Search News You Can Use
Marie Haynes' Newsletter
Helpful advice, tips and challenges to help you improve your website.
This newsletter is sent out approximately every week. The goal is not only to inform you of current news in the search industry, but also to give you actionable tips, tutorials, and techniques that you can use to improve your website.
Most recent episode:
Episode 71 - February 20, 2019 - Google’s algorithms have been a little on the turbulent side this month. There was likely a quality update this week, but it was fairly mild in our opinion. What was big news, however, was the fact that Google released a white paper that supports a lot about what we have been saying on the importance of E-A-T. We’ll also discuss a Bing update, some changes to the Google SERPS, and a bunch of local SEO tips.
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Episode 70 - February 13, 2019 - We have a bit of an algorithm update to report. However, this seems to be a fairly minor ranking adjustment for just a few sites...nothing too big. In this episode, we have a lot to cover including Google’s new guide to rendering, GSC consolidating metrics, info on utm tracking, adding development sites to GSC, and much more!
Episode 69 - February 6, 2019 - We've got no major algorithm changes to discuss this week, but we have information about finding and fixing hacking/malware, an issue with the PageSpeed Tool that was causing it to give out inaccurately low scores, whether or not HTTPs is indeed a ranking factor, whether Google passes PageRank through links that require a click to see, and much more.
Episode 68 - January 30, 2019 - We’ve got more information in this issue on use of the disavow tool. We’ll discuss the widespread messaging from Google re AMP errors, some interesting info on why Google may ignore the canonical tag, and we’ll look into the issue where many local websites are seeing a massive drop in impressions in GSC.
Episode 67 - January 23, 2019 - In this episode, we’ll talk about some greater clarity on using the disavow tool. It turns out that unnatural links do have the potential to algorithmically hurt a site’s rankings. We also will look at tips to succeed in Google News (although these really apply to any website, not just news sites), how long you should keep 301 redirects in place, great tips on use of pagination, and a whole bunch more.
Episode 66 - January 16, 2019 - There has been some chatter of updates happening. We are seeing a bit of an increase in some sites, but this doesn’t seem like a significant update so far. In this episode we’ll talk about Google removing comments from blog posts, some new SERP features and an interesting bug that allowed people to make it look like they were ranking for any query. Paid members get a good discussion on what is happening right now with sites that are competing for addiction related queries.
Episode 65 - January 10, 2019 - Now that the major holiday season is over, many sites are seeing nice improvements. While an algorithm update was suspected in early January, we’re not seeing obvious evidence of this in the sites that we track. In this episode we’ve got some great tips. We’ll talk about why Google’s acquisition of Superpod is a little scary, some advice on handling AMP only sites, comments on featured snippets, internal link data in Ahrefs and much more!
Episode 64 - January 4, 2019 - In this episode, we see how Google handles hard-to-understand URL structures, Bing’s reminder regarding robots.txt, advancements to GMB, and of course with the new year, SEOs weigh in on 2019 SEO predictions as well as some great resources to start your year off right!
Episode 63 - December 28, 2018 - Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates it! We’ve got a smaller newsletter this week as Google has been relatively quiet. Still, in this episode there is a lot to learn. We’ll talk about an interesting line in Google’s documentation on link schemes, whether or not you should disavow foreign spam links, an interesting use of schema and more.
Episode 62 - December 20, 2018 - Once again it looks like we have had a significant update. We are seeing nice, albeit small, upticks on several of our client sites. In this episode we have some comments from John Mueller on Medic, interesting info on Mobile First Indexing and a bunch of other SEO related news.
Episode 61 - December 13, 2018 - Once again, a lot has happened in the world of search this week! We have a lot of recommended reading in this episode. There was a bit of a quality update in early December. We’ll talk about the big important change in Chrome 71, an interesting discussion on whether Google ranks authors according to E-A-T and we’ll show a good example of how to use Google Posts.
Episode 60 - December 5, 2018 - In this episode, we’ll go over a possible algorithm update (although I am not seeing much), a bug in Google images, Search Engine Land’s deindexing, and much more!
