This week we learned more about the unknown Google algorithm update that was reported last week, a major deal was struck between Google and Twitter, and Google published some best practices on recovering from a penalty.
I will cover each of these stories in more detail as I dig into your need-to-know SEO headlines of the week.
Latest SEO News – Week Ending 2/6/2015
Google Launches A Mobile-Specific Algorithm Update
In our SEO news roundup last week we discussed the occurrence of an unknown Google algorithm update — now there’s evidence to suggest the search ranking shakeups we were seeing were the result of a mobile-specific algorithm update.
The most damning of this evidence is the fact that the majority of sites reporting to be down ranked are those that have major mobile usability issues. Also consider that just two weeks ago Google was sending out warnings to webmasters of non-mobile friendly sites that their search rankings may be impacted.
Google’s John Mueller did confirm last week that an algorithm update took place that was not related to either Panda or Penguin, so this leaves the door open for the possibility of a mobile-specific update.
If you’re the owner of a site that’s not mobile-friendly, and you’re concerned you may have been affected by this update, here’s what to do. Check your traffic patterns over the past month, and look for a notable decline in mobile traffic starting around January 24th.
That’s the most obvious sign that you have been affected. If that’s the case, then the best course of action would be to upgrade your site to a mobile-friendly design as soon as you can to regain that valuable traffic.
Google To Display Tweets In Search Results Again
Google and Twitter have come to terms on a deal that will see tweets get immediately indexed in Google’s search results pages.
You may remember seeing tweets in Google search several years ago, that’s because the two companies had a similar deal at that time. Twitter let the deal lapse because its then-CEO was a bit of a control freak over who was able to use Twitter’s data.
Twitter’s new CEO is all about growing the network, and indexing tweets in Google in real-time is a powerful way to get in front of non-users and drive them towards signing up.
That being said, it’s a powerful way for you as a Twitter user to grow your audience. Tweets being indexed in Google has the potential to amplify both your social media audience and search engine visibility.
If you’re not actively using Twitter, it’s time to start. If you are an active user on Twitter, start thinking about how you can craft tweets in a way that attracts Google searchers.
You can expect to see this change take place during the first half of this year.
Google’s Best Practices On Recovering From A Penalty
Google was kind enough to update its documentation on reconsideration requests this week to give people more insight on how to recover from penalties.
When you get hit with a penalty, your job is then to reverse the damage that led to the penalty. Once that is done you have to submit what’s called a reconsideration request to get Google to take another look at your site.
If Google accepts your reconsideration request you get your rankings back, if not then it’s back to square one. One of the main reasons reconsideration requests aren’t accepted is because of not adequately documenting all the work that was done to recover from the penalty.
Google is like a math teacher when it comes to reconsideration requests, it wants you to show your work. The updated Help Center article has tips on how to fully document the work you did to better the chances of having your request approved.
Google also says, once and for all, that the disavow tool is not a substitute for trying to get a link removed. According to the new documentation, disavowing all bad links without making any attempt to get them manually removed is not acceptable. Always ask to get your link taken down, and if that fails then use the disavow tool.
Wrapping It Up
Now we know more about the algorithm update reported last week, we get to look forward to tweets being indexed in Google again, and we know exactly how Google wants us to recover from penalties.
If you have any questions about either of these developments, please leave a comment below and I will be sure to respond.