Hello friends, and welcome to this week’s Smattering! We have had some fantastic news this past week, the biggest being Google finally admitting there was something of an algorithm update recently, this one taking direct aim against low quality and thin content. Google’s been pushing for higher quality and more useful content for a while now, so it’ll be fascinating to watch this change play out in the coming weeks. Check it out!
- Google Confirms Quality Algorithm Update – Earlier this month, many site owners and webmasters noticed their rankings fluctuating all over the place. This coincided with what looked to be manual penalties for supposedly thin content. Well, after much prodding and poking, Google has finally admitted that, yes Virginia, there was an algorithm update recently, specifically in how Google processes signals relating to quality. While content networks like Hubpages claim Google was targeting informational sites, or “how to” focused sites, it’s also been seen that sites with informational content have risen in the SERPs as well. The update didn’t seem to go after any particular type of site, just sites with thin or low-quality content, which is kind of awesome. We’ll keep you updated as we learn more.
- Google Is Still Trying To Speed Up Panda And Penguin Updates – Several months ago, the folks at Google stated that they were trying to tweak Panda and Penguin so it would update more frequently, therefore giving hope to those who are still living under the penalties of these algorithms. Well, cut to recently, when Google’s John Mueller stated that Google is STILL trying to speed up the algorithms. I wonder when it’ll actually happen…
- Webmaster Tools Rebranded To Search Console – For what seems like ages now, Google’s Webmaster Tools has been one of the last bastions of transparency when it comes to gathering data from the search engine, especially as Analytics has become less and less useful due to its “not provided” problem. Well, apparently Google recently came to the realization that the term “webmaster” doesn’t apply to everyone who uses their tool, so they’ve rebranded it Search Console. This is, “to make sure that our product includes everyone who cares about Search,” apparently. Other than the name, it doesn’t appear as if anything else has changed, thankfully.
- Twitter Results Now Live In Google Mobile Results – The deal between Twitter and Google went live earlier this week, with Twitter results now showing up in the carousel of mobile results (mostly at the top, but sometimes at the bottom for some reason). While Twitter doesn’t get any direct ad revenue from these links, the increase in traffic and visibility should definitely be a boon for the social network.
- Removing “Right To Be Forgotten” Requests Is A Very Manual Process – According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, Google gave them some insight on how they go about approving or denying “Right to be Forgotten” requests. Apparently it’s a very manual process, requiring weekly meetings to go over the requests, each of which are manually approved or denied. Also, since the law requiring this right is fairly vague, the final say is with Google itself, which is likely why only 30-40% of requests are approved, one would reckon.
- WebmasterWorld: Google’s Top On-Site Ranking Factors Have Changed – If you’re not familiar with WebmasterWorld, it’s basically the go-to forum on the web to talk about search engines and some of the users there are VERY knowledgeable. One of these users is Roger Montti, and recently he came up with an updated list of what he thinks are the top on-site ranking factors for this year, which are, in order: user experience, shorter title tags, original content, engaging content, and so on. While it’s not a definitive list, it’s very enlightening and definitely worth some thought. Head over to the forum thread and check it out.
- Bing Planning Own Mobilegeddon, Kind Of – Bing has announced that they too will be launching a mobile-friendly algorithm update to their search engine in the near future (no date was given). However, unlike the fairly scary proclamations coming from Google, Bing is saying their update won’t hurt the relevancy of their results and that even sites that aren’t mobile-friendly will still rank well if they remain relevant. We’ll be keeping an eye on this to see when and how it all comes about.