SNYCU Ep. 134 - May 27, 2020 - Light Version

Looking for the paid members version? Log in here

In this episode we discuss what the search results look like since the May 2020 core update, John Mueller joining our podcast next week, tips for Lighthouse's new metrics, why pages may be dropping out of the index, and some really great insight from SEOs across the globe.


Marie’s Podcast for this episode

If you would like to subscribe, you can find the podcasts here: iTunesSpotifyGoogle Play

Ask Marie an SEO Question

Have a question that you want to ask Marie? You can ask them on our Q&A with Marie Haynes Consulting page and Marie will answer some of the best questions each week in podcast!


In this episode:


Paid members also get the following:

  • Have the search results improved since the May core update? (And an interesting theory that could help you rank really well.)
  • Are you aware of this common mistake in your robots.txt?
  • John Mueller touches on whether unlinked brand citations help in defining the trust of a website
  • A layman's explanation on how different URL variations of your domain can impact SEO
  • Cheat sheet displaying consequences for the various robots.txt status codes
  • SEMrush’s analysis on factors that trigger a manual action
  • SERP autocomplete research tip
  • Quick tips surrounding Lighthouse’s new metrics
  • A few things to know regarding Lighthouse’s JavaScript audits
  • How to test your links on a JavaScript-based site
  • How to remove the "Uploaded by" attribution in SERPs
  • If pages are dropping out of the index, and it’s not due to technical reasons, it could be because they are considered low quality by Google
  • Google can typically work around temporary technical errors
  • Google has swapped out the Speed report in GSC
  • It would appear that scroll to text fragments are generated from cached versions of web page
  • Here’s how to check if your keyword switched to local intent
  • GMB Insights is having issues and isn't showing data past May 18th
  • Structured data visualizer tool
  • See how your pages measure up to the new Core Web Vitals
  • An update to the Keywords Everywhere tool
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

Algorithm Updates

The latest on the May core update

We do not have much to add on the May core update. If you haven’t seen it yet, we outlined several theories in our article on Google’s May update.

We do feel that this update was primarily about how Google determines which answers are relevant to a searcher’s question. Also, we feel that in some cases, if elements of trust and authoritativeness are present, Google is allowing some “lesser authoritative” sites to rank in the top ten if they can clearly demonstrate that they have real life expertise on the subject.

At MHC, we have several clients who saw nice improvements with this update. Some who saw declines were sites that had invested heavily in building links over the years. We do not necessarily feel that these sites are being demoted because of link quality, but rather, links that were made for SEO as opposed to earned because of merit, may count for less now. There is more on this near the end of our article on the update.

Barry Schwartz did report on a possible tweak to the update around May 21. We did have several clients with further increases in Google organic traffic on this day, but not enough for us to be confident that something significant changed at this time. 

However, we have seen some people claiming that some of the tweaks were dramatic.

We’ll keep an eye on things and report back if we find anything interesting.


MHC Announcements

The special guest on our SNYCU podcast is... 

None other than Google’s John Mueller! We’re so excited to have him on our podcast next week to discuss all things SEO, cheese and “it depends” with Marie. Be sure to subscribe to our digital marketing podcast so you don’t miss out! 


Vote for our podcast! 

We’ve had the cool opportunity of being included in a list of great SEO podcasts. If you like ours, you can vote for us here. All of these podcasts are great listens, so we’re honoured to be included. 


Google Announcements

The Google Webmasters have a new podcast on the way: Search Off the Record

John Mueller, Martin Splitt, and Gary Illyes are teaming up for a new podcast series that’ll discuss behind the scenes insight at Google. It aims to not be another source of documentation, but instead will give you some background knowledge regarding some ideas -- and the thought process of leading up to them before they’re announced.

If you’re eager to hear about “little bits and pieces” from their daily work, interesting finds they’ve encountered on Twitter or at an event, check out this podcast and enjoy the laughs along the way.


Save the date for Google’s developer event, web.dev LIVE

Google’s three-day event is scheduled for June 30-July 2 and welcomes developers from across the globe. Join Google’s Web Platform team and learn quick tips, modern techniques and much more.


