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Episode 54 - October 24, 2018 (Light Version)

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How ironic is it that every time I travel, there is some type of significant algorithm update? I traveled to Pubcon Vegas  last week (which was amazing) and on the first day I was there I began to receive emails and tweets asking about an algorithm update. Sure enough, it looks like October 15, 2018 was a significant update.

In this episode we will talk about my thoughts on this update along with my takeaways from some of my favourite presentations at Pubcon.

In this episode:



Paid members also get the following:

  • Is any site that sells products YMYL?
  • The proceed to site option is no longer there for HSTS warnings
  • Google is testing favicons in the SERPs
  • Duck Duck Go is gaining ground!
  • Local Content is a Great way to Give Your Site the Edge in Search
  • Fixed! Google Cache Bug With Mobile-First Indexing
  • Nike, Best Buy, and Sephora partner with Shopping Action
  • Some interesting insight on Google+ vs Instagram now that Google+ is no longer around. #RIPGOOGLEPLUS
  • Moz doubles its keyword database
  • Tips from Aleyda Solis on internationalization
  • New: Shopping Insights Tool
  • An interesting SEO test
  • How many htaccess redirects are too many?
  • Tips from Jennifer Slegg on the Quality Raters’ Guidelines
  • More tips on the QRG, from Paul Macnamara
  • Local SEO: Pubcon tip - Ask your own Q&A questions!
  • Local SEO: Are virtual offices a no go?
  • Local SEO: Here is a good reason why you should monitor which staff control your social/review accounts
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and local SEO articles

Algorithm updates

October 15, 2018

We saw quite a few sites that had significant changes in traffic patterns starting between October 14 and October 16. Most of these were on the 15th.

Several of the algo weather tools noted significant turbulence on this day.

Mozcast:

Algoroo:

In reviewing the sites that we monitor, it really does look like this is an update related to links although I can’t say this with absolute certainty.

Here are some of the things that I am seeing:

This is a site for which all we did is a link audit back in August. They started seeing nice gains in early October and a little bit more on October 16:

The overall picture for this site has been nice.


Given that the above site has had no on-site improvements made, and that these are not seasonal changes, there is a good chance that this increase is the result of having a more clean link profile after filing a very thorough disavow.

However, not all sites that had disavow work saw gains on this day. This particular site is one that we filed a disavow for last year. They saw drops on October 1 (which I really think was a link related update) and also October 15.

This next one is an interesting case. They are a nationally recognized brand. We recommended a large number of on-site quality changes although it does not look like many have been implemented yet. The interesting thing though, is that this site has a history of having link issues as they first came to me with an unnatural link penalty years ago.

They saw a bit of a boost up starting October 15, 2018:


However, in the grand scheme of things it is only a tiny improvement:

So what does all of this mean? What I can tell you is that something significant happened on October 15. I think that links are heavily tied in to this update, but I don’t think they are the only thing that changed.

I really do think that every update that we have seen since August 1, 2018 has been a tweak in how Google assesses trust, the “T” in E-A-T.  While links can be a component of trust, there are many other issues as well that can contribute. If you saw drops in organic traffic in the last few months, I would recommend that you read this post I wrote on the September 27, 2018 algorithm updates.


More on the September 27 update

This update, which appears to be a tweak of some sort to the August 1 Medic update was really a big one. If you missed it, I wrote a thorough article with my thoughts on the September 27 Google update. Glenn Gabe has also written a great post with his thoughts. Here are some of his key points:

 

  • Glenn has a spreadsheet with hundreds of sites that were affected, some as much as 60%.
  • Danny Sullivan instructed site owners to look to the Quality Raters' Guidelines for help in learning what Google is looking for in terms of quality.
  • There was a lot of algorithmic volatility in early October as well.
  • A lot of sites that saw massive gains August first saw everything reversed on September 27.
  • Trust and Reputation are important in this update.
  • Some sites may have dropped because they were not "staying in their lane". In other words, they were writing about topics for which they had no E-A-T.
  • Aggressive advertising can cause quality issues.
  • Glenn shares some case studies of sites that saw drops or gains.

Google Search Console bug

Google Search Console is experiencing a bug regarding its Sitemaps for those sites specifically moved to mobile-first indexing. If you have been moved to mobile first indexing, you may find that the old version of GSC doesn’t report the number of sitemaps properly.

Confirmed by John Mueller, he says it’s simply a reporting bug with regards to image indexing that does not impact the site or the content rankings. The issue has been acknowledged and is being resolved by the team at Google.


Search Personality of the Year: Barry Schwartz!

On Wednesday of last week, Barry Schwartz was celebrated for all of his contributions to the search community. Crowned (quite literally!) at the US Search Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada, his hard work and dedication is truly unparalleled. Many of us live in constant reminder of his contributions thanks in part to his many daily articles, his great heart, and his eagerness to keep the search community thriving. Hats off to you Barry!


