Trending December 2023 # Google: Rankings Drop After Mobile Usability Fail? # Suggested January 2024 # Top 21 Popular

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Google’s John Mueller responded to a Reddit SEO discussion where a search console warning about mobile usability was soon after followed by a rankings drop in a medical related website.

The timing of the drop in rankings happening soon after search console issued a warning about mobile usability issues made the two events appear to be related.

The person despaired because they fixed the problem, validated the fix through Google search console but the rankings changes haven’t reversed.

These are the salient details:

“Around Aug. 2023, I noticed that Google Search Console was saying ALL of our pages were now failing Mobile Usability standards. I had a developer “fix” the pages…

…I resubmitted the sitemap & asked Google to “Validate” all of my fixes on Oct. 25, 2023. It has been 15 days with no movement.”

Understanding Changes in Ranking

John Mueller responded in the Reddit discussion, observing that in his opinion the mobile usability issues were unrelated to the rankings drop.

Mueller wrote:

“I’ll go out on a limb and say the reason for rankings changing has nothing to do with this.

I’d read the quality raters guidelines and the content Google has on the recent updates for some thoughts, especially for medical content like that.”

This is a great example of how the most obvious reason for something happening is not always the correct reason, it’s only the most obvious.

Obvious is not the same as accurate or correct, even though it might seem like it.

When diagnosing a problem it’s important to keep an open mind about the causes and to not stop diagnosing an issue at the first more obvious explanation.

John dismissed the mobile usability issue as being serious enough to affect rankings.

His answer suggested that serious content quality issues are a likelier reason for a rankings change, especially if the change happens around the same time as an algorithm update.

The Google Raters Guidelines are a guide for assessing site quality in an objective manner, free of subjective ideas of what constitutes site quality.

So it makes sense that Mueller suggested to the Redditor that they should read the raters guidelines to see if the descriptions of what defines site quality matches those of the site in question.

Coincidentally, Google recently published new documentation for helping publishers understand what Google considers rank-worthy content.

The document is called, Creating helpful, reliable, people-first content. The documentation contains a section that’s relevant to this problem, Get to know E-A-T and the quality rater guidelines.

Google’s help page explains that their algorithm uses many factors to understand whether a webpage is expert, authoritative and trustworthy, particularly for Your Money Your Life pages such as those on medical topics.

This section of the documentation explains why the quality raters guidelines information is important:

“…our systems give even more weight to content that aligns with strong E-A-T for topics that could significantly impact the health, financial stability, or safety of people, or the welfare or well-being of society.

We call these “Your Money or Your Life” topics, or YMYL for short.”

Search Console Fix Validations Are Generally Informational

Mueller next discussed the search console fix validations and what they really mean.

He continued his answer:

“For indexing issues, “validate fix” helps to speed up recrawling.

For everything else, it’s more about giving you information on what’s happening, to let you know if your changes had any effect.

There’s no “the website fixed it, let’s release the hand brake” effect from this, it’s really primarily for you: you said it was good now, and here is what Google found.”

YMYL Medical Content

The person asking the question responded to Mueller by noting that the majority of the website content was written by doctors.

They next mention how they also write content that is meant to convey expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness.

This is what they shared:

“I’ve tried to really write blog articles & even marketing pages that have a satisfying answer above the fold, but then explain the details after.

Pretty much everything a person would do if they were legit trying to get an answer across – which is also what you read to be “EAT” best practices.


They lamented that their competitors with old content overtook them in the rankings.

Diagnosing a ranking issue is sometimes more than just navel gazing one’s own site.

It may be useful to really dig into the competitor site to understand what their strengths are that might be accounting for their increased search visibility.

It might seem like after an update that Google is “rewarding” sites that have this or that, like good mobile usability, FAQs, etc.

But that’s not really how search algorithms work.

Search algorithms, in a nutshell, try to understand three things:

The meaning of a search queries

The meaning of web pages

Site quality

So it follows that any improvements to the algorithm may likely be an improvement in one or all three (probably all three).

And that’s where John Mueller’s encouragement to read the Google Search Quality Raters Guidelines (PDF) comes in.

