emailSearch News You Can Use
Episode 108 - November 13, 2019 - Light Version

Looking for the paid members version? Log in here

In this episode, we discuss our theory on what has happened with sites seeing drops following an unannounced Google algorithm update last week. We also cover recent Chrome and Google announcements, more information on BERT, and some very useful SEO tips.


Marie’s Podcast for this episode

If you would like to subscribe, you can find the podcasts here: iTunesSpotifyGoogle Play

Ask Marie an SEO Question

Have a question that you want to ask Marie? You can ask them on our Q&A with Marie Haynes Consulting page and Marie will answer some of the best questions each week in podcast!


In this episode:


Paid members also get the following:

  • Local Update starting November 5, 2019?
  • Has Google really fixed subdomain leasing?
  • Google adds new metrics to Chrome’s Lighthouse audit
  • Chromium Blog: Moving towards a faster web
  • The Web Almanac was released (in part) at the Chrome Dev Summit
  • Google Merchant Center gets an upgrade
  • New SERP features signals Google adding locations in titles tags
  • When to use your disavow file
  • A lesson in canonicals for multilingual translated content
  • Curious to see if your competitors are using PBN’s? Here’s how
  • Looking at robots.txt from an indexing POV and Google best practice
  • How to best handle crawling directives surrounding URLs with parameters
  • A compilation of top SEO tips sparked by Twitter
  • Going after a featured snippet is more than just being at the top of the SERP
  • Google’s featured snippets are impacted by algorithmic updates
  • If you’re relying entirely on Google Discover traffic, think again
  • SEO mega thread of some recent presentations from across the globe
  • How to make a site work with dark mode
  • Google reveals Project Nightingale
  • A new way to earn money on WordPress.com
  • Google puts a limit on the number of service areas a business can have
  • Find related questions to different keywords with this new tool
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

Algorithm Updates 

November 8, 2019 Google algorithm update

There was a significant Google update that appears to have started on Friday, November 8, 2019. While some have speculated that the changes seen in the SERPS could be simply due to Google making changes surrounding freshness and holiday shopping, we do not think this is the case. 

There has been a lot of discussion online about this update. Most of our clients that we monitor saw very little change in traffic. However, we do have several with nice increases in Google organic traffic and a few with decreases. 

Google did confirm that there was an update last week. However, they did it in a vague way, saying that they are always pushing out updates:

We have spent a few days thoroughly analyzing sites that saw significant changes in ranking over the weekend and have several thoughts on what Google could be doing. You can read our entire article here on the November 8, 2019 update. Here is a summary:

  • There is a strong possibility that a component of this update is connected to link quality. 
  • Many sites that saw drops were heavily involved in reciprocal linking or link wheels. For example, many of the recipe sites that saw drops made heavy use of “link parties” where each of the bloggers would link out to each other’s work.
  • Many sites seeing drops had previously made use of links in footers. An example would be web design companies that include a followed link to themselves with each design they publish and make it a requirement of use to keep that link live.
  • It is possible that Google is now better able to discount links from in-article mentions that are mostly there for SEO value. This includes PBN links and much guest posting.
  • Many of the sites seeing drops had links from “top x lists” that were likely paid inclusions.

In our article we speculate a little about whether BERT is playing a role in this update. We think that this is probably not the case.

Also, a few of our clients who saw nice gains had been working hard on trimming out thin content. Given that Google told us they released several updates (as they do each week), it is possible that there are multiple things going on.

You can read the article to hear our thoughts on whether disavowing is likely to help.

We’ll keep that article updated as more information comes to light!


Some recipe sites are still having issues getting their thumbnails indexed

Google is looking into it.


MHC Announcements

Digital Marketing Intern Positions

If you applied for one of our intern positions and haven’t heard back, don’t fret! We will begin going through the applications and emailing everyone once the position closes on November 15th. Thank you to everyone who applied. If you haven’t applied yet, there is still time! Read how to apply here.


Looking for a great SEO gif? 

