This week we learned Google doesn’t play favorites when it comes to the sites that are affected by the Panda or Penguin algorithms, and there’s a known issue going on with Webmaster Tools right now that you need to be aware of.
More details to come about these top stories in this week’s SEO news roundup.
Latest SEO News – Week Ending 2/13/2015
Google Doesn’t Have A “Whitelist”
Google’s John Mueller answered a question in one of his regular Google+ Hangouts this week that revealed Google doesn’t have a whitelist for search algorithms.
What that means is every site on the web, whether it’s Wikipedia or your own business’s website, is vulnerable to either the Panda or Penguin algorithms.
However, for other algorithms Google does have a whitelist. Google’s SafeSearch, which filters out adult oriented websites, has measures in place to exempt certain sites from from being filtered out.
Sometimes the algorithm believes a site is adult oriented when it actually isn’t, so a whitelist helps prevent those sites from getting unindexed in SafeSearch.
Mueller says that exempting sites from Panda and Penguin, which target low quality content and spammy links respectively, is not something that the search quality team would want to do. So the good news is everyone is operating on a level playing field, so to speak.
Google Webmaster Tools Not Updating
Have you checked your Google Webmaster Tools in the last week and not seen any new data? It’s not just you, Search Engine Land has confirmed that this is a known issue affecting everyone.
Google Webmaster Tools’ data has not been updated since February 7th, which is unusual considering there’s typically never more than a two day delay at most.
Despite many complaints from Webmasters, Google has not responded or even acknowledged that there is an issue. It’s not known what could be causing the issue, or when it will be fixed, but if you’re looking for recent Webmaster Tools data you are out of luck for the time being.
Besides that issue, Google’s data collecting tools are working perfectly fine for the most part. There’s a strange thing going on with Analytics data though — data from February 9 is completely zeroed out for some reason. It’s not known why this is happening, but it should not be a huge problem unless February 9 was a particularly important day for your website.
Wrapping It Up
It’s good to know there are no sites exempt from Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithm updates. Imagine competing against a site that could spam all they wanted without any repercussions? That would be an awful situation, and Google knows it.
Hopefully Google Webmaster Tools data resumes updating soon and all data is in tact when it comes back. It’s something we rely on a lot here at Pam Ann Marketing, and something you should be checking regularly as well (when it’s working, of course!).