Google Penguin, Mobile Redirects, App Banners, and Other Search News
There’s been a lot of discussion about Google Panda and its protracted rollout, but that’s not the only thing that’s been happening in search. Here, we take a look at some of the news and updates regarding search in the past week that some of us might have missed.
Google Penguin: Coming Real SoonAs we discussed in a previous post, we’re expecting Google to roll out an update to its Penguin algorithm before the year ends. This comes after Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes confirmed it on Twitter. The plan is for this algorithm to be in real-time, with penalties and recovery happening as soon as Google detects the identification or removal of spammy links. With less than two months before 2016, it would be a great strategy to start checking for link profiles as early as now.
Unwanted Sneaky Mobile RedirectsIn April 2014, Google clarified their stance on redirects. While regular redirects are part of how the Web works, some are put in place to manipulate search engines. As we know, anything that goes against Google’s guidelines can only do harm to websites. Last week, the search giant reiterated their stance against unwanted sneaky redirects, particularly on mobile. The company said it will take action against websites that intentionally or unintentionally have sneaky mobile redirects. In a post on the Webmaster Central Blog,Vincent Courson and BadrSalmi El Idrissi of Google’s Search Quality team explains, “Redirecting mobile users to improve their mobile experience (like redirecting mobile users from example.com/url1 to m.example.com/url1) is often beneficial to them. But redirecting mobile users sneakily to a different content is bad for user experience and is against Google’s webmaster guidelines.” For example, the same URL shows up on both desktop and mobile search. When you click the desktop result, the URL opens normally, but when you click the same result on a smartphone, it redirects to an unrelated URL or webpage. This is a frustrating experience for users.
Photo from Google Webmaster Central Blog: https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Wv94m5XRKCI/VjGbZYPU9lI/AAAAAAAABO4/P0tj09pmh2Q/s1600/imagine.pngFor its part, the search giant understands that these redirects can sometimes happen unintentionally. Typically, mobile-only sneaky redirects happen without the webmaster’s or site owner’s knowledge through:
- Advertising schemes that redirect mobile users specifically A script/element installed to display ads and monetize content might be redirecting mobile users to a completely different site without the webmaster being aware of it.
- Mobile redirect as a result of the site being a target of hacking In other cases, if your website has been hacked, a potential result can be redirects to spammy domains for mobile users only.
- Check for redirects personally by navigating your site (from Google search results) via a mobile device several times a week.
- Listen to users and see if they are complaining about site redirects/navigation.
- Monitor users through the site’s analytics data, noting any unusual changes or behaviors.
- Make sure the website is not hacked. Search Console’s Security Issues tool should give you some information about this.
- Re-check third-party scripts/elements on your site. Do an audit of these third-party elements by removing them one by one to see when the redirect stops.