Welcome to the Search Marketing Roundup – Best of November 2016. We’re excited to share all of the major news from the SEO community throughout the month, so sit back, strap in and enjoy!
Google has begun mobile-first indexing, using mobile content for all search rankings
Google stated on November 4th 2016 that it was starting experiments using algorithms which primarily use the mobile version of a website’s content in order to rank the pages, understand structured data and show snippets from pages in the search results.
Google has already declared that more searches are being made on mobile devices than on desktop, so now they are “going to continue to build a great search experience for all users, whether they come from mobile or desktop devices“.
The release from Google declared that they were beginning this “important shift” in their indexing by conducting careful experiments on a “small scale” until they are ready to ramp up the change once they are confident of a “great user experience“.
Google has provided the following advice:
- If you have a responsive site or a dynamic serving site where the primary content and markup is equivalent across mobile and desktop, you shouldn’t have to change anything.
- If you have a site configuration where the primary content and markup is different across mobile and desktop, you should consider making some changes to your site.
- Make sure to serve structured markup for both the desktop and mobile version.
- Use the robots.txt testing tool to verify that your mobile version is accessible to Googlebot.
- Sites do not have to make changes to their canonical links; we’ll continue to use these links as guides to serve the appropriate results to a user searching on desktop or mobile.
- If you are a site owner who has only verified their desktop site in Search Console, please add and verify your mobile version.
- If you only have a desktop site, we’ll continue to index your desktop site just fine, even if we’re using a mobile user agent to view your site.
Google has retired Content Keywords feature in Search Console
On November 29th 2016, Google announced that they were retiring the Content Keywords feature within Search Console. Stating that in the days of Webmaster Tools, the Content Keywords feature was useful for seeing if Google could crawl your web pages at all, or if your website was hacked.
Search Analytics now provides a general view of the keywords in which your website is being show for in Google’s search results. Google claimed that users would often get confused about the keywords listed in the Content Keywords feature, and for that reason they have retired the functionality.
Study shows that Google indexing of tweets appears appears to be declining
Stone Temple have been actively tracking Google’s indexation of tweets since July 2014. Previous research has shown that July 2015 saw the highest indexation of twitter on Google, whereas this new study of a sample of 90,000 tweets shows that Google is only indexing 64% of tweets that it was in July 2015 in October 2016.
The study has also shown that greater follower counts or authority lead to the increased changes of a tweet being indexed by Google.
As consumer behaviour patterns shift towards users using smartphones to access content via Google, we are likely to continue to see varying amounts of tweets being indexed.
Gary Illyes reveals that content hidden within tabs for user experience will have full weight
The mobile-first index is a hot topic at the moment, and SEOs around the globe are discussing the best ways of including content for search engines, whilst retaining a good user experience on mobile.
It appears that hidden content within tabs are likely to have the full weighting in Google’s new mobile-first index according to Gary Illyes. For years, Google suggested that hidden content would not be given full weight, or potentially ignored all together.
The tweet exchange above shows Gary Illyes’ response where he states, “in the mobile-first world content hidden for ux should have full weight“.
Google suggest that you should keep your site speed below 2 – 3 seconds
John Mueller offered an actual number of seconds when responding to a question regarding the limit of a HTTP request. John suggested that webmasters should aim to keep their site speed below 2 – 3 seconds.
Thanks for tuning in to the Search Marketing Roundup – Best of November 2016! We hope to see you again soon, and please let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.