SNYCU Episode 119 - Feb 12, 2020 - Light Version

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In this episode we discuss a possible Google update on February 7th, the MHC team's thoughts on the update, more on pages falling out of the index, new Google changes and as usual a compilation of the best SEO tips. Don't forget, our Trust Webinar is next week!


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In this episode:


Paid members also get the following:

  • Early thoughts from the MHC team on the February 7 update
  • Full thoughts on the indexing issue
  • Google has increased AMP's custom CSS limit by 50%
  • Google trademarks its new operating system called Pigweed
  • Google Maps may look a bit different to you because Maps is celebrating its 15th birthday
  • Google testing out a new weather onebox for mobile
  • Google on the future of nofollow
  • Here’s a great way to check your FAQ schema
  • Seven benefits of checking the SERPs for your keywords, instead of relying solely on a tool
  • Reminder: you robots.txt file is available to the public
  • Don’t be fooled, word count does not equate to having top rankings
  • Tip for link outreach courtesy of someone who has been asked
  • Avoid doing this if you want to maintain your FAQ markup in the SERPs
  • Four little-known FAQ schema filtering commands via Brodie Clark
  • You can't measure voice searches, but there may be another method to consider
  • What happens if you have two meta robots tags for one page?
  • A common SEO mistake according to Bing
  • Is Google ignoring your rel=canonical?
  • Martin Splitt clarifies the presence of the new evergreen Googlebot
  • Chrome moving towards fewer intrusive ads on video
  • Additional info from Gary Illyes and Pubcon
  • How trustworthy are your SEO tools for B2B keyword research?
  • You may have received an email notification in GSC about being added as an owner to a property you're already an owner on
  • Did you know you can get state and city-specific featured snippets?
  • Google may ramping up their monitoring of GMB images and/or they currently have a bug
  • Should your GMB short name have keywords in it?
  • Glen Allsopp’s ultimate SEO extension
  • This content optimization tool is a fan favourite from Aleyda Solis
  • DeepCrawl users: build a technical SEO dashboard using Google Data Studio
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

Algorithm Updates

February 7, 2020 - Possible significant Google update

Something significant happened with Google’s algorithms on or around February 7, 2020. Google did not announce a core update, but to us, this feels like something changed radically in how Google ranks websites.

First, most of the major algo tracking tools are showing wild swings in SERP turbulence starting on February 7, 2020. 

Mozcast:

mozcast for february

SEMRush Sensor:

semrush sensor for february

We haven’t seen spikes as big as this in SERP turbulence in a very long time. This could be the biggest change we have seen since Medic in 2018. It is also interesting to note that the turbulence that we are seeing has lasted for several days now. This is not normal for most Google updates.

Both SEMRush and Moz have commented that the changes seen in their weather tools are unlikely to be related to the changes we have seen in how Google displays featured snippets lately.

At this point we do not know exactly what this update focused upon. If you are a paid reader though, in the next section, you will see our very early thoughts.


More on the issue where pages are dropping out of the index

When Marie mentioned this potential issue in her podcast last week, it got a lot of attention. As such, we have investigated a little bit further. 

Many site owners are complaining that a massive number of pages are dropping out of the index. In most cases, sites started seeing a big drop in impressions and traffic starting December 16 or 17 of 2019.  This image comes from a Google help forum thread on the subject:

site dropped in december

Ahrefs.com organic traffic estimates for the site shown above show an incredible drop in traffic down to almost nothing.

ahrefs drop in december

While we don’t have exact answers as to what is happening here, we have made some interesting observations. In the next section, if you are a paid subscriber of the newsletter you can read our detailed thoughts.


MHC Announcements

Don’t miss Marie’s final part of her webinar series on E-A-T! 

If you haven’t yet, now is the time to register for part three of our webinar on Trust. You voted, and the webinar will be held at 11am EST Thursday February 20th. Don’t forget, if you can’t make it live it will be recorded and added to our YouTube channel, so subscribe now and get caught up on the previous episodes

Be sure to save your spot and register now for the third and final part of our webinar series! 


Google Announcements

Google Search Console adds new reports surrounding review snippets

If you’re among the millions of sites that currently use reviews or ratings markup, pay attention! Google has announced support for review snippets in GSC that allow you find any issues with your implementation, help monitor your performance, or review existing URLs or debug markup before hitting the green light on it. 

