Favicon Now Showing

Google have done it again. Another change to the search results.

This time it is the addition of your site’s favicon.

What is a favicon you ask? Well it that little image that appears in the web address bar in your browser. This now appears at the start of the line for each website listing in the search results. What Google are trying to make the serps prettier? Do you think this helps or hinders the decision making process?

Google’s reason for making this change IMHO, I believe is not to pretty up the search results pages (serps) but to further manipulate the look and feel of the listings, to their own advantage.

Why would this be so?

Fair question, but it is no mistake on Google’s part to place this favicon in the exact same position as the “Ad” icon on their (prioritised) paid advertisements. See the images below to get an idea of what I am talking about.

favicon in search results like ads
New serp with favicon looking suspiciously similar now to an Advertisement.

Before, ads were fairly easy to identify and now they are a little more difficult to distinguish between what is an ad and what is an organic or free listing.

Some may remember the Google penalty back in February of 2014, which was labelled the “Layout Penalty” where a site which was deliberately displaying advertisements at the very top of their website, was penalised for “not providing the user with a good user experience”. Really? Yep that is what that demotion was all about.

So now we Google eating their own words and not only at times pushing more ads and Google products to the user, when we all use Google to find the most unbiased and best ranking results, but now we have to push through this every increasing clutter provided by the company who’s motto used to be, “Don’t be evil”. Hmmm I am getting the strong feeling of, “don’t do as I do but do as I SAY!” from them.

favicon in search results
Old serp without favicon

And for the observant among you will see there is another major change in the layout of the search results listings. Can you spot what it is?

Right, the Headline used to take precedence but now it is the URL or web address in the top position of the listing. I have put the two together in the above image to show you the difference.

The Headline which is the Meta Title of the page, is still there but the favicon and the URL now occupy the top line.

Ok just call me a skeptic but that is my take on the latest offering we have to deal with in the serps and Google’s antics.

Now will someone come up with a browser plugin that strips out all the non-organic clutter from the serps and allows us to see just the pure organic results, like when Google first started? I get it they need to make money to stay in business but their every encroaching boundary line seems to be creeping closer and closer to the no organic just ads page one.

Maybe then it will make it easier to just skip to page 2, or then again it may spell the end of the line for a once great “user experience” in the search stakes.

So what do you think? Does this make the user experience easier to spot an ad to avoid, if that is your thing or does it make it more difficult as I am seeing it?

Google Updates March 2018

Yes folks it has happened again – Google have shifted the goal posts for the umpteenth time.

This Google algorithm change goes to the heart of the content of your site. They are always preaching “quality content” and this update underscores just how serious they are about controlling what you publish on your website.

So what was this change or update called, since they all have names don’t they?

Google “The Brackets” Update March 2018

According to reliable sources, this update has been labeled The Brackets Update. With this update, the powers that be at Google, or at least the ones with a public voice, a la John Mueller, we are told that there is nothing you can do if you have been affected by this most recent update. If you have “great content” good for you, if not you are going to see a significant drop off in organic search traffic.

He makes a underlined emphasis on the long term in the above linked content, which means that you can’t just expand your quality content and see changes immediately. What I am reading between lines here, is that if you have tarred with the Brackets brush, you are likely going to see your site quality score take a hit and your links are going to need to work harder. More and better high quality links are going to be required.

Apparently even if you acted today and fixed up the low quality (thin content in Google speak) pages on your site, it could take up to 6 months or more to see significant improvements.

Was All The News Bad With This Recent Change?

If you are one of the smart ones following the Google rules of high quality content (read: at least 2000 words per page or original well written text), then if these pages are your landing pages, then you will most likely have seen a positive boost to your site traffic over this past couple of weeks. This rule is not one across the board, ie in the case of eCommerce sites, you just need to make sure your product descriptions are original and not simply copied and pasted from the manufactures website or suppliers website, as this will get you into hot water. Good thing to know when you are planning a new eCommerce business.

Where Can I Find Out More Information On This Update?

You can head on over to this blog to read up on the full details or the “tremor” and “quake” happenings these past weeks.

If you need help with your site, then you may need to get in touch with me and I would be happy to take a look at your site, to determine what if anything can be done to improve your search rankings in Google