Friday, June 3, 2016

The Determination of Trust and Other Stories: Weekly Forum Update

seochat-wmw-cre8asite-threadwatch-roundup-768x576Hello again! We took a little break from writing updates last week but our communities have been busy in the meantime! And now we’re back to give you all the updates.

There’s plenty of legal drama directed at Google for us to talk about; in Florida, a judge has ruled that Google must go to trial over removing a website from the SERPs and in France, Google’s Paris office was actually raided by the French tax department.

In technical discussions, we’ll look at a debate about AMP and mobile pages, how to persuade local businesses about the importance of search engines, and more.

In our title discussion, user goodroi has started a fascinating discussion about how Google determines “trust” and authority on the web. Let’s dive in!

A Separate Mobile Search Index is Still Coming

About a year ago, Google started working on building a separate mobile search index. Why is that? Well, things are very different for mobile devices – sometimes in subtle ways. On Threadwatch, a user writes that

“For example, ‘Google found there are fewer linking rank signals on mobile pages…’ That’s part of the reason why pages rank differently on desktop and mobile. There’s also the issue of content – mobile versions of some pages are truncated.”

So, as you’ve probably noticed, your desktop searches and your mobile searches can often return very different results. Google has been ironing out the differences, it seems.

Or perhaps they’re embracing mobile’s unique qualities? It’s difficult to tell, but fun to wonder – what would a mobile only search index look like?

How Google Can Determine Trust

How can Google determine trust?Click To Tweet

“Trust” and “authority” are valued online as much as, even more than, they are in the “real world.” WebmasterWorld user goodroi writes that

“Google is always trying to separate quality from spam. Sometimes they succeed and other times they completely screw up.”

In this thread, goodroi and other users discuss how webmasters can convince Google that their sites are worthy of trust. What are some of their ideas? Goodroi suggests “use one of the original tlds like .com or [an] appropriate country tld but more importantly avoid unusual tlds like .info, .zip, .work.”

Goodroi also recommends HTTPS, bounce rate monitoring, brand building, social media, and more. User tangor adds that

“Trust levels will vary regarding content/niche. Info sites which are not actively involved in commerce of any kind will be viewed differently than those involved in commerce.”

There’s plenty of in depth information about this important topic – give this thread a read for sure!

A Florida Judge Rules Google Must Face Trial over Site Removals From SERPs

Speaking of trust…here’s a story all about it! The basics are this: Google removed a group of websites that it identified as “pure spam.”

Then they went a step further and removed a second group of websites owned by the same webmaster. Their reasoning? Also “pure spam.”

Cases like this pop up rather frequently, but this is the first one where a judge sided so strongly against Google. According to an article in Forbes,

“If, for whatever reason, the plaintiff actually makes real substantive progress in this lawsuit, the implications for Google could be seismic. The plaintiff’s allegations go to the core of Google’s search indexing practices.”

WebmasterWorld user superclown2 writes,

“…Since [Google] place so much weight on trust I can understand their action, but is it legal and ethical? A difficult one. Either way, I doubt if it will make much difference to the SERPs in the future.”

What do you think?

How to Persuade Site Owners That Search Engines Matter

On Cre8asiteforums there’s an interesting discussion about the tendency of smaller businesses to ignore search engines and even websites. Facebook and social media are, to some, the holy grail. Can they be convinced otherwise? That’s the real debate in this thread. User Black_Knight writes that

“What I don’t do is try to make it my business to drag resistant and misguided small businesses into a better path than they will ever choose, follow or stick to… I select clients that can already grow and thrive, even without my help, but where my help can make the process faster, smoother, more efficient.”

User iamlost adds that

“Search engines are increasingly NOT the only game in town. Indeed in many ways they are dinosaurs having difficulty adapting to changing environments.”

It’s a tricky topic, but also one of those business-focused ones that I personally love to read!

Google’s Paris Office Raided by Investigators

If you thought that WebmasterWorld was just about web development and marketing, then this thread will prove you wrong. Our users are well-rounded individuals and savvy thinkers.

But to the story at hand: French tax officials raided Google’s Paris headquarters back on May 24. Now Google stands accused of owing about $1.8 billion in unpaid taxes.

WebmasterWorld users sound mostly glad to see Google getting slapped around – but some users are wondering if this raid was just a bit of political theater. User heisje writes,

“Google are smart, but have got too smart for the taste of many people, for many reasons. Seems time to be outsmarted.”

Shepherd sees users celebrating the raid and writes,

“…never thought I would see the day that government strong-arm shakedowns were looked upon so favorably…”

The thing is that Google isn’t the only company being raided – many other American companies are too. User NickMNS writes,

“…so far France has targeted exclusively US firms. This is 100% politics and show.”

What do you think?

Conversions and Keyword Data – Together Again in Google Analytics?

Google recently announced that Search Console metrics will soon be “deeply integrated” into Google Analytics. On SEO Chat, users are waiting eagerly for the changes to roll live. User whiterabbit writes,

“…it’s not gonna be one to one at the keyword level, still at the landing page level but super useful to again be able to optimize by keyword…”

Pierre Benneton writes that a closer merging of GA and GSC is appreciated but,

“…I’m pretty sure we will still be stuck with the same ‘not provided’ problem on a lot of queries.”

User Cat-MoreNiche reports that they’ve seen the changes in some of their GA accounts – have you?

When to Index or Noindex WordPress Category Archives

A user on Cre8asiteforums has a directory type website that relies heavily on categories. Some pages are included in four or even five categories. User Pete writes that,

“…clicking on any category archive to bring up a list of page excerpts would inevitably have quite a lot of duplicate content with some other categories.”

User glyn presents two options:

“Where two pages are the same, decide which is more important and then use Yoast to noindex that page. Or let Google index it all and see what it considers important…”

User jonbey agrees and writes,

“Let Google index them, but make the category pages good and unique,”

and follows up with a specific plan of action. What would you do?

AMP and Mobile Friendliness

Here’s a curious question from SEO Chat! User coolvicks16 writes,

“I have [a] mobile friendly website. Then, do I really need AMP pages…?”

Chedders answers that, like most things in life, it depends on the particulars.

“AMP typically is not as flexible but provides you better speed so it’s more down to what you’re trying to achieve here.”

cmarkee remarks that AMP is a rising star:

“First of all, you should be applauded for asking about AMP. It’s not going away and it WILL be the standard for mobile content very soon.”

But, cmarkee adds,

“…deciding whether you need to go AMP requires you to ask yourself some questions.”

Take a look at the thread for some expert insight into AMP!

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