This week: You can now embed forms in AMP pages, Google doesn’t play favorites with WordPress, and you might not believe how much the Possum update changed local search results.
Here’s what happened this week in SEO.
Forms Can Now Be Embedded in AMP Pages
This past week, the Accelerated Mobile Pages project announced support for HTML forms. Now, you can capture email addresses, conduct polls, and even let users customize their experience on an AMP page.
AMP pages display forms with the aid of an “amp-form” extension. The technology supports both regular navigation and XHR form submissions.
According to Search Engine Journal, the benefits of AMP forms over traditional forms include:
- Change the page when the form is submitted using the “on” attribute. The “on” attribute can also be used to change the page depending on whether the form was submitted successfully or with errors.
- Annotate fields upon submission by using templated response rendering. Use this feature to give contextual feedback on what’s wrong with field input.
- Style fields based on validation status using CSS pseudo-classes to provide users with real-time feedback on whether their input is valid.
The AMP project says that it will expand form functionality based on user feedback.
Mobile Internet Usage Exceeds Desktop Usage for the First Time
For the first time in the history of the Internet, mobile usage has exceeded desktop usage. That’s according to a press release from StatCounter.
In October of 2016, mobile devices accounted for 51.3% of all Internet traffic compared to 48.7% by desktop.
“This should be a wake-up call especially for small businesses, sole traders, and professionals to make sure that their websites are mobile friendly,” said Aodhan Cullen, CEO of StatCounter. “Many older websites are not.”
The press release also indicated that more mature regions, such as the U.S. and the U.K., use desktop computers as their primary choice for Internet use. In places like India, though, mobile devices account for as much as 75% of all Internet traffic.
Study: Possum Update Changed 64% of Local SERPs
According to a recent study by Bright Local, 64% of keywords in Local SERPs saw some type of change after the Possum update rolled out.
In case you’re unfamiliar, with Possum, it’s a Google update that was released at the beginning of September. It was named Possum by the SEO community because Google didn’t even announce the update.
Bright Local found the following changes after the update:
- 9% of businesses appeared in the Local Finder when they weren’t there previously
- 11% of businesses moved up in the SERPs by three or more positions
- 15% of businesses moved up in the SERPs by one or two positions
- 15% of businesses moved down in the SERPs by one or two positions
- 14% of businesses moved down in the SERPs by three or more positions
Add up all those percentages and you’ll see that Possum affected 64% of the local search results.
Google: We Don’t Give WordPress Any Preferential Treatment
Some people are under the impression that the Google search algorithm gives preferential treatment to WordPress over other content management systems. This week, Google’s John Mueller said that isn’t the case.
— John ☆.o(≧▽≦)o.☆ (@JohnMu) November 1, 2016
A user on Twitter asked Mueller the following question: “Is there any truth that the algorithm treats @WordPress differently than other CMS +ly or-ly? Odd question,but appreciate a position.”
Here’s how he answered: “No. WP is a great CMS & works well in search, but afaik our algos don’t explicitly check for any particular CMS.”
Another SEO myth bites the dust.
Google: Crawl Requests Don’t Hurt Rankings
If you were concerned that you’ll hurt your search rankings by asking Google to crawl your website from the Search Console, you can rest easy. According to John Mueller, the request doesn’t affect your rankings at all.
This week on Twitter, somebody asked Mueller the following question: “Will I lose Site Ranking if I ask Google to re-crawl my website using the Webmaster Tools?”
Mueller replied: “No. However, getting crawled more doesn’t positively change rankings either.”
Google: It’s Safe to Remove URLs From the Disavow File Once the Links Are Removed
If you’ve disavowed backlinks that no longer exist, it’s okay to go ahead and remove those links from your disavow file. That’s according to Google’s John Mueller.
This week on Twitter, somebody asked Mueller the following question: “Hey guys, so do you recommend keeping our disavow files in place at the moment?”
Mueller responded as follows: “If you’ve cleaned up the links & they’ve been reprocessed, you can remove those URLs from the disavow file.”
He went on to clarify, though, that webmasters should absolutely make sure those links are gone before removing them from the file.