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Episode 23 - Jan 19, 2018 (Light Version)

In this episode we go over December’s algorithm updates in greater detail as there really were some significant changes. Google is continually improving on their ability to surface the highest quality sites. We have news on the Page Speed Update that will be coming in July as well as insight into the new Google Search Console.

Paid subscribers get several link building tips as well as a LOT of extra content that is not in the free (light) version.

In this episode:


Paid members also get the following:

  • Was your site removed from Google News?
  • What percentage of Google Home answers come from featured snippets?
  • More on how Google treats the links coming from noindexed pages
  • A look at the new GSC features
  • Is hidden text discounted by Google?
  • A great idea for driving traffic via Reddit marketing
  • Interesting schema noticed on the Washington Post’s Website
  • If you use CSS to display images, will they be indexed?
  • Why schema markup will not help you get featured snippets
  • Do you have Google alerts set up to monitor for hacking?
  • Did you know that most “direct traffic” in Google Analytics is not actually direct?
  • A great content creation tip
  • Link Building Tips
  • Local SEO Link Building Tips
  • Info on the changes to AMP urls
  • A tip for searching keywords in GSC
  • A thorough list on the history of structured data changes
  • A great tip for driving conversions for companies located in cold weather locations
  • HREFlang tips
  • Are outbound links a ranking signal?
  • The best cold email ever
  • Two cool SEO tools
  • New Guidelines from Google on what to do if someone else has verified your business
  • Why GMB analytics on Google Posts clicks may not be correct
  • Google posts are now available to sites using Google’s Website builder
  • My tl;dr summary of several awesome SEO articles published recently

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Algorithm Updates

I have added a few extra dates in December to my Google algorithm update list as there were a couple of other dates in December that now appear to have been significant enough updates to include on the list.

I wanted to comment on the December 26 update. I had originally thought that this date was only important for sites that received manual actions. However, it does look like there was significant algorithm turbulence. We had several clients with whom we have been working to help improve overall site quality that saw nice jumps up on this day. When looking at this time frame it’s important to look at year over year data as many businesses naturally see a boost at this time of year.

Here are some of the nice increases we have seen. (December 26 is marked)

January 15, 2018

This was possibly a tweak to Google’s quality algorithm. Barry Schwartz reported that there were many forum discussions stating that site owners had seen drops or gains on this day. In checking the client data that I have access to, I’m not seeing any significant changes as of yet on this date. I’ll keep you updated though.


Changes to Google’s Page Speed Insights Tool

Google has made changes to the GSPI tool to give us more information. However, the way that the information is displayed is a bit confusing.

The new tool is showing “Not available” for a lot of sites. However, it is the “Optimization” box that contains the score that we are used to seeing in this tool:

It is important to note that the word “Optimization” refers to speed optimization and not overall SEO.

Some of our larger clients do indeed have a Speed as well as an Optimization score:

It is interesting to note that in the above screenshot the tool says, “Although the page could be more optimized it is probably unnecessary.” Google’s documentation on Page Speed says, “[If} the page is already in the top third of all pages in the data set, and further improvement is likely unnecessary.”

The real time information that some sites have is interesting. Here is what I learned:

  • The data is gleaned from the Chrome User Experience Report which uses crowdsourced data from popular websites.
  • “First Paint” is the time it takes for the browser to start rendering the page.
  • “First Contentful Paint” (FCP) is the number that seems to be the most important. It represents the time for text and images to start being rendered. It also means that this is the time it takes for a user to start to be able to read content.
  • “DOMContentLoaded” (DCL) is the time it takes for the HTML to be completely loaded and parsed.

As many have pointed out, there are quite a few tools that we can use to help assess page speed. Often GPSI can give a score that doesn’t seem to make sense. I have seen sites with high scores that load slowly and vice versa. Still, I would recommend paying attention to your GPSI score. When Google moves to a mobile first index, this is likely to become more important. We should all be aiming for a green in the Optimization box.


Page Speed Update

John Mueller has said this before, but once again he has said that Page Speed is only a ranking factor if you’re having significant problems:

With that said, there are many good SEO’s out there who have seen nice improvements in rankings and traffic after making page speed improvements. It’s never a bad thing to work on this type of improvement.

In the past Google has said that when they move to a mobile first index page speed is likely to be more of a ranking factor.

After writing this, Google published this announcement saying that In July of 2018 there is going to be a “page speed update”. In it they say the following:

“The “Speed Update,” as we’re calling it, will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries. It applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.”

This great post on Search Engine Land answers some of the questions many have about this update. Here are the relevant parts:

  • This change is about mobile results, not desktop.
  • This is an algorithmic change, so we won’t be seeing any notifications in GSC if our sites are super slow.
  • If a site has a fast AMP page but the canonical is slow, it’s the speed of the AMP page that would be taken into account as this is the page that users will see on mobile.

GSC Beta still rolling out & has 16 months of data!

A few of my clients now have access to the new Google Search Console Beta. If you don’t have it yet, though, you’re not alone. It seems to be a slow rollout!

One thing that I have noticed is that there are still a number of things that appear to be missing from GSC Beta. I’m assuming these things will be added in eventually. But, for now I can’t see a place to download links, look at security issues, fetch and render, see manual actions, etc.

