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Episode 24 - Feb 5, 2018  (Light Version)

In this episode, I’ve summarized some really helpful SEO articles that give us a lot of tips on optimizing our sites. There is good discussion on GSC beta and a number of content tips.

In this episode:


Paid members also get the following:

  • Lots of things are missing from the new GSC
  • Can’t find Search Analytics in GSC? It’s here
  • Good information on structured data
  • More information on the debate on folders vs subdomains
  • Is Medium Good for SEO?
  • Redirecting content? Why you shouldn't daisy-chain your canonicals
  • Google’s URL removal tool was not working for a while
  • Do Google’s algorithms measure reading level?
  • After migrating to https Google may still show you clicks to the http version of your site
  • What to do if your disavow file exceeds the maximum size
  • How many redirects will Google follow?
  • When translating a page, don't forget this!
  • Should you be regularly submitting pages to Google?
  • Is it ok to use an H1 tag that is the same as your title tag?
  • Is hreflang case sensitive?
  • It’s normal to see a spike in crawling activity after switching to https
  • Great tip for finding templated content that shouldn’t be indexed
  • The Huffington Post is shutting down their contributor program
  • Automating finding brand mentions
  • Great thoughts on content creation
  • Searching content in quotes can sometimes surface content that is linked to with that quote
  • What is keyword cannibalization?
  • A cool tip for Chrome navigation
  • Link Building tip that involves video content
  • Local SEO: How to rank for “near me” searches
  • Great information to help you get the most out of Q&A in GMB
  • How long does it take for a flagged review to get removed?
  • Can you use a call tracking number in GMB?
  • Another reminder not to use virtual offices for SEO purposes
  • What page should you link your GMB listing to?
  • How to easily crop people out of images
  • How Site Bulb can help improve your technical SEO
  • My tl;dr summary of several awesome SEO articles published recently

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Latest Algorithm updates

Possible mild update January 29, 2018

There really haven’t been any obvious significant algorithmic shifts that I am aware of in January so far. Barry Schwartz noticed an uptick in forum chatter around January 29, 2018. However, in all of the Google Analytics profiles that I have access to I am only seeing one site with a slight increase and that site tends to see seasonal increases around this time.

I did have someone suggest that the changes seen on January 29-30, 2018 mostly affected big Pharma sites.

I’ll keep an eye out for more obvious changes and report on any patterns I can see in the next episode.


Google Search Console Beta is now live for everyone

If you have GSC access on a number of client sites, you probably have an inbox that looks like mine:

It does appear that most sites now have access to the beta GSC. If for some reason you have not received an email, you may still be able to access it by going to search.google.com/search-console and seeing if your site is in the dropdown menu.


Important information for WordPress AMP users

 


More information from Google on Featured Snippets

Danny Sullivan has written a “Reintroduction to Google’s Featured Snippets” on Google’s blog. It is definitely worth a full read-through if winning featured snippets for your clients is on your to-do list. Here are some of the highlights from it:

  • Featured snippets can now potentially be videos, depending on the query.
  • In an attempt to prevent misleading or offensive material from winning a featured snippet, Google will weigh the authoritativeness of a website more heavily in order to determine if certain queries are prone to displaying low-quality content, as identified from the Quality Rater’s Guidelines. This can result in no featured snippet being shown for those queries.
  • Google will likely be testing how “near-matches” to queries are shown. These are the featured snippets which almost, but not quite, answer the query. Since these are often still helpful enough to find the complete answer, Google will be putting effort into finding the most helpful way to display their “near-match” answers.
  • More than one featured snippet may be shown for certain kinds of queries, as a well to further specify the most relevant answer, or to help combat contradictory information (i.e. sometimes the same query asked in different ways can get slightly different featured snippets)

 


 

 

New Google Twitter account for all of us to follow

If you are active on Twitter, I would recommend following the new Twitter account created by Danny Sullivan called Google Search Liaison. There are only a few tweets in the account so far, but the goal is to make it so that this account helps to explain Google related issues that site owners need to know.


