Hey friends, welcome to another Smattering of SEO news! This week, Google is all about following up on earlier threats, such as fake download buttons and unnatural links for free product reviews. Sites with both got hit, and this is likely only the beginning. All this and more below!
- Google Doled Out A Lot Of Unnatural Outbound Link Penalties Over The Weekend – Google is apparently making good on their threats about penalizing sites who link to other sites for free product reviews. Many folks have reported receiving Search Console messages over the weekend warning them of unnatural links. While affected sites might not yet be losing rankings, they’re definitely not passing Page Rank, which is still pretty bad. This post from Search Engine Roundtable has a ton of info on what you can do to combat this warning and avoid future penalties. If you got one of these notices, I suggest you check it out.
- Google Begins Blocking Sites With Deceptive Download Buttons – Making good on another recent threat of theirs, Google is now blocking sites which have erroneous and deceptive download buttons. Users will now get something akin to Google’s malware warning when they reach a site Google thinks is unsafe. Since these faux buttons have been known to download malware and viruses to folks’ computers, this is nothing but good as far as I’m concerned.
- Google Directly Warning Site Owners In Mobile Search Results How Mobile-Friendly Their Site Isn’t – Google is now going (what could be called) the extra mile and saying to webmasters directly, “Hey, your site isn’t mobile-friendly!” Basically, if you visit a site you own while logged into Google on a mobile device, and it’s not friendly to mobile devices, you’ll now get a warning right in the SERP (search engine results page) itself. This is, honestly, pretty awesome if you ask me.
- Google Takes In-Depth Articles Out Of SERPs – In an odd and surprising move, it appears as if Google is removing in-depth articles – something they’ve relied on for years – out of the SERPs entirely, which could be good for some folks, but not for others who rely on in-depth articles (or should I say, relied) to get more traffic from Google. While Google has indeed been cutting back on SERP coverage of these articles, cutting them out entirely seems antithetical to their usual pro-user stance. Hopefully, they’ll either be reinstated or replaced with something just as useful.
- Potential Yahoo Buyers Include Verizon And Google/Alphabet – Reports are surfacing that the first round of buyers for Yahoo’s core business – which recently went on sale – include both Verizon and Google’s parent company, Alphabet. Interestingly, it’s reported that Microsoft – which attempted to buy out Yahoo some years ago – won’t participate in the buying at all. In a darkly funny reversal, over a decade ago, Yahoo reportedly almost bought Google when it was a fairly young company, and almost at one point bought YouTube, but those deals fell through. Regardless of its search performance, the Yahoo brand is still pretty strong, so it’ll be interesting to see who ends up with the spoils here, and for how much.