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Episode 42 - July 24, 2018 (Light Version)

Click here for the paid members version

A lot has happened in the world of search in the last week. There was at least one major algorithm update, and possibly two. Google updated their Quality Raters’ Guidelines and there are a LOT of changes to discuss. We’ll talk about how the Trump Googlebomb likely worked as well as more discussion on mobile first indexing, content pruning and much more.

In this episode:



Paid members also get the following:

  • Update on my site that appears to be hurt by mobile first indexing
  • Tip on Getting Ideas For Content
  • Why Doesn’t Primary Pagination Appear in Search?
  • Grammar tip: Are you using the words “setup” and “login” correctly?
  • Great discussion on content pruning
  • Even Google sometimes gets hreflang wrong
  • When to submit to Google vs relying on a sitemap
  • How did Trump get Google bombed?
  • Great idea for getting links and improving E-A-T
  • Local SEO: How to properly deal with duplicate listings
  • Local SEO: Don’t Reward Negative Reviewers
  • Local SEO: Google is showing your Google posts to competitors to get them to try to post more
  • Local SEO: The effects of changing a business’ pin
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome SEO and Local SEO articles

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Algorithm updates

It looks like we have had two updates in the last week. I have several clients who saw nice changes on July 16, 2018. The algo tools don’t note much change on this date though. I think it’s likely a small quality update.

It also looks like something significant happened on the weekend. We can see that the algo tools are all reporting massive changes:

July 16, 2018 - Possible small core quality update

I’m noticing that several of our clients are seeing a nice uptick in Google organic traffic on July 16, 2018. We have a few whose analytics look like this:

All of these sites are ones that have done an incredible amount of work to improve quality including improving E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trust), trimming out thin content, and improving technical issues on the site. As such, it’s hard to pinpoint what this update is about.

July 21-22, 2018 - Big update - Possibly mobile?

It’s a bit early to comment fully on this update, but it looks like it was a big one. Barry Schwartz noted an uptick in forum chatter at this time. Also, as mentioned above, most of the SERP monitoring tools noted a lot of changes on these dates as well.

Some have speculated that this was a mobile update. I do have some clients who are seeing nice improvements in just mobile traffic starting on this date. This site saw improvements a couple of days following the speed update (July 9) and then further improvements in mobile traffic on July 21. This image shows just mobile Google organic search traffic:

But, there are also other clients of ours that saw improvements in desktop rankings and traffic as well. This site saw nice improvements in several keyword rankings on desktop, but not much changed on mobile. It doesn’t look like much of an increase on SEMRush, but in GA we can see really nice gains on keywords that matter:

More on the speed update

We reported last week that the speed update went live on July 9.  It does look like this was a significant update. However we saw things that didn’t make sense. Some of our clients with fast sites actually saw a slight drop in mobile traffic at this time. Others with slow sites saw an increase and that just doesn’t make sense.

We’re still keeping an eye on things for now.

Glenn Gabe tweeted about an interesting case of a slow site that saw massive ranking drops in mobile, but not desktop:


On July 24, Chrome will mark all http pages as insecure

The day has finally arrived. As a recap, here is what you need to know about these changes:

  • Right now, if users go to an http site, they’ll only see “non-secure” in their browser if you try to fill in a form. But, starting July 24, 2018, all pages on that site will show this:
  • This will not cause the “red screen of death” that you often see when clicking on search results. Those security warnings are generally for sites whose security certificate has expired.
  • This is a feature of Chrome 68. This means that not everyone will see the “not secure” warning right away as some may not update to Chrome 68 immediately.
  • As far as we know, there are no changes to how much of a ranking factor https is. Google has announced in the past that https is a ranking factor, but then told us that it is a very very tiny one. This is not expected to change.

Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines have been updated

Google has updated the Quality Raters’ Guidelines and there are a lot of changes to talk about. We will soon be publishing an article on our detailed thoughts on these changes. For now, here are the important parts:

  • Many of the example sites have changed.
  • Instead of just talking about the reputation of a website, they’ve also included the reputation of the “creator of the main content”.
  • In some places they have replaced the words “high quality” with “high E-A-T”.
  • They have added a section to say that scientific topics should be written by people with “appropriate scientific expertise”.
  • A newly added part to understanding what a high quality page is is that the page has a “descriptive or helpful title”.
  • Added that for a page to be of the highest quality they must have at least one of the following:
    • very high level of E-A-T
    • a satisfying amount of very high quality main content
    • very positive reputation for the website and also for the creator of the content (if that differs from the main website)
  • Under “low quality pages”, they have added that “Low quality pages do not achieve their purpose well because they are lacking in an important dimension, such as having an unsatisfying amount of main content or because the creator of the main content lacks expertise for the purpose of the page.
  • Added that a sign of low quality can be that the title of the main content is exaggerated or shocking.
  • Added that a mildly negative reputation for the website or creator of the main content.
  • The section on distracting ads has been completely rewritten to include the following as evidence of distracting ads:
    • If the ads make it difficult to use the main content.
    • A popup ad that is easy to close may be ok.
    • Shocking or disturbing images are not good.
  • More info on your reputation. They say again that mixed or mildly negative reputation. They say that for a Your Money or Your Life site (YMYL), a mixed reputation is a cause for a low rating.
  • For non YMYL sites, there needs to be information online to clearly identify who is responsible for the content (unless there is a good reason to be anonymous). A long standing social media link may be sufficient. Interesting!
  • The section on lowest quality pages has been completely rewritten. They now have three steps for identifying page quality:
    • Understand the true purpose of the page.
    • Pages with no beneficial purpose, or pages that spread hate, cause harm or deceive users are low quality even if there is good E-A-T.
    • Otherwise page quality is based on how well the page achieves its purpose.
  • There is a section that says that even if low quality pages were created accidentally (i.e. gibberish or no main content), they still contribute to low quality.

There is much more to discuss as well! I’ll hopefully be writing a full article on this soon. We decided to go ahead and publish the newsletter as it looks like it will take us a few days to fully unpack all of the exciting changes in the QRG.

Thank you to Francesco Baldini for the heads up that the guidelines had updated! Every time I have opened the guidelines up, I look at the date to see if there was a change. And then Google went and updated them on the weekend when I wasn’t working!


Big increase in People Also Ask Results in the SERPS


More sites being moved to mobile first indexing

I had a few more clients get an email from Google to say that they have been moved to mobile first indexing on July 17, 2018. So far though, most of our clients have not been moved yet to MFI.

It looks like it will take quite a while for this to happen.


Google Makes Changes on Automatically Generated Content Guideline

Google has recently updated its guidelines on automatically generated content, as noticed here by Glenn Gabe. These changes could be a step towards caring more about the quality of the content, and less about how it was generated. This could also be in line with AI improvements surrounding generated content.


Bing Webmaster API is Still Down

Web developers reported that Bing’s webmaster API service had been down in our last newsletter, and there’s still no news of a fix.

 


SEO Tests and Experiments

Case Study: Is Broken Link Building Effective?

This is a really interesting experiment done by Webology to test if the ‘broken link building’ strategy can still work, especially with the fallout of guest posting effectiveness.

The premise behind the experiment was to find some content or article that was taken down, but had acquired tons of backlinks over time. In their example, they found that the old Yahoo site explorer tool had been removed years ago, but still had thousands of backlinks. This made it easy to reach out to sources that linked to the tool and give them their own content explaining the history of the tool and alternatives to it.

They concluded that it was quite efficient as they gained 6 good links and made content for their site at the same time, even if it wasn’t related to their usual content. However many of these articles linking to them were quite old given the nature of the strategy.

What they didn’t comment on, however, is whether these links actually helped improve rankings. John Mueller has mentioned previously in hangouts that links from old resource pages may not be terribly helpful if no one ever visits those pages or clicks on those links any more.

SEMRush is not reporting that the page is ranking for much:

The main domain does not appear to have made any improvements either yet.

It is possible that it may take more time for these links to help. However, I am suspicious that many of the links that we are building as SEOs these days are just being ignored by Google.

My point in writing this is not to discredit the work done in this study here. I love when people share about what has worked for them in SEO. The method of reaching out to ask for links that is described in this post is a good one. I really do hope that they report back in a few months and let us know whether rankings eventually improved!


Why do videos rank differently on Youtube vs Google?

https://www.stonetemple.com/youtube-google-video-ranking

Stone Temple wrote a very interesting article discussing the main differences between Google and Youtube’s Algorithms for ranking videos. After their shorty study, Stone Temple discovered that Google uses different criteria when rankings queries in Youtube. They found “More than half the time, a video that ranks #1 on Youtube isn’t #1 on Google for the same query”. The main reason cited for this is that search intent and monetization strategies are very different for each platform. There are some really interesting insights to be gleaned from this study and they also included a Google Video and Youtube optimization checklist for future use.


