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Episode 105 - October 23, 2019 - Light Version

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In this episode, we recap some great tips from Pubcon and SearchLove, the indexing issues at Google, and an awesome selection of recommended readings. There is some great advice from Google employees Danny Sullivan and Gary Illyes as well, so be sure not to miss it!


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In this episode:


Paid members also get the following:

  • Google's Material Design team released an article called "How accessible design helps everyone"
  • Add structured data to your content for the Google Assistant
  • How to earn the image when you own the featured snippet
  • Use Google Search Console to analyze your content
  • Gary Illyes touches on the significance of using schema
  • Here’s how nofollow has evolved
  • Once a Manual Action is removed, are there any lingering effects?
  • Google throttles back if they sense they may be overworking your server -- here’s what that looks like
  • Which sites and/or pages generate the most featured snippets?
  • The importance of context when it comes to a backlink
  • Don't lose visitors due to navigation exhaustion
  • Is your content behind tabs still being devalued?
  • How to execute awesome XML sitemaps
  • Danny Sullivan alludes to possible quality issues with publishing sites (maybe)
  • Is your Google Analytics data being sampled? Here’s how to find out
  • How valuable is your About page content?
  • Translated content does not necessarily equate to duplicate content
  • eComm’s -- it pays to invest in original product images
  • How to easily find your trailing slash issues
  • Inconsistencies found between open-source robots.txt parser and real-world Googlebot behaviour
  • How to easily find your competitors GMB categories
  • Does review gating actually impact your star rating?
  • Create support tables for HTML and CSS in emails
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

Algorithm Updates 

There is a running joke that when I, Marie, travel, Google is more likely to update. As far as we can see, this did not happen during my last stint of travel! We do see that several of the sites that we monitor saw some changes in traffic between October 14-19, 2019. This possibly was a tweak to the late September core update. But, we did not feel it was significant enough to write about. 

With that said, there has been some chatter in blackhat circles about this being a significant update:

We’ll keep an eye on things for you!


MHC Announcements

Join Marie for a SearchLove and Pubcon recap! 

In this week’s podcast episode Marie dives into her favourite moments from two recent conferences: Pubcon Vegas and SearchLove London. Be sure to tune in! 


Wix SEO Lovers Interviews 

We’ve recently ramped up our Wix SEO Lovers interviews. Want to read about the contest and our team? If you’d also like to ask us a question, head over to our press page and shoot us an email, we would love to chat with you! 


Google Announcements

Another (brief) indexing issue at Google this past week

If you experienced a short period of indexing delays at Google last week, it may have been caused by a known issue. Google said that they were aware of an issue related to indexing fresh content, but fortunately this was resolved rather quickly.


Google has made a change to their Video structured data reference page

This update now recommends that you use interactionStatistic (instead of interactionCount) to display the number of times a video has been watched.


SEO Tips

targetText becoming more widely adopted?

Lily Ray showed an instance where her husband copied the organic URL from Google and it just so happened to be a targetText link. Is this a sign that Google is being rolled out more frequently across the web?

If you are not familiar with targetText, this post has some great information.


What kind of signals disappear when you disavow a link?

When you disavow a link, John says that all of the signals associated with that link will go away. 


#AskGoogleWebmasters covers structured data and their properties

The question is, “Do you need to use structured data exactly how it’s specified in the Google Developer Guide documentation or if you can add more properties from schema.org?”

John says that in order to be eligible to be shown as a rich result, you need to make sure you’re using the right kind of structured data and that it complies with the appropriate policies on Google’s side. All this aside, Google systems profit from understanding your page(s) better when schema is correctly implemented. 

But, to stand the best chance of having your schema earn you a rich result, it’s best to keep an eye on all the requirements.


Other Interesting News

Firefox 70 tells you why your code isn’t doing anything

If you’re writing CSS, the latest version of Firefox -- which was released yesterday (October 22nd) -- gives you an explanation if the code you’re writing isn’t doing anything. Just inspect an element, click the ‘more information’ icon, and you’ll get a handy explanation along with a brief suggestion to fix this. Check out this short video by Miriam Suzanne to see this in action!


Local SEO - Tips

Brush up on your local knowledge with this SEO quiz

Thank the team at Sterling Sky for this one!


