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Episode 47 - August 29, 2018 (Light Version)

Click here for the paid members version

In this episode, I’ll share my latest thoughts on the massive August 1 update. Now that we’ve analyzed a few sites, we are seeing some important patterns. We’ll also talk about some changes to how GSC reports data, and answer some interesting questions such as, “Is it ok to redirect a large number of urls to your home page” and “Can low quality forum content hurt your site.”

In this episode:



Paid members also get the following:

  • Changes in video carousels (likely for the better)
  • Disavowing? Google says look at GSC
  • Hreflang advice from John Mueller
  • Is it ok to redirect a large number of urls to your home page?
  • GSC URL inspection tool more accurate than the indexing report?
  • GSC doesn’t show data for noindexed URLs
  • Is it common for Google to take info from your site for a featured snippet and an image from someone else’s site?
  • Google is always trying to find ways to find your PBN’s
  • Some great audit advice
  • Changes to how Video Featured Snippets are displayed in the SERPs
  • Do you need to disavow this kind of outright spam?
  • Possible bugs in GSC fetch and render
  • Can low quality forum content affect Google’s assessment of quality for your site?
  • Google does not like tests to manipulate!
  • It’s not the source of a link that makes it unnatural
  • Chrome for Android to stop loading JavaScript on slow connections
  • Why it may take a long time to recover if your site has been neglected
  • Should you act on all crawl errors reported in GSC?
  • 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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Algorithm updates

My latest thoughts on the Aug 1, 2018 update

We are still working through a large number of site quality reviews for sites that were hit by the August 1, 2018 update. With each review, we see more patterns that are consistent across sites that have been negatively affected.

My current thoughts are as follows:

  • There was a local update on Jul 31, 2018 which has different factors than the organic Aug 1, 2018 update. Unfortunately I don’t have a good handle on what changed locally as of yet.
  • I think this Aug 1 change had a whole lot to do with trust. Each of the sites that we are analyzing that saw drops have some type of thing that users could be wary of. For example:
    • The entire purpose of the site is clearly to funnel people to buy a product.
    • The company has a history of poor customer service with many people complaining about not being able to get refunds.
    • Scientific claims are not referenced or backed up by actual science.

I found it interesting that several people claimed that their traffic went down, but conversions actually stayed the same. I think that with this update Google got better at determining when users have transactional intent. In other words, if someone searches for “buy green shoes”, Google may be more likely to show an eCommerce site. But, that site may have dropped for queries like, “Green shoe fashion trends” as Google has figured out that most of those people don’t want to see an eCommerce site, but rather, want to see an informational site.

There is a lot of information in the Quality Raters’ Guidelines on how important it is to understand the purpose of a page:

I think that it is possible that with this algorithm update Google got better at saying, “Ah, this person’s intent is to buy, and it is clear that this page is about selling, so let’s show that query.”

If you have an eCommerce site that used to get a lot of informational queries, but have seen drops, one thing that may help is to create hubs for each of your important topics and back those hubs up with spoke pages that are non-transactional.

For example, let’s say again that you sell green shoes. Your main hub page would be a category page for green shoes. This page would have products on it as well as links to your supporting information such as buying guides, etc.

Then, you would have pages whose primary purpose is to serve information. You can still have calls to action for purchase on this page, but you need to make it clear that the main purpose is to provide information. One of these pages could be an article called, “How to decide which kind of green shoes to buy”. Another could be an article called, “Top trends on green shoes for 2018”.

Each of these pages would link internally to the main hub page on green shoes, using keyword anchors.

That way, you can have pages that rank for transactional queries and pages that rank for informational queries. Also, you will have created a resource that is extremely helpful for people who are trying to make buying decisions.

The latest on the July 31, 2018 local update

We don’t really have a lot of answers here yet. We are still seeing all sorts of shakeups in the search results. Joy Hawkins, Mike Blumenthal and I had a great conversation about our thoughts, which you can listen to here.

August 22, 2018 algorithm update?

There was some chatter about a possible update on this day. However, we did not see any obvious changes in sites that we monitor.

I do think there is a possibility that there was a significant update on August 27, but I do not have enough data yet to say this confidently. I’ll let you know in the next newsletter.


