10 Jun 2016

Google Says, “Don’t Be Bogus, Dude”: Weekly Forum Update

seochat-wmw-cre8asite-threadwatch-roundup-768x576Google let the world know that bogus spam reports are a pretty dumb idea this week. Turns out that they have policies in place for identifying bogus reports and the users who frequently submit them.

So if you’re falsely reporting your competitors, don’t be surprised when Google starts ignoring you!

We’ve also got some good stories from WebmasterWorld to share, including Google’s latest legal battle, testing a new version of the Page Speed Insights tool, and analyzing low quality or outdated content.

On SEO Chat, the eternal question of “Is SEO dead?” has reared its head again. And on Cre8asiteforums, users are discussing how to ask the right questions.

Filing Bogus Spam Reports on Your Competitors is a Boneheaded Idea, Google Confirms

A couple months ago, Google told us that they keep track of users who send really good spam reports. They said that they tend to prioritize those reports over time.

Recently, Gary Illyes seems to have confirmed that the opposite is true as well: users who repeatedly submit false reports in an effort to attack their competitors are more likely to be ignored. Nearly one in five spam reports are false or misleading – so of course Google has plenty of experience with separating the wheat from the chaff.

How Much Do You Trust Fancy New TLDs?

Here’s another story from Threadwatch. A post on SearchEngineLand recently claimed that a lawyer’s website benefited from changing their domain from .com to .attorney.

“…the article suggests that switching domains saved the attorney money that would have otherwise been spent in ‘fierce bidding wars with his competitors’.”

Our Threadwatch reporter questions if such a benefit could be achieved in every case. Did this attorney just get lucky? New TLDs still feel like an accessory to many people – a vest instead of a shirt, so to speak. Will they become more essential over time?

New Google Tool to Measure a Site’s Performance

Google has a new version of their very useful PageSpeed Insights tool available. You don’t require Search Console to use it, but you might have to give your email address out to receive a full report.

The tool will score your mobile friendliness, mobile speed, and desktop speed out of 100 and provide specific tips for how to improve each of them. It can be used to analyze individual pages. Users on WebmasterWorld found that, sometimes, Google’s products were to blame for their poor scores. User JS_Harris writes that his scores were

“100/99/100 without AdSense. 87/91/98 with AdSense. Google has a bit of work to do with their own product it looks like.” U

ser buckworks adds that

“…it’s seriously frustrating to have Google items on one’s page causing reduced scores. Google out to take some of its own medicine! ;)”

Take the test and see how your own pages score!

Court Rules Class Action Can Proceed Against Google Over AdWords

The plaintiffs in this case say that

“Google should have disclosed that [AdWords] ads would…appear in undesirable places such as error pages and undeveloped websites known as parked domains.”

The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, who declined to hear it. That leaves it to continue in the lower courts. User tangor gives more context:

“…it is instructive to know that the case was brought before a California court for California advertisers regarding Google AdWords procedures between 2004 and 2008.”

Other users on WebmasterWorld seem to think that the case is a little silly. Randle writes,

“A lot of new people that used AdWords got smoked in the beginning because they had no idea that ‘AdWords’ meant you’re enrolled in the world of “AdSense” unless you turn it off.”

Pruning Low-Quality and Outdated Content

When it comes time to do an audit of your site’s content, you’ll probably have a pile of stuff that you either no longer like or find to be outdated. But if that content has gained links and seems to rank well, should you really get rid of it? User ergophobe writes that,

“Yes, I could change the dates or hide them, but that is not actually my goal. I have no interest in using some level of deception to boost the numbers for the sake of boosting the numbers. What I’m interested in is improving the signal to noise ratio.”

Tangor suggests that outdated materials be moved to a special archive section.

“On other sites I just kill the info if outdated and has no archive value and return 410 for those at least two years.”

User koan adds that becoming outdated is one of the risks of writing about tech.

“…that’s one of the reasons why I stay away from publishing tech content myself, as much as I like the topic. The shelf life is too short.”

What would you do with outdated content or content that has no perceivable benefits to your site?

Is SEO Dead for the Clients?

Whether SEO is dead or tales of its death are only exaggerated has been debated for years now. This user on SEO Chat is approaching the question from a new angle though – the relationship between agencies and clients.

“I have noticed that nowadays [the biggest issue facing] SEO agencies…is client reporting.”

Sometimes the issue is that clients don’t understand what work is being done. Other times, clients or agencies may have outdated expectations or techniques. Maintaining a healthy relationship with a client is not always easy – has it become more difficult with the times?

Ask Your Customers The Right Questions

On Cre8asiteforums, Kim has an interesting thread about the difference between thinking you know what customers want and actually asking them what they want. In her example, she compares online shopping to shopping at a physical store.

In the physical store, you can approach service personnel and ask them questions. If you need something, there will usually be an attentive sales person on hand to help you. Online, it can be different.

“…have you noticed how many sites pop up a chat box as soon as you arrive? This was a solution for the human sales person but for many of us, it appears when we don’t want it to… The solution is invasive at times.”

Webmasters and UX professionals might think they know what a customer wants – but their solution is not always the one that the customer would prefer. Give this thread a read and share your thoughts!

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