SNYCU Episode 121 - Feb 26, 2020 - Light Version

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In this episode, we discuss the continuous ranking fluctuations this month, recent insight to how Google may be using E-A-T, how the Coronavirus could be impacting some sites' traffic, our recent partnership with SterlingSky to improve our local SEO section, the last of our E-A-T webinar series, and more!


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In this episode:


Paid members also get the following:

  • New information about how Google could be using E-A-T
  • Be careful...Coronavirus could be interfering with your client’s traffic patterns
  • GSC will now let you export more information on your data into Excel and Google Sheets
  • New content strategy with good results
  • Site speed is more involved than you’d think
  • Future proofing your site against core updates
  • Proven methods for earning trusted links
  • The benefits of using structured data (with the % impact on KPIs)
  • SEO cheat sheet for your web development team
  • Beware of this shady link building tactic
  • How to increase your odds of earning a Bing featured snippet
  • Use Python to find all the mixed content warnings your site is serving visitors
  • Google clarifies which of GSC or Analytics is most accurate for tracking Discover traffic
  • Are H1 tags necessary for ranking?
  • Google talks E-A-T and picking up online signals
  • New Bing Webmaster Tools has arrived (& here’s the early access signup)
  • How Brexit is impacting UK users in relation to the EU data protection
  • Safari no longer accepting HTTPS certificates valid for more than 398 days
  • Google is testing out adding additional photos or videos to your GMB Posts
  • More discussion on the use of keywords in your business description
  • Suggested Product Categories within GMB dashboard
  • Find guest blogging opportunities
  • Handy tool for those of you who do pay-per-click
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

Algorithm Updates

Continuing ranking shifts throughout February

We wrote in our last newsletter about the turbulence that we have seen in rankings throughout February. Quite a few of our clients are seeing increases (and a few are seeing decreases) starting between February 7th to 18th or so. We have several theories about what is happening although none of these have changed much since our last newsletter.

If you are not a premium newsletter subscriber and you sign up now, you can see all past episodes of the newsletter. If you’re looking for information on this February turbulence we would recommend reading our writeup from last week.

Mozcast and SEMRush sensor are both reporting some increased turbulence on February 18th as well. 

We hope to have a thorough article out soon that describes what we think is happening in this time of shifting rankings!


MHC Announcements

We’ve paired with SterlingSky to improve our local section! 

To help our readers get the latest information in local search, we’ve partnered with the SterlingSky team! Not familiar with SterlingSky? Joy Hawkins’ team of local experts have been around since 2017, and Joy has been a prominent member of the SEO industry since 2006. The team are GMB Product experts, owners of the Local Search Forum and contributors to several well known search publications. 

So what does this mean for you? Keep an eye on our local section for Local Search News from SterlingSky as they’ll keep us up to date with major changes, algorithm insight and more! 


ICYMI - Here is our recorded Trust webinar 

If you weren’t able to attend live, our Trust webinar is on our YouTube channel. You can watch it here, or get caught up on the previous episodes here. Definitely listen for the Q&A period as there were some great questions asked! 

If you were able to watch this or the other of our webinars, we would love for you to answer our feedback form


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Google Announcements

Google to test a new way of displaying licensing badging on Google Images

This feature is not yet live, but the information is out to help you prep your content for this. Here is the documentation from Google on how to begin. 


SEO Tips

John’s advice on when and how to begin using hreflang

When first implementing, John recommends only creating pages that are critical and valuable. Next, the main focus should be on pages that are receiving ‘wrong-language traffic’. John went into more detail in this r/techSEO Reddit post, where he often provides a helping hand to the community… and we love him for it! 


What to know about serving 429/503 http status codes

Gary Illyes says they will slow down crawling for that page, and if those codes persist for a longer period of time, then those pages can get removed from the index. 

Another important note to keep in mind -- if the only links to a specific page are on a page that is serving a 429 or 503 http status code, then there's a good possibility that page will also be crawled less, too: 


AMP training with Daniel Waisberg

This week’s Google Search Console training is about improving your AMP implementation. Google Webmaster Daniel Waisberg instructs how to locate and fix AMP issues through your AMP status report in Search Console and how to ask Google to revalidate your AMP pages.


Google Help Hangout Tips

Whatever shows up in the SERPs is what gets reported in GSC

If you have an IP redirect for after someone visits your page, the page they actually clicked on from the SERPs is the data you're seeing.


Other Interesting News

Ahrefs updated how keyword volume is calculated

The update now shows a 12-month average instead of a 30-month average. They say that if your website is in an "evergreen" industry, then you probably won't notice much change because the volume of the keywords you rank for likely haven't changed that drastically over the (almost) 3 years: 


Let’s just say Google was busy in 2018

Yep, Google ran over 650k+ experiments and ~3.2k updates over a 12 month period. That’s enough to keep SEOs extremely busy and constantly on their toes! We’ll admit, many of these updates go unnoticed, but the more notable ones we track on our algo list.


An attempt to flag a sitemap via Google’s SafeSearch tool

Maybe a (bad) attempt at negative SEO? Glenn Gabe noticed that for one of his clients, their sitemap URL was reported as adult content via Google's SafeSearch suggestion tool:

Don’t worry, it was denied -- besides, as Glenn says, that’s not how this works. SafeSearch is a filter that individual searchers can turn on and off, filtering their own results and not the index as a whole.


Another consumer insights provider bites the dust

Hitwise is shutting down after 24 years of providing internet traffic measurements and consumer insights. They reference "events outside of our control" and are talking about Jumpshot shutting down (they used Jumpshot's data to provide their insights to companies such as ABC, Conde Nast, and Walmart).


Google indexing private invite links on WhatsApp

With a simple “http://chat.whatsapp.com/” Google search, you are now able to find invite links to private WhatsApp groups. While recent tests have shown that most results are for adult content groups, some personal groups were also found in SERPs. As anything else on the web, if you wish to keep your invites from being indexed by any search engine, don’t share the invite links on public pages! 


Kayak using schema for advertising

Yep, going directly against Google’s guidelines on this, Kayak used FAQpage schema for advertising in the SERPs. You can see this in Lily’s tweet below. 


Local SEO - Local News from SterlingSky

As mentioned in MHC Announcements, we have paired up with SterlingSky to provide you with local news from local experts. This week’s insight comes from SterlingSky local specialist Carrie Hill. 

The last week didn't see much algorithmically in local search. Google did release its report on Spam Control on Maps in 2019, indicating they removed more than 75 million policy-violating reviews and 4 million fake business listings (up from 3 million in 2018).

We also saw some interesting new features that have the creative juices flowing.

  • First, we're seeing Google My Business Posts that are now allowing multiple photos in a post. We can add up to 10 photos to News, Events & Offer Posts (no product post capability). Conversations on Twitter came up with some creative uses - from storyboarding, to "meet the team" posts. One thing we noticed is the photo sizes you can use that display text is a bit different sized, so it takes some trial and error to get it right.
  • GMB also added the ability to pick from suggested product categories when adding content via the products tab. These are closely associated with GMB categories that sell "things" vs "services."

We touch on more of these changes below. Thanks SterlingSky for the update!


Local SEO - Tips

The benefit of posting fresh images on your GMB listing

Very real example of the benefit of having new images uploaded to your GMB listings. It’s always great to keep your content fresh, whether that is with images, articles or blog posts. Keeping them up to date and relevant will always be beneficial to users. 


Local SEO - Other Interesting News

Google’s 2019 efforts against Google Maps spam and violation revealed

In 2019, G removed 4 million fake profiles from GMB. Other major changes include 75 million reviews removed for violating policy, 10 million photos removed and 3 million videos. Several other profiles and reviews were removed for other reasons. That’s a lot of spam! 


Recommended Reading

How to Write an Incredible Title Tag – Dominic Woodman
https://www.distilled.net/resources/how-to-write-an-incredible-title-tag/
Feb 17, 2020

If you’re looking for help with title tags, this article was made for you! You’ll get a full look at what title tags are, how long they should be, and what they should do. If that is too beginner for you, it dives further into how to write one for an article, how to write for a template with hundreds of title tags, title tag split tests and more. 

 

5 Ways to Get Better Log File Insights for Crawl Budget Optimization – Rachel Costello
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/log-file-insights-crawl-budget-optimization/347038/
Feb 12, 2020

This is a good overview on crawl budget and how to use a log file analysis to your advantage when optimizing for it. Keep in mind Google states that crawl budget is rarely a concern for the average site, but there can be some real insights in your log files as to where to look for improvements to the accessibility and indexability of your site’s pages.


Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

Google My Business: FAQ for Multiple Businesses at the Same Address – Miriam Ellis
https://moz.com/blog/gmb-multiple-businesses-same-address
Feb 17, 2020

Do you own more than one business operating out of the same building? Have you wondered how you can create and optimize your multiple GMB listings without penalty? Well, Moz just released an article clarifying all of your GMB-related questions and concerns regarding owning multiple businesses at the same address. 


Jobs


Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • New information about how Google could be using E-A-T
  • Be careful...Coronavirus could be interfering with your client’s traffic patterns
  • GSC will now let you export more information on your data into Excel and Google Sheets
  • New content strategy with good results
  • Site speed is more involved than you’d think
  • Future proofing your site against core updates
  • Proven methods for earning trusted links
  • The benefits of using structured data (with the % impact on KPIs)
  • SEO cheat sheet for your web development team
  • Beware of this shady link building tactic
  • How to increase your odds of earning a Bing featured snippet
  • Use Python to find all the mixed content warnings your site is serving visitors
  • Google clarifies which of GSC or Analytics is most accurate for tracking Discover traffic
  • Are H1 tags necessary for ranking?
  • Google talks E-A-T and picking up online signals
  • New Bing Webmaster Tools has arrived (& here’s the early access signup)
  • How Brexit is impacting UK users in relation to the EU data protection
  • Safari no longer accepting HTTPS certificates valid for more than 398 days
  • Google is testing out adding additional photos or videos to your GMB Posts
  • More discussion on the use of keywords in your business description
  • Suggested Product Categories within GMB dashboard
  • Find guest blogging opportunities
  • Handy tool for those of you who do pay-per-click
  • 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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