SEO is an ever-changing field and it pays to stay on top of its current events. Here’s a roundup of some of the biggest stories from this week.
Sitemaps Don’t Help with Rich Snippets
We’ve written before about the importance of Schema markup and rich snippets for modern SEO. Unfortunately, simply implementing markup isn’t always enough. If it’s poor quality, Google simply won’t display it. If your snippets aren’t displaying, could an issue with the sitemap be to blame? According to Google’s John Mueller, no. From a Google hangout this morning:
Obviously everyone wants to have great sitemaps and they’re definitely useful for us for crawling new and updated content. But if we’re already crawling and indexing your content and just not showing it the way that you’d like then the sitemap file isn’t going to be the one that’s that’s the reason for it.
Don’t Count on Truly Recovering from a Penalty
In the same Google hangout, Mueller also addressed the issue of manual webspam penalties and recovery therefrom.
Again, per Mueller:
It’s almost never going to be that we will just restore the previous state because things evolve on the internet, things evolve in our algorithms and any previous state will be different when we look at it now. So even if nothing happened with your website with our algorithms in the meantime the rest of the web will have evolved, so that previous state might be different from the new state that that will come up.
So that’s something where sometimes we see this question with regards to short-term changes that sometimes we also see this question with regards to long-term changes. Where it’s like three years ago my site was ranking at this position for these queries and I fixed the issues that were involved, will my rank like that again? And obviously especially over a longer period of time like a couple of years that the web will have evolved, things will have changed quite a bit in search.
Google Doubles Down on Encouraging AMP Pages
Search Engine Land reported this week that Google has been using Search Console to message webmasters to encourage them to implement AMP pages on their site. The message reads:
Google has detected that your site has many pages that may benefit from being served as AMP pages. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are HTML pages that are optimized to load fast on mobile devices. Learn more about AMP benefits in the resources below. Valid AMP pages on your site will be eligible to be shown in search results and receive special badging in search results.
This is a strong indication that AMP pages will be a huge ranking factor in mobile search – even more so than webmasters and SEOs had already anticipated. After all, Google doesn’t send out messages regarding rich snippets.
Related: Get Your Website Ready for Mobile
What Matt Cutts has Been Up To
Matt Cutts, former head of the webspam team at Google and a legend (supervillain?) in the SEO world recently made headlines by quitting Google to work for the U.S. Government’s Digital Service. How’s that going for him? He answered that very question on Quora:
Too bad for Cutts that Quora links are nofollow!