Links from the show:
- Google Search Console warnings about security
- The SSL checklist
- “Near Me” is now often implied
- Google mobile friendly test now in the search results
- URL structure is not important for SEO
- Google treats internal and external links differently
- Make phone calls through Google Home
- Google Voice search now available to over one billion people worldwide
- New collaboration features in Google Docs
- Brainscape – Chrome keyboard shortcuts
- Brainscape – Asana keyboard shortcuts
Coming in October, Google may start making your website look very untrustworthy. We know that Google’s pushing web security very hard, but a change they’re making soon could affect many of your websites that scare off your visitors.
Before we get into that, though, I’m Mickey Mellen, this is A Brighter Web episode number 13, brought to you by all of us at GreenMellen. Our goal with this podcast is to give you quick weekly insights for news, products, and ideas so we can all make the web a brighter place to be. These might be actual web tips, talking about strategy, search engines, WordPress plugins and UX, or it might be productivity ideas to help you get more done and free up your time to do great things.
We also want to thank our sponsor, ClickHOST.com. ClickHOST provides top rate web hosting at prices as low as $5 a month. Visit ClickHOST.com/abw for an exclusive 20% off discount for listeners of A Brighter Web.
Today we’ll talk more about Chrome security warnings, “near me” searches, easier access to the Mobile-Friendly Test, ideal URL structures, internal versus external links, phone calls through Google Home, an expanded audience for voice search, and new collaboration features in Google Docs. Let’s dig in.
We talked last week about how Google Search Council sent out a bunch of warnings that were mistaken. They didn’t mean to send them out, and we shouldn’t have gotten them. However, they’ve just sent out another batch of warnings, and this time they’re legit. They’re warning you that if you don’t have SSL on your site, all pages with any kind of form will now start showing a “not secure” message to visitors when the next version of Google Chrome launches in October, version 62.
Google already shows the “not secure” warning on pages that ask for passwords or credit card information, but starting with this next version, they’re going to start showing “not secure” on any kind of form anywhere on your site. So this will be a lot more insecure-looking messages for your visitors, that may not be a good thing for them.
SSL should be a free service from your host. Most hosts offer it for free, and if it’s not, you should probably change hosts and find one that is. We have a post with an SSL checklist you can run through linked in the show notes. You can follow a step-by-step process to get everything straightened up and keep Google happy.
It’s a small thing, but it appears that “near me” is now often implied in searches. We’ve known that it’s been implied for awhile. If people search for things like “used cars”, Google automatically default to a local search. They’ll see that local intent and do a local search for you, but it seems now that most searches, over 50% of local searches, people don’t use the words “near me,” they just search for what they want, and they know that Google will take care of them.
We have an article listed in the show notes that will give you details, but really it just shows again that local SEO’s important in getting that name, address, and phone for your business completely accurate across all the local directories will make a big difference, as people are doing more and more local searches and Google’s doing it more and more automatically.
We’ve talked often about Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool, which is a great little tool just to test what Google thinks of the mobile-friendliness of your site. And now it’s a little bit easier to access. If you go to Google and simply search for “mobile friendly”, it’ll bring up the test. Still takes you to the existing mobile test, nothing real different there, but it’s a quick way to get there from any device and do a quick test on any site you need, to see how mobile-friendly it is.
Something we’re often asked about is how to set the URL structure for your website. For example, if you sell blue wagons, should they be listed under “mysite.com/products/wagons/blue” or just under “mysite.com/bluewagons”? Google’s come out to officially say, “it doesn’t matter”. As with a lot of things like this, just pick one and stick to it, because the remapping of those URLs could be tricky to change from one to another. Even though Google says it doesn’t matter, sometimes having those longer subfolders can be more useful for visitors, so be thinking about that from all points of view. But strictly from Google’s eyes, it’s the same either way, so just pick one and go with it.
As he often does, Google’s John Mueller has answered another one of those questions that we thought we already knew, but he’s given us a definitive answer to. In this case, someone asked him, “Are there any differences between internal or external score/juice/strong calculation formulas?” And John answered with the simple, “Definitely.”
They’re both important, he says, but more weight seems to be given to external links. Which is long what we’ve thought. Internal links are certainly something to pay attention to, to handle that link juice flow around your site, but external links are worth a lot more. So the more you can get those, which is harder and harder to do, the better off you’ll be.
Google has just added a new feature to Google Home, to allow you to make phone calls through the device using just your voice. The catch here is that the recipient will see “unknown caller” unless you’re a Google Voice or Project Fi user. Google hopes to be able to show real numbers by the end of the year, because really it’s not that useful right now, as most people are well-trained not to answer “unknown caller” calls.
Where this is important for you, though, is that people are using things like Google Home and Alexa more and more, so making sure your content is rock-solid and Google really understands what’s on your site, so hopefully you’ll come up for some of those answers, is increasingly important.
Speaking of voice-based searches in Google, Google’s announced that their Google Voice Search capabilities are now available to over one billion people worldwide. This is largely because they’ve added support for many more languages, primarily in African countries.
In addition, you can now dictate emoji by saying things like “smiley face emoji” or “tongue out emoji.” I’ve been texting a lot from my car lately used Android Auto, so I can see that being kind of useful at times. Either way, Google’s really expanding their reach, and it’s going to be a fun fight between Google, Alexa and Siri as time goes on.
We use Google Drive and Google Docs a ton at GreenMellen. It’s brilliant to be able to take notes during a meeting with everyone in the same document, contributing various pieces to it at the same time. Google just added a few new collaboration features to Google Docs to make that even better.
One of the new features is to allow you to name versions of a Doc, Sheet, or Slide. Google’s long had revision histories inside of Google Drive, but now you can give formal names to some of those versions, to see them in the version history and go back and look at specific iterations of a document you’ve created.
Google has a feature that allows you to show suggested edits on a document. People propose changes to a document, you can decide whether to accept them or not, and now you can preview clean versions of those docs, either showing all the suggested edits in there, or just hiding it completely so you can view it as it is. They now allow you to accept or reject all edit suggestions at one time and the suggest edit feature is now available on Android and iOS.
My tip of the week this week is pretty simple — learn some keyboard shortcuts. As you know, I’ve been using Brainscape to help with my learning, and there’s a good deck in there for Chrome keyboard shortcuts. I’ve been working on that for awhile, and getting better and better at keyboard shortcuts, and it only makes you faster to have those memorized.
I also created a shared deck in Brainscape for Asana keyboard shortcuts that you should be able to find in there if you want. If you use Asana, search for Asana keyboard shortcuts. There’s a good deck in there to help you memorize those. I’ll have both of those decks linked in the show notes. I encourage you to spend some time learning keyboard shortcuts in your favorite application to help make yourself more efficient.
That’s all we have for this week. You can find me on Twitter @mickmel, M-I-C-K-M-E-L, or learn lots more on GreenMellenMedia.com, and you can find lots more about the podcast, including show notes and links, as well as video tutorials and many other resources over at ABrighterWeb.com.
If you’re in the Atlanta area, come check out our Meetup held three times each month, and if you’re not in the Atlanta area, we post recaps on the site soon after each Meetup. Either way, you can learn more about that at ABrighterWeb.com/Meetup. Thanks for listening.