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Episode 20 - Nov 22, 2017 (Light Version)

This episode has lots of tips that I picked up while attending and speaking at Pubcon Vegas. I learned a lot at this conference and I’m passing that information on to you.

In this episode we’ll go over the latest algorithm updates, talk about some very important news for AMP publishers and have a thorough discussion on the latest news about disavowing.

I also have some exciting news for those of you who are deciding whether or not to become paid subscribers. If you sign up now as a paid subscriber, you’ll get a free copy of my book on Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines along with the checklist that we use to help determine whether a site has issues that are addressed in these guidelines. You can find more info here on my Quality Raters’ Guidelines guide.

In this episode:


Paid members also get the following:

  • Did Google really say that you only need to disavow if you have a manual action?
  • Tip: How to quickly see the cache of a website
  • Are we seeing fewer featured snippets?
  • How you can see voice queries in Google Search Console
  • If Google can find your javascript links, do they count just the same as an html link?
  • Geolocation change workaround not working? Try this!
  • Do you need keywords in your urls?
  • What does it mean if you’re not ranking #1 for your own content?
  • Do nofollowed links need to be disavowed?
  • Details on the constantly-changing featured snippet algorithm 
  • Info on Google’s Abusive Experience Tool
  • A sneaky trick to fake freshness
  • Can schema help with rankings?
  • Should you invest in Bing ads?
  • Link Building Tips
  • Local SEO: A great use for Google Posts
  • Local SEO: A great tip to get your citations indexed
  • Local SEO: If you use BirdEye, why your Google reviews may have disappeared
  • SEO Tools: A cool tool for checking on-site duplication
  • SEO Tools: A neat tool for finding a site’s subdomains
  • My tl;dr summary of several awesome SEO articles published recently

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Algorithm Updates

November 15, 2017

There appears to have been a big quality related update at this time.

Algoroo is showing this as the biggest update since December of 2016:

Mozcast shows a lot of turbulence on November 14:

With that said, however, I have not noticed any significant changes across the sites that I monitor.

Note: I have added this date to my list of Google algorithm updates.


No major algorithm updates expected in the near future

At Pubcon, Google’s Eric Kuan was asked whether there are any big algorithmic updates coming soon. He said that they were not working on anything specific, but they were continually making changes to Panda and Penguin.

I expect that we will continue to see quality tweaks, but that there are no bombshell changes coming in the next few months.

Google has said in the past that they try to minimize major changes around the time of the holidays:


Big changes for AMP publishers - You can no longer use AMP teaser pages

Google made an announcement recently that is going to affect a lot of AMP publishers. The change affects those who are using teaser content on their AMP pages.

What some publishers have been doing is creating an AMP page that only has a portion of the actual content on it. Then, they’ll have a “read more” button for users to click on to get the rest of the content. The main reason for doing this is to get double the ad revenue as you would get ad views on both the AMP page and the non-AMP page that contains the rest of the content.

Here is a summary of Google’s announcement:

  • In order for a page to be considered AMP, there has to be content parity between the AMP version and non-AMP equivalent. If the two pages are different in terms of content, then you’ll lose your AMP designation and will no longer be able to rank in places requiring AMP such as the Top Stories carousel.
  • If Google notices that your AMP pages don’t match their non-AMP equivalent, you’ll get a manual action in Google Search Console. (You can check this by going to GSC → Search Traffic → Manual Actions.)
  • This will go into effect on February 1, 2018.

Big changes to product oriented knowledge panels

This is big news for anyone involved in eCommerce. Google has made some big changes to product oriented knowledge panels.

Here is a tweet from Google explaining the changes:

These knowledge panels take up a huge amount of real estate on mobile searches which is not good news if you are ranking organically for shopping related or product review terms.

Vlad Rappoport of Highya.com first noticed the change:


Firefox has switched back to Google as its main search provider

The Mozilla blog recently mentioned that Firefox will now use Google as its main search provider in Canada, the US, Hong Kong and Taiwan. In 2014, Firefox switched from showing users Google to Yahoo.

If you have a website that performs better on Yahoo than it does on Google (or vice versa), you may see changes in traffic that correlate with this switch that happened on November 14, 2017. I have updated my algorithm update list to reflect this.


Google’s info command no longer works

In the past, you could get some interesting information about a website by using the info: operator on a Google search. Here is an example shown on SEL:

Now if you do an info search for any website, you’ll just see the homepage listing for the site, which is not terribly helpful:


New referrers for Google News in GA

If you get traffic from Google News you may see some changes in your analytics. A help forum thread talks about the changes:

  • Referrals from the source ‘news.google.com’ includes traffic from native mobile apps, mobile web, and RSS feeds setup with the legacy URL pattern.
  • Referrals from the source ‘news.url.google.com’ includes traffic from desktop and RSS feeds setup with the new URL pattern.

Google does not use Google Analytics data

Again, this is not really news, but a lot of people ask me about this:

However, Google has said in the past that they do use information on user experience. They can see how long users are on a site and whether they click back to the search results and do another search. Google has said that they use this type of information to test whether their algorithms are working well.


