Google uses RankBrain for ‘every query’
The last we heard about Google’s ranking A.I. RankBrain, in October, the company said that it was used for “a very large fraction” of searches. Since then the search giant must have gotten more confident about the tool, which it now says is “involved in every query.” We still don’t know what exactly RankBrain does, but Google says it doesn’t affect the rankings “in every query but in a lot of queries,” and that it is now the company’s third-most useful ranking signal.
Chinese government cracks down on search adverts
The Chinese government has tightened its internet regulations once again, now requiring Baidu and other search engines to report banned content and verify advertisers’ qualifications. The move follows the highly publicized death of Wei Zexi, a university student who died after ordering an unlicensed medicine that he saw advertised in search results. It sparked concerns that not only were many advertisers not regulated, but that many users were not aware which search results were adverts and which were organically generated.
Authorship is dead
Google’s Gary Illyes has confirmed something that we long suspected: Google Authorship is officially done. The company began phasing the system out in 2014, but still retained it for in-depth articles, and as late as October 2015 still recommended that webmasters keep authorship on their pages. That’s changed now, with Illyes confirming that Google doesn’t use the signal “at all” anymore. “We fixed that problem,” he added, explaining that Google now knows who wrote an article by “reading” it.