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Here’s What You Need To Know About Google’s Mobile-First Index

Fall has been a rocky season for online marketers so far. Two massive algorithm updates made a serious fuss in the industry. So did the Google’s shift towards the mobile-first experience. Here’s a recap of the latest Conductor 30|30 episode.

  • Google is Going Mobile-First and No There Won’t Be Two Separate Indexes.
  • The Possum and Penguin Rollout Aftermath
  • Have You Thought About Targeting Answer Box Results?
  • Surprise! Google Doesn’t Have an “Overall Domain Authority” Ranking Signal.
  • Penguin May Discount Your Bad Links…And The Good Ones as Well.  

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Want more details? Learn even more by watching the full webinar recording for November’s edition.

 
 

Google is Going Mobile-First

On November 4th Google announced a major change in mobile indexing. The company is switching to a mobile version of the web index as their main search engine index. Meaning that Google will now index your mobile website first, before assessing the desktop website, and rank the pages accordingly. 

And no, there won’t be two separate indexes for desktop and mobile listings. Mobile-first means mobile only. This shift comes as Google continues its efforts to deliver better results to mobile searchers, the majority of its users.

The new index algorithm is still being tested and I expect to see the actual impact by Jan-Feb. If your website is already responsive/adaptive, you shouldn’t worry about anything. Otherwise, you may want to implement certain changes.

The Possum and Penguin Rollout Aftermath

Did you know that Possum update affected 64% of SERPs? You don’t see a fluctuation like that very often. In fact, Google didn’t plan it to be that large either. The rollout happened sporadically as if it was dialed up and then dialed back:

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The latest Penguin update brought in both recoveries and penalties – another mixed bag sealed and delivered.

If you got hit this time, here’s my advice – Penguin is working in real-time. The sooner you start doing the recovery, the faster the penalty will be lifted. You don’t need to wait a year for that to happen. Review your link profile, disallow the bad links, fix other issues and you may come out of it in a reasonable time.

Have You Thought About Targeting Answer Box Results?

Getting your website listed in the answer box is like hitting jackpot. The CTR is just incredible. And here’s the best part – you don’t have to rank #1 for the search term to get to the answer box:

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Answer box results appear for a variety of search queries across different niches. Your customers are already asking questions about your product or services. Place the customer support content on site to increase your chances for an answer box feature.

While answer boxes are at Google’s discretion, I’ve mentioned some additional factors that can increase your chances of being chosen in this month’s episode.

Surprise! Google Doesn’t Have an “Overall Domain Authority” Ranking Signal.

There’s always someone talking about domain authority as a ranking factor. But Google doesn’t use it.

During a recent Google Webmaster Hangout, John Mueller admitted that:

“We don’t have anything like a website authority score. However, when we are looking at quality signals, for example, that are more sitewude. That’s something that applies across the whole website in the state that it’s at now. We apply the current score to all of your pages.”

And later Gary Illyes additionally confirmed this fact on Twitter:

Penguin May Discount Your Bad Links…And The Good Ones as Well.

A major takeaway from Gary Illyes’ talk on Pubcon was that Penguin could discount all your links:

Shocking? Yes. True? Nope.

Illyes later made a clarification to his original statement:

“When speaking yesterday, a statement I made about manual actions was phrased in a way that sounded like I was talking about Penguin — that was incorrect and I apologize for the confusion. What I was trying to get across is that, when there are clear signs of search manipulation, manual actions may be used to discredit links.”

More insights on the manual penalty consequences on the 22nd minute of our latest episode.

Don’t miss out on what’s going on. Make sure to sign up for the next Conductor 30|30 on December 15th.

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