Tom Williams looks at the latest search engine optimisation news, including rumours of a Google update, Google’s further push for mobile friendly sites, blogger best practice tips for product reviews, and the latest Whiteboard Friday discussion.

Is Google Updating Again?

Have you been experiencing changes to your site’s rankings recently? Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Land believes a new Google update is in the offing.

He speculates in his recent blog post that Google is testing something on rankings, but estimates it is currently limited to 2% of searches.

According to Schwartz, Friday saw spikes on Mozcast, SERPs.com, SERP Metrics, Accuranker and PageRanker. Question is, is this just the latest Panda release or the final arrival of the latest Penguin? We’ll keep you posted.

Google to Update Mobile Search Results

mobile friendly

Klemen Kloboves took to the Google Webmaster Blog last week to announce a new update to mobile search results that will help increase the ranking signal to help users find more relevant pages when they search on mobile.

Rolling out in May, the update is aimed at making the web more mobile. If your site is already mobile friendly then you will be unaffected, but if it isn’t we recommend you get working on it straight away.

Blogger Best Practice Tips from Google

Product Preview

The Google Webspam Team offers up its advice to companies and bloggers on product reviews in a recent Webmaster Central Blog post.

As more and more companies reach out to bloggers to review their products or offer free giveaways via their sites, Google is keep to ensure this business practice is kept in line with its webmaster guidelines. It advises bloggers and companies comply with the below:

  1. Use the nofollow tag where appropriate
  2. Disclose the relationship
  3. Create compelling, unique content

Google Prepares to Update Mobile Googlebot

Google announced last week that April will see an update to the smartphone user-agent of Googlebot. This will change from the current Googlebot:

current googlebot

However, as of 18 April 2016 this will change to:

new googlebot

Google said it was updating the user-agent string so that its renderer can better understand pages that use newer web technologies. The renderer continually evolves. Google has found that the user-agent string indicates that that it is becoming more similar to Chrome than Safari. To make sure sites can be viewed properly by a wide range of users and browsers, Google is recommending webmasters to use feature detection and progressive enhancement.

Google Posts Now Includes Cricket Players

Google’s latest experimental SERP feature ‘Google Posts’ is being extended to include cricket players.

The scrollable cards are already showing for local businesses and politicians, with cricket players the latest addition to the feature.

Barry Schwartz found the following when searching for former Indian cricketer [akash chopra]:

Google Posts - Cricket

Whiteboard Friday – Creating 10x Content


Rand Fishkin takes a look at how to create content that is 10 times better than the competition in last week’s Whiteboard Friday presentation. In summary, he recommends:

  • Content that delivers a great UX on any device
  • High quality, trustworthy content
  • Different in scope from other works targeted at the same user
  • Emotive content that surprises the reader
  • Content that solves a problem or answers a question
  • Unique content

More Search Engine Optimisation News and Advice

Read last week’s SEO news roundup: Google Removes Toolbar PageRank

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Visit our Technical SEO & Audits page to learn how our SEO services can help you.

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About the author:

Tom joined ClickThrough in 2011. Since then, he has developed an expertise in the technical side of search engine optimisation. He’s Google Analytics-qualified, and in his current role as digital and technical Executive, carries out monthly SEO activities and provides technical consultancy for several of the company’s largest accounts.