About two weeks ago Google officially announced the rollout of Penguin 4.0 and that it could now be found in the Google results. Now that the dust has settled and that first results can be found in the SERPs, I would like to summarize our present knowledge in this blog post. First of all, two points on Google’s blog post, which can be looked at as halfway secured:
Penguin 4.0 is here to stay
Up until now, Penguin mode has been as easy as it has been annoying: Google assembled all data needed and ran the algorithm for a penguin filter in irregular intervals. Results showed up in one go and pages concerned received their Google penalty in the rankings. Google has changed this procedure with Penguin 4.0. The impact is now visible once Google crawled an URL. It is still unclear if this means your own site or if the Googlebot needs to crawl the outgoing-link sites again.
The effect of Penguin is now more targeted
Delicate evaluation hasn’t been the strongest suit of the Penguin filter: either a project has been impacted in its entirety or not. Google now claims, that with Penguin 4.0 the effect of the filter will be targeted better and more precisely: on particular URLs, maybe even particular rankings. Read Full Article
Last week, Google announced at the Pubcon in Las Vegas that the Mobile Index will take the place of the Desktop Index as the main index. This means that from now on Google will not check if there exists a Mobile Version to the Desktop Version but conversely, if there exists a Desktop Version to the Mobile Version. The Mobile Index and Mobile will thus increase massively in value.
Even if most of the revenue is made on the Desktop Version of a website, Mobile SEO will become crucial since henceforward it will directly influence the crawling of a Desktop Version and therefore influence the Desktop rankings. Read Full Article
The main reason to avoid dates within your directory structure is explained on page number 8 of the Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide:
Simple-to-understand URLs will convey content information easily
Creating descriptive categories and filenames for the documents on your website can not only help you keep your site better organized, but it could also lead to better crawling of your documents by search engines. Also, it can create easier, “friendlier” URLs for those that want to link to your content. Visitors may be intimidated by extremely long and cryptic URLs that contain few recognizable words.
If the dates constitute a really relevant piece of information for the user, I would keep them. For all other cases I would advice against them, as in doing so, you are likely going to kill your content on Google. Read Full Article
If you have the budget for it, then the easiest way to push your domain on Google is by buying an entire domain full of links, that others had to earn through long years of hard work, and then redirecting all content to your domain. If the domain grew organically over the years then many of the links may have been set by users who actually found the content useful which makes them good links.
If you indeed go this route, then please remember that the most important thing is that you offer the same – or at least similar but better – content on your own site, as was available on the old one. Always think of the users who will click on the old links and then get redirected to your new content. If you always optimize for Google’s users and not just for Google alone, then you will likely be on the safe side.
Please also consider that, while Google’s Gary Illyes has confirmed that “30x redirects don’t lose PageRank anymore“, I think that 301 redirects are still the best answer from a technical perspective. First, because the redirects are indeed “permanent” and second, because they have proven to work well (never change a wining team!).
In order for you to make an informed decision for a purchase, you should run a detailed evaluation of the link profile for the domain you want to buy beforehand:
1 – Does the link profile meet your own expectations and quality standards?
2 – Is the domain and its content relevant to the topic of your website?
3 – Are the domain’s backlinks also relevant for the topic or your website and are they “valuable” links for the target site (your website)?
4 – Is the domain popularity at an acceptable (high) level?
5 – What about the nofollow-ratio?
Let’s look at some examples! Read Full Article
This week, the domain Cnet.com shows a 22% loss in their Visibility Index for Google US, this means that Cnet.com went from a Visibility index score of 266.07 last week, down to 208.8, right now. This may not sound like much, at first, but 22% for a such huge domain actually comes down to a Visibility loss of 57.27 points. Just to get an idea of the scope, we can look at the entire Ikea.com domain, which has a Visibility Index score of 58.36 points for Google US. It is very likely that Cnet.com was hit by a “thin content” manual action against their search pages.
