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Episode 28 - April 11, 2018 (Light Version)

It looks like the crazy algorithmic turbulence that we saw in March of 2018 has slowed down a little. We did see some significant changes on March 23, but so far I haven’t noticed any big obvious updatres in April. In this episode we talk about some great content creation tips, tips on internal linking and much more. We have also given some of our best tips we learned from John Mueller’s Reddit AMA.

In this episode:



Paid members also get the following:

  • A great idea for generating content ideas for things people are actually searching for
  • How to quickly see the CSS for any part of a page
  • Can you get site search terms in the SERPS by adding schema?
  • Takeaways from John Mueller’s Reddit AMA
  • Does code to text ratio matter for SEO?
  • Important news for those who use the Adwords Keyword tool for keyword research
  • A tip for finding hacked content on your site
  • Are your opt-in forms being blocked by ad blockers?
  • Have you looked at the “discovered, currently not indexed” section of GSC?
  • Does Chrome measure and use engagement metrics?
  • Can code in your <head></head> section cause problems?
  • A question for John Mueller on removing old posts from the index
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome SEO articles
  • Does adding structured data help with rankings?
  • A tip to help image pages rank better
  • Why Q&A Pages can sometimes be seen as low quality content
  • Should your AMP page be your canonical page?
  • Local SEO: Are new GMB descriptions used in rankings?
  • Local SEO: You won’t be notified for some GMB issues
  • Local SEO: Can you sue a business for a negative review?
  • 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.

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Algorithm updates

March 23, 2018 Algorithm Update

This appears to be a BIG quality update. There is some confusion about this update though as on the exact same day, SEMRush made changes to their keyword index that caused many sites to look like they were seeing drops on the 23rd of March.

When we first started analyzing this update, almost every site that we looked at showed the following on SEMRush:

However, many of the sites that showed drops on SEMRush had perfectly normal traffic patterns in Google Analytics.

In the following weeks though, we did have several companies contact us for help after experiencing true large traffic drops starting on March 23.

At this point, this looks like another broad quality update where Google got better again at recognizing true quality.

It does look like many sites that saw changes with the big update between March 7 and 9 also saw further changes on March 23:

March 28, 2018 algo update?

I’m not so sure about this one as I didn’t see any clients that saw significant changes on this day. However, Barry Schwartz noted that there was a lot of forum chatter about algo changes on March 28.


Big losses for Pinterest

Pinterest.com appears to have been strongly hit by algorithm updates in March:

Pot Pie Girl has a good article explaining the losses. It has always bothered me that Pinterest ranked so well for things and then forced me to log in before seeing results. It looks like perhaps Google is recognizing this annoyance as well.

If you rely on Pinterest traffic for referrals, you may notice drops in March as a result.

To check to see if your Pinterest referrals have dropped, go to Google Analytics → Acquisition → Referrals and click on Pinterest.

Here is one client that saw a big drop in Pinterest referrals starting late February 2018:


Google is testing infinite scroll in mobile search results

I have been seeing this for a while now, but apparently I was seeing an early test. Now, on mobile, instead of seeing “page 2”, etc. you’ll see a “more results” button like this:


Goo.gl url shortener is shutting down

Google announced that as of April 13, 2018 they are shutting down the goo.gl url shortener. The good news is that links that have already been created with goo.gl will continue to work.

If you want to use a url shortener in the future, Google recommends either using Firebase Dynamic Links or a service like bit.ly or owl.ly.


Google Partner program announces big changes

Google announced changes to the Google Partner Program to take effect this month. A company can become a Google Partner by doing the following:

  • Having someone in the company complete Adwords certification.
  • Spending $10,000 USD across 90 days in your managed Adwords accounts.
  • Meeting performance requirements for growth and client retention.

In the past, if you were a Google partner, Google may have sent you leads. However, this is ending now.

The announcement says that the following are changing:

  • No more leads are being sent.
  • You will no longer be found for people doing a Google Partner Search
  • You will no longer get insights that used to be sent by Google.

Much of the Twitter discussion on this topic is of people saying that they rarely received any leads from the program, so not much is going to be lost.


More on intelligent search features from Bing

We spoke in a previous newsletter about intelligent search features on Bing. Bing has now announced more changes.

Here is what you need to know.

  • These intelligent answers will now gather information from several sources. (No word yet on whether we, as site owners can do anything to become one of these sources.)
  • When Bing recognizes the answer contains an uncommon word, you can hover over that word for a definition.
  • Bing will now try to display multiple answers for “how to” questions.
  • Intelligent image search is expanding now so it does not just include shirts and handbags, but also other fashion related searches.
  • Bing is advancing their intelligent search capabilities by using Intel FGPA chips. It sounds like they are doing a lot of work to continue to improve intelligent search via machine learning.