Anonymous search queries removed from GSC reports

Google announced this week that it would no longer be showing data from anonymous queries in its charts when you apply the ‘queries not containing’ filter to your results. As Google notes, this may appear as an apparent drop in traffic for some webmasters who receive a larger number of these types of queries. However, for most sites this should not cause a notable change.

This change has caused quite a stir. Google recently tweeted some information on what has changed.

Here is the official statement from Google:

I liked this explanation for the changes:

I have not noticed a big change in any of my GSC profiles, but some people noticed massive “drops”:


You can now open up a url directly from GSC

Finally!


The ability to download 100,000 links in GSC is coming soon


GSC verification now to come with Analytics

Barry Schwartz reported this week that Google is going to start verifying Google Search Console accounts for sites that already have been verified on Google Analytics. This is sure to remove a bit of hassle for sites owners having to verify twice, and allows them access straight away to some of the great features that GSC has to offer like keyword rankings and notifications of manual actions.


The Point Blank SEO Blog is no more

You may have heard the news that Jon Cooper has sold the Point Blank SEO blog to Brian Dean of Backlinko. It’s just the blog that was in the transaction, not the business. The Point Blank SEO blog was a great place to learn about link building. It looks like the post on best link building tips that I used to reference a lot has now been redirected to Brian’s blog where he has recreated the post.

It will be interesting to see what kind of effect these redirects have on the traffic to Backlinko.com. Ahrefs is showing that they have picked up these new links:

So far, SEMRush is not reporting any significant traffic increase:

This is fascinating to me as it flies in the face of what most of us as SEOs believe about links. The Point Blank SEO blog had over 2300 domains linking to it (according to Ahrefs). Redirecting these links to Backlinko.com really should have caused a lot more PageRank to flow to the site and really should have caused an increase in rankings.

It’s possible it could take more time as it has only been a few days. Let’s see!


Trump vs Google News

Donald Trump tweeted this week that, based upon an analysis from PJ Media seen on Fox Business, he has determined that ‘96% of results’ for news about Trump are being ‘rigged’ by Google to show biased results that shine him in a negative light. Google has responded with a statement saying that search is determined by algorithms that aim to deliver the most relevant, accurate answer to users queries and that their results do no have a political bias to them.

We usually do not mention anything political in our newsletter, but we did feel that we wanted to comment this. The approach taken by PJ Media to come up with this statistic is exceptionally flawed from the base of its methodology. However, Barry Adams has written a really interesting piece that uses this story as a jumping off point to look at the potential there could be be for bias within Google’s algorithms and in particular he looks at how Google’s Top Stories Carousel operates. It is well worth a read, although ultimately it is very unlikely that Google is operating with such explicit political bias as Trump’s accusations claim.


SEO Jobs


Local SEO

‘Common Costs’ showing on Local Service Ads


Plus Codes have started appear on desktop maps

Previously only shown on mobile, it looks like Plus Codes have started appearing on desktop searches.

Plus Codes are addresses that can be created for any real location that does not already have a formal address. They can be used for individuals, businesses, or places with no roads for the purposes of things like receiving deliveries or directing emergency services. You can read more about them here.


Veteran Led businesses can now advertise the fact on GMB


GMB has a phone number

Google My Business has released a phone number that when called appears to be aimed at providing new listings help with onboarding.


Flights and Hotel price change tool

Google has recently announced this handy new tool that allows users to compare the price change over time for travel amenities such as flights and hotels. For example, a user can search for flights between two cities and see the trends in how prices fluctuate dependent on your closeness to the date of booking based on historical data:


Recommended Reading

Google created a fake pizza brand to test out creative strategies for Youtube ads - Anthony Ha

August 20th, 2018

https://techcrunch.com/2018/08/20/google-doctor-fork/

This is an really interesting write up from Anthony Ha regarding Google’s “Unskippable Labs” recent project entitled ‘Doctor Fork’, in which they posted different stock footage of people eating pizza across 33 ads on Youtube to make over 20 million impressions.

Why is CTR (Probably) Not a Ranking Factor - Ross Hudgens

August 22nd, 2018

https://www.siegemedia.com/seo/ctr-ranking-factor

We have become big fans of Ross Hudgens and Siege Media’s videos. This week Ross discusses why he believes that click through rate is likely not a direct ranking factor, and instead explores how it could be indirectly.