The SEO world loves gifs! Over on our Wix SEO Lovers site, we upload the gifs we’ve created at MHC of the legendary John Mueller and Martin Splitt. Go ahead and check them out and tweet us at  @WixSEOLovers.


MHC’s Mo Bro’s are raising money for Movember!

It’s the second week of the guys sporting their lip scarves and we have everything from the cop to the barely-there-hair. Some of the guys are a little shy and have yet to add a picture but that’s not stopping them raising money on our Movember page


Google Announcements

YouTube announcing Shopping ads & sitelink extensions

This is a cool edition for Shopping! You will be able to see a scrollable collection of product images in the home feed! Additionally, sitelink extensions for TrueView will become available meaning users can go directly to a landing page to surf the ad. This is great if you advertise on YouTube. Their beta test showed a 23% in conversions. Thanks for this Glenn! 


Google SERP Changes

Brodie Clark’s latest Search Bar Test showing a “clear” icon 

Brodie’s latest Search Bar test seems to be showing an “x” to clear your search query. You can see a similar icon on mobile if you click the bar, however this one appears to be there regardless. To see what G has done with the Search Bar in the past, read his post.


SEO Tips

Tips for optimizing images

Another great nugget from the Webmaster conference laid out in three easy tips. 


Geotargeting doesn’t mean your site will be shown in solely that location

John clarified that geotargeting doesn’t mean the site can only be shown in the targeted area. He also went on to say that it doesn’t restrict access to individual countries (there is no option for search engines to do this). Geotargeting simply promotes that content to users in the local area.  


The usefulness of jump links

Jump links can be incredibly useful for a website considering they provide value to users and Google tends to like them as well. Oftentimes when we’re conducting a site audit and we see a client with long articles we recommend jump links. Even adding them to a table of contents can be a great feature to make your content a little more digestible. 


Episode 2 of Google’s Search for Beginners

Episode 2 is all about setting goals for your website. Consider your ROI, what do you want to achieve with your site? Use tracking metrics such as clicks, impressions, etc., and tools like Google Analytics and Search Console to help you measure your goals. 


Other Interesting News

Google & WordPress robots.txt handling is being explored

Discussion from the Google Webmaster Conference indicated that if G can’t access your robots.txt file, they won’t crawl your entire site. This occurs 26% of the time. 

Tweets between Joost de Valk from Yoast and Gary Illyes uncovered that WP generates robots.txt if there isn’t any. This can lead to server errors. WordPress is looking into if there are any ways they can help with reducing this issue within their sites.


Frédéric Dubut announces his new position within Bing


Local SEO - Google SERP Changes

Large local algorithm update starting November 4, 2019

We covered this above, in our algo update section of this newsletter.


GMB actions appear to remain stable despite increases in searches and views

Since September, SEOs saw big increases in their GMB searches and views. However, it looks like that hasn’t translated to actions.


Local SEO - Other Interesting News

GMB’s toll-free phone support number no longer works

G released a statement that they are removing toll free numbers from the GMB homepage. Calling will result in reaching the GMB Help Centre. However, you can request a toll free call under the Contact Us option in the GMB Help Centre. 


SEO Tools

Take DOM level screenshots for HTML elements 

On twitter, @Narulakeshav, shows a super quick way to grab a screenshot within the Firefox browser.


Recommended Reading

Google's E-A-T: Busting 10 of the Biggest Misconceptions – Lily Ray
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-eat-misconceptions/333875/
Nov 7, 2019

Lily Ray does a great job at breaking down E-A-T in this SEJ article. She provides 10 misconceptions surrounding the popular topic and clarifies the truth. If you’re interested in E-A-T and breaking fact from fiction, this is a good starting place! 

