Monday Morning SEO Recap (September 26th – October 2nd)

Penguin and Disavow Files – Devaluation vs. Demotion

In a post published on SE Round Table on Tuesday, Barry Schwartz explained that according to Google, webmasters should keep using the disavow feature like they’ve always used to when it comes to Penguin. But this may no longer be the case right now.

The following day, Schwartz’ comment on Search Engine Land said that with Penguin 2.0, which launched on Friday, the new algorithm “devalues” instead of “demotes.”

When a site gets demoted, its organic rankings suffer as a result of doing something that goes against Google’s terms and guidelines. But when it gets devalued, the algorithm simply ignores the link spam, which means that the site can hold on to its placement in the SERP. Not counting a link might look like a demotion. But instead of going from page 1 to page 10, for example, it’s possible to drop by only a page. While the links no longer carry any value, no demotion is imposed on your website.

Google currently rolls out Penguin 3.0 recoveries right now, but those who are seeing improvements in rankings may not fully recover.

There are several factors that contribute to this, but when it comes to the disavow file, you probably don’t have to use it to get around the new Penguin algorithm. Since the algorithm essentially ignores the link if it devalues it, disavowing serves exactly the same function.

It’s worth noting that the disavow file still proves useful when you’re suffering from other link penalties such as manual actions.

On a Facebook post, Google’s Gary Illyes told Schwartz:

This is a far cry from what webmasters are used to in terms of Penguin:

  1. The new Penguin 4.0 devalues on a page by page basis.
  2. The algorithm devalues instead of demotes.
  3. The disavow file isn’t needed since it already devalues links.
  4. This should be a welcome change for webmasters.

Ana Hoffman also summed things up neatly on the comments section of Schwartz’ Facebook post. And Gary said everything looks right. Ana wrote:

If there are spammy links pointing to a site, it will no longer be penalized like how Penguin would have done before. Instead, the algorithm will devalue the spammy links, which means the site won’t benefit from any of those links but there’s the potential of negatively influencing rankings in case the same links helped the site climb up the rankings to begin with.

Google’s App Indexing Ranking Boost Remains Regardless Of AMP

During the previous week, Barry Schwartz reported that AMP pages will take precedence over app deep link results in Google’s mobile search listings.

Basically, this means that users of SE Round Table who have their mobile app and conduct a Google search will be served the AMP page now and in the foreseeable future. Note that SE Round Table offers both AMP pages as well as native Android and iOS apps that employed App Indexing. Users will not have the ability to click from the mobile search listings and go straight to a specific page on the website. That is, at least, what Google explained about how things would go in the future.

Google’s Mariya Moeva was asked about this new system by Barry Schwarts of SE Round Table. Schwartz wanted to know what happens now to the app indexing ranking boost that the search engine giant promised not even a year ago.

Moeva explained that the ranking boost will remain for installed apps and user engagement through API, even with the prevalence of AMP.

On a comment left on Search Engine Land, Google said that AMP pages have a tremendous impact on user experience since they are simply very fast and reliable. They also said that AMP consumes 10 times less data compared to a non-AMP page. Users love AMP, and their data shows that people are likelier to click on a search listing when it comes in AMP format. This explains the switch to AMP, which can prove to be a win-win situation for all parties involved.

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