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sysadmin

#NoHacked: How to avoid being the target of hackers

Google Webmaster Central Blog - Mon, 2015-07-27 14:49
If you publish anything online, one of your top priorities should be security. Getting hacked can negatively affect your online reputation and result in loss of critical and private data. Over the past year Google has noticed a 180% increase in the number of sites getting hacked. While we are working hard to combat this hacked trend, there are steps you can take to protect your content on the web.
Today, we’ll be continuing our #NoHacked campaign. We’ll be focusing on how to protect your site from hacking and give you better insight into how some of these hacking campaigns work. You can follow along with #NoHacked on Twitter and Google+. We’ll also be wrapping up with a Google Hangout focused on security where you can ask our security experts questions.

We’re kicking off the campaign with some basic tips on how to keep your site safe on the web.

1. Strengthen your account securityCreating a password that’s difficult to guess or crack is essential to protecting your site. For example, your password might contain a mixture of letters, numbers, symbols, or be a passphrase. Password length is important. The longer your password, the harder it will be to guess. There are many resources on the web that can test how strong your password is. Testing a similar password to yours (never enter your actual password on other sites) can give you an idea of how strong your password is.

Also, it’s important to avoid reusing passwords across services. Attackers often try known username and password combinations obtained from leaked password lists or hacked services to compromise as many accounts as possible.

You should also turn on 2-Factor Authentication for accounts that offer this service. This can greatly increase your account’s security and protect you from a variety of account attacks. We’ll be talking more about the benefits of 2-Factor Authentication in two weeks.

2. Keep your site’s software updatedOne of the most common ways for a hacker to compromise your site is through insecure software on your site. Be sure to periodically check your site for any outdated software, especially updates that patch security holes. If you use a web server like Apache, nginx or commercial web server software, make sure you keep your web server software patched. If you use a Content Management System (CMS) or any plug-ins or add-ons on your site, make sure to keep these tools updated with new releases. Also, sign up to the security announcement lists for your web server software and your CMS if you use one. Consider completely removing any add-ons or software that you don't need on your website -- aside from creating possible risks, they also might slow down the performance of your site.

3. Research how your hosting provider handles security issuesYour hosting provider’s policy for security and cleaning up hacked sites is in an important factor to consider when choosing a hosting provider. If you use a hosting provider, contact them to see if they offer on-demand support to clean up site-specific problems. You can also check online reviews to see if they have a track record of helping users with compromised sites clean up their hacked content.
If you control your own server or use Virtual Private Server (VPS) services, make sure that you’re prepared to handle any security issues that might arise. Server administration is very complex, and one of the core tasks of a server administrator is making sure your web server and content management software is patched and up to date. If you don't have a compelling reason to do your own server administration, you might find it well worth your while to see if your hosting provider offers a managed services option.

4. Use Google tools to stay informed of potential hacked content on your siteIt’s important to have tools that can help you proactively monitor your site.The sooner you can find out about a compromise, the sooner you can work on fixing your site.

We recommend you sign up for Search Console if you haven’t already. Search Console is Google’s way of communicating with you about issues on your site including if we have detected hacked content. You can also set up Google Alerts on your site to notify you if there are any suspicious results for your site. For example, if you run a site selling pet accessories called www.example.com, you can set up an alert for [site:example.com cheap software] to alert you if any hacked content about cheap software suddenly starts appearing on your site. You can set up multiple alerts for your site for different spammy terms. If you’re unsure what spammy terms to use, you can use Google to search for common spammy terms.

We hope these tips will keep your site safe on the web. Be sure to follow our social campaigns and share any tips or tricks you might have about staying safe on the web with the #NoHacked hashtag.

If you have any additional questions, you can post in the Webmaster Help Forums where a community of webmasters can help answer your questions. You can also join our Hangout on Air about Security on August 26.

Posted by: Eric Kuan, Webmaster Relations Specialist and Yuan Niu, Webspam Analyst
Categories: sysadmin

Update on the Autocomplete API

Google Webmaster Central Blog - Fri, 2015-07-24 10:30
Google Search provides an autocomplete service that attempts to predict a query before a user finishes typing. For years, a number of developers have integrated the results of autocomplete within their own services using a non-official, non-published API that also had no restrictions on it. Developers who discovered the autocomplete API were then able to incorporate autocomplete services, independent of Google Search.

There have been multiple times in which the developer community’s reverse-engineering of a Google service via an unpublished API has led to great things. The Google Maps API, for example, became a formal supported API months after seeing what creative engineers could do combining map data with other data sources. We currently support more than 80 APIs that developers can use to integrate Google services and data into their applications.