New knowledge panel info on news publishers

If you are a publisher of information, you likely want to pay attention this. Google is now showing new information in the knowledge panel that tells people the following information about publishers:

  • What topics this publisher writes about.
  • What awards the publisher has won.
  • Reviewed claims - This shows up when a significant amount of a publisher’s recent content has been reviewed by an authoritative fact-checker.

At this point there is no information to tell us how to get this info to appear in our knowledge panel. It is not something that you can get by implementing schema. Also, according to the help page for this subject, you are not able to opt out from having this type of Knowledge panel.

We can see in this knowledge graph listing that Google has listed awards that the New York Times has won:


Poll shows that many are finding SEO too difficult

I found this poll on Search Engine Round Table fascinating and actually exciting as well:

SEO has changed dramatically over the last five years. Prior to the release of Penguin in April of 2012, it was quite easy to help sites rank better by making links that Google would now consider unnatural. I have been saying for a few years now that the pool of people who can effectively do good SEO is getting smaller and smaller.

According to this poll, over 60% of people who are currently offering SEO services will be doing less of it in the future.

This is exciting for those who have enough skill to effectively help websites improve the amount of money they may from organic search. If you are in this category of skilled people, then congrats! Business should get better and better for you as Google gets better at truly ranking good sites rather than those who figured out tricks and loopholes.


Looks like AMP is here to stay

Have you been debating on whether or not to make the jump to AMP? I personally thought that AMP would be a fad that would go away after a year or two. At Pubcon, Gary Illyes said that AMP is getting more and more important. He said, “We [Google] don't have a good history of supporting things for a long time, but AMP is supported in many places, not just Google.”

Gary pointed out that in many countries where there is no good LTE or 4G connection, users are really excited to read AMP pages as they know they won’t eat up their data budget.

When AMP first came out, I ran it on one of my sites and was not happy with the results. My ad revenue was cut in half and given that this was an ad-monetized site I ended the experiment after a month.

You can see that after I implemented AMP, my ad revenue plummeted. And, when I removed AMP, the site did not recover:

These changes were not due to an algorithmic hit. Here is my analytics for this site. The circle is when I turned amp on:

I will be doing more tests like this in the future as it does really seem that AMP is here to stay now.


Local SEO

Google local services (formerly home service ads) are appearing in more cities now


Google now shows wait times for restaurants

This is a pretty cool feature. If you search for a local restaurant, Google will give you information like this:

You can also see wait times at other times of the day. Let’s say I was planning to eat at this restaurant at 7pm. I can now see that the wait time will be about 30 minutes:

How does Google gather this information? Can they tell from Android use how long it takes for a customer to get to their table once they enter the building?

It is hard to say how businesses can take advantage of this other than to do their best to seat people as quickly as possible.

I think this would be an interesting thing to test to see if it could be modified. For example, if your business was showing a very long wait time, perhaps you could invite a bunch of friends with Android phones and make sure that they get seated really quickly.

It will also be interesting to see if Google uses this information for ranking. Perhaps they will start giving a slight preference to restaurants that don’t make people wait too long?

If you have any thoughts on how we as SEOs can better use this information, please leave a comment!


Recommended Reading

Paid subscribers will not only see reading recommendations, but they’ll also have a summary of the important points from each article which will hopefully save you a lot of time.

Using GSC Search Analytics for Quick SEO wins (and a little bit about featured snippets too)

https://www.slideshare.net/MarieHaynes/using-gsc-search-analytics-for-quick-seo-wins-and-a-little-bit-about-featured-snippets-too

12 “No-BS” Ways to Rapidly Increase Organic SEO Traffic (with Case Studies & Examples)

http://www.robbierichards.com/seo/increase-organic-traffic/

2017 LOCAL SEO RANKING FACTORS

http://www.localseoguide.com/guides/local-seo-ranking-factors/

An editor’s insights

https://www.slideshare.net/MelissaFach/an-editors-insights-by-melissa-fach-pubcon-las-vegas-2017

Private Blog Networks - A great way to get your site penalized

https://searchengineland.com/private-blog-networks-great-way-get-site-penalized-286489#


Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • Did Google really say that you only need to disavow if you have a manual action?
  • Tip: How to quickly see the cache of a website
  • Are we seeing fewer featured snippets?
  • How you can see voice queries in Google Search Console
  • If Google can find your javascript links, do they count just the same as an html link?
  • Geolocation change workaround not working? Try this!
  • Do you need keywords in your urls?
  • What does it mean if you’re not ranking #1 for your own content?
  • Do nofollowed links need to be disavowed?
  • Details on the constantly-changing featured snippet algorithm
  • Info on Google’s Abusive Experience Tool
  • A sneaky trick to fake freshness
  • Can schema help with rankings?
  • Should you invest in Bing ads?
  • Link Building Tips
  • Local SEO: A great use for Google Posts
  • Local SEO: A great tip to get your citations indexed
  • Local SEO: If you use BirdEye, why your Google reviews may have disappeared
  • SEO Tools: A cool tool for checking on-site duplication
  • SEO Tools: A neat tool for finding a site’s subdomains
  • My tl;dr summary of several awesome SEO articles published recently

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.

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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! As always, I'd love to hear your feedback on what you'd like to see more (or less) of in the newsletter. Also, I'm now starting to do Facebook Live videos to inform people of the latest Google News. If you're not already following me on Facebook, here is my page.

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