This week Google announced it will be boosting the strength of one of its ranking signals beginning in May. The search giant also reminded people how to review products without violating its webmaster guidelines.
We’ll have full details about each of these headlines in this week’s top SEO news roundup.
Latest SEO News – Week Ending 03/18/2016
Google’s Mobile-Friendly Ranking Signal Gets a Boost
Since last April, mobile-friendliness has been a significant ranking signal in Google search results. So significant in fact, that if your site isn’t mobile-friendly it may not ever stand a chance of showing up in mobile search results.
Well in case “Mobilegeddon” of 2015 wasn’t enough to get you to convert your site to a mobile-friendly design, you may want to reconsider it once more. This week, Google announced the ranking signal will become even more powerful, which means you’ll see fewer non-mobile friendly sites in mobile search results.
In some instances, Google will still rank non-mobile optimized pages in mobile search if it satisfies what the searcher is looking for. Search intent is a powerful ranking signal as well, so a high quality piece of content that matches what a searcher is looking for still stands a chance of ranking in mobile search results.
It’s highly advisable, especially after this week’s news, to invest in a mobile friendly website. Even if your site is full of high quality content that could potentially still rank in mobile searches, without a mobile-friendly design you’re still not getting the full ranking benefits you could be receiving from that content.
Google’s stronger mobile-friendly ranking signal will start to be rolled out at the beginning of May. The company says if your site is already mobile friendly, your site will not be affected at all by the update.
Google: How to Review Products Without Violating Guidelines
It’s no secret that bloggers occasionally receive free products from companies in exchange for a review or a mention of some sort. Google is certainly aware of it, and the company is warning publishers to be careful when publishing these sorts of reviews.
If you’re reviewing a product that was given to you for free, Google says that information needs be disclosed. Google recommends placing the disclosure right at the top of the article, that way everyone can see it whether or not they read the full article. If you’re linking back to the company, you must use the nofollow tag as well.
Google has issued these best practices as sort of a warning to site owners that exchanging products for links is a form of unnatural link building. It’s considered unnatural because there was some incentive for the publisher to provide the link. Any form of unnatural link building is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, which could result in a manual action penalty if the company were to ever find out.
If you run a blog where you regularly review products sent to you by companies, there are two simple rules to follow: disclose your relationship with the company, and nofollow any links back to them. Do this and you should be able to continue publishing reviews without any worries.
Wrapping it Up
A stronger mobile-friendly ranking signal is coming this May and Google has issued a final warning of sorts to publishers who review free products. If you have any questions, or need some advice on how to go mobile-friendly before May, please leave a comment below.