November as been another busy Month in Search – we will be talking about Christmas, Google’s new site auditing tools, the importance of communication and much more!
So let’s dive in..
25 days to Christmas!
As of writing this, there are 25 days to Christmas yes only 25 sleeps left!
I hope you have started your Christmas shopping? If like me you haven’t started yet and are struggling for ideas – the must have gadget for 2018 are going to be home assistants like Apples Home pod, Amazon echo and Google Home.
We started seeing these kind of voice assistants after the success on mobile with Siri and Alexa which were released in 2011, where you could ask simple questions like what is the weather and map directions. Now, these voice assistants have become very advanced and usage of voice search queries this year alone are up over 25%.
New Schema Markup
With this in mind, this month we saw a new schema markup for Voice search queries. If you add this new schema to your site code this would mean that when a voice search query is given, the search engine will know exactly which information you would like the voice assistant to read aloud.
Read more about voice search here
Google lighthouse tool is a website auditing tool built into your Chrome Browser – 0.69 This tool makes it easy to test your websites overall performance. This month Lighthouse has added another new performance indicator for Search Engine optimisation.
Google lighthouse now looks at five key areas:
Performance: Audits for metrics like first paint and time to interactive to determine lag.
PWA: Assesses your page against the baseline Progressive Web App Checklist.
Best Practices: Looks for everything from HTTPS usage to correct image aspect ratios.
SEO: Checks for best practices to ensure your site is discoverable.
Accessibility: Checks for common issues that may prevent users from accessing your content.
This lighthouse audit tool has a very nice way of giving you a simple, yet detailed overview of your site’s overall health and fitness. With these results, you can see which areas of your site should be a priority and track your site’s performance over time.
You’re too slow
While we are talking about the Google lighthouse tool, this month Google has started to send out a new warning email via the new Google Search Console to let site owners know they need to fix their really slow pages.
The email explains that some pages are “significantly below average” in terms of speed and recommends you use the Chrome lighthouse tool to make improvements. I like this as you may think you have a good load speed for your website, but this will highlight any pages you may have missed.
Note: To use this handy feature make sure you have registered your website URL in Google’s console webmaster tools.
From camera to search!
Recently we have noticed Google has been concentrating on imagery!
We think this is due to a new Google application in the pipeline called “Google Lens” which is a new way to live search imagery.
Let me explain! The way it will hopefully work is you will be able to take a photo through your mobile device and the Google Lens app will scan your image and return related search results.. Kind of cool right!
I often talk about the importance of image optimization – size, quality, or keywords on your alt tags – as we often see images which are poorly optimized for the web, this can be due either to laziness or lack of knowledge to the importance of properly optimizing your images and the massive effect this has for Search engine optimisation.
So again this is another reminder to regularly audit your own website imagery. We optimize a lot of images for the web and we have seen some fantastic page speed improvements – If you would like me to run a quick audit on your site let me know.
I see this month Google has rolled out a new redesign to their PageSpeed Insights tool which in the past has had limited functionality.
As the name suggests PageSpeed Insights tool assesses the overall load speed of your site, you simply enter a URL and the Insights tool will run and return results for mobile and desktop.
In the past, the returned results were very basic but recently Google has started using data analysed by Google Lighthouse, in so giving you a lot more detailed data on how to improve your sites load time speed.
Lab Data: PSI fetches and analyses the page using Lighthouse, which simulates how a mobile device loads a page. It computes a set of performance metrics and summarises data into a score from 0-100 (90 and up is considered good).
Field Data: Real-world performance metrics for the page and its origin, including First meaningful Paint and First Input Delay.
Opportunities: Suggestions on how to improve the page’s performance metrics, as well as estimations of how much faster the page will load if the improvement is implemented.
Diagnostics: Additional information about how a page adheres to best practices for web development.
This has now turned the PageSpeed Insights tool into a much more effective tool for an image intensive website where speed can be the number one priority.
Try Google insights tools here
WordPress 5.0 on Hold
If you have read our recent blog about the new Gutenberg text editor which is to be released with WordPress 5.0, I hope you were excited about the possibilities this new text editor will bring to your content.
Bad news.. WordPress 5.0 which was to be scheduled for release on the 27th of November, but it looks like the date has been pushed back with no release date given. No official real reason has been given for this but it looks like we won’t be seeing the new WordPress 5.0 update until early 2019.
To read more about the WordPress Gutenberg editor here
There have been some great Doodles this month, a special shout out to the “day of the dead” on the 2nd of November, but the one that stood out to us this month was the Doodle on the 24th of November to celebrate the 306th birthday of Charles-Michel de l’Épée’s who created the first method of signing for the deaf.
We talk a lot about connecting people and using search engines to start conversations, so this was a good little reminder we should never forget that there are many ways to communicate.
To learn more I encourage you to view the British Sign Language website
Well this will be the last time we will talk before the Christmas season!
So from everyone here at Verve we would like to wish you a Very Merry festive Christmas..
We will be back probably a bit fatter in the new year!