteria. Usually at the bottom of that listing you’ll see a “More Places” link that you can click to view more results beyond just those three.
Now, when you do that, you might see an ad at the top of the list. That’s a significant change for digital marketers who are using local search.
Also, Google Maps is no longer a search partner. The net result of that, according to Search Engine Land, is as follows:
- Advertisers that use location extensions but had opted out of Search Partners will now be able to have their ads shown in Maps and may see an increase in impressions and clicks as their ads start showing there.
- Advertisers that don’t use location extensions but were opted into Search Partners could see a drop in impressions and clicks with ads no longer showing in Maps.
Google Offers Additional Search Filters on Mobile
When you perform a Google search on your mobile device and it has local intent, you’ll see additional filtering options with the results.
For example, if you Google the name of a local business and there are several businesses in the nearby area that share the same name, Google will give you the option to refine your search based on the distance from your current location, the ratings of the business, and whether or not it’s open right now.
Google Says Not to Worry “Too Much” About Page Speed
Webmasters who want their pages to rank well are known to go mad as they explore everything they can possibly do to ensure that their website loads as fast as possible. That obsession might not be as necessary as previously thought.
This week, Google’s Gary Illyes told a hand-wringing website owner not to worry “too much” about page speed. In this case, the page was loading in about five seconds – basically an eternity in the modern digital era.
Certainly, page speed is an important factor when it comes to conversion, especially if you’re running an e-commerce site. However, as a ranking factor, it could be overhyped.
The Next Penguin Update Might Be the Last
Many SEO professionals are waiting for Google’s next Penguin update to see how it affects the rank of their client’s sites. As it turns out, that next update might be the last one.
This week on Twitter, Gary Illyes was asked about the next Penguin update that will follow the soon-to-be-released version 4.0. His response: “it’s likely there won’t be a ‘next one’”.
So Penguin 4.0 is probably the last.