Poll: Is Black Hat SEO Dying?

There is a pretty large new thread at Black Hat World where “black hats” are discussing if their methods are dying out now. Black hat SEO is the SEO practice of going against Google’s webmaster guidelines in order to manipulate the Google search results in their own favor. These practices can include link spam, hacking into sites, hurting competitors, and many other forms of spam listed in the webmaster guidelines.

The thread was started a couple days ago and now has dozens and dozens of replies. Some believe it is way harder to do black hat SEO these days then it was years ago. Some are saying Google’s algorithms are way smarter now. Some are saying that Google acts too fast to remove their sites and the effort is not worth it. While others are saying it still works well and although it may be harder, it is still very effective if you know what you are doing.

Here are some quotes from the thread:

If it is an algorithm, it can be gamed. That should sum it up.

It’s just evolving.

Blackhat works. Yes, still it is working well. The question is, how experience you do have and how well you could implement them.

It all depends on what niche you are working on and how much you got power to dominate. It’s a game

Do you do black hat SEO? Do you know people that do? Please take our anonymous poll below and have your friends take it. I’d love to share the results in the near future.

Is Black Hat SEO Dying?

Forum discussion at Black Hat World.

Source: SEroundTable

Google Docs On Removing AMP Content From Search

Google has added a new developer document page on removing AMP content from search. This was first spotted by Kenichi Suzuki, he posted it on Twitter.

I guess enough people asked, Google finally made a document telling webmasters the safe way to remove your AMP content.

There are three, maybe four, ways to remove your AMP content from showing in search. If you have a CMS provider, you can use their built in tools to remove it. If not, here are the three methods Google lists on how you can remove your AMP content from showing in search.

Method 1: Remove AMP from Google Search

Use this method to remove your AMP pages from Google Search without displaying
an error to the user.

  1. Remove the rel="amphtml" link from the canonical page in the source code.
  2. Configure your server to return either an HTTP 301 Moved Permanently or 302
    Found response for the removed AMP page.
  3. Configure a redirect from the removed AMP page to the canonical page.
  4. Verify the removal of your AMP page by searching for your content using
    Google Search. To verify removal of a large number of AMP pages, use the Accelerated Mobile
    Pages (AMP) report

Method 2: Remove AMP from Google Search and non-Google platforms

Use this method to remove your AMP page from Google Search and Google AMP Cache
while keeping permalinks to the removed pages.

  1. Remove the rel="amphtml" link from your canonical page’s HTML source.
  2. Add a ‘noindex’ header or
    noindex meta tag
    to prevent Googlebot from crawling your AMP pages.
  3. Submit an updated sitemap through the Google Search
    or using the Webmaster
    Tools API
    that excludes your AMP pages.
  4. Verify the removal of your AMP page by searching for your content using
    Google Search. To verify removal of a large number of AMP pages, use Search Console AMP
  5. Remove your AMP page so that it is no longer accessible.
  6. Configure your server to send an HTTP 404 Not Found for your removed AMP
    page to Google user-agents, such as Googlebot. This will ensure that Google AMP
    Cache does not serve stale content to other platforms.
  7. If you want to keep permalinks active, configure your server to send an HTTP
    301 Redirect for your removed AMP page to your canonical page.

Method 3: Stop serving AMP from Google Search as quickly as possible

  1. Delete the AMP page from your server.
  2. Ensure your server returns a HTTP 404 Not Found response for the deleted
  3. Remove the rel="amphtml" link from canonical page’s HTML source for each AMP
    page that you deleted in step 1.
  4. Ask
    Google to recrawl
    the canonical page.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 for each AMP page that you want to remove.

I am not suggesting you remove AMP. There are no signs of Google slowing down their AMP efforts and promotion.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Source: SEroundTable

New Google SOS Alerts In Search

Google announced a new search and maps feature that provides SOS alerts for locations and events that are in crisis. Google wrote “SOS alerts is a new set of features in Google Search and Maps to help you quickly understand whatâs going on and decide what to do during a crisis.”

Here is what it looks like:

Google will show you maps, top stories and authoritative local information such as “emergency phone numbers, websites, and translations of useful phrases.” Google may also send you a notification on your mobile device that directs you to this information if you are nearby this location.

Google gets the data from the Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration and many others.

Here is a GIF of it in action:

This also works in Google Maps.

Forum discussion at Twitter and Google+.

Source: SEroundTable

Bing Offers Historical Knowledge Box: Search "On This Day"

Bing quietly announced on Twitter that if you search for [on this day] in Bing you may just get an historical knowledge box showing you important and historical events that happened on this day in the past.

For example, today Bing shows these four events:

  • Esperanto introduced
  • FBI’s origins
  • Disney’s ‘Alice’ premieres’
  • The Hustle’ hits #1

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There is a calendar selector at the top to change the date and you can share this knowledge and search result on Facebook or Twitter.

