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Episode 46 - August 22, 2018 (Light Version)

Click here for the paid members version

Were you affected by the August 1 update? In this issue we have a few more insights on this algorithm update. It looks like Google tweaked the algo a bit last week. We’ll talk about some new additions to Google Search Console. There is also interesting information from Google on what kind of content they like to see “above the fold”. This episode has loads of recommended reading as well.

In this episode:



Paid members also get the following:

  • Some algorithms affect sites on the page level and others can affect the entire site
  • John Mueller hints about ‘fresh content’
  • How does Google recognize duplicate content?
  • Info on Google on what content should be “above the fold”
  • Is having one image on two product pages a problem?
  • Keeping webspam reports short and sweet
  • Search Console Advice for HTTP to HTTP migration
  • Does it matter how you submit your sitemap?
  • If your navigation is significantly different on mobile vs desktop, could this cause problems?
  • Google adds a troubleshooting section for job posting feature
  • Is content that is not crawled often considered lower quality by Google?
  • What does it mean if your Google cache page is 404ing?
  • Does it matter where your content is positioned on a page?
  • Google Canary Now Lazy Loading Images
  • Google is now showing user agents upon request
  • Can having millions of pages indexed impact Google’s assessment of quality?
  • You should start seeing referrals from Google images reported differently in GA now
  • Another great content idea from Dan Sure
  • Is Google handing out more manual actions?
  • Local SEO: 3rd party ordering ads on restaurant listings
  • Local SEO: User suggestions appearing on local listings
  • Local SEO: Perfect example of what not to do in Google Posts
  • Local SEO: Browse Featured Products Now in Knowledge Panels on Mobile
  • Local SEO: Creative use of Google posts
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

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Algorithm updates

The latest on the August 1 (Medic) Update

We are still dealing with the aftermath of this update. Sites that were affected, were often affected in an incredibly strong way. We are still getting requests for site reviews from sites that have lost over 70% of their traffic.

Gary Illyes mentioned that this update did not specifically target medical/health sites:

In my article about the August 1 update, I mentioned that the update strongly affected medical sites. We are currently doing reviews for many health sites that have patterns that look like this:

But, we have a large number of requests from all sorts of sites - eCommerce, tech, financial and much more.

I really do believe that this update was primarily about Google getting better at assessing Trust, the “T” in E-A-T. Many of the sites that we saw drop had one or more of the following issues that are outlined in the Quality Raters’ Guidelines:

  • Selling a product that could possibly compromise the safety of people.
  • Reputation issues
  • Lack of positive reputation as compared to competitors
  • No authority in the niche
  • Large number of negative reviews

Other theories on the August 1 update

Page Speed?

One study, by Kevin Indig looked to see if perhaps this update was connected to Page Speed. I think that was a reasonable hypothesis given that the speed update happened a month ago. But, the results showed that there was no obvious correlation between speed issues and ranking changes with Medic.

Change in how Google handles synonyms?

I thought that this was an interesting tweet:

For one of the clients for which we are doing a review saw some odd drops. They retained top rankings locally for things like [service Atlanta], but dropped several places for [service in Atlanta]. That’s odd.

We do believe that the local algo changes are something different from the organic August 1 update. I think it’s possible that somehow Google is using a new method to determine synonyms or similar queries.

August 17/18 - Possible tweak to the Medic update

Many sites that saw changes on August 1, saw more changes in the same direction at this time.

There is a thread on Webmaster World of some site owners seeing a recovery from August 1 hits. I think that it’s possible that what happened on August 17/18 was a tweaking of the adjustments made on August 1. For most quality hits, it is going to take several months in order for a recovery to happen.


Links Report Now Available in New Google Search Console

As Google continues to move over all of GSC’s tools and features onto the beta version, the link report is now available on the new GSC. Keep in mind that Google has said that the new version of the link report is “more accurate,” which could mean lower link counts in some cases, so don’t be alarmed if that’s the case for you.

Google has a document on the changes. Here is what is new:

  • Pages are grouped using the canonical url. This means that if a link points to /page1.html?size=small and that page is canonicalized to /page1.html, then you’ll see all of the links under page1.html.
  • Duplicate links are combined.
  • Links to subdomains and directories are all included in the main property’s report.

From what I can see, after downloading the “sample” and “most recent” links, things look relatively similar to what they were before. The “most recent” report now says, “Last crawled” rather than “first discovered”.

