This Week in Search: Google Issues Final Warning on HTTPS, and More!

Pure SEO’s This Week In Search series takes a look at the top SEO and SEM news stories from the week.

This week, Google’s John Mueller weighs in on how to rank for featured snippets, Google releases an updated Google News app on the iOS App Store, Google publishes research on a new algorithm that can generate “coherent” articles, and Google issues a final HTTPS warning for non-secure sites.

Ranking for Featured Snippets

In a recent Webmaster Hangout, Google’s John Mueller was asked about the factors that come into play when ranking for featured snippets. Here are the key takeaways:

  • A website’s importance does not automatically make all its content eligible for a featured snippet.
  • Relevance is still one of the biggest factors when it comes to answering unique individual queries.

Moving forward, if you want your content to rank for featured snippets, it’s always helpful to think about what particular question you are trying to answer during the content creation process.

Google News App Available on iPhone and iPad

The completely revamped version of the Google News app is now available for download on the iOS App Store, and has been designed to compete directly with Apple News.

The new app has some great new features for customising the news people receive using artificial intelligence. The “For You” section covers news articles based on browsing history, while the “Favorites” section features news articles based on user-saved topics, sources, locations, searches, stories and more.

Learn more about personalising your Google News here!

Google’s New Content-Creating Algorithm

Google recently published some research detailing how their new algorithm can take multiple webpages to generate original  “coherent” articles to avoid sending searchers to another webpage.

Fundamentally, this algorithm summarises web content (called “extractive summaries) then paraphrases the content (called “abstractive summaries”) into one new article. Featured snippets are extractive summaries, where Google keeps the most important sentences to efficiently answer user queries.

In the future, perhaps Google will entirely stop sending searchers to other sites to successfully answer queries, which is unsettling in a lot of ways, especially for search engine optimisation. You can read the original research paper here.

Final Warning for HTTPS

Google Chrome has announced that the “Not secure” message will permanently be visible on the Chrome browser bar starting in October 2018 for sites that have not been secured with HTTPS.

The first stage of this change is rolling out on September 2018 when the current green secure logo will turn into a simple black block. In October 2018, insecure sites will be flagged with a prominent red icon.

This could spell trouble for eCommerce and ad-driven informational sites, as this security warning may influence users to bounce faster away from your site, lowering sales and conversions.

Looking for Digital Marketing Insights in New Zealand?

Pure SEO recently released the 2018 Digital Marketing Report. Here, we explore internet search trends and insights specifically for New Zealand. Download your free copy now!

Rachel Matela

Rachel is a Filipino Kiwi with a passion for the arts. Having graduated with an Arts Degree in English from UoA, she found writing work at PureSEO as a Junior Copywriter and quickly moved on to the role of Editor. In her spare time, she reads Austen and teaches dance classes in the weekend.

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