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Episode 40 - July 10, 2018 (Light Version)

Click here for the paid members version

For the first time in a while, we have a pre-announced update from Google as the Speed update has now gone live. In this episode we’ll talk about a site that appears to have been hurt by mobile first indexing and we’ll discuss several good tips to help you improve the quality of your site.

In this episode:



Paid members also get the following:

  • A note about the Speed Update and AMP pages
  • Does Google treat a meta refresh like a redirect?
  • Issues exporting PDFs in Data Studio
  • Be careful with your GTM implementation
  • If you have a lot of 500 errors, this can slow down Google’s crawling
  • Using the entire hreflang cluster is the best practice
  • Removing videos from the SERPs
  • Tip for checking the International SERPs
  • WordPress update to protect against major vulnerability
  • John Mueller suggests time frame on Top Stories fixes
  • SEO Tests: Cool Page Speed Tests
  • SEO Case Study: Does a geo.CARS domain name make sense?
  • Local SEO: How to see traffic from local map pack clicks
  • Local SEO: Google responds to GMB Agency criticism
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome SEO articles

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Algorithm updates

Google’s Speed Update is live

As of July 9, 2018, Google has announced that they are live with the Page Speed Update. Here is what you need to know:

  • Only the slowest sites/pages will be affected.
  • The effect is incremental. This means that an incredibly slow page could be demoted more than a moderately slow page.
  • Slow pages can still rank well if they are the best result for a query.

We are advising people that if you score a red score on Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool, then you are at risk for demotion. If you are a paid subscriber of the newsletter, you can look back to Episode 11 where we started a tutorial on improving page speed.

I’ve listed this date in my Google algorithm update list.

Quality updates

There were no obvious updates beyond the Page Speed Update in the last week. I did see a lot of sites with traffic drops from July 4-9, but this likely was because of the American holiday and not due to a Google algorithm change.


Can being moved to mobile first indexing hurt your rankings?

Google has said several times that they are taking care to make it so that the move to mobile first indexing does not hurt a site’s rankings. This is why they have so far moved just sites that have the same content on desktop as mobile. Gary Illyes has said a few times that if your site is responsive you have nothing to worry about.

However, take a look at one of my own sites. This site is one that I built myself and made a bit of an oversight in that some of the most important pages are not linked to from the mobile navigation.

You can see from this SEMRush traffic chart that we lost some rankings:

This is reflected in real life as well as many of the site’s rankings have slipped.

I’m going to let this run for another week or so and then fix the navigation and report back on whether rankings recover.

The lesson for everyone to learn from this is to make sure that your linking structure including navigation and internal links is the same on desktop as mobile.


More great features coming out of the new url inspection tool!

We have been having fun playing around with this new tool and there are really some great insights to be gained from it.

Google announced this morning that the tool is now available for everyone:

In our last newsletter, paid members received some tips on how I have used the url inspection tool so far.


New hreflang guidance from Google

Google has released some new and expanded guidelines on how to best implement hreflang and optimise your sitemaps to identify location specific pages on your site. Implementing hreflang can be pretty tricky. Even John Mueller acknowledged this in a help hangout a couple weeks ago, so this ne document should help ease this process.


Can you solve this odd traffic drop mystery?

I wrote an article (published on the same day as this newsletter) about an interesting client case that I had. This client has given me permission to write this as we couldn’t figure this strange issue out. This particular site saw a massive drop in traffic being classified as direct starting on May 27, 2018. They saw a bit of an increase in traffic classified as organic search traffic at the same time, but overall, traffic has declined since that point.

If you can solve the mystery you may be able to win a free one year membership to the paid version of the newsletter.

You can read the article here: Big drop in direct traffic in Google Analytics.


SEO Tools

Local Sponsorship Tool

ZipSprout have announced the upcoming launch of a new tool this week. It is called the ‘Local Sponsorship Finder Tool’ and is designed to “automate city and topic specific searches for local sponsorship opportunities”. You can sign up to be a BETA tester here.


A/B test calculator from CXL

This looks like a really neat tool for those of us who run A/B tests. The test calculator allows you to automate monitoring the changes in your pre and post text results as well as providing insights to help you design and better set up your tests in the first place


GTM debugging chrome extension


Join us in August for our SEO Quality workshop

This is going to be a really fun time!

The workshop is designed to appeal to both digital marketing professionals and business owners, with the theme of the day being the importance of ‘quality’ in SEO. This will be the first workshop of its kind in the city (we think!) and should be a great opportunity to create a space to share digital marketing/SEO ideas with Ontario based teams.

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

GrabGrub and DoorDash added to the local search knowledge panel

This was spotted by Thibault Adda at the start of the month. The new ad takes up some considerable real-estate in the knowledge panel and is specific for each restaurant. Both GrubHub and DoorDash are services that allow users to locate nearby restaurants that offer pick up or delivery service and allow users to order food for free through their platform. The company then charges the restaurant a commission fee. Some Local SEOs are worried that this will have a serious impact on the bottom line for these businesses.

