SNYCU Ep. 140 - July 8, 2020 - Light Version

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In this episode we discuss the June 22 and 23 algorithm changes and Marie's insight on what it means, some great tips on building links that aren't against G's guidelines, more on the importance of producing great content with users in mind, an update to the Bing webmaster guidelines, and some great tips from Google help hangouts with John Mueller.


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In this episode:


Paid members also get the following:

  • Google will be updating their Help Center content to better reflect the way they handle spam
  • Bing Announcement: Webmaster Guidelines have been updated
  • How do crawlers handle conflicting robots.txt directives?
  • How to attain backlinks in 2020 (8 excellent strategies)
  • ‘Discovered - currently not indexed’ vs. ‘Crawled - currently not indexed’ -- What’s the difference?
  • Everything you need to know about redirects
  • Glenn Gabe has built a Web Story that explains the recent development of the Disqus indexing bug
  • A Google Analytics goals tip
  • John’s comments re: link building in competitive niches
  • A brief preview into Google’s algorithms
  • Can Google recognize page types based off of page structure? And does consistency in design help at all?
  • John discusses when it’s better to prioritize users over structured data markup
  • A little clarity surrounding structured data
  • How to be eligible for Discover and what may be happening if traffic has suddenly disappeared
  • If your main site doesn’t resolve, it could impact your subdomains as well
  • Can Googlebot really add products to shopping carts?
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

Algorithm Updates 

Was June 22/23, 2020 the “government update”?

In our last few newsletters, we have mentioned to our premium subscribers that some type of Google update happened starting on June 22 and continuing on into June 23 of 2020. 

The auditors at MHC have spent quite a bit of time reviewing this update. It does appear that for many YMYL queries, Google has started to greatly prefer official, highly authoritative websites. 

We feel that this is connected to what Google says in their document on how they fight disinformation. In that whitepaper they mention that their systems can prefer authority over other signals “while a crisis is developing”. 

You can read much more on our thoughts on this update, including many examples showing how some of our clients lost rankings to official government sites like fda.gov or ic.gc.ca in our article on the June 22/23 Google update, published on the same day as this newsletter episode.


MHC Announcements

MHC’s tips for working from home

It has been an adjustment for all of us making the abrupt switch to WFH the last few months as I'm sure it has been for our readers. While we are definitely still learning what we need to get by, we have begun weekly trivia video calls where we can play games, see each other and chat like we would in the office. What have you done to keep some normalcy within your team? Tweet at us with suggestions, we’d love to hear from you! 


Google Announcements

The Rich Results Test is out of beta and the Structured Data testing tool will soon be deprecated 

This week Google announced that the Rich Results Test is out on beta and that they’re deprecating their SD Testing tool. The tool is still available at the moment but Google is advising webmasters to “use the Rich Results Test to test and validate your structured data.”

We’d suggest you bookmark the Rich Results Test!

It should also be noted that many SEOs are not happy with this change as the rich results tool does not validate all structured data, only those that produce rich results (like review stars) in the SERPS.


Video structured data change in Google Search Console

Google continues to roll out improvements to the structured data tools. By using “VideoObject” you can highlight the description, thumbnail URL, upload date, and duration. These videos can appear in regular SERPs, Video results, Google Images and Google Discover. 


Google SERP Changes

Could there be a part two to Google’s initial review update from Sept 2019?

Last fall’s review update saw businesses lose their “self-serving” reviews in their various schema markup. Well now, nine months later, Brodie is seeing another recent push which seems to be targeting businesses who tried to manipulate the system by finding loopholes.


SEO Tips

Another useful link building tip

Remember that it’s not against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines to ask for a link! Have you done some good work in the past and other brands have noticed? Reach out and ask for a backlink! 


Hard no from Google regarding using a hidden video for schema reasons

Another reminder to follow Google’s guidelines. In this Twitter thread, Casey Markee was asking about a site that wanted to have two separate copies of a video. One would be shown to search engines to display appropriate recipe schema. The second would be the one shown to searchers and would be a monetized video. 

As a reminder, if you are showing different content to search engine bots as you are to users, this is considered cloaking by Google and is against their guidelines.


Local SEO - News from SterlingSky 

To paraphrase my coworker Colan Nielsen (and Jay-Z), ‘I Got 99 Problems But Flux Ain't One…’

Flux 7.7.20

It has been even quieter than last week - I can't recall seeing flux below 2 before, so that's a good thing. We have enough to do without worrying about ranking nonsense these days :)!


Does it make a difference which inner page on your site your GMB links to? 

