SNYCU Ep. 139 - June 30, 2020 - Light Version

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In this episode we discuss the chatter surrounding algorithm fluctuations, changes made to Google's How Search Works documentation, Google's free product listings, awesome tips from Google help hangouts with John Mueller and some great recommended readings!


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In this episode:


Paid members also get the following:

  • More on the development on Google’s free product listings
  • Bing announcement: new features in Bing Shopping
  • How to leverage your competitors’ scroll to text results
  • Google’s advice on selecting the right schema type
  • Can irrelevant links be concerning or problematic?
  • Will adding hreflang to your multi-language page help it rank better?
  • Assessing Core Web Vitals for Shopify themes
  • Google discusses ideal website structure for multi-language sites
  • A tip on measuring site performance via lab data
  • Glenn’s added insights re: the situation of Disqus comments not being indexed
  • Can you figure out why IBM is having trouble getting review structured data to work?
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

Algorithm Updates 

Once again, we have several clients seeing nice gains over the last week. However, in most cases, we felt that the gains could be explained by a particular piece of content performing well, or because of changes in social distancing habits in their area. 

As we noted last week, we did see a number of sites in our client base with traffic changes on June 22-23. Again though, many of those changes can be explained by changes in search patterns or particular pieces of content doing well. While we do think that Google tweaked something in their algorithms at this time, we did not feel it worthy of a deep investigation.

Update: Just before publishing, Glenn Gabe tweeted that perhaps the changes seen on June 22/23 had something to do with Google treating government websites differently.

Lily Ray shared a screenshot showing many .gov sites were seeing nice improvements.

Sure enough, we can see that quite a few “.gov” and “.org” sites have seen increases starting on June 22 or June 23. So far in our analysis it appears that many of these sites such as health.gov or seattle.gov or childrenshospital.org are seeing increases in keyword rankings across the board. This does not seem to be connected with a change in SERP features displayed by Google. It does appear that perhaps Google turned up the dial on preferring authoritative sites. It’s also possible though that Google is now better able to recognize patterns in the language used on these sites to determine that their content is more relevant than other sites that could be surfaced. 

The changes in rankings with these official sites do not seem to be connected to the changes in rankings we are seeing for some of our clients, so there is likely much more investigation to be done.

If you have noticed that a government site is suddenly outranking you, please do share with us so we can investigate more. You can tweet at Marie with examples if you have any. 


MHC Announcements

Happy Canada Day and Fourth of July

To our Canadian readers, Happy Canada Day! And to those of you reading from the United States, happy Fourth of July! As we are celebrating Canada Day Wednesday, this newsletter is a day early. We hope everyone has a safe and fun holiday. Newsletter will be back to normal next week and delivered on Wednesday. 


Google Announcements

An update to Google’s How Search Works documentation

There is nothing ground-breaking added here that we haven’t already covered in this space at one point or another, but it’s always worth noting when changes occur in Google’s official documentation — if only to take note of what Google is emphasizing more and more over time! 

They’ve made it clear that it’s important to leave key resources (images, CSS, JavaScript) as crawlable for Google. There is also a mention of Google analyzing “overall visual layout” as well as a tip on how to test the rendering of your site’s visual elements via the mobile friendliness tool. Especially with Web Core Vitals arriving as a ranking factor likely sometime next year, it all underscores just how critical it’s become to provide a good experience for your users, particularly on mobile.

The How Search Works document also now explicitly mentions it is not necessary to provide a sitemap containing all pages for a small website under 1,000 pages provided all URLs are linked to within the site hierarchy in such a way that they can be found via a crawl path that starts at the homepage.


Martin Splitt to host presentations on JavaScript (this week!)

Martin will be hosting two sessions this week starting Tuesday (aka today, June 30) on debugging JavaScript SEO issues and implementing structured data with JS. Register here so you don’t miss it! Or if you want to get caught up on your JS SEO, watch Martin’s whole series here


SEO Tips

SEO Mythbusting season 2 has arrived -- Martin Splitt sits down with Sandhya Guntreddy of Microsoft

First episode of Season 2 of SEO Mythbusting has Martin Splitt and Sandhya Guntreddy talking about a vast range of SEO topics.


