16 Sep 2016

Something Wicked This Way Comes: Weekly Forum Update

seochat-wmw-cre8asite-threadwatch-roundup-768x576Something crazy is happening over at Google HQ, and webmasters are seeing the results all over the place. What kind of update is it? Well…no one is quite sure yet.

But you can get the best analysis at WebmasterWorld and our other communities!

We’ll cover Google’s mysterious update, Twitter’s new character limit, spammy widgets, Google vs the EU, and more in this week’s update.

If you’re looking for a link to our title story, scroll on down to link number three.

Twitter Changes What Counts in 140 Characters, Making Longer Tweets Possible

Ok, so there’s not actually a new character limit. But you can get more content packed into your Tweets now, because gifs, photo URLs, @usernames, quoted tweets, retweets, and a few other things no longer count to the 140 character limit.

“I think Twitter would do well to increase the size of a tweet by removing the 140 char limit altogether,” WebmasterWorld user mack says.

“I think Twitter is really losing pace with consumers,” they add.

Graeme_p brings up that, despite Twitter’s theme of brevity, there are lots of ways to get around the character limit.

“…Twitter already allows images which make 500 words look positively compact. It is already well on the way to becoming Tumblr.”

It seems like this is a step in a positive direction, but it also highlights the fact that Twitter is still fighting to discover its identity.

Code to Text Ratios Have ZERO Impact on Your Rankings…But May be Indicative of Other Problems

Plenty of newbie SEOs seem obsessed with the code to text ratio. It can be important for diagnosing some problems, like slow speed or a poor user experience… but it has no direct impact on your SERPs rankings!

John Mueller gave a flat “No,” when asked about it recently. Check out the details in this Threadwatch post!

“There’s a Google Update Going on Here… But What It Is Ain’t Exactly Clear…”

That’s how Jim musically described all the confusion happening since the beginning of September. The discussion on WebmasterWorld has kicked up a notch. In the opening days of September, UK users were reporting big SERPs shifts overnight.

Mozcast spiked at 108 degrees which, if you adhere closely to Mozcast, could be an indicator of something big happening. Theories swirled that it could be Penguin (at last!), a local pack update, a knowledge panel update, an anti-spam update, or another “quality update,” of which Google has released several this year already.

User wadsman remarks

“Most organic terms are…up and most of the local terms drastically declined…Google may probably [be] working [on a] quality update of search intent to users…If there [is] a pre-launch of Penguin update, there should be changes in rankings for websites that have been penalized by Penguin.”

SEO is Killing User Experience

On Cre8asiteforums, users are discussing how, sometimes, SEOs get so caught up in talking about the problems with their websites that they overlook the solutions. Kim shares an experience where she tried to read an article but was instead bombarded by calls to action and pop-ups. Disgusted, she left the site.

“Several speakers [at MozCon] are sharing stats and recommendations without fixing the issue or showing attendees how to do something…People leave a page in a half second? Heck yes. Why? How do you fix it? I’m glad Google is making a stronger effort to be advocates for users.”

User jonbey writes,

“UX and business don’t really mix, do they? None of the news sites in the UK would survive without annoying adverts and interruptions.”

Google: Spammy Widget Links Violate Webmaster Guidelines

If you’ve got gross, spammy, keyword loaded, sneaky, or low quality links in your widgets…that’s a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Google made the official announcement just recently.

On WebmasterWorld, users are puzzling over when a link in a widget is ok (i.e. a “made by X” credit link) and when it isn’t (i.e. a keyword-laden, spammy link made for no reason).

User GeneVincent writes that

“IMHO a simple ‘powered by example’ link should be ok, even without nofollow. People use the widget – that’s a vote for the widget and it should link back home.”

Another user, The Shower Scene, writes that

“Badges are a lazy shortcut used by SEOs who don’t know how to build links….Get this straight: there is nothing ethical about requiring someone to link to you in exchange for content, whether it’s a badge, an article, an infographic or a donut. The only ethical link is the one given without coercion.”

Where would you draw the line?

EU Fighting Google on Rights to Protect News Stories

The EU and Google have always had a strained relationship. In this most recent lover’s quarrel, Google News may have to pay newspaper publishers whose articles and video clips that they host. EGOL writes

“I think that the smart publisher wants Google News to feature his story because it can bring in a treasure trove of traffic. I think that a lot of smart publishers would be delighted to pay to have their stories included…”

Earlpearl writes that this isn’t just about newspaper publishers being paid when their work is syndicated – it’s about fighting Google’s monopoly.

“A monopoly is not only control of market share…but also control of all knowledge and information. Often it’s that last part that enables the monopoly to endlessly increase its revenues…”

What are your thoughts?

Nofollow Links Get Found…But Are They Crawled?

Here’s a tasty tidbit from SEO Chat! When you’ve got a huge site, you need to be conscious of your crawl budget. You don’t want poor ol’ Googlebot getting too tired from crawling your product filters that it can’t index new products!

Ryandiscord wonders if nofollowing links to ecommerce filters will encourage Google to ignore them for crawl budget purposes. Tstolber has the perfect explanation:

“There is a difference between adding the nofollow and noindex definitions in a page, rather than a link TO a page. The tag that you show there should prevent the page from being indexed by all compliant spiders. Just putting a nofollow in a link to a page will not stop the linked page from getting indexed.”

Check out the full discussion for more depth and discussion!