This Week In SEO 24
Apple Blocking Ads, Reconsideration Requests, Penguin, and More
Gonna kick off this update to one of the biggest overall threats to Google: Apple, and how they took a step closer to really making their presence felt in the search space.
Ad Blockers and the Slow Death of the Web
One of the biggest stories in tech over the last week has some pretty big SEO implications.
Apple, with 43% of the smart phone market, has introduced ad-blocking functionality in their new iOS update.
You might not, at first, realize how much of an impact this has on SEO, but I’ll break it down for you. First, this article does a good job of summarizing the stakes, but I’ll quickly list it out here:
Google monetizes the web to the tune of billions a year. Apple competes with Google on several fronts, but it’s been eyeing the ad space for a little while now. The introduction of ad blockers on iOS (again 43% of the mobile market) is a big play.
While you can block ads on the web (a.k.a. Google’s domain), guess where you CAN’T block ads? That’s right. Within apps–especially apps like Apple’s new news app (essentially, Apple displays content from several different publishers and displays ads, the revenue of which the publishers get a cut of.
So what does this have to do with SEO?
The biggest thing is the disappearance of ads from a significant (and likely, growing) number of screens. Used to well behind three of four Google ads? Hooray–now you’re first. No distracting ads to take away from your hard-earned and well-deserved #1 SERP spot. 🙂
Also, we know Apple has been working on a search engine that will (probably) take away a big portion of Google’s search share. This is a step down that path, bringing users into their ecosystem and, at least within iOS, destroying Google’s position.
One more thing: while all this is going on, keep an eye of Facebook!
The Apple vs. Google fight has never been more heated or more tense, and Facebook’s opportunity to present itself as the savior of media has never been bigger — through hey-it’s-just-about-speed Instant Articles, which will almost certainly be featured higher in the News Feed, and huge things like its massive video initiative, which is a direct assault on YouTube. And oh — Apple’s new tvOS, that huge bet on bringing apps to TV? Doesn’t support WebKit at all.
So it’s Apple vs. Google vs. Facebook, all with their own revenue platforms. Google has the web, Facebook has its app, and Apple has the iPhone. This is the newest and biggest war in tech going today.
Google is Tired of Reconsidering Your Spammy Site
So if you’re repeatedly penalized, fix the problem, get reconsidered, and reinstated, only to break the guidelines again, they’re gonna stop bailing you out.
However, some sites violate the Webmaster Guidelines repeatedly after successfully going through the reconsideration process. For example, a webmaster who received a Manual Action notification based on an unnatural link to another site may nofollow the link, submit a reconsideration request, then, after successfully being reconsidered, delete the nofollow for the link. Such repeated violations may make a successful reconsideration process more difficult to achieve. Especially when the repeated violation is done with a clear intention to spam, further action may be taken on the site.
What Amazing Content for Small Businesses Looks Like
I’ve mentioned before how important good content is on a page you’re trying to rank in Google and I’ll NEVER shut up about it because it’s so important.
This article is a great look at a business that is ranking well with some really well done, interesting, relevant, and shareable content. This is what everyone should be aiming for…
It uses text and images. I like to see words on a page. It’s easier for me to read step-by-step directions on how to get somewhere than it is to read a map. I do like to see photos of places, of course, but I am still mostly drawn to words. I like that this covers all the bases with text, photos and maps.
It’s an evergreen topic, as I said earlier. Unless something drastic changes, these swimming holes are going to be around years from now.
It’s expandable. I could see a follow-up piece featuring videos of each swimming hole. I could see a piece where Boone residents talk about lesser-known swimming holes. And don’t forget that comment asking for a follow-up on tubing and canoeing.
Google Loses Right to Be Forgotten Appeal in France
France wants Google to not only get rid of “removal requested” results in the specific EU country the request originated, but wants the results removed WORLDWIDE. Google appealed.
Having lost the appeal, Google must now remove thousands of entries from Google.com as French law does not give the company the right for further appeal. The Guardian explains that if Google fails to comply, fines could be levied against Google, who would then be able to appeal against the financial penalty.
The Current Status of Google’s Penguin Algorithm
We’re coming up on a year since the last OFFICIAL Penguin update. If you’ve had a site that was hit and were waiting for a refresh to get out of jail, you’re well aware of this.
The way Google is treating these penalty refreshes it *really* is important to not get one at all…
We have now waited almost an entire year since the last official refresh of Penguin, and two years since the last update. I have heard some speculation from the community that perhaps Google will never update Penguin again. It’s a mess. In my opinion, there are two big challenges that are hindering the process:
It’s hard to run a punitive algorithm that doesn’t allow for negative SEO. Google claims to be good at distinguishing negative SEO from self-made links, but I imagine that Google possibly tried to refresh Penguin and found that sites were being unfairly hit by negative SEO during pre-launch tests .
The search results could suffer. What would happen if Google launched a new version of Penguin that could target excessive amounts of guest posts and paid link placements on articles for authoritative sites? I bet that many well-known brands would be found guilty. If Google punished every site that used this tactic, this could possibly make their search results less useful to users.
Is it possible that Penguin will never update? I don’t think that this is true. Google’s Gary Illyes has said that they are working on the update that will be out in a few months:
Bonus: the best commentary on the new Google logo change (from Imgur)