SNYCU Ep. 138 - June 24, 2020 - Light Version

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In this episode the MHC team dives into discussions on the latest trending topics across the industry including a possible Google update this week, Google indexing Disqus comments, a theory on PageRank and followed links, mobile-first indexing, optimizing your eComm category pages and so many other great SEO tips.


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In this episode:


Paid members also get the following:

  • Google glitch with indexing Disqus comments - this could be important!
  • This site built 109 links through HARO and other sources but saw no uplift in traffic. Why?
  • Is Google only passing PageRank through some followed links now?
  • How to verify that your site has been moved to mobile-first indexing
  • This may happen to your site if it becomes and stays unverified for a long time in Search Console
  • Is it okay to use UTM parameters on your internal links?
  • How to optimize your eCommerce category pages
  • Track Core Web Vitals using Google Tag Manager
  • How to diagnose Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) slowness
  • Can you use nofollow on HTML link tags? Gary Illyes experimented
  • Discovered - currently not indexed & Crawled - currently not indexed: some additional clarity from Google on what these URLs and patterns may signal
  • A possible explanation for a surge in impressions but no change in clicks
  • Does Google consider word count a ranking factor?
  • Trying to earn image rankings for your URL in the organic SERPs? This might help!
  • Have you encountered those square pins in Maps?
  • Non-HTTPS links on off-site platforms could be messing with your Analytics data
  • New features added to this tool including the ability to export useful SERP data (such as People Also Ask links)
  • Create your own text fragments
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

Algorithm Updates and Other Important News

Possible update brewing right now

Barry Schwartz wrote about a possible update happening right now. There was some chatter in search forums about an update around June 18, 2020. The discussion has heated up over the last couple of days with SERoundtable speculating that on Tuesday, June 23, a significant update was underway. 

SEMRush sensor is showing a very large spike in search volatility for June 23, 2020 as is RankRanger. Other tools like Mozcast are showing a slight increase. Algoroo is not showing much change. 

As we do each time there is a possible update brewing, we reviewed the analytics for our clients. Given that the majority of movement in this possible update happened starting June 23, and this newsletter is being published one day later, we haven’t had enough time to thoroughly review what is happening. What we do see is that we have a small handful of clients that appear to be affected. One of those is seeing a nice spike in traffic, but it appears to be due to a new piece of content that is performing well, rather than an across-the-board uplift. 

Most of our client base has not seen any significant change just yet. We’ll be keeping an eye on this. If it does appear that Google has changed something worth paying attention to, we will let you know next week!

Note: We wrote this on June 23. As of June 24, some of these tools are indeed showing more increases that could indicate an algorithm update. Still, our early morning analysis is not showing us the same. Stay tuned as we keep an eye on things. If this is indeed a significant update, we’ll have more for you in next week’s newsletter.

One additional thing we would like to add is that we are wondering if it is possible that the odd changes the algo checker tools are seeing are related to Google’s troubles they have just fixed with indexing Disqus comments. We’ll comment more on this later in this newsletter.


MHC Announcements

Next week’s newsletter will be released on Tuesday 

Wednesday July 1 is Canada Day and a statutory holiday for us at MHC! Because of this we will be publishing Wednesday’s newsletter a day early. Keep an eye on your emails for episode 139 on Tuesday June 30th. 


Google Announcements

Possibility of Google Search Console & Google Analytics having new integrations

SER has reported on the possibility of GSC and GA integrating. They sent out emails to their verified users saying “Updates to the Search Console and Google Analytics linked properties terms of service." Barry has speculated that this could mean automatic verification of GA. Keep an eye on your email to see what comes of this! 


Google SERP Changes

It looks like How-To schema is back

How-To Schema is showing again on desktop and with an updated look. Google seems to be testing a new variation this time and we are curious to see how long this How-To schema will be visible.


SEO Tips

Does the order of URLs in your sitemap matter for crawling or prioritizing?

No! Google will process your sitemap as a whole and then begin to process collections of URLs independently. 

If you want Googlebot to see that you have new content, try doing this: 


Google Search Console training covers the Manual Actions report

Do you know if you have a Manual Action or not? This is a great video with Daniel Waisberg on the Google Webmasters YouTube channel explaining how to check if there is a Google Manual Action against your site. He also gives examples of some different types of penalties and how to request for reconsideration. This is important to keep note of as these penalties could lead to some pages or your entire site to rank lower or completely disappear from the search results. 

If you do find you have a manual action against your site, feel free to contact the MHC team for help with removing the penalty


Tips and resources for learning JavaScript

Madison Kanna shared an incredible list of free resources that anyone who is interested in JavaScript should take advantage of! One of our favourite resources is the Web Accessibility

course by Google. 

It will teach you how to make your product accessible for every user. One of the modules, for example, focuses on how to help users with visual disabilities navigate your pages easily. This is incredibly useful if you are trying to focus on improving your site’s accessibility. 


Google Help Hangout Tips

Possible reasons why you haven’t been moved to Google’s mobile-first index

Most people have been moved over to MFI by now, but if you haven’t it could be because you have a site that has been left stagnant, or those that have complicated setups. If you noticed you haven’t been switched over, we have a great guide on mobile-first indexing that may help you prepare.  


Other Interesting News

Google launches a rival to Pinterest

Google just launched a potentially experimental platform that rivals Pinterest; Keen. 

Keen is an AI-powered platform that is designed to curate ‘hobby-focused content’ from across the web into a pinboard style visual display... just like Pinterest. The difference? It’s made by Google.

By saving content to your board, Keen’s AI will start delivering users with similar content just like Instagram’s algorithm.

Many are questioning what Google is getting out of launching this rival platform and how long it will stick around for. James Vincent points out that Google has never been able to break into the social space, a venue of online activity that generates scads of lucrative data for targeting ads” and so it seems like this may be Google’s attempt doing so.

For marketers, it will be interesting to see how the usership grows for Keen and how businesses will edge their way into the ad space. Keep an eye out for Keen!


Google removes over 70 Chrome extensions linked to spyware

Over 70 Chrome extensions have been recently removed from Google’s Web Store due to spyware issues. These apps, the majority being file-conversion apps, would collect browsing history data from users, as well as credentials for business tools. 


Local SEO - News from SterlingSky 

Local Rank Flux has been quiet for the last 7 days. While there may be some rumblings of an organic ranking update, it's not being reflected in local.

We have seen quite a large influx of spam in the last week, though. It seems to be growing quite quickly especially in the drug rehab, garage door, and legal sectors.


Do keywords in your business name impact local ranking?

TL:DR - Yes.

Joy shared some research done at Sterling Sky on the impact of adding a keyword to a business name in GMB. While it's against Google's Terms of Service, it's an effective technique that is not policed by the Google My Business team, nor is it taken very seriously. Many edits alerting them to name spam go unapplied.


Google testing (or rolling out?) new 3-Pack carousel

Mike Blumenthal reports that a new 3-pack carousel is showing up for a few categories of search. This was actually spotted earlier in the year - but disappeared - this looks like a roll-out as opposed to a test. Currently, this has been observed on Jeweller searches as well as Car Dealerships and a few other retail categories. Make sure those images are added and up-to-date, folks!


New online “Appointments, Care, Classes & Estimate” attributes in GMB

Google has added new attributes that business owners can toggle on in their Google My Business listings for Online Care, Online Appointments, Online Classes, and Online Estimates.  These attributes trigger an icon and text that is visible in the 3-pack, Local Finder, and Local Knowledge Panels.


ICYMI - Claire’s Google Tag Manager guide for SMBs

This was released a few months ago and we have included this in the newsletter previously but it continues to be a really handy resource for webmasters. 

Her TL;DR: tag everything!

(Don’t worry, she shows you how to do it like a pro!)


Recommended Reading

Is Google E-A-T Actually a Ranking Factor? - Whiteboard Friday – Cyrus Shepard
https://moz.com/blog/is-google-eat-actually-a-ranking-factor
June 19, 2020

Cyrus Shepard returns to Moz’s Whiteboard Friday for a topic that’s close to our heart; E-A-T as a ranking factor. It’s Cyrus’ opinion that the issue some SEOs have with claiming E-A-T as a ranking factor is how they define ‘ranking factor’. To hear more about what he has to say about E-A-T as a ranking factor, read the full article. 

 

Preparing E-Commerce for the Post-COVID Bounce Back – Luke Carthy
https://moz.com/blog/preparing-ecommerce-for-the-postcovid-bounce-back
June 18, 2020

eCommerce shopping has seen massive changes during COVID-19 and there are some important lessons and reminders to take away from all of this. Things may not stay the same for all sites but there are a number of useful things you could be doing now if you want to yield a favourable outcome. 

 

eCommerce SEO: An Interview with Suganthan Mohanadasan – Himani Kankaria
https://www.ecomkeeda.com/ecommerce-seo-suganthan-mohanadasan/
June 16, 2020

Suganthan took the hot seat in this interview and covered a variety of useful items surrounding eCommerce SEO. You can find things like his predictions for the year ahead, dealing with core Google updates and improving site quality for Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) sites (spoiler: he says it’s “essential you pay close attention to EAT.” and that following Google’s guidelines are key), common technical mistakes, favourites SEO tools in his arsenal, and his golden rules to be successful in eComm. Check out the article for more great stuff as this was a useful read from an established pro.


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Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • Google glitch with indexing Disqus comments - this could be important!
  • This site built 109 links through HARO and other sources but saw no uplift in traffic. Why?
  • Is Google only passing PageRank through some followed links now?
  • How to verify that your site has been moved to mobile-first indexing
  • This may happen to your site if it becomes and stays unverified for a long time in Search Console
  • Is it okay to use UTM parameters on your internal links?
  • How to optimize your eCommerce category pages
  • Track Core Web Vitals using Google Tag Manager
  • How to diagnose Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) slowness
  • Can you use nofollow on HTML link tags? Gary Illyes experimented
  • Discovered - currently not indexed & Crawled - currently not indexed: some additional clarity from Google on what these URLs and patterns may signal
  • A possible explanation for a surge in impressions but no change in clicks
  • Does Google consider word count a ranking factor?
  • Trying to earn image rankings for your URL in the organic SERPs? This might help!
  • Have you encountered those square pins in Maps?
  • Non-HTTPS links on off-site platforms could be messing with your Analytics data
  • New features added to this tool including the ability to export useful SERP data (such as People Also Ask links)
  • Create your own text fragments
  • 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.

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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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