SNYCU Ep. 144 - August 5, 2020 - Light Version

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In this episode we discuss algorithm changes with Pinterest and government sites, a new SEMrush partnership, some really great SEO tips, and as always a selection of recommended readings to help you optimize your site and expand your learning!


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In this episode:


Paid members also get the following:

  • More on the June 22/23 Government Update
  • Support for Image License structured data is available
  • A reminder related to Google's reasonable surfer model
  • Is feedback optimization part of your SEO process?
  • Important thread surrounding a change to Chrome’s default referrer policy (important if you’re using Google Analytics)
  • What you should know about HTTPS
  • Tidbits from the latest Search Off the Record episode
  • The impact of infinite scroll on CLS
  • Why implement hreflang if you’re dominating the SERPs in a given country? Are bigger brands exempt from this?
  • Subdomains vs. subfolders? Here’s how to decide
  • Can a negative review (or reviews) hurt your rankings? (plus MHC’s thoughts)
  • Interesting comment about Google’s handling of redirect chains
  • Has Google confirmed that they use click data?
  • Can schema markup boost local SEO?
  • The latest on Google’s upgraded Google My Business profiles
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

MHC Announcements

Exciting partnership with SEMrush! 

We are very excited to announce that our podcast and newsletter are now sponsored by SEMrush! At MHC, we are very vocal about discussing the tools we use and how we use them. SEMrush has always been one we regularly use for our site quality assessments, and we will continue to share how it helps us, and can also benefit you. 

Please know that we chose to accept SEMrush as a sponsor because we truly do recommend the tool. We use it every day!

For those that haven’t yet tried SEMrush, they have generously given us the opportunity to share a promo code to test SEMrush Guru for 1 month for our readers! 


Algorithm Updates

July 21 and July 27, 2020 were probably a moderately significant updates

We have enough data now to show that on July 21, 2020 and also July 27, 2020 many sites in our profile saw changes in search traffic that are a typical of what we see when Google makes an update worthy of us investigating. We have several clients with nice increases that are seen in Google but not in other search engines. We do have a few with decreases as well.

Our team is currently at work looking for similarities in pages that benefited from these updates. If you are a premium reader of Search News You Can Use, in next week’s episode you can read our analysis. 


Analyzing Pinterest’s May 2020 core update wins

If you compete against Pinterest, this is not great news. 

According to SEMrush data, we can see that Pinterest benefited greatly from Google’s May 2020 Core update.

pinterest gains

Using SEMrush’s position changes trends, we can look and see which keywords improved:

If we want to look at keyword ranking boosts that seemed to result in significantly more traffic for Pinterest, we can use the advanced filters:

These are some of the keyword rankings that improved significantly with the May core update:

In future episodes, we’ll discuss how we can use SEMrush’s historical data to see what changed in the SERPs and which competitors lost for each keyword.

In our analysis of the May update we noted that many sites that saw improvements were ones for which Google could recognize that the results were more relevant. We looked at several keywords that Pinterest saw increases for and would agree that Google got it right. For example, we can see that prior to the update, this website was ranking #1 for “boy’s haircuts”. It looks like a well written, helpful article, listing over 50 different hairstyles for boys. Since the May core update, this Pinterest page has ranked first for this keyword. 

If you asked a bunch of SEOs which of those two pages were the best result, most of us would say that the first was better, and not the Pinterest page. The first is an article, with words for us to read and professional photos as well. But, it is possible that in this case, more searchers seemed to actually prefer the Pinterest page. Who knows...it could be that there are better examples, or more examples on the Pinterest page, or maybe hairstyles that are easier for those who are learning to cut hair at home during the pandemic. 

The point here is that Google is always trying to show searchers the results that are the most helpful and not necessarily the most optimized page.

What can we learn from this? If you lost rankings with the May core update, take a good look at which pages are now outranking you. Do they tackle the subject from a different angle? Are they providing value in a different way? Do they have more images? Are they longer articles than yours? Are they shorter ones that do a better job of getting to the point? If you can figure out what it is that Google has rewarded, then you can take steps to improve your own content so that it is even more relevant than your competitors’.


Google Announcements

Coming soon: Google Career Certificates

Google has just announced a new training program: Career Certificates. This fills a gap in the education system, where training for jobs like ours are typically only offered by agencies or solo professionals hosting courses. The programs include certificates to become a UX designer, project manager, data analyst, and the one that is readily available, IT support specialist. They take approximately 6 months to complete, require no prior experience, and are developed by Google. 

We are very excited about this, as the ability to present a certificate for these roles from a company like Google will likely set you apart from other candidates applying for jobs. There will also be grants and scholarships available, just like post secondary programs. 

We are really looking forward to seeing how these develop. 


SEO Tips

How to boost your visibility in GIF search engines

Marketing in the form of GIFs is on the rise with many successful companies who have absolutely slayed by using GIFs as their primary promotional content.

Here are some hacks and tips on how to boost your GIF visibility in search engines.


Google Help Hangout Tips

Google's handling of links as votes of confidence 

Remember back in the day where it seemed that every link that we got had the potential to improve rankings? Some SEOs used to build links by the thousands each month simply because quantity was better than quality.

We believe that in the past few years, Google has made many improvements to help them determine whether a link is a recommendation for your website and its content. Those are the links that Google wants to count.

We hope to have an article out soon on this subject, so if you are struggling to know which of your link building efforts are helpful and which are likely being ignored by Google, stay tuned!


