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Episode 21 - Dec 15, 2017 (Light Version)

Usually things slow down during the holiday season, but not this year! Google has made several announcements and changes in the last couple of months. In this episode we’ll discuss those changes plus talk about the new longer snippets in search, some things that can get you penalized, some tips (including link building) and more!

This month there have been some incredible articles written. I have summarized several of these for my paid readers.

Enjoy!

In this episode:


Paid members also get the following:

  • Interesting thoughts on crawl budget
  • Why structured data needs to match what is actually on the page
  • Can misleading event markup can lead to a penalty?
  • Google's explanation for why it is now showing longer snippets in search
  • A look at how “SEO Content” on eCommerce pages can have a negative effect on rankings
  • A Chrome extension to check SERPS from a different location
  • Is "Google posts" now available for individuals?
  • Bing can now crawl javascript
  • Data on Facebook sending less traffic to sites now compared to Google
  • Is time to first byte a ranking factor?
  • A SEO test showing whether Google Analytics treats a second organic visit as direct
  • Awesomeness is a ranking factor
  • An SEO study on improving page speed for more conversions
  • A neat way to quickly get urls deindexed
  • An SEO tool to look at server headers
  • Google may be experimenting with infinite scroll for search results on mobile
  • Twitter will now start showing the amp version of a page if available
  • A link building idea that is really easy to implement
  • Local SEO: Google's instructions on creating a direct link to allow customers to leave a review
  • Local SEO: I just discovered something that can improve rankings that most people are not talking about.
  • Local SEO: Google Assistant will now connect you with local service providers
  • Local SEO: Did your Q&A answers disappear?
  • Local SEO: Google now showing sample Google posts
  • 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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Algorithm updates

It has been relatively quiet in terms of algorithm updates recently.

November 27, 2017

This was not written about or discussed much in the search community, but I noticed that a number of my clients saw either increases or decreases starting on this date. The changes were all fairly subtle, but we have enough clients with changes starting on November 27 that I think that Google made a significant quality update on this day.

Here is one of our clients that saw a slight increase:

If more information becomes available, I’ll add more to my algo update list.

December 12, 2017

Barry Schwartz reported on a number of forum conversations where people are seeing significant ranking changes on December 12. I don’t see any obvious changes in the traffic that I monitor, but if there has been a major change, I’ll hopefully have more to report in the next newsletter.


New changes in Google Analytics

Google Analytics just released some new features. With a few tweaks you can now see more user data. The example given is a way to quickly see users that came from paid search. Here is a quote from the post:

For example, you can look back and see the total amount of time an individual user has spent or the total number of transactions an individual user has made on your website. You'll also see new dimensions that show data such as when a user made their first visit to your site and which channel acquired them.

The most exciting part of this report for me was this:

Meet our newest metric: Conversion Probability. It takes user-based metrics one step further to show you just what the name suggests: the probability that a given user will convert in the future. The calculation is based on a machine learning model that learns from users who have made transactions in the past.”

That is pretty exciting. I’m interested to see how some of the analytics experts recommend using this data.


12 months of data coming soon to GSC!

This is in beta now, but should be live for everyone in a few months. Yay!


How to tell if your site has been moved to the mobile first index

This was quite an interesting thing that John Mueller said in a hangout. You can tell if you have been moved to the mobile first index by looking at your log files. For most sites that are currently on the regular index, you should notice that 80% of Google’s crawling is done by the desktop crawler and 20% by the mobile one. If you’ve been switched to mobile first, that should flip.

I have to confess that I have not dug into log files as much as I should. This statement from John convinced me to check out Screaming Frog’s log analyzer and I was really impressed.

How to check your log files to see if you have been switched to the mobile first index

This section is only for paid members. You can sign up here to join.

 


Google has a new SEO starter guide

Google has had a PDF version of an SEO beginners’ guide for quite some time now. They have now made some significant updates. Here is the new document. I think that anyone who is in SEO should read this complete document. Here are the parts that I found interesting:


Google is showing more knowledge cards


Google is showing fewer featured snippets


Google’s announcement on changes in featured snippets and knowledge panels

Google announced some changes recently. Here is what you need to know:

  • Featured snippets may show more images now and also related searches:
  • Knowledge panels will show related searches from within the knowledge panel
  • For some searches, Google will show related people as well.

However, people were getting confused because they thought that this meant that these people were somehow related to each other like family members. Google quickly changed “related to” to read “people also search for”.

When I searched for Rand Fishkin, I got this:


Google trends adds more data

Google trends will now include information on trends in Google News, Images, Shopping and Youtube. Google trends is a great way to find content ideas. You can get more information on this change here.


US based non-profits can now have a donate button right in the search results

Google made this announcement here. I tried searching for several non-profits and did not see a donate button other than in the one example that Google gave:

It looks like the way to get this donate button is to register with Google as a non-profit.


Local SEO

Google is now showing parts of reviews right in the local results


You can now see all past Google posts on both mobile and desktop

If a user clicks on a Google post, they’ll be able to see all posts that the business has created in the past.


Recommended Reading

Large-Scale Study: How to Rank for Featured Snippets in 2018

https://www.semrush.com/blog/large-scale-study-how-to-rank-for-featured-snippets-in-2018/

Five local search tactics your competitors probably aren’t using

https://searchengineland.com/5-local-search-tactics-your-competitors-probably-arent-using-288028

Not actually the best local SEO practices

https://moz.com/blog/not-actually-the-best-local-seo-practices

Our Readership: Results of the 2017 Moz Blog Reader Survey

https://moz.com/blog/2017-moz-blog-reader-survey-results

Google Page Layout Algorithm: Everything You Need to Know

https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-algorithm-history/page-layout/

Link Building for Local SEO

https://www.link-assistant.com/news/link-building-for-local-seo.html

Everything I know about getting links

http://manyminds.digital/blog/everything-i-know-about-getting-links/

The complete guide to direct traffic in Google Analytics

https://moz.com/blog/guide-to-direct-traffic-google-analytics

On Page Content Marketing Best Practices

https://www.siegemedia.com/strategy/on-page-content-marketing-best-practices


Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • Interesting thoughts on crawl budget
  • Why structured data needs to match what is actually on the page
  • Can misleading event markup can lead to a penalty?
  • Google's explanation for why it is now showing longer snippets in search
  • A look at how “SEO Content” on eCommerce pages can have a negative effect on rankings
  • A Chrome extension to check SERPS from a different location
  • Is "Google posts" now available for individuals?
  • Bing can now crawl javascript
  • Data on Facebook sending less traffic to sites now compared to Google
  • Is time to first byte a ranking factor?
  • A SEO test showing whether Google Analytics treats a second organic visit as direct
  • Awesomeness is a ranking factor
  • An SEO study on improving page speed for more conversions
  • A neat way to quickly get urls deindexed
  • An SEO tool to look at server headers
  • Google may be experimenting with infinite scroll for search results on mobile
  • Twitter will now start showing the amp version of a page if available
  • A link building idea that is really easy to implement
  • Local SEO: Google's instructions on creating a direct link to allow customers to leave a review
  • Local SEO: I just discovered something that can improve rankings that most people are not talking about.
  • Local SEO: Google Assistant will now connect you with local service providers
  • Local SEO: Did your Q&A answers disappear?
  • Local SEO: Google now showing sample Google posts
  • 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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