SNYCU Ep. 141 - July 15, 2020 - Light Version

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In this episode we discuss whether or not to disavow scraper links, the issue surrounding not getting indexed, E-A-T now considered in Google Discover, alternatives to the Structured Data Testing tool, and the latest digital marketing tips!


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In this episode:


Paid members also get the following:

  • New feature available in image search
  • Alternatives to the Structured Data Testing Tool
  • What we learned from Sistrix’s study on CTR
  • Google’s advice on handling pages and pages of products
  • Consider this if you’re dealing with a slow component on your site
  • PageSpeed Insights showing something useful related to Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
  • Learn useful coding tips courtesy of one generous SEO
  • More evidence to explain the mysterious “not getting indexed” problem many sites are having
  • Is there ever a time when signalling noindex, follow is acceptable?
  • Once again Google says having one strong site is better than having multiple
  • Are category pages considered duplicate content?
  • Google's handling of singular vs. plural words
  • Watch out for this slowing down your website!
  • Is valid HTML a ranking factor?
  • Can 404 errors impact rankings?
  • Google’s comments plus general advice for handling sites copying your content
  • A spike in an older article led to a surge of unwanted customer support calls
  • Be aware if you’re updating your WordPress site soon
  • Google will notify GMB account owners when their local listings are suspended
  • View Google Trends data with ease
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

Algorithm Updates 

Possible small update July 6, 2020

On July 6, 2020, we had a small handful of clients see improvements in traffic that seem to represent a change in Google’s algorithms that has rewarded their site. At this point, however, there are only a few. Also, there are very few sites seeing losses.

Barry Schwartz wrote of a possible update at this time, calling it a “small Google search ranking algorithm update.”

The SEO weather tools are not showing much change at this time.

We’ll keep an eye on this for you. We’ve added it to our list of known and suspected algorithm updates. At this point, the movement does not seem significant enough to warrant a full investigation.

In case you missed it, we did write a thorough article on the turbulence we saw in June. You can read this here: The June 22/23, 2020 Google update gave a big boost to many government websites.


MHC Announcements

Agency trivia-off 

Since posting about our weekly trivia games, we sparked the interest of local SEO agency, seoplus+, and will be having a them versus us trivia game this week! We love the idea so much, we want any of the agencies reading this to reach out to us on Twitter if you’d like to compete against MHC for an agency trivia-off! 


Google Announcements

Google's help documentation for Discover now has references to E-A-T 

Google has recently put forth new changes to their documentation on Google Discover that references the importance of E-A-T. Here is the section pertaining to E-A-T

"Our automated systems surface content in Discover from sites that have many individual pages that demonstrate expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (E-A-T). Those looking to improve E-A-T can consider some of the same questions we encourage site owners to consider for Search. While Search and Discover are different, the overall principles for E-A-T as it applies to content within them are similar."

They have linked to their post on Google’s core updates for improvement ideas. This is a big change that means pages with good E-A-T can be more likely to surface in Discover. Google is constantly making improvements to reward great, authoritative content, and this seems to be another step in that direction. 

For plenty more info on improving E-A-T, check out our post on the MHC blog. Otherwise, if you’re looking for a site assessment, get in touch with the team and can dig into issues and make plenty of tailored recommendations that include E-A-T and other quality factors.


An update to the structured data guidelines

Barry Schwartz highlights some of the clarifications made to the structured data tool. There are now much clearer rules on marking up multiple elements on each page. Google can recognize multiple items on the page, whether they are marked up individuals or nested. See the general structured data guidelines for more info.


SEO Tips

Should you disavow links from scraped copies of articles?

We get this question a lot. You get a great link in an article, and then that article gets scraped and published all across the web on low quality sites that look super spammy. Should you disavow those links?

The important point here, is to determine the intent. If the original article contained a natural link, then there is no need to worry about it being republished on low quality sites. When Google does frown upon links from spammy sites, it is generally because those links are there to try and manipulate Google’s rankings.

Conversely though, let’s say the link in the first article that was scraped actually was one that you purchased. It’s not the quality of the site that makes the link unnatural. Rather, it’s the intent to manipulate Google that matters. If this were the case, we would recommend finding and disavowing all of the scraped versions of the original site, as we have seen Google give this type of link as an example to us for some of our manual action clients.

This is a confusing point for a lot of site owners as many unnatural links do come from very spammy looking sites. Just remember, it’s not the quality of the site that determines whether a link is unnatural. 


Google Webmasters discuss crawl budget

Martin Splitt and Alexis Sanders sit down the latest instalment of SEO Mythbusting and cover all things crawl budget. There are plenty of nuggets in here for everyone and we recommend tuning in!

In the next section, our premium readers will see a very interesting explanation from Martin Splitt on why many sites are struggling to get content indexed. While crawl budget is often being blamed, it may actually be due to Google’s assessment of whether your pages are good or not. 


