This week we learned Google Search Console is having issues, Google made some strong remarks about HTTPS, and tweets will once again be appearing in search results.
Full details about each of these top stories in this week’s SEO news roundup.
Latest SEO News – Week Ending 8/21/2015
Google Search Console Indexed Pages Error
Have you checked the number of indexed pages for a site in Search Console lately and thought something didn’t seem right? For example, you may have noticed the number suddenly go up or down, or stay flat when you’re certain you’ve added new pages recently.
It turns out there is a known issue. Google’s Gary Illyes announced Search Console is being affected by an issue leading to errors in indexed page reports.
2/ Bad news: we might have a problem with reporting the number of indexed URLs in the SC Sitemaps feature. Good news: we're looking into it
— Gary Illyes (@methode) August 20, 2015
There’s no word yet on how many Search Console accounts may be affected by this — it might only be affecting a certain number of accounts or it may be widespread.
In any case, if your indexed page numbers seem off there’s a chance you’re being affected by this problem. If it’s important for you to have a semi-accurate count of indexed pages there is a workaround you can use.
Until this problem with Search Console is fixed, here’s what you can do to get an estimate of how many indexed pages you have. Simply type site:your-domain.com into the search bar and see how many pages Google finds.
I have found this method to be a fairly reliable workaround for sites where there was clearly a reporting error in Search Console.
Until Google fixes the problem in Search Console, this is your best way to get an estimate of how many pages of your site are currently in Google’s index.
Google Makes Strong Remarks About HTTPS
It’s no secret Google is a fan of HTTPS and web security. Google is such a fan of HTTPS that it was added to the search algorithm as a ranking signal.
With that being the case, many SEO professionals are asked by their clients whether or not it’s worth it to migrate their site over to an HTTPS server.
According to Google’s Gary Illyes, suggesting not going HTTPS is just plain wrong:
If you're an SEO and you're recommending against going HTTPS, you're wrong and you should feel bad.
— Gary Illyes (@methode) August 18, 2015
One of the arguments made by SEO professionals is that a drastic change like moving to HTTPS may have a negative effect on rankings.
Gary Illyes addressed this concern stating there shouldn’t be any negative impact, at least nothing lasting longer than maybe a week or two:
@DaveNaylor can you guys give me examples (sites)? There shouldn't be *any* long term negative impact when switching protocols.
— Gary Illyes (@methode) August 18, 2015
If you’re considering going HTTPS, Google is strongly in favor of it. In addition, moving to HTTPS in and of itself should not lead to negative ranking changes, so don’t let that concern you.
Google to Index Tweets in Search Results
You may remember years ago Google used to index tweets in real time. That became a thing of the past when Google’s deal with Twitter expired and remained expired for the past several years.
Earlier this year the two companies signed a new deal, and now tweets are again starting to be indexed in real time in Google search.
When you search for public figures or brands you’ll now see an embedded stream of their latest tweets.
— Google (@google) August 21, 2015
For now this is only available on English desktop searches. Why Google decided to bring this to desktop first when mobile is so dominant is an interesting decision.
In any case, it may prove to be a helpful way for businesses to grow their Twitter audiences in the future.
Wrapping it Up
Don’t rely on Search Console for an accurate number of indexed pages, Google believes strongly in HTTPS, and real-time tweets have come to desktop search.
When the Google Search Console issue is resolved we will be sure to include an update in that week’s SEO news roundup.