Moz has a new, improved link explorer

You can read about all of the exciting changes here. Here is a summary of what is new:

  • DA now updates every 24 hours. (It used to take a couple of months.)
  • The index is now 20 times larger.
  • There are new graphs for things like link growth over time, links gained and lost and more.
  • Domain Authority and Page Authority have changed so that they correlate better with Google rankings.
  • They have added something called “link lists” that may be useful for things like broken link building, link removal efforts and tracking of link placements.

If you would like more information on the upcoming changes, Hive Digital has a great writeup.

Feedback from the industry so far is quite positive:


PWAs are now on Safari


Google jobs displaying now in the UK


SEO Tools

This is a neat tool created by Russ Jones to help you determine whether you have links on your desktop version of your site that are missing from your mobile version. If this is the case, your site could have issues with mobile first indexing.


Local SEO

Improvements to Q&A


GMB has had some image issues lately

There have been several issues in the last couple of weeks in which images are not displaying properly for many businesses.


Google post offers?

This looks interesting. It looks like it is just a test so far:


New: “Services” section in GMB

Google announced this in the GMB help forum, saying the following:

“Back in January we launched a new Menu editor for the food service industry. This month, we are excited to announce that we have expanded our menu editor to now include additional services.

Businesses in health & beauty, and service businesses, such as plumbers and florists, now have the ability to add their menu of services directly to their listing through their Google My Business account.

Same as the food establishment menu editor, this feature will only be available if the listing is not currently connected to a third party provider and for listings in English speaking locals. “


SEO Jobs

Are you a Magento developer? This looks like a good gig:

Working with Leslie To is a great opportunity as well:

Here is another opportunity if you are near Dallas:


Marie Speaking at Engage Portland - Is it a good link?

This was a fun talk. I gave an interactive quiz where we looked at different types of links and determined whether each would be considered a good one.


Recommended Reading (All)

SEO Ranking factors panel: SMX West session recap

https://searchengineland.com/seo-ranking-factors-panel-smx-west-session-recap-294517

This is a recap by Eric Enge of the SEO Ranking Factors session at the recent SMX West.

Personas Make Your Marketing Stronger

https://kickpoint.ca/why-use-personas/

This is an article by Dana DiTomaso about why creating articles for a specific target audience has been such a successful marketing strategy.

How to Create the Perfect Meta Description for SEO

https://www.reliablesoft.net/meta-description/

Alex Chris Wrote an informative article here on meta descriptions.

Google bug bounty for security exploit that influences search results

http://www.tomanthony.co.uk/blog/google-xml-sitemap-auth-bypass-black-hat-seo-bug-bounty/

Tom Anthony has a really interesting piece he has written about a bug he uncovered in Google.

How the Increased Meta Description Tag Length Affects Your Strategy by Jim Bader

http://www.verticalmeasures.com/search-optimization/how-increased-meta-description-tag-length-affects-your-strategy/

Last December, Google changed the length of meta descriptions from 170 to 320 and since then they have been experimenting with bolding of semantic keywords and even replacing your description with content from the page. More here from Vertical Measures.

5 practical tips to prepare for mobile-first indexing By Dawn Anderson

https://www.smartinsights.com/search-engine-optimisation-seo/mobile-seo/5-tips-to-prepare-for-mobile-first-indexing/


Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

The “Business Description” Returns to Google My Business: What You Need To Know By Colan Nielsen

https://www.sterlingsky.ca/the-business-description-returns-to-google-my-business-what-you-need-to-know/

The Guide to Local Sponsorship Marketing - The 2018 Edition by Claudia Cruz

https://moz.com/blog/guide-to-local-sponsorship-marketing

How to Manually Flag Reviews on Google, Yelp and Facebook

https://localu.org/blog/manually-flag-reviews-google-yelp-facebook/

How Should You Ask for Online Reviews? The Pros and Cons of Each Approach

http://www.localvisibilitysystem.com/2018/04/05/how-should-you-ask-for-online-reviews-the-pros-and-cons-of-each-approach/


Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • A great idea for generating content ideas for things people are actually searching for
  • How to quickly see the CSS for any part of a page
  • Can you get site search terms in the SERPS by adding schema?
  • Takeaways from John Mueller’s Reddit AMA
  • Does code to text ratio matter for SEO?
  • Important news for those who use the Adwords Keyword tool for keyword research
  • A tip for finding hacked content on your site
  • Are your opt-in forms being blocked by ad blockers?
  • Have you looked at the “discovered, currently not indexed” section of GSC?
  • Does Chrome measure and use engagement metrics?
  • Can code in your <head></head> section cause problems?
  • A question for John Mueller on removing old posts from the index
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome SEO articles
  • Does adding structured data help with rankings?
  • A tip to help image pages rank better
  • Why Q&A Pages can sometimes be seen as low quality content
  • Should your AMP page be your canonical page?
  • Local SEO: Are new GMB descriptions used in rankings?
  • Local SEO: You won’t be notified for some GMB issues
  • Local SEO: Can you sue a business for a negative review?
  • 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.

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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.

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