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Episode 32 - May 14, 2018 (Light Version)

Click here for the paid members version

Once again we have another week with a significant algorithm update. In this episode, we’ll look at what I believe to be a scary advance in Google’s ability to answer questions. We’ll get a little bit technical in talking about canonical tags and rendering. We’ll also discuss more on meta descriptions, GDPR, structured data and more.

In this episode:



Paid members also get the following:

  • Google is asking searchers for content creation input
  • Did you spend a lot of time making your meta descriptions longer? You may need to make changes again
  • Make sure your canonical tags don’t rely on rendering
  • Bail bonds Ads banned by Google
  • An interesting way to determine whether javascript is causing indexing problems
  • Googlebot crawls JavaScript Pages in Waves
  • Can structured data cause an increased CTR?
  • You soon may need to start paying for Google maps usage
  • Tips for getting review snippets in Google
  • There is a bug that is making it hard to see reviews

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

It seems that we are seeing a new update almost every week. We know that Google updates the algorithm several times a day, but that they also do more significant updates from time to time. If you want to see past updates, here is a list of all of the known and suspected algorithm updates.

May 7-8, 2018 algorithm update (or possibly May 4)

I didn’t notice much chatter in the SEO community about this, but we are seeing a large number of sites with either increases or decreases that start on May 7-8, 2018.

Every site that we are seeing that has increases or decreases was previously affected by a recent quality update. I’ll share with you the SEMRush charts for a few of our clients that saw improvements. For each of the below there was a noticeable, non seasonal uptick in Google Analytics search traffic.

Here is a site that had quite a few technical issues to repair. We also helped them improve their E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trust). They started to see improvements with the April 30 update and those got a little better around May 7:

Here is one site that we reviewed a few months ago. They made changes to improve user experience, reduce thin content and to make the site more intuitive for search engines to crawl. They saw improvements around the time of the April 30, 2018 update and saw another slight uptick starting May 7, 2018. Google Analytics shows this as a much more favourable increase:

This site worked with us to greatly improve E-A-T and how it was communicated on the website. We also helped them to produce content that is by far better than competitors. They started seeing an uptake in early May as well.

I believe that for the past week, between May 4-9 Google has been making little tweaks to the core quality algorithm. Every site that I saw that had changes at this time was previously affected by a quality update in the last couple of months.

I have no specific advice just yet beyond my usual recommendations to do the following:

  • Do a full technical audit of your site
  • Pay close attention to Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines, especially the parts about E-A-T.
  • Do all you can to make your site the most valuable of its kind.

May 13 update?

According to Barry Schwartz, there is a lot of chatter, especially in black hat forums about a possible update brewing. I am not noticing obvious changes yet, but not enough time has passed to say anything for sure. I’ll update you on this next week.


Want us to monitor your site for potential algo hits?

We’re offering a new service in which we will monitor your analytics for you and report on algo hits and wins. We are taking on a few more clients right now. Contact Marie for more details.


Latest update from the Webmaster Central Blog

This is a nice simple post outlining the main resources that Webmaster Central provide to help site owners. There is nothing particularly new here in terms of content, but it is nice to have everything on offer indexed in one place!


Still confused about GDPR?

There is so much confusion still about GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). Even if you are not in Europe, you need to pay attention to this as you could end up losing Google Analytics data if you do not make a change. Google Analytics has made changes, in order to comply with GDPR that make it so that it now defaults to deleting a good amount of data after you have had it for 26 months.

I have written quite a bit more about what kind of data can be affected and how to change your settings so that you don’t lose data in this post about GDPR and Google Analytics.


Squarespace Analytics Integrates Google Search Console

Squarespace has announced that it will be the first CMS to offers users the option of pairing their sites Google Search Console data with their in house analytics platform. This will allow users to see their keyword data alongside Squarespace Analytics data. Mariya Moeva also mentioned this at Google I/O this week.


Google Assistant Directory Pages

Google has been promoting some webmasters to verify, claim/edit their auto-generated directory pages on about their sites. These directory pages appear to be intended for the use of Google Assistant to allow users to ask (or ‘Action’) Google assistant to get the latest news/content from that site.

Dan Sure has also seen this prompt and suggests that console.actions.google.com/  is the place to go for verifying/editing these directories (if you have structured data/AMP). Otherwise he suggests following these instructions: /developers.google.com/actions/claim/


Google has updated their image posting guidelines

If you rely heavily on image search, this is an important read. Here are a few important points:

  • Display images only when they add value to a page.
  • Place images near the relevant text.
  • Don’t embed important text in images.
  • Create a good url structure for your images.
  • Add structured data where applicable.
  • Optimize for speed.
  • Use descriptive alt text.
  • If you have adult images, put them in a different directory specific for NSFW images such as http//www.example.com/adult/image.jpg and use metadata to label the images as adult.

Local SEO

The latest on Local Search updates from Google I/O

A lot of this will revolve around machine learning. For example, the ‘your match’ feature will take your imputed preferences and match that with your activity over time to create tailored recommendations of the likelihood you will enjoy, say, a listed restaurant. This will be a really interesting development to follow for local search, as will the ‘in your area’ feature.


