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Episode 30 - April 30, 2018 (Light Version)

 

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I am happy to announce that we are now publishing the newsletter weekly! We also have this content available on my youtube channel, and will soon have a regular iTunes/Google Play music podcast. For now, until we get podcast approval, you can listen to episodes on SoundCloud.

Even though it has only been a week since our last publication, a lot has happened! In this episode we’ll talk about a recent algorithm update, some news on mobile first indexing and much more. Paid users get the answer to the ranking mystery for ‘batali cinnamon buns’, posted on Twitter by Rand Fishkin, a summary of John Mueller’s Brighton SEO live chat, my most up to date thoughts on whether or not you should be disavowing (the answer may surprise you!) and also my thoughts on a very interesting patent by Google that likely explains how Google chooses which links to count and which to ignore.

In this episode:



Paid members also get the following:

  • New Google patent may give us some clues about E-A-T and also Penguin
  • An interesting disavow experiment along with how my thoughts on disavowing are changing. This is important!
  • Important points from John Mueller’s AMA at Brighton SEO
  • Facebook implements a ban on all new messenger ChatBots
  • Is https a ranking factor?
  • Do well crawled pages rank better?
  • The batali cinnamon roll ranking mystery - along with the answer!
  • Is the use of hreflang an authority signal?
  • Why you should blog more
  • Cool Screaming Frog tip from SEO Toddler
  • A very interesting disavow experiment
  • Some American publishers are now blocking European visitors because of GDPR
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome SEO articles

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Algorithm Updates

Once again, Google has been active in terms of algorithm updates. I reported in my last newsletter that Google announced that they made significant changes to the algorithm on April 16, 2018. It looks like there was another significant change, this time unannounced, on April 23, 2018.

April 23, 2018 algorithm update

A number of sites that I monitor saw significant increases or decreases starting April 23. It is interesting to note that most of these drops were not reflected in SEMRush.com data. That is frustrating, because it makes it hard for me to show screenshots of what I am seeing as many of my clients have asked me not to share their GA data.

Here is one that I can share. This site is loaded with great information. The have been seeing increases with several core quality updates:

They had also seen increases on April 16, 2018 and March 9. Yet, SEMRush is not showing much movement:

Here is another site with which we just recently did a site quality review. This site had loads of technical issues and things that made the site frustrating to use. We were thrilled to see that things are improving after the site owner has been working hard to implement the recommended changes:

In this case, SEMRush does recognize the increases although they report them as starting on April 26:

Here are another couple of clients of ours that saw nice changes on April 23 according to Google Analytics, but SEMRush data shows the increase starting April 26:

Barry Schwartz feels that the changes seen in the past week are related to the broad core algorithm update that Google announced starting April 16. It may be that they are tweaking the algorithm or that it is taking some time to roll out.

At this point I don’t have any obvious issues to discuss but as we start analyzing more sites, I likely will have more information.

I do feel like this could be a tweak to how Google assesses E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trust). It could also be a new reassessment of E-A-T for some sites. Several of our clients who have been doing work to improve upon E-A-T saw a nice gain on either April 16 or April 23.

Again, I’ll keep you posted.


SEO News

Google is notifying site owners that you have been switched to mobile first indexing

I have heard some reports of sites getting emails from Google to tell them that they have been switched over to mobile first indexing.

As a reminder, mobile first indexing means that Google is going to crawl your mobile site to get information to use in their desktop. This means that if your desktop site has information or links that are not available on mobile, you will no longer rank for that information and those links will not be used by Google.

This is a big deal!

Jennifer Slegg noticed something interesting:

This is unusual because Google has said that they will only move sites over to mobile first indexing when they are ready for it. Here is something John Mueller has said in a recent hangout:

“With MFI what will happen id if we see that the site is ready for MFI  we will switch to the mobile version for indexing. In a case like this, the mobile site will be the one where we pull the content structured date, images etc. If the mobile version is not really that nice but still has all of the normal content then that's perfectly fine. If you have a m dot site we will still show the desktop version, so if the content is the same on mobile then you shouldn’t see any change in search.”


New search feature to hijack the search results with price changes


Readers on your site on Chrome for mobile may be encouraged to leave the site by Google

There are a lot of tweets about this although it first started happening in September of 2017:

Here is what readers are seeing at the bottom of an article:

If tapped, it takes them to a new set of search results which will take users off of your site:

It’s unclear to me whether these are paid results or organic. Also, I don’t really have any ideas on what we can do to either take advantage of this or fight against it. If you have thoughts, leave a comment!


New, massive, expandable featured snippets

I’m not sure whether this is a test or is going to be the new norm:

As a reminder, the featured snippet algorithm is one that is constantly changing dramatically! We have done some good work in helping clients win featured snippets, but we’re finding that what worked well a few months ago doesn’t always work today.


Possible Google image search bug

Barry Schwartz reported on a possible bug in Google images that is causing some images to appear as blank rectangles. If you’re noticing a drop in image search traffic, this could be why. I’ve updated my list of algorithm changes  to reflect this. Even though it’s not an algo change, it could possibly cause changes in search traffic.


Google real time analytics are not working for you, it’s likely a bug


SEMrush raises $40 million for new expansion

It was announced on Tuesday that SEMrush have raised this considerable capital to expand. In particular it is noted that the company plans to expand past the US based search engines and move into platforms owned by Baidu and Amazon.com.


