Net66: Google Finally Announce Launch of Mobile Friendly Labels in Listings

We all know that Google have been testing mobile friendly and none mobile friendly labels for search results. They initially tested out different formats such as icons and then written labels.

Well now, in an official blog post, they’ve confirmed the support is rolling out. They’ve added some best practices, an example mobile friendly listing and even a mobile friendly testing tool.

Check out the example image Google sent out:

mobile-friendly

They also offered a bit of advice on what you can do to get these labels and advise that your website will get the mobile friendly label if it:

  • Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
  • Uses text that is readable without zooming
  • Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
  • Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped

They’ve even released a tool that can use to test your mobile website friendliness.

Net66 Qualifies as Mobile friendly, does your site?

Blog Post by: Greg McVey

Net66: Surf Google Like a Boss! Do you Know These Hidden Commands? [Infographic]

We all know of certain Google Easter Eggs. Those rare phrases you get that, when typed into Google, have a funny affect on our favourite search engine. They have quite a few of these trigger phrases such as askew, Zerg Rush, Atari Breakout and Kerning.

You also get seasonal Easter Eggs that appear around certain holidays.

But what you may not know is that some of these hidden commands are actually very useful. Whilst not technically hidden, a lot of these commands aren’t widely know. For example, the use of two full stops between two different years or prices tells Google to search for results within this range. Perfect for if you need a new phone and have a set budget. You could search for “Latest Smartphones £200..£300” which would bring up results for the latest smartphones, but only those costing between £200 & £300.

Check out the full infographic below for more useful tips:

google-search-tips

Blog Post by Greg McVey

Net66: Are Apple Launching a Google Search Competitor?

A developer recently found a bot crawling his website and found that that bot originated from Apples servers. Check out the below:

Screen-Shot-2014-11-07-at-7.56.05-AM-800x214

Apple have most recently partnered with Bing who provides suggestions to users of Apple’s new OSX Yosemite version of Spotlight. Again, check out below:

Screen-Shot-2014-10-20-at-5.58.15-AM-800x467

So do you think Apple will launch their own search engine in earnest?

Blog Post by: Greg McVey

Net66: Google Launches New Redesigns Maps App to Boost Local Search

Yelp and Tripadviser dominate a lot of the local search listings. If you’re looking for a nice local restaurant with good reviews, the websites above are probably the most prevalent out there in regards to reviews.

That’s something Google wants to stop. Not because they’re doing a bad job, in fact the opposite. Yelp & TripAdvisor are doing great and Google wants a slice of that pie.

They’re aiming to make their maps app so useable that rather than load up Yelp or TripAdvisor for the latest reviews of the local restaurants, you open up maps and search that way.

Check out the new look below:

new-maps-1

new-maps-2

new-maps-3

Blog Post by: Greg McVey

Net66: Chuckie Links Games Launches as a Follow Up to Donkey Cutts

Earlier this year, way back in February actually, NetVoucherCodes.com launched Donkey Cutts. This was a game aimed at making light the perils and pitfalls of SEO as well as boosting the profile of NetVoucherCodes (a cunning tactic).

It was a huge success and a lot of people played it for a very long time. Now that Google Penguin 3.0 is rolling out, the follow up Donkey Cutts this time places onus on cleaning up your bad links.

Little link symbols are scattered around your screen and you have to pick them up and move them to either the Disavow Terminal in the top right of the screen, or to the Webmaster in the bottom left of the screen who’ll disavow it for you.

You have to disavow 20 links before the Penguin update refreshes otherwise it’s game over. Have a go at the game yourself:

Courtesy of
NetVoucherCodes.co.uk

Blog Post by: Greg McVey

Net66: Google’s Matt Cutts Extends Leave

matt cuttsEveryone who has had some involvement with SEO in the last 10 years should know Matt Cutts. He’s been the face of Google’s web spam team for years now and often offers sage like advice for SEOs.

Back in July he announced that he was going on leave for “a few months” and that is should last through October. Well October came and went over the weekend and with it a small note added to the original blog post that Matt Cutts used to announce his leave.

The note read:

Added: When I went on leave, I wanted to see how webspam would go without me. I’ve been talking to people on both the algorithmic and manual webspam teams during my leave, and they’ve been doing a top-notch job. So I’m planning on extending my leave into 2015.