It may also be helpful to read Google’s fantastic Search Quality Raters Guidelines Overview (PDF) because it’s shorter and easier to understand.

Citation Read the Reddit Question and Answer

Impact Of “Validating” A Fix In Search Console/Mobile Usability

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How To Drop A Pin On Google Maps

Last Updated on August 30, 2023

Dropping pins is a handy feature on Google Maps. It allows you to mark and save specific locations, enabling you to share them with friends, as well as helping you keep note of some of your favorite places you like to visit! 

You are also able to add little notes to each of these pins, so if there’s a restaurant that has a specific dish you love, you can write that in your notes and share it with friends, or just have it as a reminder for the next time you visit! 


How To Drop A Pin On A Mobile Device

As long as you have the most recent version of Google Maps, it will drop pins for you automatically, even if you don’t want to. The good news is, that you can delete them just as quickly as you can enable them.

Here’s how you can drop pins in a few simple steps:



Go To Google Maps

Go to the Google Maps application and open it up on Android or iPhone.



Scroll To The Location

Either scroll to the location where you would like to place a pin, or use the search bar at the top of the screen to find a specific location.



Lightly Hold Your Finger On The Location To Pin

Lightly hold your finger on the location you would like to pin, and you will see it appear as a red icon.



Tap On The Icon

Tap on the icon, and you’ll be able to save, share, get directions, or add notes to the location.


How To Remove A Pin On A Mobile Device

As mentioned earlier, removing a pin is also very straightforward. All you need to do is zoom out, and at the top of the screen, your location will appear with an ‘X’ next to it. If you select the ‘X’, your pin will disappear.


How To Drop A Pin On A Computer

You may prefer dropping pins using Google Maps on your computer, as you’ll have a bigger screen and a mouse, which can be easier than using your fingers on a smaller screen.



Open The Google Maps Website

Begin by opening the Google Maps website.



Use The Search Bar

You can either use the search bar and type in a location (the pin will be dropped automatically if you do this), or you can scroll through the map to find your desired location.





Select The Navigation Icon

If you would like directions for this location, you can select the navigation icon from the information box.



Save The Pin

This box will also enable you to save the pin, and it will appear in ‘Your Places’ in the main menu of Google Maps.


How To Pin Multiple Locations On Your Computer

If you’d like to see different pins on the same map, you’ll need to create your own map! This sounds much more complicated than it is. Follow these simple steps:



Open Google Maps Website

Open the Google Maps website and sign in to your account.



Select The Menu Icon



Select Save

Give your map a name, and then select ‘Save’.



Search For Locations

You can then search manually for locations, or scroll through the map and save your locations.



Final Thoughts

We hope you have found this article helpful in providing you with a simple guide on how you can pin your locations.

Google Updating Mobile First Index?

The search community took to Twitter and Facebook to note an increase in mobile first inclusion notices from Google Search Console. Strong anecdotal evidence points to significant update in Google’s mobile first index.

Many are reporting unprecedented levels of email alerts from Google Search Console that sites they are monitoring have been migrated to the Google’s Mobile First Index.

Is this a Google Algorithm Update?

No. I would not call this a Google Algorithm Update.  This is a mobile index update, the index appears to be growing.

A Google Update generally refers to a change in the ranking algorithm.

What the search marketing community may be noticing is a change to the index that Google uses to begin the ranking process.  The change being noted is that more websites have been included into Google’s mobile first index.

Is a Major Google Update Coming?

Google does not announce upcoming updates.  Google regularly updates it’s algorithm on a near daily basis.

It’s possible that Google may decide to update and re-rank the mobile index once it reaches a certain threshold. But that’s just speculation at this point.

What is Happening with Google’s Mobile First Index?

I asked Dave Davies of Beanstalk Internet Marketing for a reality check on what is happening and this is what he said:

I think it’s either their final or close-to-final big push. If sites aren’t carried over after this batch I think they’ll want to look closely at the reasons why.

What tech they are using will be the main thing I look at. It’s just a guess but it seems too big to be anything else.