Other Interesting News

SEMrush says goodbye to guest posts and speaks about the future of their blog

In a blog post published this week, Oleg Shchegolev (the CEO and Founder of SEMrush) announced that the company's blog would no longer be accepting guest posts. 

In the post, Oleg details that while they have seen “fantastic results” from including user-generated content on their blog over the years and have managed to promote a number of up-and-coming SEOs and digital marketers, they will be now going in a new direction. 

It is not particularly clear what has sparked this decision, although we suspect that it could have something to do with the recent backlash (June 2020) regarding the failed strategy to sell links in guest posts that created a lot of criticism. 

SEMrush will still feature industry experts on their blog in different niches as chosen by their Editorial Team. 


Tips for landing your dream job in digital

This thread hit close to home for many of us at MHC. When we hire, we receive hundreds of applications often hiring a sole candidate, so we understand that standing out can make a difference. Keep in mind that this is for a creative digital position, so if you’re a mathematician, these may not apply to you. 

Carrie sums it up nicely: If you want to work in a creative or digital field, be creative and/or digital. 


Local SEO - News from SterlingSky 

Local rankings were quiet this week again. No news is good news, right?

july 7-13 local flux


Do services in Google My Business impact ranking?

More testing from Joy Hawkins here at Sterling Sky reveals the answer. No. We ran several tests adding both pre-defined services and custom services within Google My Business and neither had any effect on rankings for any of the businesses. While the services can be useful for users - they have zero impact on a business's ranking, in organic or maps.


Reviews don't mask the truth (study by GatherUp)

Mike Blumenthal shared some research he did into reviews that mention mask complaints.  Across ~38,000 reviews for 9 different business types with 3,641 locations written during the past 90 days, Mike found only 2% mentioned masks at all. Of that 2%, 78% were critical of the business' COVID-19 hygiene. Now more than ever you should be listening to what your customers are saying!


GMB adds partner links and allows for opt-out of food ordering

Krystal Taing shares information on new features that let restaurant managers and owners opt out of food delivery and they can control the partner links that show up on their profile - promoting their preferred partner link (or their own food ordering link) to the top of the list.


Add more appointment links into GMB Knowledge Panel

Google has added the ability for business owners/managers to add more than one appointment link to their GMB knowledge panel. This allows business owners to add appointment links for calendars, contact pages, location-specific contact pages, and more. The hiccup in this feature is that they strip out any URL info except the root domain, so using the display URL to indicate the location/service/etc. is impossible.


Recommended Reading

How to Find & Improve Underperforming Content: A Practical Guide – Lee Wilson
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/find-improve-underperforming-content-guide/372105/
July 8, 2020

One of the most common issues we find with sites that have seen drops due to core algorithm updates is that they tend to have content that is not the best of its kind. The better Google gets at understanding the content and the quality of that content on a site, the more important it is to ensure your content is the best of its kind. 

 

An Alternative Approach to XML Sitemaps – Oliver H.G. Mason
https://ohgm.co.uk/an-alternative-approach-to-xml-sitemaps/
July 3, 2020

This is a great outside-the-box look at sitemaps and how to increase Google’s indexing of your submitted pages. Our experiences line up with both Barry’s and Oli’s. Larger sitemap files, particularly ones that have not been updated in some time, do tend to have fewer of their URLs indexed; smaller sitemaps that are more efficient to transfer, particularly if they’re frequently/recently updated, tend to result in higher rates of indexation. Many of our small to medium sized WordPress publishers are running Yoast, who have adopted this thinking with capping sitemaps within the sitemap index at 1k for posts and pages. While we are speaking in big generalities here, many of our sites running this kind of setup tend to achieve superior rates of indexation.


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Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • New feature available in image search
  • Alternatives to the Structured Data Testing Tool
  • What we learned from Sistrix’s study on CTR
  • Google’s advice on handling pages and pages of products
  • Consider this if you’re dealing with a slow component on your site
  • PageSpeed Insights showing something useful related to Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
  • Learn useful coding tips courtesy of one generous SEO
  • More evidence to explain the mysterious “not getting indexed” problem many sites are having
  • Is there ever a time when signalling noindex, follow is acceptable?
  • Once again Google says having one strong site is better than having multiple
  • Are category pages considered duplicate content?
  • Google's handling of singular vs. plural words
  • Watch out for this slowing down your website!
  • Is valid HTML a ranking factor?
  • Can 404 errors impact rankings?
  • Google’s comments plus general advice for handling sites copying your content
  • A spike in an older article led to a surge of unwanted customer support calls
  • Be aware if you’re updating your WordPress site soon
  • Google will notify GMB account owners when their local listings are suspended
  • View Google Trends data with ease
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

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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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