In todays episode, we talk about some key recent updates to Google that you need to be aware of.
Darryl: Hi and welcome to The My Bloody Website Podcast where we talk about all things online especially for small and medium business owners or marketers. I'm Darryl King I’ve been running a web agency for 25 plus years and my co-host Ed Pelgen has been running his online marketing agency for just as long. Our goal is to cover things in a way that you can understand, anyone can understand and can help you improve how you use online for your business. This is episode 38 and we're talking about important Google updates that have happened in June, July 2018. How are you Ed?
Edmund: I'm very good Darryl. How about yourself?
Darryl: excellent, right; excellent; Sorry;
Edmund: it's been a busy month
Darryl: It has been. It been very busy. Midwinter down under. It’s um, you know; uh, snowflakes get very upset when the temperature drops below about 24 degrees Celsius. You know; we all start to (0:50)
Edmund: It’s freezing
Darryl: (0:51 by the way). But the heat is on, be wearing our beanies and everything else. The rest; the rest the of world they're just getting theirs as a hot summer's day but yeah, now; so look; I think a lot of people know little bits about Google that it updates and makes changes and they tend to hear anecdotal stories from their professionals or people around them or someone at the barbecue that says; oh, you know; this update killing the world Nessie O's dead and all these other things. So people have a sense that changes happen. I don't know. I guess in the old days there used to be once a year or once every X many months. Be some major update whereas you know there's pretty much been; there's an ongoing series of tiny iterative changes that happen with periodic bigger updates or periodic things that are noticed as a significant shift in focus or there's been an announcement and I don't know that everyone understands that you know; some of these things can be reasonably significant. So I guess you know we wanted to talk a little bit about there have been a few things that have been significant. We touched about one of them in browser in the last episode but I guess that's the thing is you know; people are busy I got a website, I've got some AdWords going, I've got a bit of organic happening you know; life's good I'm moving on. They don't always understand changes occurring
Darryl: So; what has been going on Ed? What changes I would be (2:13 say)
Edmund: you know; as a time of recording you know mid-July. The two biggest; I guess; updates in Google. They're on people's minds right now. Well, the first one is we kind of touched on it last week. Is this idea that chrome the browser is about to update and start flagging non HTTPS sites as insecure and there being more aggressive about how they do that. As of the recording of this episode as if they were recording. Chrome 67 version 67 is still out there and we're waiting for chrome 68 to drop but it's imminent and when chrome 68 drops. It is going to flag insecure sites more aggressively and so if you haven't gotten to HTTPS you need to get that underway as quickly as possible. And if you want to find out more about that just look at the last episode where Daryl talks a lot about the; this issue about moving to SSL. So it's an important thing with chrome updating because it's probably the most popular and commonly used browser that's out there.
Darryl: What are we; what are we going to see in search results stemming from insecure. I mean;
Edmund: yeah; so; so;
Darryl: (3:18) you see; you know; this site is not responsive or this page is not responsive. We see that. There's been some hints that we're gonna start to see. This is an insecure site or sites just might not be (3:29 shown). What are you; what are the; what's the word on that?
Edmund: So the current the current version of chrome. When you see an insecure site. It just has a little circle with an exclamation point in it. Right?
Darryl: I’m not talking about in chrome. I'm talking about in the search results
Edmund: ah, I mean in the; and here’s a thing that changes on a regular basis. I've; in the past we've seen Google experiment with different ways of flagging search results. So remember there were; the most common example is if your site gets hacked for example;
Edmund: Google will put a message in the organic search results and say this site is hacked. Right? Stay away from
Darryl: It might have malware. Be cautious sort of thing
Edmund: correct. That sort of thing. I mean; and this is; this is a thing. We don't know what Google is going to play with an experiment with. Right now it's just in the Chrome browser but you're right. They could very well at some point start flagging sites and saying hey this is an insecure site in the actual search results and could you imagine what that that basically impacts people clicking through to your site. Right?
