The biggest change to the Hypertext Transfer Protocol in years (since 1999) has been accepted and finalized earlier this year. Currently is it being implemented by many servers and hosting companies because it can truly save a lot of loading time for the average website. With HTTP/2 a multiplexing feature allows it to make lots of request at the same time so page load will not be blocked by CSS or JS files based on a maximum number of connections a browser can make. If you want to know what changed in comparison to the old HTTP protocol, have a look at the following slidedeck by Daniel Stenberg, network hacker at Mozilla:
Since April this year, Google now shows app install buttons and app deeplinks in the search engine result pages for Android users. They already showed it to users of specific apps but will now add apps if users haven’t installed it yet or are not logged in. Google has already indexed over 30 billion links directly pointing to content within apps and now uses App Indexing as a ranking signal for all Android users. A very logical step, since Google is now officially getting more searches from mobile compared to desktop users (source). Adding direct links to apps will contribute to a more positive user experience for their users.
Read more at State of Digital: Google and App indexing: how can you benefit from it?
Today Yandex’s head of search, Alexander Sadovsky, announced they will start using paid links as a negative ranking signal. Official announcement: Новый этап в борьбе со ссылочным спамом from today. After discounting links in a few specific niches and areas around Moscow last year, they now decide to turn it around and use paid links as a negative signal.
Paid links are still massively used in the Russian search market, after removing links from their algorithm they expected SEO would start using different ways of getting links. Nothing changed at all. 70% of the links in popular, commercial interesting niches, are still consider Paid Links by Yandex. Yandex found the SEO market to be stubborn (what a surprise!), the number of paid links being used in those niches dropped just 16% last year. Links will be back in their main algorithm, but now can have a positive, neutral or negative effect on a website’s performance in the search engine result pages. Yandex is quite confident their machine learning algorithms are good enough to detect paid links at the moment.
The rollout of this updated algorithm will start in May. Personally I really like the research and efforts of the Yandex research department. Comparing to the other major search engines, they publicly try to battle the amount of crappy SEO spam, good job!
Many of you will have notices the search engine result pages are currently containing more elements compared to a few years back. Not only 10 blue links, accompanied with 3 to 10 AdWords advertisements but for many queries we are getting additional regarding the query. These additional cards are a result of Google’s Knowledge Graph. Not familiar with the concept Knowledge graph? Just ask Google: “The Knowledge Graph is a knowledge base used by Google to enhance its search engine’s results with semantic-search information gathered from a wide variety of sources.”
My Friends of Search started the evening before, with catching up with some of my search buddies I’ve met during previous conferences and meeting some new interesting people! For me, most conferences are still about meeting with equally smart or smarter people within the world of search I’m working in. Conferences like these, keep your thoughts about what your doing most of the time, fresh and tricks you into thinking differently. The day it self was filled with interesting sessions and I summed up a few of them. I will update the post once all the slideshare decks are available.