SNYCU Ep. 131 - May 6, 2020 - Light Version

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In this episode we discuss all of the changes Google has announced this past week including the rollout of the May 2020 broad core algorithm update and our early analysis. We also include our recent article on determining if your traffic changes are due to an algorithm update or COVID-19. As usual, be sure to read through our compilation of the latest tips and tools to help you improve your site.


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In this episode:


Paid members also get the following:

  • Early thoughts on the May Core update
  • Google’s new page speed metrics: Web Vitals
  • You can now add your Google Maps to Data Studio
  • Does old, out of date content bring down Google’s perception of quality for your site?
  • High bounce rate isn't necessarily an indication that your content isn't helpful
  • Quick SEO wins you can tackle in under an hour
  • Five ways to remove a URL from Google
  • Don't submit a second Reconsideration Request if you have one still pending
  • It may only take a few days for Google to start deindexing your URLs if your site goes down
  • John Mueller comments on what soft 404s in GSC could mean for your site
  • Google describing how they look at intent behind a query
  • Does the value of a link change depending where it’s found on-page?
  • Will adding site links search box schema get you a search box in the SERPs?
  • Why your articles may getting de-indexed
  • Do non-canonical versions of pages eat up crawl budget?
  • Let’s talk about Backlinko’s ranking study
  • Did the Jumpshot shutdown impact keyword research tool data?
  • Schema 8.0 has been officially released
  • No hard limit on the number of search results showing something like FAQ schema in the SERPs
  • Possible issue in Yoast at the moment
  • Google vs. a Melbourne lawyer: the ruling
  • How Amazon affiliates are reacting to the changes
  • GMB name spam can now be submitted within the redressal complaint form
  • What Google is doing for local news searches
  • March reviews are beginning to surface in GMB dashboards
  • Onely’s new tool shows aggregate data from the Chrome UX Report
  • Try this new way to track rankings at zero-cost
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

Algorithm Updates

Google’s May 2020 Core Update is live

This week Google announced that they have pushed out another core update. As usual, they did not give us specifics, but linked to their post that advises on what webmasters should know about core updates. 

While we have seen several possible small updates in the last few months, our last core update happened four months ago in January of 2020.

Since Google has started to tell us when they have released a significant update, we have found that in general we don’t tend to see much change in website traffic until 24-48 hours after the update. Sure enough, this was the case this time. The announcement was made on May 4. Starting May 5, we have several clients seeing beautiful increases in traffic coming from Google.

As always, the MHC team is currently hard at work in analyzing the traffic patterns for our client base as well as staying on top of industry chatter. 

If you are a premium subscriber of the newsletter, in the next section you will see our very early thoughts on what is happening with this update. Given that we have only had one day of data to analyze so far, know that we will not have any solid conclusions in this discussion. Still, there are some very interesting patterns that have already emerged.


MHC Announcements

Stay up to date on algorithm changes 

Following every update Google makes to their algorithm is a lot of work. Luckily, we’ve done it for you! Our algo page is kept up to date with major changes to Google’s algorithm, as well as suspected tweaks. 

Thanks Brodie for using and sharing our page!


Were you affected by a Google update, or is it related to Coronavirus?

It can be extremely difficult to determine what is causing a traffic drop when Google runs updates in the midst of tumultuous times. Published this morning, you may find this article on making sense of your Google Analytics data during COVID-19, written by Dr. Marie Haynes useful.


Google Announcements

Google Search Console now supports SpecialAnnouncement structured data 

Last month Google announced a feature to display COVID-19 related announcements. Now, with support for SpecialAnnouncements, site owners will be able to see errors, warnings and valid pages markups. 

On top of that, once you fix an issue and use the report to validate it, the new feature will trigger Google to recrawl the affected page. Site owners will also be able to see the impact of SpecialAnnouncements markup. 


Google SERP Changes

More on the Google Question Hub  

Search Engine Roundtable has added a few more insights into the Google Question Hub. Some screenshots seem to show how Question Hub is able to display impression clicks and the queries you get. 

