This week: You might just want to keep on using that disavow file after all, expect to see fewer organic blue links in search results, and you might be surprised at how many people are using Google only on their smartphones.
Here’s what happened this week in SEO.
Report: Almost Half of All People Search Only on Smartphones
A new study shows that almost half of all people search only with their smartphones.
According to Google research, 40% of online searchers prefer to use their phone to find information online. That’s more than ever before.
Most of the searches conducted revolve around parenting, beauty, and health.
Some other key findings in the study:
- 80% use a smartphone (for anything)
- 67% use a desktop computer
- 16% use a tablet
- 14% only use a desktop
- 27% only use a smartphone
- 57% use multiple types of devices
The study also showed that people who do use smartphones use them quite a bit – as much as 3 hours a day. By comparison, people use desktop computers for just 2 hours per day and tablets for only 75 minutes per day.
Study: Organic Blue Links Drop From 10 to 8.5 Per Search Query
According to new research, Google is less likely to show you 10 organic blue links on the first page of the search engine results pages (SERPs).
The study, from Searchmetrics, shows that Google displays only 8.5 blue links on average.
But the search giant giveth and taketh away.
Although there are fewer blue links, there are also new tidbits of valuable info on the first page, including featured snippets, app packs, videos, images, and knowledge panels.
The study also shows that about 1 out of every 10 mobile queries return mobile packs.
Finally, the study compared rich results on desktop vs. mobile:
WordPress Offering “Advanced” SEO Tools That Aren’t Very Advanced
WordPress is offering a set of “advanced” SEO tools to its user community.
But the tools aren’t that advanced.
TL;DR: Stick with Yoast.
The “advanced” tools give webmasters the ability to easily accomplish the following tasks:
- Write custom meta descriptions
- Write custom title elements for different pages
That’s about it.
Sure, the tools also offer a feature that will show you how your URL will appear in the SERPs or when it’s shared on social media.
None of that is very “advanced,” though.
But at least WordPress is practicing good marketing.
Google: Go Ahead and Keep Using That Disavow File, Anyway
As we reported in this space last week, the new Penguin 4.0 algorithm devalues spammy links but doesn’t punish sites that use them.
That’s a distinction with a big difference because it means, theoretically, that webmasters don’t need to specifically disavow bad links because the Big G will just disregard them.
But there’s a “rest of the story.”
@Marie_Haynes Yeah, nothing changed with the disavow.
— John Mueller (@JohnMu) October 4, 2016
During a Google+ hangout earlier this week, John Mueller offered the following: “I’d say the largest majority of the websites don’t need to do anything with the disavow.”
But he also qualified that statement with this: “[I]f you do know that your SEO in the past has done some shady things with links or previous SEO or someone else, then of course doing the disavow is a good way to to kind of make sure you could you can sleep at night and don’t have to worry that Google is maybe interpreting those links in a way that you didn’t want.”
In response to a question about removing the disavow file completely, Mueller said this: “So if if this is something that you really don’t want to have associated with your website then you should keep that in your disavow file. So that’s not something where I’d say for this one specific algorithm Google is able to kind of kind of devalue those and handle them on our own. Therefore i won’t tell Google anything about the problematic links that I found. I think that’s that’s a bad idea.”
Google Is Showing More Images in Mobile Search Results
As we reported a while back, Google is starting to show product images from e-commerce sites in the mobile SERPs. It looks like the search giant is starting to show images for other sites as well.
This past week on Twitter, Kyle Reddoch posted a screenshot of mobile results for the very important key phrase “soil cement stabilization.” The results showed images from sites like cement.org and ecslimited.com.
It’s just the latest effort by Google to create a more user-friendly environment for mobile searchers.