Search Industry on Google Search Console Notices

Site audit expert Alan Bleiweiss (@AlanBleiweiss) of Alan Bleiweiss Consulting tweeted having received almost 36 notices from Google Search Console, noting with tongue in cheek that it was, “Madness! It’s madness, I tell you!”

“It seems that Google decided to push the Mobile-First indexing button… practically every site I follow in search Console is now mobile-first”

Jennifer Holzman tweeted the following:

“Judging by the amount of GSC emails I have in my inbox… Mobile First Indexing is heeeeerrrreeeee”

Dave Davies (@beanstalkim) asked:

“Is it just (me) or is there a ton of sites moving to the mobile-first index right now?”

Search Marketer Bill Hartzer (@bhartzer) noted he has received notices for HTTP versions of sites verified in GSC:

Official Google Response

As of this writing there is no official statement about what is going on. The facts as of this moment is that Google appears to have increased the size of their mobile first index. What happens next is unclear.

More Resources

6 Ways To Ensure Better Rankings In Google Instant

Google Instant has not killed SEO by any means, despite the rumors. It has simply changed the approach that search engine marketers must take in order to get websites to appear higher in rankings and with their best foot forward. Here are some ways that you can ensure better rankings in the new Google Instant.

1. Include a Keyword in Your Brand Name

2. Start Thinking Like Searchers Think

With “instant” results popping up, you have to really start thinking like searchers to make sure your site is optimized for the keywords that your potential visitors will likely be searching. What is the first word they are likely to type in to find you? Once you have determined this…

3. Include Google Suggest as a Keyword Research Tool

Considering that highlighting a Google suggested term will bring instant results, targeting the terms that come up for your primary keyword is now more important than ever.

This post on how to actually use Google Suggest for keyword research and beyond is a great place to start.

4. Get Locally Optimized for Generic Keywords

If your business has physical locations in one or more regions, now is the time to apply local search marketing to your website and your brand, both on-site and off-site. 73% of searches are for local content, which means you will want to make sure your business comes up instantly, showing people exactly where you are located.

Another interesting change with Google Instant comes for the localized keyword phrases. Since Google knows where people are searching from (whether or not personalization settings on or off), they don’t even need to enter keyword plus a city – if they type in type in just the keyword, they will be receiving instant local results when applicable without having to add on the city in their search.

5. Make Sure Your Online Reputation is Clean

Two of the new Google Instant features is the “Something Different” and “Pages similar to” sections in the left sidebar and beneath the first 10 search results. If someone is looking for your brand, and you have some negative entries in the top 5 – 10 results, chances are they will be easily tempted to check out your competitors instead.

By having lots of positive online presences online (such as local search profiles, social media profiles, blogs, subdomains, etc.), you will be able to push down those negative results so that you will make a good first impression with your top 10 search results.

6. Dominate Search Results with Multimedia

It doesn’t matter whether your brand is a business or just yourself. Producing a wide variety of content will ensure that when someone types in your name or brand, they will only find you!

Changes to Your SEO Campaign

What changes are you making to your search and link building campaigns in light of the new Google Instant? What results have you seen? Please share your thoughts with the search engine marketing community.

Google Rankings Dropped? How To Evaluate With Raters Guidelines

The quality raters guidelines provides insights into what improvements can be made to a web page to help it rank better. It is not a step by step guide. However Google’s Danny Sullivan encouraged publishers to read it for ideas on how to build a better experience for users and ultimately to improve rankings.

Google’s Danny Sullivan remarked that sites that dropped positions in the August Broad Core Update cannot fix themselves out of lost rankings.

Yet he also encouraged site publishers to read the Google Quality Raters Guidelines to better understand how to rank better in Google’s algorithm. The first statement discourages hope. The second statement lights a way to better rankings, seemingly contradicting the first statement.

Why Did Google Say Nothing to Fix?

It is naive to assume that every single update is focused on removing sites from the search results for “quality” issues.

Search engineers are focused on satisfying users. Better results are not exclusively about removing sites with “quality” issues.

Better results come from becoming adept at identifying what users desire when they search. That’s what RankBrain is about.

When RankBrain was introduced it was focused on understanding what users meant when they searched with the 15% of search queries Google has never seen.

