SNYCU Ep. 135 - June 3, 2020 - Light Version

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In this episode we discuss Google's Web Core Vitals in a full analysis of what you need to know for your site, our podcast episode with Google's John Mueller, a cloaking conspiracy, what a bad link is, and some great recommended readings you won't want to miss!


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In this episode:


Paid members also get the following:

  • Set to resume SameSite cookie changes beginning next month
  • Is it cloaking if a website is only serving hreflang to bots and not to human visitors?
  • Tidbits for the Core Web Vitals (courtesy of Google + more)
  • See how this company is nailing content and SEO
  • Does Google use historical data when it comes to rankings?
  • The new Bing Webmaster Console has a keyword research tool built in
  • Big change to the addiction treatment industry
  • This tool has a free Google Sheets add-on that lets you do like sentiment analysis, topic extraction, and more
  • New WordPress plugin & Google Analytics Dashboard for managing and visualizing Web Vitals data
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

Algorithm Updates

Turbulence following the May update

There has been much talk of a possible tweak to the May core update.

In looking at our clients, many of them have changes in search traffic that are not normal and could possibly represent an algorithm update. However, there is no one specific day on which things changed.

With so much going on in the world right now, it is quite possible that search patterns have changed, just like they did when the virus situation was first called a pandemic.

We’ll be keeping an eye on things and if we can find obvious patterns to report on, we’ll let you know in future newsletters.


MHC Announcements

John Mueller on our SNYCU podcast! 

Our first ever podcast guest was Google’s one and only John Mueller! Be sure to have a listen today as we publish this special episode where Marie and John dive into Google, SEO and of course, cheese. 

To make it even easier, we’ve added a transcription of the podcast for you. We hope you enjoy the episode as much as we did! 


Our very own Dylan Adamek discusses “What is a bad link?”

Authoritas.com has been hosting an SEO Tea Time for several months now, where marketers are encouraged to take a break and chat about a specific topic. Recently our team member Dylan joined the conversation to discuss links. He wanted to shed some light on what we have seen help clients with links audits and manual action removal. Some of the main takeaways are:

  • Don’t use automated tools disavow - These tools tend not to get rid of links that would cause a penalty. 
  • If building links through outreach and guest posting, proceed with caution. 
  • Stop breaking Google’s guidelines when building links - removing an unnatural links penalty can take months of work. 

Google Announcements

Various aspects of page experience will be introduced into the algorithm

This past week Google, pre-announced future Search rankings changes that’ll integrate the Core Web Vitals metrics with existing page experience ranking signals. Page experience has been a growing topic in recent years and Google has been doing their part by adding signals such as page speed, mobile-friendliness, HTTPS security, and more. As part of this change (which you can expect sometime in 2021), these metrics will also apply to the Top Stories feature in the mobile SERPs, and they’ll remove the AMP requirement from Top Stories eligibility (though AMP stories will be highly favoured).

You will be able to find plenty more useful information on the Core Web Vitals in our recent article as well as throughout this newsletter.


Google was experiencing brief indexing issues

Google revealed late Tuesday afternoon that they were currently working through some indexing issues. It’s unclear when it began but if you noticed things a little out of the usual, this may be something to consider. Google did mention it was resolved although there are still some webmasters complaining that their site is still largely de-indexed. 


Google is inserting an anxiety quiz into the SERPs

If you do a search for “anxiety” or something similar, you will likely see a self assessment quiz in the SERPs. Google announced that this is something they are going to recommend to anyone who is searching for this term. This is not the first time Google has done this. They have also inserted quizzes in the past for search terms surrounding depression and PTSD.


Local SEO - News from SterlingSky 

The last 5 days have been a little "fluxy" (we're making that a word - who needs Mirriam Webster's validation these days?) but we haven't seen the volatile bouncing in search results like we'd been seeing from April 23 to May 8 or so - more on THAT can of worms in a minute!  Most of the bump in flux is from Restaurants & Cafes - with a bit of support from Bars & Pubs and Hotels & B&Bs. As more things open and close, and new features are added and removed - this is not entirely unexpected as things start to phase into being open around the world.

fluctuations may-june


Not an algorithm update -  A "bug"

Danny Sullivan confirmed to Joy that the weird ups and downs we saw in local rankings Late April into May 2020 were from a bug in the local algorithm that was fixed. Joy outlined the communication to Google and the examples collected throughout the process. The TL:DR of this saga is it was NOT an algorithm update - no boring Google algo update needed.


GMB says "no" to lead gen

Google has specifically listed lead generation companies & agents as "Not Eligible" for Google My Business listings. This has been a "known" fact for a while, but Google updated their documentation to include the Lead Generation companies specifically. Tim Capper found this tweet from @StefanSomborac on Twitter.