New development on how Google handles manual actions

Barry Schwartz asked a question in a recent Google help hangout which provided more context on how Google now issues Manual Actions to webmasters. Originally stemming from a question about how Google treats doorway pages and whether or not there is a specific penalty for them. These would likely fall under “Thin Content” penalties - See the full list here. 

John goes on to explain that over the years, these penalties were commonly given out manually by Google. But because the web is so large, they have built systems so these manual actions can now be issued algorithmically. He also mentions that there are still cases where these algorithms don’t catch specific manipulations and a Google team will still have to manual check and issue penalties there. Barry asked for a list of specific penalties these algorithms look for although John did not respond. 


Other Interesting News

Ten years in, this agency owner is sharing his top ten lessons learned

Excellent article here from Danny Ashton at NeoNam. In it, you’ll find some important lessons such as sticking to your specialties, identifying the marketing mix that’s right for you, being selective with clients, knowing how to charge for your services (and more importantly, how to weed out less than ideal clients), and more.


Local SEO - News from SterlingSky 

I'm happy to say, no flux is good news this week. I feel like it's important to report "no news" on this front, but it has also been so quiet I feel like we're saying the same thing over and over again! It seems like we're tempting fate to be "bored" with reporting "nothing" in 2020 - so I'll just say "Yeay!" and get to work doing things that move the needle!

local flux july 29


[2020] The Ultimate Playbook for Google My Business Suspensions

Suspensions in Google My Business can be such a pain. Many business owners or marketers who don't specialize in local are flabbergasted not only by the "why" but also by the "how do I fix this one!" This guide by Sterling Sky's Colan Nielsen and Joy Hawkins is designed to help everyone wade through and fix a suspension in GMB. The caveat is, if you were legitimately suspended for violating GMB's TOS, you have to fix that first!


Whitespark announces free Local Search Summit

Join the team at Whitespark and over 30 local search experts from around the globe to discuss all things Local in a free Local Search Summit on September 15-17, 2020. This is an amazing opportunity to learn and absorb the latest in local search info!


Google My Business adds Black-owned attribute

Krystal Taing of RioSEO writes at Local University about the new "black-owned" attribute now available in Google My Business. It's a way to surface information for people who would like to source local products and services from Black-owned businesses. It joins "veteran-led" and "Woman-owned" as an ownership/leadership attribute in GMB.


Yelp charging for logo upload & COVID-19 attributes

In a very odd move, Yelp has decided to start charging businesses for features such as COVID-19 attributes and adding a logo to their listing. Justin Mosebach first shared this on Twitter and it seems like such an odd way to make up for the loss of business due to restaurants shutting down around the country.


Recommended Reading

35 Content Marketing Tips From Top Industry Experts – Melissa Fach
https://www.semrush.com/blog/content-marketing-tips/
July 27, 2020

Marie joined a panel of experts to give their very best tips related to content marketing. In it, you’ll hear from the perspective of SEO, mobile, eComm, publishing, PR, social and video. This is another great article for SEMrush and a fantastic job by all of those involved!

 

How to get a Knowledge Panel for your brand, even without Wikipedia – George Nguyen
https://searchengineland.com/how-to-get-a-knowledge-panel-for-your-brand-even-without-wikipedia-338642
August 3, 2020

In this article, George Nguyen walks you through how to get a Knowledge Panel for your brand. If your brand is already showing a Knowledge Panel, all you have to do is to claim itHowever, if no Knowledge Panel is showing up for your brand, and if you don’t have a Wikipedia page there are still a few options left for you. Read the article to find out how! 

 

The impact of GPT-3 on Google Search, a complex-adaptive system – Kevin Indig
https://www.kevin-indig.com/the-impact-of-gpt-3-on-google-search-a-complex-adaptive-system/
August 2, 2020

GPT-3, the third generation of the open-program created by OpenAI has been making headlines recently due to its potential implications on the tech industry. As the usual deep learning system, the program looks for patterns in its data parameters. But just so you have an idea of GPT-3’s incredible power, it has over 75 billion parameters that include, but aren't limited to, the entirety of the English Wikipedia. The rest of its parameters come from every online source you can think of, digitized books, webpages, weblinks, etc. You won't want to miss this article if you're interested in AI or GPT-3. 


Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

Proximity Third: A Deeper Dive into a Local Ranking Factors Surprise – Miriam Ellis
https://moz.com/blog/proximity-third-in-local-ranking-factors
July 22, 2020

A big shift in results occurred this year from Moz’s State of the Local SEO Industry 2020 survey outcomes. Since 2017, “user-to-business proximity” has been voted as the #1 most important factor when generating local-specific search results and this year, it was bumped down to #3 with ‘GMB Elements’ taking first place. This data is shocking to local SEOs and here’s how some are trying to make sense of it. Jump over to the Moz blog for deeper insight.


Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • More on the June 22/23 Government Update
  • Support for Image License structured data is available
  • A reminder related to Google's reasonable surfer model
  • Is feedback optimization part of your SEO process?
  • Important thread surrounding a change to Chrome’s default referrer policy (important if you’re using Google Analytics)
  • What you should know about HTTPS
  • Tidbits from the latest Search Off the Record episode
  • The impact of infinite scroll on CLS
  • Why implement hreflang if you’re dominating the SERPs in a given country? Are bigger brands exempt from this?
  • Subdomains vs. subfolders? Here’s how to decide
  • Can a negative review (or reviews) hurt your rankings? (plus MHC’s thoughts)
  • Interesting comment about Google’s handling of redirect chains
  • Has Google confirmed that they use click data?
  • Can schema markup boost local SEO?
  • The latest on Google’s upgraded Google My Business profiles
  • 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.

 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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