This week: Sitemaps don’t affect rich snippets, a couple of famous companies get back to the basics, and WordPress 4.6 includes a broken link checker.
Here’s what happened this week in SEO.
WordPress 4.6 Includes a Broken Link Checker
WordPress 4.6 debuted recently. It includes a broken link checker.
You can install the new version from the WordPress dashboard. Truth be told, though, your WordPress software might have already installed it for you automatically. You should have received an email notice to that effect.
Once you have the new version, your WYSIWYG editor will highlight broken links just as it highlights typos.
As of now, though, the system won’t run a report to show you all the backlinks that are broken in previous posts and pages. For that, you’ll need something like Screaming Frog.
Moz and Raven Tools Press the Reset Button
Or at least they did.
Now, they’ve altered their strategies to focus exclusively on SEO.
Earlier this week, Moz announced that it was laying off 28% of its workforce and dumping the Moz Content and Followerwonk tools.
“[A]fter a lot of analysis and soul searching, we decided to radically simplify our strategy to re-focus on what we love and what our customers value from us: search,” said Moz CEO Sarah Bird.
She also called the change in Moz strategy “gut-wrenching in part.”
Similarly, Raven Tools announced a re-emphasis on Search. The company is releasing a completely stand-alone version of its famous Site Auditor – a tool that spiders websites and identifies potential SEO pitfalls.
Raven Tools co-founder and president Jon Henshaw admitted to Marketing Land that that company got overeager by trying to “make a suite that does everything.”
“[W]e tried to go outside our niche of SEO, and now we’re going back to our roots,” he said.
Google Shows AMP Errors to Site Owners in Search Results
Here’s the latest in the never-ending saga entitled “Google Really Wants You to Adopt AMP.”
Now, the Big G will show you AMP errors in search results – but only for sites that you own.
Not only that, but Google will also provide you with a link that shows you how to fix the error.
The search giant already offers a warning to site owners if their sites aren’t mobile-friendly. This new warning is an extension of that feature.
It’s also yet another sign that you should implement AMP on your websites.
Google Now Throttles Keyword Planner Data for Low-Spending AdWords Accounts
Once upon a time, SEOs loved them some Keyword Planner. They would use it to find low competition keywords that received a thousand or more hits per month.
Now, they might have to look for another tool.
That’s because Keyword Planner is an AdWords feature. It’s meant to be used by people who are running ads that ultimately generate revenue for Google.
But a lot of SEOs are using it without spending one red cent on an AdWords ad. Google doesn’t like that.
Now, the company is throttling Keyword Planner data for cheapskates who are trying to use the tool to find words and phrases that are easy to rank organically.
All good things must come to an end.
Google Tests “People Also Ask” Carousel on Desktop Search Results
About a month ago, Google started testing a “People Also Ask” feature in mobile search results. Now, it looks like Google is testing that feature on desktop search results as well.
The carousel appears where the old “People Also Ask” questions appeared in list format. Google is probably trying to gauge which option is more user-friendly.
Carousels seem to be better suited to mobile devices than desktop platforms. It’s not likely the feature will become permanent.
Google Will Support Schema.org v3.1
Confirmed: Google will support the latest version (3.1) of schema.org.
Last week during a Google+ hangout, John Mueller was asked the following question: “When do you plan to incorporate new schemas from Schema.org v.3.1 to your Structured Data Testing Tool?”
Here’s how he replied: “I don’t know if there’s any official timeline on that but I have seen the team talk about that and I imagine they’re getting ready to implement that as well.”
Google: Broken Sitemaps Won’t Affect Rich Snippets
At that same Google+ hangout from last Friday, somebody mentioned that rich snippets weren’t showing up for his website and thought that maybe a broken XML sitemap was to blame.
Not so, replied Mr. Mueller.
“Obviously everyone wants to have great sitemaps and they’re definitely useful for us for crawling new and updated content,” he said. “But if we’re already crawling and indexing your content and just not showing it the way that you’d like then the sitemap file isn’t going to be the one that’s the reason for it.”