Google’s John Mueller said that when it comes to toxic links pointing to your site, you can ignore them.
If these links keep you up at night and it makes you feel better, you can disavow them, but you don’t have to.
Instead, John Mueller advises doing nothing and moving on.
In the tweet below, you can see a toxic link report provided by SEMrush. Indeed, many SEO tools set up analyses of links deemed toxic, but John Mueller advises not to pay attention to them.
He says, “Some tools make assumptions about Google that are not correct.”
Here’s the tweet:
You should just ignore that. Some tools make assumptions about Google that just aren’t correct.
– 🐄 John 🐄 (@JohnMu) January 6, 2022
John had stated in the past that Google does not have a concept of toxic domain and most sites do not have links considered toxic. If a link is not relevant to your site, Google will simply ignore it when calculating your ranking.
He goes on to say that if you really want to, you can disavow them via the disavow tool.
Did you buy links, and can’t clean them up? Disavow them. We don’t have a notion of “toxic” links.
– 🐄 John 🐄 (@JohnMu) January 6, 2022
In conclusion, do not necessarily trust the automatic reports issued by your SEO tools. A manual and nuanced approach will always be preferred in this field which is anything but an exact science.
Since its launch in 2018, Google Discover has had over 800 million monthly active users.
What is Google Discover?
First launched in 2016 as Google Feed, Google has since revamped this feature of the Google mobile app to its current version – Google Discover. With Discover, Google has turned the verb “to google” from active to passive by eliminating the search function altogether. With this format, Google selects items for each user based on their interests, recent searches and location.
Google Discover is available on Android, iPhone and iPad via the Google mobile app or in your smartphone browser at google.com
Google Discover adopts the same behavior as AI-driven social networks like TikTok, in which an algorithm personalizes a user’s feed based on their interests.
These personalized results are continually updated with new content suggestions based on:
Search activity and search history.
Information from contacts and applications.
Location settings and location history.
Recently published content.
How do you optimize your site for Google Discover?
As with any traffic-generating feature related to Google, SEOs around the world are naturally trying to understand it and, more importantly, optimize it. Even though the first iteration of Discover was released in 2016, there are still a lot of unknowns around what Google Discover means for SEO.
Optimizing for Google Discover is not completely left to chance, however!
The best way to optimize your content for Google Discover is to keep doing what you’ve always done. Most importantly, continue to produce content with the user in mind (not Google’s bots).
How does content appear in Google Discover?
To appear in the Google Discover feed, a piece of content must meet the following criteria:
Be indexed in Google.
It must not violate Google’s search feature policies.
Okay, you’re going to tell me that doesn’t get you very far… and you’re right.
Let’s try to go a little further.
How do you optimize content for Google Discover?
When you create SEO optimized content, you naturally optimize it for Google Discover because it largely follows traditional ranking criteria. However, there are several optimization practices that are especially important to appear in a user’s Google Discover feed.
Optimize your content for E-A-T
Need a memory refresher? E-A-T stands for:
E-A-T is the basis of a good SEO and is gradually replacing the traditional foundations: technical – content – popularity, which have become a standard to be respected beyond SEO.
Without these three building blocks, you won’t rank well. On the other hand, if you base your SEO strategy on the 3 E-A-T pillars, Google will reward your content by allowing it to appear in Google Discover.
Don’t build your titles for clickbait
Google will naturally reject anything that looks like clickbait or spam. A good page title should be honest and convey the content of the article without overpromising or exaggerating.
Include high quality images
The Google Discover service has abandoned the meta description in favor of images. (A picture is worth a thousand words… or 120-150 characters.) Since Google Discover relies heavily on visuals to describe the article’s subject matter, incorporating compelling images into your content is essential to showing up.
Optimize your pages for mobile use
We already know that optimizing for smartphones is a key factor in SEO and in digital marketing in general. The arrival of Google Discover puts more emphasis on this factor, as this feature is mobile-only. You can take Google’s mobile optimization test to see if your site is optimized. But honestly, in this day and age, if your site isn’t thought out for smartphones, there’s a big problem!
Produce content that sticks to the news
Google Discover aims to bring hot news content to users as quickly as possible. With that in mind, consider feeding the AI the latest news related to your industry. In fact, to appear in Google Discover, we recommend that you produce content that sticks to the news.
Take a look at Google Trends to see what’s trending in the news.
One study found that the majority of URLs featured in Google Discover only receive traffic for 3-4 days: most of that traffic occurs on the first or second day after they are published.
While Google Discover can potentially impact all industries, some have been impacted more than others on this feature.
Another study found that 46% of a sample of Google Discover URLs were news sites and 44% were e-commerce sites.
In contrast, pages in the following sectors accounted for only 1-2% of URLs appearing in Google Discover:
If your site falls into any of the above areas, the majority of your traffic will still come from Google search, but not necessarily from Discover. Keep in mind, however, that 1% is still 1 million clicks annually.
Almost 9 months after the launch of Google Page Experience on mobile, the deployment of the update on desktop has just been announced. As a reminder, the objective of this update is to integrate criteria related to the user experience, such as Core Web Vitals indicators for example, in the method of evaluating pages.
What are the criteria of Google Page Experience on desktop?
The ranking is based on the web experience signals on the page, which are already used on mobile. Google recommends certain performance thresholds to be reached for certain indicators, such as loading time for example. To evaluate the latter, the Core Web Vitals are measured:
CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift): an indicator that measures the visual stability of the user interface. According to Google, a good CLS score is between 0 and 0.1, and beyond 0.25, it is a bad score.
FID (First Input Delay): an indicator that measures interactivity. According to Google, a good FID score is below 100 milliseconds, and above 300 milliseconds, it is a bad score.
LCP (Largest Contentful Paint): indicator that measures the loading time. According to Google, a good LCP score corresponds to loading the largest visible element of a web page in less than 2.5 seconds. Beyond 4 seconds, it is a bad score.
Other criteria that are taken into account on desktop are HTTPS security and the absence of intrusive interstitials. Unlike the mobile version, usability is not one of the elements that count in the Page Experience update on desktop. The firm says that “when a site has separate URLs for desktop and mobile, with proper configuration, the signal is based on the URLs that users see on desktop.”
Google also says that they “help site owners analyze the performance of their desktop pages in terms of on-page experience through a Search Console report”.
What impact does this update have on SEO?
Announced since 2020, then deployed on mobile in June 2021, this update on desktop should not surprise web professionals. Indeed, many sites have already anticipated its arrival by optimizing their user experience.
Google Page Experience for desktop should not cause major disruptions in the ranking of sites. Moreover, the search engine specifies that quality content remains essential to benefit from a good referencing, all bet on the user experience will not be enough.
However, be careful, because with equivalent content, it is this point that will make the difference, so it is essential not to neglect it. It is urgent for SEO experts and site owners to take care of it now, if it is not already done.
Already fully active since August 2021 on mobile, the update has just started to be deployed on desktop, and should be fully available by the end of March 2022.