Tom Williams runs through the latest in SEO news, including Google’s plans to allow searchers to disable AMPs, Google’s new desktop search interface, and news on the myths of Google crawl budget.
Google Plans to Allow Searchers to Disable AMPs
In August 2016, Google launched Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) to the main search results. However, after a number of people asking how to disable them, Google is now working on providing searchers with a way to hide AMPs.
Google has received mixed feedback about the AMP format it launched a few months ago, with both webmasters and searchers hoping for a way to disable them.
In the webmaster help thread, Google’s Tomo T explained how the team at Google was working on creating a direct path from AMP pages to the canonical URL of the page, so that searchers who are experiencing problems with AMPs can access the normal version of the page on mobile search.
The Search team is working on creating a direct path from AMP pages on Google Search to the canonical URL as specified by the publisher (usually the non-AMP original URL). Sharing will also use the canonical URL where technically possible.
Additionally, the top bar scrolls away on Android and the Google Search App for iOS devices, and it will soon on iOS Chrome and Safari too. The team is currently hard at work to make this happen.
Google did not specify a time frame in which this will be complete, but it was confirmed that the AMP team is currently in the process of making it happen.
Google Debunks Crawl Budget Myths
In a recent Google Hangout, John Mueller said that a myth that he hears often surrounds crawling, and the misunderstanding of crawl budgets that some webmasters and SEOs have.
During the hangout, Mueller explained how Google doesn’t have the same notion of crawl budget as many SEOs and webmasters do. This is what he said:
So at Google we don't really have this notion of crawl budget the way that people are talking about it externally.
We hope to have a blog post about that sometime soon, probably later this year to explain a bit more about how we handle crawling. But for the most part if you have a reasonably sized site, you don't have to worry about this. You don't have to hide internal links, you don't have to mess with no index on individual pages because this page could be using up crawl budget or mess with canonicals or those kinds of things for any reasonably sized site.
Once you have sites that are several thousand pages large or they’re dynamic and they generate an infinite number of pages, then obviously you want to make sure that your server can handle the load.
View the Google Hangout to hear John Mueller’s discussion of crawl budget in full.
Google’s Organic Sitelink Changes Cause Major Drops in Search Console Data
Recently, Google carried out some changes to organic sitelinks, which has caused dramatic fluctuations in the Search Console impressions data.
Google made two changes to organic sitelinks: one which removed the small blue links that are found under regular sitelinks – this was found to be a bug, and one that adjusted the number of large sitelinks that were displayed for branded searches.
Although these changes don’t sound like they’d have a drastic effect on traffic to sites, certain brands saw huge fluctuations in data surrounding their impressions within the Google Search Console. SEOs Melody Petulla and Kyle Blanchette analysed three sites before and after the changes and found that they suffered the following:
- Impressions dropped by an average of 80% – decline in the number of pages ranking for certain terms.
- Average position decline of over 5 positions – drop in high ranking sitelinks for certain terms.
- CTR increase of 360%– fewer low CTR sitelinks are shown for high search volume queries.
- No Traffic Impact – sites saw virtually no change in traffic due to the low CTR of other sitelinks.
Read more at Search Engine Land.
Google Has Rolled Out a New Desktop Search Interface
Towards the end of November, Google was seen testing new user interface layouts for desktop search. It had been seen by lots of SEOs worldwide, and was becoming increasingly easy to replicate across multiple search browsers, with the exception of Safari.
According to Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Roundtable, Google confirmed that the new interface has been rolled out worldwide.
Here’s a screenshot of the desktop interface before the test:
And here’s the new layout:
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