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Episode 39 - July 4, 2018 (Light Version)

Click here for the paid members version

There is a lot of great information in this episode. Although we haven’t had any major algorithm updates, there is a lot of interesting news in the SEO industry. We’ll talk about a wave of mobile first indexing emails going out and why it seems to be less sophisticated sites that are being moved. There was confusion about the soon to be released page speed update, so we’ll cover that. Other interesting topics in this episode include an issue with Forbes contributors and paid links, a fascinating disavow experiment and a case in which a site received a large number of natural links without seeing any improvement in rankings.

In this episode:



Paid members also get the following:

  • Google ignores press release links
  • Every url in the index has a canonical attached to it
  • SEO study on featured snippet volatility
  • Are AMP urls supposed to be indexed?
  • Do you need a sitemap for your AMP pages?
  • How much of a difference does the disavow file really make?
  • Excel Search Tip!
  • Five years of actionable ranking signals
  • Can you use Google translated content on your website?
  • Some very, very linkable content
  • Majestic released an update for its Solo Links Tool
  • Can a National scandal help your rankings?
  • One reason why Google won’t auto-translate a site
  • Local SEO: Is it ok to embed your Google reviews on your site?
  • Local SEO: Tip for dealing with spammy Google My Business names
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome SEO articles

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Algorithm updates

After reviewing a large number of the Google Analytics profiles that I have access to, I can’t see any dates on which there were signs of an algorithm update in the last week.


More mobile first indexing emails going out

I see a lot of SEOs commenting that it seems odd that old sites that are not mobile friendly are getting these emails. This makes sense to me. It is important to remember that mobile first indexing is not the same thing as mobile friendliness.

As Google moves sites over to mobile first indexing, their top priority is to do it in a way that doesn’t affect rankings. In these old sites, because the mobile version is also the desktop version and as such, the content on the two versions is exactly the same.

However, Paul Macnamara has received MFI indications for responsive sites as well. (These are sites that adapt to the user’s viewport.)

In most cases, responsive sites have content parity across desktop and mobile. However, it is important to note that not all sites do.  One of my sites for which I received a notification of mobile first indexing has a different navigation on desktop as compared to mobile. The content of the page is the same, but the navigation is different. This means that in theory, the pages that are not linked to from the mobile navigation will suffer because Google will no longer be crawling the desktop version for that site.

I’m going to keep things the same for now and I will report back on whether any rankings drop as a result.


Search Console URL Tool starts rolling out

We have been able to see this new feature on a couple of sites and it can be found just below the sitemaps option on the sidebar. Google is still rolling out this feature, which allows you to inspect each individual url to see what details Google has on it (how it was crawled, indexed, if it is seen as a canonical etc.). Google released a detailed help guide that can be seen here. Google has also said that there are no plans as of yet for an API containing this data:

As John Mueller points out, this tool has not quite been rolled out to everyone

I think that this tool will be extremely helpful.

Paid members of the newsletter get more detailed information on how you can use this information.

 


The Webspam yearly report

Google released their yearly report on how they fought webspam over the past year. The report highlights what the webmaster team believe to have been their biggest challenges of the year and notes the ways in which they think they have helped webmasters and users have a better web experience.

The report states that 2017’s biggest challenge was a rise in hackers trying to either spread malware or create spammy sites. In response to this the team cites their efforts to help webmasters with their guide on creating safer, more secure websites and their efforts to crack down on link manipulation through the removal of more unnatural links.

Another big point in the report is about the new GSC which Google claims is able to provide more transparency to site owners about manual actions placed on their sites and gives more options for site diagnostics than before. Lastly the team highlight their increased outreach over the year through avenues such as webmaster office hours.  I know for sure that we have found a lot of good uses for this new GSC and have learnt a lot from John Mueller’s office hours, so thank you for that Google!


New information on Google’s upcoming pagespeed update

At some point this month, Google plans to release a new update related to page speed. There has been some confusion on this as John Mueller said something in a hangout that made it sound like this update was a thing where incremental improvements in page load time on any site could be a ranking boost. However, he made some clarifications on this statement.

