SNYCU Ep. 132 - May 13, 2020 - Light Version

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In this episode we dive into the May 2020 core update including our initial thoughts from analyzing client data. We also included the trending SEO news of the week such as new Google tests, tools and tips from SEO experts across the globe.


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In this episode:


Paid members also get the following:

  • MHC’s observations on the May 2020 core update so far
  • There’s a new tool available on Think With Google in the US, UK, and Australia: it's called Rising Retail Categories
  • Google is suggesting search queries based on recent search activity for logged in accounts
  • Google advises you to stop using the URL removal tool to remove HTTP URLs
  • How to find and fix 404 errors that matter most
  • Ask yourself these important questions following an algorithm update (+ how to use GSC data and Google Data Studio for useful analysis)
  • Updating your title tag to [current year] is not enough
  • Geotargeting does not restrict a site to only be shown in that region or limit your reach
  • According to Danny Sullivan, being on the first page is a sign you're doing things well
  • Slow declines over time may be a sign your website has been becoming less relevant
  • Negative SEO is not the reason why Google created the disavow tool
  • Search Console training covers the Security Issues report (Part 1 & 2)
  • There is no special tool or technique that’ll alert Google of your canonical changes
  • 17 useful tips for great copywriting
  • Hyphen vs. underscore URL test performed by Screaming Frog
  • What likely happened with LinkedIn dropping out of the index
  • Shopify and Pinterest partner up create shoppable pins on Pinterest
  • There's a new facilities attribution in GMB for Hotels
  • Healthcare businesses can showcase added attributes if applicable
  • Did you know that if you mark your business as temporarily closed, your GMB may no longer show the links to your website or your phone number?
  • Local link building tip
  • New Core Web Vitals Chrome extension
  • SEO meta tag generator that'll help you save time on writing code
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

Algorithm Updates

The latest on the May 2020 core update

This update is shaping up to be a very large one. Initially when Google announced that they were pushing out a core update, we hoped that the primary reason for an update would be to protect searchers so that they would be less likely to surface dangerous advice surrounding COVID-19 and the struggling economy.

It appears that this update has done so much more. In the next section of the newsletter, if you are a premium subscriber, you will read our detailed early observations. We are seeing Google reward real life expertise, and truly helpful content. The patterns are very interesting.

Here are some other articles on this update from across the web. These two posts share the early winners and losers of the update.

https://www.sistrix.com/blog/google-core-update-may-2020-whirlwind-through-the-serps-despite-covid-19/

https://www.pathinteractive.com/blog/seo/550-winners-and-losers-of-googles-may-2020-core-algorithm-update


MHC Announcements

Marie’s E-A-T video with Aleyda Solis and Lily Ray

The latest episode of Crawling Mondays with Aleyda Solis is a discussion surrounding E-A-T with Marie and Lily Ray. This is a great chat with brilliant minds and is not one to miss. They also quickly touch on the May 2020 Core Update as it was just released at the time of filming. 


Google Announcements

Google is asking to keep your documentation feedback to a minimum

Google welcomes feedback but Gary is urging you to keep it short and to the point! If you need a response, the support forums are your best bet as you’ll be able to discuss with others (including individuals who are in regular contact with Google personnel).


Google SERP Changes

Google is displaying in the SERPs the date and creator of Youtube embeds, rather than the date and author of the article

We have had a few clients notice that some of their pages are displaying in the SERPs with incorrect markup. In some cases, if you have a YouTube embed on your page, Google will show the date of your article as the date that the YouTube video was uploaded. They will also show the name of the person who uploaded the video in the SERPs. 

Danny Sullivan replied on Twitter, saying that he has passed this onto the team for review.


SEO Tips

Robots.txt isn’t a hint, it's always obeyed

A firm reminder from Gary Illyes that robots.txt is not a hint, and to stop thinking of it that way. Directives such as user-agent, allow and disallow are always obeyed by Google. 


Google almost never indexes all content

No surprises here, once again John Mueller has confirmed that Google does not index every single page on a site. From their perspective they’re trying to index just the highest quality of pages and exclude the ones that do not find hold sufficient value to users.