Google SERP Changes

A new HowTo appears in the SERPs

It seems that Google is testing new How-to rich results. The feature, that is currently only available for mobile devices, makes good use of How-to Schema to display how-to information. However, as some Twitter users pointed out, not every query seems to qualify for this feature just yet. 


SEO Tips

Was there a Google update on this specific day? Find out!

Going through your traffic and want to know if a dip or increase could be related to an update? Barry has created this really great tool to make it easy to know if a day you are searching for was an algorithm update. Simply put in the date and it’ll tell you. 

MHC also features a collection of Google algorithm updates (in list form) which can be useful for seeing our (and other industry professionals) conclusions, drawing connections between algos, and more. 


All the FAQ’s from Martin Splitt’s recent Lightning Talk (and more) on the topic of JavaScript and links

Google’s first ever Lightning Talk which aired on April 29 did an excellent job of discussing how links are important to discovery and how JavaScript can be used without causing headaches.

Following up on this, Martin has posted the original video and a series of the top FAQs he’s received on the topic over on the Google Webmaster blog. We’ve covered some of these questions in past newsletters, but if you’re looking for a quick refresher or are new to JavaScript, check it out. 


Other Interesting News

Google Assistant now has a "Confirm with voice match" setting for payments made through Assistant 

This new setting has been added to Google Assistant’s Payments and Security settings pane (the feature looking to be an opt-in by the way) which will soon allow users to verify their purchases with their voice. It’s a little early to speak on how this will change the eCommerce landscape, but this feels like a decent-sized change that could garner a lot of attention.


Local SEO - News from SterlingSky 

Flux in the local algorithm has improved and the last 7-days have been fairly quiet according to BrightLocal's Local Rank Flux tool. Most sites that had some volatility still last week have calmed this week. That's not to say they've gone back to where they were pre flux, but where they are now has stabilized a bit.  Have we figured out if there was a "reason" or a specific set of tweaks Google made? Hardly.

rank flux may 20

Does Linking to your GMB profile improve rankings?

TL:DR - no. This tactic has been touted in many local search circles but testing has been thin.  Joy at Sterling Sky looked at 3 different scenarios where links were added to a business' GMB listing - in all 3 cases there was a small movement in one direction or the other - but long-term the net was "no change". Getting links to your GMB listing from relevant websites is not an easy task, and the minimal movement, even in the short term, doesn't support the efforts it would take to get the links. You're much better off pursuing earned media and local PR.

Google Adds "Manage Insurance Info" to Help Center for medical category businesses

We've been seeing "Insurance taken" lists show up on GMB listings for medical and dental offices sporadically with no word from Google on how to influence or manage this feature.  Now Google has released information on how to manage this information - sort of.  The help doc basically implies the information is pulled from other sources, but if it's wrong you can delete it via a process they outline.

remove insurance info

Google Expands Review Attributes to More Categories

Mike Blumenthal noticed that the selectable attributes in reviews has expanded to more categories in Google My Business. This allows reviewers to click or tap on attributes for a business that help GMB determine the "sentiment" around a review outside of the limited words most reviewers leave. Mike did some additional research over the weekend and explained in the Last Week in Local podcast that Google reviews averaged about 140 characters with spaces - that's not really enough words to give google a strong idea of reviewer satisfaction or dissatisfaction.

Google My Business Now Allows Users to "Suggest an Edit" to Mark A Business "Temporarily Closed"


Recommended Reading

Featured Snippets Study: Results From 3,500+ Internet Users – Jonathan Gorham
https://enginescout.com.au/featured-snippets-study/
May 20, 2020

This new study from EngineScout and Jonathan Gorham surveyed over 3,500 people in order to try and compare the click-through rates for featured snippets and regular search listings, as well as try and determine the reasons why someone may or may not click on a featured snippet. So if you were wondering if chasing a featured snippet was still worth it now that a page can only be found in either the featured snippet or within the regular search listings, then you’ll definitely want to read this to get the full insights. 

 

Nofollow as Hint – Oliver H.G. Mason
https://ohgm.co.uk/nofollow-as-hint/
May 20, 2020

We all know by now about the changes to the “nofollow” tag, making room for slight hints to search engines using “UGC” and “Sponsored” tags. Ohgm, makes a case for paying close attention to how you now link out, especially to competitors.

 

Case Study: Does Webpage Schema (About & Mentions) Improve Rankings? – Dixon Jones
https://inlinks.net/p/help/case-study-does-webpage-schema-about-mentions-improve-rankings
May 21, 2020

Google has openly stated that structured data does not impact rankings, but has also commented that it is useful for helping crawlers better understand a page (and the entities associated with it) and could also encourage better clickthrough rates among users. With this, it’s clear that structured data is important, but just how much influence can it have? This recent experiment asked more specifically, is WebPage schema worth the effort to implement?

 

Pagination in 2020 – Modern websites and testing your paginated series – Edd Wilson
https://www.impression.co.uk/blog/pagination-in-2020-modern-websites-and-testing-your-paginated-series/
May 20, 2020

This is a good overview of pagination and SEO in 2020! With rel=prev and rel=next confirmed by Google to no longer be an indexing signal, this has been a topic of much confusion in the industry over the past year or so. It’s important to keep in mind that while a pagination series may seem like low value content unworthy of search indexing, they are oftentimes important access points for crawlers. You’ll want to put some thought into it before blanket canonicalizing to page 1 or no-indexing these pages.

 

What Makes A Domain Name Valuable? – Mark Rofe
https://riseatseven.com/blog/what-makes-a-domain-name-valuable/
May 19, 2020

Mark Rofe at Rise at Seven wrote an excellent piece on everything domains; their characteristics, types, value, worth and how to determine if there is money to be made. Give this a full read if you have plans to create a new site, are rebranding, or may be migrating elsewhere as there is some really valuable information here.

 

Three Steps to a Better-Performing About Page – Ann Smarty
https://moz.com/blog/better-about-page
May 25, 2020

About pages are one of the most important pages on your site. Not only does it give search engines a little snippet about your business, but it can also help you rank better in brand-driven queries and trigger a better conversion rate. This article by Ann Smarty breaks down the main components of a better performing About page, such as telling the story behind your brand. 

 

Breaking Down Google’s BERT Powered News Carousel (Case Study) – Mordy Oberstein
https://www.rankranger.com/blog/google-news-carousel-analysis
May 20, 2020

In December 2019, BERT was rolled out into the Top Stories Carousel. In this case study, Mordy Oberstein takes a look at what impact BERT has had in this area. One of the big differences that users will have noticed since December 2019 is that there may now be multiple news carousels for some queries. This affects around 5% of mobile News Boxes. The “fuel” behind this switch to multiple carousels is the machine learning capabilities brought to us by BERT. 


Jobs


Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • Have the search results improved since the May core update? (And an interesting theory that could help you rank really well.)
  • Are you aware of this common mistake in your robots.txt?
  • John Mueller touches on whether unlinked brand citations help in defining the trust of a website
  • A layman's explanation on how different URL variations of your domain can impact SEO
  • Cheat sheet displaying consequences for the various robots.txt status codes
  • SEMrush’s analysis on factors that trigger a manual action
  • SERP autocomplete research tip
  • Quick tips surrounding Lighthouse’s new metrics
  • A few things to know regarding Lighthouse’s JavaScript audits
  • How to test your links on a JavaScript-based site
  • How to remove the "Uploaded by" attribution in SERPs
  • If pages are dropping out of the index, and it’s not due to technical reasons, it could be because they are considered low quality by Google
  • Google can typically work around temporary technical errors
  • Google has swapped out the Speed report in GSC
  • It would appear that scroll to text fragments are generated from cached versions of web page
  • Here’s how to check if your keyword switched to local intent
  • GMB Insights is having issues and isn't showing data past May 18th
  • Structured data visualizer tool
  • See how your pages measure up to the new Core Web Vitals
  • An update to the Keywords Everywhere tool
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

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.

Want to see the full newsletter?

It's well worth the $18 per month!

You can subscribe to Dr. Marie Haynes' newsletter by clicking on the Paypal button below. You'll get an action packed email every week.

You'll also have access to past episodes, including this one.


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.


Paid Member Login

Lost your Password?

Google update newsletter

Want an update when Google makes a big algorithm change or other announcement? Sign up here!

This is a weekly newsletter. We will never send spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit