Weekly SEO news: 10 September 2019
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Here are the latest website promotion and Internet marketing tips for you.

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1. Google: you might get unstable results with m-dot domains (m.domain.com)

Google's John Mueller said on YouTube that there you might get unstable rankings if you use an m-dot domain for your mobile web pages (for example m.domain.com). Although Google won't drop support for m-dot domains, John Mueller recommends to use other ways to present your mobile pages.

m-dot domains in Google's regular desktop results

Your m-dot domain can be shown in the desktop results

As Google has shifted to mobile-first indexing, your m-dot domains might appear in the search results for desktop computers, even if the pages haven't been optimized for desktop browsers:

"One of the things that is worth mentioning is that, especially with the shift to mobile first indexing, if you have a separate m-dot site it's more likely that [...] we might show your m-dot version in the normal desktop search results.

Often that's due to an inconsistent linking between the mobile and the desktop version where we can't map that exactly. Sometimes it's just a matter of the way that we crawl and index pages.

Maybe we'll pick up one version first and we'll see the canonical and we'll stick with the m-dot version because [that's] the one that we would choose as canonical there and we would show that.

So from from our point of view: with an m-dot site with mobile first indexing it's more likely that you would see the m-dot version in the desktop search results because of that."

Redirect desktop users from your m-dot website

John Mueller recommends to redirect desktop users from the m-dot site to your regular website if you don't want to see desktop users on your m-dot website:

"What I would do is make sure that you redirect desktop users from the m-dot site to the appropriate desktop site [..] catch it on your end rather than rely on Google showing the appropriate URL.

This is a bit similar to the situation before mobile-first indexing where sometimes we would show desktop URLs for an m-dot site on mobile and, essentially, it has just shifted around here."

Google doesn't really care

Although there are websites that don't want to be listed with an m-dot website in Google's desktop results, this is not a big issue for Google:

"This is something from from the mobile-first indexing team. I talked with them about this earlier today and from their point of view, we do try to catch this as much as we can but we can't catch it completely. At the moment we're thinking that this is probably something that over time will become less of an issue anyway because people will redirect and more and more people are using mobile anyway to search.

It's something where we would expect that, potentially, if you have an m-dot site this will remain in an unstable situation."

Google recommends responsive websites

According to John Mueller, responsive websites are both the easiest and the best way to present your content. John Mueller said similar things before.

"Of course, the the best way to handle it, or rather the easiest way to handle it, would be to use a responsive site. Or you choose dynamic serving where you just have a single URL where you don't have all of these differences between the m-dot and the desktop version.

Every time you you have a separate mobile version or a separate version of the site, again, it just makes everything a little bit more complicated. It's not that we will stop our support for m-dot versions it's just that if you have this set up and we've shifted to mobile-first indexing [...] then it's possible that you will see this."

You can view the video here.

Optimize your web pages for Google's mobile search results

The mobile SEO tools in SEOprofiler help you to optimize your web pages for Google's mobile search results. You also get SEO audits for mobile websites and mobile rank checking. Of course, SEOprofiler also works with your desktop pages. You can get your SEOprofiler account here:

Optimize for mobile

2. Internet marketing news of the week

John Mueller Google: we render pages with both desktop & mobile user-agents.
"Google’s John Mueller said on Twitter that pages can still be rendered by Google’s desktop user agent when Google shifts to mobile-first indexing for a domain. [...]

Although some pages will be indexed with the desktop user agent, only the content of the pages for mobile will be indexed."

The line between subdomain leasing and alternative revenue strategy

"Sites operating under a subdomain or subfolder of another brand are attracting attention from SEOs as well as search engines. This trend has most recently involved coupon sites that use a subdomain of well-entrenched media outlets, but could potentially be applied to any number of industries. [...]

For site owners, renting out a subdomain to an unrelated, unsupervised third-party may have consequences on your own organic visibility, which may impact revenue. If it doesn’t, then we’re witnessing a new way for publishers to generate revenue — and, perhaps, a method for those publishers to use their influence in one sector to gain a questionable search advantage in other sectors."

John MuellerGoogle about 404, soft 404 and 301 HTTP status codes

"In two Twitter posts, Google's John Mueller explained how Google treats 301 HTTP status codes that are changes to 404 HTTP status codes and soft 404 pages. [...]

Among many other things, the website audit tool in SEOprofiler checks the HTTP status codes that your web pages send. If there are any problems, the website audit tool will notify you."

Microsoft Audience Ads: auto enabled via image extensions

"Did you know that your search ad on Microsoft Ads can potentially show on non-search placements? No? Me neither. Microsoft Audience Ads are ads that appear on the Microsoft Audience Network, which includes places like MSN, Microsoft Outlook, and Microsoft Edge."

+++ SEARCH +++ ENGINE +++ NEWS +++ TICKER +++

  • Google: headings are useful for more than SEO.
  • Google: check your canonical tags.
  • Google: it can take months to re-crawl URLs.
  • Google shows competitors above company listings.
  • Google tests capitalizing URLs of snippets in search results.
  • Google: introducing auto-DNS verification.
  • Google: don't overthink PageRank flow.
  • Google Maps poised to be an $11 Billion business in 4 years.
  • When Google puts 4 paid ads ahead of the first organic result for your own brand name, you’re forced to pay up if you want to be found.
  • Possible bug alert: pagination issue for local finder results.

3. Previous articles