Weekly SEO news: 8 November 2016
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1. Google begins 'mobile first' indexing - what should you do now?

Google announced on the official Google blog that they were starting with mobile first indexing. What does this mean to the rankings of your web pages on Google? What can you do to make sure that your web pages will be found? This article has the answers.

mobile first

What is 'mobile first' indexing?

Google sees a shift from desktop computers to mobile devices. Most people search Google using a mobile device. Until now, Google's ranking algorithms primarily looked at the desktop version of a web page.

This can cause issues when the mobile page shows less content than the desktop page that was evaluated by Google's algorithms.

For that reason, Google plans to primarily use the mobile version of a site's content to rank pages. The search results will still be available for both desktop and mobile devices. However, the focus will be on mobile.

When will Google start with 'mobile first' indexing?

Google has already started. They have 'begun experiments to make [Google's] index mobile-first.' Google's knows that this is a major change:

"We understand this is an important shift in our indexing and it’s one we take seriously. We’ll continue to carefully experiment over the coming months on a small scale and we’ll ramp up this change when we’re confident that we have a great user experience."

What do you have to do now?

mobile ready page

It is clear that Google is serious about building a mobile-first index. For that reason, you should make sure that your web pages can be indexed correctly:

1. Use responsive website design

If you have a responsive website or a dynamic serving website where the content and markup is the same on mobile and desktop, you do not have to change anything.

2. Consider changes, if you do not use responsive website design

If you have a site configuration where the primary content and markup is different across mobile and desktop, you should consider making some changes to your site:

  • Make sure to serve structured markup for both the desktop and mobile version.
  • Use the robots.txt testing tool to verify that your mobile version is accessible to Googlebot.
  • If you have only verified your desktop site in Search Console, add and verify your mobile version.

If you only have a desktop site, Google will continue to index your desktop site. However, you won’t benefit from the mobile-friendly ranking boost then.

When building a mobile version of your website, keep in mind that a functional desktop-oriented site can be better than a broken or incomplete mobile version of the site. It's better for you to build up your mobile site and launch it when ready. Do not rush.

These tools will help you

The Top 10 Optimizer in SEOprofiler helps you to optimize your web pages for high rankings on Google Mobile. The Ranking Monitor in SEOprofiler can check the rankings of your web pages in Google's mobile search results. If you haven't done it yet, try SEOprofiler now:

Try SEOprofiler now

2. Internet marketing news of the week

John MuellerGoogle clarifies when it is safe to remove URLs from disavow files

"Anything to do with links and disavows has been a hot topic ever since Google launched the new real time Penguin. Can disavows be removed with how Penguin discounts links now? [...] if the links are still active and not nofollowed, you should still keep them in the disavow file. [...]

Google still uses links for other parts of their algo and bad links can still result in a link related manual action.  So if you are tempted to remove a disavow file simply because of Penguin, proceed with caution."

Google: marking up with both JSON-LD & Microdata not a risk

"I asked Gary Illyes from Google about these types of situations and he confirmed there is no risk of a spammy structured data markup manual action by marking up the same content with two different schema formats. [...]

At issue is Google’s preference now for JSON-LD for marking up structured data – not to mention many developers prefer using JSON-LD for markup as well. [...]

So if you want to support multiple schema types on a single page, then marking up the same content multiple ways – such as both JSON-LD and microdata – will run no risk of an issue with Google."

Gary IllyesGoogle: Wikipedia is really good at getting links to internal pages

"Stemming off my story named Google: We Don't Have 'Overall Domain Authority' In Our Rankings - Alan Bleiweiss said 'if an overall authority didn't exist, Wikipedia couldn't rank for single page topics.'

But Gary Illyes from Google took issue with that comment. He said that people are very likely to link to individual Wikipedia pages, internal pages within Wikipedia versus the home page."

Editor's note: This means that links to individual pages on your site are better for your Google rankings than links that point to your home page.

+++ SEARCH +++ ENGINE +++ NEWS +++ TICKER +++

  • The stakes are rising in Google’s antitrust fight with Europe.
  • How to get around Google’s new local business review guidelines.
  • Google still figuring out issues with the new mobile index.
  • Google: the sitelinks demotion tool didn't work for 6 months prior to removal.
  • Google: here’s to more HTTPS on the web.
  • Google creates its own antitrust woes with poor communication over search listings.

3. Previous articles