Google Posts now accepting videos for local businesses

Barry Schwartz over at Search Engine Land has reported their is a new feature on Google Posts which allows you to upload videos as well as photos. Barry says that this has been confirmed by Google.


Google Assistant will soon be able to make phone calls for you

This is kind of crazy. It will be interesting to see what kind of an impact it has on local SEO:


New review response notification added

In an announcement from the GMB Community Team, Google has announced that reviewers will now be notified by email after a business owner has responded to their review. This has been a long awaited feature for GMB users, and offers a great opportunity for business owners to more actively engage with their customers regarding their feedback. The notification will be sent out 5 minutes after the response has been posted, allowing the owner to adjust their response if necessary.


Where to find me this week

I did a fun interview with Ahrefs on penalties, link issues and more.

My Youtube channel on which I do a weekly update on the latest search news: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5JCNbPrfBAhnVG1Cfx25qA?view_as=subscriber

My weekly SEO Podcast. (We’re still waiting for iTunes and Google Play approval):

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

My Youtube live for this episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22XuTv3UeI8

If you have a question for me, you can find me on Twitter. If you want to hire my team and I to review your site, you can reach me here.


Recommended Reading

Annoying Ads Do Cost Business - Jakob Nielsen/Nielsen Norman Group

May 6, 2018

https://www.nngroup.com/articles/annoying-ads-cost-business/

In last week’s recommended reading we suggested a wired.com article reporting on a recent study by Pandora regarding how less Ads can actually lead to less business.

How to go from blank screen to high-converting copy [webinar] with Joel Klettke - Talia Wolf

https://getuplift.co/from-blank-screen-to-high-converting-copy/

This is a nice webinar featuring Joel Klettke and presented by Talia Wolf.

How to use SEMrush to identify and overtake your competitor’s SEO rankings - John Doherty

May 8, 2018

https://www.getcredo.com/semrush-identify-overtake-competitors-seo-rankings/

In this fairly comprehensive guide, John Doherty provides a decent walk through of how to use SEMrush to conduct research into what your competitors strategy is and how to use that information to curate the best focuses to get your own business ranking.

The 10 SEO rankings factors we know to be true - Kevin Indig

May 10th, 2018

https://www.kevin-indig.com/the-10-seo-ranking-factors-we-know-to-be-true/

This article from Kevin Indig provides a really detailed review of what we ‘officially’ know to be true in terms of SEO ranking factors.

BuzzStream Data: The Outperforming Outreach Tactics we Learned from Analysing 12000 Campaigns - Stephen Panico

May 9, 2018

http://www.buzzstream.com/blog/buzzstream-data-the-outperforming-outreach-tactics-we-learned-from-analyzing-12000-campaigns.html

This is a great article from Stephen Panico at BuzzStream detailing a recent research project they conducted.

The Complete Guide to AMP: Lessons from 10 Case Studies - Eric Enge

October 9th, 2017 (but just discovered by us recently)

https://www.stonetemple.com/the-canonical-guide-to-amp/

This article presents the findings from a large study by Eric Enge who interviewed 10 different companies who released an AMP implementation on all if not at least a large proportion of their site.

Monitoring Featured Snippets: WhiteBoard Friday - Britney Muller

May 11th, 2018

https://moz.com/blog/monitoring-featured-snippets

In this concluding part to Moz’s series on featured snippets, Britney Muller discusses how to effectively monitor the success of your featured snippet keyword targeting.

The Power of Internal Links and Hub Pages - Andy Drinkwater at the Optimisey SEO meetup

March 26, 2018

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31Pr8SZPvnE

I’m not sure how I missed this video from a few months ago. It’s definitely worth watching. Internal links can be powerful when it comes to helping a site rank.


Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

The Bifurcation of the Local SEO Services Market - David Mihm & Mike Blumenthal

May 7, 2018

http://streetfightmag.com/2018/05/07/the-bifurcation-of-the-local-seo-services-market/

In this good ‘in person column’, David Mihm (TidingsCo & LocalU) and Mike Blumenthal (GetFiveStars & LocalU) discuss the presentations they both gave at the LSA show in Chicago.

How to Optimise your Google My Business Listing - Sherry Bonelli

May 1st, 2018

https://moz.com/blog/how-to-optimize-your-google-my-business-listing

With so many businesses failing to utilise their GMB profiles to the fullest, Sherry Bonelli has written a detailed guide on the main features that owners/agencies should focus on for optimising their/their clients GMB profile.

GMB? More like DGAF! - Dan Leibson

May 9, 2018

http://www.localseoguide.com/gmb-like-dgaf/

Dan Leibson presents (fairly light heartedly) a nice article around the topic of Spam in the GMB local search results.


SEO Jobs

This is a local position, here in Ottawa, Ontario:


Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • Google is asking searchers for content creation input
  • Did you spend a lot of time making your meta descriptions longer? You may need to make changes again
  • Make sure your canonical tags don’t rely on rendering
  • Bail bonds Ads banned by Google
  • An interesting way to determine whether javascript is causing indexing problems
  • Googlebot crawls JavaScript Pages in Waves
  • Can structured data cause an increased CTR?
  • You soon may need to start paying for Google maps usage
  • Tips for getting review snippets in Google
  • There is a bug that is making it hard to see reviews

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! 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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