Normally this wouldn’t be a particularly large deal, but such is Matt Cutts’ position of power and reverence in the SEO world that this has conjured up a lot of questions, including some who question whether he will come back at all.

The reasoning behind that sort of thinking is that Matt acts as a focal point for Google. This focal point can be used for good, such as congratulating the Webspam team for a job well done taking down lots of spam or finding and destroying a link network. But it can also act as a focal point for all the rage and angst of Webmasters who are affected by algorithm updates / ranking fluctuations or just general conspiracy theories.

As such, taking away Matt Cutts face could also take away a lot of the vitriol that Google receives. Personally, I think Matt is too much of an asset to lose. They could simply replace his regular answering webmasters’ questions with some of their Google Hangouts. This way there is no one person that webmasters can attack for the perceived injustice of bad rankings.

Do you think Matt Cutts will return to Google?

Net66: Google Launches New Mobile Usability Platform

Google today launched a new tool that helps Webmasters diagnose and fix issues with the mobile versions of their websites.

The blog post that announced this feature was written by John Mueller, who has been very vocal since Matt Cutts took his annual leave.

The tool takes a look at your website from the eyes of a mobile device and then lets webmasters know what could be causing problems. Take a look at the example report below:

example-report

Looks fairly useful. In this post they’ve also added a link to their web fundamentals page. A page that will help people code a beautiful and mobile friendly website.

Blog Post by: Greg McVey

Net66 SEO: Google Penguin 3.0 Launched Last Week, still rolling out now!

penguin-3.0People in the SEO world are very aware of the Penguin algorithm. The reason being that this was the algorithm that, when updated initially, caused the most uproar we’ve seen from any algorithm update previously.

Back in October we informed you that Penguin 3.0 was set to be released within 2014. The weeks passed and on Friday, Google finally announced that they had released the latest version of their link analysing algo.

The last couple of times Google updated this algorithm there was fury from all sides of the SEO world. This time however, it seems that Penguin 3.0 is a softer version of 2.0 and 2.1. It’s either that or after the earlier versions Webmasters finally got round to doing some housekeeping on their links.

When the algorithm was released on Friday there wasn’t much detail really released with it. Usually when google announces a fresh algorithm they give a bit more info with it. Such as how many queries will be impacted, which languages will be affected etc etc.

That data didn’t really emerge until today with Google’s giving the following summary:

> All versions of Google around the world will be affected by the updates
> The whole of the algorithm hasn’t been released yet and will take a few weeks for it to be complete.
> Less than 1% of English language queries will be affected but all other languages could be more or less.
> Google have confirmed that the implication of the new algorithm began on Friday.
> The update has been specifically termed a “refresh” by Google engineers.
> Main losers will be websites with bad link profiles.
> Main winners will be websites with good link profiles and profiles that have been cleaned up since the last update of Penguin.

So what do you think of the new algorithm?

Blog Post by Greg McVey

Net66: Google Founder Eric Schmidt Launches Gives Huge Speech on Google and Innovation

The Google Europe Blog have very kindly transcribed the whole of a speech Eric Schmidt (founder of Google) gave when in Berlin today.

Here are a few choice Quotes:

On Innovation:

When Karl Benz invented the petrol car, he didn’t just create an engine with three wheels (it really was three wheels to start with!) … he created an entire industry. It was the same with Tim Berners-Lee. He didn’t just build the world’s first website, he paved the way for the World Wide Web.

On the Progress of Google:

Maps now feel like such an integral part of search that most users probably can’t imagine Google without them. It’s the same with many of our changes. Your search just gets better and better over time. Google “Berlin weather” and you’ll no longer get ten blue links that you need to dig through. Instead, you’ll get the weather forecast for the next few days at the top result, saving you time and effort. Or Google “bratwurst” … and at the top will be images, nutrition facts, and a web page with a recipe.

There really are some great quotes so read the blog post if you’ve got some spare time.

Blog Post by: Greg McVey

Net66 – Google Adds More Mobile Friendly Notices in Listings – Uses Words!

