As the year is winding down so to is the amount of “OMG must know” headlines coming out of the Google camp. With that being said though, it’s impossible to go a full month without at least a few juicy tidbits to report on.
In November, Google launched a brand new tool that will be appreciated by anyone who has a mobile site, or is in the process of converting their site to a mobile friendly design.
We also learned that Google’s dreaded Penguin algorithm will see more updates from now on, but don’t worry, that’s actually a good thing!
In this post I’ll go into more detail about each of these news updates and what they mean to you as a site owner.
Mobile-Friendly Site Testing Tool
Do you think your site is mobile-friendly? Well don’t be so sure until you know what Google thinks of it. There’s now an official mobile-friendly site testing tool that will tell you if your website passes Google’s criteria for what it believes a mobile optimized site should be like.
In case you’re wondering why meeting Google’s mobile-friendly criteria matters, it’s because they’re adding a “mobile-friendly” label in the mobile search results pages next to sites that pass the criteria. You may have already seen it if you do a lot of searching on your phone or tablet.
If you want that nice “mobile-friendly” label next to your site in Google’s search results, then your site needs to meet the following requirements:
- Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
- Uses text that is readable without zooming
- Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
- Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped
To see if your site meets the above requirements then run it through Google’s new tool. If your site doesn’t pass, the tool will tell you why not and walk you through what you need to do to fix it.
Google also mentioned they may use the above criteria as a ranking signal for mobile search in the future, so it’s best you get your site up to Google’s mobile-friendly standards now!
Google’s Penguin Algorithm To Get More Frequent Updates
Google launched the third version of its Penguin algorithm back in October, and many expected it to be fully rolled out after a few weeks. Well, we recently learned that not only is it still rolling out, but it may be rolling out indefinitely.
To refresh everyone’s memory on what Penguin is, it’s an algorithm developed by Google that specifically targets sites with spammy inbound links.
If your site has a large number of links pointing to it from questionable sites (like free link directories, or anywhere that sells links for SEO purposes) then you may be at risk of getting a Penguin-related penalty.
On the surface, constant Penguin updates may sound like a bad thing, but it’s actually good news. If you get hit by Penguin there are steps you can take to recover from it, such as getting spammy links removed or disavowed. However, even after putting in the work to recover from Penguin, you might not see any change in traffic and rankings for a long time.
Google doesn’t see that you’ve corrected your Penguin problems until it rolls out the next Penguin update, which used to be months from one update to another. With more frequent Penguin updates it means sites can potentially recover from Penguin a lot faster, provided they put the work in to reverse what led them to getting hit by Penguin in the first place.
See, that’s why it’s a good thing! But of course, the best way to stay safe from Penguin is to not acquire any spammy links in the first place.
Now you’re all caught up until next month. If you have any questions about anything I went over, please leave a comment and I’ll be sure to respond.