However, there are some times when using an unsupported, unpublished API also carries the risk that the API will stop being be available. This is one of those situations.

We built autocomplete as a complement to Search, and never intended that it would exist disconnected from the purpose of anticipating user search queries. Over time we’ve realized that while we can conceive of uses for an autocomplete data feed outside of search results that may be valuable, overall the content of our automatic completions are optimized and intended to be used in conjunction with web search results, and outside of the context of a web search don’t provide a meaningful user benefit.

In the interest of maintaining the integrity of autocomplete as part of Search, we will be restricting unauthorized access to the unpublished autocomplete API as of August 10th, 2015. We want to ensure that users experience autocomplete as it was designed to be used -- as a service closely tied to Search. We believe this provides the best user experience for both services.

For publishers and developers who still want to use the autocomplete service for their site, we have an alternative. Google Custom Search Engine allows sites to maintain autocomplete functionality in connection with Search functionality. Any partner already using Google CSE will be unaffected by this change. For others, if you want autocomplete functionality after August 10th, 2015, please see our CSE sign-up page.


Posted by Peter Chiu on behalf of the Autocomplete team
Categories: sysadmin

Google+: A case study on App Download Interstitials

Google Webmaster Central Blog - Thu, 2015-07-23 10:10
Many mobile sites use promotional app interstitials to encourage users to download their native mobile apps. For some apps, native can provide richer user experiences, and use features of the device that are currently not easy to access on a browser. Because of this, many app owners believe that they should encourage users to install the native version of their online property or service. It’s not clear how aggressively to promote the apps, and a full page interstitial can interrupt the user from reaching their desired content.

On Google+ mobile web, we decided to take a closer look at our own use of interstitials. Internal user experience studies identified them as poor experiences, and Jennifer Gove gave a great talk at IO last year which highlights this user frustration.

Despite our intuition that we should remove the interstitial, we prefer to let data guide our decisions, so we set out to learn how the interstitial affected our users. Our analysis found that:
  • 9% of the visits to our interstitial page resulted in the ‘Get App’ button being pressed. (Note that some percentage of these users already have the app installed or may never follow through with the app store download.)
  • 69% of the visits abandoned our page. These users neither went to the app store nor continued to our mobile website.
While 9% sounds like a great CTR for any campaign, we were much more focused on the number of users who had abandoned our product due to the friction in their experience. With this data in hand, in July 2014, we decided to run an experiment and see how removing the interstitial would affect actual product usage. We added a Smart App Banner to continue promoting the native app in a less intrusive way, as recommended in the Avoid common mistakes section of our Mobile SEO Guide. The results were surprising:
  • 1-day active users on our mobile website increased by 17%.
  • G+ iOS native app installs were mostly unaffected (-2%). (We’re not reporting install numbers from Android devices since most come with Google+ installed.)
Based on these results, we decided to permanently retire the interstitial. We believe that the increase in users on our product makes this a net positive change, and we are sharing this with the hope that you will reconsider the use of promotional interstitials. Let’s remove friction and make the mobile web more useful and usable!
(Since this study, we launched a better mobile web experience that is currently without an app banner. The banner can still be seen on iOS 6 and below.)

Posted by David Morell, Software Engineer, Google+
Categories: sysadmin

Google's handling of new top level domains

Google Webmaster Central Blog - Tue, 2015-07-21 09:02
With the coming of many new generic top level domains (gTLDs), we'd like to give some insight into how these are handled in Google's search. We’ve heard and seen questions and misconceptions about the way we treat new top level domains (TLDs), like .guru, .how, or any of the .BRAND gTLDs, for example:

Q: How will new gTLDs affect search? Is Google changing the search algorithm to favor these TLDs? How important are they really in search? 
A: Overall, our systems treat new gTLDs like other gTLDs (like .com & .org). Keywords in a TLD do not give any advantage or disadvantage in search.

Q: What about IDN TLDs such as  .みんな? Can Googlebot crawl and index them, so that they can be used in search?
A: Yes. These TLDs can be used the same as other TLDs (it's easy to check with a query like [site:みんな]). Google treats the Punycode version of a hostname as being equivalent to the unencoded version, so you don't need to redirect or canonicalize them separately. For the rest of the URL, remember to use UTF-8 for the path & query-string in the URL, when using non-ASCII characters.

Q: Will a .BRAND TLD be given any more or less weight than a .com?
A: No. Those TLDs will be treated the same as a other gTLDs. They will require the same geotargeting settings and configuration, and they won’t have more weight or influence in the way we crawl, index, or rank URLs.

Q: How are the new region or city TLDs (like .london or .bayern) handled?
A: Even if they look region-specific, we will treat them as gTLDs. This is consistent with our handling of regional TLDs like .eu and .asia. There may be exceptions at some point down the line, as we see how they're used in practice. See our help center for more information on multi-regional and multilingual sites, and set geotargeting in Search Console where relevant.

Q: What about real ccTLDs (country code top-level domains) : will Google favor ccTLDs (like .uk, .ae, etc.) as a local domain for people searching in those countries?
A: By default, most ccTLDs (with exceptions) result in Google using these to geotarget the website; it tells us that the website is probably more relevant in the appropriate country. Again, see our help center for more information on multi-regional and multilingual sites.

Q: Will Google support my SEO efforts to move my domain from .com to a new TLD? How do I move my website without losing any search ranking or history?
A: We have extensive site move documentation in our Help Center. We treat these moves the same as any other site move. That said, domain changes can take time to be processed for search (and outside of search, users expect email addresses to remain valid over a longer period of time), so it's generally best to choose a domain that will fit your long-term needs.

We hope this gives you more information on how the new top level domains are handled. If you have any more questions, feel free to drop them here, or ask in our help forums.


Posted by John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst
Categories: sysadmin

App deep linking with goo.gl

Google Webmaster Central Blog - Wed, 2015-05-27 14:39

Starting now, goo.gl short links function as a single link you can use to all your content — whether that content is in your Android app, iOS app, or website. Once you’ve taken the necessary steps to set up App Indexing for Android and iOS, goo.gl URLs will send users straight to the right page in your app if they have it installed, and everyone else to your website. This will provide additional opportunities for your app users to re-engage with your app.

This feature works for both new short URLs and retroactively, so any existing goo.gl short links to your content will now also direct users to your app.

Share links that ‘do the right thing’

You can also make full use of this feature by integrating the URL Shortener API into your app’s share flow, so users can share links that automatically redirect to your native app cross-platform. This will also allow others to embed links in their websites and apps which deep link directly to your app.

Take Google Maps as an example. With the new cross-platform goo.gl links, the Maps share button generates one link that provides the best possible sharing experience for everyone. When opened, the link auto-detects the user’s platform and if they have Maps installed. If the user has the app installed, the short link opens the content directly in the Android or iOS Maps app. If the user doesn’t have the app installed or is on desktop, the short link opens the page on the Maps website.

Try it out for yourself! Don’t forget to use a phone with the Google Maps app installed: http://goo.gl/maps/xlWFj.

How to set it up

To set up app deep linking on goo.gl:

  1. Complete the necessary steps to participate in App Indexing for Android and iOS at g.co/AppIndexing. Note that goo.gl deep links are open to all iOS developers, unlike deep links from Search currently. After this step, existing goo.gl short links will start deep linking to your app.
  2. Optionally integrate the URL Shortener API with your app’s share flow, your email campaigns, etc. to programmatically generate links that will deep link directly back to your app.

We hope you enjoy this new functionality and happy cross-platform sharing!

Posted by Fabian Schlup, Software Engineer
Categories: sysadmin

Surfacing content from iOS apps in Google Search

Google Webmaster Central Blog - Wed, 2015-05-27 11:03

We’ve been helping users discover relevant content from Android apps in Google search results for a while now. Starting today, we’re bringing App Indexing to iOS apps as well. This means users on both Android and iOS will be able to open mobile app content straight from Google Search.

Indexed links from an initial group of apps we’ve been working with will begin appearing on iOS in search results both in the Google App and Chrome for signed-in users globally in the coming weeks:

How to get your iOS app indexed

While App Indexing for iOS is launching with a small group of test partners initially, we’re working to make this technology available to more app developers as soon as possible. In the meantime, here are the steps to get a head start on App Indexing for iOS:

  1. Add deep linking support to your iOS app.
  2. Make sure it’s possible to return to Search results with one click.
  3. Provide deep link annotations on your site.
  4. Let us know you’re interested. Keep in mind that expressing interest does not automatically guarantee getting app deep links in iOS search results.

If you happen to be attending Google I/O this week, stop by our talk titled “Get your app in the Google index” to learn more about App Indexing. You’ll also find detailed documentation on App Indexing for iOS at g.co/AppIndexing. If you’ve got more questions, drop by our Webmaster help forum.


Posted by Eli Wald, Product Manager
Categories: sysadmin

Rolling out the red carpet for app owners in Search Console

Google Webmaster Central Blog - Fri, 2015-05-22 05:58
Wouldn’t it be nifty if you could track where your indexed app content shows up in search results, for which queries, which app pages are most popular, and which ones have errors? Yeah, we thought so too! So we’ve equipped our freshly renamed Search Console with new reports to show you how Google understands and treats your app content in search results.
Our goal is to make Search Console a comprehensive source of information for everyone who cares about search, regardless of the format of their content. So, if you own or develop an app, Search Console is your new go-to place for search stats.
Add your app to Search ConsoleSimply open Search Console and enter your app name: android-app://com.example. Of course, we’ll only show data to authorized app owners, so you need to use your Google Play account to let Search Console know you have access to the app. If you don’t have access to your app in Google Play, ask an owner to verify the app in Search Console and add you next.
Connect your site to your appAssociating your site with your app is necessary for App Indexing to work. Plus, it helps with understanding and ranking the app content better.
Track your app content’s performance in searchThe new Search Analytics report provides detailed information on top queries, top app pages, and traffic by country. It also has a comprehensive set of filters, allowing you to narrow down to a specific query type or region, or sort by clicks, impressions, CTR, and positions.
Use the Search Analytics report to compare which app content you consider most important with the content that actually shows up in search and gets the most clicks. If they match, you’re on the right track! Your users are finding and liking what you want them to see. If there’s little overlap, you may need to restructure your navigation, or make the most important content easier to find. Also worth checking in this case: have you provided deep links to all the app content you want your users to find?
Make sure Google understands your app contentIf we encounter errors while indexing your app content, we won’t be able to show deep links for those app pages in search results. The Crawl Errors report will show you the type and number of errors we’ve detected.
See your app content the way Google sees itWe’ve created an alpha version of the Fetch as Google tool for apps to help you check if an app URI works and see how Google renders it. It can also be useful for comparing the app content with the webpage content to debug errors such as content mismatch. In many cases, the mismatch errors are caused by blocked resources within the app or by pop-ups asking users to sign in or register. Now you can see and resolve these issues.
To get started on optimizing and troubleshooting your own app, add it to Search Console now. If you want to know more about App Indexing, read about it on our Developer Site. And, as always, you’re welcome to drop by the help forum with more questions.
Posted by:
Hillel Maoz, Engineering Lead, Search Console Team (favorite app: Flipboard) and
Mariya Moeva, Webmaster Trends Analyst (favorite app: Spotify)
Categories: sysadmin

Announcing Google Search Console - the new Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Central Blog - Wed, 2015-05-20 05:43

For nearly ten years, Google Webmaster Tools has provided users with constantly evolving tools and metrics to help make fantastic websites that our systems love showing in Google Search. In the past year, we sought to learn more about you, the loyal users of Google Webmaster Tools: we wanted to understand your role and goals in order to make our product more useful to you.

It turns out that the traditional idea of the “webmaster” reflects only some of you. We have all kinds of Webmaster Tools fans: hobbyists, small business owners, SEO experts, marketers, programmers, designers, app developers, and, of course, webmasters as well. What you all share is a desire to make your work available online, and to make it findable through Google Search. So, to make sure that our product includes everyone who cares about Search, we've decided to rebrand Google Webmaster Tools as Google Search Console.

We're looking forward to an exciting future with Google Search Console, and hope to see users of all types—including webmasters—drop by and use our service to diagnose and improve the visibility of their content in search. We'll be rolling out the updated branding across the product over the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

Just come over to g.co/SearchConsole and get started!

Posted by Michael Fink, product manager Google Search Console
Categories: sysadmin

More precise data in the new Search Analytics report

Google Webmaster Central Blog - Wed, 2015-05-06 08:46
If you manage a website, you need a deep understanding of how users find your site and how your content appears on Google's search results. Until now, this data was shown in the Search Queries report, probably the most used feature in Webmaster Tools. Over the years, we’ve been listening to your feedback and features requests. How many of you wished they could compare traffic on desktop and mobile? How many of you needed to compare metrics in different countries? or in two different time frames?

We’ve heard you! Today, we’re very happy to announce Search Analytics, the new report in Google Webmaster Tools that will allow you to make the most out of your traffic analysis.
The new Search Analytics report enables you to break down your site's search data and filter it in many different ways in order to analyze it more precisely. For instance, you can now compare your mobile traffic before and after the April 21st Mobile update, to see how it affected your traffic.



Or, if you have an international website, you can now find the countries where people search most for your brand: choose “impressions” as your metric, filter by your brand name, and group results by country to show a sorted list of impressions by country.



These use cases are just two examples out of many more. Search Analytics allows you to really dig deeper into your traffic analysis and helps you make the best decisions for your website’s performance.

There are some differences between Search Analytics and Search Queries. Data in the Search Analytics report is much more accurate than data in the older Search Queries report, and it is calculated differently. To learn more read out Search Analytics Help Center article’s section about data. Because we understand that some of you will still need to use the old report, we’ve decided to leave it available in Google Webmaster Tools for three additional months. To learn more about the new report, please read our Search Analytics Help Center article.

