This week: Google reiterates an old warning about URLs, a new Google test removes the estimated number of search results, and Penguin 4.0 still hasn’t launched.
Here’s what happened this week in SEO.
Google Test Removes Estimated Number of Search Results
When you’ve performed some of your own searches using Google, you might have noticed a blurb at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs) showing you “About” how many results there are for your query.
Of course, Google is always testing out new ideas. It’s unclear at this time if the estimated number of results will be permanently removed.
Google: No Need to Disavow Links No Longer Relevant to Your Site
As it turns out, you only need to disavow garbage links that are relevant to your site.
During a Google Hangout earlier this week, John Mueller was asked the following question: “Our eCommerce site used to sells lots of products. Now we only concentrate on a few. So our SEO agency disavowed all links which are now not related to us. Is that correct or can I put them back as our traffic/rankings decreased? How long before it recovers?”
“So in general, if you are just doing site maintenance, changing things on your website, that wouldn’t be a case where you’d need to disavow your backlinks,” Mueller replied.
Disavowing backlinks is really mostly for the case where there are really problematic links pointing to your page and you want to say I want nothing to do with that. In a case like this, where these links might be completely normal links to your website, they are just for older products or things you no longer provide, then that is something you don’t really disavow them for. Because this is something, that as a company, you kind of build up value over time, years… And it is normal that companies change their focus from time to time or shift their focus slightly. So that is not really the type of situation where you want to disavow there.
Bottom line: don’t disavow good links that you’ve earned.
Google Says Penguin 4.0 Still Hasn’t Launched
If you’ve been following this space for any length of time, then you know that there’s been a lot of chatter about algorithm updates lately.
But Google reaffirms that Penguin 4.0 still hasn’t launched.
During a Google+ hangout earlier this week, Mueller said that, as far as he knows, Penguin 4.0 “has not rolled out yet. I also don’t have any date that I can share with you.”
Google: Contact Info Isn’t a Ranking Signal
Some people think that their rank in Google will suffer if they neglect to include contact info on their site.
This week, John Mueller put that falsehood to rest.
“I don’t think we look at things like contact information on a web page,” he said. “So that is probably not something that we focus on for web search rankings.”
Mueller did add that it’s a good idea to include contact information for reasons that have nothing to do with search rank.
Google Reiterates: Search Engines Tend to Not Support URLs That Depend on Hashtags
If you’re having trouble ranking a page delivered with a URL that includes a hashtag, you’re probably going to continue having trouble ranking it.
That’s because the search engines tend to not support URLs that depend on hashtags.
On a Google Webmaster Help thread this week, John Mueller wrote: “Search engines tend not to support URLs that require ‘#’ in the URLs. If you’re using Angular, you can turn on html5Mode() to use normal-looking URLs with the HTML5 history API instead.”
It’s best just to keep hashtags out of your URLs as much as possible.
Google: Changing Sitemap Location Doesn’t Affect Crawling or Indexing
It really doesn’t matter where you put your Sitemap, as long as Google can find it.
That’s what John Mueller says, anyway.
In a recent Google Hangout, somebody asked Mueller if moving his sitemap would affect Google’s ability to crawl or index his site.
“No,” he replied. “Changing the URL of your sitemap file is totally irrelevant for us, in the sense that we find the new sitemap file, we start processing the new sitemap file and we just use those URLs there.”
Mueller also said that moving the sitemap won’t affect rank.