In the past week, two unrelated updates from Google caught my eye. They’re both very relevant for webmasters, so if you control or help manage a site, read on!
“Safe Browsing” Added to Analytics
If you’re familiar with Google’s Webmaster Tools, you may know that it tells you if it believes your site has been hacked. (The two most commons results are that your site is infecting other users with malware OR your site is showing advertisements, often for pharmaceuticals.) Many websites have Google Analytics for the visitor statistics but don’t have Webmaster Tools. Because of that, Google will now show security warnings for sites in Analytics if it believes a site has been hacked.
I still recommend everyone use Webmaster Tools (particularly for its keywords reports), but now you don’t have to have it to receive security alerts.
Mobile-Friendliness Even More Important for Mobile Searchers
Google has been promoting mobile-friendly sites in search results for some time, but the amount sites benefit from correctly-implemented mobile-friendliness is increasing, specifically for people doing searches on their phones and tablets:
Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.
If you’re not sure whether your site is mobile optimized, Google has a tool to test what it thinks, the “Mobile Friendly Test.”
Once your site is mobile-friendly, you can then view a report of mobile-specific errors in Webmaster tools. Note to self: I just looked at the report and found a couple issues I should try to resolve!