For more on this, including screenshots within GSC, check out the SEL article as well.


SEO Tips

Link building tip involving case studies

A great way to get a natural mention that can help both your brand and your vendors! 


What first impressions mean in the GSC performance report

Unsure of what first impressions are? If you’re set up in GSC you will get monthly emails with these that outline which pages were seen for the first time. 


What appears in your above the fold content matters!

Content above the fold is useful for search engines and is great for making an impression on your users early on. Like Dan, we see this often as well. A large banner image or even an ad can push meaningful content down the page which is certainly not helpful for ranking purposes.

As the net gets more in tune with the mobile-first initiative, this is an important consideration as what looks good on mobile may not look good on desktop or vice versa! 


How to change info in your Knowledge Panel

If you’re looking to change the info in your KP, Danny says to look at their guidelines on this. Essentially, login to your Search account, search for your entity and go to its KP, click “Suggest an edit” and choose what you want to change. 


Coming soon to Chrome, use `#:~:text=` to highlight certain text

Text fragments are coming! Adding the above line into your url will let you highlight text that will jump it to someone else. You can currently test this in Canary if you want to try it out! 


The latest GSC training with Daniel Waisberg

In this week’s video of Google Search Console training, Daniel Waisberg goes over what Rich Results are all about and covers how to:

  1. Monitor and optimize your site’s appearance and performance with Google rich results
  2. Determine errors in your structure data
  3. Validate changes on your site through communication with Google

An incredibly insightful training video containing useful link resources located in the video’s description with further information on implementing structured data and the Rich Results test tool. Have a look!


Other Interesting News

Brainlabs recently acquired Distilled

Companies are making moves here with Brainlabs recently acquiring SEO agency Distilled. The goal is to combine forces and be a full force marketing advertising agency that has SEO abilities they previously lacked. We’re definitely interested to see how this will turn out as the year progresses! 


If you use Quora Ads, they've released two new features to better measure ad performance

Measuring mid-funnel ad performance can be tricky. That’s exactly why Quora has announced two new features to help improve the measurement and attribution of conversions. The new items include:

  • Advanced match -- used to modify the Quora Pixel code and help match more conversions to your ads.
  • Conversion window -- this will track performance metrics like click-through and view-through windows.


Local SEO - Google SERP Changes

Many LA law firms being reported as permanently closed

It looks like there seems to be some sort of bug showing law firms closed across LA, although they appear to be relatively easy to fix according to the thread. 


Local SEO - Tips

Listing URLs or phone numbers in GMB Q&A or the business description is against Google's guidelines

This is the second comment in this thread and a good one to pay attention to especially if you’re a local SEO or local business owner. 


Local SEO - Other Interesting News

Yikes! Look at all that lead gen spam surfacing in the UK

Tim Capper has spotted a huge surge in lead gen spam hitting the UK. He provided a number of examples (many of which are entirely made up of zero legitimate businesses) and also noted that it appears to have impacted the following industries: house painting, bathroom & kitchen remodelling, roofing services, handyman, pest control, home builder & remodelling, pest & termite care.


SEO Tools

Map Labs for GMB Insights

If you’re looking to see your GMB insights YoY, MapLabs has Joy’s approval. They also have archived insights so you can see more than a year and a half of important data, and you can compare any two date ranges for multiple locations at the same time. Seems like a cool one to play around with! 


Recommended Reading

A Case Study of 2,000 Featured Snippets About Deduplicating – Kevin Indig
https://www.kevin-indig.com/a-case-study-of-2000-featured-snippets-about-deduplicating/
Feb 3, 2020

Who remembers last week's chaos following the changes Google made to the SERPs with the aim of deduplication for featured snippets? In this case study, Kevin Indig looks at over 200 featured snippets from g2.com to see if there was a major negative impact for the site following the deduplication changes. 

 

Position Zero Is Dead; Long Live Position Zero – Dr. Peter J. Meyers
https://moz.com/blog/position-zero-is-dead-long-live-position-zero
Feb 5, 2020

Dr. Pete recently wrote a thorough article on new changes to the featured snippets and how it affects Moz and the SERPs. He covers much of what has been already stated - that featured snippets will now not show an additional duplicate URL in the results, ultimately removing the ‘position 0’ making rank #1 the snippet. He provides some clear screenshots of how this may affect different types of queries including “double snippets” and a few others. 

