05 Aug 2016

Search Analytics, Algorithm Rumors, and More: Weekly Forum Update

seochat-wmw-cre8asite-threadwatch-roundup-768x576Boy was it ever a busy week! Google released a big ol’ document explaining clicks, impressions, and placements in search analytics reports recently.

There are also rumors of a Google algorithm change or hiccup – perhaps more zombie traffic choking up the pipes?

Facebook released some news about their own algorithm, Alphabet posted record profits, and our users are discussing 300 series redirects, the value of Domain Authority, and more!

Here’s our action-packed roundup for this week:

Google Releases an Explanation of Impressions, Positions, and Clicks in Search Analytics Reports

In Search Console you can access Search Analytics Reports which, among other things, will tell you some basic information about your impressions, clicks, and average position within search results. Sounds simple, right?

Well, no – below the surface, Search Analytics Reports are surprisingly technical. Some confusion over the inconsistency of certain points and their meaning led Google to release a new article explaining almost everything you need to know.

You can join the discussion via SEO Chat above, or get a brief explanation on Threadwatch. On WebmasterWorld, admin engine writes that

“Most of the documents are going to be updated as it will start to reflect the increasing AMP pages.”

So we can expect this first release to be one of many!

What’s Happening in Google SERPs for August?

What's Happening in Google SERPs for August?Click To Tweet

Rumors of a “Phantom 4” have been hovering in the air since June. Now that we’re in August, users on WebmasterWorld say that they’re seeing even more strange things happening in Google SERPs. A lot of it, like the Phantom 4 rumors, seems to be happening in the ecommerce sector. Martin Ice Web reports that they’re seeing,

“Very big losses on high traffic keywords. Sales are completely off since last weekend [July30 – 31]. Biggest winner is Amazon. In our vertical it is hard to find a query… Amazon hasn’t at least 4 but 7 entries in a row.”

They go on to speculate that something is targeting

“category pages and pushed single item pages. If so, that would completely work…against Panda algo.”

Other users like ecommerceprofit report that

“We have been on fire for a while now but I know the zombies will be back soon.”

Is zombie traffic related to the recent changes, or are zombies increasing in conjunction with a “Phantom 4” update?

Google, Alphabet Post Q2 2016 Profits – Up 24% to $4.88 Billion

Alphabet posted huge gains from the second quarter of 2016. You can check out some reports about it and read the thoughts of other webmasters in this thread. MrSavage writes that the figures aren’t that surprising though:

“Mobile is growing into a majority. Google had (during FCC investigation) somewhere around 95% to 98% of the mobile search market. Anyone who ‘owns’ that much of a business is pretty much scary. They own the world’s OS in essence.”

JesterMagic writes that while Alphabet posts high earnings,

“…the affiliate business is suffering thanks to Google’s and Apple’s stranglehold on the stores which REQUIRE app publishers to use Google’s or Apple’s payment system…”

Facebook’s Algorithm, Demystified

Data collected by a third party promises to demystify Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm. Users on Cre8asiteforums are discussing a new article from INMA all about it. It’s no surprise that parts of their article aren’t optimistic about brands’ ability to organically reach consumers.

Grumpus picks out a part of the article that says user engagement is decreasing: “What exactly constitutes ‘engagement’?…When I think of engagement, I think about the number of interactions any given item receives…” but is that what Facebook considers engagement to be? Post your thoughts and read the data in this thread!

How Do You Feel About DA?

How Do You Feel About DA?Click To Tweet

Many newbies on SEO Chat talk about Domain Authority as if it is a totally infallible, Google-sanctioned metric. But in reality, it’s a third party tool and, while useful, may have its flaws. In this thread, a user posts that their “beef with DA [is that] I notice with older, authority sites, DA is more accurate as more backlinks are picked up.

However, for newer websites, MOZ doesn’t pick up hardly any backlinks.” Chedders adds that

“I have been banging the drum against DA for ages now. I often say at best it’s a guess… PR used to give us something in my eyes but that was taken away from us a while ago.”

ThomasHarvey says that ”

Honestly, I place some value on Moz DA, it’s the most accurate metric that I believe we now have access to.

What are your experiences with DA, and how much stock do you place in it?

Google Previews Expanded AMP Support in Entire SERPs

AMP Pages seemed like a mere bauble last year, but it’s clear that they’ll be very important soon. They might even shake-up how webmasters organize their desktop and mobile sites. On WebmasterWorld, user aakk9999 writes that,

“…it used to be ‘have a desktop and have a mobile site,’ then ‘we prefer one single responsive site’. I am wondering whether now we should be building a desktop site and then a separate AMP version… because having an AMP site on the desktop is quite limiting…”

Other users seem to agree. Some question whether AMP is worth it though. User aristotle writes that

“My pages are already extremely fast… what would I gain by spending all the time it would take [to implement AMP]?”

The natural response is that Google might favor you in SERPs – but is that really why a website should be higher up? This is shaping up to be a question of whether Google’s POV or the user’s POV is more valuable.

Redirects No Longer “Damp”

User iamlost has a great write-up about the changes to 300 series redirects. “The gist,” they write, “is that Google no longer applies a PageRank dampening factor to 300 level redirects.

It may well, however, treat unrelated redirects as soft 404s, to counter SEO abuse.” This is a big shake-up in how 300 series redirects have been treated in the past! Read all about it and share your thoughts here!

UI/UX and Identifying Links

Threadwatch has an excellent summary of a recent discussion about UI/UX and links. Traditionally, links on a page have been colored blue and underlined. Recent design trends, however, are changing that.

Sometimes it makes finding a link on a page very difficult. How does tradition and collective training play a part in user experience? What are the limits of the Internet’s adaptability? These questions and more are highlighted here!

What is “Good Quality Traffic” for an AdSense Publisher?

“Only a Sith deals in absolutes,” so they say. And that’s true when you’re trying to place a value on your traffic. Different webmasters place different values on different slices of traffic.

It all depends on your goals. Or, as netmeg writes,

“…note that what’s good quality traffic for YOU might not be good quality traffic for AdSense purposes.”

The users of WebmasterWorld are sharing lists of what makes traffic “quality” in this thread – give it a read!