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Hello my friends, and welcome to another Smattering! This week we have some funny conflicting reports on Panda, along with some security issues with what is arguably the most popular SEO plugin for WordPress!

Google News:

  • panda

    Google Panda Not Updated Since October, 2014 – In a recent hangout with Google’s John Mueller, he was asked when the last Panda refresh was, especially in light of comments made by Google’s Gary Illyes (which we’ll get to in our next story). While he wasn’t sure on the exact date, Mueller specified that he thought the last update was last October. That’s a long time for folks waiting for Panda to refresh after fixing the issues caused by the last update. Hopefully there will be a new update soon!

  • Does Panda Update In Real Time, Or Instantly? – At the recent SMX West conference, Google’s Gary Illyes stated that Panda updates “pretty much instantly,” according to a source via Twitter. Another source said that Illyes then added the instantly part happened once “pages were re-processed.” Neither Barry Schwartz – who wrote the story linked here – nor I have any idea what that actually means, but hopefully we’ll find out, because it sounds fascinating!
  • More Than 80% Of HTTPS URLs In Google Show As HTTP – Because most folks use HTTP in their XML sitemaps along with canonical tags, Google doesn’t actually know that many sites are employing HTTPS pages. Gary Illyes – that guy again – recommended that if your site uses HTTPS (which is a boon these days), you make sure you let Google know about those pages.
  • Webmaster Tools Adds Blocked Resources Report – Google has gone and made Webmaster Tools even MORE useful with the addition of a new Blocked Resources Report, which will tell you in clear terms how many blocked resources are present on your site. This is something Google has been very keen on lately, so it’s worth taking a look at this data to ensure that your site is blocking as few resources as possible. They’ve also updated the Fetch and Render tools to show what Google sees when looking at your site, rather than what a user sees, interestingly.

Other News:

  • Bing Now Powers Search Within Microsoft Office – In the “how wasn’t this a thing before now?” column, Bing now powers the search found in Microsoft Office, specifically versions 2007, 2010, 2013, and Online. We’re not sure what powered the search beforehand, but this makes perfect sense, and will likely get Bing a much needed shot in the arm from Office users looking up information as they work.
  • Popular Yoast SEO Plugin For WordPress Suffers Security Flaw – The WordPress SEO plugin from Yoast is reportedly vulnerable to a Blind SQL Injection type of attack. This attack can allow hackers to gain control of a user’s website and insert malware, spam links, and more! If you haven’t updated your plugin recently, do so now, as the latest version fixes this vulnerability. Plus, you should always update your plugins anyway for this very reason.

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