Also important to note, within about 48 hours of Google explicitly stating lead gen businesses are ineligible, it would appear that there have been sweeping suspensions being handed out:


Google testing "Top-Rated" labels in local pack

Jason Brown shared a screenshot of Maps results showing a "top-rated" label - a feature that Sergey Alakov alluded to back in December of 2019 - but hadn't been seen in the wild since. A few have reported seeing these labels - it's likely a test. We don't know the "how" and "when" answers for these yet, but it's an interesting feature for sure.


Recommended Reading

The Ultimate Google Disavow Guide – Kaspar Szymanski
https://searchengineland.com/the-ultimate-google-disavow-guide-334939
May 28, 2020

To disavow or not to disavow, that is the question. This is a comprehensive guide on just that! Disavowing can help avoid getting slammed by a Manual Action and can become a “one-way communication channel with Google”. In this guide, Kaspar goes in depth about how to audit your links and what kind of links to look out for (which we can’t agree enough with the classifications he’s provided).

We do offer a Link Auditing service where we go through this at length manually auditing every single domain linking back to your site by hand. Using our years of experience of uncovering unnatural links and disavowing them we have proven to help improve rankings. If you are interested please let us know! 

 

How to Meet the Increased Demand for Website Accessibility – Kim Krause Berg
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/website-accessibility-meet-increased-demand/370074/
May 28, 2020

Website usability and accessibility have become more relevant than ever before. Since people were ordered to stay indoors, consumer behaviour drastically changed. Consumers switched to the online market and a lot of websites were unprepared to deal with the spike in demand. 

 

Rich Snippets: Everything You Need To Know In 2020 [With Case Study] – David McSweeney
https://www.seobility.net/en/blog/rich-snippets/
May 27, 2020

Rich Snippets, which are enhanced search results, can significantly improve your site’s traffic. This feature, on top of getting your content more visibility, is also quite easy to acquire - however important to note that Google will not always display them. For more information on how to successfully use this feature, check out David McSweeney’s article!

 

15 advanced Data Studio hacks to turn you into a reporting pro – Matt Jones
https://riseatseven.com/blog/15-data-studio-hacks-to-become-a-pro/
May 21, 2020

This article is jam packed with good GDS tips, ranging from sharpening up the look of your reports to filtering and grouping charts within a report. The latter will save you from generating a ton of additional unnecessary pages — simply add your charts and filters to the report, highlight them, right-click, and select the group. 

 

Word Sense Disambiguation Using Neural Networks – Bill Slawski
https://gofishdigital.com/word-sense-disambiguation/
June 1, 2020

Bill’s latest article dissects the world of disambiguation and Google’s use of neural networks (aka. a computer system modelled on the human brain). After all, about 40% of English words have more than one meaning. The main takeaways here are that you should be mindful of the words (and the frequency of them) you’re using in your content and assess whether this could be misinterpreted.

 

Technical SEO for Shopify: A guide to optimizing your store for search engines – Detlef Johnson
https://searchengineland.com/technical-seo-for-shopify-a-guide-to-optimizing-your-store-for-search-engines-335251
May 28, 2020

Shopify has gained a reputation as a fast-growing and useful CMS system that tends to win out on the convenience aspect more than anything. With this however, it also comes with trade-offs in the form of technical limitations that webmasters either can’t fix or have a very difficult time overcoming. This article will show you how the author tackles issues like duplicate content and site architecture limitations using known solutions. This is more geared towards experienced SEOs, but even for the newer SEO, it’ll help you better understand the platform’s limitations and also outline some useful resources to improve your site’s performance. 

 

Blogging for Shopify: A unique SEO approach – Chris Long
https://searchengineland.com/blogging-for-shopify-a-unique-seo-approach-335106
May 26, 2020

When users search for a product name, Google decides the user’s intent; whether they want to see listings ‘to buy’ this product (transactional) or if the searcher is looking for information on the product they searched for (informational). This means that if you’re running a store on Shopify then you would much rather a transactional listing on the results page. Check out this excellent read.


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Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • Set to resume SameSite cookie changes beginning next month
  • Is it cloaking if a website is only serving hreflang to bots and not to human visitors?
  • Tidbits for the Core Web Vitals (courtesy of Google + more)
  • See how this company is nailing content and SEO
  • Does Google use historical data when it comes to rankings?
  • The new Bing Webmaster Console has a keyword research tool built in
  • Big change to the addiction treatment industry
  • This tool has a free Google Sheets add-on that lets you do like sentiment analysis, topic extraction, and more
  • New WordPress plugin & Google Analytics Dashboard for managing and visualizing Web Vitals data
  • 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.

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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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