Tom Williams looks at the latest search engine optimisation news, including Google’s push for HTTPS domains, search engine market share for 2015, and the 2015 Year in Search.

Google to Favour HTTPS Domains

Google has announced that it will begin to index HTTPS URLs in favour of HTTP ones as part of its push to promote secure browsing.

Taking to the Webmaster Central Blog last week, Zineb Ait Bahajji explained that Google will start crawling HTTPS equivalents of HTTP pages, even when the former are not linked to from any page.

If two URLs from the same domain appear to have the same content but are served over different protocol schemes, Google will now choose to index the HTTPS URL if:

  • It doesn’t contain insecure dependencies.
  • It isn’t blocked from crawling by robots.txt.
  • It doesn’t redirect users to or through an insecure HTTP page.
  • It doesn’t have a rel=”canonical” link to the HTTP page.
  • It doesn’t contain a noindex robots meta tag.
  • It doesn’t have on-host outlinks to HTTP URLs.
  • The sitemaps lists the HTTPS URL, or doesn’t list the HTTP version of the URL
  • The server has a valid TLS certificate.

How Search Engine Market Share Changed in 2015

Search Engine Land’s Eli Schwatz has conducted a survey-based study into which search engine currently dominates the market. Little surprise that Google continues to top the leader board:

Search engine results

  • Google — 75%
  • Yahoo — 8%
  • Bing — 7%
  • DuckDuckGo — 2%
  • Aol — 1%
  • Ask — 1%
  • Baidu — 1%

His research results also provide insight into mobile browsing and browser demographics.

How to Avoid Bad Link Building

Broken link

Jason DeMers identifies his ‘seven characteristics that can make a link bad in SEO’ in his blog on Search Engine Land. He lists:

  1. Low authority or questionable domain
  2. Pointing to an irrelevant source
  3. Repetition
  4. Being part of a reciprocal exchange
  5. Embedded in suspiciously keyword-matched anchor text
  6. Isolated from any meaningful content
  7. Being part of a link scheme

He advises removing any questionable links rather than risk the potential consequences of a Google penalty.

Year in Search 2015

Year in Search

Google has announced its 2015 Year in Search results, showing how the world has taken to the internet this year to answer important questions – such as is the dress white and gold or blue and black?

The year saw a number of memorable internet moments, as people called on Google for help, advice, support and empathy. Top search themes included ‘Pray for Paris’, the Nepalese earthquake and the migrant crisis in Europe, alongside searches for Caitlyn Jenner, Star Wars and Adele’s record-breaking single ‘Hello’.

Traffic Drops and Robots.txt Case Study

Glen Gabe takes a closer look at robots.txt files and how these can lead to a loss in traffic if not implemented correctly. He shares his troubleshooting process for finding problems with your robots.txt in his post on Search Engine Land.

He offers three top tips to help avoid leaking URLs due to robots.txt changes, namely:

  • Crawl and audit your site regularly
  • Be aware of robots.txt. change history
  • Auto-detect changes to robots.txt

Is Optimisation Getting Topical?

Topical optimisation

Is topical optimisation the way forward? Stoney deGeyter thinks so. He outlines his thoughts on why businesses should work to become an authority and optimise their sites accordingly.

For deGeyter, it is better to be fully optimised on one product, rather than partially optimised for many products, and in this post he explains his reasoning on this. Topical optimisation, he says, will give a site a better change to dominate on a topic through multiple related pages.

More Search Engine Optimisation News and Advice

Read last week’s SEO news roundup: Google Stops Showing Local Search Snippets

Learn how to improve your site’s search performance and avoid ranking penalties. Download your free Technical SEO Best Practices eBook today.

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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.