It’s been a big week for the news, and we’re not just talking about the obvious: there’s also been a fair amount of news on the SEO front. But don’t worry, if you missed the top SEO stories of the week we’ve got a roundup right here to help get you caught up.
November 8 – Google Stops Playing with Repeat Safe Browsing OffendersWe’re all familiar with Google’s Safe Browsing warnings. They take the form of warnings that a site may be hacked, or shows evidence of malware, phishing, or social engineering, most often in the form of “This Site May Be Hacked” as a flag or an interstitial in the SERP. Basically, if a site shows evidence of foul play, Google flags it to protect its users. When the site cleans up, the warning is removed.
Unfortunately, many black-hat webmasters have taken to using nasty tactics until a warning appears, cleaning up their act for just long enough to get the warning removed, then continuing as normal. Wash, rinse, repeat.
But on Tuesday, Google announced on their Security Blog that they’re cracking down on these so-called “Repeat Offenders:”
Starting today, Safe Browsing will begin to classify these types of sites as “Repeat Offenders.” With regards to Safe Browsing-related policies, Repeat Offenders are websites that repeatedly switch between compliant and policy-violating behavior for the purpose of having a successful review and having warnings removed. Please note that websites that are hacked will not be classified as Repeat Offenders; only sites that purposefully post harmful content will be subject to the policy.
Once Safe Browsing has determined that a site is a Repeat Offender, the webmaster will be unable to request additional reviews via the Search Console for 30 days, and warnings will continue to show to users. When a site is established as a Repeat Offender, the webmaster will be notified via email to their registered Search Console email address.
Google gets a lot of scrutiny for even their most benign actions, and understandably so, but it’s hard to imagine even the bad guys arguing too much with this.
November 10 – Take Search Console with a Grain of Salt
Search Engine Land confirmed on Thursday that Google Search Console is undergoing “structural updates,” and that reporting and interface might suffer in the meantime. Wondering why your backlinks or indexed pages in GSC are so much lower than you remember? In all likelihood it’s just a reporting anomaly.
The update could last through the month, so wait until December before you start getting worried about something you see in Search Console (manual penalties withstanding).
November 10 – Bing Ads Tests App Install Ads
What if you could have paid search ads that take users directly to your app’s download page on Google Play Store or the Apple App Store? Well, it turns out now you can – on Bing.
This week Bing Ads announced a new pilot program to help drive app engagement by cutting out the middleman of a standard website. The feature isn’t in wide release just yet, but you can sign up for the pilot here.
November 10 – Bing Will Not Have a Mobile-First Index
There’s been a lot of buzz about Google’s decision to move to a “mobile-first index,” and for good reason. But those of us who still (stupidly) have a non-responsive or mobile-friendly site can rest a little easier tonight: the SEM Post reports that Bing will not be following suit. From the story:
“At Bing, we maintain a single index that is optimized for both mobile and desktop to ensure our users continue to receive the most relevant, fresh and consistent results no matter where they are,” [Bing’s Christi] Olson told The SEM Post.
SEM’s Jennifer Slegg makes a good point on the impact of Bing’s policy: “For those sites that consider Bing an important traffic source will now have to optimize the mobile version of a page for Google, while having to optimize the desktop version for Bing.”
The moral of the story? Just get a responsive site.
Bonus – Donald Trump’s SEO Audit
Now that Donald J. Trump is the next in line to assume the most powerful office in the free world, it seems like as good a time as any to blow the dust off of our old post from July, “We Did an SEO Audit of DonaldJTrump.com.” We won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t read it, but suffice it to say: he does very well with branded search.