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Episode 109 - November 20, 2019 - Light Version

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In this episode, we'll provide even more insight on the November algo updates. Having gathered URLs from the sites that have seen changes, we'll discuss the commonalities we found. We also touch on the controversial WSJ article about Google's handling of their search algorithms and cover more Google changes you should be aware of.


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In this episode:


Paid members also get the following:

  • Our current thoughts on the November 8 update
  • November 11, 2019 - possible Google update
  • Recipe markup that is eligible for guidance with Google Assistant can now be tested to preview on smart devices
  • Google testing removal of your organic listing if you also own the Featured Snippet
  • Don’t get complacent if you rank #1 in the SERPs or own the featured snippet
  • How to generate more reviews for your site (tips from the SEO community)
  • Reminder from John about changing URLs
  • Rendering counts against your crawl budget
  • You need to know if you’re using infinite scroll
  • Martin Splitt’s advice on structured content
  • Aleyda Solis talks about the SEO toolbox for structured data
  • A good example of the power of adding good content
  • Google Webmasters discuss tips and tools for cleaning up mixed content
  • Tips for getting your content indexed faster
  • How Google handles multiple schema types
  • The Wall Street Journal’s interesting and damning article on Google
  • Do you know that the median time for Googlebot to render your page?
  • Google's document for video structured data has been updated
  • Firefox’s new accessibility tools help check colour contrast and simulate colour blindness
  • Facebook using machine learning to create dynamic ads that they know users interact with most
  • Step-by-step for flagging invalid GMB events
  • New study says email marketing and paid advertising are greatly underutilized
  • Bulk generator for page titles using G Sheets or Excel
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

Algorithm Updates 

More on the November 8, 2019 Google update

Last week we talked extensively about our thoughts on this update. You can read our views on what Google did in this article on the November 8, 2019 Google update.

We have continued to analyze sites that were negatively affected by this update. If you are a paid reader of the newsletter, in the next section you will see our thoughts after reviewing 130+ sites that were sent to us from people who said they were hit by this update. 

The short version of our current thoughts is that a huge component of the update was indeed about Google’s ability to better determine which links are truly recommendations for your site. What remains to be seen, however, is whether disavow work can help sites to recover. 


The latest on the Bedlam Update, November 5

Part of the confusion in understanding the November 8 algorithm turbulence is that Google appears to have released a local update just a few days before the organic update we have talked about above. 

The local update is being referred to as the “Bedlam” update as it has caused much confusion! 

Local SEO expert Joy Hawkins believes that the update changed how Google measures relevancy, rather than proximity. This potentially could be good news for people who are trying to rank a great business that has a great website but is not located as close to a city center as others.

There is a good discussion on this update at the Local Search Forum.


MHC Announcements

An update on the Wix SEO Competition

At the time of writing this, both the lovers and the haters were ranking on page 5 just three results apart. It has definitely been an interesting competition and experience for us, the Wix SEO lovers. 

With only four weeks remaining, we will keep you updated with what is happening. Head over to the website and feel free to share, link or comment on our content. There are some great resources on our Wix SEO blog pertaining to SEO in general for webmasters. 


Google Announcements

Google announces a new video series geared around Google Search Console

Another Google video series is soon to be live featuring Daniel Waisberg. This series is meant to help users understand ways to optimize their sites, search presence and organic traffic using GSC. While this doesn’t feature John Mueller, we are still very much looking forward to it.


Google to set up chequing accounts next year

It looks like Google has set their sights on the consumer banking industry like other tech giants have recently done. They have publicly stated that they will be offering chequing accounts next year partnering with financial institutions such as Citigroup. The plan is to partner with banks and credit unions to offer accounts through Google Pay. 


Google SERP Changes

Google testing grouping multiple results from the same domain together into one result box on mobile

If you currently own a number of items in the SERPs, Google may be grouping your listings into one single box. The change itself isn’t too drastic, but it likely has some limitations as your individual pages are a little less eye-catching.


SEO Tips

Google Analytics shortcuts (+ Data Studio!)

This topic has garnered a lot of attention on Twitter this past week. Thanks Grant for this series of Google Analytics shortcuts that most of us never knew existed. Also, in response to this tweet, Andy Simpson recommended this article on Google Data Studio shortcuts


Neat comparison of what Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper was vs. how it currently is

Dan Shure and Ashley Berman Hale point out the Schema helper tool. Useful for the next time you’re updating your pages markup.  


