This Week In SEO 69
Separate Mobile Index, Apple Map Ranking Factors, & More


Google Switching to a Mobile First Index


This is actually a pretty big deal.

Google has mentioned this possibility before, in the past, but it looks like things are about to get a lot more real.

Gary Illyes at Pubcon announced today that Google is switching to a mobile first index. This means that Google will be indexing the mobile versions of pages and not the desktop as its primary index.

There is no timeline of when this will happen, but, as the article states, Google has given many a heads-up before making big changes re: mobile, so…

Get your sh*t together with your site and how friendly it is to mobile browsing. Google is not playing around about prioritizing mobile, clearly…


Apple Maps Ranking Factors

There are approximately 63 million iPhone users in the US (a.k.a. ~20% of the population), so getting your local biz ranking well on Apple Maps is, you know, something you’ll want to start paying attention to.

Lucky for you, (coming soon: a cease and desist letter from Apple) has a helpful article on what they think are the ranking factors:

• Category relevance to query
• Keyword in business name
• Proximity to searches’ centroid (user’s and/or city’s)
• Yelp & Other Providers’ Meta Data – It’s very unclear how important reviews are for rankings, but they likely affect CTR. Meta data like Price rating, hours, etc are important.

Aside from those helpful, if not obvious ranking factors listed above, the site is quick to point out that Apple Maps doesn’t have IT going on yet.

It = returning relevant results a majority of the time. You’ll still get some wacky, extremely unhelpful results much of the time… like this search for “best hot dog” in Apple Maps:

Apple Maps knows “hot dog” is a restaurant category and brings up a set of hot dog restaurants for the query. It doesn’t understand that “best” is a modifier of “hot dog” so instead it treats it like a business name search and it looks for businesses that have “best” in their names and are in a category related to hot dogs. In this case the two businesses listed are both in the “Sandwiches” category.


But still, put this on your radar and do your best for when it DOES work better. You’ll want to capitalize on that sweet Apple traffic…


Learning SEO by Studying Anomalies

I try not to do this often, but this article doesn’t really translate well to a summary, so I really recommend you read the whole article.

Basically, this is a story of learning things about SEO by investigating anomalies in the search results.

In this case, someone noticed a date attached to a post in the SERPs, and Bill Slawski did some digging to try and figure out where Google pulled the date from (as it was not written explicitly in the post).

What he found has some pretty interesting implications where Google understanding context is concerned.


Which answers the question that Dan asked about why Google decided that the date in the snippet should be April 10, 2016 instead of the date that it was actually published October 4, 2016. Google may have paid more attention to the context of date formatting than it possibly should have in that post. It does show that Google is paying attention to context, though.


Penguin 4.0 is Now Completely Rolled Out


Just an FYI — nothing too in-depth here.

Penguin 4.0 is confirmed by Google as having finished rolling out.

It’s like Jay Z sez: If your site’s still penalized I feel bad for you, son




And now, for something completely different.

One of my stories for this edition of This Week in SEO was a bust (it happens), so I’d like to share this SEO rap.

Click through and check Tylor’s site, and give the track a listen below:


Rapid-Fire SEO Insights

Use Google’s new AMP testing tool in your Search Console if you are all about that mobile traffic. Looks like a solid tool.

Interesting (tiny) case study on a client who experienced massive deindexation that coincided with Penguin’s rollout. Turns out it was just a Google algorithm hiccup. Indexation (and rank) quickly went back up to pre-error levels.

Best to observe a lot and act slowly when experiencing a big shake-up in the SERPs. Could be one of a thousand things. Don’t kill your site by panicking.

Google is focusing on businesses that experience a fair bit of fraud (letting someone posing as plumber/locksmith into your house is serious business), and if you found that person through a Google search, I guess Google feels some responsibility to only send true professionals. This specifically applies to businesses using adwords.

TWS70: AMP Stealing Traffic, Local Pack Ads, & More!
TWS68: Penguin Recoveries, Local Pack Tests, and More!

Learn How To Rank Your Site

Get our simple, straightforward guide on how to rank your site.

SEO For SaaS

Written by Smash

Ranking websites like it's our job (because hey, it is our job).

Posted in

You May Also Like...

This Week in SEO #114

The Great Featured Snippet Update of 2020

8 Strategies to Get Google to Trust Your Site

Broken Link Building Guide – The Easiest High Authority Backlinks You’ll Ever Get

How to Create Content That Ranks in Google [Step-By-Step Blueprint]

How to Find Long Tail Keywords With NO Competition


Smash your traffic records with quality SEO.

SEO emphasis line

If you’re tired of the empty promises… Tired of the mediocre results…
Tired of SEO companies taking you for a ride… Tired of reading the word tired...

Let Smash Digital help.