Although the mobile-friendly update wasn’t the shakeup that most of us expected, I think that this was Google’s way of foreshadowing the shape of things to come. That being said, if you still haven’t made your site mobile-friendly, I would highly recommend making it a top priority.
In case you missed it, Google announced back in February that they plan to release a major algorithm update on Tuesday, April 21st. According to Google, the update will expand their use of mobile friendliness as a ranking signal and will be the most significant update they’ve ever released. To put things into perspective, Google Webmaster Trends analyst Zineb Ait Bahajji was quoted at SMX Munich, saying that the upcoming update would be a bigger upset than Panda and Penguin.
Back in June, I wrote a post discussing Google’s plans to “simplify” the way authorship was displayed. In case you missed it, Google announced that in addition to hiding circle counts, they would also be removing the coveted authorship photos from search results. This came as a big blow to many SEOs and site owners, since the authorship photos allegedly helped to increase click-through-rate.
Google has decided to remove the authorship photo, as well as the author’s Google+ circle count from search results. This is disappointing news for many SEOs, since many of them implemented authorship specifically for the benefit of the author photo appearing in search results, after several studies concluded that authorship markup can significantly increase click-through-rate (CTR). But according to John Mueller, CTR is impacted by removing the photo.
Lately there’s been a lot of speculation in the SEO community as to whether or not Google will continue to use back-links to rank websites and what metrics may soon replace links as a primary ranking factor. In Google’s latest webmaster video (below) Matt Cutts discusses how Google will value links going forward and how much of a role they will play in search engine rankings.