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Friday, September 8, 2017

Gary Illyes on Link Value, Planning for Mobile First Index and More: Weekly Roundup

This week, there was much discussion and speculation around Gary Illyes claimed that you can’t know which links are critical, and how webmasters should understand what he was saying and why.

The community also talked about what they hope to gain from when Google switches to mobile first indexation. Also as study shows that up to 87% of social shares go unattributed.

Google’s Gary Illyes says you can’t know which links are “deemed critical”

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Webmaster World members commented on the statement from Illyes that its close to impossible to determine which links are critical to ranking.

What this statement may mean for disavow files:

Keyplyr says: “But the important message here IMO is that he’s saying we can’t tell. If that’s true, then using a disallow file becomes even more enigmatic. I removed the disallow files from all sites and didn’t see any difference. ”
Shaddows: “They tried to move away from link penalties with Caffeine, but didn’t get it right. They then asked for webmaster help in identifying link sellers, and many duly obliged by importing vast files of sellers. (This was packaged as a “disavow” file, to help against the perceived neg-SEO epidemic)

If I were a gigantic data-processing machine with an AI development programme, unparalleled in-the-wild usage data, and a sudden influx of user-provided disavowals, I would have combined the lot and started ignoring paid links.

Penalties are only required as a FUD-creation tool. If you have perfect detection, you can safely discount paid links. If you have rubbish detection, you have to discourage the market.”

Webmasters should takeaway able the value of backlinks

Members discuss what can be read between the lines from the statement

Aristotle: “There are two types of backlinks that I consider to be the best:
— Backlinks from other sites in the same niche
— Backlinks that send traffic

I think that Gary Illyes may have been a liitle careless in the use of the word “critical”. In my view you shouldn’t try to depend on a very small number of backlinks — this could be precarious since for various reasons backlinks disappear all the time”

What are you expecting from the “Mobile-First Index” ?

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Members discuss what their hopes are after Google fully releases mobile first indexation.

Performance Optimization (site speed)

Peter S mentions his careful optimization of his web server and his performance optimized homegrown CMS will be rewarded with improved rankings.

Keyplyer mentioned that, “I do read that if you do not have a Mobile version of your site, the ranking will *temporarily* continue from the Desktop version to give extra time to adapt. How long that grace period will be, also will be determined in the several months following the update. ”

In terms of performance being rewarded as part of mobile first, Editoralguy is skeptical, “I think keyplr has the right approach. Fast is good, but I can’t see Google favoring the “container” over content. I can imagine speed being a ranking factor, as in “a tiebreaker when all other things are equal.” Trouble is, all other things are seldom equal.”

Showing full content in mobile vs “watered down”

keyplyer states that he hopes his ‘not watered down’ full featured mobile site gets rewarded.

Impact may depend on the niche you’re in

Nomis5 adds that the niche that you’re in will likely be a factor.

“In my niche I suspect mobile first will force even more amateur sites to stop updating and being left as legacy sites. Your average amateur webmaster has become overwhelmed by all the recent and proposed changes. AMP, https, mobile first, responsive design etc. have all stretched many to the limit of their technical capabilities.

What I find absurd is that I can convert my websites to a responsive design but Google are unable to convert their SERPS to be responsive. Why on earth should there be only be a SERPS for one type of device? Google are either just plain lazy or not as clever as many suppose them to be.

I think the latter is true and the result of the mobile first index will be simply a check that the page loads OK on a mobile, that it loads reasonably fast and the only content which counts will be that of the mobile page version.”

Mack agrees that impact may vary by niche,

“I think there are some niches that may see significant change. Perhaps an authoritative site has been dormant for several years, but still contains the best information. It may use an old design and be far from mobile friendly. There may be a lesser known site providing suitably useful content to that niche, but with a fully mobile friendly version that is responsive to the desktop/larger displays. This may turn a few markets on their heads.”

Is “mobile first index” code for “mobile only index”?

Tangor claims that it is likely that once stable, there will be a mobile only index

“All of which means the move is to the lowest common denominator (user) and their access to the web. G sees mobile as the cash cow and wants to serve that market and suggests to all who want to play, to make the change.

It is a mobile only (eventually) index, let’s don’t kid ourselves. “

Up to 87% of social shares go unattributed, according to one study

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A recent study shows that many social shares are invisible using todays available methods, citing as many as 87% of socials shares being ‘dark shares’ because they are shared over slack, WhatsApp, read later apps, Facebook messenger, Twitter/LinkedIn, and email.

Google AdSense User First Beta Program

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Google has been adding  a an option for ‘User First beta program’ for some users.

Google describes the program in the following way:

“program is designed to reward publishers who offer a good user experience. To measure the user experience on your site we look at three metrics and calculate a score for each. Your scores determine whether you can take advantage of what User First has to offer. The better your scores, the more likely you can take advantage of the benefits. If your scores ever drop below the required level, we’ll provide you with recommendations to help you bring them back up again so you can keep receiving the program’s benefits.”

Many members of Webmaster world commented that there are lack of details that make the program unhelpful.

User LuckyD comments that checking off all the items on the list may lead to a quality score improvement, ” I guess that checking all items on the list will affect the quality score of your account and that a perfect score (or participating in the user first program) might push your CPC higher. But again, just guessing here.”

20 Years Later…what Skills Are Necessary To Be A Competent Technical SEO?

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Senior Crea8asiteforums members discuss what skills are needed to be a great technical SEO today.

Grumpus claims that vs. 20 years ago, it is much more critical to optimize for concepts since search engines are much better at understanding natural language stating that, ” Today’s SEO (done properly) is optimizing for ideas and concepts. It’s about consistency and structure. It’s about organization and clear paths. It’s about structure – both in on-page consistency and structured data markup and off page structure that provides context for everything on the site.”

Grumpus also adds that where many sites go wrong is that that they don’t optimize the whole site, and only optimize select pages because of budget limitations.

Google finds a way to remove watermarks using machine learning, showing security flaw

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Illustrating some of the uses of machine learning, Google engineers developed a method bulk remove watermarks from photos, as mentioned in a recent paper, “The Effectiveness of Watermarks” that highlights an inherent security flaw in their use.

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