Let’s take a look at what happened. Read Full Article
For a long time, many SEOs have been talking about whether 301/302/307 Redirects pass on PageRank. Now, Google has confirmed that “30x redirects don’t lose PageRank anymore“, which is a very important information. This issue actually becomes irrelevant when you know that in general redirects are not used correctly and this is the main reason why domains may lose their rankings.
You can see this on a large scale within the weekly list of Movers & Shakers. There you will find a lot of domains losing rankings on Google, either because of a bad website migration or because of a new website design. Even popular brands do not escape this.
It seems that some SEOs may not want to believe that individual URLs are responsible for the most important quality signals of a domain – such as authority, reputation, trust, user signals, and many more – and that these URLs usually provide the majority of all incoming links.
By eliminating, ignoring or redirecting your old URLs incorrectly, your domain is suddenly worth much less – sometimes even zero – to Google. As I said before, size, power, brand and funding will not save you here. Even if you are the Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand or The Mayor of London or Tesla or H&M or Theguardian.com or Manchester City F.C.
Let’s take a look! Read Full Article
In May of this year, the BBC announced far-reaching cuts to their web presence. “Soft news“ content such as magazine articles, recipes and travel advice would be reduced. The BBC’s director-general, Lord Hall of Birkenhead, said that the broadcasters’ websites “cannot be all things to all people“. All this is nothing new. On the chart bellow, we can see that the Visibility for BBC.co.uk on Google has been decreasing for years. Mainly due to two reasons:
(1) On 26 February 2010 the BBC’s web output was cut by 50%, with online staff numbers and budgets reduced by 25% in a bid to scale back BBC operations and allow commercial rivals more room. On 24 January 2011, the confirmed cuts of 25% were announced, leaving a £34 million shortfall.
(2) In 2004 the BBC used the Public Value Test as the cornerstone of its manifesto for the renewal of its charter. The BBC took on a pioneering role in this endeavour.
5 years ago, the BBC.co.uk had a Visibility Index of 1,000 points on Google. Today, they are left with 628 points. The BBC pretty much reduced its marketshare on Google by 37% over the past 5 years. So what does this Visibility Index value of 628 points actually mean today? Read Full Article
The SEO Congress “Congreso SEO Profesional” is held every July in Madrid and specialises on presentations where website operators put their cards on the table, for all to see. Last year, for example, we had the opportunity to check out the exact data for the costs, auctions and traffic for TV-adds for two Spanish online-shops. It is not hard to guess why it is usually forbidden to take pictures of the sessions and write about them.
This year, we got extremely lucky in that one of the attendees, the owner of Floter.com (an online-shop for hardwood floors and laminate) and his SEO-consultant, MJ Cachón, gave us permission to tell their tale. I am sure this article will be quite helpful for anyone interested, especially due to the fact that we are able to share real numbers with everyone.
Floter.es and the bane of the Panda- & Penguin-Updates
There is growing evidence, that Google can identify and devalue unnatural links very well by using User Signals.
Already in 2014, we wrote about the fact that Google has the possibility to evaluate links by using data from the Chrome Browser. Using the User Signals on how often a link is actually clicked on by users, Google could asses the true value of a link. Unnatural links could be as easily exposed as links from websites, which have only been created in order to sell links, but which do not have any actual visitors due to missing added value.
Up until now, there concrete evidence has been missing to support the theory that Google Chrome Browser has been sending its user’s browsing habits to Google. Now, that evidence exists. Read Full Article
A few weeks ago, I saw a great “Whiteboard Friday” episode by Rand Fishkin, which we agree with 100%. I too think that Google is all about delivering the best answer for the user, and for this, Google needs user behaviour data in order to decide which search result deserves the top spot, the second position and so forth.
Even at times when Google does not have enough data from the SEPRs, for example because the URL is too new, it is quite possible that Google will use the data they have for the entire domain to estimate the trustworthiness of the new URL.
Let me give you 3 examples:
Read Full Article