Tom Williams brings you the latest in search engine optimisation news, including more information about the mobile-first indexing, why you shouldn’t remove old content and the ‘people also ask’ box. 

Mobile-First Index Is Live Forever

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After Barry Schwartz “kind of got Google’s John Mueller to admit Google began the mobile-first index rollout”, it seems that it will never stop rolling out.

On October 25th, Google’s Gary Illyes spoke at SMX East and commented on the current situation regarding the mobile-first index, including that he “doesn’t see a time when the mobile-first index will be fully rolled out.”

Here’s what he had to say:

“There will always be some outliers, some sites that never go mobile first, are only desktop sites and cannot move fully to the mobile first index.”

Why You Shouldn’t Remove Old Content

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It’s common knowledge that SEOs remove old or what is considered ‘out-of-date’ content from sites, the main reason being the content has exhausted its value.

At this month’s State of Search in Dallas, Google’s Gary Illyes warned us that removing content will affect traffic statistics:

You will probably even decrease your traffic because if those pages are getting traffic and you delete them, then you are not going to get the traffic anymore. Obviously, you can redirect that page somewhere, which would be more relevant in your mind, but I typically disagree with that as well, just like you for the same reasons.

So there you have it – no good can come from deleting ‘old’ content. Make sure your audience are aware of its publication date, and there shouldn’t be any problems with leaving it on your site.

Updated Tab Content Advice

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Google has previously announced that having content tabs for mobile-first indexing is certainly not an issue, however John Mueller has announced an update:

As long as this content is loaded when the page is loaded, that’s perfectly fine.  If the content is loaded only after you click on the tab and it stays on the same URL, then we wouldn’t be able to use that content for indexing, so that’s one thing to kind of keep in mind. I have heard of sites that actively want to use this like that, in the sense that they have some content that they want to load in a tab separately and that they don’t want to have indexed at all and that might be an option as well.

But if you do want to have your content indexed, it needs to be loaded when the page is loaded.

This will ensure site owners complete checks on how their tabbed content on mobile devices is executed.

Ranking Pages of Identical Products

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Most e-Commerce websites have many similar products for sale on their websites. Similarities can be anything from size variations, colour variations, or even different SKUs.

But, how does Google deal with ranking these pages from the same site?

In a recent Google Webmaster Office Hours, John Mueller stated:

So we generally try to index both of these product pages and then when it comes to serving, so when someone is searching for something we’ll try to pick one of these to show if we can recognize that they’re searching for something within that duplicated section.  So that’s something that usually works out fairly well. We have a lot of practice with this kind of duplicate product scenario…  you’re not the first one to kind of run into that.

This is great for site owners who may have issues with duplicate content.

People Also Ask

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According to Barry Schwartz, RankRanger’s mobile SERP tracking tool has noticed Google is increasing the frequency at which it shows the ‘people also ask’ box on mobile for European locales.

RankRanger’s report shows percentages of ‘page one’ search results that already had people also ask before the increased frequency:

  • Austria: 0.72%

  • France: 0.23%

  • Norway: 0.25%

  • Spain: 0.76%

  • Austria: 3.9%

  • France: 4%

  • Norway: 1.06%

  • Spain: 7.3%

Ultimately, this gives SEOs opportunities to expand on their keyword research and ideas for optimisation, and above all, increased visibility.

More SEO News and Advice

Read last week’s SEO News Roundup: Google Mobile-First Indexing Underway

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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.