Although Google has made a lot of noise about its recent efforts to improve its mobile search capabilities, in particular via the introduction of a mobile-friendly label for sites appearing in relevant SERPs, it seems that the influence of desktop pages is still significant in this emerging arena.
This comes after Search Engine Roundtable identified a statement made by Google’s John Mueller, during a recent Webmaster Central hangout, essentially indicating that the speed with which desktop pages load is being used to determine the rank of the equivalent mobile site.
Mueller said that while mobile has risen to prominence in recent months, Google is still largely reliant on the ranking signals gleaned from the desktop version of a site to compile its results pages.
This means that while a site may receive a mobile-friendly label if it has been properly optimised, the rank of its pages on portable platforms will still be informed heavily by the relative rating of its desktop counterpart site.
Although this might mean that the quality of experience on mobile pages does not yet have a major impact on SEO, Mueller said that this is likely to change in the future, as Google attempts to integrate more mobile-specific signals into the way it ranks sites. This will eventually include things like page load speeds, even if for the time being, they seem to be based solely on desktop pages.
This week also saw more SEO news emerge as a result of Google’s activities with a major link network based in Poland being subjected to punitive action by the search giant.
A tweet from Google’s Polish Webmaster spokesperson, Karolina Kruszynska, confirmed that the rumours of the manual actions that sprung up over the last few days were, indeed, based in fact.
Few should be surprised that yet another link network has been hit hard, because Google has been seeking to take down services specifically designed to subvert its ranking signals and artificially raise the profile of sites in its SERPs, whether or not they deserve such exposure. Back in the summer, it even mentioned Poland as being a part of Europe that was going to receive attention as a result of the link networks which are hosted within its borders, according to Web Pro News.
For webmasters, the focus now will no doubt be on optimising sites to cope with the rising amount of trafficking being generated by mobile searches. They will also need to ensure that any link strategies that are being deployed are completely above board and not reliant on linking networks that have now become redundant as a result of Google’s algorithms and manual actions.
It is not just Eastern European countries that are under scrutiny from Google as a result of linking networks, with other such organisations in France and Germany also hit in the past few months. The integrity of the continent’s search market is reliant on sites using legitimate SEO tactics to win a high rank and court new visitors.