search newsletterSearch News You Can Use
Episode 27 - Mar 22, 2018 (Light Version)

This is our biggest newsletter yet. I recently spoke at Engage Portland and SMX San Jose. Paid subscribers will get loads of really practical tips that I learned at these conferences. In this episode we’ll cover the latest algorithm turbulence and go over quite a few important changes in the search industry.

And good news...we are hopefully going to be able to produce a weekly newsletter instead of publishing every two weeks!

In this episode:



Paid members also get the following:

  • Review markup must be from aggregate reviews
  • How to add “women lead” to your knowledge panel
  • Large newspapers will soon get a ranking boost, but only on the search results of paid subscribers
  • Information on Google Actions for Shopping
  • Having trouble submitting pages to Google's index? Here's why
  • Is submitting to the index working more slowly now?
  • What I learned at Engage Portland
  • What I learned at SMX West in San Jose - including information from Google employee Nathan John's keynote
  • An SEO test on on Javascript indexing
  • Does the new GSC reflect the mobile first index?
  • Is the frequency at which you publish content a ranking factor?
  • Experiments on winning featured snippets
  • An interesting idea of something to add to title tags to improve
  • Should duplicate content that is canonicalized also be blocked by robots.txt?
  • A content generation idea
  • Does PageRank flow through affiliate links?
  • Why would a site not have a cached page in the search results?
  • A cool tip to clean up sites using tag pages
  • Info on notifications for Q&A in GMB
  • Where to get citation links
  • Google is now showing wheelchair accessible routes on Google maps
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome SEO articles

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.

Are you subscribed to my newsletter?

Get the lite version for free:

Or Subscribe to the full version for $18/month:


Watch this episode on video

Don't have time to read the newsletter? Here is everything you need to know:


Algorithm updates

There have been some incredibly significant algorithm updates over the last couple of weeks.

I wrote a long post about the March 9, 2018 algorithm update. According to Nathan Johns from Google, this was a significant core quality update that actually launched March 7, 2018. Glenn Gabe started seeing some sites see changes on March 8. However, all of the sites that I saw affected were most strongly affected on March 9. Joy Hawkins confirmed this was the case for her as well.

It does look like a number of these sites saw slight changes starting March 3 or 4, 2018.

This chart from SEMRush.com shows a pattern that I saw across many sites. You’ll notice the following:

  • A slight increase starting around March 3
  • A big increase starting March 9
  • A bit of a correction starting on March 14

Some sites were hit strongly on March 9 and saw even further losses starting March 14:

Most of the sites that saw increases or decreases were sites that had issues with quality updates in the past.

It sounds like there is some more turbulence happening even as I write this post. It wouldn’t surprise me if next month I report that March 20 was also a significant update.

What to do if you were negatively affected by a March 2018 algorithm update

I have written a lot about my thoughts on this in my post on the March 2018 algorithm updates. The general advice that I am giving is the following:

1) Do a technical site audit.

2) Thoroughly evaluate your site in the eyes of the Quality Raters’ Guidelines.

3) Have someone who is not emotionally connected to you or your site look at you and your competitors and tell you which sites they prefer and why.

If you are looking to improve site quality, you can contact me to ask about our site quality reviews.


More information on how often Google does algorithm updates

Whenever someone posts about an algorithm update happening, there is always someone who comments saying, “But Google does algorithm updates every day.”

I found these tweets by Danny Sullivan quite helpful to explain what is happening here:


Google is showing just one result for some queries

This is a big change that a lot of people are talking about. If you do a search for certain queries such as time related searches, calculator use and many conversions, Google will now show just one result:

A lot of people are concerned about this as it feels like this is putting us one step closer to having no organic results at all.

Jennifer Slegg has a good post describing the types of searches that are showing like this. Dr. Pete on the Moz blog has some great insight as well.

