Daily Search Forum Recap: October 12, 2017

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:
Other Great Search Forum Threads:
This post was scheduled to go live today but was written earlier – I am currently offline today.

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Google: Comments Better On Your Site Then On Social Networks

Gary Illyes from Google said at the State of Search conference the other day that you are better off having comments and reactions to your content directly on your site than on third-party sites, like social networks.
Many blogs and news sites have removed comments completely, telling people to engage with their stories over Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. But that content and engagement is done off of your site, which does not directly help your site in terms of content factors and potentially more links to your story due to the comments on the site.
Gary Illyes said that comments are better on-site for engagement signals for SEO than moving to social. Here is a tweet covering that statement:

Comments are better on-site for engagement signals for SEO than moving to social. Via @methode #StateofSearch
— Alan Bleiweiss (@AlanBleiweiss) October 10, 2017
Google has said this before, saying community through comments helps with rankings. Of course, the comments have to be value add, helpful and fun to read.
No comment…
Forum discussion at Twitter.
This post was scheduled to go live today but was written earlier – I am currently offline today.

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Daily Search Forum Recap: October 11, 2017

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:
Google Mobile Ranking Search Update, Mobile First Index Related?Google may have stepped up their mobile first index tests. A lot of folks are not just continuing with their chatter on the Google Columbus update but also now we are seeing specific ranking changes in Google mobile results…
Google Suggests They Use Off-Site Sentiment Analysis For RankingGary Illyes from Google was quoted by several SEOs as saying at the State of Search event that Google uses a form of sentiment analysis for search rankings. He said that Google looks at off-site sentiment to find supporting signals about quality of a site…
How To Tell If Google Is Testing The Mobile First IndexThe other day we reported that Google confirmed they are testing the mobile first index in the wild. But we didn’t know the details on how often, when and how to tell when that mobile first index was being tested. In fact…
Google: Penguin Is On Autopilot & Only Tweaked OccasionallyWe kind of knew this that when Penguin went real time that it meant Google is done with numbered Penguin releases. Google’ Gary Illyes confirmed the other day at State of Search that the Penguin algorithm is still on autopilot and runs in real time by itself…
Google: Featured Snippets Are Evolving & ChangingGary Illyes said at the State of Search conference yesterday in his keynote that how featured snippets work, both in user interface and how they rank, is evolving. He said what works for them today…
Google NYC SukkahHere is a photo I got from a Googler in the New York City office of the Sukkah they built on the 11th floor terrace. They build a sukkah there every year, and I believe also at other campuses, during
Other Great Search Forum Threads:

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How To Tell If Google Is Testing The Mobile First Index

The other day we reported that Google confirmed they are testing the mobile first index in the wild. But we didn’t know the details on how often, when and how to tell when that mobile first index was being tested. In fact, many of the Google tracking tools may be taking notice of these tests.
Well, Gary Illyes from Google explained at State of Search yesterday that if you are running a m-dot site, you can tell if the search results snippets on the desktop results show the m-dot version of the title tag and meta description. That is of course, if the title tag and meta descriptions are different between your m-dot version and the desktop version. Of course, in hindsight, that is an obvious way to see the test in the wild, but I didn’t think of it.
Here are tweets covering it:

#stateofsearch @methode if you have an m. Site, check the search snippets to see if you’re site is affected by Mobile 1st tests
— Gianluca Fiorelli (@gfiorelli1) October 10, 2017

Means that if you see a search snippet that is made up from m. Title tag & Meta Description, and not desktop 1, then ur site is M1st tested
— Gianluca Fiorelli (@gfiorelli1) October 10, 2017
I don’t personally have any m-dot sites to test on but I guess some savvy tool maker can set up tests to track m-dot domains and see when this switch over happens. And then share screen shots of the search results to show Google testing it in the wild.
I also assumed the the responsive sites would be in the first batch of tests, but this means the Google is probably already testing m-dot sites as well.
Forum discussion at Twitter.

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Google: Penguin Is On Autopilot & Only Tweaked Occasionally

We kind of knew this that when Penguin went real time that it meant Google is done with numbered Penguin releases. Google’ Gary Illyes confirmed the other day at State of Search that the Penguin algorithm is still on autopilot and runs in real time by itself.
Gary added that they have made “occasional tweaks” to the algorithm but overall the engineering team is happy with the late 2016 release of the Penguin update after the few tweaks they made.
Here are some tweets with this coverage from the conference:

Penguin is on auto pilot but when needed we add to it. @methode #stateofsearch
— Kevin Doory (@KevinDoory) October 10, 2017

The Google Team is happy with Penguin after the update in 2016. It is working as they wanted it to. @methode @jenstar #StateofSearch
— Jesse McDonald (@jesseseogeek) October 10, 2017

Penguin is now on autopilot and is only tweaked occasionally @methode #StateofSearch
— Mark Traphagen (@marktraphagen) October 10, 2017
Forum discussion at Twitter.

