This week: Google releases a new version of a testing tool, mobile page speed may soon be a ranking factor, and it really doesn’t matter whether you use dashes or underscores in your URLs.
Here’s what happened this week in SEO.
Google Releases More Friendly Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool
The new tool ranks your site’s mobile-friendliness, mobile speed, and desktop speed each as a score from 0-100. It also offers you actionable tips if your score is sub-par.
You can also have the report sent to you by email. That way, you can show the report to clients or use it yourself as a reference for future work.
Overall, though, the new version of the tool is more user-friendly than the old version. In other words, Google is following its own advice when it comes to user experience.
It should be noted, though, that PageSpeed Insights still exists. That means you really have two choices when it comes to testing page speed.
According to splash text on the new tool, people are five times more likely to leave a site that isn’t optimized for mobile usage.
Google: Mobile Page Speed May Soon Be a Ranking Factor
This week, at the Search Marketing Summit in Sydney, Google’s Gary Illyes said that the search giant will be updating the page speed ranking factor to look at mobile page speed.
According to Illyes, the update is months rather than years away from happening.
The update is a change from the status quo. Currently, if your site loads fast on a desktop but not on a mobile, your mobile ranking won’t suffer.
Soon, though, Google will add mobile speed to its mobile-friendly algorithm. That means pages that don’t load quickly on a mobile device won’t rank well on mobile search.
Page speed for desktops became a ranking factor back in 2010.
Google: Penguin Update Getting “Closer and Closer”
Google has been teasing a new Penguin update for a long time. Now, the company is hinting that the release of the update is just around the corner.
At a Google+ hangout earlier in the week, John Mueller offered hopes that the update will be sooner rather than later.
“We don’t have a specific date on the update for the Penguin algorithm but in talking to the team, they feel they are getting closer and closer and I am hoping that is not all too far in the future,” he said.
Make of that what you will.
Google Doesn’t Care If Your URL Uses Underscores or Dashes
Some SEOs are under the impression that URLs should use dashes instead of underscores. That’s based on advice Google dispensed back in 2007.
While it’s still good advice, you also shouldn’t stress about older sites under your control that have URLs filled with underscores instead of dashes.
In a Google+ hangout this week, Google’s John Mueller said that “we don’t really care about underscore versus dashes.”
He added: “So that’s something where I wouldn’t bother a setting up redirect for something like that. If the site is set up on one way and using the other way would be nicer, obviously you could do that. But I don’t think you’d see a significant kind of positive effect in search from that alone.”
Google: Structured Data Updates Occur Almost Immediately
If you’ve recently added structured data to your website and are still wondering when Google will recognize it, the answer is that search bot probably already has.
At a Google+ hangout this weekend, John Mueller fielded a question about when schema.org markup takes effect. His answer: “Usually pretty much when we crawl.”
“So we have to recrawl and reindex those pages,” he added. “But it’s it’s kind of like content on your pages where if you change the content once we’ve been able to reindex that updated content we should be able to take that into account immediately. There’s no additional delay from there.”
That means, theoretically, rich snippets that are a result of the markup should display in the SERPs immediately.