February was a BIG month for Google, and we wanted to share some of the important changes/updates:
AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) Launches
AMP officially launched on Feb. 23, 2016. AMP is a Google-backed project intended as an open standard for any publisher to have pages load quickly on mobile devices. The AMP Project was formally announced in October 2015 with support from Google, Twitter, WordPress and other publishers. Google will be encouraging its use by integrating it heavily into its platform (websites using AMP will see a ranking boost in the future).
Google AdWords Changes on SERPs
Google will no longer show ads to the right of its search results, instead it will show four ads at the top with two exceptions. Google will show PLAs (Product Listing Ads) and ads in the knowledge graph on the right hand side. This update appears to be less devastating to SEOs than people originally thought. Only time will tell how organic traffic will fare with the new layout, but right now, it is only targeted for “highly commercial queries” and webmasters are predicting nominal effects on SEO. More info: Google’s New Ad Layout and Winners and Losers of the New Google AdWords Layout.
Pending Penguin 4.0 Launch
No announcement on the major Penguin 4.0 update, but it most likely will not be launching in Q1 as was originally predicted.
Google Mobile Algorithm Tests Underway
There are significant changes in mobile search results over the past couple of weeks, and some think it has to do with the integration of AMP or Google tweaking its mobile friendly algorithm.
Google Blocks Sites with Deceptive Download Buttons
Google announced that they are blocking access to sites via big warnings for sites that contain deception download buttons and forms of deceptive embedded content, like social engineering ads.