SNYCU Ep. 147 - August 26, 2020 - Light Version

Looking for the paid members version? Log in here

In this episode we discuss the algorithm turbulence on August 17th, the Google Sandbox, our SEMrush tip of the week, great outreach tips and more!


Marie’s Podcast for this episode

If you would like to subscribe, you can find the podcasts here:
Apple PodcastsSpotify | Google Play | Soundcloud

Ask Marie an SEO Question

Have a question that you want to ask Marie? You can ask them on our Q&A with Marie Haynes Consulting page and Marie will answer some of the best questions each week in podcast!


In this episode:


Paid members also get the following:

  • Early analysis of a possible August 17, 2020 Google update
  • Is the Google Sandbox a myth?
  • Outreach tips from an expert
  • Is there really no value in getting into Wikipedia?
  • How to recover FAQ rich results (aka snippets)
  • Shortcut for how to link directly to a section of text on a webpage
  • Resources for identifying hreflang need and implementation scope
  • Hesitant to show on-site pricing? At a minimum consider this
  • Need to know tips for using the Web Stories WordPress plugin
  • Google's comments on the current state of nofollow links
  • Would it be considered cloaking if you’re hiding your tracking pixels?
  • Step up the value of your info on city-level pages (even if there’s only a small number of them)
  • Are doorway pages being handled algorithmically now?
  • Bing discusses how they use engagement metrics to rank sites
  • Google is prepared to launch an ‘enhanced news storytelling project’ with licensed content, but not everyone is pleased
  • ScrollToText URLs for Images in Web Search now appearing -- here’s what you should know
  • Need to know if your business has a menu on SinglePlatform
  • Branded pins can now be seen in Maps (but only for select businesses)
  • Visualize and validate your structured data
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

Algorithm Updates

August 17, 2020 - Possible Google update

We have had more people than usual reach out to us this week to ask whether there was a significant Google update. Sure enough, when we checked the data, it looks like something of significance happened on August 17, 2020.

Some of the SEO Weather tools including SEMrush sensor and Mozcast are showing increased SERP volatility on August 15...but neither show the 17th as an important date. 

In the next section, our premium newsletter readers will see our early thoughts on what we saw amongst our clients with this shift. Please know though that we have not done a thorough investigation of this change as the number of sites affected is not large at this point.


MHC Announcements

This week’s SEMrush offer 

Each week we have a SEMrush promotion for all new SEMrush users. This week our readers have access to a two week trial of SEMrush Guru. Their Guru plan is a step up of their pro plan and normally costs $199 monthly. Give it a try here

(Note: If you’re reading this after the promo has expired, you can always get the most recent SEMrush offer for Search News You Can Use readers at mariehaynes.com/semrush.)


SEMrush tip of the week - quick and easy site audit crawls

One of the first things we do when we are contracted to review a website is set up and run a SEMrush site audit. These audits are very easy to set up and the results are generally easy to interpret. For most of the items assessed, SEMrush gives you detailed explanations on why they have flagged certain issues and how you can go about fixing them.

You’ll quickly see a page that flags any significant issues.

In the above case, we could quickly see that our client had a few minor issues to work on. The crawl showed us seven pages on the site that had page speed issues. Clicking through, we saw a list of those pages along with their estimated page load time. While SEMrush does not give specifics on exactly what to fix in this case, (as there are many components that fit together to determine page load time), you can then take those urls and assess them via Google’s Page Speed Insights and come back to your client with advice to help them improve.

In some cases, running a SEMrush crawl can quickly show you duplicate content issues, pages with broken links, canonical tag errors and other very important issues. 

In a recent site review that one of our senior auditors, Matt was overseeing, a SEMrush crawl very quickly showed us several urls that were flagged as having duplicate content. In no time at all, he could see that the client had both http and https versions of pages in Google’s index. It did not take much investigation to discover that redirects had not been properly set up when this site purchased an SSL certificate.

There is a LOT more that you can learn from the SEMrush site audit. We’ll likely cover some specific cases in more detail in future episodes.

If you would like to run a site audit for your own site, you can use the promo code listed in this newsletter episode, or go to mariehaynes.com/semrush to get the latest SEMrush offer for Search News You Can Use subscribers to test this out for yourself!


Google Announcements

Google announces a virtual Webmaster Conference later this year

Google has announced a virtual Webmaster conference in place of their in person conferences due to COVID-19. They had previously mentioned a virtual unconference and opened registration, however there was a lot of user frustration that the spots were already full. We’ll report more on this once Google releases more detailed information. 


Squarespace users can now see how people found them in Search  

Handy new information available to Squarespace users. You can find queries, clicks and impressions at a page level in the Search Keywords Panel of GSC. 


SEO Tips

John comments on keywords in URLs

From Barry’s post on the tweet, he points out 4 things: 

  1. Keywords in URLs are minimal in terms of SEO
  2. Don't worry about how the URLs work for SEO, do them for users
  3. Try to avoid changing URLs if possible
  4. English URLs do not have an advantage over French URLs for SEO

Glenn Gabe also noted something that a lot of people tend to overlook - URL changes = site-migration. 