While restaurateurs sign up for these services to help them get more visibility with users, when their GMB knowledge panel is displayed it is usually from a company name search. So there is no significant visibility benefit to having these ads in their knowledge panel since the user was already looking for them. But now, customers who would have normally ordered directly from the restaurant are reported to be ordering significantly through the advertised services, passing on an extra cost to the restaurant with no real benefit.


‘Trending’ results are showing up in the Google Maps Snippet

This appears to be the latest spot of a change appearing in local search snippet.

It looks like Google is makes these updates in an effort to better personalise our local search results. Another good examples of this are the dynamic search and ‘you were last here’ filters we reported on last week.


SEO Jobs

Recommended Reading

Desktop, Mobile, or Voice? (D) All of the Above - Pete Meyers/WhiteBoard Friday

July 6th, 2018

https://moz.com/blog/desktop-mobile-voice

This week’s Moz Whiteboard Friday looks at where, as SEOs, we should be focusing our attention in the wake of mobile first indexing. Should we still focus primarily and desktop or mobile? What about voice search? Pete walks through why we should be considering all of the above.

10 Practical SEO Techniques I Learned from Brian Dean - I. Dumonski

July 3rd, 2018

https://www.narrowem.com/wordpress-guides/practical-seo-techniques/

This is a good little summary of what he believes to be the top ten best tips that Brian Dean from backlinko.com has provided over the years, and provides visual walkthroughs on how to implement this advice. The article stands as a good beginner’s guide to optimising your site for SEO.

How to get big name content sites to credit your content with a link? Gisele Navarro

June 28th, 2018

https://neomam.com/blog/link-reclamation-for-content-marketing/

What should you do when you finally get a big name publisher to post your content, but they fail to link back to your client/site? A lot of the time this gets chalked up to bad luck and content writers will often settle for the fact that the article is still helping build brand awareness and that perhaps other sites will want to pick up the content and link back to you.

How Sinister Mobile Popups Only Triggering for Uncookied Users (and GoogleBot) Could Impact SEO, Usability and Monetisation - Glenn Gabe

July 5th, 2018

https://www.gsqi.com/marketing-blog/sinister-mobile-popups-uncookied-users/

Everyone hates pop-ups, and in particular everyone hates pop-ups on mobile sites. But from an SEO standpoint, as Glenn Gabe details in this article, it can also cause problems.

How to Create Sidebars that Help SEO - Barbara Mae Lewis

July 5th, 2018

siegemedia.com/seo/create-sidebars-help-seo

There is always a lot of thought put in by publishers regarding the layout and how a blog site looks. But, as Barbara Mae at Siege Media argues, this is often not quite enough (or no) thought put into the side bar.

The complexity of simply searching for medical advice - Renee Diresta

July 3rd, 2018

https://www.wired.com/story/the-complexity-of-simply-searching-for-medical-advice

In this article for wired.com, Renee Diresta looks at the troubling problems with searching for medical advice, using the example of vaccinations, on Google due to the prevalence of keyword voids.

Predicting the value of a search engine ranking signal - Dave Davies

July 5th, 2018

https://searchengineland.com/predicting-the-value-of-a-search-engine-ranking-signal-301087

In this post by Dave Davies, contributor for Search Engine Land, reports on a recent patent approval for Google which details how Google can use machine learning to determine the value of a ranking signal that is unknown to it.

Redirects: the ultimate guide - ContentKing

https://www.contentkingapp.com/academy/redirects/

Redirects don’t just automatically send users from one page to another, but they also send GoogleBot on this journey as it crawls the web. Because of this they are a very important aspect of technical SEO to get to grips with since there are some redirects that search engines like and others that they really don’t. This is a comprehensive guide about the different types of redirects and how they relate to your SEO efforts.


Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

Yelp can’t be forced to take down libelous reviews, court rules - Adi Robertson

July 3rd, 2018

https://www.theverge.com/2018/7/3/17530532/yelp-hassell-bird-section-230-review-defamation-lawsuit-supreme-court-california

After a series of cases, California’s Supreme Court in the US has ruled that internet platforms cannot be held responsible for, or ordered to remove, the content of comments made by 3rd party reviewers.

How Google Exploits the Hospitality Industry for Profit - Tim Capper

July 6th, 2018

https://onlineownership.com/how-google-exploits-the-hospitality-industry-for-profit

This article from Tim Capper is about the how hospitality companies (defined by Google as business providing lodgings, as oppose to restaurants/bars) are taken advantage of by Google by not being allowed the same tools that other businesses are given through Google My Business.


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:

  • A note about the Speed Update and AMP pages
  • Does Google treat a meta refresh like a redirect?
  • Issues exporting PDFs in Data Studio
  • Be careful with your GTM implementation
  • If you have a lot of 500 errors, this can slow down Google’s crawling
  • Using the entire hreflang cluster is the best practice
  • Removing videos from the SERPs
  • Tip for checking the International SERPs
  • WordPress update to protect against major vulnerability
  • John Mueller suggests time frame on Top Stories fixes
  • SEO Tests: Cool Page Speed Tests
  • SEO Case Study: Does a geo.CARS domain name make sense?
  • Local SEO: How to see traffic from local map pack clicks
  • Local SEO: Google responds to GMB Agency criticism
  • 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! 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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