Monday Morning SEO Recap (October 10th – October 16th)

Google To Launch Mobile Index In Months, Replacing Desktop Index As Secondary

Barry Schwartz from Search Engine Roundtable announced on October 13th that Google is planning on launching a brand new, mobile only index within just a couple of months. This information is based upon the keynote speech given by Google’s Gary Illyes at PubCon recently. If you remember, the last time that Gary said months, it actually ended up being a whole other year before the results. However, this is sure to be sooner and it is not an experiment any longer.

Back in September of 2015, Google had said they were experimenting with an index that was mobile carry only. This was made to handle the issues that were desktop only, using ranking signals for mobile. Yes, it seems that Google is still using desktop signals for their mobile rankings and this seems as though it will change quite a bit once this mobile index finally launches.

What we can assume is that this mobile index will come out in 2017, hopefully within the first quarter. Yet, Google does not seem to want to offer any further information.

It does seem as though Google is going to dive back into the days of supplemental index, where they will maintain two unique indexes. The primary index will be the mobile index, according to what Gary noted at PubCon. The desktop index will then be turned into a more stale, secondary version.

There are a lot of questions that are sure to arise about this shift, but Google is being tight-lipped for now. They simply mentioned that information will come out in the near future when it is a bit closer to the launch, so be on the lookout for a post about it then.

Here are a few tweets about the announcement:

Sitelinks Demotion Tool Within Google’s Search Console Has Been Demolished

In 2007, google brought on a feature to the Search Console, which was known as Webmaster Tools back then. This allowed webmasters the ability to remove or “demote” certain URLs as sitelinks from being able to show up in snippets of search engine results.

What are sitelinks? Here, boxed in red, is an example:

In the past, if you were a webmaster of a website and you found that there was a page that didn’t seem important enough to have showing up as a sitelink for your page, you would have had the ability to tell Google, simply by ignoring that one and then replacing it with the next most important page in line. You are now no longer able to do this.

Google announced this information on Google+ on October 13th and stated that their algorithms have gotten a whole lot better at creating, finding and then showing relevant sitelinks. Feeling the need to simplify things, Google decided on an internal level to do away with the feature to demote sitelinks as a way to make things easier.

Google also added that they only show sitelinks for the results when they feel as though they will be useful to the users. If your website’s structure does not allow their algorithms to find decent sitelinks, or they feel as though the sitlinks that are for your website are not relevant to the query of the user, they will not show them. This is a process that is completely automated. Sitelinks have been able to evolve into being fully based on traditional website ranking. The way to influence them will be the same as the other web pages.

The best practices to be able to improve the overall quality of your sitelinks include:

  • Offering clear structure for your entire website, using only relevant internal links and using anchor text that is compact, informative and avoiding repetition.
  • Allowing Google the ability to crawl your pages and index them according to importance for your website. You can use Fetch and Render for checking if they can be properly rendered.
  • If you do have to remove a page from the search completely, you can use a “noindex” robot meta tag on the specific page.

Google Algorithms Labels Links As Footer, Disavowed, Penguin & More – Googlers have the ability to look up the link labels

On October 10th, Barry Schwartz from Search Engine Roundtable put out an article on Search Engine Land of an interview that was done with Gary Illyes the week before where he mentioned that Google has link labels.

A link label is basically a characteristic or attribute that is given to a link, including real time Penguin links, footer links, disavowed links and more. In short, the systems and algorithms are basically automatic labeling links with all of these labels.

Gary went on to mention that Googlers will have the access they need to see what labels may be on a specific link. While the manual action team at Google may not receive automated flags from the algorithms on various sites that they should investigate, if they are looking at sites and see link label issues, they can dive deeper and find even more issues.

Here is the audio of that interview and here are some tweets regarding the revelation:

This is likely why Google continues to suggest people use the disavow tool.

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