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Episode 29 - April 23, 2018 (Light Version)

Google has been going a little crazy in terms of updates again! We have a confirmed broad core algorithm update on April 16 that seems quite significant. We also have more information on the changes that happened March 7-9. In this episode we discuss a number of issues that came up during Google help hangouts and talk about several recent SEO experiments.

In this episode:



Paid members also get the following:

  • Data on Google showing fewer featured snippets as of April 10
  • Should you use rel canonical instead of noindex for duplicate pages?
  • Are you ready for GDPR?
  • When you are submitting pages to the index, does it matter if you submit mobile or desktop?
  • Is the purpose of your site clear?
  • If you rank differently on mobile vs desktop, does this mean you’ve been moved to mobile first indexing?
  • Inbound.org says farewell as Growth Hub says ‘Hello’
  • Interesting information on Pinterests’ ranking drop
  • Are links that rely on javascript ignored by Google?
  • Why do you sometimes see Googlebot crawling pages that are blocked by robots.txt?
  • Does Google decide which sites to move to mobile first indexing based on how much mobile traffic they get?
  • Should you keep your site mobile-UNfriendly in order to escape mobile first indexing?
  • Ahrefs just got even better
  • Interesting comments on Hacker News re SEO
  • Why you should be careful your agency is not just offering PBN links
  • Local SEO: We may soon be able to posts videos as Google Posts
  • Local SEO: Neat tip to improve clicks from Google posts
  • Local SEO: Changes to Google’s guidelines on reviews
  • Local SEO: Canadian SEOs lose a great link source
  • Local SEO: You can use emojis in Google posts
  • SEO Test: Do people call phone numbers seen in meta descriptions
  • Can trust seals help improve conversions?
  • Information on Google’s Organic and Paid Click Through Rates
  • Can quality content rank without links?
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome SEO articles

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Algorithm updates

April 16, 2018 - Confirmed Quality Update

Google confirmed on Twitter that they released a broad core algorithm update on April 16, 2018.

This appears to be quite a big update. We have seen a number of sites that have seen significant gains or losses on this date. As most of these sites are ones that saw significant changes with March quality updates, this algorithm change is likely related to tweaks in how Google assesses quality.

Glenn Gabe tweeted about some changes he saw on this date:

I have several examples of sites seeing wild swings. I find it interesting though that for many of these, SEMRush is not showing obvious changes.

We are seeing some sites that are on our waiting list for site reviews, after experiencing algo related hits, that are seeing even worse traffic after this update:

At this point I don’t have much to add about what is special about this update. As usual, if you were negatively affected I’d recommend you look at the following:

  • Technical site quality.
  • Quality Raters’ Guidelines issues, especially E-A-T.
  • How valuable your site is as compared to competitors.

I will hopefully have more to update on this in a future newsletter.

The March 23, 2018 algorithm update was not related to mobile first indexing

John Mueller was asked in a hangout about whether drops seen on March 23 could be related to a switch to mobile first indexing and the answer was no.

March 7-9 Algorithm Update was about relevance

John Mueller confirmed in a hangout that the March 7-9 algorithm update was primarily about relevance. This makes sense to us now, after reviewing several sites that were negatively affected by this update.

Several of the sites that we reviewed were relatively recognizable names that saw significant drops across the board. A pattern that we noticed was that several of these sites had massive amounts of contact that was essentially copied, but reworded, from other sources. One had content that was found on sites like Reddit, that was reworded, but didn’t add much original value. Another had job listings. They had some interesting features on the site that added to the original job listing, but we didn’t feel it was enough so that searchers would greatly prefer going to that site over a more widely recognized job portal like Indeed.

If you were negatively affected by the March 7-9 update, I would urge you to have someone who is not emotionally connected to your business have a look at some of your recent articles or pages. Ask them to look at your site vs the site that currently has the number one position for your main keywords and give their thoughts on which site they would prefer to visit.

If your content model revolves around republishing info from other sources, you will need to think creatively to determine what you can do to make it so that people would prefer to visit your site rather than the originating site. It’s not enough to have content that is aggregated to make things easier for users, or to have it worded uniquely.  Here are some things that we think can help:

  • Add as much user generated content as possible. Google has confirmed in the past that a thriving comments section is a ranking factor.
  • Think about whether you really need to publish this article. More than ever now, quality is better than quantity.
  • See how you can add original content to the story that the original post didn’t have. Perhaps you can interview someone to get more information. Perhaps you can create a poll or a tool or something else that is really helpful to readers.