 

Earning A Wikipedia Listing – inLinks
https://inlinks.net/p/earning-a-wikipedia-listing/
Nov 5, 2019

Getting even a mention in Wikipedia can be quite difficult, even more so to earn a listing. If you think you can go ahead and add your own mentions, consider this: Wikipedia is controlled by a small, tight-knit community. It’s said that 0.04% of users of Wikipedia create 50% of all posts. This was an interesting article which gave some great insight into the otherwise delicate world of finessing your site to have some kind of Wikipedia presence.

 

7 Reasons Why a Tag in Google Tag Manager is Not Firing (or Fires When it Shouldn’t) – Julius Fedorovicius
https://www.analyticsmania.com/post/tag-in-google-tag-manager-is-not-firing/
Nov 7, 2019

If you’re having any trouble getting your Google Tag Manager firing correctly, Julius from Analyticsmania.com, has put together an extremely detailed post that should have your bases covered. If you’re troubleshooting tag manager related issues, this post will be a great help to getting it running properly again. 

 

JavaScript is More Popular Than You Think – Tomasz Rudzki
https://www.onely.com/blog/javascript-more-popular-than-you-think/
Nov 7, 2019

Many well-known US e-Commerce brands use JavaScript for important content. However, when Thomasz at Onely checked a randomized sample of big e-Commerce and News sites found that, on average, 25% of the content generated by JavaScript was not indexed. If you’re responsible for running an e-Commerce site, you definitely want to check out this article. 

 

What Is BERT? - Whiteboard Friday – Britney Muller
https://moz.com/blog/what-is-bert
Nov 8, 2019

Say thanks to Moz for breaking down BERT in a super digestible manner. We’ll admit, a lot has been said regarding BERT these last few weeks so this Whiteboard Friday attempts to clear up any misinformation! Learn about where BERT came from, where natural language processing experts believe it’s heading, and more. We highly recommend this one!


Jobs


Who writes this newsletter?

When I, Marie, started this newsletter in 2012, it was a way for me to email each of you if Google updated the Panda or Penguin algorithms. As my business grew, the newsletter became an excellent training resource for my new staff. Now, our entire team at MHC is involved in writing newsletter content. 

I am so thrilled to see how the newsletter has grown. Thank you, readers, for all of your wonderful feedback!


Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • Local Update starting November 5, 2019?
  • Has Google really fixed subdomain leasing?
  • Google adds new metrics to Chrome’s Lighthouse audit
  • Chromium Blog: Moving towards a faster web
  • The Web Almanac was released (in part) at the Chrome Dev Summit
  • Google Merchant Center gets an upgrade
  • New SERP features signals Google adding locations in titles tags
  • When to use your disavow file
  • A lesson in canonicals for multilingual translated content
  • Curious to see if your competitors are using PBN’s? Here’s how
  • Looking at robots.txt from an indexing POV and Google best practice
  • How to best handle crawling directives surrounding URLs with parameters
  • A compilation of top SEO tips sparked by Twitter
  • Going after a featured snippet is more than just being at the top of the SERP
  • Google’s featured snippets are impacted by algorithmic updates
  • If you’re relying entirely on Google Discover traffic, think again
  • SEO mega thread of some recent presentations from across the globe
  • How to make a site work with dark mode
  • Google reveals Project Nightingale
  • A new way to earn money on WordPress.com
  • Google puts a limit on the number of service areas a business can have
  • Find related questions to different keywords with this new tool
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

Note: If you are seeing the light version and you are a paid member, be sure to log in (in the sidebar on desktop or below the post on mobile) and read the full article here.

Want to see the full newsletter?

It's well worth the $18 per month!

You can subscribe to Dr. Marie Haynes' newsletter by clicking on the Paypal button below. You'll get an action packed email every week.

You'll also have access to past episodes, including this one.


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.

 Marie's newsletter is a game changer because it manages to cut through the fluff and deliver high-quality information that is not only really important for those that do SEO, but it is presented in a format that is really easy to absorb.
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.


 

Paid Member Login

Lost your Password?

Google update newsletter

Want an update when Google makes a big algorithm change or other announcement? Sign up here!

This is a weekly newsletter. We will never send spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit