Hey folks, welcome to another Smattering of SEO News! This installment includes the last two weeks of important news pieces because I sadly had to miss last week, so that’s more news for you! It’s all Google related too, which is interesting in its own way. Enjoy!
- Google Goes After Thin Content With Manual Penalties – According to several webmasters, a major content network that provided “thin content” was manually penalized over the past weekend. Many webmasters reported receiving messages via Webmaster Tools alerting them that their site has been identified as having “low-quality” or “shallow” pages, and having sites with hundreds of pages penalized as a result. Many webmasters go on to say that that they weren’t part of the network that was targeted, so this looks to go beyond it. We’ll keep an eye on this and report if there’s more info.
- Google: “UX Will Never Be More Important Than Content” – While user experience has been becoming increasingly important to a user’s happiness and stickiness on a website, Google’s Gary Illyes confirmed that content is still king. Recently, at the SMX conference in Sydney, Illyes was quoted as saying, “User experience would never be more important than content.” This is a relief to those of us who value content as much as we do.
- Updating Panda And Penguin Is A Two-Part Process – There’s been quite a bit of confusion as to whether Panda and Penguin are updated in real time or manually. According to Google’s Mariya Moeva, it’s apparently both. Her explanation: “Essentially, both (Panda and Penguin) are built-in in the realtime infrastructure, but the data has to be updated separately. I think this two-part process is what’s leading to the confusion.” This clears it up a bit.
- Right To Be Forgotten Requests Refused More Than Accepted – According to two different articles (which have slightly different numbers), one year since the EU’s ruling on the issue, Google’s right to be forgotten requests are apparently denied more than they’re accepted. Google’s report (in the link above) states that only 40% of requests are accepted, while a report from Reputation VIP says that 70% of requests are refused, so somewhere in the middle there likely lies the truth. Regardless, it’s interesting to see that more requests are refused than accepted.
- “How To” Searches Up 70% Year-Over-Year On YouTube – In an interesting development, YouTube announced that over the past year, the amount of searches covering “how to” videos has increased around 70%, with over 100 million hours of these videos watched this year alone. The most popular videos seem to cover home improvement, beauty, and cooking. Regardless of your industry, this sounds like a fantastic way to get some visibility to your brand, if it can be in any way applicable.
- Despite Much Reported SERP Volatility, Google Claims No Update Over Weekend – Apparently a lot of webmasters have been reporting increased volatility in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) over the past week, especially around the weekend. Barry Schwartz contacted his…er…contact at Google and asked what was up. Apparently, there wasn’t any update at all over the weekend. What, then, caused the volatility? More fallout from the mobile-friendly update? We’ll keep you posted as we find more.
- Improved Search Analytics Report Launched In Webmaster Tools – Google has launched a new and improved search queries report, renaming it the Search Analytics report and making it much more useful. Now webmasters can filter results by location, device type, clicks, impressions, and much more. This will definitely go a long way toward filling in gaps left by the not provided issue in Analytics, we hope.
- Twitter Begins To Return To Google SERPs – Google has begun experimenting with putting Twitter information back into results pages, according to reports. It’s been years since we saw Twitter in the search results, but now several users are reporting seeing relevant Twitter accounts show up in mobile searches. This can only help both with visibility and usability.
- Google Announces More Searches On Mobile Than Desktop – Google has formally announced that recently they began to see more searches via mobile than via the desktop in several countries, including the US and Japan. Along with this announcement comes word of expanded services for hotel reservations and car insurance research, along with better ad tools as well. No wonder they’ve been so focused on mobile as of late.
- Report: YouTube Drives More Video Engagement Over Time – While reports have come out saying that Facebook video usage is leading toward more engagement with customers, firm Visible Measures says that’s only true initially. Apparently they found that videos on YouTube videos perform better over time, retaining viewership and engagement over the long haul, while Facebook tapers off after an initial boost in viewership.