Category Archives: SEO tools

Google Check of Whether a Website is Mobile Friendly

Google provides a tool to show what if they think a web site is “mobile friendly.” Google states that they will penalize sites in their search rankings if Google doesn’t believe they are mobile friendly. So obviously this matters if you care about your ranking in Google.

If the site passes Google’s test you will get a response similar to ours:

screen shot of site being deemed mobile-friendly by Google

Now Google’s automated tool isn’t so great at providing good usability advice (such as if it really is a good design for mobile users) but it does tell you if Google is going to punish the site or not. If Google thinks the site fails they will provide some feedback, such as:

  • Text too small to read
  • Links too close together
  • Mobile viewport not set

Then you can decide if those really are issues and if you want to fix them. Due to Google’s dominate market position it may be you feel forced to adjust a site (even if it means degrading real usability) in order to make Google happy so your site isn’t punished by Google in search rankings. Or you can decide that you are going to do what is right for users regardless of what Google will do to the site.

Note if you don’t have javascript enabled Google’s tool just fails. I can’t imagine why this tool should require javascript but certainly it is pitifully lame to not provide a clear indication that they created a site that doesn’t work unless javascript is enabled instead of just giving a completely useless message “There was a problem with the request. Please try again later.” as they do now. Google should punish sites that due such lame things in my opinion. I also get that useless message about 20% of the time when I have tried validating a site (but if javascript is enable just reloading makes it work).

The tool is useful in pointing out potential issues to improve for mobile users. I do wish however, Google wasn’t so autocratic about its opinions acting as though failing their tests is equal to failure mobile users. It isn’t, it is a decent indication there may be a problem but it is not proof there is a problem.

Related: Google Still Providing Users Bad Search Results: Basing Results Not of Value to Users but How Completely Sites Do What Google Tells Them To DoDon’t Use Short URL Services (bit.ly etc.)Good Blogging Practices

Big Updates to Moz Index Results in Big Moves in Domain Authority and Page Authority Results

Moz posted a big update to their index this week that had a big impact on Moz Page Authority and Domain Authority. Why does it matter?

Really it doesn’t matter, but since Google is so secretive the Moz data gives us some insight into what Google (and other search engines are likely seeing). The changes to Moz have no direct effect on search results or traffic. What Moz believes (and it makes sense they are right) is that the updates better match what Google (and the others) see.

Basically Moz found some weaknesses in their prior data and methods and have tried to improve them, as they explained here. Many sites are noticing lowing Page Authority and Domain Authority numbers for their site (as I am on mine). I am not clear yet, but it seems possible, their was a general inflation in the numbers and so say the average number might have declined by 20% (this is just a made up number for illustration purposes). If that were true what really matters is if you declined less (that would be good) or more (that would be bad) than 20%.

And of course, there will be lots of variation in the changes in scores. These scores move around a fair amount (though Domain Authority scores do seem fairly stable over time) even when no big changes are happening at Moz.

Comments on the fluctuations of DA and PA scores from Rand Fisken- DA/PA Fluctuations: How to Interpret, Apply, & Understand These ML-Based Scores

because Mozscape indices take 3-4 weeks to process, the data collected in an index is between ~21-90 days old.

Since Domain and Page Authority are on a 100-page scale, the very top of that represents the most link-rich sites and pages, and nearly every index, it’s harder and harder to get these high scores and sites, on average, that aren’t growing their link profiles substantively will see PA/DA drops.

PA/DA are created using a machine-learning algorithm whose training set is search results in Google. Over time, as Google gets pickier about which types of links it counts, and as Mozscape picks up on those changes, PA/DA scores will change to reflect it.

My strongest suggestion if you ever have the concern/question “Why did my PA/DA drop?!” is to always compare against a set of competing sites/pages. If most of your competitors fell as well, it’s more likely related to relative scaling or crawl biasing issues, not to anything you’ve done

Rand provides lots of good insight here. Moz is generally followed closely by people that pay a great deal of attention to SEO. I am not really in that camp, I pay some attention just because I find it interesting. I don’t spend time trying to figure out how to increase SEO through various gimmicks.

I don’t pay much attention to ratings for other sites, based on his suggestion I might start tracking a few similar sites to see how their scores vary over time as a way of understanding my scores better. All I really did before was look at other sites authority scores and comparing when I was bored (maybe 2 or 3 times a year) but didn’t keep track of any of them.

