Hey folks, welcome to another quick roundup of the biggest and best in SEO news. Much of the news this past week was dominated by a new Panda update, which is darned important, so let’s dive right in!
- Google Launches New Panda Update – Late last week, Google announced over Google+ that it had begun rolling out a new Panda update. This update continues to target sites with thin or weak content, but also helps sites previously penalized by Panda to have their penalties removed if they followed the right steps to correct whatever issues were black hat. Apparently “serving Google exactly what they need with minimal effort expended on the part of the Google-bot” is a big emphasis this time around. This includes having crawl priorities defined in XML sitemaps, for example, so Google doesn’t waste time crawling older content. Google says this update affects 3-5% of websites: according to results from Searchmetrics, some sites have seen a nearly 80% drop in SERP visibility after the update, while others have seen a 1,353% increase. This is all amazing stuff!
- Google: How We Know When To Slow Or Stop Crawling Your Site – At SMX East, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, Gary Illyes, shared a couple of technical things Google does to determine when its crawler should either slow down the crawling of your site, or stop altogether. The first is connect time, which is how long it takes them to connect to the server and the web page it’s trying to crawl. If it takes too long, Google will slow its crawl of your site to compensate. They will also slow and eventually stop crawling your site if they receive enough 500-range server status codes. Knowing this bit of information and dealing with these issues will definitely help make sure your site gets crawled regularly by Google.
- No “Magical” Advantage Switching From HTTP To HTTPS, According To Google – A little while back, a fairly big brouhaha was made about the fact that moving one’s site to secure HTTPS would help your site rank better in the SERPs. Interestingly though, Google’s John Mueller somewhat pulled back on this notion, saying it has a “very small and subtle” ranking effect. Many folks did switch to HTTPS after the earlier news, so I wonder how they feel about all of this.
- Yahoo To Shut Down Yahoo Directory – When I began in SEO over a decade ago, getting in the Yahoo Directory was a huge deal. While it wasn’t free, it carried with it quite a bit of weight. This weight would help sites rank more highly in SERPs much more easily than they can today. Well, a long and distinguished era is about to come to a close at the end of this year, as Yahoo has announced it will be shutting down its ubiquitous Directory. While it hasn’t really been relevant for some time, some folks such as Search Engine Roundtable’s Barry Schwartz feel that it shouldn’t be shut down due to its historical value, and I happen to agree with him. Regardless, it’ll be sad to see the old Directory go.