The most recent momentum in the SEO world is around mobile devices and richer data in search results. Here’s our roundup of the latest SEO news updates:
Google Mobile Algorithm Update
Long-anticipated, Google has released a further update to its “mobilegeddon” mobile-friendly algorithm“, first released in April 2015.
in May, we’ll start rolling out an update to mobile search results that increases the effect of the ranking signal to help our users find even more pages that are relevant and mobile-friendly.
What This Means for Your SEO Efforts
Responsive website design has been a recommendation for many years as we saw the growth of mobile internet use was clearly going to produce greater search volumes than desktop devices.
Google wants the best experience for its customers and so should you. Visitors enjoying a good user experience on your website are much more likely to convert into leads or sales. Page layout, text readability, images, buttons and page load speed are incredibly important factors for mobile user experience.
The recent mobile algorithm update builds on the earlier update, rewarding sites with a good mobile experience with higher organic rankings and penalising those with poor mobile experience with lower rankings.
New Mobile Testing Tool
To help websites achieve mobile greatness, Google has also updated its mobile-friendly testing tool, available via Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools).
The streamlined mobile usability tool focuses on three actionable steps to take once you find out whether your site is mobile friendly or not. You can open the site-wide mobile usability report in Search Console to learn more about what is working for or against your site.
Rich Cards Now in Google Search
In its strive to produce ever more relevant and richer search results, you may have noticed Google providing richer content in search results. That rich data is retrieved from the web page in question using structured data. It isn’t automatic, you’ll have to add the schema to your web pages in order to be eligible.
Rich cards are a new Search result format building on the success of rich snippets. Just like rich snippets, rich cards use schema.org structured markup to display content in an even more engaging and visual format, with a focus on providing a better mobile user experience.
New Structured Testing Tool
To help you check the structured data on your web pages, Google has updated its Structured Data Testing Tool. Head over to the new tool and test the structured data, or even test your code before you set it live.
Penguin Update Looming
Rumours of an update to Google’s Penguin algorithm are growing. The planned date for its release was the first quarter of 2016, though that seems to have been delayed until Google is confident that the update does what it needs to do.
A key ranking factor in the overall Google ranking algorithm, the importance of inbound links historically (and still, sadly) led to many black-hat SEO techniques including building huge networks of sites to create irrelevant, poor quality links and lots of spam to cheat the system and artificially boost rankings without any real merit. The Penguin part of Google’s algorithm specifically focuses on those poor quality or unnatural links pointing to your website.
This next release of Penguin promises to be more “real time”, meaning that Webmasters suffering penalties will be able to recover much more quickly after resolving the issues which first created the penalty.
What the Penguin Update Means for Your SEO
We’d recommend getting ahead of this update and auditing external links pointing to your site and content. If the link isn’t from a page or site that’s relevant to your business or content, or even the right language, it’s most likely not adding any value. The rule of thumb generally is; if your content adds value to the content on the referring site and is likely to produce a click from a real user, it’s a valuable, relevant link.
Accelerated Mobile Pages
The Accelerated Mobile Pages Project is “an open source initiative which aims to dramatically improve the performance of the mobile web.”. Google is working as part of a consortium to speed up access to content on mobile devices to dramatically improve the user experience.
The AMP project is gaining momentum fast, with a heap of videos and guidance already pouring from Google’s team involved with the project.