SNYCU Ep. 149 - Sept. 9, 2020 - Light Version

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In this episode we discuss Google penalization, repairing mixed content issues, HTTP vs. HTTPS, how core updates and recovery are associated, and a great compilation of local news from SterlingSky!


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In this episode:


Paid members also get the following:

  • Can Google penalize a site without notification?
  • Google’s lightning talk on HTTPS
  • Do URLs in the image:loc tag count towards the 50,000 XML sitemaps limit?
  • Outreach tip: tips and tricks for tracking down email addresses
  • John said that you don't need to wait for core updates to see some kind of recovery (though this contradicts Google's documentation) -- what’s actually true?
  • How do the backlink tools compare?
  • Is Speakable markup no more?
  • Bing’s new robots.txt tester
  • Shopify is launching new domains
  • Small business SEO cheat sheet
  • Test your landing page copy vs. thousands of others
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

Algorithm Updates

Ranking turbulence in early September

We do not feel that there was a significant Google update this week. While we did have a few clients with bumps up or down in early September, at this point it is challenging to determine whether these are seasonal changes or not. Given that only a small number of sites in our profile are affected, we have not chosen to analyze this as a potential update at this time.

With that said, however, Lily Ray did note that many affiliate sites were listed amongst the “winners” in Sistrix’s visibility index. It is certainly possible that Google made some changes.


SEMrush tip of the week 

Using SEMrush to find and repair mixed content issues

Mixed content occurs when a page is loaded via a secure HTTPS connection, but draws upon other resources that have to be loaded via HTTP. This means that users will not see a secure padlock in their browser, but instead, see this:

Given that Google has told us previously that having a secure HTTPS site is a ranking factor, we feel it is very important to pay attention to this possible issue.

We have seen many instances where a site has migrated to HTTPS, but pages are still showing insecure warnings because the HTTPS pages pull in resources from non-https pages. An example would be a site that uses old YouTube video embeds coded prior to Youtube being HTTPS. 

In most cases, the fix for this is really simple as you can simply change your code so that it calls upon the HTTPS version that hosts your resource. For example, when we ran a SEMrush site audit for this client, we noted that their code pulled upon the HTTP version of Google fonts.

items with mixed content

A change in the code to pull on the HTTPS version of Google’s font library should quickly resolve the mixed content warnings.

If you would like to check your site for mixed content, you can use this week’s SEMrush promo code for a two-week free Guru trial provided to MHC newsletter subscribers who are new to SEMrush. The SEMrush site audit is really simple to set up and can quickly find (and suggest fixes for) many technical SEO issues on a site.


SEO Tips

An illustration of different SEO concepts

Looking for a great way to show and teach clients SEO terminology and concepts? Sam Underwood has made this resource available to the public which’ll break down items such as canonicals, hreflang, redirects, site structure, pagination, and much more.

Check it out and be sure to bookmark the tweet!


Can disavowing improve rankings? See for yourself!

At MHC, whenever we file a disavow we rarely see a decline. There is typically an increase or in some cases no change at all. Here are some results others have seen after filing a thorough disavow file in just after 24 hours! 


Other Interesting News

Heads up, it seems the data from the GSC Index Coverage Report is delayed by about a week

Similar to what happened in December last year, users are reporting that data from Google Search Console seems to be delayed, at occasions, by over a week. Many users are reporting different dates on Twitter


Local SEO - News from SterlingSky 

A bit of a shake up just after the newsletter came out last week - the Local Rank Flux spiked to 5.65 on Wednesday the 2nd, then up over 6.0 on Thursday the 3rd. All indications were that the Thursday score was just corrections from Wednesday's shake up. As I indicated on Twitter - what flux up, must flux down! The rest of the week and holiday weekend were fairly quiet again.


Shady SEO companies can sabotage your GMB

Barry Schwartz outlines a case featured on the GMB Forums where a business owner informed his "SEO Company" that he was thinking of cutting ties with them. The company then took over their GMB and marked them permanently closed, and deindexed their site via Search Console.  This is the uber-shady side of SEO - but it’s a good reminder that marketing companies should be managers, not owners of their clients' accounts.