Here is how you used to get a download from GSC:

And now you can see that “First discovered” is changed to “Last crawled”. Also, I’m not sure why they’ve changed “links” to “target page”. The target page would be the page on your site to which the link points. I think they meant “referring page”. We’ll see if this changes!

The other interesting thing I found in the documentation is that the data is apparently more accurate. I found this line, highlighted below, interesting:

Google has been adamant in saying that the Penguin algorithm no longer demotes sites. They always seem to sit on the fence though when we ask whether we still need to disavow. I have said for some time now that there are likely link algorithms outside of Penguin that could potentially cause some harm to sites that have a strong pattern of manipulative link building. Otherwise, why would Google want us to track down spammy sites that link to us if Penguin is ignoring these?

I suppose that this could be helpful for fixing hacks and possibly for manual actions...but I am going read into this and interpret this as meaning that some sites should still be disavowing.

I have some really good information to publish at some point on why I do think we should still be filing disavows for some sites. Hopefully I will get time to finish writing this soon!


New mobile usability report in GSC

This is appearing in my properties now. So far it looks like it just contains a little bit of information:


Featured snippets are now expandable with related information

Google announced in this article that featured snippets for certain queries will display a panel of other related information underneath. The reasoning behind this is to answer questions that are multidimensional. Let’s say you want to compare two different countertops, Pierce Vollucci at Google says:

Chances are you’re hoping to learn more about the differences in cost, benefits, and durability of each, and may be looking for guidance on other subtopics to explore.”

Here’s that featured snippet from their example:


Google can now show migration issues

Alan added some info that is important for all of us to know. If you migrate to https, be sure to keep your http version active in GSC as sometimes messages can come through this version.


Good info on E-A-T

I recorded this back in January and it’s getting a lot of attention now. Here are my detailed thoughts on E-A-T on the Moz Podcast.


SEO Tools

Link Hunter

This is a paid tool, but it looks handy. It pulls in relevant websites in your industry, their contact info, provides outreach templates, and will track which sites you’ve been in contact with, among other cool features.

On-Demand Crawl

This is a new Moz blog post by Dr. Pete about their new tool, On-Demand Crawl. You need a Moz Pro subscription for this, but if you don’t have one and are just interested in testing this out, you can sign up for a free trial. Dr. Pete’s blog post tells you where to find this new tool, as well as a step-by-step example (with using a real domain) demonstrating how to use it. This looks like a useful tool for quick insights into a domain, and could be really helpful when looking into a prospective client or doing competitor analysis. Moz’s On-Demand Crawl tool will only crawl up to 3,000 URLs, still definitely looks worth a try.


The SEO Industry loses another well respected member


Local SEO

New “Menu” and “Posts” tab for GMB mobile searches

Google has added new “Menu” and “Posts” tab for applicable businesses, however “Menu” tabs have been seen on non-restaurant listings. Colan Nielsen posted this great snapshot:


Reserve with Google now available for museums and attractions

Sergey Alakov says here that he noticed an option to use Reserve for getting tickets through GMB listings for local attractions and museums. Before this feature was limited to beauty and fitness sessions, but Google is expanding the ticketing feature by partnering with Tiqets and many more.


Recommended Reading

Ranking the 6 Most Accurate Keyword Difficulty Tools - Jeff Baker
August 14, 2018
https://moz.com/blog/ranking-keyword-research-tools

An interesting article from Jeff Baker ranking the 6 Most Accurate Keyword Difficulty Tools.

The Anatomy Of An Effective SEO Deliverable [Rank And File] - Mike King
August 15, 2018
http://ipullrank.com/the-anatomy-of-an-effective-seo-deliverable-rank-and-file/

For the professional SEOs out there, Mike King’s five-minute video is a really good summation of how to deliver real value and cut out of the fat when it comes to a great SEO deliverable.

How to Decrease Copy to Improve Bounce Rate [Free Checklist] - Nicole Ahlering
August 20, 2018
https://www.siegemedia.com/seo/decrease-copy-to-improve-bounce-rate

There are some great tips here from Nicole Ahlering for writing concisely and with user intent in mind, which can get lost at times amid the emphasis on long-form content.

How I recorded user behaviour on my competitor’s websites - Dan Petrovic
August 21, 2018
https://dejanseo.com/competitor-hack/

This is a very interesting -- if ethically dubious -- experiment in competitor research by Dan Petrovic.

