04 Mar 2016

Google’s Revenge and the New 4-Pack: Weekly Forum Update

seochat-wmw-cre8asite-threadwatch-roundupWelcome back! We took a break last week but here we are again, ready to share some exciting threads from our wonderful communities!

We’ve got a little of everything this week: from the bizarre news that ISIS tried to hack Google (don’t worry, they failed… sort of) to more relevant industry tidbits about HTTPS security holes, Facebook ads, and Google’s plans for 2016.

You’re sure to find some good reading ahead!

Facebook Launches Canvas Ads For Mobile

You can get an example of what a Canvas ad looks like right in this WebmasterWorld thread. I gotta say, they’re pretty snappy.

These “rich format mobile ads for Android and iOS” were “created with input from the creative community at every step and… designed to help businesses tell stories and show products on mobile devices in a beautiful way.”

But as pretty as they are, users on WebmasterWorld seem pessimistic.

“It might be exciting for investors but users? Not so much,” writes JS_Harris. User sem4u agrees, saying “No one is going to want this in their newsfeed.” We shall see!

What Impact Has the 4-Pack of Ads Had On Your Clicks?

What impact has the 4-pack of ads had on your clicks?Click To Tweet

Searched in Google lately? Then you’ve probably noticed that the top of the SERPs are headed by not three but four ads.

Many lament the addition of more advertising in Google – but in this thread on SEO Chat, users are more interested in discussing the real impact.

“Personally, we’ve had a 10% drop in clicks through to our site,” writes mod ThomasHarvey.

User ryandiscord is seeing more positive results, though:

“For me, organic CTR has slightly improved since the 4 pack ads rolled out…What’s most noticeable is my AdWords performance. I’m getting excellent return and slightly increased ad spend.”

What’s your experience so far?

Read our own input here: What Google’s Four Ads Above the Fold Mean for Organic Search Results

Goodbye, Google Compare

Google Compare was a way that users could look at credit cards, auto insurance, mortgages, and more in a side-by-side view. It was also a way for businesses that offer those services to promote themselves.

Sadly, Google says, it “hasn’t driven the success we hoped for,” and they’ll be shutting it down. According to a Threadwatch reporter, “it rarely resulted in clicks or conversions” anyway – so will it be missed?

Google Comes Out Counter-punching!

2016 is the year that Bing, Duck Duck Go, and other competitors overtake Google! Right…?

Well, if it is, you can rest assured that Google isn’t going to sit there and take it. There are plenty of things that Google has rolled out in 2016 that indicate to some users of Cre8asiteforums that the search giant is still going strong.

There’s Google Web Light, Project Shield, and the AMP project – and over in Europe, the Digital News Initiative sounds intriguing. Visit this thread for user iamlost’s expert take on Google’s strongest offerings so far this year!

My Stars! Missing Star Reviews in Google SERPs Just a Bug

You’ve probably heard about this one already, but just in case you’re still panicking – fret not!

Mozcast saw review stars drop from 30% of SERP listings to 20%, and that caused people to wonder if the reviews were on their way out.

John Mueller has confirmed that it was just a bug, though – so it should naturally fix itself. Check out this Threadwatch post for more details!

Google Opens Up Project Shield, Anti-DDoS, To All News Sites

DDoS attacks have infamously been used by unscrupulous Internet types to censor their rivals and whatever news stories they don’t like.

“I get the impression that some of these attacks are carried out by anarchists who simply want to cause disruptions… Conceivably another category of attacks could be commercially motivated…” writes user aristotle.

Now Google is offering their anti-DDoS Shield to help Google News sites protect against them. It’s perfectly free, too.

Check out this WebmasterWorld thread for a link to Project Shield, as well as a neat site that tracks and reports on DDoS sites across the web.

ISIS Hacks the Wrong Google

ISIS thought they could use their “Cyber Caliphate Army,” hacker group to bring Google to its knees – but it seems like they didn’t do their research. Instead of Google, they wound up hacking an Indian SEO company.

To rub salt in their wounds, a second hacker group found out about it, re-hacked their work, and left a charming message for them. If you, like myself, enjoy reading about ISIS getting its butt kicked, give this one a read.

Useful SEO Tools!

Got a tool, paid or free, that you love? Looking for something new to try? The gurus of SEO Chat are sharing the tools they use every day in this thread.

So far it’s a great, curated, quickly growing list! There are tools for handling canonicals and redirects, page speed tools, alternatives to Google Analytics, and more. Check it out!

Which Older SEO Methods Should I Ignore?

The Internet has changed since 2003, and along with it so has SEO. Some people have kept up with the times, but it’s clear that a lot more are still spamming forums and blog comments.

This thread from Cre8asiteforums is trying to cut through all the noise. User EGOL writes, “Some say that SEO is all about content. Some say it’s all about links.

The important thing for the reader is to decide WHO he is going to listen to.” Meanwhile user Grumpus says that “No ‘tricks’ are ever valid.

Even so, every ‘trick’ is useful to know about so you can understand ‘why’ it worked and what the search engines were striving to achieve by letting…it work when it did.”

One Third of All HTTPS Websites Open to DROWN Attack

A DROWN attack, according to an article from The Register, “is a cross-protocol attack that can decrypt passively collected TLS sessions from up-to-date clients.” In other words, you don’t want it to happen to your site.

Users in this WebmasterWorld thread are discussing how to take preventative measures, how to know if you’ve been hit, and more.

User JS_Harris writes that, “Only mis-configured servers that still allow SSLv2 connections are vulnerable, apparently,” and goes on to say, “I apologize for sounding skeptical, we’re constantly bombarded with fear tactics designed to motivate us to adopt specific beliefs… Besides, nothing is secure if it moves data over public connections.”

So is a DROWN attack worth worrying about? That’s for you to decide – and if you want to ask questions, this thread is a good place to start.

Cheddar: The Future of Content is Video

Jon Steinberg, former president of BuzzFeed, is launching Cheddar. An article from BusinessInsider describes it as “…a CNBC for millennials…” Putting aside the fact that the word “millennial” makes my eyes twitch something fierce…is Cheddar really the future?

On Cre8asiteforums, user iamlost writes that,

“His stated business revenue model sucks. He must be hoping to get enough early traction that being bought out is easier/cheaper than competing… Unless he has some secret sauce not mentioned in the article.”

But maybe the article is at fault.

User Grumpus writes,

“Steinberg isn’t betting that THE future of internet content is video, he’s betting that HIS (successful) future of internet content is video.”

There’s a great discussion in here about Cheddar specifically, but also about the use of video on news sites. Give it a read!

UPDATE: De-Indexed and Stolen Websites

A few weeks ago, we brought you a story about a user on WebmasterWorld whose website had been de-indexed.

More than that, whoever forced the websites to be de-indexed was able to “replace” them with their own content.

Users on WebmasterWorld have been continuing the conversation. Some new users joined the forums claiming to have specific information about sites that were de-indexed and who the culprits might be.

It’s an ongoing case that only promises to get more interesting as time goes on – give it a bookmark and check in every few days!

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