Google Giving You Until April 21 to be Mobile Friendly

Beginning April 21, Google will begin using mobile friendliness as a ranking signal. That means sites that aren’t mobile friendly will be pushed down the search results page, if not penalized more severely.

Google has a page where you can test your site to see if it’s mobile friendly. There’s also a Google guide to making your site mobile friendly.

Your Webmaster Tools account also will give you a full list of mobile usability issues.

Google Kills Authorship in Search Results

Yesterday, Google again did what Google does, and abruptly announced that they had stopped supporting Authorship in search results.

The Google announcement , made by John Mueller on his Google+ page, stated that they “observed that this information isn’t as useful to our users as we’d hoped, and can even distract from those results. With this in mind, we’ve made the difficult decision to stop showing authorship in search results.” [Read more…]

Google Warns Not to Use Press Releases for SEO

Take care when using online press releases as part of your SEO program. They’ve long been promoted as a way to build SEO-friendly inbound links, even though Google made it clear some time ago that, no, those links don’t count for SEO any longer.

Now Google has gone a step further and warned via a recent update to their Webmaster Guidelines that they may be interpreted as part of a link scheme and therefore hurt your SEO. [Read more…]

FTC Reminds Search Engines to Clearly Differentiate Ads from Organic Results

The visual cues that separate organic search results from paid ads have been blurring for some time now, and if you use search engines regularly, you may have noticed the changes. But even if you are a frequent user of search engines, the changes may have been too subtle over time to have been noticed.

The FTC has noticed, though, and sent letters to the search engine companies letting them know that recent changes in the FTC’s guidances on disclosures in digital advertising emphasize the need clear visual cues, labels or other techniques to distinguish ads from organic results. [Read more…]

Bad Backlinks Might Not Hurt Your SEO

So, why do some sites with what appear to be low quality backlinks get past Penguin and do exceedingly well on Google search? According to Matt Cutts, one reason is that “the algorithms haven’t gotten good enough yet” to catch them.

Really? The algorithm is good enough to punish sites so severely that they lose virtually all their organic-driven business, but it’s not good enough to penalize competitors using Russian link networks or keyword-rich anchor links in the footers of low-quality blogs? (I thought it was an isolated case, until I saw a comment from someone with the same problem.) [Read more…]

Google Enhances Adwords – for Google

Are Google’s “enhanced campaigns” a benefit for Adwords users, or another way to charge more with less accountability? It was the latter when Product Listing Ads rolled out, a fact driven home to us when it became clear that Google itself didn’t know how PLAs integrated with or otherwise affected existing campaigns. At least, that’s what the Google Adwords rep told us.

So now we have “enhanced campaigns,” which supposedly will make campaign management simpler and campaigns more effective. Here are the three key benefits, per Google: [Read more…]