Information on Google about autocomplete

Google published a blog post to talk about how autocomplete works. Here are the important points:

  • Autocomplete on mobile reduces typing by about 25 percent.
  • Google prefers to call these “predictions” rather than “suggestions”.
  • Some predictions can be removed from autocomplete if there are sexually explicit, hateful, violent or dangerous.
  • Occasionally, inappropriate predictions may slip through. Google encourages us to submit feedback when this happens.

Failure to remove expired job listings can result in a manual action


Chrome to mute autoplay video by default

In the April 19th Google Chrome 66 update, autoplay videos will be muted by default on both desktop and mobile. The change was originally hinted at for January’s Chrome 64 update. Karissa Bell post explains that the main exception to this shall be on sites where you have previously ‘expressed an interest’, a good example of this would be on youtube.


 

Google is soon about to allow some treatment center ads again

Last year, Google stopped allowing drug and alcohol treatment centers to buy Adwords. This move was made because of the proliferation of spammy results dominating the first page. They are now making significant changes in this area. Here is what you need to know:

  • Some treatment centers will be allowed to run Adwords after they have been thoroughly vetted by a company called LegitScript.
  • The vetting includes background checks, a license check and insurance checks as well.
  • These changes do not apply to Google maps listings. Currently, there is no vetting for treatment center listings on Google maps and there is a big spam problem there.

New “mentioned in Wikipedia” carousel

Jennifer Slegg noticed this.

Why is this important? The Quality Raters’ Guidelines instruct Quality Raters to determine if a site has a Wikipedia mention when they are doing research on site reputation:

I believe that this strongly feeds into Google’s assessment of E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trust) for a site. It can be difficult to get and keep a Wikipedia mention, or even a Wikipedia page unless you are truly an authoritative brand. If you can get one though, there is a good chance that this can help with rankings.


Changes required for recipe schema

If you publish recipes on your site, this is important news. Aaron Bradley noticed a change in Google’s requirements for recipe schema.

Previous specifications:

Recipe properties: image - URL or ImageObject; recommended

Current specifications:

Recipe properties: image - URL or ImageObject; required for Image Search, recommended for Search

It sounds like this change is necessary if you want your recipe images to appear on image search.


Local SEO News

Google publishes guide for new users of GMB

It is also worth noting from this new guide that support for inactive (+1 year) Google+ accounts has been removed.


New guidelines for adding events on Maps

Joy Hawkins has a good post on these changes. The new guidelines state that:

  • Events should reflect the real world. That means they should be real, accurate, and occuring at the specified location.
  • Event titles should not promotional language, pricing information, or calls to action. Examples include: 50% off, buy here, $3 off.

GMB data is missing for Friday, April 13

And...before we could publish this was fixed!


GMB Descriptions are all over the place

We recently reported that you can now add a description to your GMB listing. At one point these were displaying prominently in the knowledge graph. And then they moved to being behind an “about” tab.


There is a bug in the emails Google is sending you about reviews


SEO Tools

A new tool from Microsoft for creating chatbots from FAQ content

Microsoft has launched a new service that parses your FAQ content to create a working chatbot

Purna Virji has written a good article about the service and the importance of bots in general. (I have also given a summary of this in the recommended reading!)


SEO Jobs


Recommended Reading

The Bot Plan: Your Guide to Making Conversions Convert - Purna Virji

https://moz.com/blog/chat-bots-conversions

With estimates that by 2020 80% of companies will be using chatbots in some capacity, Purna Virji has written an insightful article on the growing prominence of bots (in particular chatbots) over the past couple of years in how we provide and receive services.

Time to Consider that Links Matter Less for SEO?  Roger Montti

April 11, 2018

https://www.searchenginejournal.com/links-matter-less/248679/

Roger Montti offers a detailed perspective on the importance of different links for SEO now compared to previous years.

12 Underrated Google Analytics Features According To The Experts -  Alex Burkett

April 10, 2018

https://klientboost.com/analytics/google-analytics-features/

Alex Burkett takes a look at the different underrated and under-utilised features of Google Analytics.