Pretty cool search feature Bing, Google does not yet have it.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Source: SEroundTable

Google Tests Map View & List View Button In Local Search

Sergey Alakov who must be included in every single Google tests bucket found another Google test where they are showing a floating button in the local listings that let you toggle between a map view or list view.

Here is a GIF where you can see the blue circle button at the bottom right switched the interface from map view to list view:

This allows searchers to find local results by proximity to a point on the map visually or by data.

I believe this map toggle button is something used in Google Maps as well.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Source: SEroundTable

Michelle Robbins & Ginny Marvin: Search Engine Land's New Leads

With all my focus around the negative news (which I tend to focus on a lot) with Danny leaving and Matt McGee leaving Search Engine Land as well – the amazing news around the new leaders of Search Engine Land have somewhat got brushed under the rug.

The announcement was made a week or so ago that Danny Sullivan’s replacement is Michelle Robbins and Matt McGee’s replacement is Ginny Marvin. Both are personalities who have been in our space for a long long time and both are incredibly respected and looked up to in our industry.

Michelle Robbins

Michelle Robbins has been with Search Engine Land and the parent company, Third Door Media since its inception. Early on, she was working closely with Danny, myself and the other writers to help direct the content direction before moving into a full technology role at the company. Now she is back leading the direction of the content as the new SVP of content and marketing technology.

The cool part with Michelle is that she is so humble but at the same time, one of the most knowledge people in the space. She has the community connection with the industry, she has the extreme technical knowhow to not just understand technical SEO but also implement it and she is wicked smart. I’ve been working with her for years and years since we both joined Search Engine Land. I remember when she made a decision to leave our editorial communication channel, I was super bummed and when she came back, I was super excited.

Michelle Robbins has the vision and work ethic to help the properties grow and grow and remain the single authority in the space.

Here are some tweets from the public setting around her new role:

Plus there is a huge Facebook thread which is somewhat private around how excited the community is around her new role.

Ginny Marvin

Ginny joined Search Engine Land years ago and has become an authority on paid search. She has won recognition after recognition in the space as being a thought leader in paid search. She has been promoted to the Associate Editor position, taking over many of Matt McGees daily tasks.

In fact, today she was ranked a top PPC expert again this year!

Ginny Marvin does most of the SMX keynotes around paid search topics. She is incredibly well spoken, detailed, thought provoking and the awesome part is that she can get into the weeds of the ad platform settings like no other. Being able to practically master a platform, write about it and speak about it to both experts on novices is a true true skillset.

It is an honor to be working with such a talented team and I am super excited for the future of the properties and Search Engine Land.

Forum discussion above on Twitter.

Source: SEroundTable

OMG: Google Tests Auto-Playing Videos In Search Results

Yesterday, Jennifer Slegg posted on Twitter and her site that Google is auto-playing videos directly in the search results. I will be honest, I thought there was some extension or plugin to blame for it and that there was no way Google would even test auto-playing videos in the search results. I was wrong! Google, of all companies, was testing auto-playing videos in the core search results.

I wasn’t the only one who was skeptical, former Googler Pedro Dias was really upset that Google would test such a thing:

Why, well, Google Chrome is building ways to block such distractions and annoyances:

Google told Search Engine Land that this is indeed a confirmed but limited test saying “we are constantly experimenting with ways to improve the search experience for our users, but have no plans to announce at this time.”

Googler Satyajeet Salgar said on Twitter:

I think this would be a really bad idea, with the exception of someone going to Google and tying in [auto play game of thrones] or something with the qualifier to play a specific movie or video or song.

click for full size

Again, I know many Googlers who would think this would be not just bad for the user but incredibly hypocritical to their values.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Source: SEroundTable

Google Now Rolling Out Carousel Based Sitelinks

It seems like Google is now rolling out the carousel based sitelinks they have been testing for over a year now. Instead of showing basic text based links under the search results snippet, Google is now showing boxed-in sitelinks that you can scroll left to right through in a carousel-like interface.

Here is a screen shot I was able to generate myself:

Sergey Alakov tracks this stuff pretty closely and he said it is rolling out and posted so also on Twitter. Also based on all the people emailing me about this new feature being tested, I believe it is no longer a test but indeed rolling out.

I emailed Google for an official comment and hope to hear back soon.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Source: SEroundTable

RankRanger: 99% Of Google's Page One Results Have At Least One HTTPS Result

HTTPS in the Google search results continue to rise and rise. In fact, according to RankRanger’s Google’s feature tracker tool, 99% of the page one results they track have at least one or more HTTPS result within them. RankRanger tracks a ton of search results, and it is constantly measuring different changes in the search results.

They said on Twitter that “99% of all page one SERPs now contain at least 1 HTTPS result.”

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Mozcast’s feature tool also shows a nice incline and increase of HTTPS adoption in the Google search results over time. They put it at over 56.5% but they are measuring different things here.

click for full size

Either way, both are showing more and more Google search results with HTTPS included.

The Google HTTPS ranking boost has not been changed or adjusted in years and Google has no plans on changing that. So this is more of a thing around webmasters going HTTPS versus anything else.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Source: SEroundTable