Monday Morning SEO Recap (October 24th – October 30th)

SEO Spam Discovered Within Hacked WordPress Site Subdirectories

Sucuri, known for helping clear up spam from as many as 500 different sites on a day-to-day basis, has gotten wind of a new style of SEO spam that centers around installing malicious WordPress subdirectories. This is pretty blatant black hat tactic that attempts to use server resources and storage to install incredibly spam heavy sites within said directories.

As you might expect, the sites generally push products and ads with affiliate links with the intent of generating easy income.

Since the spam site is hidden within the subdirectories, the original owner may not even catch that this is going on. The only way to keep this from happening is through security monitoring, something many WordPress publishers don’t even think to utilize. Google Search Console is also highly recommended by Sucuri as a useful means of monitoring your site. If the search results that are leading to your site seem wildly off topic, it’s very likely that you’re being subjected to SEO hacking. There are other things you’ll have to look out for of course, but taking these steps is the best possible start towards making sure you’re protected.

AMP Making Monetization Difficult For News Publishers

The Wall Street Journal reports that AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is receiving fairly mixed reviews among publishers. The revenue generated by AMP pages has been less than stellar in the eyes of most and there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of control over the ads being run.

The report claims that some publishes find that a preference for AMP in search engine results is problematic since the AMP pages aren’t generating the same amount of revenue as the mobile versions of their sites. More than one publisher has claimed that AMP is actually generating only half the revenue in comparison.

There are a lot of limitations on the ads that AMP pages are allowed to run. There’s a standardized nature to AMP ads that prevents takeovers and interstitials that could allow publishers to customize or change to their liking. A lot of users object to the higher profile units however.

On the flip side, Google has disputed that there are any monetization issues for publishers. Google claims that success with AMP is all about proper implementation. As far as they are concerned, there should be no problems matching the revenue of mobile sites. For example, major sites like those belonging to The Washington Post and CNN have had immense success with their AMP generated revenue.

There’s also an indication within the article that some publishers are hesitant to talk about the problems with AMP for fear that Google may retaliate in some way. That sort of thinking might only lead to unhelpful conspiracies rather than facts however. It’s important for Google to get as much feedback as they can from publishers if there really is a monetization problem with AMP. There’s also a lot of concern that AMP adoption will actually be forced thanks to Google’s always changing algorithm.

Google has spoken against this possibility, but loading speed for each page might be a legitimate issue before long. AMP pages are said to be as much as 4 times faster, and they apparently require only a tenth of the data usage. Given these impressive stats, AMP pages generally load within a second. It’s unlikely that Google could actually force AMP implementation as a ranking factor given the trouble that would raise with antitrust authorities.

Several publishers did mention that they were happy with their AMP performance however. In many of these cases, it was reported that many of their mobile page views were actually being generated by AMP pages.

AMP represents Google’s push towards an overall more mobile friendly web experience. Mobile searches should improve considerably. So, even though there’s some generosity on Google’s part pertaining to the speed and organization of mobile web experiences, you can be sure they’re also working to include their own revenue through AMP.

Google’s Search Index Is Being Split, Giving Priority To Mobile Usage

Google’s search results index is being split into separate versions that pertain to mobile and desktop usage specifically. The change should be underway within the next few months. The mobile version will likely be updated much more frequently than the desktop version.

Google’s Gary Illyes debuted the news at the latest Pubcon in Las Vegas. It spread throughout Twitter after his keynote was done. Giving priority to the mobile search index is a testament to Google’s commitment to bettering the overall mobile search experience. Google looks to be shifting towards mobile as their first priority. The company has advocated this as far back as early 2015. Many of you should remember “Mobilegeddon.” The split search index also represents the overall shift in mobile searches now potentially outnumbering desktop searches.

A separate mobile index will let Google’s bot to crawl how responsive mobile versions of websites are and index them more accurately. As such, Google will be able to optimize mobile content for the many users accessing the search engine via smartphones. Breaking news will even be able to travel more quickly with this shift in place.

What Should Webmasters And SEO Experts Expect?

The split announcement basically means, quite plainly, that mobile search is soon going to be more important than desktop searches across the board. As such, if you own a site or operate as a SEO consultant, you need to be prepared to focus more on mobile yourself. It’s more important than ever to make sure your site has a responsive mobile version. That’s really only the least you can do however.

A mobile optimized site in and of itself isn’t quite enough. Loading speed still plays a huge part, for the ranking algorithm and your visitors alike. Google has stated that over 50 percent of users leave sites immediately if they haven’t loaded after 3 seconds. It’s best to use the AMP platform to optimize your site for speed. If you haven’t gotten on board yet, you should check out the speed of your mobile page via the Google testing tool. As always, it’s essential that your load times are as minimal as they can possibly be.

If you’re publishing industry news with any degree of regularity, its also in your best interest to get listed on Google News. Your content will essentially be on the fast track for indexing. With this behind you, your content will naturally be much more visible in any relevant search results.

It’s best if all site owners cover their bases before the split takes place. If you know that your mobile site needs some work, you need to sort it out as soon as possible. No one knows exactly when the split will be implemented, but you should prepare for it to happen sooner than later.

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