Google’s “Quality Update” Rewards Positive Behavior [MONTHLY SUMMARY OF SEARCH]

Google’s updates have been focused around penalizing bad behavior: low quality links, duplicate or thin content, ad heavy pages, doorway pages, and more. But at the beginning of May, a mysterious Google update was released that looks to be more focused on boosting the right sites. Google officially claimed there was no update, then later admitted to a “quality update” – and to the core algorithm!

1. Good Design 

  • Structure of your site:  Websites structured around their main audiences tend to be structured (with “silos”) around their main keywords. This site structure makes it easy for both prospects and Googlebot to understand your site. With breadcrumb navigation, it’s very easy to communicate site structure. And with schema support, it’s an even better idea.
  • Variety of content: Are you mixing in photos, videos, infographics, slides and the many other kinds of content? Consider this a quiz (which is another piece of content). Which of the types of content are on your site?


2. Good Content

  • Original content/not syndicated: Syndication is more confusing than ever, despite the existence of the canonical tag. Sharing on your site first is vital. For authority sites such as, and others, the best results come with rewriting a unique shortened version of your content.
  • Links to related content on your site:  When a site visitor is reading about one topic, it’s a great idea to showcase related articles. This too can have an effect, as you are linking to other articles about your main keyword or concept. Hummingbird can understand concepts, but it’s always been valuable to talk around your main keywords. Having good content all around a certain topic makes a site the authority on that topic.
  • Not too many ads, no deceptive ads:  SEO Glen Gabe noticed sites with ads hidden in the content sunk in this Quality Update. Some sites were hiding ads in with their content, making ad links look very similar to links to content on the site. Gabe points this out in his excellent analysis of sites hit by the Quality Update stating, “I also saw deceiving ads that blended way too much with the content”.
  • Not thin: Thin content such as tag pages or short articles won’t make the cut. It’s ironic that tweets are now at the top of many Google search engine result pages, but that Google also abhors thin content. Don’t be fooled by Google’s new-found love for those 160 characters: Good articles tend to be fully thought out pieces of 1000 WORDS or more! You might get by with 450 words, but really try to make your content deeper articles of 650 words plus. Numbers are nearly as important as the quality of the piece though.
  • No low quality user generated content:  User generated content sounds like a dream come true for many site owners, but policing the quality of comments, uploads, and topics can become quite a task. Sites such as and were hit in the Quality Update, and, have begun cleanup as well.

Want to learn more about the update? Visit Glenn Gabe’s analysis or this great article at SEMPost.

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April 2015 Did you survive Google’s Mobile-pocalypse? [MONTHLY SUMMARY OF SEARCH]

google-485611__180.jpgOne of Google’s largest updates in years happened last month. Did your mobile rankings survive what many were hailing as the end times for mobile traffic? It may not be as bad as expected for your site – but certainly beaware of the risks and rewards to make an informed decision. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

1. Are you indeed mobile friendly? If you see a “Mobile friendly” label next to your site in Google’s mobile search results, you are definitely mobile friendly. If not, Google’s tools may tell you what to fix. First, try Google’s “Mobile Friendly Tool”:

But there are caveats: If resources such as CSS or JS are blocked, the tool could give a false positive. And if you aren’t seeing those labels next to your site in Google’s mobile search results, there must be a reason. So to be sure, run this tool on your site as well:

For people that pass the mobile friendly test – and even those that have the label – this tool will give the next items you should be working on. Because staying ahead of Google’s algorithm is a good investment of time and energy.

2. What percentage of organic traffic is on a “mobile device?” Everyone should know the percentage of their traffic on mobile. Many assume that tablets are included in the “mobile device” designation, but that isn’t true. Google count tablets more like desktop users, and expects the desktop version of your design towork for many of them. To find the your site’s mobile traffic percentage, click on Audience > Mobile > Overview in the left sidebar of Google Analytics. While you are in there, compare the percentage to last year: Your mobile traffic has likely grown greatly!

3. How soon can you fix the problem? If you missed the deadline, no worries: The update is ongoing. You can fix anytime, and google will notice shortly after. Unlike Penguin, no waiting a year on this update. Use Google Webmaster Tools to request a recrawl of fixed pages quickly.

PSST! Need a Free Link? Get a free link for your agency: Would you like our monthly take on the changing world of SEO delivered to your inbox? Subscribe to the Hyper Dog Media SEO Newsletter HERE! When you subscribe, each newsletter will contain a link idea for your business!

8 Things We Know About Google’s Upcoming Mobile Update [Monthly Summary of Search]

Google is implementing a mobile update come April 21. They have been releasing small details, and here is what we know so far:

1. The penalty is on a page-by-page basis:  Instead of judging an entire site, Google will assess the mobile friendliness of each page. This is very unlike Google Panda’s penalties: Usually a small section of a site can potentially impact the entire site by spewing duplicate and/or thin content. If your site is too difficult to change in time, worry first about your site’s most important organic landing pages: Make sure they are mobile friendly, and disregard other areas of the site.

2. Google is currently showing labels for mobile-friendly sites in their mobile search results:
Here is what the labels look like in mobile searches:


This is actually the most important of all tests: If your pages are showing the label, you’ve passed the mobile friendly test.

3. Come April 21, sites will start to see the ranking changes: Mobile friendly pages will see increased rankings, while unfriendly pages will see a decrease in rankings.

4. Bigger than panda or penguin: Google has relayed that this update is going to be larger than Panda or Penguin. The rankings of many pages are likely to be effected.

5. The update starts on April 21, and rolls out over a week: Do not breathe a sigh of relief on April 21 and stop checking. Instead check mobile friendliness labels, rankings and traffic levels daily for the week.

6. There are not degrees of mobile friendliness: Binary: There are not degrees of mobile friendliness. Even one issue is detected, and the URL will be treated as NOT mobile friendly.Google's mobile update

7. The update is ongoing: No need to wait a year after you’ve implemented the fix. Instead, changes will be sensed on the next crawl of your page. Of course, you’ll want to use Google’s Webmaster Tools features to get pages reindexed quickly!

8. Some tests are inconclusive: When you spot the “Mobile Friendly” label on your page in Google’s mobile search results, you know your page is in the clear. But tool errors have been noted in Google’s testing tools:

  • If pages are flagged in Webmaster Tools as Mobile Unfriendly, it can take a while for the errors displayed to clear once fixes are implemented.
  • Some tests can fail or report a false positive when resources such as CSS or JS are blocked.

Google has never given notice of an impending deadline like this. It’s a bold experiment to get the web moving in what is clearly the right direction. But can sites be changed in time? It’s a tough deadline to meet for most companies.

PSST! Need a Free Link?
Get a free link for your agency: Would you like our monthly take on the changing world of SEO delivered to your inbox? Subscribe to the Hyper Dog Media SEO Newsletter HERE! When you subscribe, each newsletter will contain a link idea for your business!