Joy ran a test here at Sterling Sky to determine if the page you link to from your GMB listing had an effect on local pack rankings. TL:DR is - yes, absolutely. That being said, we recommend testing to ensure that deep linking for practitioner listings doesn't affect conversion rates - but the higher visibility and more traffic might make the small dip in conversion rate worth it.


Anyone can now flag user profiles

A brand new help center document appeared that outlines the procedure for anyone to report a user profile if that user is “contributing false information, uploading offensive content, or taking other abusive actions that violate Google Maps user-contributed policy ” This is another way that marketers can report spam.


The consequences of Google Maps failing to police its ecosystem

Spam in local search results is not a new phenomenon - we deal with it daily as a Local SEO agency. The recent article from The Register calls out specific bad actors in the addiction treatment space and outlines the issues"as Google sees it" - which is basically as a 1% problem, and they're quick to deflect queries to the statistics of what they have removed from results. The underlying fact is, people who are seeking addiction treatment are scammed and misdirected by fake locations and lead generation listings that don't actually help, and likely do harm - and the checks and balances Google has in place are inadequate.


Third-party ordering ads surfacing again in GMB (plus how to combat this)

Tim Capper of Online Ownership shared in the Local Search Forum that ads are appearing on local knowledge panels again, with no recourse for the businesses to shut them off. These are ads from businesses like Groupon and Seamless that are placed in partnership with Google and reduce an already narrow profit margin for most businesses in the health, leisure, and hospitality sectors (ie. restaurants and pubs). With this test, Google is basically selling small business margins to big companies with no recourse to the SMB. They can't opt out and they struggle to get their data updated (many menus/ hours are wrong). Tim has outlined some useful info to help business owners try and get out of this (see the Twitter thread for more).


More testing: do keywords in an image filename help ranking?

Joy tested the keywords in a business listings photo file names and their impact on local rankings. TL:DR of this test is - absolutely no impact - please move on from this issue - and the geotagging issue. Neither work and people are expending a lot of energy on non-impactful tactics!


Recommended Reading

Thinking Beyond the Link Building “Campaign” [Case Study] – Paddy Moogan
https://moz.com/blog/thinking-beyond-link-building-campaigns
June 30, 2020

This is a great case study by Paddy Moogan for Moz. In this case study Paddy ties in the idea of link building campaigns and aligns them with the current goals of the organization to make them more “sustainable, efficient, and effective”. Paddy goes on with his experience in a case study where he goes through what he has learned watching the evolution of link building his model of content strategy framework which we highly recommend you read! 

 

Paywalls, SEO, and the Need for a Damn Good Brand – Derek Gleason
https://cxl.com/blog/paywall-seo/
July 3, 2020

Any publishers out there contemplating or already running a paywall system really should give this a read! It very thoroughly details the history of Google’s handling of — and recommended approaches to — paywall systems (first clicks free, metering, lead-in) before getting into the current options available to publishers. 

 

Link Building For SaaS Companies: Our Playbook in 2020 – Alan Silvestri
https://mygrowthgorilla.com/link-building-saas-playbook/
July 2, 2020

Growth Gorilla has been picking up on patterns in the SaaS space over the last couple of years now and has put together some general framework ideas to help you find link opportunities. They begin with outlining the challenges that most SaaS companies face, discuss how to create great content, and dive into the 5-step SaaS link building playbook. Let’s be real, links for SaaS companies can be very difficult to achieve but this article has plenty of useful insight that can help alleviate that notion!


Jobs


Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • Google will be updating their Help Center content to better reflect the way they handle spam
  • Bing Announcement: Webmaster Guidelines have been updated
  • How do crawlers handle conflicting robots.txt directives?
  • How to attain backlinks in 2020 (8 excellent strategies)
  • ‘Discovered - currently not indexed’ vs. ‘Crawled - currently not indexed’ -- What’s the difference?
  • Everything you need to know about redirects
  • Glenn Gabe has built a Web Story that explains the recent development of the Disqus indexing bug
  • A Google Analytics goals tip
  • John’s comments re: link building in competitive niches
  • A brief preview into Google’s algorithms
  • Can Google recognize page types based off of page structure? And does consistency in design help at all?
  • John discusses when it’s better to prioritize users over structured data markup
  • A little clarity surrounding structured data
  • How to be eligible for Discover and what may be happening if traffic has suddenly disappeared
  • If your main site doesn’t resolve, it could impact your subdomains as well
  • Can Googlebot really add products to shopping carts?
  • 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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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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