Happy Holidays from Moz -- they’ve gifted webmasters with a free resource

Moz is giving away a free copy of their Local SEO checklist to share with your clients. It provides what you need for holiday marketing success. It is broken down into three parts; the client, the local agency, and the customer, and is meant to help you drive your local SEO traffic in time for the holidays! 


Leverage the right platforms to get maximize the impact of your reviews

Thanks for this great tip from Greg Gifford at SearchLove! He says to utilize the sites that feed your stars on Apple Maps. You can mix it up, don’t just use one platform! 


Local SEO - Other Interesting News

Confirmed: Sunday Riley faked their product reviews

Sunday Riley, a high-end skincare company has been caught by the Federal Trade Commission for sharing fake product reviews. The reviews were deemed misleading as they were written by the company’s employees at the CEO’s direction. In short folks, don’t fake your reviews! Authenticity is key. 


SEO Tools

Screaming Frog gets an update

Screaming Frog SEO Spider 12.0 has been announced and it includes several new updates:


Recommended Reading

An Ex-Google Engineer’s Primer to Google Penalties with Kaspar Szymanski – Stephan Spencer
https://www.marketingspeak.com/an-ex-google-engineers-primer-to-google-penalties-with-kaspar-szymanski/
Sept 25, 2019

Ex-Google employee Kasper Szymanski spent 7 years with the tech giant and quite impressively spearheaded the global web spam initiative during his time there. If you’ve ever had a penalty handed to your site you know just how devastating it can be. In this article, Kasper shines a light on some key principles to help you steer clear of being penalized, things to know if you have received a penalty, and also the importance of E-A-T.

Here are some key quotes and notes from the discussion:

    • There is no such thing as an algorithmic penalty. A penalty is a manual action and is given when an algorithm cannot fulfill the job. Also, a penalty/manual action can come in different methods and fluctuate in severity.
    • If you earn yourself a penalty, you will be alerted of this via Google Search Console. If in doubt, this should be your reference! 
    • Is there any kind of bias at Google? “...I don’t think that rewarding the best website has ever been part of the consideration. I’d rather think that the idea is just to provide a genuinely good user experience. The focus isn’t really on websites. For all I have seen, Google doesn’t really care which website ranks and they’re really indifferent about that. It is rather their users that is the overarching goal, the user happiness.”
  • “Algorithms are mathematical models. They do not serve the purpose of penalizing a website or boosting a website for that matter.”
  • “Google tends to like websites that are popular with users.” Be likeable and spend time focusing on meeting the users needs, not just Google’s.
  • Kaspar notes that the QRG and E-A-T are important and is something that is worth paying attention to.
  • Link building is a double-edged sword. It works but can easily get a website in plenty of trouble. Don’t forget, “There is just no way of disguising or stealthing link building. This is just not possible. You can disguise it from your competitors, but you won’t ever be able to disguise it from Google…”

If you want to learn more about penalties and how to steer clear of them, there’s more great info in this article!

 

What Does It Mean to Have Good E-A-T? – Lily Ray
https://www.pathinteractive.com/blog/seo/what-does-it-mean-to-have-good-e-a-t/
Oct 8, 2019

E-A-T is a hot topic within the SEO community and Lily Ray is among those that is an advocate for it. Recently her agency created a piece that highlights things such as what E-A-T is not, as well as a rather solid analysis of 60+ net winners and losers from the time period of the August 1, 2018 (Medic) update until now. We’ve shortlisted a few of the 17 discoveries below:

  • Approximately half of the losing losing websites were also hit by the Fred update.
  • Winning health companies are much more established (~28 years older) than losing health companies.
  • Winning sites are 258% more likely to use real experts on their content than losing websites.
  • Losing sites are 433% more likely to have calls to action on pages containing medical content.
  • Similarly, losing sites are 117% more likely to have affiliate links on YMYL content.

You’ll also find some great examples of websites demonstrating great E-A-T, brief explanations as to why they’re executing E-A-T well, along with a handful of key takeaways.

 

Weekly Wisdom with Dan Petrovic: CTR Optimization – Dan Petrovic
https://www.semrush.com/blog/weekly-wisdom-dan-petrovic-ctr-opimization/
Oct 15, 2019

In this SEMrush feature, Dan attempts to increase traffic without improving rank, but instead focusing on the attractiveness of the search snippets (otherwise known as improving the click-through rate). Using his own tool, Algoroo, Dan explores possible queries to target along with data estimates to help solidify his choices.