Episode 59 - November 28, 2018 - It is always tough to determine whether there was an update when a potential update coincides with a holiday weekend. Many of our clients had gains seen in Google Analytics. However, most of these could be attributed to seasonal increases at this time. In this episode, we’ll cover our thoughts on this update along with information on SERPS with zero search results, featured snippet carousels, the local search ranking factors survey, and much more.
Episode 58 - November 21, 2018 - Once again we have another algorithm update. While several sites that we monitor were affected, this doesn’t appear to be a massive update. We’ll talk more on E-A-T in this episode. You'll likely be interesting in reading my thoughts on AJ Kohn’s article in the recommended reading section. There have been some minor changes to Google My Business as well.
Episode 57 - November 16, 2018 - There has been some interesting controversy this week over whether Google uses information from the BBB in ranking decisions. We’ll talk about that in this newsletter along with information on what appears to be a significant quality update in mid November. This episode has some good information on using Chrome’s new audit feature and tips on things like resizing images, improving rankings for product pages and much more.
Episode 56 - November 9, 2018 - This is a really packed newsletter. There was a significant algorithm update on October 31, 2018 and we are seeing some nice recoveries. We’ll share a story with you in this episode of how we believe one site recovered. We’ll also talk about some Google announcements, some new Bing features, big news for service area businesses in GMB and much more.
Episode 55 - October 31, 2018 - This is a massive edition of the newsletter with a LOT of interesting SEO tips. We’ll talk about the most recent algorithmic turbulence and whether it is likely to be connected to link quality. We also have a lot of tips from help hangout information including a great tip on improving E-A-T of authors. We’ll also talk about whether it helps your E-A-T if you have a physical address.
Episode 54 - October 24, 2018 - How ironic is it that every time I travel, there is some type of significant algorithm update? I traveled to Pubcon Vegas last week (which was amazing) and on the first day I was there I began to receive emails and tweets asking about an algorithm update. Sure enough, it looks like October 15, 2018 was a significant update. In this episode we will talk about my thoughts on this update along with my takeaways from some of my favourite presentations at Pubcon.
Episode 53 - October 12, 2018 - The algorithmic flux that we are seeing these days is incredible. Google has confirmed that they are rolling out something significant. In this episode, I’ll share my thoughts on that.
Episode 52 - October 4, 2018 - It looks like we have had a significant algorithm update once again. While I was away at Brighton SEO, Google appears to have run a tweak to the August 1 update. I’ll share my thoughts on that in this newsletter. We will also talk about a Google bug affecting urls with a plus sign, whether or not Google has algorithms for specific industries, whether or not bad links can hurt you, and many more tips. In local SEO, we’ll talk about the “family led business” attribute and a change to Google Posts.
Episode 51 - September 26, 2018 - Google announced some upcoming changes to search which sound exciting. In this episode, we’ll talk about a possible bug in GSC indexing numbers, we’ll look at some log file examples to determine when mobile first indexing happened, and also, we’ll cover some excellent tips for you to use to help with your SEO efforts.
Episode 50 - September 19, 2018 - It looks like we had a big algorithm update this week. September 17, 2018 has not been talked about widely as a big algorithm change, but we saw a LOT of sites with nice positive changes on this day. In this episode we’ll talk about how many sites were moved to mobile first indexing this week. We’ll go over new information on how Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines reflect what the algorithms do. We’ll also talk about content pruning, and much more.
Episode 49 - September 13, 2018 - It looks like there has been a little bit of algorithmic turbulence lately. I’m not seeing a whole lot of movement, but others are. We’ve got some good information from recent Google help hangouts in this issue and also some nice local SEO tips for you.
Episode 48 - September 6, 2018 - This is a really long newsletter! There were a good number of excellent articles written on SEO this week and we have done our best to summarize them for you. We’ll talk more about the local aspect of the July 31/August 1 update. We’ll also talk extensively about whether author E-A-T is something you should pay attention to. There are lots of great tips for paid subscribers in this episode as well.