How To Bypass Geo IP Redirection In A Crawl - Dan Sharp
September, 2017
https://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/bypass-geo-ip-redirection/

This is from last Fall, so this is an ICYMI. Courtesy of Dan Sharp comes this fantastic and easy-to-follow guide on how to easily crawl international sites with geo IP redirection using Screaming Frog.

15 Site Architecture Tips for Performance SEO: Master Guide - Cyrus Shepard

August 21st, 2018
https://zyppy.com/site-architecture-seo/

Cyrus Shepard writes about how to use what he believes to be a very valuable, yet underutilized, SEO technique - optimizing site architecture.


Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

Is Google My Business stealing your local leads? - Shelly Fagin
August 15th, 2018
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-my-business-local-leads/265785/

Businesses in the service sector may be suffering from Google’s newest change to Google My Business.

Improve Your Review Requests With Personalization - Aaron Weiche
August 15th, 2018
https://www.getfivestars.com/blog/improve-review-requests-personalization/

Aaron Weiche from GetFiveStars talks about improving your review requests through personalization.

Do You Need Local Pages? - Whiteboard Friday - Tom Capper
August 17, 2018
https://moz.com/blog/do-you-need-local-pages

Tom Capper was on the latest Whiteboard Friday discussing whether or not your business needs local pages.

How Much Do Leads Cost In Google Local Services Ads? - Tom Waddington
August 15, 2018
http://tomwaddington.com/google-local-services-ads-cost-per-lead/

Cost per lead on Google Local Service Ads can range between $5 and $90, with the average cost of $21. Tom Waddington has compiled the data that breaks down the average cost per led by vertical. Super handy.

Do You Care How They Found Your Phone Number?
August 17, 2018
https://localu.org/blog/do-you-care-how-they-found-your-phone-number/

This is a good read from Carrie Hill on how to get your phone number in as many places as possible to improve your visibility in the zero-click search era, when many small businesses are generating fewer of their phone leads through their actual website.

What to call your Google+ Maps My Business Places Listing Thingy? - Dani Owens
August 21st, 2018
https://whitespark.ca/blog/what-to-call-your-google-business-listing/

While semantics are often just semantics, Dani Owens suggests that the confusion in what we call a Google My Business listing (the currently correct answer to the question by the way) offers us a good opportunity to look at the history and changes that have occurred with this ever growing platform.

How to beat the blue chips in the search results - Andrew C/Ross Tavendale
August 21st, 2018
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-beat-blue-chips-search-results-andrew-cock-starkey/

This is a summary of a talk the Ross Tavendale gave at Optimisey Cambridge in which he discusses ‘killing giants’ i.e. outranking some of the top contenders in the SERPs.

Using Google Data Studio for a more actionable Google Search Console Performance Dashboard - Aleyda Solis
August 21, 2018
https://www.aleydasolis.com/en/search-engine-optimization/using-google-data-studio-actionable-search-console-performance-report/

Aleyda Solis explains how to use Google Google Data Studio to get more out of your GSC data. This is a bit technical to summarize here, but by starting with the official template provided by GSC and Data Studio, you can tweak it to get much more in the way of actionable data, such as percentage differences (not something you can get out of just the GSC performance data) between important metrics over different time ranges.


Where to find Marie

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Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • Some algorithms affect sites on the page level and others can affect the entire site
  • John Mueller hints about ‘fresh content’
  • How does Google recognize duplicate content?
  • Info on Google on what content should be “above the fold”
  • Is having one image on two product pages a problem?
  • Keeping webspam reports short and sweet
  • Search Console Advice for HTTP to HTTP migration
  • Does it matter how you submit your sitemap?
  • If your navigation is significantly different on mobile vs desktop, could this cause problems?
  • Google adds a troubleshooting section for job posting feature
  • Is content that is not crawled often considered lower quality by Google?
  • What does it mean if your Google cache page is 404ing?
  • Does it matter where your content is positioned on a page?
  • Google Canary Now Lazy Loading Images
  • Google is now showing user agents upon request
  • Can having millions of pages indexed impact Google’s assessment of quality?
  • You should start seeing referrals from Google images reported differently in GA now
  • Another great content idea from Dan Sure
  • Is Google handing out more manual actions?
  • Local SEO: 3rd party ordering ads on restaurant listings
  • Local SEO: User suggestions appearing on local listings
  • Local SEO: Perfect example of what not to do in Google Posts
  • Local SEO: Browse Featured Products Now in Knowledge Panels on Mobile
  • Local SEO: Creative use of Google posts
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent 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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