Other Interesting News

Google says core updates and Search Console reporting lags are unrelated

Any lags in GSC data after a core update are not because of the core update says John. 


Critical vulnerability with Elementor Pro

Elementor Pro and the Ultimate Addons plugin are vulnerable to hackers registered with the website. The current recommendation is to update to Elementor Pro version 2.9.4 for protection and either update your Ultimate Addons plugin, or install the patch. Find out more here


Are you an out of work SEO or content writer looking for feedback on your resume or job search strategy?

We love this! Thank you to Ross from Siege Media at volunteering to help those out of work to get back in it. If you need help with your resume or job searching, contact him! 


Local SEO - News from SterlingSky 

April 2020 Local Search Algorithm Update Continues

There is obviously something going on with local search ranking. We reported last week that Google announced a "Core Algorithm Update" (boring naming yet again) Danny Sullivan indicated that nothing was being tweaked in the Local algorithm. Regardless, we continue to see a ton of volatility in local results since April 23 - with businesses bouncing in and out of top-ranking every 48 to 72 hours. Weekends seem to factor into businesses being in and out as well.

A look at the Local Rank Flux tool from BrightLocal reinforces a good amount of flux - anything above 3.0 is particularly active. The peak seemed to be May 8th with a flux of 5.58.

Before you ask, we have no idea what is causing this - or when it will be "done." There is no way to speculate about how to "protect" your listing or "fix" it at this time. We recommend what we've always recommended. Do good work for your customers, get great reviews, write engaging, useful content, build your brand with media mentions, have a completely filled out and optimized Google My Business profile - and if you're trying to "game the system" - maybe stop that.

flux since 4_23

COVID-19 Posts Cause Regular GMB Posts to Disappear

If you're using the COVID-19 post type to gain additional message visibility in your Google Business Listing - take note that your regular GMB posts are not visible on the business listing.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing - but many are not aware that the "regular" Google Posts are not visible. You may want to weigh the pros and cons of higher visibility of COVID-19 posts vs lack of visibility for other posts if you're using this post type. COVID-19 posts do have limited features but do last 14+ days.

COVID-19 Testing Now Submittable to GMB via 3rd party site

If your business performs COVID-19 testing, you can submit the information via a 3rd party site where it will be verified (within 24 hours) and then added to your GMB listing (within another 24 hours). This is useful as more and more locations for testing roll out across the country.

covid testing buffalo

Review "Hiatus" Ending? 

BrightLocal is tracking the return of reviews during COVID-19. As businesses start to open, it looks like Google is relaxing their "furlough" of business reviews - which had been pretty much shut down since the beginning of March. In some informal data review - they’re seeing reviews posting that would have been submitted during the furlough showing up for primarily automotive and restaurant categories. They warn to “not draw any firm conclusions” from the data. The point being, slow and steady, and “it depends." Are 100% of reviews left during the "review hiatus" destined to show up on your listing? That remains to be seen at this point.

Add Support Links to your Google Business Listing - Coming Soon

Google announced that businesses can now add support links to gift card sales or donation opportunities directly to their Business Listing via their GMB dashboard. As the new feature launches, they've partnered with GoFundMe and Paypal for donation links. For gift cards, the link can go directly to the business' website OR they can link to their gift card pages with eligible partners, including Square, Clover, Toast, and Vagaro. This is a staged rollout across many categories and countries.  We're not seeing this feature in any dashboards we have access to yet, but keep an eye out, coming soon.


Recommended Reading

First 50 Days Of Quarantine: What We’ve Learned – Bill Sebald, Maddie Goodwin & Sebastian Compagnucci
https://www.greenlanemarketing.com/resources/articles/first-50-days-of-quarantine-what-weve-learned/
May 5, 2020

We’ve all had to adapt to a new lifestyle amid the pandemic. This article from Greenlane Marketing outlines what they have done to create a new business as usual in the past 50 days for both their employees and clients. 

One of our favourites was Bill Sebald discussing how he has become a leader, not just a boss. This is really important right now as there is so much going on in the world. We need to lead by example. Thanks for doing your part, Bill and team! 

 

A/B & Multivariate Testing for SEO: How to Do It the Right Way – Rachel Costello
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/a-b-multivariate-testing-seo/366184/
May 7, 2020


For those unfamiliar with A/B testing in SEO, Rachel Costello has written a great guide to help you get started the right way. A/B testing, or split testing, is a great way of testing the performance of your CTAs or campaigns. Rachel makes good points about running these tests with SEO in mind. Thanks for this great piece, Rachel! We will definitely keep these in mind for our next test. 

 

Google is changing the face of ecommerce – Andrew Charlton
https://www.agy47.com/insights/google-is-changing-the-face-of-ecommerce/
May 6, 2020

If you’re in the ecommerce space, pay attention. There have been a series of advancements made by Google in recent months that allow online shopping to play a much larger role. More specifically, we’re talking about the world’s largest product ecosystem created by Google. 

 

How Google May Classify Offensive Content – Bill Slawski
https://gofishdigital.com/classify-offensive-content/
May 6, 2020

Sometimes words have two meanings, and sometimes one of those meanings is rude! This can be geographically dependent, age dependent, or tone dependent. For a search algorithm this can be problematic, and walking that tightrope between not surfacing offensive content, but not accidentally removing valuable content that isn’t offensive (in the context) is hard.

 

Winning SEO With Keyword Research - Whiteboard Friday – Cyrus Shepard
https://moz.com/blog/winning-seo-with-keyword-research
May 8, 2020

Last week Cryus Shepard joined the Moz Whiteboard Friday series to discuss keyword research basics. Even if you’ve been in SEO for sometime, it doesn’t hurt to go back to the beginning on certain topics and if someone as seasoned as Cryrus is walking you through it, you might even learn something new. 

 

How does Giphy’s algorithm work and what is Gif SEO (GEO)? – Carrie Rose
https://riseatseven.com/blog/giphy-seo/
May 10, 2020

Did you know that SEO for GIF existed? The massive volume of searches makes Giphy.com one of the largest search engines active right now. This article is a fantastic read for digital marketers in possession of what they think to be “one-time use” ad content who aren’t sure where to branch out next. This article dives deeper into how to optimize your GIF content to get it to rank.


Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

3 Benefits of Using Call Tracking With Local SEO – Nikki Brown
https://www.sterlingsky.ca/call-tracking-benefits/
May 12, 2020

Businesses optimizing for local SEO have been told time and time again to implement call tracking. However, many find themselves not knowing how to dissect the data and aren’t sure what to do with it. SterlingSky wrote an article full of insightful information on how to use your data.


Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • MHC’s observations on the May 2020 core update so far
  • There’s a new tool available on Think With Google in the US, UK, and Australia: it's called Rising Retail Categories
  • Google is suggesting search queries based on recent search activity for logged in accounts
  • Google advises you to stop using the URL removal tool to remove HTTP URLs
  • How to find and fix 404 errors that matter most
  • Ask yourself these important questions following an algorithm update (+ how to use GSC data and Google Data Studio for useful analysis)
  • Updating your title tag to [current year] is not enough
  • Geotargeting does not restrict a site to only be shown in that region or limit your reach
  • According to Danny Sullivan, being on the first page is a sign you're doing things well
  • Slow declines over time may be a sign your website has been becoming less relevant
  • Negative SEO is not the reason why Google created the disavow tool
  • Search Console training covers the Security Issues report (Part 1 & 2)
  • There is no special tool or technique that’ll alert Google of your canonical changes
  • 17 useful tips for great copywriting
  • Hyphen vs. underscore URL test performed by Screaming Frog
  • What likely happened with LinkedIn dropping out of the index
  • Shopify and Pinterest partner up create shoppable pins on Pinterest
  • There's a new facilities attribution in GMB for Hotels
  • Healthcare businesses can showcase added attributes if applicable
  • Did you know that if you mark your business as temporarily closed, your GMB may no longer show the links to your website or your phone number?
  • Local link building tip
  • New Core Web Vitals Chrome extension
  • SEO meta tag generator that'll help you save time on writing code
  • 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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