I find Moz interesting because it gives us open access to interesting data. There are many other things that impact search results but the authority pages and sites have is an interesting thing to watch (and does have a real impact on search results – even if it is much less than people might suspect).

Earlier this year I wrote about Decreases in MozRank and Page Authority for some of my sites and I posted an update where most of the decreases had disappeared (the authority numbers had returned to the same or close to what they were before the decline). Hopefully that will happen for my sites this time too, but we will have to wait and see.

Related: Most Important Search Engine Ranking FactorsFind MozRank, Moz PageAuthority, Google PageRank and Alexa Results NowKeeping Up with SEO Changes

High MozRank DoFollow Blogs

Due to spam comments many sites add the nofollow tag to comments. For many years the nofollow tag has been the default in WordPress (you have to use a plugin to revert back to the original style where comment author links were not flagged as untrusted). With the nofollow tag Google (and Moz) do not give the link value.

Here is a list of blogs that moderate their comments and provide dofollow links giving those that contribute worthwhile comments the benefit of being considered real links by Google (and others). I will continue to keep this list updated.

Order of the list is based on MozRank with a penalty for using popups to interfere with visitors using the site. See the very bottom of this post for blogs that supposedly have dofollow comments but I have been unable to comment and my messages to them have not been answered.

Many of the best blogs that provide dofollow links require the use of your real name, a link to your home page or a blog that you obviously write, and comments that are valuable (not just meaningless drivel). They may also require numerous (normally between 3 to 10) approved comments before links become dofollow.

Unfortunately many people spam these blogs in an attempt to get dofollow links. That results in many of the blogs turning off dofollow links. Those that stay dollow are usually impatient with spamming low quality comments and remove poor quality links that are not personal blogs. If you comment, post valuable comments if you expect to get a dollow link, otherwise you are just contributing to the decline of blogs that provide dofollow links.

Why don’t I list 50 or 100 more that are nofollow, haven’t been used in years and where the domain was deleted? That doesn’t make sense to me. But, maybe I am crazy (so I explain my craziness here), since most other listings do that.

If you know of dofollow blogs with at least a 1 year track record and that has compelling posts (if it isn’t of high quality it will likely die so it isn’t worth adding just to have to remove it later) add a comment with the information on the blog.

Related: Ignoring Direct Social Web Signals in Search ResultsGoogle and Links (2012)Using Twitter Data to Improve Search Results

* CommentLuvDF – they dofollow blog-post-title-link (usually only after between 3 to 10 approved comments) but not author link

These blogs don’t work for me (or often don’t work but work sometimes). Either:

  • they don’t post my comments and don’t reply to my contact messages about why (if they decided to block them because they didn’t value the comment that would be fine, it is their blog – but most likely they have a spam filter that just trashes my comments) but do have some dofollow comments.
  • they removed links to author’s blog (and comment luv post link) from comments that were made. It is their right to do so. But the links removed were links to personal blogs and if they are removing those links they don’t really fit in a list of dofollow blogs.
  • or they delete (probably too aggressive spam filter but maybe manual action, there is no way to know) many comments without notice to the comment author.
  • 5.7 Adrienne Smith (MPA 49, MSS 2, CommentLuvDF)
  • 5.3 Sylvia Nenuccio (MPA 35, MSS 0, CommentLuvDF)
  • 5.2 Sherman Smith’s Blog (MPA 43, MSS 2, CommentLuvDF, popup)
  • 5.4 Power Affiliate Club (MPA 33, MSS 2, CommentLuvDF, popup)
  • Decreases in MozRank and Page Authority

    I have noticed a decrease in MozRank and to a much lessor extent Moz Page Authority on many of my sites very recently. I don’t know if it is some major MozRank update (I don’t see other posts about it, so probably not) or is just related to my sites. I don’t follow that closely but on the sites I visit a lot I noticed a decrease today (which doesn’t necessarily mean it happened today).

    My sites that I visit a lot are blogs and are interrelated so I could imagine a change could cascade through all of them.

    They are still doing well so I am not worried but it is always nicer to see increases than decreases.

    Looking at a couple it seems like MozRank went down most, and Moz PA went down slightly if at all. Examples (I am trying to remember the previous rankings so I might be off by a bit – they don’t normally change much so I haven’t bothered tracking more than about twice a year)

    Format:
    [my memory of recent values to today (and August 2014 values)

    site 1 from 64 and 6.3 to 64 and 5.6 (August 2014 values: 52 and 6.0)
    site 2 from 60 and 6.2 to 58 and 5.3 (59 and 6.0)
    site 3 from 63 and 6.2 to 59 and 5.2 (48 and 6.1)
    site 4 from 58 and 6.1 to 55 and 5.2 (55 and 6.1)
    site 5 from 51 and 5.6 to 50 and 5.0 (39 and 5.8)
    site 6 from 51 and 5.5 to 47 and 5.0 (38 and 5.5)
    site 7 I can’t remember to 37 and 4.9 (37 and 5.5)
    site 8 I can’t remember to 33 and 4.9 (34 and 5.7)
    site 9 from 38 and 4.9 to 36 and 4.3 (new)

    As you can see many sites increased from August (gradually over the months) and then gave some of those gains back in the last day or two (or decreased to below August 2014, especially for MozRank). On average since August, 2014 PA increase then gave a bit of the increase back but was higher than August, 2014 while MozRank increased more then gave even more than the gain back to end up lower than August, 2014.

    This site isn’t very connected to the others. This blog was 31 Moz Page Authority and 5.0 MozRank in August 2014, today it is MozPA 31 and 4.4 MozRank. The main Multi-pagerank site had MozPA of 41 and MozRank of 4.9 in August, 2014. Now the main site is 40 and 4.9. I think maybe these values didn’t change today but I can’t really remember. For the other sites they pretty much stayed in the same area since August, 2014.

    New Site Spam Flags Score from Moz

    Moz continues to provide interesting tools and site measures. I only follow things as I find it interesting (not as a profession). I am not a SEO person and paying $100 a month (or much more) they charge for their tools isn’t worth it for my curiosity. But they make some things available for free and provide some interesting blog posts on what they find and about their tools.

    This new Spam Score analysis by Moz seems very interesting: Spam Score: Moz’s New Metric to Measure Penalization Risk. The idea is sensible, they are trying to determine the spam riskiness of a site based on the correlations they can draw from their web crawl data and Google search results. Moz can then see where sites are not ranking well when many factors would indicate they should rank and then draw a conclusion that Google has penalized certain sites (and not given sites with links from those sites credit or worse penalized sites with links from those sites).

    This seems like a really good idea. The found 17 flags that are correlated with spam hits to the site. And when sites trip more and more of those flags the likelihood of Google classifying those sites as spam rise. When a site has 0 spam flags Moz calculates a .5% chance of the site showing up in Google search results (or not showing more likely) in a way that indicates Google sees the site as spam. 4 spam flags equals a 7.5% chance of being a “spam site.” A site with 6 spam flags has at 16% chance of being spam, 7 flags means a 31% chance, 8 is a 57% chance, 9 a 72% chance and 14 a 100% chance.

    A screen shot of Moz's spam flags report

    Screen shot of Moz’s Spam Flag report.

    In their post Moz says that tripped spam flags are not meant to be an indication of something that needs to be fixed (after all the flags are just correlation, not causation – “fixing them” may do nothing for search results). That may be true but if sites are showing a 5-yellow for spaminess it is highly likely lots of people are going to want to reduce this scary looking feedback about their site.

    It may well be changing to avoid the flag by adding twitter buttons and making whatever tweaks to get rid of several more flags is what is likely to happen.
    My guess is a spaminess rating that wasn’t just x/17 but a factor of how many of 17 tripped plus an understanding of how important that was (I would imagine including which interactions of spam flag were more critical…).

    I would be surprised if there isn’t a big difference in a certain 3 flags being tripped versus 3 other flags being tripped (plus say 4 other random flags). That is to say, even with Moz’s limited ability to know what Google is directly reacting to versus correlations you can observe. I would imagine this could big improved into a 100 point (or whatever) system that gave a much more valuable spam site insight than just treating each flag as equally important (and ignoring especially deadly interactions between flags – which flags when they are tripped together cause the likely spam hit to be seen in google results.

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