Here is what you need to know:


 

Forbes has removed some posts by well known SEOs because of link selling

I debated on whether to include this in the newsletter as I’m not a fan of outing people. As such, I won’t link to the article, but I’m sure you can find it with a little Googling.

The author of the article talks about how they found many instances of a particular SEO company’s leader writing articles for Forbes and then linking back to his clients, without disclosing the fact that they were clients of his. When Forbes was informed of this they changed his status to “guest writer” rather than “VIP contributor”. This is significant because it appears that links from guest writer posts on Forbes are nofollowed, and as such, they won’t help the client much. Also, Gary Illyes from Google has said before that Google knows which parts of Forbes to trust and which to ignore. As such, these articles are likely not helping these clients in terms of organic rankings anymore.

I included this in the newsletter because I know that several people who are reading this are paying SEO companies for services like this and I would urge you to stop. Every week I review sites that are participating in ways to get links that don’t comply with Google’s guidelines.

If you are involved in any of the following, you’re at risk for a link related penalty:

  • Paying an SEO company that has a relationship with many publishers whereby they provide them with content and in return they can put links to their clients’ sites in that content. Even though you’re not specifically paying for those links, those are unnatural links in Google’s eyes.
  • Guest posting on sites that no one ever reads or clicks on. If you have one or two of these it’s not a huge deal. But, if this is your main link building tactic, it’s risky.
  • Hiring an SEO company that has a network of sites on which they can publish their own articles. I’ve seen some situations where the network would not be called a PBN (private blog network) because people actually do go to these sites and the sites hold value. But, in reality the links are there only for SEO reasons. They are not earned links.

Something I want to write an article on, if only I had more time to do so, is to show anonymized traffic graphs from sites that I know have been doing this kind of link building. In each case that I am aware of, traffic has either dropped or stayed the same during the time period since they were purchasing this kind of link. While links still matter in Google’s algorithms, they are getting really good at determining which ones are there because a site owner truly wants to recommend your business or content.


Job Posting API

Following the release earlier this month of Google’s new job search functions they have now released an API for job posters to use in conjunction with job posting structured data. The Indexing API can be integrated into your job posting flow and is designed to address getting new postings indexed as fast as possible and expired posts deleted from the index so that only true, relevant vacancies are displayed.


New featured snippet format spotted

These new snippets appear on the side of the SERPs where the knowledge panel usually sites. It is a little unclear if this is going to be a permanent fixture, or if Google is just user testing this layout.


New ‘must include’ feature in the SERPs

If you are anything like me, you may often plug in a long complicated search query only to find that all of the results you are given are missing that one keyword that was the most important one! This new addition to the search results is a welcome addition that allows you to only see query results including that missing keyword.


Image search testing a more “Pintrest-y” result page


Google data studio now has 16 months of data.


SEO Tools

New Twitter influencer tool


Convertkit is now Seva

Congrats Convertkit! The company has rebranded to Seva and has added some amazing features. You can read more about this here. In my career in SEO I have used Aweber, Mailchimp and Convertkit and Convertkit, now Seva is by far the best in my opinion.


 


A new tool to help fight review spam

We are not sure who is behind this tool, but it looks interesting.


Join us in Ottawa for our SEO Quality workshop

I am so excited about this event!

The cost is $50 which covers your lunch as well as the full day event. We had initially wanted to do this for free, but realized that we need some kind of commitment as we need to have good estimates for the size of the audience.


Local SEO

Subjective attributes added to GMB insights dashboard

Announced this week on the GMB twitter feed, these attributes are information submitted by users/customers of a business to provide additional information to other potential customers. For example, a previous customer may submit that a pub was cosy, or a restaurant was romantic. Google notes that these attributes are subjective and are designed to help other users, so unless the data is proven to be false they shall not be removed.


Dynamic filters and ‘Your Past Visit’ spotted in the Local Pack

Dynamic filters were first spotted by Sergey Alakov this week. The local pack appears to be dynamically creating filters based on specific parts of your search query.

Barry Schwartz also caught another addition to the local search pack in the for of a ‘Your Past Visit’ filter which either cuts out results from places you’ve been before or only shows them. Barry postulates that this could be Google trying to determine the degree to which different people like to revisit establishments


Be sure to upload your Menus/Service to GMB

It looks like these changes are being crawled and indexed immediately, and appearing in the local pack where appropriate.


Update on anonymous review removals

We have reported on the recent removal of anonymous Google reviews before, but this article from BrightLocal highlights a really interesting statistic that only 3% of reviews on Google before the removal were anonymous. This is based upon a survey of over 40,000 businesses in their network. However, this news will be little consolation to the businesses who have reported their review numbers dropping significantly.


Google Insights is now showing queries


Recommended Reading

How to Deliver Effective SEO Consulting w/Marie Haynes - Dan Shure

June 28th, 2018

http://www.evolvingseo.com/2018/06/28/096-marie-haynes-seo-consulting/

I had the great opportunity to guest on Dan Shure’s podcast this week where I got to share my thoughts about the challenges that face SEO consultants.

What do SEOs do when Google removes organic search traffic? Rand Fishkin/WhiteBoard Friday

June 29th, 2018

https://moz.com/blog/google-removing-organic-traffic

In this week’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand looks at some potential solutions for SEOs as Google keeps deprecating the ways in which it directs traffic to your site from the SERPs.

Voice Search Optimisation: The SEO’s Journey (so far) - Bill Sebald

June 26th, 2018

https://www.greenlanemarketing.com/blog/voice-search-optimization/

Following the classic marketing advice that being the first in a market is often better than having the better product, Bill Sebald makes the case for getting on board with new technologies asap for SEOs.

Protecting your brand and your name online with Reputation Management - Andy Drinkwater

July 2nd, 2018

https://www.andydrinkwater.com/protecting-your-brand-and-your-name-online-with-reputation-management/

Andy Drinkwater compiles a list of the top tips from SEOs about what they do for reputation management when their client or their own company gets bad press online.

The Candy Store is Open: How to use SEMrush’s new organic research reporting with live graphs - Glenn Gabs

July 2nd, 2018

https://www.semrush.com/blog/semrush-new-organic-research-report-live-graph/

Glenn Gabe provides a walkthrough of the new organic research section of SEMrush which includes live reporting graphs and significantly more options for granular analysis.

The Minimum Viable Knowledge You Need to Work with JavaScript & SEO Today - Serge Stefogo

June 28th, 2018

https://moz.com/blog/javascript-and-seo

This post, as its title suggests, is a really easy to understand guide to the implications that JavaScript has on SEO. JavaScript in relation to SEO has been getting a lot of ttention recently, with John Mueller and Tom Greenaway devoting an entire talk to the matter at this year’s Google I/O.


Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

Why Fake Reviews Are Like Fake News and What You Can Do About It - Andrew McDermott

June 26th, 2018

https://blog.grade.us/fake-reviews/

In this post Andrew McDermott from GradeUs writes about the issue of fake reviews.

Fake Reviews: What’s the impact and how can we combat them? - Ben Fisher

June 28th, 2018

https://www.brightlocal.com/2018/06/28/fake-reviews-impact-and-how-to-combat/

Also on the topic of fake reviews is this article from Ben Fisher. Ben highlights some interesting statistics from a BrightLocal study conducted last year that found that while 85% of consumers trust online reviews, about 79% of all consumers have also read fake reviews.


SEO Jobs


Where to find Marie

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

iTunes

Google Play Music

Youtube (weekly live updates)


Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • Google ignores press release links
  • Every url in the index has a canonical attached to it
  • SEO study on featured snippet volatility
  • Are AMP urls supposed to be indexed?
  • Do you need a sitemap for your AMP pages?
  • How much of a difference does the disavow file really make?
  • Excel Search Tip!
  • Five years of actionable ranking signals
  • Can you use Google translated content on your website?
  • Some very, very linkable content
  • Majestic released an update for its Solo Links Tool
  • Can a National scandal help your rankings?
  • One reason why Google won’t auto-translate a site
  • Local SEO: Is it ok to embed your Google reviews on your site?
  • Local SEO: Tip for dealing with spammy Google My Business names
  • 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.

Want to see the full newsletter?

It's well worth the $18 per month!

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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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