Local SEO - News from SterlingSky 

Local Rank Flux was as quiet as a mouse this week. No one is complaining about that one!


Google has started sending a notice to listing managers when a review has been removed from their GMB profile

This started around June 26th and was first reported by Ben Fisher of Steady Demand.


Auto-Post triggered when listings hours are updated

Nicolai Helling shared on Twitter a screenshot showing an auto-generated GMB Post when hours in the GMB listing are updated. Carrie at Sterling Sky tested this and confirmed it - but - the post does not show up if you're using the COVID-19 post type.


Good news if you’re selling gift cards

Amy Toman shared a screenshot on Twitter of the new gift card sales visibility in Google My Business. This is a pretty visible element - so any businesses that do sell gift cards would do well to take advantage!


Business Messages in Maps and Search is expanding (+ new features coming)

Messaging in GMB has been a bit abysmal for a long time. This week Google announced some new features for GMB Messaging. Along with smart replies, messaging from the website, and unique messages, they're also offering an API. Look for this feature to be rolled into your favorite Local Listing management platforms soon!


Recommended Reading

Is top of the funnel content under attack? How the SERP is set to change – Mordy Oberstein
https://searchengineland.com/is-top-of-the-funnel-content-under-attack-how-the-serp-is-set-to-change-336400
June 23, 2020

This was an interesting hypothesis put forward by Mordy Oberstein: is a new SERP filter rewarding sites which have specific and specialized content, at the expense of sites with “top-level” content? The filter in question is a search result query modifier that appears directly below the search bar, and allows searchers to refine their query -- and changes the results based on the refinement selected. It is a super interesting article and we definitely recommend reading it in depth. 

 

How to Find Sites That Will Want to Link to Your Content – Gisele Navarro
https://neomam.com/blog/link-prospecting/
June 16, 2020

This article ditches the metrics-focused mindset and explores the broad realm of sourcing link opportunities.  Involved in her 6-step approach, Gisele covers everything from defining your topic areas and verticals to target, all the way through to hitting the reset button if you’re not gaining any traction. She uses examples throughout and indicates a variety of useful tools, resources, and tips to help you along the way. Best of all? All the tools mentioned are completely free! 

 

5 Ways to Evaluate Your Authors for SEO – Lily Ray
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/5-ways-to-evaluate-your-authors-for-seo/
June 23, 2020

Are you looking for ways to improve your author E-A-T for both users and search engines? This new post from Lily Ray provides us with some really creative ways to assess how well your authors are performing and how to improve their visibility. 

 

Ranked Entities in Search Results at Google – Bill Slawski
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/ranked-entities-google-search-results/372973/
June 29, 2020

When users search for terms such as “Top Rock Bands”, along with the other SERP features, Google has recently been providing a carousel of entity results. In this example, it is for different rock bands. When you click on these links, you are not taken to a website, but to a new search for that entity. But how does Google determine what entities to rank, and in which order, for these kinds of queries? Bill dives into a recently approved patent granted to Google that sheds some light on that question. 

 

8 Common SEO Issues Facing eCommerce sites – Ruth Everett
https://www.deepcrawl.com/blog/best-practice/8-common-seo-issues-facing-ecommerce-sites/
June 22, 2020

This is a great overview from Ruth Everrett on common eCommerce SEO shortfalls! From expired product and product listing pages to the canonicalization of parameter/filter URLs, link architecture (i.e. link depth), and how to best handle location pages, there are lots of solid actionable tips provided on issues we see very commonly across our eComm clients. 


Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • More on the development on Google’s free product listings
  • Bing announcement: new features in Bing Shopping
  • How to leverage your competitors’ scroll to text results
  • Google’s advice on selecting the right schema type
  • Can irrelevant links be concerning or problematic?
  • Will adding hreflang to your multi-language page help it rank better?
  • Assessing Core Web Vitals for Shopify themes
  • Google discusses ideal website structure for multi-language sites
  • A tip on measuring site performance via lab data
  • Glenn’s added insights re: the situation of Disqus comments not being indexed
  • Can you figure out why IBM is having trouble getting review structured data to work?
  • 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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