Weekly SEO news: 28 April 2015
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

Ever since Google announced their new mobile ranking algorithm, many webmasters were afraid of the upcoming 'mobilegeddon'. Google released the new algorithm on April, 21st. Was it as bad as expected? Do you still have to adjust your web pages?

In the news: page speed might not be a ranking factor anymore, site-wide footer links still seem to work, mobile results get new breadcrump design, and more.

Table of contents:

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Best regards,
Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. Mobilegeddon is here and it is not as bad as expected

Ever since Google announced their new mobile ranking algorithm, many webmasters were afraid of the upcoming 'mobilegeddon'. Google released the new algorithm on April, 21st. Was it as bad as expected? Do you still have to adjust your web pages?

What exactly is Google's new algorithm?

On 21 April, Google released a new ranking algorithm that changes the way web pages are ranked in Google's mobile results. According to Google, web pages that do not display correctly on mobile phones, will get lower rankings than before:

mobile vs. not mobile

According to Google, there are 4.7% more mobile-friendly websites today than two months ago, when Google announced the new algorithm. The update doesn’t apply to all devices or results:

  • it affects only search rankings on mobile phones
  • it applies to individual pages of a site, not the entire website
  • it is a global algorithm update that affects search results in all languages

Many webmasters changed their websites - was it worth it?

It seems that Google hasn't put much weight on it in the rankings yet. The mobile results haven't changed dramatically and for most websites, the effect seems to be small. Some websites saw dropped rankings for some of their keywords but not for all.

Of course, it might be too early to tell as Google said that rolling out the update would take several days.

Before you change your web pages, consider this

When Google announced that secure websites would get an advantage, a lot of websites added SSL certificates in a hurry and encountered many problems that were hard to fix (broken security certificates, broken plugins, less relevant AdSense ads, etc.). So far, HTTPS sites don't seem to rank better than regular websites.

The new mobile algorithm could be similar. A new mobile website can also cause problems:

  • for many websites, mobile traffic is worth less than desktop traffic
  • if you change an effective web page with high conversions and replace it with an untested mobile design, conversions might drop
  • the time that you invest in creating a mobile website cannot be invested in other marketing activities that might have a higher return-on-investment

As long as everything is okay with your website, it's probably better to wait and see.

There are many things that are more important

Even Google makes it clear that the mobile algorithm is only one of many factors that influences the position of a website:

"Note that this is just one of over 200 signals we use to evaluate the best results. Non-mobile-friendly sites won’t disappear from mobile Search results—they may still rank high if they hold great content the user wants. [...]

While the mobile-friendly change is important, we still use a variety of signals to rank search results. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal -- so even if a page with high quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank high if it has great content for the query."

Before you make your web pages mobile-friendly, make sure that everything else is correct. Many things are much more important. Use the Top 10 Optimizer and the website audit tool in SEOprofiler to optimize your pages for Google and other search engines:

Try SEOprofiler risk-free

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week
Google's doorway pages algorithm launched and nobody has noticed it

"A little over a month ago, Google announced they revised their doorway algorithm and updated their guidelines around doorway pages. But watching the space for a month, all I see are webmasters asking if it really launched or if it was still in the queue to launch.

Google's John Mueller [...] did confirm that the doorway algorithm did launch."

John MuellerGoogle’s John Mueller: page speed might not be a ranking factor anymore

"In a Google+ Webmaster Hangout, Google’s John Mueller indicated that page speed might not be a ranking factor anymore. [...] I don’t know how much that’s actually still actually still a problem in ranking."

Site-wide footer links: Google is saying “no” but my ranking is saying “let’s go.”

"If I were to summarize, I’d say that a site-wide footer link can and does help you rank a site, but is weighted a little bit compared to a singular link on the home page of the same site (interior pages probably won’t be as strong).

Perhaps there’s a certain number in Google’s algorithm that says if X number of links are created to a site in a short amount of time, they are devalued. Or, perhaps the home page link has positive value, but all subsequent links have a slight negative value. Either way, the results are the same – footer links can help rank terms."

GoogleGoogle changes new mobile breadcrumbs to show HTTPS page status & site URL

"It looks as though Google has tweaked their mobile search results in order to show whether a site is HTTPS or not. [...]

They also seemed to have changed how they display the site name as well, always showing it in the form of example.com instead of showing a mix of URL and 'Site Name' format."

Google AdWords: new and refreshed reporting tools

"With the new reports, you can: Quickly find inconsistent settings that could be limiting performance, identify settings that you aren’t yet utilizing, view details alongside your performance metrics to get a more comprehensive look at account performance."

Search engine newslets

  • Export Google search history.
  • French senate backs bid to force Google to disclose search algorithm workings.
  • Canada: Competition Bureau’s call for search experts likely related to Google Inc probe, experts say.
  • Chrome: push notifications on mobile websites.
  • Google does not give extra mobile friendly boost for Chrome over Safari.
3. Recommended resources

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4. Previous articles
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