Google may turn your content into “Actions” that can be used by Google assistant and Google Home

Sites can now structure their data so that certain types of content can be read out loud by Google Assistant. So far, podcasts, recipes, and news articles can take advantage of this.

This is the full article that Aaron Bradley wrote, which is included in his Google+ post: http://www.seoskeptic.com/google-assistant-now-natively-supports-podcasts-recipes-news/

Google has all the requirements and guidelines in their Developer’s Guide for “Content-Based Actions” (https://developers.google.com/actions/content-actions/)

If your content falls into those three categories (podcast, recipe, or news), you should definitely look into taking advantage of this if you aren’t already.


New info on Ahref’s Domain Rank

Some news from Ahrefs: They’re rolling out a new and improved formula for calculating Domain Rank that is expected to improve accuracy and be more capable of devaluing spammy backlink profiles.

Sites that have been ranked between 30-50 on the power of spammy links will drop to zero, and it will also affect the DR score of just about every website in its database. If you monitor DR for your site, keep an eye out for a possible change sometime in the next week.

There is interesting data in this piece about how many linking domains each site in each rating bracket has on average, though it’s important to remember quantity is not the sole factor in the calculation of DR.

There are also important reminders in here also about how DR is not a complete measure of a site’s quality/legitimacy and that backlinks alone aren’t the sole key to creating a quality site.

At MHC, we don’t pay a lot of attention to DR and DA (Domain Authority as measured by Moz), but we do occasionally take note of these numbers. For example, if a client of ours has a DA or DR that is dramatically lower than their competitors, we know that improving rankings for competitive keywords is going to be much more difficult.


Important info for Q&A sites


Hear Marie speak more on the Quality Raters’ Guidelines

I was honoured to be a guest on the Sure Oak Podcast with Tom Casano. I shared quite a bit about how we have been using the QRG along with other site audit data to help a lot of websites improve their search presence.


Upcoming Speaking Events

Will you be at any of the following events? If so, I’d love to meet you! I’ll be speaking on the following:

  • Pubcon Austin - February 21 at 10:10am - Local SEO and Link Building. I’ll be doing an interactive quiz in which we’ll look at a bunch of ways in which you can get links. I’ll be asking the audience whether or not each link opportunity is a good one or one that could get you into trouble.
  • Engage in Portland - March 8 at 2:45pm - How do links work in a post Penguin 4.0 world? This will be a similar talk to Pubcon Austin, but with less emphasis on local SEO.
  • SMX West in San Jose - March 15 at 9 am - Solving SEO Issues In A World Of Constant Change. In this talk, Glenn Gabe and I will be breaking down the 2017/2018 algorithm changes. My talk will focus heavily on Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines. I’ll share how have used some of the tidbits in these guidelines to help some of our clients see nice improvements.

Local SEO

Restaurants can now add menus to their GMB profile

This is BIG news! I see so many restaurant websites that either don’t have a menu displayed or have a horrible flash or PDF menu. Google recently made the following announcement:

This service will only work if you are not already using a third party provider to display your menus. It is available to all countries, not just the US.


Google posts go live almost immediately

If you are doing local SEO and NOT using Google posts you are missing out!


Chrome Dev Tools updates their phone options

We use this on a regular basis. If you inspect a page using Chrome Dev Tools, you can see how the page looks on smartphones. Until recently, the phone options were pretty dated. I see now that you can see how your pages look on the newest iPhones as well:


SEO Jobs

This is a new section of my newsletter that I am trying out. If you are looking for a job in the field of SEO, then here are some great opportunities.

DealerOn

Greg Gifford is one of my favourite people in SEO. If you are anywhere near Dallas, I would highly recommend this position:

KickPoint

Perhaps I have too many “favourite people” in SEO, but Dana DiTomaso is another one of them! This job opportunity is a really, really good one.

TrueCar

TrueCar is looking for an SEO Manager to work in their San Francisco office.