At some point Google updated it’s algorithm to expand the use of RankBrain to more queries.

When the update that expanded RankBrain to more queries happened, some in the search community may have noticed and responded by jumping on the “quality” update train. And that was a train that led in the opposite direction of where the algorithm was headed.

So when Google’s Danny Sullivan said there was nothing to fix, he may very well have been communicating that the broad core update was not about penalizing sites for “quality” issues, therefore there’s nothing to fix.

If the algorithm update is not about penalizing sites for “quality” issues then the update may likely be about presenting more relevant search results.

And when we talk about “relevance” the measure of relevance is user satisfaction. And that’s where Google’s quality raters come in.

What the Quality Raters are About

Machine learning algorithms need a baseline to learn from. Human judgment serves as the baseline from which a machine can learn from and test itself from.

For example, here’s a research paper describing a way to reformulate search queries, Generalized Syntactic and Semantic Models of Query Reformulation. What’s interesting is how the researchers use human quality raters to judge which results are most relevant and then use those judgments to score the algorithm against.

Google hires quality raters to evaluate search results in order to provide feedback on the algorithm. The quality raters guidelines is meant to teach the human raters how to classify web pages as useful and so on.

Here is how the quality raters guidelines defines the job of a quality rater:

“Your ratings will be used to evaluate search engine quality around the world.”

Why Google Recommended the Quality Raters Guidelines

The quality raters guidelines tells us what kinds of web pages Google wants to rank. It provides clues as to the kind of content Google wants a website to have.

The raters guidelines identifies the five most important factors for rating a high quality web page. Note: MC is an abbreviation for Main Content.

Five most important rating factors:

The Purpose of the Page

Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness: This is an important quality characteristic.

Main Content Quality and Amount: The rating should be based on the landing page of the task URL.

Website Information/information about who is responsible for the MC: Find information about the website as well as the creator of the MC.

Website Reputation/reputation about who is responsible for the MC

How to Fix Lost Rankings in the August Broad Core Update

Danny Sullivan’s first statement that there’s nothing to fix seemingly contradicts his follow up statement to read Google’s quality raters guidelines for information on Google’s expectations for quality content. The only way to reconcile these statements is to accept that the first statement addresses SEOs and publishers who will try to identify what they did wrong.

In this kind of update, there is no “wrong” to fix because the update was not about catching pages that did something wrong.

Google’s second statement recommending the raters guidelines may indicate that this update was about being able to surface sites in the search results that did something right.

In my opinion, I believe that if a site lost rankings, then it may be because another site did something right better than your own site. The answer to why another site is better than yours can be found in the quality raters guidelines.

Takeaway: Things to Fix

As noted above, there are five important factors related to ranking better. It’s possible to divide those factors into two categories: Author factors and content factors.

Two of the five factors relate to the author of the content, three if you include Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.

Three of those factors are about the content itself.

Three most important content factors:

The purpose of the page

Expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness

How to Improve Ranking Signals

If you read the quality raters guidelines you’ll see that certain kinds of sites require stricter criteria to rank. For example anything related to finances is going to be held to a sctricter standard.

I suspect that every niche and keyword phrase is going to require different ranking factors. Evidence of that is in the fact that Google created a Your Money or Your Life category of sites that deal with specific topics.

So if your site is not one of these kinds of pages, then the criteria for ranking is going to be different. Thus, you don’t necessarily have to work at getting every ranking signal correct. Only focus on the signals that are appropriate for you.

Here is how Google defines these sensitive pages

such pages “Your Money or Your Life” pages, or YMYL.”

It then lists the six categories of pages that fall into this category that needs extra work for ranking:

Shopping or financial transaction pages

Financial information pages

Medical information pages

Legal information pages

News articles or public/official information pages


The other category is one that you’ll have to determine if you fall into this category. And remember, Google’s not evaluating entire sites, they are evaluating pages. Section 2.3 of the Quality Raters Guideline is called, “Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) Pages.”

From my observations, some of these extra requirements are not required for ranking for certain keyword phrases that lie outside of the safety/health/money etc. categories.