Darryl: well and I guess for people to understand and there this theory or was a supposition; it's not fact but when a AMP sites used to show a little lightning bolt to say hey this is AMP. I haven't seen any recently so I'm not sure if it's always consistently doing it. so it was a subtle thing was a little faint gray; a lightning bolt that you could see; it wasn't very very overt but it was something that you could notice. So potentially there could be like a little warning sign or there could be things like that. One would hypothesize that if they're talking about security being a big deal of chrome 68 is gonna show that and represent that. It’s important. You would think then I like speed that if you have a site which is considered insecure that they may penalizes. Potentially the wrong word but it may affect whether you're displayed or not or certainly in your rank. we know that that's coming a factor. I guess this is a tricky one because the levels of insecurity you know like someone that's got an ecommerce site with no SSL at all. Is a; what we consider major insecurity. Someone that's got one piece of mixed content you know like an old icon. You know, in theory you know, if it's not effecting a login page or something else you know probably doesn't have a material impact the safety and security of people in that community. So I think that's potentially a reason why they wouldn't necessarily just pull sites out of the; at the search results because they could get it very wrong for; you know, reasons that are pretty (6:00 minut) but I guess there's that consideration for people to keep in mind is that. It's not just; I'll do it because people saying; I mean, I have heard on podcasts people going oh well if my browser told me that I’ll just changed a browser.
Darryl: someone actually talking on a marketing podcast saying well, you know; like; it was that defensive mindset
Darryl: I don’t wanna do (6:19….) to do that. But they're giving advice to people. It's like you can't; you know, our advices whether we like it or not, whether it's good or bad. It’s where we're at and it's trying to makes one portion of it; is trying to make the web more secure. I think there's some other reasons why they do it but (6:37)
Edmund: yeah absolutely
Darryl: make it a better place right?
Edmund: yeah, I mean; look (6:41) I personally think this is going to impact smaller businesses more than it will larger businesses. And to give you some insight that when they published the post about this changing chrome. They gave data and they said you know 68% of chrome traffic on Android and Windows is already protected and 78% of chrome traffic on Chrome and Mac is protected right? Now what that means to me is that any business, any large website that's got an agency or someone working with them. They've already gone ahead and taken care of this because they recognize; well, sorry; I
Darryl: You need to talk to Jason man right? He’s still putting out his report about major e-commerce stores. (7:18)
Edmund: I know; I'm sorry; I'm making assumptions that I shouldn’t but
Darryl: I get your point
Edmund: yeah, the reality is those companies typically have a resource there so if the company's smart about. They're gonna ring up their agency and say guys what the hell is going on with (7:30) let's get this moving blah, blah, blah, etc. But the reality is for a lot of small businesses if they haven't made the move yet and once again I'm making generalizations but a lot of them may not be aware of this stuff. And it worries me that they are the ones who are going to be impacted the most. Ones who can least afford to be impacted and that's an issue. Hey you'd listen to a podcast now you find out why? You know?
Darryl: yeah and so and that's the problem right? Like, where are you getting your advice from? And if people don't really know a topic so you know when you get someone that's in a community. Talking about marketing in this particular community but they're not a technical person, giving technical advice. You know? Don't listen to those people but I guess what I'm trying to bring up is for people to understand is we don't know what the impact would be. But I think what Ed saying is we're not likely to see some sort of penguin drop we're everyone site is without a HTTPS is gonna fall off a cliff. But there could be some impact; you know, if it's another signal and the way that you rank. It'll be a percentage of things that will affect it. So if you have a slow site and things like that. So; okay; so; alright; so; what are the other updates that (8:30)
Edmund: yeah, so I guess in conjunction with this and you talk about just another, another checklist on Google's plan right? Another big update that's happened in July. As of July 9 Google is rolling out what they call a speed update right? Which is going to impact mobile search rankings. And we already know that they've started migrating websites across to mobile indexing right? Which means they're gonna crawl the mobile version of your site and that's going to determine your rankings. Well now the speed update is gonna look at the speed of those pages now well it's not gonna be a; like; that they've specifically said; if I just; you know; quote their stuff; they say it's not gonna affect a huge number of pages, it's gonna affect a small number of queries but the reality is a mobile page load speed is now a Google ranking factor. So listen to what I just said. A slow page is going to impact; can potentially impact whether your page ranks higher or lower.
