Google Penguin 4.0 Real-Time Update

You’ll all be well aware by now of the Google Penguin 4.0 real -time update which was announced by Google last week.

Google won’t refer to this as Penguin 4.0 as it’s now part of its algorithm, but I think we ought to give it a reference point.

Now it’s all part of the algorithm I very much doubt Google will discuss any further updates to Penguin.

What can we learn from this real-time update to Penguin?

Observations indicate it was in testing, or running, some weeks before the announcement, although Google won’t confirm one way or the other. SEOs are discussing the SERPs changes over the last few weeks, along with a massive spike in crawling. Another observation recently was there had been many crawl errors in the GSC.

If you think you’ve been hit by a Penguin penalty in the past, and you’ve fixed the problems, you should submit the update and wait while Googlebot re-crawls and the algorithm reassesses the site and pages. Diagnosing a new Penguin penalty will be more difficult, but all site owners should know the quality of the back link profile for their pages and the site to ensure it’s looking good.

Microsoft Changes Windows 10 Upgrade to Recommended

Microsoft continues to push really hard to upgrade users to Windows 10, and this new step is likely to catch out many that have been putting off the upgrade.

Microsoft’s Windows 10 is switching its status from Optional to Recommended. What this means is that if you’ve been putting off the update, for whatever reason, such as when convenient for you, and you have Windows 10 set to automatically install updates, Windows 10 will download and install automatically. The result is that you’ll waste an hour or so while waiting for the upgrade to take place. Clearly, if you’re out and about on a limited bandwidth plan this is going to hurt.

You’d better get ready to help your friends and colleagues.

Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) Launching

Those of you that follow Google closely will know that Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is about to launch. No specific date was provided, but it’s due to launch in February 2016.

What is Googles AMP? It’s a cut down version of HTML devised to load pages much faster on a mobile network.

Who’s it for? Anyone targeting a mobile audience, but at the outset, Google has been working with news publishers to show news content on mobiles.

News is slowly coming out of Google on this, and it announced recently that AMP errors are now included in the Search Console. That being the case you can now get pages up-and-running. Here are a few links to help you get started with AMP.

If you want to start building AMP pages to be ready you’ll need to start off by reading up about AMP from the AMP project site.

There’s a great accelerated mobile pages (AMP) tutorial here.

Those coders reading this about Google’s accelerated mobile pages should head over here to github.

Happy coding!

Google Panda 4.2 is Rolling Out, But Slowly

Well, here it is, and hardly anyone noticed. Google Panda 4.2 was officially announced as starting to roll out from July 18, 2015, and this one’s going to be different. Google said it was going to take weeks to process Panda this time. That’s very much different from previous Panda updates as it would simply process sites and pages in a matter of a few days, once all the data centres had caught up.

Now, the process appears to be so slow that the number of sites being impacted in any one day is minimal. It’s now difficult to know whether a site’s been hit, or recovered, unless closely monitoring the rankings, but, importantly, the traffic. Monitoring rankings is notoriously difficult, and often of little value with “personalisation.”

What might cause a Panda hit? In the most part, it’s about site content that’s too thin, weak, or bad quality, or simply inadequate.  This also works if a site has too much content. What, you say, too much! Yes, if the site has lots of bad quality content, aimed at specific keywords, or is automated content, watch out, the Google Panda is about. It’s all about content, and quality, although there may be other aspects that play a part. Linking to and from other poor quality Pandalised sites won’t help.

What happens when getting hit by Panda? Your weak pages would probably end up in Google’s supplemental index, and then they’d never rank, and your traffic would suffer. Now, Panda will affect the whole of the site if there’s a quality content issue.

There’s no doubt that this long, slow roll-out is part of a plan by Google to hide the updates so that they become sanitised, making it much more difficult to know what’s going on, and what changes to make to re-optimise a site.

The simple answer is to add natural, quality content, and grow the site organically. Don’t add hundreds, or thousands of pages with thin, copied, or inadequate content, or automated pages that are not natural.

Google’s become highly proficient at joining the dots.

Google Panda Update News

Many site owners and webmasters are on tenterhooks right now as the long-awaited Google Panda update is processed by the company.

Originally released at the beginning of 2011 to hit the rankings of “thin content” sites, it’s first incarnation took no prisoners, and appeared to be quite aggressive. Many sites not seen as having thin content were hit, and since then each and every webmasters has either moved on, or await release from the Pandamonium caused. Further updates came frequently throughout the coming months, until Google decided, back in March 2013, to integrate Panda into the regular algorithms updates.

Since then, the Google Panda roll-out seems to have been less frequent, but also impacted with less attrition. Perhaps that appearance of less of an impact is the result of the majority of “thin content sites” already being relegated. At the time of writing, the last Google Panda update was back in September 2014.

With that, many questions are asked about the next update, and whether the current stability is a good thing. If you’re site has been hit by Google Panda, should you just accept it an move on, or is the next update going to hit many additional sites?


Either way, a refresh appears to be on the cards any day now, as stated by at least one Google employee, and we’ll soon know about the winners and losers.



Google Mobile Friendly Update News

I mentioned in the last posts about the Google Mobile Friendly update coming on April 21. Well, it came and it went, and the impact has been mixed, but not as devastating as some had predicted.

