This week: Tales of yet another update, Google really wants you to use AMP, and another SEO myth gets busted.
Here’s what happened this week in SEO.
Google Really Wants You to Use AMP Pages
Don’t be surprised if you log on to the Google Search Console today and see the following message: “Google has detected that your site has many pages that may benefit from being served as AMP pages. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are HTML pages that are optimized to load fast on mobile devices. Learn more about AMP benefits in the resources below. Valid AMP pages on your site will be eligible to be shown in search results and receive special badging in search results.”
That’s Google’s friendly way of encouraging you to wire up your site with AMP.
Although AMP primarily benefits news sites, there are reports that webmasters who run non-news sites are also seeing the notice.
AMP Pages Now Show in Google’s Organic Search Results
Speaking of AMP, it will soon be the case that AMP results will no longer be confined to the top-level carousel in mobile search results.
This week, Google unveiled a preview of AMP support within the “normal” organic search results. In other words, you’ll see AMP results displayed as blue links right alongside non-AMP links.
You’ll still be able to tell the difference between AMP pages and non-AMP pages, though. That’s because the AMP pages will display the familiar lightning bolt icon.
Between this story and the previous one, it’s clear that Google is very serious about AMP. You should be, too.
Report: Almost 60% of Searches Are Now From Mobile Devices
A recent report from Hitwise says that 58% of all searches are conducted on mobile devices.
The study, entitled “Mobile Search: Topics and Themes” analyzed “hundreds of millions of online search queries” between April 10 and May 7 of this year.
The category with the highest percentage of mobile searches was unsurprisingly “Food & Beverage” at 72%. Health, Sports, and News followed closely behind.
A surprising take-away from the report is that people tended to search for longer terms on a mobile device versus a desktop or laptop platform. PC query strings averaged 13.8 characters whereas mobile query string averaged 15.5 characters.
Ye Olde “Maybe There Was Another Algorithm Update” Story
Guess what? There might have been another Google algorithm update this week.
That will surprise exactly nobody who reads this space regularly, because almost every week there are reports of a possible update.
This time, though, there’s a plot twist. This week’s update might have undone last week’s update.
Here’s what a couple of the speculators are saying online:
“More substantial losses on generic high volume search terms. I keep having legacy indexation issues flag in WMT, so when i investigate they are usually already resolved. For the first time in my 9 year career I’m at a complete loss. Seems completely random.”
“It seems to me that whatever happened over the weekend / last week has now rolled back. My positions were quite mixed up with some gains and some losses but traffic up overall. And sales were great. I am now seeing the results I have had for months again. It’s too soon to tell is sales / conversions are on or off yet. Is anyone else seeing that?”
As per usual, Google has no comment.
Yes, PageRank Still Matters
As you probably know, Google officially turned off toolbar PageRank last March. But that doesn’t mean that Google has abandoned its use of PageRank internally.
Someone on Twitter pinged Gary Illyes and asked a very simple question: “pagerank still matters?”
Illyes offered a very simple answer: “yes.”
So just because you can’t see it in a toolbar, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a valuable metric used internally by the Big G.
This week, Google confirmed that there’s no special bot for JS.
— John Mueller (@JohnMu) August 4, 2016
In spite of his “doubt your answer” rudeness, he got an answer, anyway. John Mueller replied as follows: “No special UAs, but rendering isn’t always immediate on crawl, maybe that’s what you’re seeing?”
So another SEO myth can be put to rest.