This week we are tracking an ongoing Google algorithm search update that Google won’t comment on. Google said they will start penalizing AMP pages that don’t have the same content as their non-AMP canonical version. Google admitted they are still making changes to their Penguin and Panda algorithms. Google explained in more detail when to use the disavow file in 2017. Google said disavowing nofollowed links does no harm. We are told Larry Page, the co-founder of Google, does not believe in manual actions. Google News added a new URL as a referrer source. Google Search Console had a bug with the AMP content mismatch errors. Google job search added salaries, location filtering and more features. Google Maps is rolling out a brand new design. Google messaging feature now can show wait times. Google launched editorial reviews in the product knowledge card. Mozilla has dropped their partnership with Yahoo and Google is now the default search provider on Firefox. Are you having second thoughts about being in the SEO business, take our poll please. That was this past week in search at the Search Engine Roundtable.
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This post was scheduled to go live today but was written earlier – I am currently offline today.
Google has said time and time again that structured data, markup, schema, etc does not help you rank better in Google, all it does it help Google markup the search results with richer details for your snippets. So be it review stars, video thumbnails, top stories, etc – all of these are not directly ranking boosts but rather display features in the Google search results. Of course, richer displays can increase click through rates from Google and result in more traffic.
That being said, someone asked John Mueller of Google if GS1 Web Markup has a ranking benefit in Google. John responded “I’m not aware of us using that for anything.”
I’m not aware of us using that for anything.
— John ☆.o(≧▽≦)o.☆ (@JohnMu) November 8, 2017
The GS1 Web Markup Tool page does specifically say it “can improve your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy and increase the chances that your products will be found.” Which is not directly correct, which is why John Mueller had to debunk it.
Forum discussion at Twitter.
One thing that Gary Illyes of Google said at SMX East a few weeks ago that did not drive much attention, but a note I wrote down while on the stage with him was that the co-founder of Google, Larry Page, he does not believe in manual actions.
For any SEO who has been in the business for a while, this comes as no surprise, but anyone relatively new in the industry, it would come as a surprise. The number of manual actions Google sends out is huge, some estimate show it at over 500 manual actions per hour. That is not a small number, so you’d think the co-founder of Google would be into them since they invest a lot of resources into them.
But he is not because he believes algorithms, not humans, should be smart enough to figure out the cases that humans are currently picking up with those manual actions.
Larry Page was all about removing the human layer and writing algorithms to take over the jobs. This is why Google is known for horrible customer service because it requires humans. Humans do not scale, algorithms and computers scale.
Since it is a slow “news” day, I thought it would be fun to remind people about this and then you guys can argue about why Google needs manual actions at all? The reason is likely because us SEOs have complained so much about our competitors ranking well even though they are spamming that Google needed a faster way to penalize these folks when algorithms take time to write and test and of course can miss edge cases.
Forum discussion at Google+.
Google announced they will start taking punitive action against AMP pages that show teaser or partial content, with a link to see the full content on the main non-AMP page.
Starting on February 1, 2018, AMP pages that are not content parity with their canonical non-AMP page will not be able to rank in the top stories section of Google search. Google said when a webmaster uses this teaser technique, they will redirect the searcher to the non-AMP page and since only AMP pages can show in the top stories carousel, the page will not be able to be shown.
Google also said they will also notify the webmaster in the Google Search console with a manual action message and give the publisher the opportunity to fix the issue before its AMP page can be served again.
The funny thing is just a couple months ago, I reported how NBC News was using this technique and I thought it was somewhat clever. Well, I guess Google is not into the idea of publishers doing this.
Here is a screen shot from Google of what violates the policy where the AMP page doesn’t contain the same critical content as its non-AMP equivalent.
Here is the video of NBC News doing it:
Some publishers are strategically using AMP to appear in organic results, and still drive visitors to their own domain. #amp @rustybrick pic.twitter.com/HbBQGxchz2
— Will Jacobsen (@WillieJay22) September 2, 2017
In this case, I am not sure I like this policy. I think the way NBC or even Google’s screen shot does it is fair to the searcher and reader. If they are showing totally different content, that is one thing. But to ask the reader to read the full article on the main site that can be monetized better by the publisher – that doesn’t seem so unfair to me?
Forum discussion at Twitter.
Sometimes I look at John Mueller’s responses on Twitter and think, no no that is too obvious. A recent one the Google Webmaster Trends Analyst posted on Twitter said “when a site is low quality, it doesn’t take much to out-rank it.” “Aim to create something new, compelling, & awesome,” he added.