Google Search News (episode 2) discusses Site Kit and Google Search Console updates

This video touches on all the important Google Search News over the past four weeks. 


Google Help Hangout Tips

Does Google penalize for duplicate content when you publish the same article on multiple platforms?

No, Google does not penalize for this. However, it makes your job trickier as you begin competing against yourself. What John recommends here is having one platform that hosts your content and signals from there. Keep that content strong and you will remove the risk of added self-competition. 


BERT will not cause a drop in rankings 

John has recently stated that BERT will not be used to determine if a site is low quality, or less relevant. Therefore, BERT will not cause a drop in rankings or visibility. It simply is used to understand complex queries, and help send users to a relevant page. 


Other Interesting News

A blow for voice assistants? 

Microsoft announced that as of January 31st, 2020, they're ending support for the Cortana mobile app, in favour of directly integrating it into Microsoft 365 productivity apps. It looks like as of now, people in the US will still be able to use their Cortana mobile app but a number of other regions worldwide, such as GB, Australia, Germany, India, and Canada, will be losing it. 


Bing using Azure GPUs to improve search performance

They cite deep learning as a critical component to their progression, and since April of this year Microsoft says they’ve been invested in natural language breakthroughs similar to BERT to help make significant improvements to their own search engine. It’s a rather detailed article but a worthwhile read:


Do you DeepCrawl?

They've just announced that they are launching a private feature testing group, so if this is something that interests you, you can sign up for what they're calling their Broken Software Club here.


GatherUp has been acquired -- Here’s what you need to know

The same company that owns Grade.us (another reputation platform), Alpine SG Partners (ASG), announced this past Thursday the acquisition of GatherUp. The good news is that they have no plans to change, so there’s no need to worry if you use it.


Facebook soon to be adding a new payment option across its platforms

Another stride taken by Facebook to improve their financial abilities with Facebook Pay. They have created a new payment system for messenger and Facebook with plans to implement it in apps like WhatsApp and Instagram. It will support most debit/credit cards, PayPal and Stripe. 

This is a huge step for those advertising on the apps as users will be able to send money to each other, and buy goods more easily. If you advertise on Facebook, it may be time to look into this service. However, it appears that it is currently only available in the US. 


Local SEO - Google Announcements

Google Maps adds the option to ‘follow’ Local Guides

Perhaps another feature to push the more social aspect of local search; a select number of major cities will be piloting a new feature this week that allows greater emphasis to be placed on the recommendations of Local Guides. These Local Guides’ recommendations would be available in the For You tab of the G Maps app to provide inspiration for places to go or thing to visit.


Local SEO - Google SERP Changes

The GMB dashboard no longer has "Product Posts" in the app


You can place food orders in the SERPs...but beware

This is a pretty neat function, however it appears to not be working perfectly as the ordering function is there but not updated to show which companies are participating. May be best to stick with the restaurant’s website to order. Or, you know, pick up a phone. 


Local SEO - Tips

Google now allows you to report spammy users via Google Maps

Good news for local webmasters, spammy users and Local Guides can now be reported. And perhaps the best part? Joy confirms the spammer will not know who reported them.


Local SEO - Other Interesting News

Not seeing listings show up in your GMB dashboard? It would seem it was a technical issue

Last Thursday many local webmasters flagged a GMB issue that saw their GMB Dashboards looking like a blank slate. In all likelihood this was a bug as it only lasted for part of the morning. Thankfully this didn’t seem to have any lasting effects!


Google Q&A blowing up your inboxes again

Are you seeing your inbox flooded with email notifications for Google Q&A? You’re not alone!


Recommended Reading

Episode 35: Big site SEO with Andrew Smith
https://withcandour.co.uk/blog/episode-35-big-site-seo-with-andrew-smith
Nov 11, 2019

Former Head of SEO for major players such as Expedia, CheapFlights, and eDreams sits down to discuss the relationship between big and small site SEO. By definition, Andrew classifies big sites as having 100k+ pages and typically have their own challenges to deal with, millions of visitors per month, or multi-national (you get the picture!). Overall, this article was a real quality read, and if you have the time to read it in full, we recommend it!