The SEO community mourns a loss

I’m sad that I never got to meet Jordan Kasteler. It sounds like he was an amazing guy. Jordan passed away suddenly this week. He spoke at many conferences and judging by the number of heartbroken tweets from the SEO community, he was well loved.

There is a GoFundMe campaign if you would like to help his family to pay for funeral expenses.


Local SEO

New GMB Notifications Going Live

Google has announced that they are in the process of releasing new Google My Business notifications that will let businesses know when their listing goes live on Google services such as maps and search, although support for large agencies is in the works.


Google Tests Price Insights for Hotel Listings

Google is testing a new feature which compares hotel data and can give new insights to users. These include letting you know how a hotel’s price matches up to similar hotels in the area, or how it compares to other times of the year.


Pages Magazine

I was honoured to be included here! Thank you!


SEO Jobs

 

We're hiring again! If you would like to work with the MHC team and me, there is info here. Note, this is a local position and can't be done remotely.

 

 


Recommended Reading

Making your first AMP Story: Google’s answer to Snapchat and Instagram - Paul Shapiro

February 21, 2018

https://searchengineland.com/making-first-amp-story-googles-answer-snapchat-instagram-292598

In this article Paul Shapiro shares a tutorial on Google’s latest AMP feature, AMP stories.

How to Increase Your Click Through Rate With Emojis - Garrett Mehgruth

July 9th, 2018

https://www.semrush.com/blog/increase-click-through-rate-emojis/

Increasing your click through rates is always a challenge when consumers are targeted with hundreds of ads a day, but have you ever thought of using emojis to do so? As customers are looking for more ‘human’ brands that they can relate to, it’s important to make sure your business is on the same level as these consumers.

On-Page SEO for NLP - Justin Briggs

https://www.briggsby.com/on-page-seo-for-nlp

This is an excellent in depth guide in understanding how Google’s Natural Language Processing should be taken into consideration when making content on your page.

OnPage SEO with Charles Floate - Gael Breton

https://www.authorityhacker.com/onpage-with-charles-floate/

In this podcast, Charles Floate answers a lot of good questions about onpage SEO and his challenges improving rankings for his clients.

SERP Analysis for Content Strategy - Ross Hudgens

July 17th, 2018

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=-KPnMaXIoxs

Ross Hudgens had a really good presentation at SEERFest San Diego on using search results analysis to see what improvements can be made to your own site.

Building Links to Sales Pages

https://citationlabs.com/building-links-to-sales-pages/

This article has some important points about why and how your product pages should be linkable.

How to find quick win keywords - Coding is For Losers
July 19, 2018

https://codingisforlosers.com/search-console-find-quick-win-keywords/

This is a great free resource worth checking out: A Google Sheets add-on for easily importing your Google Search Console data and organizing it by “quick win” keywords – in other words, keywords for which you rank between positions 5-20.


Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

California's Supreme Court Ruled Yelp Doesn't Have to Take Down Negative Reviews. What Does That Mean for Your Business? - Dan Goldstein

July 18th, 2018

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/316920

Although we covered the supreme court case about the yelp reviewer in episode 40, this article gives some great tips on how you should approach reviews as a business.

A one year PWA retrospective
July 20, 2018

https://medium.com/@Pinterest_Engineering/a-one-year-pwa-retrospective-f4a2f4129e05

The Pinterest engineering team provides a rundown of their process for launching a progressive web app and the massive growth the company has seen on mobile as a result.


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:

  • Update on my site that appears to be hurt by mobile first indexing
  • Tip on Getting Ideas For Content
  • Why Doesn’t Primary Pagination Appear in Search?
  • Grammar tip: Are you using the words “setup” and “login” correctly?
  • Great discussion on content pruning
  • Even Google sometimes gets hreflang wrong
  • When to submit to Google vs relying on a sitemap
  • How did Trump get Google bombed?
  • Local SEO: How to properly deal with duplicate listings
  • Local SEO: Don’t Reward Negative Reviewers
  • Local SEO: Google is showing your Google posts to competitors to get them to try to post more
  • Local SEO: The effects of changing a business’ pin
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome SEO and Local 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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