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Daily Search Forum Recap: October 10, 2017

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:
Giphy CEO: We Own Happy Birthday On Google. Next Day They Get HitA Fast Company story on October 3rd profiling Giphy, the popular GIF search engine, ended off with the cofounder and CEO of Giphy, Alex Chung saying “Yeah, we own happy birthday now [on Google]…
Google: Strongly Encourages Paywalled Content Markup With Flexible SamplingA couple weeks ago, we reported how Google has done away with the first click free program and introduced something called flexible sampling. If this is new to you…
Google Is Hiring Webmaster Trends Analysts, Like John & GaryGoogle is looking to hire more Webmaster Trends Analysts to help out with communication between Google and webmasters, amongst other tasks. Google’s John Mueller announced it in a webmaster hangout at the 67:52 mark…
Google Logo For Fridtjof Nansen, Norwegian Scientist & SkierToday on Google’s home page in many countries is a special Google logo, aka Doodle, for Fridtjof Nansen. Fridtjof Nansen was a Norwegian explorer, scientist, diplomat, humanitarian, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate…
Danny Sullivan As A Noogler, New GooglerAs you know, yesterday was Danny Sullivan’s first day working for Google and here he is in front of the Noogler Android Statue. A Noogler is a new Googler. They normally where these caps with perpell
Other Great Search Forum Threads:

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Giphy CEO: We Own Happy Birthday On Google. Next Day They Get Hit

A Fast Company story on October 3rd profiling Giphy, the popular GIF search engine, ended off with the cofounder and CEO of Giphy, Alex Chung saying “Yeah, we own happy birthday now [on Google].” Then on October 4th, Giphy got hit and they are now on page two for the search term, [happy birthday].
Here is that snippet at the end of the article:

“Forget that,” Leibsohn replies. “You search ‘Happy birthday,’ we’re No. 1.” (This is true!)
“Yeah, we own happy birthday now,” Chung says.
If you can’t make money from owning happy birthday, well, there are 1,716 GIFs tagged “face palm” to send Chung and Leibsohn.

Do you think Google smacked them because of the article?
Here is Glenn Gabe showing how they got hit in search the day after the story:

The kiss of death: When Giphy brags in an article about “owning keywords”, including #1 for “happy birthday”. Then it gets hammered on 10/4. pic.twitter.com/r1cnw33sd3
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) October 9, 2017
Is it because of their Google bragging?

The most ironic part is the article was published on 10/4, the exact day Google hammered them. Wow, NEVER brag about rankings. Ever. https://t.co/wfyjP9hYo5
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) October 9, 2017
Maybe but I doubt it.
What do you think? If you have good rankings in Google, don’t brag about it or buy out billboards?
Forum discussion at Twitter.

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Google: Strongly Encourages Paywalled Content Markup With Flexible Sampling

A couple weeks ago, we reported how Google has done away with the first click free program and introduced something called flexible sampling. If this is new to you, quickly go read that article.
I did briefly mention the new markup for subscription and paywalled content. But I did not stress that this markup is not required but rather “strongly encouraged” to be implemented by developers on sites that do deploy any form of flexible sampling.
Google rehashed that bit on Twitter saying they encourage the use of this markup for any form of flexible sampling:

We encourage that markup for pages that implement any form of Flexible Sampling. https://t.co/A6U0THR3Mw
— Google Webmasters (@googlewmc) October 10, 2017
So if you are using any of these forms, please review this markup and try to implement it.
Forum discussion at Twitter.

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Google Search Algorithm & Ranking Update : October 7th – 9th

Looks like we had a Google algorithm update over the weekend, starting probably late Friday, October 6th and rolling out over the weekend. Most took notice on Saturday October 7th but the chatter is still fairly strong and will likely remain strong for the net couple of days.
The ongoing WebmasterWorld thread has a lot of weekend chatter around Google ranking shuffles and changes. Here are some of those comments from the thread:

I am seeing our site appear number 1 then number 2 then number 3 or 4 in incognito. Google is now shuffling the serps!

I am seeing now some massive changes on search the Friday 13th update may have been brought forward…. if I’m right I brag naming rights as the “Sunday B|oody Sunday Update” happy!

Huge improvments on my side. +65% comparing this sunday with last sunday.

Looks like my organic traffic is now back to normal and I’m seeing slight increase.