 

10 Tips for Recovering from Google Core Algorithm Updates – Lily Ray
https://www.pathinteractive.com/blog/seo/10-tips-for-recovering-from-google-core-algorithm-updates/
Nov 13, 2019

Recovering from a core update is not a quick endeavour. It takes time, effort and patience says Lily Ray. This article provides 10 tips to help you recover if you have been hit by a core update. In fact, these are great tips to consider for your website in general. 

 

Rewriting Queries Based Upon Entities at Nearby Locations – Bill Slawski
https://gofishdigital.com/nearby-locations/
Nov 15, 2019

Bill Slawski this week has put out some information on a test he performed regarding how Google may be providing different organic results based upon the location of the device on which the search is being performed. This insight is based on a patent Bill wrote about in 2016 when the patent was still pending. 

 

Google in 2020: From Everyone’s Search Engine to Everyone’s Competitor – Rand Fishkin
https://sparktoro.com/blog/google-in-2020-from-everyones-search-engine-to-everyones-competitor/
Nov 13, 2019

Here’s a great look at a recent presentation from Rand Fishkin looking at Google in 2020. It covers Google’s rankings, and looking at the shifts they’ve made from being a search engine to a competitor for users. There are a lot of great nuggets in here so be sure to check it out.

 

40 Top Bloggers Share Their Best Blogging Advice and Tips (to Grow Your Blog) in 2020 – Ryan Robinson
https://www.ryrob.com/blogging-advice/
Nov 6, 2019

Need advice taking your blog to the next level? This article is fit for new blogs and established one and neatly breaks things down into 4 key parts: launching your blog, getting more readers and subscribers, making real money from your blog, and leveraging tools and techniques.

 

How to Track Social Media Traffic With Google Analytics (Step by Step) – Aazim Akhtar
https://www.monsterinsights.com/how-to-analyze-social-media-traffic-with-google-analytics/
Nov 8, 2019

Endorsed by the Google Analytics team on Twitter, this is a good overview on social media traffic monitoring within GA for the uninitiated. It also provides a demo of the MonsterInsights plugin for WordPress, which imports the social media referrer information right into your WordPress dashboard while also allowing you to easily generate custom UTM URLs for social monitoring. This looks really handy for all of you WordPress users out there.

 

How we optimized our Crawl Budget by removing 72% of Skroutz indexed URLs while growing to 30 million sessions – Vasilis Giannakouris
https://engineering.skroutz.gr/blog/SEO-Crawl-Budget-Optimization-2019/
Oct 30, 2019

If you want to learn about the technical side of a large eCommerce site with 1 million+ sessions per day, this case study is an exploration centered around solving their crawl budget issues and duplicate content concerns. Beyond this, you’ll find an outline of their action plan and execution, neatly wrapped up with the results. 


Jobs

https://twitter.com/iPullRank/status/1195020442785980416 


Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • Our current thoughts on the November 8 update
  • November 11, 2019 - possible Google update
  • Recipe markup that is eligible for guidance with Google Assistant can now be tested to preview on smart devices
  • Google testing removal of your organic listing if you also own the Featured Snippet
  • Don’t get complacent if you rank #1 in the SERPs or own the featured snippet
  • How to generate more reviews for your site (tips from the SEO community)
  • Reminder from John about changing URLs
  • Rendering counts against your crawl budget
  • You need to know if you’re using infinite scroll
  • Martin Splitt’s advice on structured content
  • Aleyda Solis talks about the SEO toolbox for structured data
  • A good example of the power of adding good content
  • Google Webmasters discuss tips and tools for cleaning up mixed content
  • Tips for getting your content indexed faster
  • How Google handles multiple schema types
  • The Wall Street Journal’s interesting and damning article on Google
  • Do you know that the median time for Googlebot to render your page?
  • Google's document for video structured data has been updated
  • Firefox’s new accessibility tools help check colour contrast and simulate colour blindness
  • Facebook using machine learning to create dynamic ads that they know users interact with most
  • Step-by-step for flagging invalid GMB events
  • New study says email marketing and paid advertising are greatly underutilized
  • Bulk generator for page titles using G Sheets or Excel
  • 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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