It looks like TrueCar has been seeing good growth over the years, so this would likely be a really good gig!

Google is hiring WordPress developers

This is pretty exciting. I normally won’t post developer jobs in this section, but I thought that this was an interesting story to report on as Google is really showing their support for WordPress sites. Google is working with WordPress to create themes that are AMP compliant and also to do other cool things. One example is working with the Tide Project which is an initiative to help people create and find high quality WordPress Plugins.

Here is more information on the requirements for this job.


Recommended Reading

Note: If you're a paid subscriber, you'll also get my tl;dr summary of each of these articles.

https://rachelmhowe.com/2018/local-seo-expert-qa-joy-hawkins/

Local SEO expert Joy Hawkins recently answered a Q&A.

https://www.getcredo.com/saas-seo-strategies/

John Doherty has created his list of five SEO strategies you can apply over the long term in order to get continual growth of your site.

https://searchengineland.com/seeing-organic-visits-gmb-290186

Here is a good tip from Greg Gifford on how to accurately track visits from your Google My Business profile and avoid the issue where portions of this traffic are attributed as direct visits instead of organic.

https://www.siegemedia.com/creation/content-marketing-cost

Ross Hudgens discusses how much someone can expect to spend on content marketing.

https://alanbleiweiss.com/seo-blog/advanced/indexing-and-crawling-hints-vs-directives/

This is an interesting read from Alan Bleiweiss on how to avoid what he calls “conflicts within site signals” when it comes to Google’s indexing and crawling of your site.

https://blog.namecheap.com/google-mobile-first-indexing/

Cindy Krum has written an interesting article about how Google is embracing the Minimalism movement in its transition to Mobile-First Indexation (MFI).

https://www.benlcollins.com/spreadsheets/how-to-use-google-sheets/

Here’s a great beginners guide for using Google Sheets.

https://www.brightlocal.com/2017/12/14/insidelocal-webinar-state-local-search-2018/#watch

This video chat shows many well known SEO’s commenting on the state of local search and what’s to come in 2018.

http://www.seobythesea.com/2018/01/google-use-latent-semantic-indexing/

This is a good read from Bill Slawski on the history and underlying concepts behind LSI technology.

https://moz.com/blog/google-questions-and-answers-case-study

Miriam Ellis writes an interesting case study on Google’s Questions and Answers and how it’s being used in its current state. .

https://moz.com/blog/an-introduction-to-google-tag-manager

This is a great post on the Moz blog by Angela Petteys.


Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • Lots of things are missing from the new GSC
  • Can’t find Search Analytics in GSC? It’s here
  • Good information on structured data
  • More information on the debate on folders vs subdomains
  • Is Medium Good for SEO?
  • Redirecting content? Why you shouldn't daisy-chain your canonicals
  • Google’s URL removal tool was not working for a while
  • Do Google’s algorithms measure reading level?
  • After migrating to https Google may still show you clicks to the http version of your site
  • What to do if your disavow file exceeds the maximum size
  • How many redirects will Google follow?
  • When translating a page, don't forget this!
  • Should you be regularly submitting pages to Google?
  • Is it ok to use an H1 tag that is the same as your title tag?
  • Is hreflang case sensitive?
  • It’s normal to see a spike in crawling activity after switching to https
  • Great tip for finding templated content that shouldn’t be indexed
  • The Huffington Post is shutting down their contributor program
  • Automating finding brand mentions
  • Great thoughts on content creation
  • Searching content in quotes can sometimes surface content that is linked to with that quote
  • What is keyword cannibalization?
  • A cool tip for Chrome navigation
  • Link Building tip that involves video content
  • Local SEO: How to rank for “near me” searches
  • Great information to help you get the most out of Q&A in GMB
  • How long does it take for a flagged review to get removed?
  • Can you use a call tracking number in GMB?
  • Another reminder not to use virtual offices for SEO purposes
  • What page should you link your GMB listing to?
  • How to easily crop people out of images
  • How Site Bulb can help improve your technical SEO
  • 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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