Something we found interesting is how you don’t get to submit answers to questions but rather write your own article on your page and then give Google that URL.  


SEO Tips

Gary Illyes talks about the importance of page speed

On Twitter last week, Gary Illyes commented on site speed saying that "Ranking wise, it's a teeny tiny factor, very similar to https ranking boost". So a fast site may help your rankings, but it is also a lot more likely to help improve things like your conversions and not frustrate your visitors -- which are very legitimate reasons to have a speedy site.


Get a Google Sheets tip a day, for 30 days 

This is a cool project to follow from the folks over at BrainLabs. They are releasing a Google Sheets pro-tip a day for 30 days. At the time of writing we are on day 6 of 30, and the tips are pretty good so far!


Should you use emojis in your snippets? 

John was asked about the usage of emojis in snippets. While it doesn’t guarantee anything, he replies that “test results beat Twitter opinions” as some may find it unprofessional.


Google Help Hangout Tips

Does Googlebot submit forms? 

This is rare. This was done initially when websites were not optimized for crawling. If you’re seeing this happen, John says there is likely an issue where they cannot find all of the content. He recommends changing your site’s navigational structure if this is happening to you.


Other Interesting News

Google has slashed its marketing budget

It appears Google has cut their 2020 marketing budget in half as their revenue is likely to see a drop due to COVID-19. This is the first time Google has ever cut their marketing budget. As this Forbes article points out, Google will survive the pandemic, but the question is; what will happen to customer ad-spending? We’ll have to wait and see. 


AMP Stories are now Web Stories 

Previously known as AMP Stories, the rich media bringing stories to the web, has now been changed to Web Stories. They live on the web and function similarly to other web pages, so the name change was simple. New to Web Stories? Learn how to get started here, or check out Glenn’s tweet below. 


Local SEO - News from SterlingSky 

Local search rankings are experiencing quite a bit of flux lately - which could explain why the GMB team has been fairly quiet this week. The forums are loaded with people protesting their demotion from the 3-pack - only to see their positions come back a day or two later.

We're seeing and hearing about businesses in a variety of verticals bouncing in and out of the map pack pretty spastically. Sites will be out for ~48-hours, then bounce back. We're not seeing much of a "reason" or "pattern" to this. Google's Core Algorithm Update on May 5 is an unlikely culprit as we've been seeing these patterns since around April 23rd.

Joy has asked Danny Sullivan if there's any local algorithm flux going on, he said he'd check into it but has not updated as of the writing of these notes. 

BrightLocal's Rank Flux is pretty spot on with the up and down sentiment of the local algorithm these days. The last 2 days have been busy.

Actually in an effort to not take too myopic a view of rankings, I looked at the flux over time chart (you can enter whatever dates you like). If we look at the data since April 20, we see a bit of a pattern of up and down data. Remember anything over ~3.0 is considered pretty "fluxy." Looking at the Rank Flux data since April 22 shows us that things are actually a bit more volatile over time than the 2 days "in the red" above may indicate.

As Joy points out to us often, sometimes "red days" back to back is good, it means things might have gone back to normal. Another indicator for the "Mike Blumenthal Prescription" of "take 2 beers and check back in 48 hours."

Is Your Business Location Being Filtered? 

The local filter is a real thing, and has existed for a long time - but is more noticeable after the Possum update in 2016. But, what triggers it, and how can you tell if it applies to your local ranking problem? Joy explores the different types of filters that can cause a Google Business Profile to just not show up for even a very specific branded query in her recent article, Is Your Google My Business Listing Getting Filtered?

Are you using a Google My Business Website? Maybe You Should!

Mike Blumenthal shared some information on the adoption numbers for Google My Business websites and the pros of starting out with this low-barrier-to-entry option. For those who don't know - each Google My Business listing has a "website" option in the left sidebar. GMB then takes the data available for your listing via the GMB dashboard and builds a website - complete with photos, reviews, contact info, business description, etc.

Mike points out that GMB Websites recently passed 36 million created, and shares the use case for why these little powerhouse websites might be a good "first step" for a startup or restaurant who doesn't have the budget for a website right out of the gate.


Recommended Reading

Mixed Directives: A reminder that robots.txt files are handled by subdomain and protocol, including www/non-www and http/https [Case Study] – Glenn Gabe
https://searchengineland.com/mixed-directives-a-reminder-that-robots-txt-files-are-handled-by-subdomain-and-protocol-including-www-non-www-and-http-https-case-study-333653
April 28, 2020

One website, hosting two separate robots.txt files, giving separate directives to search engines. It may be rare, but as Glenn Gabe points out, it can happen and could possibly cause some major SEO issues. Dive in to this article to see what problems can arise and how to fix them. 

 

What Custom Alerts Should Ecommerce Sites Set-Up in Google Analytics? – Erudite Agency
https://erudite.agency/insights/what-custom-alerts-should-ecommerce-sites-set-up-in-google-analytics/
April 29, 2020

Given the competitiveness of ecommerce, the ability to respond quickly and effectively to site issues should be a priority for site owners and marketing teams. If you’re like most and have Google Analytics set up for your site, custom alerts can be a useful tool for automated monitoring that coincides with your usual day-to-day activities.
This article covers eight useful alerts (split between revenue tracking and user experience alerts) that you should consider implementing. 

 

Search insights and shifting consumer behaviors and trends during COVID-19
https://searchengineland.com/search-insights-and-shifting-consumer-behaviors-and-trends-333984
May 1, 2020

Almost everyone is struggling to make sense of their data these days. This SEL article gives us insight into how search behaviors are changing during our fight against coronavirus. The article points out that search patterns can be drastically different even amongst the same verticals. 


Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

Local Mailbag: How do you find and deal with duplicate listings? – Team Whitespark
https://whitespark.ca/blog/google-my-business-duplicates/
April 28, 2020

Having a duplicate GMB profile can hurt your rankings and possibly affect your customer traffic. There a few steps to follow to find out if your business has a duplicate GMB profile. Read the article for full details. 

 

GMB Products vs GMB product posts – A historical guide, plus how they work NOW – Claire Carlile
https://localu.org/gmb-products-vs-gmb-product-posts-a-historical-guide-plus-how-they-work-now/
April 29, 2020

Although Google My Business products can, potentially, affect ranking, there are no longer any differences between GMB products and GMB posts products. However, for better functionally and product details, you might want to add more information to your product listings. This feature now gets a huge chunk of the layout and the more info you submit, the better it will be for the SERPs and queries. 


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Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • Early thoughts on the May Core update
  • Google’s new page speed metrics: Web Vitals
  • You can now add your Google Maps to Data Studio
  • Does old, out of date content bring down Google’s perception of quality for your site?
  • High bounce rate isn't necessarily an indication that your content isn't helpful
  • Quick SEO wins you can tackle in under an hour
  • Five ways to remove a URL from Google
  • Don't submit a second Reconsideration Request if you have one still pending
  • It may only take a few days for Google to start deindexing your URLs if your site goes down
  • John Mueller comments on what soft 404s in GSC could mean for your site
  • Google describing how they look at intent behind a query
  • Does the value of a link change depending where it’s found on-page?
  • Will adding site links search box schema get you a search box in the SERPs?
  • Why your articles may getting de-indexed
  • Do non-canonical versions of pages eat up crawl budget?
  • Let’s talk about Backlinko’s ranking study
  • Did the Jumpshot shutdown impact keyword research tool data?
  • Schema 8.0 has been officially released
  • No hard limit on the number of search results showing something like FAQ schema in the SERPs
  • Possible issue in Yoast at the moment
  • Google vs. a Melbourne lawyer: the ruling
  • How Amazon affiliates are reacting to the changes
  • GMB name spam can now be submitted within the redressal complaint form
  • What Google is doing for local news searches
  • March reviews are beginning to surface in GMB dashboards
  • Onely’s new tool shows aggregate data from the Chrome UX Report
  • Try this new way to track rankings at zero-cost
  • 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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