Be prepared to for algorithm updates targeting fake news
In 2010, Google was getting various critics from the media due to the “content farm,” that is the clutter users receive after searching. Overwhelmed by the critics, Google had to respond. Its response was a proclamation that they hear and understand their users complains about the content farms and site. They explained that they were working on finding a solution to the problem.
Later on, in February 2011, the Google Panda update was launched. Google Panda update was targeted on the spammy and the content that was of low quality.
Many may wonder why I am bringing this up; the reason is that the media is complaining about the fact that Google has allowed the spreading of fake news. Danny Sullivan terms the matter as the biggest ever quality search crisis that Google has ever experienced due to the extent of the problem.
These claims are severely tarnishing Google’s image. The problem is a tough one to solve, but Google is motivated to provide a solution.
Some of the tactics that Google has used to solve the problem include:
- Adding fact check tags for search results displayed
- Banning publishers who have been reported to spreading fake news,
- Coming up with new ways for users to report auto-complete suggestions that they consider offensive.
- Adjusting their algorithms to remove non-authoritative info, for example, Holocaust denial sites.
In 2015, researchers released a research report on the Knowledge-Based Trust (KBT). The research shows how Google will be able to evaluate the websites by analyzing the accuracy and factuality of the information they post rather than just focusing on the inbound links it has. However, even if this system would be implemented, there is still the risk that incorrect facts will still article before the website is shut down.
It is good to recognize that Google is doing all it can to work on ensuring factuality in their services. This may be achieved by the KBT if altered, to solve the loopholes it has. However, we may never know if the system was implemented, but they did not have any results, so they are working on a better version.
The use of Voice search and features snippets will grow
Currently, for all the five mobile searches, one is made through a voice search. The growth of the Google assisted devices example Google home will promote the increased use of Google searches. As Google sources its voice search results from features snippets, the snippets are thus also expected to grow similarly to the voice search.
To support this, Stone Temple Consulting did a study last year that shows that featured snippets accounted for about 30% of the 1.4 million queries that they used in their test the statistics show that the use of featured snippets is growing. If their use continues to grow, then they will be able to rival the organic listings. Thus, advertisers would be more interested in featuring in them. For more information on how to use and target the featured snippets, you can check Stephan Spencer’s primer on the topic.
Most aspects of the searches will be powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Google’s Machine learning AI system, RankBrain which was introduced two years ago to help google process its results has evolved from handling 15% of the search results to all of them.
Google has also developed its AI through developing Cloud Vision API. The Cloud Vision API can recognize a vast number of objects.
However, Google has stood out more with its AI inventions due to the invention of an AI that is better at building other AI’s than human beings. The project was headed by Google Brain, and they were intent on building an AI that Google would use.
Although the system has its advantages, it has a few disadvantages as well. One of them is that after attaining a good solution, they will stick to it rather than try to get a better solution. Also, they tend to create a correlation between very different things thus making it very superstitious. To add on to their problems, they were responsible for creating the machine-learning algorithm but not the final algorithm thus they are finding it very difficult to predict its behavior.
Google will continue to work on its AI which they will incorporate into their search algorithms. Google users should thus be prepared for unpredictable results or behavior from the search results.
It is important to note that optimizing AI is not similar to what is done for SEO strategies, instead to optimize AI; the machine has to learn to make predictions more like humans.
Manipulative guest posting will be handled soon.
Google announced in May that they do not appreciate the fact that some webmasters were using article marketing to get more links to their sites. This practice is against Google’s guidelines and would result in penalties. This announcement brought about the feeling that Google was working on an algorithm that would handle the matter accordingly.
Manipulative guest posting as recommended by Google is explained as information or an action that would be a ‘yes’ if asked if the tactic helps the users or I would still do the action even if the search engines were not in existence.
It is thus essential to avoid guest posts that do not increase brand awareness or become a source of referrals. In some cases, posts are done to influence search engine rankings positively. However, this solution does not work effectively in the long term.
The rule on the guest posting is a common knowledge that people in the SEO community are familiar about. However, some marketers will still pursue the strategy as they convince themselves that it is a legitimate act. EzineArticles can bear witness to article marketing regulations.
Bing confirmed that they track the brand mentions that have not been linked then use then as ranking signals. Google also indicated that they do the same as well in a patent they made.
With AI continuing to play a more significant role in rankings the searches from Google, then more ‘linkless’ mentions are to be expected.
This would benefit smaller brands which are unable to reach the required threshold that allows them to get press. This will be achieved by the fact that although the ways of getting brand mentions through mentions are not very different from using links, mentions are usually more commonly used than the links thus offering an opportunity to the smaller companies.
This factor thus increases the value of being part of online conversations or starting up the discussions on your own instead.
An Interstitial crackdown may happen soon
Google has had an intense battle with mobile ads that are very intrusive to its users. Google announced a mobile interstitial penalty early 2017 to further fight the issue. The most affected sites were those that had aggressive adverts on their pages that prevented users from using the interface at all.
According to SEO expert and columnist Glenn Gabe, he stated that the penalty mainly affected the small brands as the big brands were left free thus the effects of the penalty did not meet the expectations. He believes that in the future, Google will handle this matter. The main reason that the big companies were left free was due to the trust that they culminated over time. The result of this battle, however, will depend on how Google handles the intrusive advertising vs. branding issue.
Google announced that the mobile searches had surpassed the desktop searches three years ago. Also, last year BrightEdge noted that 57% of the traffic in their servers was as a result of mobile devices.
To accommodate this change, Google now aims to rank its search results while basing the content on the mobile versions. The listing strategy will also apply to desktops. The mobile first index is expected to be launched this year according to some of Google’s representatives.
This means that by the end of the year, the signals that only affected mobile searches will affect all types of searches. The changes to the mobile first index will thus mean that sites that cannot be accessed by mobile phones will become obsolete over time.
Google became a common phenomenon in the late 1990s. Since then it has been involved in massive growth and complications, but it has still maintained its position in the world as an excellent supplier of information.
For this year, we expect Google to strive to develop its AIs then try to combat the political and media criticism to find solutions to some of the common problems that it is faced with. Typical examples of such challenges are the aggravating adverts and manipulative guest posts.
We also look forward to the launching of the mobile-first index and the changes and different experiences it will bring about.
All these are factors that the SEO community to be on the lookout for. They should thus be focused on creating long-term SEO strategies to keep them ahead throughout the year.