Google announces a major overhaul of Gmail

This will include a significant visual redesign as well as new features like ‘email snoozing, nudging and confidential mode’. Vlad Savov at The Verge believes that most of these changes appear to be aimed at Business users. Some of the biggest new functions provided are packaged as the confidential mode. This function will allow you to add expiration dates to emails with sensitive content and also provide 2-factor authentication (2FA) on a ‘per-message’ basis. Also of note are the ntegrated Rights Management tools which will allow users to prevent recipients from copying, forwarding, or downloading emails. The new Gmail will be rolled out to users over the next few weeks.


Happy birthday Penguin!

Where were you six years ago? Did Penguin affect you? It sure affected me, but in a good way!


What makes a link bad?

I thoroughly enjoyed doing this webinar for SEMRush along with Julie Joyce, Andy Drinkwater and Jared McKiernan


Listen to Search News You Can Use on my new podcast!

I’m excited to be doing this. Each week I’ll be recording the most important parts of the newsletter on a podcast. We’re still waiting for iTunes and Google Play approval, but for now, you can listen here on SoundCloud:

https://soundcloud.com/search-news-you-can-use/


Local SEO

Google posts are even more prominent now

This may just be a test, but it looks like Google is displaying Google posts more prominently.

I feel like many businesses are completely ignoring posts. Using posts is a great way to get more of the first page real estate for your brand!


GMB clarifies how to get reviews removed from Maps

The policy says reviews will be removed if they contain:

  • Spam or Fake Content
  • Off Topic content e.g. political/social commentary or personal rants
  • Any calls to action or offers for the sale of products subject to local regulations such as guns, gambling, alcohol, and financial services. The policy notes that incidental descriptions, like images of menus, are usually ok.
  • Illegal content, including copyright infringements
  • Sexually Explicit Content
  • Offensive content (profane, obscene or offensive language)
  • Hate Speech
  • Bullying and Harassment
  • Impersonation
  • Conflicts of Interest (such as reviewing your own business)

GMB recommends that if a review appears to not be in line with the policy, users/businesses should flag them as inappropriate and Google will investigate within 3 days.


GMB recommends contacting support for setting up ‘Works At’ Relations


GMB has improved Q&A notifications to include the customer’s name in the subject line


Recommended Reading

Reddit AMA with Rand Fishkin

April 25th

https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/8elcuw/howdy_reddit_im_rand_fishkin_founder_of_moz_and/?st=jgdw1s4d&sh=d335d26e

Rand Fishkin gave a substantial reddit AMA on Wednesday in which he talked about everything from SEO, his new book, marketing advice and general musings on life!

Marketing Lessons from Sixteen Years of Building Moz - Rand Fishkin

April 20th, 2018

https://moz.com/blog/marketing-lessons-learned?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=blog_post

In last weeks Moz Whiteboard Friday, Rand Fishkin gives his insights on the marketing lessons he has learnt over the past 16 years since creating Moz. The video gives a good intro to the main points he will cover in his new book, Lost and Founder, that is being released this week.

How we got a 32% Organic Traffic Boast from 4 On-Page SEO Changes [Case Study] - Patrick Curtis

April 25th, 2018

https://moz.com/blog/on-page-seo-changes-case-study

Patrick Curtis, the CEO of Wall Street Oasis, describes two problems that affected his company’s traffic.

Content for Answers: The Inverted Pyramid - Dr. Peter J. Meyers

April 27th, 2018

https://moz.com/blog/content-for-answers-inverted-pyramid

This week’s whiteboard Friday featured Moz’s Marketing scientist, Dr Peter Meyers, talking a little bit about featured snippets.

SEO Project Management for Successful Processes - Aleyda Solis

April 25th, 2018

https://www.slideshare.net/aleydasolis/seo-project-management-for-successful-processes-theinbounder

In this delightful Stranger Things themed slideshow, Aleyda Solis presents some advice on good project management for creating successful SEO processes.

Stack Overflow Isn’t Very Welcoming. It’s Time for That to Change.

April 26, 2018

https://stackoverflow.blog/2018/04/26/stack-overflow-isnt-very-welcoming-its-time-for-that-to-change/

I really enjoyed this read. Stack Overflow, which is a Q&A site for programmers noticed that their community was becoming toxic.

Google's “Disavow Links Tool” : The Complete Guide - Derek Gleason

April 26th, 2018

https://ahrefs.com/blog/google-disavow-links/

In a guest post for ahrefs, Derek Gleason provides an incredibly detailed guide on the disavow tool.


Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

The Quick Guide to Making the most out of Google Questions & Answers - Darren Shaw / Whitespark Weekly

April 24th, 2018

https://whitespark.ca/blog/the-quick-guide-to-google-q-and-a/

In this weeks ‘Whitespark Weekly’, Darren Shaw synthesises Mike Blumenthal’s ideas on Google Q&A from his recent blog posts.

Utilising Your Local SEO Skills to Change Lives & Profit in the Process - Tom Buckland

April 25th, 2018

https://seo.institute/utilising-local-seo/

An interesting piece from Tom Buckland about easy methods for getting small, local business’ to rank highly in their areas.


SEO Jobs



Search News You Can Use Podcast


Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • New Google patent may give us some clues about E-A-T and also Penguin
  • An interesting disavow experiment along with how my thoughts on disavowing are changing. This is important!
  • Important points from John Mueller’s AMA at Brighton SEO
  • Facebook implements a ban on all new messenger ChatBots
  • Is https a ranking factor?
  • Do well crawled pages rank better?
  • The batali cinnamon roll ranking mystery - along with the answer!
  • Is the use of hreflang an authority signal?
  • Why you should blog more
  • Cool Screaming Frog tip from SEO Toddler
  • A very interesting disavow experiment
  • Some American publishers are now blocking European visitors because of GDPR
  • 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.

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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! 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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