Episode 47 - August 29, 2018 - In this episode, I’ll share my latest thoughts on the massive August 1 update. Now that we’ve analyzed a few sites, we are seeing some important patterns. We’ll also talk about some changes to how GSC reports data, and answer some interesting questions such as, “Is it ok to redirect a large number of urls to your home page” and “Can low quality forum content hurt your site.”
Episode 46 - August 22, 2018 - Were you affected by the August 1 update? In this issue we have a few more insights on this algorithm update. It looks like Google tweaked the algo a bit last week. We’ll talk about some new additions to Google Search Console. There is also interesting information from Google on what kind of content they like to see “above the fold”. This episode has loads of recommended reading as well.
Episode 45 - August 15, 2018 - In this episode, we’ll look at a few more details of the massive August 1 Google update. While the majority of sites that we monitor were not affected by this change, the ones that were were strongly affected. There is a lot of news in terms of local SEO discussed here. We also have a lot of summaries of some really good SEO articles this week.
Episode 44 - August 8, 2018 - What a crazy week this has been! I was doing some client training when there were rumblings of an algorithm update happening. My client was up dramatically on almost all of their search terms, so it really was a fun day! In this episode, we’ll talk about this big update and several other Google announcements.
Episode 43 - July 31, 2018 - We’ve got some good information in this episode from John Mueller as he had a very insightful help hangout this week. There were no obvious algorithm updates this week. In fact, thing were relatively quiet in terms of Google changes. In this episode, paid subscribers will get great info on whether DMCA requests hurt your rankings, whether you should have multiple location pages, and also whether the location of your server matters for SEO.
Episode 42 - July 24, 2018 - A lot has happened in the world of search in the last week. There was at least one major algorithm update, and possibly two. Google updated their Quality Raters’ Guidelines and there are a LOT of changes to discuss. We’ll talk about how the Trump Googlebomb likely worked as well as more discussion on mobile first indexing, content pruning and much more.
Episode 41 - July 17, 2018 - Did you survive Google’s Page Speed update? In this episode, we’ll look at what kind of an impact it has had so far. We’ve got lots of great local info in this episode including information on adding a call to action on Google Posts and an interesting study that looks at whether reviews can help with rankings.
Episode 40 - July 10, 2018 - For the first time in a while, we have a pre-announced update from Google as the Speed update has now gone live. In this episode we’ll talk about a site that appears to have been hurt by mobile first indexing and we’ll discuss several good tips to help you improve the quality of your site.
Episode 39 - July 4, 2018 - There is a lot of great information in this episode. Although we haven’t had any major algorithm updates, there is a lot of interesting news in the SEO industry. We’ll talk about a wave of mobile first indexing emails going out and why it seems to be less sophisticated sites that are being moved. There was confusion about the soon to be released page speed update, so we’ll cover that. Other interesting topics in this episode include an issue with Forbes contributors and paid links, a fascinating disavow experiment and a case in which a site received a large number of natural links without seeing any improvement in rankings.
Episode 38 - June 25, 2018 - It looks like we have had a significant Google update this week. I suspect that this was a link related update. In this episode, I’ll share examples of sites that were hit or saw improvements. We’ll also give several content creation tips, a discussion on using the internal links report in GSC, more info on the March 9 update and how it has been affecting news sites and we’ll talk about Google’s removal of anonymous reviews.
Episode 37 - June 18, 2018 - This is a big newsletter with many Google related changes discussed. We had a couple of possible small algorithm updates, and what appears to be a big wave of manual actions. There is some discussion on “Web Light”, on what to do if you get a big influx of adult links, on whether social signals can affect your SEO, and also a great tip to help you build not only links, but brand E-A-T.
Episode 36 - June 11, 2018 - It is still quite quiet in terms of algorithmic updates from Google. There are two dates in the last week on which we may have had a mild update, but neither of these seem terribly significant right now. In this episode, we will talk about when to use noindex and robots.txt blocks, new info from Google on webspam, a bug affecting GSC crawl stats, interesting patent info from Bill Slawski (along with my tips on how we can take advantage of this information) and finally, we’ll talk about some new aspects to Google Posts.
Episode 35 - June 4, 2018 - This has actually been a relatively slow news week for SEO, which is something that doesn’t happen often! In this episode we have summarized some incredible SEO articles. We also have info on how the structured data testing tool is not working, whether Moz is actually shutting down their rank tracker, whether PDFs are considered mobile friendly and also a very interesting disavow case.
Episode 34 - May 28, 2018 - At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we have had yet another significant algorithm update. I am a bit suspicious that this update could have a link component to it, but it is tough to say at this point. In this episode, we’ll talk more about GDPR and mobile first indexing. It looks like Google has run yet another wave of moving sites to mobile first indexing. But, MOST sites are not there yet. Paid members have some really good tips this week including information on what kind of contact information Google wants to see on your site (and how that information can be a ranking factor), a very good tip on creating content that is better than your competitors, a way to help win more featured snippets for product pages, and also a reason why your local clients may be losing their reviews.
Episode 33 - May 22, 2018 - There is still a crazy amount of fluctuation in rankings. It looks like we have had a couple of big updates in the last week. In this episode, paid members have access to some interesting thoughts on Google’s attempts at spinning articles, how GDPR is going to affect Whois data and also, pretty interesting data on what happened when one of our clients started putting “near me” in their title tags.
Episode 32 - May 14, 2018 - Once again we have another week with a significant algorithm update. In this episode, we’ll look at what I believe to be a scary advance in Google’s ability to answer questions. We’ll get a little bit technical in talking about canonical tags and rendering. We’ll also discuss more on meta descriptions, GDPR, structured data and more.
Episode 31 - May 7, 2018 - Once again we have what looks like another significant algorithm update to talk about. It seems that Google is continually doing significant refinements to how they assess quality. In this episode we talk about some significant upcoming changes to Google news, info on Moz’s new and improved link explorer and much more. Paid subscribers get loads of practical tips in this episode. We’ll talk about my thoughts on a new Google algorithm framework and how it will affect SEO, a fantastic eCommerce link building tip and the most common reason to see rank decreases on a newly produced page.
Episode 30 - April 30, 2018 - In this episode we’ll talk about a recent algorithm update, some news on mobile first indexing and much more. Paid users get the answer to the ranking mystery for ‘batali cinnamon buns’, posted on Twitter by Rand Fishkin, a summary of John Mueller’s Brighton SEO live chat, my most up to date thoughts on whether or not you should be disavowing (the answer may surprise you!) and also my thoughts on a very interesting patent by Google that likely explains how Google chooses which links to count and which to ignore.
Episode 29 - April 23, 2018 - Google has been going a little crazy in terms of updates again! We have a confirmed broad core algorithm update on April 16 that seems quite significant. We also have more information on the changes that happened March 7-9. In this episode we discuss a number of issues that came up during Google help hangouts and talk about several recent SEO experiments.
Episode 28 - April 12, 2018 - It looks like the crazy algorithmic turbulence that we saw in March of 2018 has slowed down a little. We did see some significant changes on March 23, but so far I haven’t noticed any big obvious updatres in April. In this episode we talk about some great content creation tips, tips on internal linking and much more. We have also given some of our best tips we learned from John Mueller’s Reddit AMA.
Episode 27 - March 22, 2018 - This is our biggest newsletter yet. I recently spoke at Engage Portland and SMX San Jose. Paid subscribers will get loads of really practical tips that I learned at these conferences. In this episode we’ll cover the latest algorithm turbulence and go over quite a few important changes in the search industry.
Episode 26 - March 7, 2018 - In this episode, we’ll take a look at the latest Google algorithm updates as well as my most interesting takeaways from my time at Pubcon Austin. Although this was a small conference, I learned a LOT of new things! There is also news on featured snippets, ad filtering, Local SEO news and tips, and much more.
Episode 25 - February 19, 2018 - In this episode, we'll go over some of the relatively big announcements Google has made in the last couple of weeks. There are changes to image search, there is news on http sites being marked as non-secure, and some news about AMP as well. We’ll talk about the new Lighthouse site audit feature by Google, and much more.
Episode 24 - February 5, 2018 - In this episode, I’ve summarized some really helpful SEO articles that give us a lot of tips on optimizing our sites. There is good discussion on GSC beta and a number of content tips.
