SNYCU Episode 120 - Feb 19, 2020 - Light Version

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In this episode we discuss more on our thoughts of the February update, the upcoming changes to nofollow, a local update Feb 14-18, new changes to the SERPs, important information from John Mueller, and more!


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In this episode:


Paid members also get the following:

  • MHC’s thoughts on the early February Google update
  • Nofollow changes go live soon
  • Google experimenting with new feature snippet format which sees additional images present
  • Google testing strange new SERP for eCommerce queries
  • Why is structured data important?
  • Useful tip for saving URLs with Archive.org (+ a helpful Chrome extension)
  • Google’s ability to extract entities and what it means for your content
  • SEO tactics specific for AMP Stories
  • Are users engaged with reading long form content?
  • JobPosting structured data has changed
  • Having clear site hierarchy is important
  • Google discusses indexing related to canonicals
  • Clarification on handling sponsored/affiliate links
  • Google may begin to start paying publishers for their content
  • Bing announcement: Microsoft's Project Turing is introducing Turing Natural Language Generation (T-NLG) as the largest massive deep learning language model
  • More actionable guidance has been added to Lighthouse
  • Groundbreaking win for small businesses -- Google ordered to reveal identity of anonymous person who left a bad review
  • Google has updated its documentation to cover keywords in your GMB business description
  • Call tracking myths debunked
  • Greg Gifford’s action-packed Pubcon talk
  • Lots of reports surfacing for suspended GMB listings
  • Explore your GSC data with this handy sheet
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

Algorithm Updates

The latest on the February 7 unannounced Google update

As we reported in our last newsletter, something significant appears to have changed in search starting on February 7 and continuing on for several days. As Barry Schwartz reported, all of the ranking weather tools are showing off the charts levels of turbulence. 

In the next section, our premium subscribers will see our thoughts on this update. After lots of investigation and brainstorming, we think we have a decent idea of what Google is doing. Be warned, however, that we are still very much in the theorizing phase of determining what is happening.


Local search update February 14-18th

There appears to have been a significant Google update affecting local search results. BrightLocal’s Local RankFlux tool is reporting significant changes in local rankings.

This change is apparently bigger than the Bedlam update in November of 2019. Here are some quotes from the Local Search Forum thread on the subject:

  • “We're definitely seeing tons of movement.” - Joy Hawkins
  • “Yes, lots of volatility.” - John Wieber
  • “I've had a very quick look into some of the Local RankFlux data, and it looks like hospitality businesses haven't seen any unusual changes, while all other industries have seen a pretty big uptick in flux.” - Rosie from Brightlocal

So now we know that there is something big going on with the Local SERPS, but we don’t know what! In the Local Search section of this newsletter, we share a post from Tim Capper in which he has recovered a site after fiddling with which service areas are selected. It’s worth a read if you have been affected.


MHC Announcements

Our Trust Webinar is tomorrow, Feb 20th! 

Get excited, we’re only a day away from part three of our webinar series on E-A-T. Save your spot by registering here.


Google Announcements

Changes made to the GSC Change of Address tool

Google has unveiled some improvements made to the Change of Address tools which should help make the process go a little bit smoother for webmasters. If you haven’t brushed up on the tool itself, the documentation covers when to use and not use the tool, best practices, and the two-step process required to fulfill your changes.


Google SERP Changes

Obvious E-A-T clearly visible in the SERPs

This is a great example of E-A-T being mentioned within a Google knowledge panel. While this could be schema he’s added to his site, it is still a mention of linked awards an author has won, providing him with a level of expertise above the others. It’s important to add your credentials to your website, as it is a clear signal to Google your level of authoritativeness. A thorough About page with all of your awards, education, experience etc., is always something we recommend at MHC. 


SEO Tips

Here’s how Google processes your disavow file

When you file a disavow, it is processed immediately but takes time for Google to recrawl those URLs. This means the links are disavowed over time, and can be a long process. To see John’s recent tweet or his past comments on this topic, check out Search Engine Journal’s article

If you are wondering just how long it takes for Google to crawl old, spammy urls, a few years back we did some experimentation. We checked the cache date on all of the links for several of our disavow clients. In our examples, the longest it took Google to recrawl a page was three months. 63% of the pages were crawled within a month. Google has said before though, that it can take six months or more for some old pages to get recrawled. 

In our experience, for most sites that do see improvements after filing a disavow, the improvements tend to start within a few weeks to a couple of months after the disavow is filed. 


#AskGoogleWebmasters discusses web spam issues

Have a Webspam Manual Action? In this episode of Ask Google Webmasters John explains how you can work to get this penalty lifted, including getting feedback from the help forum.


Search for Beginners episode #8

Here is an excellent introductory video created by Google Webmasters for those who are looking to increase the visibility of a site. If you’re a website or online business owner and have no idea where to start when it comes to optimizing for search, then we definitely recommend taking a peek at this video and spending some time exploring their YouTube Channel. There is a lot of insightful content to be found!


Other Interesting News

See your Google Ads annotations in the change history report

This change was made to help users see the impact of their campaigns in their performance charts. Under the performance chart you’ll now see your audience list, optimization goal and asset changes. It looks like it could be really handy in helping you improve your ad campaigns. 


FTC cracking down on influencer marketing

The FTC released a statement confirming that they will start enforcing tougher penalties for companies and social media influencers that do not disclose sponsored content. 

The statement also mentions the rise of paid-for social media accounts, likes, followers, and comments, all of those that could, potentially, influence consumers. 


Local SEO - Google SERP Changes

Add more images to Google Posts 

This change was confirmed by Joy to be new in the last week or so. You can now add multiple photos or videos to Google Posts as seen below. 


Local SEO - Tips

The GMB 'stay verified' emails are legit, don't ignore them

Turns out these are not spam! If you haven’t logged into your GMB in some time, we’d suggest you do so as it’ll notify Google that you’re still active and intend to maintain your verified listing.


The update on virtual offices

We talked about virtual offices in last week’s episode, but as the topic becomes more popular, Joy has updated her post on it. If you want to know if this will work for you, definitely read it. 


Local SEO - Other Interesting News

Google Maps treating city + service searches like brand names

This isn’t anything new, really. As Joy says, this stems from Google over-prioritizing business names. Unfortunately, for the time being, keyword heavy business names seem to be working.


Recovery after February 14 local hit

We found this post by Tim Capper quite interesting. He wrote about a business that consistently ranked in position one or two for their main keywords for two years. They saw significant drops in local rankings after February 14. Tim believes that the issue has to do with which service areas had been selected. After some investigation and experimentation, he removed one of the service areas and rankings recovered in 12 hours.


Recommended Reading

Revisiting The SEO Importance of Quality Indexation For Large-Scale Sites: Hunting High Indexation and Low Search Value By Directory [Case Study] – Glenn Gabe
https://www.gsqi.com/marketing-blog/revisiting-quality-indexation-large-scale-sites/
Feb 10, 2020

This whole article is worth reading, but taking advantage of URL-prefix properties within GSC for larger sites in order to effectively segment URLs and identify issues with low-quality page indexation by section was our biggest takeaway. Glenn’s approach for how to identify low-quality pages and when/how to remove them from the index is also something we’re very much on the same page with. Great read here.

 

YEStifications: Exploring how users engage with notification prompts in the Chrome UX Report – Rick Viscomi
https://dev.to/chromiumdev/yestifications-exploring-how-users-engage-with-notification-prompts-in-the-chrome-ux-report-4h7c
Feb 11, 2020

Rick Viscomi from Dev.to posted an interesting analysis of how users respond to notification prompts. Google Chrome’s UX report uses data from 30,000+ websites which is publicly available and can provide great insights into how users engage with elements on a page. The data discussed in this article can be really helpful in optimizing your own pages to increase overall acceptance rates for notification prompts.

 

6 Things You Believe About Your Homepage That Are Actually BS – Gill Andrews
https://gillandrews.com/your-homepage-myths
Feb 12, 2020

Here is an interesting and valuable read on factors you were likely once told to consider when creating and publishing your homepage that have later found to be absolute nonsense.

 

HTML and SEO (Clickbait Title: Is Semantic HTML….Dead?) – Jessica Peck
https://blogs.perficientdigital.com/2020/02/11/html-and-seo-clickbait-title-is-semantic-html-dead/
Feb 11, 2020

Is your knowledge of semantic SEO a little lacking? This is the guide for you! Jessica Peck from Perficient Digital has created this really fantastic and exceptionally thorough explanation of how important it is to ensure that your semantic HTML and your content align to help Google understand what your page is all about (hint: this is very important to rank!) We will leave it to Jessica to explain all the fantastic ways you can check, fix, and utilize semantic html elements to improve your content for search. 


Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

Claire’s Guide to UTM Tagging For Google My Business with FREE Google Sheet Auto Generator! – Claire Carlile
https://www.clairecarlilemarketing.com/resources/claires-complete-guide-to-utm-tagging-for-gmb/
Feb 9, 2020

This guide by Claire Carlile provides good advice on how and why to tag your URLs on GMB (including Google Posts and Google Products). It’s more suited for SMBs but will give you a sense of what URLs to tag and why to tag them (along with visuals to help you out!), along with a handy template to get you started.


Jobs


Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • MHC’s thoughts on the early February Google update
  • Nofollow changes go live soon
  • Google experimenting with new feature snippet format which sees additional images present
  • Google testing strange new SERP for eCommerce queries
  • Why is structured data important?
  • Useful tip for saving URLs with Archive.org (+ a helpful Chrome extension)
  • Google’s ability to extract entities and what it means for your content
  • SEO tactics specific for AMP Stories
  • Are users engaged with reading long form content?
  • JobPosting structured data has changed
  • Having clear site hierarchy is important
  • Google discusses indexing related to canonicals
  • Clarification on handling sponsored/affiliate links
  • Google may begin to start paying publishers for their content
  • Bing announcement: Microsoft's Project Turing is introducing Turing Natural Language Generation (T-NLG) as the largest massive deep learning language model
  • More actionable guidance has been added to Lighthouse
  • Groundbreaking win for small businesses -- Google ordered to reveal identity of anonymous person who left a bad review
  • Google has updated its documentation to cover keywords in your GMB business description
  • Call tracking myths debunked
  • Greg Gifford’s action-packed Pubcon talk
  • Lots of reports surfacing for suspended GMB listings
  • Explore your GSC data with this handy sheet
  • 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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