How to optimize Mobile Search for Voice, Barcodes, and Images - Hamlet Batista

April 18, 2018

https://www.practicalecommerce.com/optimize-mobile-search-voice-barcodes-images

Hamlet Batista offers up a bunch of good ideas for isolating data on long tail voice, barcode and image searches that consumers are more readily making through their mobile devices.

Sustainable Link Building: Increasing Your Chances of Getting Links - Paddy Moogan

April 13th, 2018

https://moz.com/blog/sustainable-link-building

Paddy Moogan, the co-founder of Aira, presents this weeks Moz: Whiteboard Friday. The focus this week is on sustainable link building strategy.

Here’s how to use Twitter to dominate the Google search results - Chris Silver Smith

April 16, 2018

https://searchengineland.com/heres-how-to-use-twitter-to-dominate-the-google-search-results-296324

Advice from Chris Silver Smith on how to use the power of Twitter to help you control content about you or your brand in the SERPs.

The Two Part SEO Ranking Model: Let’s Make SEO Simple - Eric Enge

August 30th, 2016

https://moz.com/blog/the-two-part-seo-ranking-model-lets-make-seo-simple

In this post from 2016, Eric Enge provides some good ideas on how a lot of companies can simplify their approach to SEO.

Internal Links and Vital to SEO: Don’t Ignore Them! - Andrew Dennis

April 2018

https://raventools.com/blog/internal-links-vital-seo/

In this recent blog post, Andrew Dennis presents his thoughts on what he believes is an often overlooked area of SEO - internal linking.

How link Vendors Sell you Snake Oil- Ross Hudgens / Siege Media

April 18, 2018

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eF-Z1eXdkLU

Ross Hudgens of Siege Media gives a good overview of how some link vendors have provided low quality links to clients via scraping and syndicating links. Ross also provides some simple tests that clients can use to check the value of links they may be suspicious of.

How I trained an AI to detect satire in under an hour

April 20, 2018

https://towardsdatascience.com/how-i-trained-an-ai-to-detect-satire-in-under-an-hour-2b8b300ea805

This article is not an SEO read, but I found it fascinating. In this article the author, who had very little programming experience was able to quickly use machine learning to detect satire.


Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

Manitoba Hells Angels target businesses by posting 1-star reviews - Caroline Barghout CBS News

10th April 2018

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/manitoba-hells-angels-business-reviews-1.4608271

A brief news article about a negative review campaign triggered by a chapter of the Hells Angels biker gang in Manitoba.

These Online Volunteers fight fake reviews, ghost listings and other scams on Google Maps - and say the problem is getting worse - Jillian D’Onfro / CNBC

April 13th, 2018

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/13/google-maps-spam-fighters.html

Jillian D’Onfro reports on a collection of volunteers who are attempting to combat what they see as a wave of ‘fake reviews, ghost listings, lead generation schemes and impersonators’ across the Google Maps service.


Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • Data on Google showing fewer featured snippets as of April 10
  • Should you use rel canonical instead of noindex for duplicate pages?
  • Are you ready for GDPR?
  • When you are submitting pages to the index, does it matter if you submit mobile or desktop?
  • Is the purpose of your site clear?
  • If you rank differently on mobile vs desktop, does this mean you’ve been moved to mobile first indexing?
  • Inbound.org says farewell as Growth Hub says ‘Hello’
  • Interesting information on Pinterests’ ranking drop
  • Are links that rely on javascript ignored by Google?
  • Why do you sometimes see Googlebot crawling pages that are blocked by robots.txt?
  • Does Google decide which sites to move to mobile first indexing based on how much mobile traffic they get?
  • Should you keep your site mobile-UNfriendly in order to escape mobile first indexing?
  • Ahrefs just got even better
  • Interesting comments on Hacker News re SEO
  • Why you should be careful your agency is not just offering PBN links
  • Local SEO: We may soon be able to posts videos as Google Posts
  • Local SEO: Neat tip to improve clicks from Google posts
  • Local SEO: Changes to Google’s guidelines on reviews
  • Local SEO: Canadian SEOs lose a great link source
  • Local SEO: You can use emojis in Google posts
  • SEO Test: Do people call phone numbers seen in meta descriptions
  • Can trust seals help improve conversions?
  • Information on Google’s Organic and Paid Click Through Rates
  • Can quality content rank without links?
  • 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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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.

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