Yesterday I wrote that Google were testing a way to let users know whether a website was mobile friendly or not by adding a little icon next to the website listing in the results. Check out the icon for a mobile friendly site below:

mobile-friendly-website-google-listings

And the icon for the non search friendly results:

none-mobile-friendly-google-search-result

But not happy with the icons, they want to see how users react to text displaying the fact sites are mobile friendly. Check out the image below:

google-text-mobile-friendly-icon

Which one do you prefer?

Blog Post by: Greg McVey

Google Testing Out Icons for Mobile Friendly / None-Mobile Friendly in Mobile Search

You’ve probably experienced it before. You’ve loaded up a website on your phone looking forward to a nice little browse. Unfortunately the website you want to browse isn’t particularly mobile friendly.

Well now, Google is testing having icons directly in mobile search results that help tell you whether the website you want to visit is or isn’t mobile friendly. Check the images below:

google-not-mobile-friendly-icon-ios-1413201893

google-mobile-icon-serps

What do you think of these updated icons?

Blog Post by: Greg McVey

Net66: Has Google Officially Killed Off Toolbar Page Rank?

google-logoPageRank has long been something to talk about and was at one point important. These days however it seems that Google’s Toolbar page rank is just another statistic that doesn’t really mean anything. This is probably why Goole will be killing it off.

OK, not actually killing it off and removing all support for it etc, but in a recent Webmaster video John Mueller did say that they wouldn’t be updating it going forward.

Last year we heard straight from Matt Cutts’ mouth not to expect another pagerank update that year. However a few months later, a technician was working on something in the pagerank software place (i’ve no idea how else to describe it) and whilst there, decided to push a Toolbar Pagerank update. Which caught everyone by surprise.

Now though, this isn’t a “we’re not updating it for a while” it is a ” We probably won’t update it ever again”. If so, what does this mean for SEOs? Not much really. With Google shifting their focus to high authority sites, there will be something completely new used to decide this and it looks like Google isn’t giving the game away. Check out John Mueller in the video below:

So although PR Toolbar might have gone the way of the dodo, there’s nothing to suggest we won’t see something similar rolled out at some point.

Blog Post by: Greg McVey

Net66: Google Explain How They Decide The Optimum Frequency for Crawling Your Site

As we all know, there’s a huge invisible, intangible creature roaming the web reading everything out there! But the Google spider really isn’t that bad. All it’s doing is reading your website, jotting down the key points and then storing this information somewhere else. In fact, the Google spider is somewhat like a librarian.

For this purpose, part of SEO is to make sure your website is as easy to read for Google’s spider as it is for a human to read your site. For example your site could look amazing to the user, but the code used to write the beautiful landscape of words and pictures dedicated to your services could be as muddled and confusing as one of Dan Brown’s books.

Another one of the main points for optimising your site for the crawler is making sure that your site can be read as frequently as possible. Because you want to update that site a lot with fresh, valuable and quality content.

Two main factors of this, as confirmed by Gary Illyes (Googles Webmaster Trends analyst), are the following:

HTTP Status Codes

There are a range of different HTTP Codes. The most common is 404 (Page Not Found). But there’s also 301s, 302s, 200s and a lot more. Google can handle these codes quite well, but when it starts to get http codes in the 500 range, this could spell trouble.

The 500 range indicates that there’s something wrong with the server. As such, Google won’t want to risk any further harm to your website so will stop crawling you for a while, giving your website time to recover/get fixed.

If you do have 500 error codes, make sure you get them fixed right away and then “fetch” your website in webmaster tools to make sure that Google can now read your website again.

Connect Time

As above, when Google detects a slow connection to your web server it will assume the worst. That your website is experiencing issues and any further connections to the site will cause further issues to your server and then break it.

Due to this assumption, it will again limit the number of crawls that it will run on your website.

So, all in all, if you want Google to read your site correctly and frequently clean up your 500 error codes and make sure that your server is in tip top condition.

Blog Post by: Greg McVey

Net66: China Have Blocked Access to DuckDuckGo in All Provinces

DuckDuckGo-LogoChina have long been known as a country that can be a bit oppressive. No where near a North Korea level of oppression, but the fact that China is N. Korea’s major ally shows that it’s not opposed to restrictive rights.