For those of you who have not had a chance to dig around, here is what I am seeing.

16 months of data

Cool overlays to show clicks, impressions, CTR and ranking position:

The index coverage report which tells you about crawl errors. I am really hoping though that the “indexed, low interest” section comes back!

Information on “enhancements” which seems to be about AMP and structured data:


Google’s reverse image search is broken

Barry Schwartz has a good post on this. If you are finding that reverse image searches are not working well for you, it is because there is a bug on Google’s side.

Danny Sullivan from Google confirmed this:


Marie Haynes on MozPod talking about the Quality Raters’ Guidelines

If you missed it, this page has a copy of my interview on MozPod talking about Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines and how we use them here at Marie Haynes Consulting to help clients improve their sites.


Local SEO

GMB Video updates are now live

This is something that all businesses should use! You can now upload videos up to 30 seconds in length to your GMB dashboard. Customers can upload videos of your business as well. You can read more information on this here.

We don’t know yet whether adding videos will be a ranking factor. Historically though, Google has given preference to GMB profiles that add lots of images and keep their profile fresh.

Even if it is not a ranking factor, this is another opportunity to show your customers how awesome you are!

Note: Videos were not working properly for a while, but they should be fixed now!

Also, as of the date of publication of this episode, people are seeing them live in the SERPS as well:


Recommended Reading

https://moz.com/blog/how-to-optimize-your-google-my-business-listing

Written by Sherry Bonelli, here are some tips on getting the most out of your Google My Business (GMB) listing.

https://www.siegemedia.com/strategy/2x-content-not-10x-content

This is a video by Ross Hudgens on why you should work on creating 2x Content not 10x Content.

https://www.gsqi.com/marketing-blog/december-2017-google-algorithm-updates/

Once again, Glenn Gabe has given us a good breakdown of the most recent algorithm changes.

http://streetfightmag.com/2018/01/11/local-seos-dont-play-these-google-games/

This article by Ben Fisher begins by explaining how drastically SEO has changed over the years and lists things you should stop doing when it comes to Local SEO rankings.

http://susanwenograd.com/im-not-melting-facebook-feed-announcement/

I don’t usually cover social media marketing in this newsletter, but as Facebook made some massive changes this week, I felt that it would be helpful to many of you if I included this post. Susan Wenograd is super smart and I really liked this post.

https://jlh-marketing.com/damaging-industry-ranking-factors-studies/

When Jenny Halasz writes, I read! I enjoyed this article that essentially is saying that we shouldn’t put too much faith in SEO ranking factors studies.

https://diggitymarketing.com/interview-with-luqman-khan-of-10beasts/

This was a fascinating interview with the previous owner of a successful affiliate site, 10beasts.com. The site was recently given a manual penalty.

https://www.polemicdigital.com/view-source-quickly-compare-raw-html-rendered-dom/

Barry Adams wrote and article, View Source: Why it still matters and how to quickly compare it to a rendered DOM.

https://moz.com/blog/free-seo-tools-local

A list of Free Local SEO Tools by Miriam Elllis.

https://theoutline.com/post/2978/these-are-the-people-paying-journalists-to-promote-brands-in-articles

This article talks about how common it is for journalists on authoritative sites to take money in exchange for mentioning brands in their articles. After this article was published, the Huffington Post announced that they were shutting down their contributor program.

https://builtvisible.com/why-re-pointing-high-value-links-still-matters-in-2018/

This is an interesting article by Luke Berry of Builtvisible about a situation where a company consolidated a collection of sites and made the decision to retire the domains no longer in use rather than redirect them.

https://cognitiveseo.com/blog/16687/subdomains-vs-subfolders/

This is a great look at the age-old subdomain vs. subfolder debate with a lot of feedback from the experiences of skilled SEOs.

http://onlineownership.com/local-seo-myths-and-ranking-in-the-local-pack/

Local SEO Myths and Ranking in the Local Pack by Tim Capper


Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • Was your site removed from Google News?
  • What percentage of Google Home answers come from featured snippets?
  • More on how Google treats the links coming from noindexed pages
  • A look at the new GSC features
  • Is hidden text discounted by Google?
  • A great idea for driving traffic via Reddit marketing
  • Interesting schema noticed on the Washington Post’s Website
  • If you use CSS to display images, will they be indexed?
  • Why schema markup will not help you get featured snippets
  • Do you have Google alerts set up to monitor for hacking?
  • Did you know that most “direct traffic” in Google Analytics is not actually direct?
  • A great content creation tip
  • Link Building Tips
  • Local SEO Link Building Tips
  • Info on the changes to AMP urls
  • A tip for searching keywords in GSC
  • A thorough list on the history of structured data changes
  • A great tip for driving conversions for companies located in cold weather locations
  • HREFlang tips
  • Are outbound links a ranking signal?
  • The best cold email ever
  • Two cool SEO tools
  • New Guidelines from Google on what to do if someone else has verified your business
  • Why GMB analytics on Google Posts clicks may not be correct
  • Google posts are now available to sites using Google’s Website builder
  • 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.

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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! 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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