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Episode 12 - July 5, 2017

This is an episode full of some really good tips. My apologies for being a little late on this episode! I suffered through a strange bug that made it so that I could not load most of the content on pages operated by Google. Somehow this was resolved by switching my DNS to Google's open DNS. But, it took me two full work days to figure that out!

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!

 

In this episode:


 

Paid members also receive the following:

  • Part two of our easy to implement Page Speed Improvement guide. In under a minute, I implemented one change and dramatically improved the Google Page Speed Insights score for my site.
  • Info on how long it takes for new information to start populating on a newly verified site in Google Search Console
  • Best practices on redirecting based on IP.
  • Differences between "Fred" and Panda.
  • What does Google think of Breadcrumbs?
  • Does Google treat links in drop down menus the same as regular links?
  • How to use Chrome Dev Tools to easily take a full length screenshot of any site.
  • How to use Chrome Dev Tools to find out what scripts and CSS are being called but not used. This section includes a real life example of a site for which I was able to improve a Page Speed Score quickly by using this tool.
  • Can winning a featured snippet result in a loss of traffic?

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Latest algorithm updates

June 26, 2017

There was a fairly big algorithmic shift that happened on June 25, 2017. However, there really aren't any patterns at this point to tell us what types of sites were affected.

In all of the sites that I monitor, I did not have any that had an obvious changes on June 25. Barry Schwartz put out a call to have people submit sites to him that were affected on this date so that he could see if there were any patterns. However, after reviewing over 70 sites, he could not come to a conclusion about what this algorithm change was targeting.

A lot of sites that I viewed on SEMRush had this odd pattern of a large dip on June 26 followed by a return to normal a few days later:

I think it's possible that the June 26 dip that many sites saw was a test of something. I think it's possible it was a quick test of the mobile first algorithm. That chart above is for barnesandnoble.com.  That site relies on an m dot site for their mobile traffic. It would make sense to me that a site like this could suffer in a test of the mobile first index, but I can't say with certainty that this is what was happening here.

However, there were other large sites that saw this temporary dip as well and they do not rely on an m dot site. For example, target.com saw this dip as well:

As did bestbuy.com:

And walmart.com:

walmart semrush

This still could be a test of the mobile first algorithm and perhaps these sites' mobile pages have issues. Or, it could be a test of something completely different.

One of my client's sites saw a nice bump up as a result of whatever test this was, so I'm kind of hoping that whatever Google was testing, they go back to it!

semrush june 26 increase

June 19, 2017

I haven't seen much written about this potential algorithm shift. However, there are quite a few sites that saw massive changes on this day. Here are some which I found that had big losses. They appear to be sites that had large aggregations of other people's content. Really, this type of site should have been affected a long time ago by Panda, so it's strange that they're being affected now.

Here is a large clip art site:

There were several other sites that had traffic graphs like this including several spammy "keyword suggestion" sites.

One of my clients who saw a massive increase with the initial "Fred" update on March 7, 2017

As always, you can stay up to date on the latest significant algorithm shifts on the list of Google algorithm updates that I maintain.


Google Posts are now live for everyone

This is something that everyone with a local presence should pay attention to. I wrote a little bit about this in the last episode, but now, Google Posts are something that you can create that produces and add-on to your knowledge graph listing. Here is an example of a Google post (outlined in red) that Glenn Gabe created on his local listing:

google post example

Here are some things which I have noticed about Google posts:

  • They seem to be a little bit buggy. Sometimes they show, but not always.
  • They can disappear. Apparently these posts expire after a week (although I don't have official confirmation on that.) This means they need to be constantly updated in order to show. Perhaps this is Google's way of getting business owners to engage more often with their GMB profile?
  • Stats appear to be cumulative. Here is a client of mine. They've had several views on their post, but no one has clicked on it. Also, when we added a new post for them the view count remained the same. It doesn't look like you can measure the impact of each post unless you used a tracking url to track clicks:

 

Even though Google posts are a little bit buggy, they're still worth playing with in my opinion. They take seconds to set up. You can create one by going to your Google My Business Profile and clicking on "Posts" in the left sidebar.


Test my site - a new tool by Google

Google recently launched Test My Site, a tool to help you know whether your mobile site loads quickly. This tool is a little bit different than the Page Speed Insights tool in that it tells you how many visitors you could be losing by having a slow site.

Here are the results for one of my clients:

Google test my site

I clicked on "get my free report". It takes about an hour for it to arrive. It contains essentially the same information that you get from using Google's Page Speed Insights tool.


Job listings in the SERPS

Google announced Google for Jobs at Google I/O recently. It is soon about to go live. If you have a job listing you would like featured here, then mark it up using job listing schema and submit a sitemap with a <lastmod> date for each listing. If you list your job in one of the well known job search engines, then it may automatically get listed in the search results.

You'll soon also be able to track impressions and click data for your job search listing in Google Search Console Search Analytics.

There are more detailed details on best practices for job listings here.