You may have seen this: #mobilegeddon was the hashtag used by many (not me).  I was getting the usual e-mail spam from so-called SEO companies using scare tactics to fool the uninitiated into investing in them, and to save their web site from oblivion. The whole message in their spam was a scare tactic, but many would believe it, i’m sure.

In the end, now we’ve had a few days of assessment, the impact does not seem to have been as great as many expected. Even Google has played it down.

What have I seen? Sites that are mobile friendly appear unaffected by any demotion, or promotion. What has happened to non-mobile-friendly sites is a slight drop in ranking: Sometimes only one or two, and the mobile-friendly sites appear to have moved to take the place.

Google has said that the non-mobile-friendly site may not be impacted too greatly if it’s the most relevant site. That’s reassuring for some, but you have to see it to believe it as every site is going to be different.

I’m sure there’s going to be more impact to come as the mobile-friendly algo continues to roll out, and that sites, as they update and become mobile-friendly, move back up or down in the SERPs.

Plus, of course, all the usual Google changes going on every month.

How’s your site doing?

Google and Mobile Friendly SERPs – What You Need To Know

In just 30-days we’re about to find out what impact Google’s new mobile algorithm will have on the smartphone/mobile SERPs.

It has already been described by a Google employee that it’s have a greater impact than Google’s Panda or Google’s Penguin updates.

Trying to get to the bottom of that statement is less clear.

Perhaps the statement was taken out of context and it refers solely to smartphone/mobile SERPs. I have no doubt that it will shake up mobile SERPs significantly.

If you want to see what impact it is likely to see on your own site in the mobile SERPs, it’s quite easy. Using your mobile phone, do a search on Google and look at the SERPs. What you’ll see is the SERPs, as expected, with the addition of “Mobile-friendly” in front of the description. If you don’t see “Mobile friendly” I predict that entry is quite likely to disappear from the mobile SERPs as you see it today.

Google has been talking about the importance of mobile for a few years now, and this new initiative started with a vengeance in January with e-mails sent out to sites that it assessed as not mobile friendly.

Some might argue that the deadline of April 21st for the switch in mobile SERPs is inadequate time to update a site. That’s a fair point, but not the end of the world.

If you haven’t planned, or instigated a mobile-friendly update then there’s still time to get on with it. If you haven’t completed it by Google’s deadline, you should carry on and update as soon as you can. Google will, i’m sure, be re-visiting sites, and re-indexing them as soon as the mobile-friendly site is up and running. It’s impossible to be certain about the time scale for re-indexing, but Googlebot is always hungry for new pages. Feed the spider as soon as you can.


I hope that’s helped clarify some of the questions i’ve been asked.

Google to Extend Mobile Site Friendliness as a Ranking Signal

Google has just announced that a mobile-friendly site is likely to do better in the mobile SERPs from April 21, 2015. For some years Google and Bing have been pushing webmasters to get their sites mobile friendly. I spent some time discussing this with Google’s Pierre Far a short while back, and it’s no surprise that the announcement from Google is here.

This simply means that your web site ought to be mobile friendly, or you’re likely to lose your ranking in the smartphone SERPs.

There’s no doubt that mobile traffic has been growing for many years now. Just about everyone in the developed world now has a smartphone or tablet computer of some sort. That means your site ought to meet the demands of a small-screen device, such a smartphone or tablet, as well as a larger-format desktop computer screen. If your site is not mobile-friendly you could be missing out on sales and marketing opportunities.

Do you want to know more information on this, or to get your site checked out for mobile friendliness, give us a call.


Mobile Web Sites Are Now a Must Have

It’s no surprise that mobile use has overtaken desktops and the combination of tablet and smartphone is so popular. It’s easy for people to manage their lives and get online almost anywhere. No longer are we tied to the desktop.

This growth in mobile usage puts greater demands on web sites to deliver data that is readable on a small-screen device, and on different platforms, such as Android, Apple iOS and Windows Phone, whether it be a smartphone or tablet computer.

Is your site up to the demands? Does it render effectively on a smarphone? Do you know what to do about it?

Thankfully, there are solutions, and they will help you win mobile traffic that you may have been missing. Ask us about Responsive Web Design for your next website.

News Press Release Sites Hit By Google’s Panda 4.0 Update

News and press release distribution sites were hit badly since Google’s Panda 4.0 slapped the industry.
Panda 4.0 is aimed at low quality content, and thereby sites with a predominance of the content.

Since the distribution of press releases became popular through news distribution sites, such as Businesswire, PRNewswire, PRWeb, etc., many businesses and agencies were issuing news through their favourite service at a pretty fast rate. Many copycat sites sprang up to enable distribution of news for free.
Clearly, Google decided that news release distribution had all gone too far and that the distribution of news releases was going to get the same attention as many other types of services had received over the years.
One of the bigger news distribution services was badly hit in the last few weeks and its traffic declined significantly. It’s since hit back by announcing new quality standards, and to end questionable SEO tactics in news releases. It’s also going to the trouble of removing any news releases it feels are of low quality.
Marshall Jennings being a specialist, and having been involved in developing and distributing quality news releases for clients, we’ve always been well aware over the questionable quality of some news. We feel quite strongly that any news release of weak and “questionable quality” has never been good for the target audience, nor the client, or any intermediary, such as a news wire service.
If you’re in any doubt over your news release development, speak to the experts and benefit from the advice and extensive experience of the experts at Marshall Jennings, as it’s now even more important to ensure that the news is of good quality, and is well targeted.