This week we learned Google is researching new ways to rank websites, the company is sending out alerts to certain Analytics users, and Google’s John Mueller dropped a few more pearls of wisdom for us website owners.
Full details about each of these top headlines are coming in this week’s SEO news roundup.
Latest SEO News – Week Ending 3/06/2015
Google Is Looking Into A New Way To Rank Websites
In the (distant) future, the accuracy of your website’s content may be more important than its inbound links when it comes to ranking well in Google. That’s a complete turnaround from where we are today, where sites with mediocre content can potentially rank well as long as they have enough inbound links.
A paper was published (PDF) this week by Google researchers revealing details about a new way to rank sites based on a ‘Knowledge-Based Trust’ (KBT) score. The KBT score would be calculated based on the number of facts contained on a page, which would be determined by cross-referencing the data with Google’s Knowledge Vault.
The Knowledge Vault is a database of 2.8 billion facts extracted from the web, and is the primary source of information behind the boxes that appear on the right side of some searches. So the more facts Google finds on a page, the better it would rank. In early tests, the research team says the KBT score has been able to reliably predict the trustworthiness of millions of websites.
It was not specifically stated in the paper, but we believe that if Google were to move forward with this it would make Schema markup many times more important than it is now. Schema is a markup language used by Google, and all major search engines, that site owners can implement on their site as a way to help search engines better identify specific pieces of content. If accuracy is the goal, then Schema is a way to help Google get the facts on your site straight.
Is a link-less future on the way? It sounds like Google is serious about finding an alternative, but KBT is still a long way off from being ready for prime time.
Google Is Sending Alerts To Google Analytics Users
Google has started sending Safe Browsing alerts to Analytics users this week. Safe Browsing is a feature that alerts you if Google detects something on your site that could cause problems for visitors, like if your site has been hacked and began infecting other users with malware, for example.
This feature was already built into Google Webmaster Tools, but now it’s also a part of Analytics as a way to offer site owners extra protection. If you see one of these alerts come up, it will always be followed with some instructions on how to resolve the issue so you won’t be left in the dark. When in doubt, bring it up with your developer and chances are they will know what to do.
Pearls Of Wisdom From Google’s John Mueller
I’m thinking about making this a regular feature in the weekly roundups, since every week John Muller drops one or two little gems in his Google+ Hangouts that we would be remiss not to let you know about.
When Moving A Site, Do It All At Once
If you’re moving a site from one domain to another, Mueller says you should do it all at once, rather than moving chunks at a time, because Google will expedite the crawling process.
For one reason or another that may not always be possible — in that case, Mueller suggests that when you have everything moved over, make sure you set the change of address setting in Webmaster Tools so Google knows for sure that the old domain has completely finished moving over.
Nofollow Links From Your Web Designer
When you get your site designed, often the web designer will put a link in the footer saying something like “Web Design By X-Company”. If you buy a template you can virtually guarantee one of those links will be on there.
Those links should “definitely” be nofollowed, Mueller says. Nofollowing a link doesn’t remove the link, so the web design company may still get traffic from it, they just won’t get any of your link juice.
When you link out to anyone from your website, you’re passing on some of your link juice to them (which lessens the ranking potential of that page), so you can just imagine how much link juice you’re giving away when you’re linking out to a web designer on every page of your site.
Wrapping it Up
It looks like we can hold out some hope for a future where content is more important than links, and while it’s certainly a ways off, it’s more hope than we ever had before.
Once again we got a few more pearls of wisdom from John Mueller, this time regarding site moves and outbound links, and we got a heads up about some added protection for Google Analytics users.
If you have any questions about this week’s developments, please leave a comment and I will be sure to respond.