Tom Williams runs through the latest in search engine optimisation news and advice, including Google’s focuses for the coming year, news on site wide and blogroll links, the launch of the Google News ‘fact check’ label, and more.   

What’s Important for Google In 2017?

The team at Search Engine Land invited Google’s Gary Illyes for a chat about the search giant’s focus for 2017. In the interview, Gary Illyes gave Search Engine Land some insight on the three things Google will focus on in 2017:

  • AMPs
  • Structured Data
  • Machine Learning

Here is what Gary Illyes said on the subject:

We are going to focus more and more on machine learning. Pretty much everywhere in search. But it will not take over the core algorithm. So that’s one thing. The other thing is that there is a very strong push for AMP everywhere. And you can expect more launches around that. Structured data, again this is getting picked up more and more by the leads. So that would be another thing.

Gary Illyes didn’t go into detail on the subjects, but from the interview, we did learn the factors in which Google will be focusing on in 2017.

Google Gives HTTPS Boost Even To Insecure Pages

In an interview with Barry Schwartz, Google’s Gary Illyes confirmed that sites with insecure pages will still receive a HTTPS boost, so long as the URL is listed as HTTPS.

Gary Illyes said that Google only looks at whether or not the URL is listed with HTTPS.

Basically looking at the first five characters in front of the URL, and if it’s HTTPS and it managed to get in the search results and it will get a minimal boost.

This has been the case for many years; however, as Google constantly updates things, it’s surprising that this has not changed.

Google Adds Fact Check Label to Google News

Google has added a Fact Check tag to Google News articles that include schema.org ClaimReview markup.

Fact check markup

“Today, we’re adding another new tag, ‘Fact Check’, to help readers find fact checking in large news stories. You’ll see the tagged articles in the expanded story box on news.google.com and in the Google News and Weather iOS and Android apps, starting with the US and the UK,” Google wrote on its Google Journalism and News blog.

Google said that Google News articles will include a ‘Fact Check’ label on articles that include schema.org ClaimReview markup, or those that are published by a site that follows ‘commonly accepted criteria’ for fact checks.

Google Says Legitimate Site Wide and Blogroll Links Aren’t Bad

Google has announced that site wide and blogroll links aren’t bad, as long as they’re legitimate. In an Office Hours session, Google’s John Mueller spoke to someone who asked about site wide links that were placed on a blogroll, and whether he should disavow them or just leave them as they are.

John Mueller said:

In general, if these are normal organic links that are happening that are pointing at your content, then I would just let them be, that’s the way the internet works… that’s not something you need to disavow just because it’s a site wide link or in a blogroll.

And when he asked if they would seem artificial, he responded with:

No.  I wouldn’t worry about where people are linking from.  If these are organic links pointing at your site, then that’s perfectly fine.

The conversation that John Mueller had has confirmed that webmasters should not worry about disavowing or removing links just because they’re site wide or in a blogroll. As long as they’re natural links, they won’t have any negative effect on rankings.

Webmasters Want Google to Confirm Updates

Google rolls out algorithm updates all the time. It confirms some, and others it keeps a secret. It doesn’t come as much of a surprise that, when asked, the majority of webmasters said that they’d like Google to confirm more algorithm updates. Barry Schwartz used a survey to ask webmasters if they’d like to see Google confirming algorithm updates, to which 77% said yes.

webmasters survey graph

77% of webmasters said they would like Google to confirm algorithm updates, 11% said they shouldn’t, and 12% of webmasters said they don’t care.

Whiteboard Friday – Content Gating: When, Whether, and How to Put Your Content Behind an Email/Form Capture


In this week’s episode of Whiteboard Friday, Rand Fishkin runs through when, whether and how publishers should put content behind emails or form captures.

More Search Engine Optimisation News and Advice

Read last week’s SEO News Roundup: Google’s Penguin 4.0 Roll-Out Is Complete

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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.