If you compare keywords within a single niche, you’ll see (as I did) that some keyword phrases are more sensitive than others. Phrases are being treated differently according to how sensitive the topic is to a person’s life, health and money.

Should You Go for the Gold Standard?

It probably won’t hurt to give your shot at rankings a 150% push. It might not make a difference, now. But it could make a different later on. So being prepared to meet the algo of tomorrow could make sense.

Compare Your Page to Better Ranking Pages

When losing rankings, always compare your site to those that replaced yours. There may be clues there as to why Google declined to rank your sites.

Typical questions to answer:

What do those pages/sites have that yours do not?

How do those pages approach the content that differs from yours?

Are those pages more specific?

Are those pages addressing a different audience?

Review Your Page as a User

The answers to those questions relate directly to how the quality raters guide defines satisfying users. The introduction of the Quality Raters Guide makes it clear that the raters are standing in for users. Section 0.2 is titled, “Raters Must Represent the User.”

So when you study the search results looking for answers, you too must look at it as a user.

Here is what the raters guide specifies:

and location in order to represent the experience of users in your locale.”

That is how you should review the search results, as a user in a specific location with specific experience. If you’re selling maternity clothes, I suspect the information needs of a new mother will differ from an experienced mother. Maybe most shoppers on that site are new? This is the kind of information that will help you better satisfy users.

It’s the users that influence the search results. As the raters guidelines indicates, get into the mindset of the user.

Don’t Follow the Money

In politics and crime they say, “Follow the money.” But for search marketing it’s “Follow the user.”

This is a profound and pragmatic insight that is found within the raters guidelines. Count how many times the word User occurs in the raters guidelines. I lost count after forty.

Download Google’s Quality Raters Guidelines here.

More Resources

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Google Analytics 4 Now Supports Accelerated Mobile Pages (Amp)

Today, Google Ads Liaison Ginny Marvin announced that Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) support is now available for all websites in Google Analytics 4 (GA4).

Marvin stated,

“Today, we’re rolling out support for AMP in GA4 to all publishers. A simple update to your amp-analytics configuration will enable analytics to start flowing immediately into GA4.”

AMP & GA4 Integration Details

While AMP pages are similar to HTML and work in any browser, they don’t support the chúng tôi used in Google Analytics. Instead, a separate tag is explicitly provided for AMP.

User identification for AMP is different as well. In GA4, user identifiers are randomly generated and stored in local storage or cookies.

The user identifier is reset when the user clears cookies and local storage. That means IP masking is unnecessary, as IP addresses aren’t logged or stored in GA4.


To collect data, you must implement the AMP Analytics tag. AMP Analytics collects page data, user data, browsing data, browser data, interaction data, and event data.

Additionally, Google requires all websites to disclose to users how data is collected and used in GA4 and provide an option to opt out.


GA4 has some limitations regarding AMP. It doesn’t support consent mode settings, dynamic configuration, ecommerce events, or additional enhancements available in standard Google Analytics.

More AMP capabilities will be added over time, according to Google.

Google AMP Client ID API & Cache Analysis

It’s worth noting that Google recently introduced the AMP Client ID API to track users across AMP pages better.

Until now, if a user interacted with your content on both your website and through Google viewers like the Google AMP viewer or Google Search, they would appear as two separate users in your analytics since the content was being served in two different contexts.

The AMP Client ID API allows you to associate a consistent identifier with a single user across these contexts to gain a complete view of their engagement with your AMP content regardless of where it’s served.

Next Steps

You can configure Analytics to track how users interact with your AMP pages on Google’s cache versus your website.

To do so, follow these steps:

Add the following code to the Analytics tag on your AMP pages:

vars: { 'ampHost': '${ampdocHost}' }

In your Google Analytics 4 property, set up a custom parameter named “ampHost” to track where the AMP page is served.

Relaunch your AMP pages for the changes to take effect.

Once you’ve completed those steps, GA4 will track whether each AMP pageview came from your domain or the Google AMP cache and send that information to your reports under the “ampHost” custom parameter.

This can provide visibility into user engagement across the contexts in which your AMP content is served.

For more on GA4 & AMP, see Google’s official help document.

Featured Image: Postmodern Studio/Shutterstock

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