Episode 23 - January 19, 2018 - In this episode we go over December’s algorithm updates in greater detail as there really were some significant changes. Google is continually improving on their ability to surface the highest quality sites. We have news on the Page Speed Update that will be coming in July as well as insight into the new Google Search Console. Paid subscribers get several link building tips as well as a LOT of extra content that is not in the free (light) version.
Episode 22 - January 5, 2018 - Welcome to another exciting couple of weeks in the world of search! Years ago, Google’s Matt Cutts said that Google tries to minimize algorithm updates near the holidays, but this doesn’t appear to be the case this year. There were possibly two significant updates in December. Google made an official post to help us know what to expect with the mobile first index. They also announced the date on which sites with bad ads will start to have those ads blocked by Chrome. Paid members this month get a lot of goodies including a tip that every eCommerce site should be using to increase conversions and really good link building tips that work for most businesses.
Episode 21 - December 15, 2017 - Usually things slow down during the holiday season, but not this year! Google has made several announcements and changes in the last couple of months. In this episode we’ll discuss those changes plus talk about the new longer snippets in search, some things that can get you penalized, some tips (including link building) and more!
Episode 20 - November 23, 2017 - This episode has lots of tips that I picked up while attending and speaking at Pubcon Vegas. I learned a lot at this conference and I’m passing that information on to you. In this episode we’ll go over the latest algorithm updates, talk about some very important news for AMP publishers and have a thorough discussion on the latest news about disavowing. I also have a special gift for those of you who are paid subscribers.
Episode 19 - November 6, 2017 - This is one of the biggest newsletters I’ve published so far! There is an incredible amount of news from the local SEO industry. We also cover some recent quality updates. We’ll talk about the big geolocation change that Google made. I’ll share with you my strategy for finding internal link opportunities.
Episode 18 - October 20, 2017 - Once again we have had a super busy couple of weeks with a lot of search news. Google has been going crazy with algorithm changes. In this episode I’ll give some examples of sites that are being affected by the latest changes. We’ll also talk about Panda, and some good tips on broken link building.
Episode 17 - October 4, 2017 - Once again we have had a super busy couple of weeks with a lot of search news. Google has been going crazy with algorithm changes. In this episode I’ll give some examples of sites that are being affected by the latest changes. We’ll also talk about Panda, and some good link building tips.
Episode 16 - September 14, 2017 - Once again we have another huge episode as a lot has happened in the search world. There were several algorithm changes that seemed to be significant. One of these is a big local algo change. We'll talk more about user engagement as a ranking signal and we'll look at a few interesting developments that may make you want to consider implementing AMP. There are also a few link building tips in this episode.
Episode 15 - August 22, 2017 - In this episode we'll go over some recent algorithm changes. One appears to be link related and one is quality related. We'll discuss the latest http warnings from Google as well as several important changes in the local SEO field.
Paid subscribers get some neat things in this episode including a tip to help you find thin content on your site, information on making sure that your search pages are not being indexed, important info on above the fold content and a very cool thing that I discovered that allowed me to make a change and in two minutes see pages jump up to top ranking positions.
Episode 14 - August 9, 2017 - This is the largest newsletter update I have written so far! There have been a lot of significant changes in the Search Industry recently. In this episode, we discuss some significant algorithm changes and Google announcements. Paid subscribers get some thorough insight into a recent Panda patent and how we could take advantage of this information to help improve our rankings.
Episode 13 - July 24, 2017 - This episode has loads of Google Announcements. Google has made significant changes to Google Search Console, has announced Google Hire and is soon about to make a home page change that could change how we do SEO for many websites. In this episode I'll also share quite a few actionable tips that I learned at Mozcon last week.
Also, wait until you see how much I improved my Google Page Speed Insights score in our ongoing series on improving page speed.
Episode 12 - July 5, 2017 - In this episode we'll unpack the latest algorithm updates. We'll talk about Google Posts (which are different than Google Plus Posts and are a feature that every local business should be using.) We have a bunch of stuff on Panda. And, I'll show you how to use some new features in Chrome 59 which are really useful for site audits.