We hope you find the new Search Analytics report useful for your traffic analysis. Please share your feedback in the comments below or on our Google Webmasters Google+ page. As usual, if you have any question or need help with the report, feel free to post in our Webmasters Help Forum.

Last but not least, we sincerely thank all the Trusted Testers and webmaster forums’ Top Contributors who spent time testing the alpha version of Search Analytics, and who helped us create such a good report: we wouldn’t have made it that great without your constant feedback and suggestions. Thank you for being so amazing!


Posted by Zineb, on behalf of the awesome Google Webmaster Tools engineers and UX designers.
Categories: sysadmin

Five ways to grow your business this Small Business Week

Google Webmaster Central Blog - Wed, 2015-05-06 04:29

Susan Brown, owner of Los Angeles gardening store Potted, recently updated her business listing on Google. Susan says, “Putting your business on Google lets people find you easily. Your directions are right there, your hours are right there, what you sell is right there.”

Thanks to her decision, Susan has seen more customers walk through her door: “So many of the customers that come in here find us on Google. As a small business, you want to use every opportunity to help your business grow.”

National Small Business Week is one of those opportunities. So from May 4-8, instead of three cheers, we’re giving you five—five simple ways to get your small business online and growing.

Celebrating National Small Business Week with Google

A handful of bright ideas and quick-fixes, all five ways are doable in a week or less and will help you throw a digital spotlight on your business all year round.

1. SHOW UP ON GOOGLE

Check to see how your business shows up on Google. Then, claim your listing so that customers can find the right info about your business on Google Search and Maps. When you claim your listing this week: You could be one of 100 randomly selected businesses to get a 360° virtual tour photoshoot—a $255 value.

2. LEARN FROM PROS & PEERS

Get business advice from experts and colleagues in the Google Small Business Community. They're ready to chat! When you visit or join this week: Share your tips for summertime business success and we'll feature your tip in front of an audience of 400K members.

3. WORK BETTER, TOGETHER:

With professional email, calendars, and docs that you can access anywhere, Google Apps for Work makes it easy for your team to create and collaborate. When you sign up this week you’ll receive 25% off Google Apps for Work for one year.

4. CLAIM YOUR DOMAIN:

With a custom domain name and website, Google Domains helps you create a place for your business on the web. When you sign up and purchase a .co, .com or .company domain this week you could be one of 1,500 randomly selected businesses to get reimbursed for the first year of registration.

5. GET ADVICE FROM AN ADVERTISING PRO:

Learn how you can promote your business online and work with a local digital marketing expert to craft a strategy that’s right for your business goals. When you RSVP this week you’ll get help from an expert who knows businesses like yours.

While these resources are available year-round, there’s no better time to embark on a digital reboot.

For more information, visit google.com/smallbusinessweek.

Wishing everyone a happy and productive Small Business Week!

Posted by Rachel Sterling, Product Marketing Manager, Google Small Business Team

PS: To join the conversation, use #5Days5Ways and #SBW15 on G+, Facebook or Twitter.

Categories: sysadmin

Faster and lighter mobile web pages for Indonesia

Google Webmaster Central Blog - Thu, 2015-04-30 13:00

We believe everyone should have fast and easy access to information online. However, many people still have slow and costly mobile connections. To speed up the experience of our users on slow connections, we recently launched streamlined search results. However, we wondered if we could also speed up the web pages themselves, so they don't load slowly or consume too much mobile data. So we’ve developed a way to optimize web pages to be faster and lighter, while preserving most of the relevant content.

In two weeks, we’re starting a field test in Indonesia to provide streamlined search results and optimized pages when the user searches on slow mobile connections, such as 2G. Our experiments show that optimized pages load four times faster than the original page and use 80% fewer bytes. As our users’ overall experience became faster, we saw a 50% increase in traffic to these optimized pages.

These faster optimized pages help publishers and advertisers reach new audiences. In addition, a link to the original page will always be available, so users can still choose to view that version. Publishers, you can preview how your page will look in this optimized format by visiting our help page for webmasters.  If you would prefer your pages not be optimized, the help page also provides the relevant details on how to opt out.

Webmasters can continue to monetize their content with these optimized pages. We have been working with Zedo and Sovrn to support their ads along with AdSense, and we are working to support DoubleClick for Publishers as well. We're just getting started, but hope to add support for other ad networks. If you are interested in getting your ad network supported, please see our help page for ad networks for more details on how to contact us.

