We’re back with the Search Marketing Roundup for October 2016. It has been a volatile month in the SEO industry, with the wake of Penguin 4.0, among a sea of other key changes that we must be aware of in the industry. Below we summarise the main updates in search marketing from the month.
Gary Illyes states that Google are developing a separate mobile index, which will become the primary one
During the keynote lecture at Pubcon in October 2016, Gary Illyes declared that Google is going developing a separate mobile index which will be live within months. Likely at the start of 2016. This new mobile index will become Google’s “primary” index, and that the desktop index will be maintained, but not as up-to-date as the mobile index.
It is yet unclear exactly how the mobile index will work, for example will it only feature “mobile-friendly” content? Also, how out of date will the desktop index become as Google shifts it’s focus to the “primary” mobile index. Google has stated that the majority of search queries are now performed on mobile devices, however, there is still a substantial amount of search queries on desktop – this will vary dependent on the industry, and searcher intent too.
The most substantial change is likely to be related to fact that Google will run it’s algorithm across specifically mobile content. At the moment, Google extracts desktop user engagement data to determine the mobile search results.
Semetrical were at Gary Illyes’ Pubcon keynote lecture, and we were one of the first to break the news:
Rand Fishkin on how the real-time element of Penguin 4.0 changes SEO
Penguin 4.0 started to be rolled out on September 23rd, and Rand Fishkin summarised the key talking points on Moz’s Whiteboard Friday.
Penguin is a Google algorithm which combats link spam, and has developed since previous Penguin algorithm updates which ran on a periodic basis. If you were penalised, you would have to wait for the next update… which could take years.
Penguin 4.0 is now part of Google’s core algorithm, which means in runs on a relatively continuous basis. Therefore, in theory, as soon as Google crawls and indexes a website, they will update their database and that website will either incur a penalty, or have a penalty lifted.
Google has stated that Penguin 4.0 now does not always penalise and entire domain if it locates a ‘spammy’ backlink profile. The Penguin 4.0 algorithm can penalise a cluster of pages on a domain, or a cluster of keywords which are related to the ‘spam’ backlink footprint.
Google has now suggested that you do not need to use the disavow file anymore, however, we advise that for the time being, you keep your disavow file uploaded to be safe. You should certainly still upload a disavow file should you have received a manual penalty due to your ‘spammy’ backlinks.
Google declared that Penguin 4.0 will de-value ‘spammy’ backlinks, rather than them resulting in punishments. It is likely Google will place a greater deal of importance of other signals, such as content quality signals, authoritative backlinks etc.
Semetrical were one of the first to report on Gary Illyes stating if you continue to buy ‘spammy’ backlinks, Penguin 4.0 could discount all of your website’s backlinks:
Webmasters & SEOs report search ranking fluctuations
Barry Schwartz reported on SEO Roundtable that there had been chatter across the SEO community of search ranking fluctuations on October 26th. A number of webmasters were reporting significant ranking changes to the websites that they manage.
At Semetrical we noticed some ranking fluctuations relating to keywords which we’d seen positive ranking increases since Penguin 4.0. We’ve noticed indications that this may have been Google reversing the full impact of the Penguin 4.0 algorithm roll-out. Potentially due to their dissatisfaction with the quality of the search results.
Google AdWords reveal click-to-text message extension beta is coming soon
Google have announced a test to bring text messaging extensions to AdWords which will provide users with another option to contact with businesses from the search results.
In the example from Search Engine Land above, there is a card below the paid search listing which offers to opportunity to click to send a text to the associated business.
Google released a best practice guide on introducing click-to-text AdWords extension to PPC campaigns.
The Technical SEO Renaissance: They Whys and Hows of SEOs Forgotten Role in the Mechanics of the Web
In case you didn’t catch it, iPullRank submitted an excellent, detailed guide to technical SEO and it’s importance to Moz.
We highly recommend reading the guide. It’s too extensive to summarise in our Search Marketing Roundup, so put a coffee on and head over there after reading this.
As always, we really look forward to hearing your feedback in the comments section.