This week Google rolled out a new algorithm update, the search giant sent out a mass warning to a large percentage of site owners, and the company cut the cord on Google+.
Full details about each of these stories in this week’s SEO news roundup!
Latest SEO News – Week Ending 7/31/2015
Google Rolls Out Panda 4.2
Google rolled out a refresh of its Panda algorithm update this past week, which is said to affect 2–3% of queries worldwide. The rollout is expected to take months to complete, meaning we likely haven’t felt its full impact yet.
Panda is the algorithm which targets thin content that adds little or no value to the web. With every algorithm refresh, sites that were previously penalized have a chance to recover, and other sites may end up getting hit for the first time.
If you focus on only publishing unique, high quality content on your site, then you shouldn’t have to worry about being targeted by the Panda algorithm. Panda tends to target poorly written articles, content scraped from elsewhere, duplicate content, and so on.
Whether you believe you may be a target for Panda or not, it’s still a good idea to keep an eye on your traffic to see if you notice any dramatic or sustained pattern changes over the coming months.
That may sound like cause for concern, but the problem is really not that difficult to fix. The first thing to do is run your site through the Fetch and Render as Google tool to pinpoint what Google is not able to crawl.
The tool will scan your site’s robots.txt file and tell you what Googlebot is being blocked from crawling. From there you’ll have to edit your site’s robots.txt file to remove the lines of code that are blocking Googlebot.
Once you believe you have fixed the problem, it’s a good idea to run your site through the Fetch and Render tool once more just to see if there are any further issues.
Of course if your site is verified in Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) and you didn’t receive this warning, then you shouldn’t have to worry about this particular crawling issue.
Google+ No Longer a Requirement
Google distanced itself even further from Google+ this week, announcing that it’s no longer a requirement for people to have a Google+ profile if they want to access Google’s services.
Previously, if you wanted to do anything from create a playlist in YouTube to monitor your traffic in Google Analytics you had to have a Google+ account. Now Google+ is a 100% optional service.
This has been met positively, with the consensus being it felt like Google+ was being “forced” on everyone from the beginning. That will no longer be the case — in fact, you can even remove your existing Google+ account if you wanted to.
These changes will be rolled out over the coming months, no exact timeframe was given for when Google is officially cutting the cord on Google+.
Wrapping it Up
Panda 4.2 is rolling out, the Googlebot crawling issues have a simple fix, and Google+ is now completely optional.
If you have any questions or concerns about any of this week’s news, please leave a question below and I will be sure to respond.