Weekly SEO news: 12 November 2013
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

Google has introduced a new spam filter that can lead to a manual action penalty of your website. If the images that visitors see on your website are not the same images that Google sees, Google might take manual action against your website.

In the news: Matt Cutts talks about the SEO effects of responsive design, Google makes errors with reconsideration requests, more problems with Google's image search, and more.

Table of contents:

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Best regards,
Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. A new Google filter that can lead to a manual action penalty
Google has introduced a new spam filter that can lead to a manual action penalty of your website. If the images that visitors see on your website are not the same images that Google sees, Google might take manual action against your website.

Google image mismatch

What is an image mismatch?

According to Google's official help page, image mismatch means that "some of your site’s images may be displaying differently on Google’s search results pages than they are when viewed on your site."

As a result, Google can apply a manual action to the affected portions of your website, which will affect how your site’s images are displayed in Google.

What should you do if you get an image mismatch message from Google?

If you get an image mismatch penalty message from Google, make sure that your website displays the same images to users when viewed directly through your website or within Google image search results.

When you have done this, submit a reconsideration request to Google.

A reason why Google cannot display the images from my website


Some webmasters use anti-hotlinking tools on their web pages. These anti-hotlinking tools make sure that the images from your website can only be retrieved from your own domain and not from other websites.

While it is understandable that webmasters don't want other people to use their images, Google says that this leads to a bad user experience.

Do you have to take action?

If you haven't received a notification message from Google, you don't have to worry about this new penalty.

In general, Google only applies penalties to websites that try to trick Google in one way or the other. If you do not use spammy methods on your website, you don't have to worry about Google's penalties.

Instead of investing your time cleaning up the damage that spammy techniques can do to your website, it is much better to start with white-hat search engine optimization techniques right from the start.

It takes longer to get high rankings with white-hat SEO methods but once your website has the high rankings, it will keep them much longer and you don't have to be afraid of Google's algorithm updates.

If you haven't done it yet, create your SEOprofiler trial account now. SEOprofiler offers a complete suite of white-hat search engine optimization tools that help you to get high rankings on Google and other search engines:

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

BingThe mission of Microsoft and Bing is the evolution of search
"Bing is not going to beat Google in keyword search any time soon. [...] That’s not going to stop search at Microsoft [...]

We have to stop forcing people into a search box [...] We have to evolve search. Our focus going forward is on places where people don’t even know they are doing a search."



Google’s Matt Cutts: responsive design has no negative effect on SEO

"In a video on YouTube, Google’s Matt Cutts answered the question 'Is there an SEO disadvantage to using responsive design instead of separate mobile URLs?'

Responsive website design means that the design of a web page changes depending on the device that is requesting the page."



GoogleWebmasters report more problems with Google’s image search

"In an online discussion, Craig Miller, Vice President of Marketing at Shopify.com, said that many of Shopify.com’s users had problems with their image SEO. [...]

It turned out that the 'cache busting' feature that is used by Shopify is the reason for the problem."


Google can make errors when you submit a reconsideration request
In an online discussion, the webmaster of the Center for Infectious Disease Genomics run by Washington University in St. Louis wrote that her website had a penalty because the domain was used by a spammer before.

Although the new website was spam free, Google rejected the reconsideration request. It turned out that this was an error of Google: "It looks like there may have been an error when processing your reconsideration request. We're re-processing it now, and you should see a change in the Manual Actions Viewer in the next couple of days."


Report: mobile devices account for 28% of total website traffic
"Visits from mobile devices now account for 28 percent of total website traffic in Q3 2013, up 67 percent since Q3 2012, according to the Walker Sands Quarterly Mobile Traffic Report. [...]

iOS (iPhone and iPad combined) market share for Q3 2013 was 47 percent, down 4 percent since Q3 2012 and Android total (mobile and tablet combined) market share for Q3 2012 was 44.4 percent, up less than half a percent since Q3 2012."


Search engine newslets

  • Google AdWords no longer supports AdWords extensions.
  • Bing Ads October release summary: new features for usability, security, and scale.
  • Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen thinks Xbox, Bing should be dropped in favor of enterprise.
  • Google tests now show the site name and the hostname in search results.
  • Google tests hide number of search results.
  • Google introduces Google Helpouts (paid video chats).
  • Google Places listings get integrated into Android’s phone app - and they’re terrible.
  • Harvard professor sees Google's illegal revenue over $1 billion.
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