Posted by Ram Ramani and Hiroto Tokusei
Categories: sysadmin

#MobileMadness: a campaign to help you go mobile-friendly

Google Webmaster Central Blog - Mon, 2015-04-27 13:19
Millions of people tuned in this past March to #MobileMadness, a global campaign to help prepare webmasters for the mobile search ranking change that went live last week. The monthlong highlights included presentations, a Q&A session, office hours, polls, tips and a 30 day challenge to go mobile-friendly. Enjoy the full recap below!
Maximize your online strategy & search performanceIn this presentation, learn to create an online strategy for your business, measure your search performance, and choose the right partner to design and manage your mobile website. The 3 topics are:
1. Choosing the right online channel
2. Webmaster Tools
3. SEO as a long term strategy
Basics of a mobile website for small and medium businessesIf you own a small business, this series of short videos will show you how easy it can be to make your web pages mobile-friendly. The 4-part series include:
1. Learn the tools: PageSpeed Insights, Mobile-Friendly Test and Mobile-Usability
2. Bring it in: Viewports, zoom and plugins
3. Focus on the user: Tap targets, margins and font sizes
4. Set it right: Redirects and canonicals
Q&A sessionHere are answers to questions you asked about the mobile-friendly ranking change. Check the comments section here for answers to questions we weren’t able to get to during the live event.

Results from audience pollsThousands of people participated in the 3 polls below. What are your thoughts on the results—surprising or predictable?

What device are you using to read this post?
Of 871 responses, desktop/laptop and mobile phone usage only differed by 28 votes. View on Google+ and Twitter.What do you dislike the most when browsing the web on your mobile device?
Almost half of 570 respondents said their top frustration was waiting for slow pages to load. View on Google+ and Twitter.What's the hardest part about having a mobile-friendly site?
More than half of 490 respondents said it’s not hard to have a mobile-friendly site. However, 1 in 5 said it's technically challenging. View on Google+ and Twitter.Mobile-friendly tipsThese tips highlight specific resources to help you go mobile-friendly. View a few of them below and the entire #mobilefriendly collection here.

View on Google+ and Twitter

View on Google+ and Twitter

View on Google+ and Twitter

Mobile-friendly one-sheeterDownload the one-sheeter so you can access and share these 5 steps to mobile-friendliness on-the-go.
Results from our 30 Day Challenge to go mobile-friendlyMany people took our 30 Day Challenge to make their sites mobile-friendly in March. Take a look at some of the responses we got at the end of the challenge.
  • Nicolas Chevallier: "Almost every sites we managed have been redesigned in RWD since the beginning of #mobilemadness"
  • Daniel Harrison: "Still working on the responsive design site. Hope to be 100% finished in 2 weeks."
  • Gina Gaudio-Graves: “Our site is now totally #mobilefriendly [...] And, many of our students sites are now #mobilefriendly as well! Thanks for the help!”
  • Andreas Becker: "just a few more days ... so many sites :) i think 90%"

Thanks to all who participated in #MobileMadness! As a reminder, take the Mobile-Friendly Test, check the Mobile Usability Report for mobile usability issues, and read the step-by-step mobile guide which contains all our mobile resources. And as always, head on over to our webmasters help forum if you need any help.

Posted by Mary Chen, Webmaster Outreach
Categories: sysadmin

FAQs about the April 21st mobile-friendly update

Google Webmaster Central Blog - Tue, 2015-04-21 10:12
We’d like to share answers to your frequently asked questions. For background, in February, we announced that the mobile-friendly update will boost the rankings of mobile-friendly pages -- pages that are legible and usable on mobile devices -- in mobile search results worldwide. (Conversely, pages designed for only large screens may see a significant decrease in rankings in mobile search results.) To get us all on the same page, here are the most frequently asked questions:

General FAQs
1. Will desktop and/or tablet ranking also be affected by this change?

No, this update has no effect on searches from tablets or desktops. It affects searches from mobile devices across all languages and locations.

2. Is it a page-level or site-level mobile ranking boost? 

It’s a page-level change. For instance, if ten of your site’s pages are mobile-friendly, but the rest of your pages aren’t, only the ten mobile-friendly pages can be positively impacted.


3. How do I know if Google thinks a page on my site is mobile-friendly?

Individual pages can be tested for “mobile-friendliness” using the Mobile-Friendly Test.

Test individual URLs in real-time with the Mobile-Friendly Test.
To review site-level information on mobile-friendliness, check out the Mobile Usability report in Webmaster Tools. This feature’s data is based on the last time we crawled and indexed your site’s pages.
Mobile Usability in Webmaster Tools provides a snapshot of your entire site’s mobile-friendliness.


4. Unfortunately, my mobile-friendly pages won’t be ready until after April 21st. How long before they can be considered mobile-friendly in ranking?
We determine whether a page is mobile-friendly every time it’s crawled and indexed -- you don’t have to wait for another update. Once a page is mobile-friendly, you can wait for Googlebot for smartphones to naturally (re-)crawl and index the page or you can expedite processing by using Fetch as Google with Submit to Index in Webmaster Tools. For a large volume of URLs, consider submitting a sitemap. In the sitemap, if your mobile content uses pre-existing URLs (such as with Responsive Web Design or dynamic serving), also include the lastmod tag.

5. Since the mobile ranking change rolls out on April 21st, if I see no drop in traffic on April 22nd, does that mean that my site’s rankings aren't impacted?
You won't be able to definitively determine whether your site’s rankings are impacted by the mobile-friendly update by April 22nd. While we begin rolling out the mobile-friendly update on April 21st, it’ll be a week or so before it makes its way to all pages in the index. 

6. I have a great mobile site, but the Mobile-Friendly Test tells me that my pages aren't mobile-friendly. Why?
If a page is designed to work well on mobile devices, but it’s not passing the Mobile-Friendly Test, the most common reason is that Googlebot for smartphones is blocked from crawling resources, like CSS and JavaScript, that are critical for determining whether the page is legible and usable on a mobile device (i.e., whether it’s mobile-friendly). To remedy:
  1. Check if the Mobile-Friendly Test shows blocked resources (often accompanied with a partially rendered image).
  2. Allow Googlebot to crawl the necessary files.
  3. Double-check that your page passes the Mobile-Friendly Test.
  4. Use Fetch as Google with Submit to Index and submit your updated robots.txt to Google to expedite the re-processing of the updated page (or just wait for Google to naturally re-crawl and index).
The most common reason why a mobile page fails the Mobile-Friendly Test is that Googlebot for smartphones is blocked from crawling resources, like CSS and JavaScript, that are crucial for understanding the page’s mobile-friendliness. 

To reiterate, we recommend that site owners allow Googlebot to crawl all resources for a page (including CSS, JavaScript, and images), so that we can properly render, index, and in this case, assess whether the page is mobile-friendly.

7. What if I link to a site that’s not mobile-friendly?
Your page can still be “mobile-friendly” even if it links to a page that’s not mobile-friendly, such as a page designed for larger screens, like desktops. It’s not the best experience for mobile visitors to go from a mobile-friendly page to a desktop-only page, but hopefully as more sites become mobile-friendly, this will become less of a problem.

8. Does Google give a stronger mobile-friendly ranking to pages using Responsive Web Design (which uses the same URL and the same HTML for the desktop and mobile versions) vs. hosting a separate mobile site (like www for desktop and m.example.com for mobile)?
No, mobile-friendliness is assessed the same, whether you use responsive web design (RWD), separate mobile URLs, or dynamic serving for your configuration. If your site uses separate mobile URLs or dynamic serving, we recommend reviewing the Mobile SEO guide to make sure Google is properly crawling and indexing your mobile pages.


9. Will my site / page disappear on mobile search results if it's not mobile-friendly?
While the mobile-friendly change is important, we still use a variety of signals to rank search results. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal -- so even if a page with high quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank high if it has great content for the query.

Specialized FAQs
10. What if my audience is desktop only? Then there’s no reason to have a mobile site, right?
Not exactly. Statistics show that more people are going “mobile only” -- either because they never had a desktop or because they won’t replace their existing desktop. Additionally, a non-mobile-friendly site may not see many mobile visitors precisely for that reason. 
The mobile-friendly update will apply to mobile searches conducted across all sites, regardless of the site’s target audiences’ language, region, or proportion of mobile to desktop traffic.

11. I have pages showing mobile usability errors because they embed a YouTube video. What can I do?
We suggest paying close attention to how the YouTube video is embedded. If you are using the “old-style” <object> embeds in the mobile page, convert to <iframe> embeds for broader compatibility. YouTube now uses the HTML5 player on the web by default, so it’s mobile-friendly to embed videos using the <iframe> tags from the “share” feature on the watch page or from the YouTube iFrame API. If you have a more complex integration, that should also be mobile-friendly, since it’ll instruct the device to use the device’s native support. 
For Flash content from sites other than YouTube, check if there is an equivalent HTML5 embed tag or code snippet to avoid using proprietary plugins.

12. Is there a clear standard for sizing tap targets?
Yes, we suggest a minimum of 7mm width/height for primary tap targets and a minimum margin of 5mm between secondary tap targets. The average width of an adult's finger pad is 10mm, and these dimensions can provide a usable interface while making good use of screen real estate.

13. To become mobile-friendly quickly, we’re thinking of creating a very stripped down version of our site (separate mobile pages) until our new responsive site is complete. Do you foresee any problems with this?
First, keep in mind that we support three mobile configurations and that your website doesn't have to be responsive to be mobile-friendly. In response to your question, please be cautious about creating a “stripped down” version of your site. While the page may be formatted for mobile, if it doesn’t allow your visitors to easily complete their common tasks or have an overall smooth workflow, it may become frustrating to your visitors and perhaps not worth the effort. Should a temporary mobile site be created, once the RWD is live, be sure to move the site properly. For example, update all links so they no longer reference the separate mobile URLs and 301 redirect mobile URLs to their corresponding RWD version.
Recommendations
If you’re totally new to building a mobile-friendly site, it’s not too late! Check out our Getting Started guide in the Mobile-Friendly Websites documentation.
Get started on your mobile site at https://developers.google.com/webmasters/mobile-sites/.

If you already have a mobile site, investigate the Mobile Usability report in Webmaster Tools to make sure that Google detects your site’s pages as mobile-friendly. 
Still more questions? Please ask below or check out the Mobile Websites section of the Webmaster Forum

Written by Maile Ohye, Developer Programs Tech Lead.
Categories: sysadmin

Rolling out the mobile-friendly update

Google Webmaster Central Blog - Tue, 2015-04-21 09:59
As we noted earlier this year, today’s the day we begin globally rolling out our mobile-friendly update. We’re boosting the ranking of mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results. Now searchers can more easily find high-quality and relevant results where text is readable without tapping or zooming, tap targets are spaced appropriately, and the page avoids unplayable content or horizontal scrolling.

April 21st’s mobile-friendly update boosts mobile search rankings for pages that are legible and usable on mobile devices.
This update:
  • Affects only search rankings on mobile devices
  • Affects search results in all languages globally 
  • Applies to individual pages, not entire websites

While the mobile-friendly change is important, we still use a variety of signals to rank search results. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal -- so even if a page with high quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank high if it has great content for the query. 
To check if your site is mobile-friendly, you can examine individual pages with the Mobile-Friendly Test or check the status of your entire site through the Mobile Usability report in Webmaster Tools. If your site’s pages aren’t mobile-friendly, there may be a significant decrease in mobile traffic from Google Search. But have no fear, once your site becomes mobile-friendly, we will automatically re-process (i.e., crawl and index) your pages.  You can also expedite the process by using Fetch as Google with Submit to Index, and then your pages can be treated as mobile-friendly in ranking.
Questions? See our FAQ or ask on the Mobile Websites section of the Webmaster Forum

Posted by Takaki Makino and Doantam Phan
Categories: sysadmin

Better presentation of URLs in search results

Google Webmaster Central Blog - Thu, 2015-04-16 16:45
Well-structured URLs offer users a quick hint about the page topic and how the page fits within the website. To help mobile searchers understand your website better when we show it in the mobile search results, today we’re updating the algorithms that display URLs in the search results to better reflect the names of websites, using the real-world name of the site instead of the domain name, and the URL structure of the sites in a breadcrumbs-like format.

Structured data site names and URLsAs part of this launch, we’re also introducing support for schema.org structured data for websites to signal to our algorithms:
  • The website name to be used instead of the domain name
  • The URL structure of the URL as breadcrumbs
For more details and code examples, please see our structured data documentation for providing site names and breadcrumbs.

These changes are rolling out gradually and affect only mobile results. The site name change is US-only for now and breadcrumbs are rolling out worldwide.

As always, if you have any questions or feedback, please ask in the Webmaster Help Forum.

Posted by Bartlomiej Niechwiej, Software Engineer, and Rob Ennals, Product Manager
Categories: sysadmin

Drive app installs through App Indexing

Google Webmaster Central Blog - Thu, 2015-04-16 13:05
You’ve invested time and effort into making your app an awesome experience, and we want to help people find the great content you’ve created. App Indexing has already been helping people engage with your Android app after they’ve installed it — we now have 30 billion links within apps indexed. Starting this week, people searching on Google can also discover your app if they haven’t installed it yet. If you’ve implemented App Indexing, when indexed content from your app is relevant to a search done on Google on Android devices, people may start to see app install buttons for your app in search results. Tapping these buttons will take them to the Google Play store where they can install your app, then continue straight on to the right content within it.



With the addition of these install links, we are starting to use App Indexing as a ranking signal for all users on Android, regardless of whether they have your app installed or not. We hope that Search will now help you acquire new users, as well as re-engage your existing ones. To get started, visit g.co/AppIndexing and to learn more about the other ways you can integrate with Google Search, visit g.co/DeveloperSearch.

Posted by Lawrence Chang, Product Manager
Categories: sysadmin

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