Darryl: So important thing that you said there is mobile page speed. So we already knew page speed was a factor but for those that aren't across it and maybe just to unravel a little bit. You talked about the mobile first indexing which has been a change that's been coming and there's a lot of talk about what that means but what they are actually doing is crawling from a mobile perspective differently to a desktop perspective and in theory that is having a lot of weight in the way they view it but this is another extension of that there. It's not just about oh you know I've got a responsive site or things. We're talking about the performance of your site on a mobile device of which there are many not just the one you carry but all of them now has even more factors included
Edmund: That’s right and it you know; you and I talked about in previous episodes about pulling up your website on a mobile phone and browsing and seeing what the user experience is. Right? Just to make sure that I can actually access my website and use it on a mobile phone device. In the Google blog post that they published about this. They even have a section they talked about developers and they tell them. You need to think broadly about how performance affects a user experience of their page and start looking at a variety of user experience metrics. Right? So they're telling you; page load speed not just mobile responsive but how does it perform
Edmund: because they're looking at all of those metrics. Right? So this is this is critical.
Darryl: And I think; so, what we're’ I think we're a lot of these Google changes are coming is they have a significant influence in the marketplace and in places like Australia in New Zealand and you know; list of you know; the U.S. is completely different. They have a bigger spread but we are heavily heavily heavily influenced by Google at this point until we step outside of a search experience in a browser. We want to start doing audio that's different because it depends on what to buy something you use but if you're doing browser based stuff we're pretty much dominated by Google in Australia
Darryl: So if they make changes they're gonna have a significant impact and sometimes we would say that's a negative thing but a lot of the stuff that's been going on has been; you know what? We've been watching users for a long time, we've been watching site owners and frankly site owners don't keep their sites up to date. Site owner’s get hacked. They don't do updates, they don't do these things. You know; and we talked about this with you know things like Google my business and their; how? You know; that they're trying to put those tools in the hands of small business owners so they don't have to worry so much about the other side of it. But these sorts of things are saying you know; it's not just about do some link building and spammy keywords and rank. It's about. We want to rank you because your site as a whole is a good user experience and provides something useful
Darryl: and in the criteria of that is if it's a good user experience it's gonna look and feel right, it's gonna be easy to use, it's gonna be fast, gonna be secure; all those things. But on this device whatever size; you know; but it's a little smartphone or a phablet or a tablet or whatever. A watch; you know; but you know; and it's not just about and you know like the phone I looked at it looked good on and it worked good. Does it work well in lots of places and
Darryl: I guess this this highlights that really; a lot doesn't like the (12:39); here we have page speed on a mobile device is now a significant
Edmund: that's it; uhm mate are there any tools people can use to check their page speed quickly before they chat to their web dos?
Darryl: yeah there are. I mean there's different ways. I mean we've talked about GT metrics before but that's more of an overview like it doesn't specifically say; hey, from a mobile device so I think you know that the speed on mobile performance. There are a few tools out there; we'll sit and get some in; um and I think you can even do it through inspect where you can do it. You can actually put it on to the type of network so you can actually degrade the network and get it. What it might show up like but the Page Speed insight tools actually give you the ability to see. How? You know; things look and how they render. Any others that you got?
