Hello my friends, and welcome to another week of SEO news! This week, it’s once again all Google all the time, and wow did we get some bombs dropped on us this week. I mean, the right-hands ads are gone. GONE. How are we supposed to go on?! While I’m figuring that out, check out the news, and enjoy!
Google Confirms Right-Side Ad Removal In SERPs – Google has confirmed to Search Engine Land that it has now officially removed ads from the right side of search engine results pages (SERPs) with two exceptions: product listing ad (PLA) boxes and ads within Knowledge Graph boxes. You might also see another ad in “highly commercial queries,” according to Google. They’ve been toying with this for a long time now, and doing this brings parity to desktop and mobile search results, but one can imagine how alarming this might be to folks who relied on those ads for traffic. It will be fascinating to see how the paid side of search deals with this going forward.
- Google Launches Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) – While Google was slated to launch AMP on 2/24, it looks like they began to roll out a day early, with reports coming in from a wide net as to who could see them and who couldn’t. Regardless, they seem to be here now, though not for everyone. While many folks reportedly can see them online, I couldn’t find any on my own mobile searches using an Android phone, so they’re likely still being rolled out. Keep an eye out for them in your own searches!
- Messages Denoting Incorrect Hreflang Implementations Arriving In Webmasters’ Inboxes – Many reports are coming in that Google has begun sending out messages to webmasters regarding incorrect hreflang implementations. These notices alert the webmasters that Google has found problems with the implementation of hreflang tags, and on which pages they found the problems. This will definitely help folks get their houses in order when it comes to problematic tags, to be sure.
Google Might Face Revised FTC Scrutiny After EU Commission Looks Into Advertising Practices – Around six years ago the EU closed a case looking into Google’s advertising practices (specifically via its Android mobile platform) as being anti-competitive. That was the last we heard of it until recently when the commission began to once again look into Google, spurred by their $1 billion payment to Apple to keep its search bar in iPhone’s default search functionality. The EU commission is also urging the FTC to give Google a look as well. It’ll be fascinating to see what comes of this, but we’ll keep you posted.
- Google.com Has Slowest Mobile Page Speed Time Compared To Competition – This is less “news” and more “hilarity,” really. According to some intrepid folks over on Hacker News, they used Google’s own Page Speed tool to test not only the search engine’s speed, but those of its competitors. Hilariously, Google lost the competition at 53/100, as it was beaten handily by DuckDuckGo (71/100), Bing (77/100) and Yahoo (95/100!). It’ll be interesting to see if AMP helps Google at all with its own test.