Simple but in that one tweet, which is still under the original Twitter character limit, he was able to tell the webmaster that his web site was probably a low quality site that he/she needs to improve upon.
He also brought back a topic from a few years ago about sites with penalties can be outranked by scraper sites who copy them.
Here is John’s tweet:
When a site is low quality, it doesn’t take much to out-rank it. Aim to create something new, compelling, & awesome.
— John ☆.o(≧▽≦)o.☆ (@JohnMu) November 16, 2017
The advice is obvious, but most of you don’t see the complaints in the forums from webmasters asking why their sites don’t rank well in Google. And most of those sites just copy content from other sites and paste them on templated web site builders.
Forum discussion at Twitter.
Caesar Sengupta posted on Twitter a picture of one of the terraces at the Google Singapore office. Ain’t it pretty? He said the “office is beautiful.” ‘We’re so fortunate to have such a great workplace,” he added.
It is a pretty sight and looks way relaxing.
This post is part of our daily Search Photo of the Day column, where we find fun and interesting photos related to the search industry and share them with our readers.
Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.
Search Engine Roundtable Stories:
Mozilla Drops Yahoo For Google As Default Search Provider In FirefoxThree years ago, Mozilla dropped Google as the default search provider in their popular web browser, Firefox…
Google Messaging Feature Now Shows Wait TimesWhen Google My Business first launched messaging within the platform, they said they would measure the response time and then show a notification to your customers who are about to message you about the typical wait time…
Google Maps To Launch Brand New DesignGoogle announced they have redesigned Google Maps and will be rolling it out to users over the upcoming weeks across “all Google products that incorporate Google Maps, including the Assistant, Search, Earth, and Android Auto…
Google Tests New Version Of People Also Search For BoxGoogle seems to be testing a small variation of the “people also search for” box in the Google search results. This one is a box below the search result snippets that lists out related queries to expand you search…
Chinua Achebe Google Logo For Nigerian Novelist 87th BirthdayToday on Google’s home page is a special Google logo, a Doodle, for the Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe. He was born on November 16, 1930 in Ogidi, Anambra and passed just a few years ago at the age of 82 on March 21, 2013 in Boston…
Wall Of Mailboxes At GoogleSo at one of the Google offices they have these old fashion mailboxes, lots of them, hanging on a single wall. I am not sure why, if it is function or design or both – but I suspect it is not functio
Other Great Search Forum Threads:
Google Search Help Center – Quick Link Guide (Long Version), Google Web Search Help
@kgblanchette We don’t do anything special for tablet pages. For canonicalization, we use rel=canonical, redirects, internal links, sitemaps, etc. — alig… https://t.co/raTvBtuY1Y, John Mueller on Twitter
Lots of new features rolling out to the ##GoogleAssistant to make it easier f…, Google+ – Google Developers
Sometimes flowers seem to spring from difficult conditions. But why? Can yo…, Google+ – Dan Russell
The Rise, Fall and Resurrection of Exact Match Domains (EMDs), WebmasterWorld
Twitter Working on New Authentication and Verification Program, WebmasterWorld
Three years ago, Mozilla dropped Google as the default search provider in their popular web browser, Firefox. Well, now that Yahoo is no longer Yahoo, Mozilla got out of that search deal and has now brought back Google as the default search provider in their latest version of Firefox, Firefox 57 Quantum.
Mozilla announced it on their blog:
As part of our focus on user experience and performance in Firefox Quantum, Google will also become our new default search provider in the United States, Canada, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Firefox default search providers in other regions are Yandex in Russia, Turkey, Belarus and Kazakhstan; Baidu in China; and Google in the rest of the world. Firefox has more choice in search providers than any other browser with more than 60 search providers pre-installed across more than 90 languages.
Here are the defaults in order now:
I don’t see any disclosure on how much the search deal cost Google.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.
When Google My Business first launched messaging within the platform, they said they would measure the response time and then show a notification to your customers who are about to message you about the typical wait time.
Well, now Google is showing those wait times for some businesses that have their messaging feature turned on. Here is a screen shot from Ben Fisher who posted it on Twitter:
So now the customers know that sometimes messaging a business will not lead to an immediate response.
This is what I wrote when it first launched:
Eventually, Google will show the customer the approximate wait time for the time it takes that business to reply to messages on average:
Cool to see the notice live for searchers now.
Forum discussion at Twitter.
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