Danny Sullivan from Google has stressed that this is just a test. In speaking with him personally, he said that people really shouldn’t be worried that this is a slippery slope into getting rid of most organic results. He said that for the queries for which they are testing this, very few people clicked on organic results at all.

On a related, and kind of funny note, if you’d like to freak out a client and show them what it would look like if their SERP was reduced to one result, you can do this:


Update: It looks like this test failed. Results have reverted back now


Learn how to create “actions” for voice search


If you have a Google Plus page that you no longer use, it could get shut down

 


New filter options in GSC

Google Search Console has rolled out a couple of new visual features:


Google plans to notify us when we have been moved to mobile first indexing

This is great news!

In most cases, Google has said that we should not see a change in traffic once our site has been moved to mobile first indexing. Also, they said that they are currently only moving sites that appear to be ready. However, it is great to know when this change happens just in case there are traffic drops.

If you do start seeing a traffic drop that coincides with mobile first indexing, then we would know what types of things to look for such as whether all desktop content can be reached via mobile, whether mobile navigation is complete, whether there are mobile speed issues and much more.


A reminder about mobile interstitials

I am still seeing sites that use a mobile interstitial (i.e. a popup that immediately covers most of the page) and appear to be getting away with it. However, it is not recommended to do this as it could cause you a ranking demotion.


Is GSC data accurate?

My team and I do still rely heavily on GSC data. I agree that the volumes are often off. However, I find that in most cases the ranking position data is pretty good.


Bing results are now showing snippets for sites using JSON-LD

Bing just recently started recognizing JSON-LD as schema. Barry Schwartz has reported that these results are now showing snippets in the Bing search results.


AMP News

Google’s plan to make the whole web as fast as AMP

This was an interesting article. Here are the main points:

  • Google announced that they have plans to convince the group in charge of web standards to adopt AMP technology.
  • If this happens it means that any page on the internet could load as quickly as AMP.
  • This would mean that Google could start displaying non-AMP pages in things like the top stories carousel.
  • Google’s intent is not to turn the entire web into AMP, but rather, to take some of the clever hacks that make AMP work, clean them up and make them a universal web standard.
  • This process will likely take years.

More on Google Standardizing AMP

Google announced some AMP changes. They will soon make it so that you do not necessarily need to be AMP in order to be in features like the top stories carousel. Rather, any site that is fast enough will soon be able to be displayed.


Is AMP enabled by default on WordPress 4.9.3?

I have not heard much talk about this and could not find any supporting documents, but Joe Youngblood is reporting that AMP is now enabled by default on WordPress.

If you have any additional details on this, I’d love for you to comment below.


Local SEO

Local packs now have review snippets

Sergey Alakov reported that Google is now showing review snippets in the local pack. I am seeing this on both desktop and mobile.

This is another good reason to continually work on getting your clients to review your business!


Descriptions are returning

This is interesting:

Here is text from Google’s guidelines on creating your GMB profile:

There is concern amongst the SEO industry that this will lead to more local SEO spam.

It looks like this is just rolling out now and not yet available to all businesses. We don’t know whether keywords in the description will help towards rankings.


A bug in GMB reporting may cause you to see a drop in actions between March 6-12


A new GMB dashboard is rolling out

There is more information on this here. The new dashboard is apparently easier to navigate and has a better view of Google Posts and insights.


SEO Jobs

I’m betting this would be a great job!

Here is another that is likely a great job:

And of course, we are hiring! You can apply to work with my team and I here.


Recommended Reading (All)

(Paid subscribers get a summary of most of these articles.)

https://moz.com/blog/website-migration-guide

The Website Migration Guide: SEO Strategy, Process, & Checklist

This guide on site migration by Modestos Siotos is fantastic and should be consulted if you’re planning on doing any kind of migration.

https://moz.com/blog/discover-featured-snippet-opportunities/

How to Discover Featured Snippet Opportunities - Whiteboard Friday

Britney Muller’s Whiteboard Friday provides some good background information on how to go about identifying featured snippet opportunities and developing a system for tracking and winning them!

https://searchengineland.com/report-competitor-spam-293377

How to effectively report competitor spam by Kaspar Szymanski

In highly competitive niche’s you can often find sites that are perfectly willing to ignore Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. In cases where there might be no other option than to submit a spam report to Google, here are the important things to include.

https://businesscasualcopywriting.com/get-awesome-customer-testimonials-fast/

How to get awesome customer testimonials fast

This is a fantastic read with suggestions from Business Casual Copywriting on how to garner more high-quality customer testimonials.

https://www.iloveseo.net/how-to-use-hreflang-correctly/

How to use hreflang correctly

Implementing hreflang correctly can get very convoluted very fast, with lots of potential missteps along the way. There is too much to summarize here, but this is a good breakdown from Gianluca Fiorelli for how to implement it correctly and what pitfalls to avoid.

https://kaiserthesage.com/audience-first/

Audience first link building

This is a good look at some natural link building strategies that can work in 2018.

https://moz.com/blog/8-mistakes-revealed-via-content-audits

8 Common Website mistakes revealed via Content Audits by Alli Berry

https://kinsta.com/blog/decline-seo-rankings/

How to Diagnose Decline in Rankings (Craziest SEO Issue We’ve Seen)

This article takes you through the process Kinsta went through to get an unwarranted manual action removed as well as a good outline on what to do if you notice a sudden drop in rankings.

https://www.getcredo.com/wasting-budget-content-marketing/

Are you wasting budget on “content marketing”? By John Doherty

While the idea of content marketing has continued to grow in popularity, John makes a great case that if you are a small to medium sized business, it may not always be worth the cost.


Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

http://blog.grade.us/review-snippet-keywords-help-business-visibility/

How Can Review Snippet Keywords Help My Business Visibility By Andrew McDermott

https://whitespark.ca/blog/whats-best-way-ask-review/

What’s the best way to ask for a review?

https://whitespark.ca/blog/how-to-get-keywords-in-your-reviews-whitespark-weekly/

How to get keywords in your reviews

http://blumenthals.com/blog/2018/03/18/is-google-stupid-or-do-they-choose-not-to-solve-the-local-spam-problem/

Is Google Stupid or Do They Choose Not to Solve The Local Spam Problem? By Mike Blumenthal


Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • Review markup must be from aggregate reviews
  • How to add “women lead” to your knowledge panel
  • Large newspapers will soon get a ranking boost, but only on the search results of paid subscribers
  • Information on Google Actions for Shopping
  • Having trouble submitting pages to Google's index? Here's why
  • Is submitting to the index working more slowly now?
  • What I learned at Engage Portland
  • What I learned at SMX West in San Jose - including information from Google employee Nathan John's keynote
  • An SEO test on on Javascript indexing
  • Does the new GSC reflect the mobile first index?
  • Is the frequency at which you publish content a ranking factor?
  • Experiments on winning featured snippets
  • An interesting idea of something to add to title tags to improve
  • Should duplicate content that is canonicalized also be blocked by robots.txt?
  • A content generation idea
  • Does PageRank flow through affiliate links?
  • Why would a site not have a cached page in the search results?
  • A cool tip to clean up sites using tag pages
  • Info on notifications for Q&A in GMB
  • Where to get citation links
  • Google is now showing wheelchair accessible routes on Google maps
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome SEO articles

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.

Want to see the full newsletter?

It's well worth the $18 per month!

You can subscribe to Dr. Marie Haynes' newsletter by clicking on the Paypal button below. You'll get an action packed email every two weeks.

You'll also have access to past episodes, including this one.


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! It was a big one! Stay tuned for our Youtube video (my channel is here. If you want to follow me on Facebook, here is my page.

Google update newsletter

Want an update when Google makes a big algorithm change or other announcement? Sign up here!

This is a weekly newsletter. We will never send spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit