This week: A bolder AMP logo in the SERPs, an update really did happen, and Google reminds us about a violation.
Here’s what happened this week in SEO.
This Time, an Update Really Did Happen
If you’ve been following this space for any length of time, then you know it’s a foregone conclusion that almost every week the rumor mill will kick into high gear with gossip about a possible Google algorithm update.
This past week, though, the rumors were accurate.
Lots of SEOs went online last weekend to talk about how they’ve seen dramatic shifts in rank for some of the sites that they manage. That led to the usual chatter of an algorithm update.
On Monday, John Mueller was asked about the update. Specifically, he was asked if it was related to the Penguin algorithm.
Here’s how he responded: “It wasn’t Penguin, but we do roll out a lot of updates over time, sometimes multiple updates… This isn’t the kind of update that we would announce. It wasn’t Penguin, so you can, I guess, cross that off your list. There are lots of different updates that we do, we make thousands of updates every year, and most of them we don’t give specific names. We don’t call out and announce each one.”
So Mueller implicitly said that yes, there was an update.
But he explicitly said that no, it wasn’t related to Penguin.
Now, maybe we can avoid chatter about a possible algorithm update for the next few weeks at least.
Google Reminds Us That Widget Links Are Against the Rules
If you’re a clever software developer and a savvy marketer, you might have produced a branded widget that you share with other webmasters so they include it on their sites. If that widget also has a link pointing back to your site, you could get hit with a penalty.
That’s because links within widgets are a no-no.
This past week, Googlers Agnieszka Łata (Trust & Safety Search Team) and Eric Kuan (Webmaster Relations Specialist) wrote the following warning: “[W]e would like to reiterate our policy on the creation of keyword-rich, hidden or low-quality links embedded in widgets that are distributed across various sites.”
The reason for the policy, they said, is because widgets with backlinks “add links to a site that a webmaster did not editorially place and contain anchor text that the webmaster does not control.”
The pair added: “[B]ecause these links are not naturally placed, they’re considered a violation of Google Webmaster Guidelines.”
Google Says It’s Working on the Penguin 4.0 Announcement
Aside from a few Google bigwigs, nobody knows exactly when the next phase of the Penguin algorithm will roll out.
But signs indicate that we might be getting close to the launch date.
This past week, John Mueller said that the Big G is already working on the Penguin 4.0 announcement.
If the company is working on the announcement, then it’s likely that the release isn’t too far off.
Google Testing a Bolder AMP Logo in SERPs
It seems as though there’s news about AMP every week. This week is no exception.
The news, this time, is that Google is testing a bolder AMP logo in the search results.
The logo appears next to specific listings in the results. It’s an indication that the site uses Accelerated Mobile Pages technology.
Sites that use AMP load extremely fast on a mobile platform. The logo is Google’s way of telling mobile users: “Hey, this site will load in a jiffy on your smartphone.”
The old AMP logo was dull and light gray. The new one is black and bold.
Will Google make the new logo format permanent? Time will tell.