I'll also be sharing the second instalment on our Page Speed Improvement Guide. You'll be amazed to see how well I did at improving my page speed with a tactic that took me less than a minute to implement!
Episode 11 - June 19, 2017 - In this episode we have a lot of things to cover. Many of them were topics that came up at SMX Advanced. For paid subscribers, we're starting off on a series of super easy to implement tips to help you improve your page load time. At SMX Advanced, Gary Illyes commented that when we move to a mobile first index, your page speed on mobile is going to be super important. I have found that every tutorial that I read on making page speed improvements is extremely technical and complicated. I don't claim to be an expert on page load time, but I am learning. I'll walk you through the changes that I make to my own website so that you can implement similar ones on your site as well.
Episode 10 - June 5, 2017 - In this episode we'll unpack several Google announcements. I'll also share with you a great way to find and fix broken links using Google Analytics. This method is even better than finding broken links in Google Search Console. We'll talk about the difference between noindex and a robots.txt block, a way to see what your competitors are working on and a lot more.
There are a lot of articles in the recommended reading section as there have been some really good studies and reports published recently.
Episode 9 - May 22, 2017 - There have been a number of big algorithm changes in the last few weeks. In this episode we'll look at those dates. We'll also look at all of the latest news in the SEO industry. This episode includes a few tips to help you improve your site. It also goes over a great way to use your social profiles in order to get links.
Episode 8 - May 5, 2017 - In this episode we'll talk about my thoughts on how so many sites that were affected by Fred had issues with Expertise-Authority-Trust (E-A-T). We'll also cover a bug affecting Amp pages. There are several tips for local SEOS and also some link building advice and much more.
Episode 7 - April 20, 2017 - This is a massive episode of my newsletter. A lot of interesting things have happened recently. We had a couple of significant algorithm changes in April. I have written my thoughts on those. There is some new information on reavowing links that I found quite interesting as it contradicts something that Matt Cutts said two years ago. This episode has a couple of great tips for local SEOs and also for eCommerce stores.
My favorite part of this episode is the challenge in which I'm going to walk you through some steps that I took to try and increase conversions for one page of one of my sites. I'm going to challenge you to do the same! Note: This challenge is available to paid subscribers only.
Episode 6, April 7, 2017 - This is another packed episode. We'll talk about some possible algorithm updates over the last two weeks as well as the latest on the "Fred" Algorithm update. I'll share with you two things that you may be doing that could cause you problems with Google's mobile interstitial algorithm as well as some cool keyword research tips. There are also really good things in here for people with small businesses.
Episode 5, March 23, 2017 - The Fred Edition. This is a HUGE episode in which I talk all about my findings on the Fred algorithm change. You'll also find tips on how to find and deal with 404 pages, stuff about a potential adult update, a great way to get links to eCommerce sites and much much more.
Episode 4, March 9, 2017 - There are loads of tips in this episode including information on finding internal link opportunities, information about reviews that are a game changer for local SEO, step by step tips on how to find internal link opportunities, and so much more!
Episode 3, February 23, 2017 - This episode is packed with some great tips to help improve your on-page content. Have you notice the “People Also Ask” boxes in the SERPS? In this episode I’ll share with you an awesome way you can use these to your advantage. We talk about the recent February 7 algo update. Also, I give some really good tips on how to improve your above-the-fold content.
Many other topics are discussed in this episode as well.
Episode 2. February 9, 2017 - Information on Google algorithm changes, important news for WordPress site owners, and great tips for migrating to https. If you have a local business, you'll want to know more about something discovered about review stars. This episode includes several tips on looking for things that can cause your site to accidentally be removed from Google's index and much more.
Episode 1. January 26, 2017 - Information on crawl budgets, interstitial penalties, and the mobile first index. Tips include a simple way to improve WordPress security, tips for getting a new page indexed, advice for eCommerce stores and affiliates and much more. In this weeks' challenge there is a tutorial on how to discover featured snippet opportunities and win them.
This first episode is free for everyone. Future episodes will be for paid subscribers only.
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