Edmund: oh; I mean, you know; obviously the Page Speed insights. The Google one itself. But actually I just wanted to; and we'll leave; what we'll do is we'll find; what we'll leave some links to those tools in the show notes but actually is interesting a caller eight of your discussion point there about you know thinking about mobile user experience. You think about this like the Western world to look; for a lot of us and maybe Australia should be included. Most of the world has really high speed internet right? But a large percentage of the world is still operating on relatively slow wireless networks right? You know; you think of; you know; some parts of the third world, Africa and places like that. In the Pacific but they; so they're forced to; if you think about that they forced to be very efficient with their sites. So just because we have high-speed internet doesn't mean you can be lazy about building these content rich heavy web sites. And just need to think about the user experiences. It's not all about us
Darryl: Yeah; well, that's right; it's like speed matters right and you know putting up 7, 300 kilobyte; you know; carousel images that just sit there really don't do much. That’s not good in all sorts of facet or
Darryl: and I think look you get a reasonably good sense of speed. You can do your own user experience testing that way particularly if you don't spend a lot on them but yes there are tools that will allow you to get to see general speed and then there are more sophisticated ways that you can get into it. But look; if the general delivery and user experience is pretty good and it loads pretty promptly in both desktop and device
Darryl: that's pretty good but; you know? The acid test you know when you're struggling to get you know; you know; you; somewhere it's one bar on your phone and you know; your Instagram feed won’t update quickly or the rest. Don't ever look (15:09 at it you saw it then) and see how it renders and how it comes down. And you know; we all; you and I remember back in the early days. The old chunky delivery and sticking up little image icons. You know? Before everything had fixed heights and browsers were smart. You had to wait for a pixel-by-pixel (15:24 will load). Right? But actually getting to see how your pages render. They might have these great effects that you
Darryl: (15:30) clever but they actually hinder the way people see it
Edmund: man I remember the good old - 2 G days when you actually access the web using a; was it a (15:40 wept) browser
Edmund: Nokia phone. Those are the good old days
Darryl: yeah, so any other things that have been going on with (15:47)
Edmund: Yeah, I mean there's been a lot of sort of technical updates but one update that I think that the average; you know; business owner can access without getting too nerdy is this great little tool that was released in Google search console called the URL inspection tool. And I mention this because sometimes. You know? business owners will publish new content or they'll update a page and they'll say; you know; they don't know when Google is crawling it; gonna see it; you know; if it's actually in the index and all that sort of stuff and this is a great little feature now in Google search console that you can just put in the URL and it'll give you a whole bunch of information about the page; you know; when it was indexed, if it's in the index itself and all sorts of stuff like that. And the way you access it is you just log into Google search console and it needs to be the latest version. Typically if you in search console and you're still using the old version. They’ll say; you know; click here to view the new version of search console. Well, when you; when you log in to search console there'll be a big search bar across the top. Just take the URL of your website that you want; you want to see information about. Pop it in, click search and it'll give you a whole bunch of information about it. So it's really handy tool. Right?
Darryl: Yeah, what sort of information do you get to see that?
Edmund: It gives you. A lot of standard information it just tells you A whether it's been indexed. It gives you insight on. You know; whether there are any issues and all that sort of stuff. We'll leave it; what we'll do is there's a good; there's a good little blog post on the Google support; the webmasters blog; we'll just add in the notes here and people can go and see more about it. But seriously just go in stick in the URL and just see what pops up and then just click on browse and you'll be interested. You'll be pleasantly surprised to see you know what you can find out about the actual page itself.
Darryl: okay, public service warning here. You mentioned Google search console which was previously known as Google Webmaster Tools. A lot of the audience that are listening to the show may have no effing idea what we're talking about. I think that that's something we could do another episode on. I think a lot; we come across a lot of people that have never got access to it. The developers might have set it up, might not. A lot of people do not have anything set up. So why don't we will reference that. Like, we can put the blog post up and all the rest of it. If people have got questions about search console, have no idea what we're talking about. Ping us on Facebook or through Twitter or the other contacts on the site but I think we pencil that in in a few weeks’ time where we might do an episode just about search console. Talking about what it is. The types of insights can get from it and this is obviously a really good one so maybe we could do a bit more on that (18:11)
Edmund: yeah, and search console is an awesome tool for business owners. You know; it's a freebie as it were and it gives you a ton of information. So yeah will do that.
Darryl: say in complements analytics. It’s a separate thing. Google Analytics which shows you your traffic data and that sort of things. Google search console tells you basically information. Google knows about you and gives you some control tools to help with that. Yeah
Edmund: awesome, what do you reckon Darryl? That's pretty much the three big ones I wanted to talk about for this month.
Darryl: well, it's awesome job. I think you’ve done great job. I've learned some stuff today, hopefully other people have.
Edmund: Great; alright, that's it for today. Thanks for listening to this episode of my bloody website podcast. For everything that we're talking about check out bloodywebsite.com and when you get there make sure you click the subscribe by email button at the top so you don't miss anything bloody website related. If you'd like to check out the show notes for this episode or any past episodes. All of that can be found on the website. If you'd like to reach out to Darryl or myself you can find ways to talk to us on the about us page of the site. And lastly if you want to support the show you can do that by telling another website owner about the show and by visiting Apple podcasts and leaving an awesome review. It's goodbye from me.
Darryl: It's goodbye from him