Tools and tips for choosing the right Google My Business categories

Miriam Ellis writes a very thorough round-up of information to be used to choose the correct GMB category for your business - including tools you can use to help you pick a category and determine what your competitors are using. This is definitely something your entry level local SEOs should be reading and a great resource for explaining the importance of the primary category in GMB to clients.


Facebook offering Click-to-Call ads

Akvile DeFazio writes about a new feature in Facebook Ads, "Click to Call" which, while definitely social in nature, opens up some intriguing doors to local businesses as well. Could a Facebook ad, targeted towards locals (and possibly showing in local groups?) drive measurable social media conversions? This is something local search marketing has struggled with a bit in the past.


Why rank tracking shouldn’t be in Local SEO monthly reports

Our fearless leader, Joy, tackles all the reasons why rank tracking shouldn't be in your Local SEO Monthly reports. It's not an indication that we don't track rankings, or look at them - we absolutely do - but from the beginning of Sterling Sky, she's been committed to focusing our clients on metrics that indicate increases in business. Phone calls, form submissions - in other words - leads and conversions. Here she talks about why rank tracking just isn't the answer to keeping clients focused and happy with an agency's work.


Known service area business address change flaw in GMB

Ben Fisher reports on Twitter that when changing the address for a Service Area Business (SAB), adding the new address and then clearing it is actually causing the address to revert to the old location. This is a known issue and the Google My Business team is looking into it.


Recommended Reading

The Importance of Topic Clusters – Maret Reutelingsperger
https://sitebulb.com/resources/guides/the-importance-of-topic-clusters/
September 3, 2020

This is a great overview of topic clusters, or content hubs, or hub-and-spoke content — whichever is your preferred vernacular. There are plenty of SEO benefits to structuring your content effectively, but we should never lose the forest for the trees by forgetting that the content should thrill your users first and foremost.

 

How To Write Content To Win Featured Snippets – Nathan Turner
https://ipullrank.com/how-to-write-content-to-win-featured-snippets/
August 28, 2020

This guide from iPullRank discusses which pages you should be targeting, which types of featured snippets you should be prioritizing, and how to write for featured snippets. There’s plenty of insight throughout the article which also goes into things like title length, links, content structure and more. This is a light read that can likely improve your featured snippet strategy. Don’t miss it!

 

Identifying Advanced GSC Search Performance Patterns (and What to Do About Them) – Izzi Smith
https://moz.com/blog/identifying-gsc-performance-patterns
September 8, 2020

We always love content from Izzi Smith and this piece on the Moz blog is absolutely fantastic! In this article, Izzi dives into how to make better use of Google Search Console’s performance data by identifying patterns within the performance data. For those looking to take a deeper, proactive dive into their ranking data, this is a must read!  

 

Shopify SEO Tips: Push Shopify to its Limits! – Steven van Vessum, Ondřej Koraba, and Vojtěch Zach
https://www.contentkingapp.com/academy/shopify-seo/
August 31, 2020

Ross Tavendale said on Twitter, “This is probably one of the most comprehensive and up to date Shopify SEO guides on the internet. Definitely one for the bookmarks”. This is a very thorough guide which provides additional resources throughout. If you’re working with a Shopify site, this is a must-read.


Jobs


Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • Can Google penalize a site without notification?
  • Google’s lightning talk on HTTPS
  • Do URLs in the image:loc tag count towards the 50,000 XML sitemaps limit?
  • Outreach tip: tips and tricks for tracking down email addresses
  • John said that you don't need to wait for core updates to see some kind of recovery (though this contradicts Google's documentation) -- what’s actually true?
  • How do the backlink tools compare?
  • Is Speakable markup no more?
  • Bing’s new robots.txt tester
  • Shopify is launching new domains
  • Small business SEO cheat sheet
  • Test your landing page copy vs. thousands of others
  • 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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