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Hello folks, and welcome to another weekly Smattering of SEO News! This month sure is shaping up to be a rocky one: we’ve got the ongoing rollout of the latest Panda algorithm, along with an apparently imminent launch of an updated Penguin algorithm as well. Take a gander as to what’s going on below, and good luck! 😉

 

Google News:

  • Panda 4.1 Still Rolling Out According To Google – When Google launched Panda 4.1 late last month, they informed us this would be a slow roll out, and they weren’t kidding. A week after that, Google said it was still rolling out, causing some to speculate whether a new update was happening or something else along those lines. Webmasters are still reporting fluctuations in their traffic, so it will be interesting to see where sites fall when the dust finally settles.
  • Penguin 3.0 May Be Imminent – Last week at SMX East, Google’s Gary Illyesgoogle-penguin announced that – based on internal communications a few weeks ago – the search giant could launch their next Penguin update in “a few weeks” (which would ultimately be this week). While not set in stone, this news, along with the slow Panda rollout, could mean some interesting times for those of us with websites to monitor. We’ll keep you updated if we find out anything further.
  • Google Implies Mobile Usability Might be A Ranking Factor – Also from Mr. Illyes at SMX East last week, there was a lot of talk of usability, especially in the mobile space. He said that Google wants to provide a “great user experience on any device,” and will be pushing to make sure that sites showing up in their search results will reflect this principle. While mobile user experience has been of increasing importance as more searchers are using smartphones and tablets, this is the first time I can recall it being mentioned as a possible ranking factor, and personally, I welcome it.
  • Google Toolbar Page Rank Likely No Longer Being Updated – In a recent Google Hangout, Google’s John Mueller responded to a question about when the next Page Rank update might be – it’s been ten months at this point. He said there isn’t likely to be an updated toolbar for Page Rank display going forward. While the value of Page Rank has been questioned over the last several years, this is still an important metric to lose.
  • Google Says Google+ Thriving, Won’t Release Numbers – David Besbris, Google’s google-plus-logohead of all things social, recently said that Google+ is “alive and thriving” for those who love privacy and top-notch photo tools (they actually are pretty nice). However, it’s been almost a year since Google released usage numbers for their fledgeling social network. One wonders how alive the social network actually is…

 

Other News:

  • “Dwell Time” A Better Metric Than Clickthrough Rate, According To Yahoo Labs – The folks at Yahoo Labs released a paper that finds time spent on content items – what they’re calling “dwell time” – is a far better metric to measure useryahoo-logo engagement and interest rather than the tried -and-(maybe)-true clickthrough rate. Yahoo apparently adjusted their algorithm to optimize for dwell time rather than clicks, and they saw gains in both across the board. It’s pretty fascinating stuff if you want to dive in. Check out Yahoo Labs’ post on the topic for more insight.

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