I don’t think we should name it the Sunday Bloody Sunday Update – since the update started before Sunday. Maybe you can call it the Columbus Weekend update since today is Columbus Day or something Fred related or we can not name it anything.
Here are the tools, almost all of them showing significant changes in Google:
Mozcast:
Algoroo:
SEMRush:
Accuranker:
SERP Metrics:
Advanced Web Rankings:
RankRanger:
RankRanger is the only tool not showing changes, which is weird – maybe there is a bug with their software or maybe they see something no one else does?
In any event, I don’t see any comments from Google on this and I am honestly tired of asking Google about these updates. Maybe that will change with Danny Sullivan joining Google or maybe it won’t? We will see.
Did you notice changes? Let us know.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Danny Sullivan Joins Google Today: Will It Help The Search Community?

While I was offline, my search mentor, Danny Sullivan announced he has accepted a job offer to work at Google. I’ll be 100% honest, I did not see that coming, in fact, I don’t think most of those who worked with him saw that coming and I don’t think Danny expected it either.
He said he will “serve as a sort of public liaison for search.” He wrote:

My title is still being determined, but the position will be to serve as a sort of public liaison for search. The goal is to increase the connection between those at Google who work hard on search each day and the public that depends on Google for answers. I’ll be educating the public about how search works. I’ll be exploring and explaining issues that may arise. I’ll be looking at ways to take in feedback and work for solutions to improve search going forward.

So it seems like a two fold position:
(1) Teach people how to use Google, somewhat like a guy named Dan Russell at Google.
(2) Bridging the gap between the webmaster community (us) and Google. Like a John Mueller, Gary Illyes and their team there.
He left the search industry just about a few months ago, only to return right back to it for the other side. Today will be his first day at Google. Which means a week of orientation and then a ton of training. He wrote:

I’ll share more about my new role with the search team in the coming weeks. It’s going to take time for me to come up-to-speed on the many ways Google already communicates with the public, deals with issues, and for me to learn more about how search works from a behind-the-scenes perspective. After that, there will be a better sense of how the new position will help contribute.

People have been asking me all weekend what my thoughts are about this. So here you go, in no specific order, without editing (of course):
I was shocked by the news
I had no idea it was coming
I’ve worked with Danny for 12 years
I have huge respect for him
He would not have taken on the role if he didn’t think he can help both Google and the search community
I wonder if he will be able to help
I suspect he will be able to help in different ways than Gary or John
I am sure at times it will be awkward for me and him
I certainly hope Google becomes more transparent
I am cautiously optimistic about this
I think that sums up my feelings overall – but I really think this is going to be a let’s wait and see thing. And there will be a lot of waiting and seeing.
A lot of people are calling this as Danny is taking on Matt Cutts role. But Matt was an engineer, Danny is not a coder. Danny, I doubt, will be making search quality decisions and decisions at launch meetings. But that being said, I found Matt Cutts, who is no longer at Google, to share some of the more revealing tweets about what to expect from this news:

A huge, great move. Google needs this public liaison role. It should help them listen better, too. Danny Sullivan is the perfect choice. https://t.co/sbeD3KkSM0
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) October 6, 2017

I’m super happy that @dannysullivan will help Google listen (and explain!) more. πŸ™‚
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) October 7, 2017

can’t wait to see how Danny can bring feedback into Google
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) October 7, 2017

I’m even more interested to hear Danny’s reaction after he’s been on the inside for a while πŸ™‚
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) October 7, 2017
Matt Cutts also wrote on Google+ that “Google needs this” and he is happy to see Danny join Google.
Some in the industry are saying Danny has sold out by going to work at Google. He has been advocating for the search industry for 20 plus years from the search community side and now to join Google, to some, feel like a back stabbing of some sorts. But like I said before, I don’t think Danny would have taken the job if it meant him stabbing the community he help found in the back. He really must feel he can help the community, above and beyond.
I do hope I get to interview Danny Sullivan one day on the stage at SMX, it should be a ton of fun:

Now I really want to interview Danny after he’s been in the role for a little while. πŸ™‚
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) October 9, 2017
But we will see.
A top Google search engineer is excited to have Danny at Google:

So excited that this is really happening! Welcome, @dannysullivan! https://t.co/AaLrwckEZD
— Paul Haahr (@haahr) October 7, 2017
In any event, I think bringing Danny Sullivan into this role at Google can only help our community.
Finally, people also have been asking me if I am going to Google. The answer is no. I honestly could have done that ages ago and I decided not to. I have no desire or plans on joining Google.
Forum discussion at Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Cre8asite Forums and WebmasterWorld.

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