You can't fix Panda by moving to a new site

Gary Illyes tweeted that Panda was a part of the core algorithm and stated that moving the site to a new domain would not help with rankings.

This is because Panda has to do with the quality of your content. Moving the content to a new domain doesn't change the content.


Spammy structured markup penalties do not affect crawling, indexing or ranking

John Mueller responded to this help forum thread where someone was asking about receiving a spammy structured markup penalty. The site has seen a drop in rankings, but John said that this is not due to the structured markup penalty. If you get one of these penalties, what happens is that you lose all of your snippets in the search results. In theory, that could result in a drop in click through rate, but it really shouldn't cause a huge drop in traffic.


Google is making their display ads load faster

Do you run Adsense on your site? If so, here is some good news. Google is using something called Brotli compression to make display ads load faster. They claim to help users save 15%-40% in terms of data used, battery usage and speed.


Noindexed pages are not factored into Panda

I get asked about this often. If you have pages that are of lower quality, but for some reason you want to still have them on your site, they won't be factored into the Panda algorithm:

 


Google News is now redesigned with more emphasis on fact checking

Search Engine Journal has a good article about the new changes in the Google News interface. Google news now displays stories as cards. You can click on one of the cards to see related stories and additional coverage:

New Google News

 

Here is a summary of some of the new changes:

  • Some articles will be marked as "fact checked".
  • You'll see more videos in Google News now.
  • People can customize what types of news they want to see.

 


 

Recommended Reading

Google patents extracting facts from the web

Bill Slawski writes about a patent granted to Google that describes a process used by Google to extract facts from the web. Bill says, "This fact extraction process does appear to be aimed towards building a repository that might be capable of answering a lot of questions, using a machine learning approach and the kind of semantic vectors that the Google Brain team may have used to develop Google’s Rank Brain approach."

The following tweet summarizes the article well:

 

 

Javascript and SEO

This is a must read for all SEOs on the Moz blog by Alexis Sanders. Javascript is a huge component of the web and understanding how it works and the SEO implications are a must. While I recommend reading the whole article, here are some of the key takeaways :

  • Make sure you don't block your javascript from search engines. Otherwise, they can't see the full user experience.
  • Fetch and render can help make sure that Google is seeing your javascript elements.
  • Internal linking should be done with regular HTML and should not be dependent on Javascript functions for users to traverse the site.
  • There is good information in the article on Push State vs Hashes/Hashbangs. It gets a little technical, but it is good information for SEOs to understand.
  • If Javascript events happen more than five seconds after the Javascript load event fires, then Google likely doesn't see it.

 

BE CAREFUL CELEBRATING GOOGLE’S NEW AD BLOCKER. HERE’S WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON. 

This is an interesting article by David Dayen. He postulates that when Chrome launches its ad blocker, it will essentially block all ads that aren't Google ads. He thinks that this process will cause people to stop using other ad blockers and as such, Google will have an even bigger monopoly when it comes to the distribution of money around the web.

 

The case for and against attending marketing conferences

This is a good read, written by Rand Fishkin. I have found that attending a marketing conference usually costs me $2000-$3000, not including the lost work time which is significant as well. With that said, I don't think I have ever regretted going to a conference. Nearly every time I end up making some industry connections and gaining more business. If you're on the fence about going to a conference, feel free to contact me to ask about my experiences. I've been to several Pubcons, SMX, Mozcon and a few others.

 

A complete local SEO checklist

This article by Maddie Osman is a must-read for everyone doing local SEO.

 

Busted - Ten myths about new domain extensions

Thinking of buying a new domain with one of the new TLD's? This post talks about how well these TLD's can rank. Google treats a .guru the same as a .com. In my opinion, in many cases users may trust a .com more than some other TLD's. But still, this post gives some good examples of unusual TLD's that have done quite well.

 

5 Must Do Technical Audit Items in 2017

This post by Aleyda Solis is a must read for anyone doing technical site audits.

 

How To Fetch And Render A Page In A Test Or Staging Environment Safely

Have you ever wanted to run Google's Fetch and Render tests on a site that isn't live yet? David Sottimano describes a neat trick you can use to run Fetch and Render on a site that is blocked via robots.txt.

Want More?

Paid members also receive the following:

  • Part two of our easy to implement Page Speed Improvement guide. In under a minute, I implemented one change and dramatically improved the Google Page Speed Insights score for my site.
  • Info on how long it takes for new information to start populating on a newly verified site in Google Search Console
  • Best practices on redirecting based on IP.
  • Differences between "Fred" and Panda.
  • What does Google think of Breadcrumbs?
  • Does Google treat links in drop down menus the same as regular links?
  • How to use Chrome Dev Tools to easily take a full length screenshot of any site.
  • How to use Chrome Dev Tools to find out what scripts and CSS are being called but not used. This section includes a real life example of a site for which I was able to improve a Page Speed Score quickly by using this tool.
  • Can winning a featured snippet result in a loss of traffic?

 


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.

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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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Paul Macnamara - Offers SEO Consulting at PaulMacnamara.com

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