One of the main selling points for DuckDuckGo.com is that they’re are flying the flag for internet privacy. For example, DuckDuckGo don’t save your search data and don’t store any information that is send when you run a search.

For example, if you searched for “SEO in Manchester” on Google, Google would collect all the information from your search that it could. Including what operating system you’re using, what browser you’re using, what width screen you’re using and even your IP address.

DuckDuckGo doesn’t do any of these things so you can rest assured that your search remains private.

It’s this attitude towards private search that seems to have gotten DuckDuckGo banned from China. China have strict policies on what can and cannot be searched in their country, and it seems DuckDuckGo are not filtering their results in accordance to China’s policies.

It was confirmed by DuckDuckGo’s CEO yesterday in a Tweet which you can see below:

You can also check out the website blockedinchina.net to test for website blockages.

It is almost a compliment of China to recognise DuckDuckGo as a major search engine as it has also blocked access to Google in the past.

Blog Post by: Greg McVey

Net66: Google Makes Mistake Causing 90% Drop in Traffic for Buffer

It’s quite usual in SEO to see a small or large drop in traffic in accordance with certain algorithm changes, a new website going live or something similar.

What you wouldn’t expect is for Google to apply a Manual Action against your website by mistake, dropping your traffic by 90%!

90% is a huge loss of traffic. Especially for such a large company as Buffer. But even so, the fact that it was a MANUAL action and that it was also a Bug suggests that this was a serious error for Google.

Take a look at the screenshots from Buffer’s Analytics to see what a 90% drop in traffic looks like:

bufferapp2

bufferapp1

The team at Buffer reached out to John Mueller (Matt Cutts stand in) over Social Media and got the issue fixed. Upon the conclusion of this the Team at Buffer had the following to say:

Thankfully, our mystery has a happy—though slightly inconclusive—ending. Mueller’s team at Google found an issue and let us know they had fixed it. The manual action penalty was removed Aug. 28 and we began to see signs of recovery immediately after.

Blog Post by: Greg McVey

Net66: Google Set to use What’s on TV as a Ranking Signal?

Google have secured a new patent this week. Their patent states as follows:

A computer implemented method for using search queries related to television programs. A server receives a user’s search query from an electronic device.

The server then determines, in accordance with the search query and television program related information for television programs available at a location associated with the electronic device during a specific time window, a television program currently being displayed in proximity to the electronic device, wherein the television program related information includes program descriptions for a plurality of television programs being broadcast for the associated location.

How do you think this will impact search results?

Why Do Some Knowledge Graph Answers Have a Source And Others Don’t?

Google has long been committed to increasing the quality of search for its users. None more so than the “Quick Answer” boxes that sometimes show at the top of Google Search Results. Although this is great news for users, getting what they want much quicker, it is not the best news for publishers.

For example if you run an SEO Blog and write up a very detailed explanation of what SEO is, you can miss out on traffic as Google very succinctly sums things up on their knowledge graph box at the top of the page. See below:

what-is-seo

As you can see in this box, the above is used to show a generic definition of SEO and a link to Wikipedia for those looking to secure more information on the subject. Now this is great if your blog used as the source and will no doubt add a fair amount of traffic to your blog.

But what about other queries? Such as “How old is Boris Johnson?”. Take a look below:

boris

As you can see, the Google Knowledge Graph box is used again and his age is displayed. What you’ll also notice is that no source is given? Why?

Well according to Google, Boris Johnson’s age is “Basic Factual Information” so doesn’t really warrant a source. But SEO is deemed as “not widely known information” so requires a source. This also occurs when “relevant snippets are shown from a website”.

There are very few exempt cases, but with Apple launching their new iPhone 6 this week, Google credited the Apple website directly after receiving certain information about the phones from their rival.

Have you seen any cases like this before?

Blog Post by: Greg McVey

Net66: The 6 Elements of a Powerful Blog Post [Infographic]

Google is constantly telling webmasters that quality of content is one of the best things to help you rank. They stop short of telling you exactly what the quality is that they’re after though. Blog posts can be powerful things and a great place to add quality content.

Neil Patel over at Quicksprout has put together the following infographic which helps detail out just what make a powerful blog post:

6 elements of powerful blog posts

Blog Post by: Greg McVey