25 November 2014 - Issue #657
latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.
Google released a new version of the Penguin
algorithm about a month ago. Websites that were penalized by a previous
Penguin update should have recoverd with the new update if they removed
spammy links in the meantime.
In the news: Google says that you shouldn't use PageRank
as a metric anymore, HTTPS is not a strong ranking signal, the latest
statistics, it can take up to 9
months before Google processes a disavow file, and more.
Table of contents:
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| 1. Google: why
your website did not recover from the Penguin update
Google released a new version of the Penguin algorithm about a month ago. Websites that
were penalized by a previous Penguin update should have recovered with
update if they removed spammy links in the meantime.
This did not happen for all websites. What's the reason
for that and what can you do to make sure that your own website will
What is Google's Penguin update?
Google Penguin is a filter in Google’s ranking
algorithm that targets websites that use spam methods to get backlinks.
For example, Google does not like paid backlinks, automatically created
backlinks from forums, blogs, etc.
Why should websites have recovered?
If you used these low quality links to promote your website, chances
are that Google penalized your website with one of the Penguin updates.
According to Google, websites that cleaned the
bad backlinks should recover with the Penguin update. In an online discussion, a webmaster said that this did not
work for him:
"After disavowing and removing A LOT of domains and
putting right our previous problems, although our traffic is marginally
up from this latest penguin data refresh, we're not back to previous
traffic numbers AND have earned some great links in the mean time,
pushing out great content daily.
Is penguin still unhappy with our site, or do we lack good/natural/high
quality links pointing to our site and this is due to our ranking
We didn't disavow all scraped content as Google is supposedly good at
detecting and ignoring this, but this may have contributed to our link
profile. Our disavow file is updated weekly and has been since Oct
What does Google say about this?
Google's John Mueller answered this webmaster in the
"I think sharing the disavow file (as well as its
history) would make it a lot easier for folks here to notice some of
the things that may be worth mentioning.
For example, sometimes it shows that changes were
made recently, perhaps after the most recent refresh. These kinds of
changes can take time to be reprocessed (recrawling the URLs alone can
take several months, and then it would require an update of the
algorithm's data), and you wouldn't expect to see changes based on
those submissions to be visible until the next refresh takes place.
Especially because these things take so much time
to be recrawled & reprocessed, I think it really helps to have as
many critical eyes on those submissions as possible. Maybe you have
everything covered already, or maybe there are still some issues that
you didn't realize, which others could help you resolve as early as
The people active here in the forums are not out to
get you for things done in the past, they want to give pointers based
on things they've seen over the years, so while I can't guarantee that
they'll be able to flag 'that one thing that's holding your site back'
(usually it's not just one thing anyway), they usually have a really
good eye for things that are commonly forgotten (purposely or not)."
What does this mean exactly?
Unfortunately, the answer isn't very clear and John
Mueller does not go into detail. The following can be the reason why
the website hasn't recovered:
- the webmaster missed important bad links in the
disavow links file
- the webmaster submitted the disavow links file after
the new Penguin algorithm was released
- Google hasn't processed the disavow file yet
If your website was hit by Google's Penguin update, you
have to remove the bad backlinks that point to your site.
The link disinfection tool in SEOprofiler can help you
to do that.
If you haven't done it yet, create your SEOprofiler account now to use
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contents - Visit
Search engine news and articles of the week
| Google: forget Google PageRank
"In an online discussion, Google’s John Mueller
said that you shouldn’t use Google PageRank as a quality metric anymore:
'I wouldn’t use PageRank or links as a metric. We’ve last updated
PageRank more than a year ago (as far as I recall) and have no plans to
do further updates. Think about what you want users to do on your site,
and consider an appropriate metric for that.'"
Large disavow file? Google can take 3-9 months to
"So this is something where depending on the
URL sometimes we crawl them daily, sometimes we crawl them every couple
of months. So if you submit a large disavow file or a disavow file that
includes a lot of domain entries or just generally includes a lot of
different URLs, then that is something that’s going to take quite a bit
of time to kind of recrawl all of those URLs naturally and reprocess
all of that information.
So I wouldn’t be surprised if you are looking at a time frame of maybe
3 to 6 to 9 months even for disavow files to be completely taken into
October 2014 U.S. desktop search engine rankings
"Google Sites led the U.S. explicit core search
market in October with 67 percent market share, followed by Microsoft
Sites with 19.5 percent (up 0.1 percentage points) and Yahoo Sites with
10.3 percent (up 0.3 percentage points). Ask Network accounted for 1.9
percent of explicit core searches, followed by AOL, Inc. with 1.2
How strong is HTTPS as
a ranking factor?
"The numbers are in, and they tell us to not
rush off to convert your site to HTTPS as part of your plan for world
SEO domination. It’s a tiny factor at best. [...]
Security issues are a big deal, and HTTPS is one step you can take to
keep control over your own content."
How Google can screw
publishers less with Google Answers
"For almost a year now, Google has been
'borrowing' content from publishers, like you and me, and showing them
in long form on the search results page. Sometimes Google shows credit
and sometimes not. But either way the swiss army knife analogy is not
making publishers feel better. 55% fear these answers and it can be
both scary and insulting for publishers."
Related: Google Answer box mobile feature
Search engine newslets
- Yahoo to become default search engine in Firefox in the U.S.
- Google took action on a large link network in Poland.
- Google: better do not use 403 error codes.
- Apple Maps is not intended to be a general business directory.
- The Bing homepage goes HD.
- How Bing and your mobile device became friends.
- Google launches Contributor, a crowdfunding tool for publishers.
- Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps – ThrowDown in Buffalo.
- Google Advanced Search brings back the black bar.
- Google News now has a "Suggested for you" section
with stories likely to match your interests.
- Social icons appear on Google's Knowledge Graph.
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