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Episode 34 - May 28, 2018 (Light Version)

Click here for the paid members version

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we have had yet another significant algorithm update. I am a bit suspicious that this update could have a link component to it, but it is tough to say at this point.

In this episode, we’ll talk more about GDPR and mobile first indexing. It looks like Google has run yet another wave of moving sites to mobile first indexing. But, MOST sites are not there yet.

Paid members have some really good tips this week including information on what kind of contact information Google wants to see on your site (and how that information can be a ranking factor), a very good tip on creating content that is better than your competitors, a way to help win more featured snippets for product pages, and also a reason why your local clients may be losing their reviews.

Note: If you’ve been on the fence about becoming a paid member, please know that if you sign up today, you can see all of the past paid episodes as well.

In this episode:



Paid members also get the following:

  • Good advice on creating content that is more helpful than competitors
  • Google analytics is missing a lot of data from > 2yrs ago. Is this due to GDPR?
  • Google analytics is missing a lot of data from > 2yrs ago. Is this due to GDPR?
  • Did you know that providing good contact information is likely a ranking factor?
  • If you make significant changes to your site, you may notice more crawl activity
  • Important info for sites who write about scientific topics
  • If it’s Mobile Friendly, it’s index friendly!
  • Can you use the cache to determine whether your site has been switched to mobile first indexing?
  • A 410 removes a page from the index faster than a 404
  • A great tip for winning featured snippets for product pages
  • Local SEO: Have you lost reviews? This could be why!
  • Local SEO: New GMB Product Posts starting to be rolled out
  • Local SEO: Local Service Ads are starting to appear in more locations
  • Local SEO: A GMB Partners Program: A ‘whitelist directory’ of GMB managers
  • My tl;dr summary of some great SEO articles

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Algorithm Updates

May 22-24, 2018 Google update

This appears to be a significant update. There is some chatter in Black Hat World in which some people are suggesting that sites are being demoted because of an issue with the Yoast plugin that causes image attachment pages to be indexed. I do not think this is related to this update though.

There has been some discussion on Twitter with several site owners seeing wild swings in rankings.

Barry Schwartz has a good summary of what he is seeing as well. Here are some of the comments on his article about a possible May 24 update:

  • “I lost almost 40% of my traffic in the last 10 days.”
  • “We're in the UK and 24/25 we saw massive drops in some of the keywords we've been top 3 for the past year or longer. all seems to be coming back to normal now, fingers crossed. would love to know what caused it.”
  • “Worst day ever, followed by best day ever, followed by second worst day ever.”
  • “I lost almost 30% of my traffic in the last 15 days.”

We have seen significant changes in a few clients’ sites.

This site is one that we have worked with for a few months now to try and improve user experience. We have also helped them improve their url structure to make it more clear what their top category pages are. They saw nice improvements with the May 14 quality update and saw a beautiful boost on May 24:

This next client is one that has also been working on making the site better for users. We have also worked on many individual page optimizations. What we have been doing for this site is spending time reviewing GSC performance data to determine which keywords pages are ranking for, but not well optimized for. We have then been working with their writers to create even better content for these pages.

It is working well as they saw a nice boost starting May 22, 2018:

The last client is in a very competitive niche. They have seen increases and decreases with several updates. This site’s biggest issue is E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trust). We have been working with them to help them present their E-A-T in a better way and also to help them build up more good off site reputation.


We did see one site in our analytics that has a sizeable drop in Google Analytics starting May 24, 2018. The SEMRush data does not reflect this, but SERPmetrics shows the drop:


This site has been working on improving E-A-T. However, when we reviewed this site we were concerned about the quality of their link profile. They had a number of links that “looked natural” but truly were paid placements.

I am a bit suspicious that this May 24 update may have a link component to it. However, as I only have the one example of a site that is seeing significant declines, it’s a bit early to say this with certainty.

The algo flux checkers are showing changes between May 22 to 24 as well:

Recap on recent updates

There has almost a weekly significant update for a couple of weeks now. If you ever need to see the most recent updates, you can find these on my checklist of Google algorithm updates.

Here are the most recent notes:

Not sure whether you’ve been affected?

We are offering a service whereby we check your analytics for you weekly and let you know whether you’ve been affected by the latest Google updates. If you’re interested in signing up for this let me know. The price is currently $49 USD per month. This will likely increase once we decide to push this service mainstream.


Google releases Lighthouse 3.0

Lighthouse is a Google backed tool that helps developers make better websites by providing different url audits. The audits are then used to provide advice on how you could improve your site for things like performance and accessibility. This newest version of the tool provides users with, amongst other things, faster audits, a new UI and the ability to output results in CSV. There have also been some changes made to the JSON output and the scoring weights of the performance outputs. You can learn more about the changes and how to update your version here.


More sites being moved to mobile first indexing

It looks like Google is sending out more emails to tell site owners that they have been moved to mobile first indexing:

The part that I highlighted above is interesting. As we reported previously, Google is not switching sites based on their mobile friendliness but rather, based on the fact that content on the mobile version is the same as what is on desktop.

This means that a lot of sites that are not mobile-friendly have been switched to mobile first indexing.

It does seem to me that so far most of the sites that are being switched to mobile first indexing are older sites that are not maintained regularly.


Day 1 of GDPR…

And complaints are already being filed against some of the internet's biggest players. Privacy group noyb.eu, led by Max Schrems, has filed a complaint against Google, Whatsapp, Facebook and Instagram. The complaint argues that these companies are in violation of the GDPRs terms by forcing the consent of users. In essence, they have been adopting a ‘take it or leave it’ policy, whereby users are told they can either allow the companies to continue to use their data as before or they can delete their accounts and not use their services. Noybe.eu is arguing that this is a violation because "The GDPR explicitly allows any data processing that is strictly necessary for the service - but using the data additionally for advertisement or to sell it on needs the users' free opt-in consent."

There are also many problems ensuing as companies try to become GDPR compliant. One example is Ghostery which exposed their entire email list in their GDPR emails.

I’m also seeing many examples of sites that are blocking European traffic rather than risking being fined.


How would US companies actually be fined under GDPR?

Spiceworks spoke with Linda V Priebe about what the real implications for US businesses will be if they are caught violating GDPR and how punishment would be actually actioned. Linda is a partner at Culhane Meadows and was the deputy legal counsel for the Office of Drug Policy at the White House under Clinton, Bush and Obama. Here is what she shared on her view of what will happen realistically for U.S. companies in violation of GDPR.

Noting that German companies are already aggressively investigating 500 US companies of all shapes and sizes, Linda explains that it is not the EU that would could after a non-compliant business, but the EU member state who citizens were affected. That means that certain states who take privacy quite seriously, like Germany, may be more likely to pursue penalties if you violate GDPR against their citizens than say if you are caught collecting data on Danish citizens. She also cautions that in the EU, personal data is much more broadly defined than in the US. For instance IP addresses are taken to be a ‘personal identifier’ unlike in the states.

But how will they actually be able to fine a U.S. business?

For companies with no physical EU presence, fines will be issued in accordance with international law Linda says. She points to the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield data sharing agreement that has put into place several systems for the issuing of fines and complaints upon U.S. companies from the EU. This agreement could suggest that EU regulators ‘can fine U.S. companies for violating GDPR, and they can do it with the help of the U.S. authorities’.

Additional GDPR resources:


Google Trends Update

The tool aimed at helping journalists track what searchers have been searching for, or are currently searching for, has been given a revamp. The changes includes some new additions to the Trending searches section which provides both day-to-day and minute-to-minute data on search trends. There are also some new infographic types to choose from, a section to help you find stories curated by the News Lab team and the ability to access ‘year in search’ data stretching back to 200. You can see exactly what Google have to say about it here.


Confirmation from the Chrome Dev Team on the Autoplay Policy/Web Audio API roll out

For those of you who don’t know, Google announced a policy that prevented video content from autoplaying on Chrome by default. This seems great for most users (no more muting every page you open with a youtube video on it!) but the roll out caused a loss of functionality for a lot of developers using the Web Audio API. In response, Google temporarily revoked the policy just for the Web Audio API to allow developers time to change their code accordingly. This announcement confirms the date that the policy will go back into effect.


Additional parameters added to Google Rich Results Test


Local SEO

A bug on GMB!

We will try to update you if and when this gets resolved.

Update: This appears to have been resolved over the weekend!


Google are cracking down hard on GMB scammers

Have you had those annoying, often automated, scam phone calls from companies pretending to be Google? Well Google have announced that they will be taking a number of measures to crack down on these, and other GMB scam activities. They are suing several businesses that are known to be employing these scam practices and have also provides a new tool to report GMB scam activity conducted by third parties on behalf of a business.

Google also plans on creating new content on their ‘Get your business online’ platform to help businesses better understand their web presence and are creating a directory of trusted partners for businesses to refer to when looking for help managing their accounts (There is no word yet of how to get on that directory.)


Recommended Reading

Migration Best Practices - Bastian Grimm

May 23rd, 2018

https://www.slideshare.net/bastiangrimm/migration-best-practices-smx-london-2018/

This is the slideshow from Bastian Grimm’s presentation at SMX London on Wednesday. His talk was about how to successfully navigate conducting different types of site migration.

The Optimal Local Landing Page for Law Firms - Nifty

May 18th, 2018

https://niftymarketing.com/anatomy-of-an-optimized-legal-local-landing-page/

This article reports the findings of a repeated study by Nifty. The study gathered data from the top ranking websites for 4 different legal practice areas, across the 50 biggest cities in the US.

Why We Don’t Do Performance Based Compensation - Ruth Burr Reedy

May 22nd, 2018

https://www.upbuild.io/blog/why-no-performance-based-compensation/

Writing from the consultancy team at UpBuild, Ruth Burr Reedy detailed why they maintain a policy of not working for performance based compensation.

The Importance of Transparency and Understanding Risk in Link-Building - Julie Joyce

May 23rd, 2018

https://searchengineland.com/the-importance-of-transparency-and-understanding-risk-in-link-building-298635

This is a really good piece by Julie Joyce that will be useful for anyone considering starting a link building campaign.

Giphy’s Visibility Drops: Conspiracy or Consequence? - Tomasz Rudzki

May 22nd, 2018

https://www.elephate.com/blog/giphys-visibility-drops-conspiracy-or-consequence/

Giphy is one of the most popular websites used to share animated gifs. However they have recently seen some dramatic drops in their online visibility recently.

Google Search Operators: The Complete List (42 Advanced Operators) - Joshua Hardwick

May 22nd, 2018

https://ahrefs.com/blog/google-advanced-search-operators/

As most of you will know, there are many different search operators that you can use to utilise Google for your own SEO purposes.

Technical SEO for Content Marketers - Jimmy Daly

March 26th, 2018

https://www.animalz.co/blog/technical-seo/

Jimmy Daly points out that technical SEO spans all parts of web-development, both front and back end.

Learning Technical SEO - Kevin Indig

February 20th, 2018

https://www.semrush.com/blog/learning-technical-seo/

Kevin Indig writes about the rapid shift in the industry over the past few years towards the importance of technical SEO over backlink-building and content creation.


Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

The Ultimate Guide to Google Posts - Dustin W. Stout

May 21st, 2018

https://www.steadydemand.com/google-posts-guide/

This is a good read for anyone who is unsure of how to take advantage of the new(ish) Google Posts feature in Google My Business.

Scraping Grey SEO Barnacles off the Local Spam Flotilla - Phil Rozek

May 22nd, 2018

http://www.localvisibilitysystem.com/2018/05/22/scraping-gray-seo-barnacles-off-the-local-spam-flotilla/

This is a good little blog post from Phil Rozek in which he details a tactic he calls ‘Scraping Grey SEO Barnacles’.

Yelps New Anti-Trust Drive Targets Google Employees - Dennis Schaal

May 24th, 2018

https://table.skift.com/2018/05/24/yelps-new-antitrust-drive-targets-google-employees/

Dennis Schaal reports on a new coalition formed by Yelp, TripAdvisor and the Consumer Watchdog called ‘Focus on the User’.

DIY Shopify SEO Audit - 15 Steps to More Organic Search Traffic - Cory Eckert

May 10th, 2018

https://easyecommercewins.com/diy-shopify-seo-audit/

This is a helpful walk through from Cory Eckert of how to conduct an audit of your Shopify eCommerce site to determine what changes you can make to get yourself ranking better in the organic SERPs.

Roll Results: The Five Fixes Google Must Prioritise for Local SEO Success - Rosie Murphy

May 25th, 2018

https://www.brightlocal.com/2018/05/24/5-fixes-google-must-prioritize-for-local-seo/

This is a good piece from Rosie Murphy that reports on a survey done of local SEO professionals regarding what they believe Google could do to make the service better for businesses/SEO’s.

What are Google Local Service Ads and Why Should You Care? - Tom Waddington

May 21, 2018

https://www.brightlocal.com/2018/05/21/google-local-service-ads/

Tom Waddington has written a good post about Google Local Services Ads.


Where to find Marie

We are now live with our podcast on iTunes and Google Play Music

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Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • Good advice on creating content that is more helpful than competitors
  • Did you know that providing good contact information is likely a ranking factor?
  • If you make significant changes to your site, you may notice more crawl activity
  • Important info for sites who write about scientific topics
  • If it’s Mobile Friendly, it’s index friendly!
  • Can you use the cache to determine whether your site has been switched to mobile first indexing?
  • A 410 removes a page from the index faster than a 404
  • A great tip for winning featured snippets for product pages
  • Local SEO: Have you lost reviews? This could be why!
  • Local SEO: New GMB Product Posts starting to be rolled out
  • Local SEO: Local Service Ads are starting to appear in more locations
  • Local SEO: A GMB Partners Program: A ‘whitelist directory’ of GMB managers
  • My tl;dr summary of some great 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


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