Check out these cool features in Chrome Dev Tools

Did you know you capture node screenshots in Chrome Dev Tools? Addy Osmani shows you how to execute this with ease.

Or how about capturing the entire page…

Bookmark these as they’re sure to save you time!


Google Help Hangout Tips

If you're not seeing a page cached in Google, is this a serious issue?

John Mueller re-iterates in a recent help hangout that a page that has no cache is not a problem. This could just be a side effect of Google’s internal systems and does not signal low quality pages. 


If you're struggling with hreflang, consider this

Adding locational information to your pages can send signals to Google. You want to make your pages specific to one country. Adding your local address information will help with this. 


Important tip for directory sites

There was a really helpful point in this week's Google help hangout. 

When asked about what to do with a directory site that is simply linking out to users who submit their links, John replied by saying “If you’re just linking to other people’s websites, what kind of queries would make sense for us to show your website instead of their website directly?"


Other Interesting News

Google certificates will be treated as the equivalent to a college degree

In a recent episode, we discussed Google’s new educational certificate programs they’re launching that can be completed within 6 months. There is a lot of talk about how these are equivalent to a college degree and while they are, it is only for Google’s internal hiring. If you apply for jobs outside of Google, this is not the same. 

We still love the program idea as they cover jobs that don’t have a lot of formal educational training, but don’t think these replace your college degree, just simply add to it. 


Local SEO - News from SterlingSky 

All is quiet on the ranking front after a little bit of a hiccup as reported last week. Quiet is good, we'll take it!


How many Facebook pages should a multi-location small business have?

Sterling Sky's Becky Weller shares some great info outlining the pros and cons of having multiple Facebook pages for multi-location small businesses. It can be a juggling act and there are many factors that can go into your decision, including bandwidth, branding, and unique message intentions.


Local Search like it’s 2020 (not like it’s 2010)

After a long hiatus from his blog, the Local Search expert David Mihm has brought us an opus on Local Search with "LOCAL SEARCH LIKE IT’S 2020 (NOT LIKE IT’S 2010)." David outlines some "new truths" (maybe not so new?) about local search that the industry is still getting wrong. Local Search does not equal citations, it does not equal engagement (but it could), and some other great information on where we should be looking at local search today including how the paradigm has changed from 2010 to today:

2010 local search paradigm:
Search -> Organic Result -> Website -> Contact Form -> Conversion

2020 local search paradigm:
Search -> Ad/GMB -> Conversion


How one business made a mess of masking

Mike Blumenthal has continued his dive into how wearing masks or having a mask requirement has affected online reviews with a deeper look at Menards and their botched rollout of mask requirements at the beginning of the pandemic and how it affected their overall ratings when compared to Home Depot or even Costco. It's definitely a study in how corporate rules affect boots-on-the-ground staff and locations.


Google adds local listings to autocomplete

Google has started providing links to local listings in the search suggestion "autocomplete" feature. Jason Brown explores what this means for local businesses and what types of queries trigger them. These results are not captive to branded queries, so it's important to see what's showing up in your local area for your top keywords!


Recommended Reading

Link Building Case Study: How We Built Backlinks With a ‘Stats’ Page (And Ranked #1) – Joshua Hardwick
https://ahrefs.com/blog/link-building-case-study/
August 18, 2020

This link building case study by Ahrefs is a great example of how to get links with an effective outreach campaign. We definitely recommend reading it in full to learn how you could leverage your content better and earn some high quality backlinks. 


Jobs


Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • Early analysis of a possible August 17, 2020 Google update
  • Is the Google Sandbox a myth?
  • Outreach tips from an expert
  • Is there really no value in getting into Wikipedia?
  • How to recover FAQ rich results (aka snippets)
  • Shortcut for how to link directly to a section of text on a webpage
  • Resources for identifying hreflang need and implementation scope
  • Hesitant to show on-site pricing? At a minimum consider this
  • Need to know tips for using the Web Stories WordPress plugin
  • Google's comments on the current state of nofollow links
  • Would it be considered cloaking if you’re hiding your tracking pixels?
  • Step up the value of your info on city-level pages (even if there’s only a small number of them)
  • Are doorway pages being handled algorithmically now?
  • Bing discusses how they use engagement metrics to rank sites
  • Google is prepared to launch an ‘enhanced news storytelling project’ with licensed content, but not everyone is pleased
  • ScrollToText URLs for Images in Web Search now appearing -- here’s what you should know
  • Need to know if your business has a menu on SinglePlatform
  • Branded pins can now be seen in Maps (but only for select businesses)
  • Visualize and validate your structured data
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

Note: If you are seeing the light version and you are a paid member, be sure to log in (in the sidebar on desktop or below the post on mobile) and read the full article here.

Want to see the full newsletter?

It's well worth the $18 per month!

You can subscribe to Dr. Marie Haynes' newsletter by clicking on the Paypal button below. You'll get an action packed email every week.

You'll also have access to past episodes, including this one.


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.


Paid Member Login

Lost your Password?

Google update newsletter

Want an update when Google makes a big algorithm change or other announcement? Sign up here!

This is a weekly newsletter. We will never send spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit