This week: It’s a best-practice to keep redirects indefinitely, most SEOs aren’t implementing AMP, and comments really do matter.
Here’s what happened this week in SEO.
Survey: Most SEOs Are Aware of AMP, Few Are Implementing It
If you use your mobile device to perform a search about a news subject (for example, “Donald Trump” or “Hillary Clinton”), you’ll likely see a carousel of links to news articles about the search term. At the bottom of each link, you’ll see the acronym “AMP”.
That stands for “accelerated mobile pages.” It’s a Google-produced protocol that allows websites to be mobile-friendly beyond the usual responsive design patterns.
A new survey released by SEO PowerSuite indicates that the vast majority of SEO professionals know about AMP, but few of them are using it.
According to the survey, 75% of SEOs are “aware” of AMP. That is, they’ve done a lot of research, they’ve done some research, or they’re aware of it in passing.
However, only 23% of those surveyed are currently implementing AMP. Twenty-nine percent have plans to implement it in the next six months.
SEOs that haven’t yet implemented AMP might give their clients a competitive advantage if they get the ball rolling sooner rather than later.
In-Depth Articles Are Back
In 2013, Google added in-depth articles to the search results. A couple of weeks ago, they disappeared.
Now, just as inexplicably, they’re back.
Google is quiet about why the in-depth articles dropped off the search results for more than two weeks. That’s led some to believe that there was a bug.
Google Is Testing a Trimmed Local Box
Local searches on a mobile device sometimes bring up a local box. That’s an expanded search result of a company in the area. The box usually contains relevant information about the business, such as its hours, location, and address. It also includes photos, a map, and buttons so the user can call the business, visit its website, or get directions.
Now, Google is toying with a leaner version of the local box, presumably for mobile devices that aren’t using a WiFi connection. That trimmed-down version of the box omits the map, photos, and a button that allows the user to expand the box for more information.
When it comes to determining page rank, Google does take into account the comments on a page.
In a nutshell, a site is more likely to rank well if it has a “thriving community.”
Here’s what Google’s Gary Illyes tweeted this week: “In general if we see that there’s a healthy, thriving community on a site, that can help a lot.”
He went on to clarify, though, that comments aren’t as important as content itself, tweeting: “Say, there’s good content, 5 points, great links from great pages, 2 points, thriving community, 1pt.”
So content is five times as important as comments.
Google: Bandwidth Isn’t a Ranking Signal (but Maybe It Is)
Google uses countless criteria (called “ranking signals”) to determine where a page should appear in the SERPs. But bandwidth might not be one of those signals.
Some SEOs have fretted over the notion that people on mobile devices with poor connections might not see the same search results as those with great connections. Google addressed those fears this week.
“Google has said mobile friendliness and site speed are important. I don’t think we’ve said anything explicit about bandwidth,” Paul Haahr tweeted.
Haahr later followed that up by saying he was neither confirming nor denying that Google uses bandwidth as a ranking signal.
So apparently it’s still an outstanding question.
Google Is Testing Expanded Text Ads
Frustrated because AdWords ads have strict limitations on character count? Google is testing a remedy for that.
New expanded text ads allow headlines to wrap to a second line of text and enable descriptions with up to 80 characters
Google offered the following comment on the new ad format: “We regularly test different ad formats with the goal of providing useful information to users and driving even better results for advertisers. Beyond that, we don’t have anything to announce at this time.”
Google: Best Practice to Keep Redirects Indefinitely
Last year, Google announced that it was a good idea to keep redirects alive for about a year. Now, the search giant is revising and extending its remarks.
Gary Illyes took to Twitter this week to admit that redirects can be removed “if a page is already indexed.”
However, he added that it’s a “best practice is to keep the redirects indefinitely, but that’s not always feasible.”
In cases where it’s not feasible, Illyes said that “removing the redirects after signals were passed (i.e. new page indexed and serves for old url) is fine.”
Search Engine Roundtable summarizes what Illyes said as follows:
Google will pass the signals of the links pointing to the redirects when they index it. Once they index it, you should be good. But any new links that Google discovers after the redirect is removed, those won’t get any credit.