Pure SEO’s This Week In Search series takes a look at the top SEO and SEM news stories from the week.
This week Facebook cracked down on engagement baiting, and Google made announcements and updates.
Facebook Says No to Engagement Baiting
Facebook will be stricter with its demotions to posts and pages that engage in spam-like posts that actively solicit Facebook users to interact with a post in a certain way, such as liking it, posting a specific word, or sharing with friends. This kind of practice is considered a type of spam, designed to make a post or page rank higher in Facebook users’ news feeds.
Facebook says that the purpose of the algorithmic demotions is “to promote more meaningful and authentic conversations on Facebook.” The demotions will happen to both pages and posts that engage in this practice. Ordinary Facebook users won’t be targeted, but if you are an admin for a page, check out the Newsfeed Guidelines to avoid making moves that could get you demoted.
To find out more about the types of posts that will be demoted, what engagement bait entails, and how Facebook will demote them, read the full report here.
Google Issues Duplicate Content Warning
John Mueller, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, issued a warning through Twitter about duplicate content he’s been noticing. He also clarified what qualifies as duplicate content:
“I noticed there was some confusion around trailing slashes on URLs, so I hope this helps. tl;dr: slash on root/hostname=doesn’t matter; slash elsewhere= does matter (they’re different URLs)”
It doesn’t matter if there is a forward slash at the end of your domain name, as having it and not having it equal the same thing. This means that some websites can accidentally have the home page linked throughout their site as www.example.com/ and www.example.com and Google won’t see it as a duplicate content issue.
However, file names with and without a forward slash can be seen as duplicate content, meaning if a web page can be reached by example.com/coffee and example.com/coffee/, you have a duplicate content issue. If the real URL is /coffee/ then the server should be redirecting /coffee to /coffee/.
To learn more about this matter, you can view the original article here.
Google AdWords Ads to Stop Showing Review Extensions in the New Year
As of mid-January 2018, Google AdWords will stop showing review extensions with ads. All review extensions, along with their performance data, will be deleted from AdWords accounts in early February, so advertisers need to download their ad extension data before February if they want to save it.
AdWords ad extension data can be downloaded by going to the Ads & extensions page and clicking on Extensions. In the future, in order to show additional information with AdWords ads, Google recommends using sitelinks, callouts, and structured snippets extensions.
Google Tests ‘More Results’ Mobile Search Interface and New Search Refinement Buttons
Google is testing a new mobile search interface and new search refinement button. The new interface shows fewer search results on the mobile SERP, and there is an option to click on a button labeled ‘more results’. Google is also testing showing buttons to refine search results directly in the search results snippets.
A Google spokesperson said “We constantly experiment with new search formats and experiences to deliver the best experience for our users.” Currently this is just a test and it isn’t certain if or when Google will release this to a wider set of test users or to everyone.
Google Launches New Rich Results Testing Tool
Google has launched a new version of a structured data testing tool for rich results. They will also be calling rich snippets, rich cards or enriched results ‘Rich results’ from here on out, grouping them all together. Google said the new testing tool “focuses on the structured data types that are eligible to be shown as rich results.”
This new version enables users to test data sources on pages, including the recommended JSON-LD, Microdata, or RDFa. Google said this new version is a “more accurate reflection of the page’s appearance on Search and includes improved handling for Structured Data found on dynamically loaded content.”
This tool works on desktop and mobile. It currently only supports tests for Recipes, Jobs, Movies and Courses. Google said it will be adding support for other rich results over time.