 

How Data From Popular Keyword Research Tools Compare – Brian Dean
https://backlinko.com/keyword-research-tool-analysis
Feb 4, 2020

Brian Dean of Backlinko looked at several different metrics available from the ten most popular keyword research tools, in order to compare the accuracy of each one. This is a really great large-scale comparison of the different tools and the data they each provide. We definitely recommend checking out the full results - Brian has created some really nice looking graphs and charts to show the data, and there’s a ton of additional discussion in the comments section, too. 

 

Meta Tags for SEO: A Simple Guide for Beginners – Joshua Hardwick
https://ahrefs.com/blog/seo-meta-tags/
Feb 4, 2020

A new article published last week from Ahrefs on Meta Tags for SEO: A Simple Guide for Beginners. If you’re a beginner SEO, someone with a new site or online business, or you’re simply trying to figure out how to optimize your current site then we strongly recommend you give this blog post a read. The article also introduces Meta Robots, Meta refresh redirect, Meta Charset and Meta Viewpoint and instructs how to implement all these meta tags into your HTML.

 

Scaling Google indexation checks with Node.js – Jose Hernando
https://builtvisible.com/scaling-google-indexation-checks-with-node-js/
Feb 5, 2020

A major challenge for anybody trying to inspect a large number of URLs in Google Search Console: the daily quota limit. Additionally, GSC data exports are limited to 1,000 URLs with no API available for a larger extraction. Builtvisible has a new tool called the Indexation Checker, which can check the indexing status of all manner of URL types (clean, parameterized, case sensitive, non-ASCII, etc). 


Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

5 Community Building Tactics for Local Businesses – Carrie Hill
https://localu.org/2020/02/05/5-community-building-tactics-for-local-businesses/
Feb 5, 2020

Word-of-mouth is still a dominant player in the local community, and with the web continuing to grow, many of those experiences are being expressed and shared online. This is a great post which covers a handful of items such as sharing your time, lending monetary support or providing sponsorships, offering up some or all of your working space, and more. Give this article a read as it may also help you with ideas for link building!

 

Why Nearly 20% of Young Consumers Didn’t Read Local Business Reviews in 2019 – Jamie Pitman
https://www.brightlocal.com/research/why-nearly-20-of-young-consumers-didnt-read-local-business-reviews-in-2019/
Jan 27, 2020

Jamie Pitman’s article gives us insight into why younger consumers are not reading and engaging with local business reviews. As the number of fake reviews is becoming significantly larger and also possibly due to social media exposure, younger consumers are learning to not trust what is written online. According to Pitman, this skeptical lens is also creating an experience where we see more extreme views rather than neutral views.  


Jobs


Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • Early thoughts from the MHC team on the February 7 update
  • Full thoughts on the indexing issue
  • Google has increased AMP's custom CSS limit by 50%
  • Google trademarks its new operating system called Pigweed
  • Google Maps may look a bit different to you because Maps is celebrating its 15th birthday
  • Google testing out a new weather onebox for mobile
  • Google on the future of nofollow
  • Here’s a great way to check your FAQ schema
  • Seven benefits of checking the SERPs for your keywords, instead of relying solely on a tool
  • Reminder: you robots.txt file is available to the public
  • Don’t be fooled, word count does not equate to having top rankings
  • Tip for link outreach courtesy of someone who has been asked
  • Avoid doing this if you want to maintain your FAQ markup in the SERPs
  • Four little-known FAQ schema filtering commands via Brodie Clark
  • You can't measure voice searches, but there may be another method to consider
  • What happens if you have two meta robots tags for one page?
  • A common SEO mistake according to Bing
  • Is Google ignoring your rel=canonical?
  • Martin Splitt clarifies the presence of the new evergreen Googlebot
  • Chrome moving towards fewer intrusive ads on video
  • Additional info from Gary Illyes and Pubcon
  • How trustworthy are your SEO tools for B2B keyword research?
  • You may have received an email notification in GSC about being added as an owner to a property you're already an owner on
  • Did you know you can get state and city-specific featured snippets?
  • Google may ramping up their monitoring of GMB images and/or they currently have a bug
  • Should your GMB short name have keywords in it?
  • Glen Allsopp’s ultimate SEO extension
  • This content optimization tool is a fan favourite from Aleyda Solis
  • DeepCrawl users: build a technical SEO dashboard using Google Data Studio
  • 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.

 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.


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