The Fall of Desktop, Unnatural Links, and More: Weekly Forum Update

seochat-wmw-cre8asite-threadwatch-roundup-768x576Security, zombie traffic, and the recent batch of manual actions from Google are on our docket this week!

Everyone on the Internet seems to be riled up by Penguin rumors.

Our communities are no different, but they also offer a wide breadth of more substantive fare. Take a look!

Over 750,000 Web Hijacking Incidents Tracked by Google in One Year

Between July of 2014 and June of 2015, Google tracked a stunning number of hijacking events through its Safe Browsing and Search Quality programs. As WebmasterWorld admin engine explains,

“One of the issues the study goes into is how well the incidents were managed, and 80% of cases were cleaned up after the first alert from Google.”

But even if they were cleaned up quickly, as many as 12% of affected sites were hijacked a second time within just 30 days. The angle Google is speaking from here seems to be that webmasters need to take more preventative measures after the first hijacking.

Users on WebmasterWorld took the news with some cynicism. User smilie wrote,

“How about Google hijacking everyone’s images? Hypocrites.” User tangor added “This is news? Gotta ask, what took so long? (NOTE: Irony and Satire)”.

More About Google’s Batch of Unnatural Outbound Link Messages

For the most part, it appears that bloggers were the group most often impacted by Google’s round of manual actions last week. The manual actions focused on “unnatural outbound links,” and are rumored to be about Google’s new stance on the disclosure of promoted and sponsored posts and links.

Their new stance was announced last month, and you can find details about it in this Threadwatch update. In an interesting thread on SEO Chat, one of our users seems to have received the reverse of the “unnatural outbound links” message.

It’s a little confusing, but Google calls it “unnatural links to your site – impacts links, some incoming links.” User Hawaii explains that

“It says they are devaluing…links that point to my site and not my site.”

Whether it’s related to unnatural links from bloggers or not, Ann Smarty and forum moderator Chedders have great advice for how to deal with this type of message!

Is Zombie Traffic Just Mis-Matched Traffic?

Zombie traffic is a popular topic on WebmasterWorld these past few months. If you haven’t been keeping up, zombies are visitors to your website who shuffle slowly from page to page and leave without converting or providing you with any benefit. Webmasters first began noticing an increase in this type of visitor late last year.

In a new thread on WebmasterWorld, as summarized on Threadwatch, users are wondering if zombie traffic is just an ordinary phenomenon dressed up in a trendy name. Mis-matched traffic is what people think the zombies could be.

User sqimul of WebmasterWorld describes how they live in Bangladesh, but are constantly redirected to Indian websites in product searches.

Those Indian websites seem helpful at first, but only after thoroughly investigating the website is it understood that they don’t deliver products out of the country. Google may be pointing users to websites that they think will be helpful… when in fact, it’s impossible for that traffic to convert.

External Links in New Windows – Target=_blank or JavaScript?

Opening a new window or tab for an external link can be helpful to your users. But is there a proper way to code such an action to get Google’s approval? In this SEO Chat thread, user Doodled wonders if JavaScript or a target=_blank solution is superior. Other users point out that Google might not be as against target=_blank as you may think. Ann Smarty writes,

“Either way, I’d imagine [Googlebot] would be able to read both target=”_blank” and the javascript if they wanted it to be in a ranking factor…”

Chedders writes that the target=_blank solution

“…[is] quite a common and valid thing to do to help users in some cases and not something I have seen anything about. I know there has been some talk about this approach being deprecated in the future and I think I am right in saying its gone already with XHTML 1.0 and 1.1 but I could be wrong there.”

What have you heard? We’d love some sources to settle this mystery!

Danny Sullivan Marks 20 Years Covering Search

Help us congratulate Danny Sullivan in a celebratory thread over on Cre8asiteforums! As Kim Krause Berg writes,

“I had a filing cabinet stuffed with articles and info written by Danny from my days as an SEO in the late 90’s. The only people I followed and trusted were he and Jill Whalen and later… Ammon Johns. They gave me the confidence to keep testing and analyzing and getting around the B.S.”

In the year since I started reading Mr. Sullivan’s works, I’ve also enjoyed and appreciated his ability to cut through B.S. with a clear-headed and fact-driven mentality. Share your stories and congratulations here!

How Important is Site Speed? When Does it Become Important?

A nuanced site load speed discussion was picked up on SEO Chat. In the full thread (which you can find a link to on Threadwatch, above) users are discussing the diminishing returns that site speed brings, as well as how and why those returns may diminish. Chedders writes that

“Back in the 80’s…we were told that 7 seconds was an acceptable time frame…but even then that was the maximum.”

Doodled adds support to that limit, writing about a study he read wherein it was discovered that

“…it was somewhere at around 10 seconds that the user’s chain of thought was definitely broken…”

What do you think should be the absolute maximum for a page’s load time? What do you think is a good time? When should you stop worrying about your load speed?

comScore: Data Suggests U.S. Desktop Use Has Passed Its Peak and Now Declining

Google – and everyone else, really – seem to believe that mobile browsing is the future. New data from comScore may support that train of thought. WebmasterWorld admin engine writes that

“If it were just one month you’d just put it down to aberrations, but, as it appears to show a trend, it should be noticed.”

Or…is the data actually an overblown piece of marketing? That’s what user iamlost says when they write,

“You know, for a group (webdevs) that tend to utilize various analytics programs daily you’d think the statistics hogwash being passed in that piece would cause laughter not consideration… Most reporters (and marketers) should not be allowed near stats.”

You can read iamlost’s full rebuttal of the piece in the thread, and I recommend you do. As user J_RaD writes,

“Ever year we get some kind of ‘death of the desktop’ story,”

and this could be one of them, I suppose. Or do you agree that desktop may really be dying?

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