Watch him as he tries to take over a featured snippet from a site ranking below him in the SERPs, be the first to earn a FS for a query that does currently have one, create
experiments to compare CTR, and also analyze the SERPs to better understand why some queries are overperforming for him. Overall this was a really fascinating video!

 

Identifying site structure weaknesses – Kevin Indig
https://www.oncrawl.com/technical-seo/site-structure-weaknesses/
Oct 9, 2019 

A great read here from Kevin Indig on site structure. Site structure is a generic term that has become a bit of a catch-all with a depends-on-who-you-ask definition. Kevin defines it based on the following factors: internal linking, taxonomy, click depth, and url structure. His logic for breaking it down this way is quite sound, and he has a fantastically-nuanced view on how these elements interact and how to tailor them to your site/business. Definitely give this a read as it is a demystifying look at one of the more loosely-used terms in SEO.

 

New SEO Experiments: A/B Split Testing Google's UGC Attribute – Cyrus Shepard
https://moz.com/blog/ugc-distilledodn-seo-test
Oct 15, 2019

Cyrus Shepard was recently contacted by Distilled about a new A/B testing tool they created and if he would be interested in using to test pages on Moz.com. A/B testing in SEO can be a difficult task because it is hard to control for other factors that affect rankings. “DistilledODN” should be able to help with this as it sits in-front of your website so you can make changes to a single page or thousands regardless of what CMS you’re using. Once you set up a specific test, the tool allows you to predict and measure its effect on organic rankings. Cyrus decided to test a portion of Moz’s pages by changing the comments on the page from rel=nofollowed to rel=ugc. Although these modifications resulted in no material traffic changes for those pages, which is in line with Google’s guidance for the new release attributes, this is a tool definitely worth checking out for your next SEO test. 

 

How to Set up Google Analytics Filter for Internal Traffic – Ryan Stewart
https://webris.org/set-google-analytics-filter-internal-traffic/
Oct 2019

If you’re looking for help with setting up your Google Analytics filter for internal traffic, this post is exactly that. It’s beneficial in tracking a campaign’s success. Using GA lets you exclude selected IP addresses so you can prevent skewing the data. 

Here are the steps to help you do this (with excluded IP addresses): 

  • Log in to your Google Analytics account and click on the “Admin” tab
  • Select the account and corresponding property
  • Click “Filters”
  • Click “New Filter”
  • Name your filter
  • Set the drop down to “Exclude” > “From the IP addresses that are equal to” > Enter your IP address

Thanks for this resource Ryan! If you need help finding your IP address or more information, Ryan has included that in the post as well. 

 

Answering Questions Using Knowledge Graphs – Bill Slawski
https://gofishdigital.com/answering-questions-using-knowledge-graphs/
Oct 14, 2019

There has been a bit of an explosion recently in regards to the amount of chatter through conference presentations and articles regarding how different companies are utilizing Knowledge Graphs. In particular, for SEO, we are interested in Google’s knowledge graph, which helps to better populate knowledge panels and to provide direct answers to search queries. We had the pleasure of hearing Bill speak on this a couple weeks ago at PubCon Vegas, at which he discussed a particular patent regarding how Google goes about answering questions using its knowledge graph. 

As Bill points out, it is worth keeping in mind that part of how Google uses the knowledge graph to provide reliable answers to users, is by forming an assessment of how confident it is of one entities relationship to another. These take the form of 4 different categories of weighting along the following dimensions: Temporality, Reliability, Popularity, Proximity. 

With this in mind, the patent Bill discussed at PubCon details how Google could use these weighted associations, coupled with some NLP to answer users queries. The basic concept is that Google would collect the general SERPs for a query, then form a knowledge panel of those results, stipulating the association scores of year and use that to answer the question.

It is well worth taking a look at Bill’s analysis of this patent, and you can use it as a guide to follow along with his slide from PubCon which can be seen here

 

Speeding Up Stubborn URL Migrations – Oliver H.G. Mason
https://ohgm.co.uk/speeding-up-stubborn-url-migrations/
Oct 9, 2019

We all know how much of a headache Site Migration can be and in this Article by Oliver Mason they go through tips and tricks that can help make the process as smooth as possible. They use Google Search Console’s Internal Links Report as a tool to help with the process. This report helps you understand how Google sees your internal links. In most cases after migration this could differ from reality. This is how Oliver uses GSC Internal Links Report can help:

“If you look into the “Top Internally Links Pages” report and consider the following: 

  1. When a URL is successfully canonicalised, it disappears from this report as links are attributed to the canonical URL.
  2. As a result, this report is a good place to source URLs which have not yet been successfully canonicalised.
  3. The UI of the report allows you to inspect these not-yet-canonicalised URLs and submit them for indexing (usually happening within minutes).”

Oliver goes in depth with other tools GSC has to offer in order to help you with your site migration so you don’t get a mind migraine. See what I did there? 


Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

60+ Need-to-Know Local Marketing Insights from LocalU Advanced Denver – Krystal Taing
https://localu.org/2019/10/09/60-need-to-know-local-marketing-insights-from-localu-advanced-denver/
Oct 9, 2019

If you’re looking for some great insight from the LocalU Advanced Denver event, there are over 60 here. There is great information from Local SEOs including Joy Hawkins, David Mihm, Mike Blumenthal, Dana DiTomaso, Cindy Crum and Will Scott. There are a ton of great points by each of these SEOs so we definitely recommend checking them out. 

Here is some information we found interesting:

  • A 3.5 to 4.5 review score is the sweet spot! Consumers prefer realistic views of a business - Mike Blumenthal 
  • Website actions on GMB account for 49% of clicks (zero-click searches). - David Mihm 
  • Physical address and mailing address both impact ranking, so be sure to look at the location of your pin. - Joy Hawkins 

There are a ton more where these came from, so go ahead and read the article! 

 

The SEO advantages of a .CA domain Brock Murray
https://cira.ca/blog/ca-domains/seo-advantages-a-ca-domain
Oct 18, 2019 

If you’re a Canadian business, this may be an article worth reading. When choosing a domain, you have to consider choosing a top-level domain as well. Canadian businesses should be using a .ca domain according to 65% of internet users. So what’s the benefit? Well, if you’re searching in Canada or on a Canadian topic, Google will favour .ca domains. Being leveraged by Google means more visibility leading to traffic and leads. 

For local businesses, this is very important. Brock recommends using a .ca as they’re best suited for local businesses that operate within Canada. Google will serve results that target the user’s needs. Therefore, if the user is a Canadian and shopping for a product, they’d serve Canadian sites rather than those that would have foreign currency/fees. Specifically, if your site is related to government services, banking, shopping, community orgs, product research, news, current events and more, you will be given preference by users. 

In short, Canadians like Canadian things. So if you operate a local business in Canada, your CTR is likely to be higher resulting in higher rankings. 


Jobs


Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • Google's Material Design team released an article called "How accessible design helps everyone"
  • Add structured data to your content for the Google Assistant
  • How to earn the image when you own the featured snippet
  • Use Google Search Console to analyze your content
  • Gary Illyes touches on the significance of using schema
  • Here’s how nofollow has evolved
  • Once a Manual Action is removed, are there any lingering effects?
  • Google throttles back if they sense they may be overworking your server -- here’s what that looks like
  • Which sites and/or pages generate the most featured snippets?
  • The importance of context when it comes to a backlink
  • Don't lose visitors due to navigation exhaustion
  • Is your content behind tabs still being devalued?
  • How to execute awesome XML sitemaps
  • Danny Sullivan alludes to possible quality issues with publishing sites (maybe)
  • Is your Google Analytics data being sampled? Here’s how to find out
  • How valuable is your About page content?
  • Translated content does not necessarily equate to duplicate content
  • eComm’s -- it pays to invest in original product images
  • How to easily find your trailing slash issues
  • Inconsistencies found between open-source robots.txt parser and real-world Googlebot behaviour
  • How to easily find your competitors GMB categories
  • Does review gating actually impact your star rating?
  • Create support tables for HTML and CSS in emails
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

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Part of the challenge of SEO is staying on top of industry news, trends, and techniques There is so much information out there that it is easy to get bogged down in information overload and trying to disseminate what's truly important from all that noise can be really time-consuming and challenging.

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If you are looking for a trusted information related to search that is highly actionable I would strongly recommend Marie's newsletter.
Paul Macnamara - Offers SEO Consulting at PaulMacnamara.com


That's it for this episode! Stay tuned for our Youtube video (my channel is here). If you want to follow me on Facebook, here is my page.


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