Mobile friendliness algorithm update went global this week

Google began globally rolling out their mobile search algorithm update to include mobile-friendly websites as a ranking signal. The updated search algorithm improves search result rankings for web pages that are optimized for mobile traffic, and should impact more sites than Google’s Panda and Penguin updates.

  • Only page rankings on mobile searches will be affected by the new search algorithm. Contrary to what was said in a Google hangout Q&A session earlier this year, the new algorithm is isolated to mobile searches only.
  • There are no degrees of mobile-friendliness; your page is either mobile-friendly or it isn’t. To check if your site is up to par, you can test your page URL using their Mobile-Friendly Test.
  • The mobile-friendly ranking changes will affect results on a page by page basis, not by entire websites.
  • Pages will automatically be re-processed if changes are made to make it mobile-friendly because the algorithm runs in real-time. To expedite the re-processing of the page, you can ask Google to re-crawl your URLs by using Fetch as Google with Submit to Index.

Google has reported that since two months ago, there are 4.7% more mobile-friendly sites relative to the whole. This is great news, as by 2020, 90 percent of the world’s population over 6 years old will have a mobile phone, and smartphone subscriptions are expected to top 6.1 billion.

Target website overwhelmed during Lilly Pulitzer frenzy

This week, the limited-edition Lilly Pulitzer collection went live on their website, giving Black Friday a run for it’s money. The resulting spike in traffic was too much for the site, causing it to crash several times and leaving customers unable to view their carts. Eventually, the entire Target website was overwhelmed and went down. Target responded to frustrated shoppers via Twitter, announcing that they were adjusting the site. Many customers noted that at that point it didn’t matter, because most of the stock sold out within minutes.

This isn’t the first time Target has experienced a crash after launching a fashion line. The 2011 limited edition launch of a high end Italian line, Missoni, caused the site to crash and remain down for most of the day. Many customers turned to the official Lilly Pulitzer website after the crash.

Security advisory goes out regarding WordPress Plugins and themes

A vulnerability re-discovered last week prompted a coordinated plugin update between multiple developers and the WordPress core security team to address a cross-site scripting (XSS) security vulnerability. The vulnerability was created after developers were misled by the WordPress Official Documentation, and misused two common functions. The add_query_arg() and remove_query_arg() functions are often used by developers to modify and add query strings to URLs. The two functions do not escape user input automatically, meaning the use of functions such as esc_url() or esc_url_raw() is necessary.

The Sucuri team analyzed the top 300-400 plugins, and found at least 15 different plugins containing the vulnerability:

WordPress SEO
Google Analytics by Yoast
All In one SEO
Gravity Forms
Multiple Plugins from Easy Digital Downloads
Download Monitor
Related Posts for WordPress
My Calendar
P3 Profiler
Multiple iThemes products including Builder and Exchange
Ninja Forms

Whether your site uses any of the plugins listed above, it’s a good idea to update your plugins immediately to eliminate any risk.

IBM brings security analytics to the cloud

This Tuesday, IBM announced it will be launching two new threat analytic services in the cloud as Software as a Service tools to give companies the ability to quickly prioritize security threats.

The two new cloud services include IBM Security Intelligence and Intelligent Log Management. By bringing it’s Security Intelligence technology to the cloud, IBM customers will be able to analyze security threat information from over 500 different data sources for devices, systems and applications to determine if a real security threat exists, or if the security related events are simply anomalies. “The option of doing predictive analytics via the cloud gives security teams the flexibility to bring in skills, innovation and information on demand across all of their security environments.” said Jason Corbin, vice president of product management and strategy at IBM.