Improving Load Performance - Chrome DevTools

August 24th, 2018

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fLW5Q5ODiE&feature=youtu.be

The Chrome DevTools team have released this tutorial of how to use the DevTools to improve page loading performance.

The Influence of Voice Search on Featured Snippets - The Stat Team

July 30th, 2018

https://getstat.com/blog/the-influence-of-voice-search-on-featured-snippets/

Voice search is becoming more and more prevalent, and as you may have noticed, voice search devices like Google Assistant love to provide answers to users questions by reading them out featured snippets.

SEO Tips for Ecommerce sites - Maile Ohye

June 5, 2012

https://maileohye.com/seo-tips-for-e-commerce-sites/

This article was recommended by Dawn Anderson, and although it’s quite old it still has some really good tips for e-commerce sites.

10 Conversion-Killing Copy Mistakes (And How to Fix ‘Em!) - Joel Klettke

August 24th, 2018

https://www.slideshare.net/JoelKlettke/slcdmc-10-conversionkilling-copy-mistakes-and-how-to-fix-em

This is the slide deck from Joel Klettke’s recent presentation at Utah DMC (which was a great conference!) where he goes over ten different issues with copy that could be affecting a company/sites conversion rate.

Original Content Marketing Case Study: How We Increased Average Session Duration by 281.05% & Reduced Post Promotion CPC by 70%

August 27, 2018

https://getcodeless.com/content-marketing-case-study/

This article from Codeless reports their case study on creating quality content by republishing old content.

How Crunchbase News Tackled Their Redesign - Denise Stephen

August 22nd, 2018

https://about.crunchbase.com/blog/crunchbase-news-tackled-redesign/

Crunchbase News recently had a bit of a design overhaul and Denise Stephen details the process in this interesting read.

How to Rank Well (and Right) for Your Branded Keywords- Roey Skif

August 27th, 2018

https://www.tldrseo.com/branded-keywords/

This is a good article from Roey Skif about the importance of ranking for, and for monitoring, your branded keyword searches. Roey suggests that this is a very often overlooked aspect of SEO.

How to Conduct a Content Audit for SEO - Jon Eric Dela Cruz

August 28th, 2018

https://www.siegemedia.com/seo/content-audit

This guide in Siege Media provides some good advice for conducting content audits.

Avoiding Hreflang Issues by Following a 6 Step Implementation Process - Aleyda Solis

August 28th, 2018

https://www.aleydasolis.com/en/search-engine-optimization/avoiding-hreflang-issues-by-following-a-6-steps-implementation-process/

Hreflang annotations are used to help Google understand who the relevant audience for a page is based upon their language or location and is particularly useful when working with sites that have content in multiple different languages or companies with multiple location specific sites.


Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

How does Google My Business Penalize Keyword Stuffing: 50 Examples [Case Study] - Colan Nielsen

August 27th, 2018

https://www.sterlingsky.ca/50-cases-of-keyword-spam/

In this great article from Sterling Sky, Colan Nielsen goes over the results from a case study that they ran, looking at 50 different cases.


Where to find Marie

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

iTunes

Google Play Music

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Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • Changes in video carousels (likely for the better)
  • Disavowing? Google says look at GSC
  • Hreflang advice from John Mueller
  • Is it ok to redirect a large number of urls to your home page?
  • GSC URL inspection tool more accurate than the indexing report?
  • GSC doesn’t show data for noindexed URLs
  • Is it common for Google to take info from your site for a featured snippet and an image from someone else’s site?
  • Google is always trying to find ways to find your PBN’s
  • Some great audit advice
  • Changes to how Video Featured Snippets are displayed in the SERPs
  • Do you need to disavow this kind of outright spam?
  • Possible bugs in GSC fetch and render
  • Can low quality forum content affect Google’s assessment of quality for your site?
  • Google does not like tests to manipulate!
  • It’s not the source of a link that makes it unnatural
  • Chrome for Android to stop loading JavaScript on slow connections
  • Why it may take a long time to recover if your site has been neglected
  • Should you act on all crawl errors reported in GSC?
  • 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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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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