Tom Williams looks at the latest search engine optimisation news, including an update that Google is no longer recommending its AJAX crawling proposal, reports that Google is hiding query data, and research that points to a potential hacker loophole with Siri and Google Now.

Google Drops AJAX Crawling Proposal

Google Webmasters took to the blog last week to announce that they are no longer recommending the AJAX crawling proposal made in 2009.

Google’s ability to now crawl JavaScript or CSS files means that the 2009 AJAX proposal is no longer valid.

According to Kazushi Nagayama, search quality analyst, sites that follow and support the _escaped_fragment_ format will still be indexed, although Google is recommending sites update, as Google will generally crawl, render and index the #! URLs.

Is Google Analytics Hiding Query Data?

Search Engine Land’s Barry Schwartz reported last week that the Google Analytics Search Console Queries report under the “Search Engine Optimisation” section is now hiding query data from webmasters. In a move that echoes “Not Provided”, the report is now listing top keywords as “Not Set”.

Google Query Data report

According to Schwartz, this could just be a bug that has appeared since Google migrated to the new Search Analytics report.

Google Tests Live Label In Search

Google is testing a new red label to highlight content that is being covered by reporters in real time or live.

As journalists increasingly take to the web to divulge live updates from events, Google has decided this live coverage now deserves a special icon in search results. As such, Google is testing a red label that reads “LIVE” next to the news article.

Here’s an example take from a search query on Sepp Blatter, as spotted by Bryson Meunier:

Google LIVE label

The “LIVE” label is just one in a series of new labels being tested by Google, and follows “slow to load”, “red slow” and “mobile-friendly” labels.

Google Search Adds Safari App Support for iOS 9

Google is making it even easier to get your app content found on Google Search. It has enabled publishers to serve up links within Google Search results on iOS on Chrome for some time, but now it is launching similar support for Safari for those on iOS 9.

Google Developers posted:

App Indexing is now compatible with HTTP deep link standards for iOS 9, as it has been on Android from the beginning. That means that you can start getting your app content into the Search results page on Safari in iOS, simply by adding Universal Links to your iOS app, then integrating with our SDK. 

“With this improvement, we will no longer support new integrations on iOS 7 and iOS 8. Users will start seeing your app content in Safari on iOS at the end of October.

Is Siri Letting Hackers Take Control?

Hacker

And finally, French researchers have discovered that smartphone personal assistants such as Siri and Google Now could be controlled by hackers over radio waves from up to five metres away.

The French information security agency (ANSSI) has reportedly found a flaw that can be used to trigger commands and listen in on conversations. It works by using earphones as an antenna to ‘talk’ to the phone.

The researchers are suggesting that smartphone owners unplug their headphones and disable their PA to protect themselves. They are also calling on better shielding on headphone cords or a PIN code to be used to launch Siri or Google Now, to ensure they don’t take commands from strangers.

More Search Engine Optimisation News and Advice

Read last week’s SEO news roundup: Penguin Coming Soon

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About the author:

Tom joined ClickThrough in 2011. Since then, he has developed an expertise in the technical side of search engine optimisation. He’s Google Analytics-qualified, and in his current role as digital and technical Executive, carries out monthly SEO activities and provides technical consultancy for several of the company’s largest accounts.