Chrome 70 just launched—http sites to display in red

Last week, Chrome 70 launched. As the follow up to the heavily criticized Chrome 69, there are a number of key changes. Here is the quick rundown:

  • Option to disable linking Google site and Chrome sign-ins
  • Browser is now supporting Progressive Web Apps (PWAs on Windows) and adds AV1 decoder
  • The ability for users to restrict extensions’ access to a custom list of sites
  • HTTP sites will show a red “Not secure” warning when users enter data
  • Several developer features

Congrats to Matt Cutts!

Matt Cutts, the former head of webspam at Google, has been working as acting administrator for the United States Digital Service for some time now. He is now officially the USDS’s director. Congrats Matt!


Local SEO

Local Pack Showing Booking and Reservation Buttons

Google seems to be testing bookings and reservations through the local pack for businesses. There doesn’t currently seem to be a way to action this through GMB, but you may be able to if you are registered with one of the 36 Reserve with Google partners. Google has been experimenting with this since 2015 so it will be exciting to see how it continues to progress and influence local search.

‘People also search for’ appears in local search results

Google is making changes yet again. This time, it concerns local search results and the
‘people also search for’ carousel. When you navigate to the local results and proceed to click on a result, your click back to the the general searches will provide you with a carousel directly below the snippet you previously viewed. Neat!


Slideshow images rolling out for the local pack


Google My Business offers new clear option for changing attributes

Changing your attributes in GMB can tedious. Thankfully, a new clear option is here to assist. Instead of simply selecting either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for the attributes your business offers, the clear option allows you to disregard your previous answer (or answer) in bulk and any future attributes will now be recognized as a secondary update. How it works: Simply click the clear icon and you can now select or deselect the values you wish to clear.


Shoppable Google Ads in local queries and image search

The holidays are approaching and advertisers are working hard to find better ways to attract new customers. Local queries and image search now display new ad formats with a new function: shoppable images containing a variety of products and lead users to third-party sites.


GMB: Add products to your local listings (beta)

Back in August, it was reported that local panels displayed a products tab once the business was clicked on. The latest on this topic reveals Google is now showing a products beta tab which allows you to add products and even create product collections.


Recommended Reading

Google Safe Search Results Patent and Reranking or Removing Results - Bill Swalski
https://gofishdigital.com/google-safe-search-results-patent/

Bill Slawski explains the Google Patent behind Safe Search.

YouTube SEO - Brian Dean
https://www.siegemedia.com/seo/youtube

In this video, Brian Dean from Backlinko shares his experience and expertise on ranking in Youtube.

Top 35 Technical SEO Statements By John Mueller in 2018 - Dido Grigorov
https://www.oncrawl.com/technical-seo/top-35-technical-seo-statements-john-mueller/

We all know John Mueller is a wealth of information and I would encourage anybody in SEO to review this list of technical SEO statements.

What is this little thing we call the Visibility Index? – Juan Gonzalez
https://twitter.com/searchmartin/status/1052955943007186944
October 18th, 2018

Juan Gonzales from the team at Sistrex team put together a great article explaining why looking at estimated traffic reports (i.e. from tools like Sistrex, SEMRush, etc.) aren’t as important as some of us may think.

Creating a Dashboard with Google Data Studio to help Small Businesses
https://moz.com/blog/local-marketing-results-dashboard
October 12, 2018

All businesses have the same question; “Are we making money?”. In this amazing Whiteboard Friday, Dana DiTomaso sheds light on how you can build a dashboard for your clients that shows the results of your marketing efforts in Google Data Studio.

Ottawa lawyers v. Google – Craig Lord
https://obj.ca/article/techopia-ottawa-lawyers-v-google
October 18th, 2018

Two Canadian lawyers have recently filed an $80-million class-action lawsuit against Google on behalf of their client who is remaining anonymous.

How Google might Identify Primary Versions of Duplicate Pages - Bill Slawski
http://www.seobythesea.com/2018/10/how-google-might-identify-primary-versions-of-duplicate-pages/
October 12th, 2018

Fueled by a recent Dejan SEO article on the topic of link inversion, Bill investigates multiple Google patents to try and determine their stance on selecting the primary version of a document.


Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

FYI: Faking court orders to take down Google reviews is super illegal – Shaun Nichols
https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/10/19/google_fake_court_orders/
October 19th, 2018

A New York City business owner has been fined $20,000 USD and sentenced to 9 months in prison after he forged documents from a judge demanding that negative reviews about his business be taken down.

Reserve with Google Makes Its Way Into the 3-Pack SERP on Google – Mike Blumenthal
http://blumenthals.com/blog/2018/10/22/reserve-with-google-makes-its-way-into-the-3-pack-serp-on-google/
October 22nd, 2018

Google has been moving transactional functions into the local 3 pack, functions which have been up until recently been housed in the knowledge panel.

The Seasonality of Near Me Searches in Local
http://blumenthals.com/blog/2018/10/21/the-seasonality-of-near-me-searches-in-local
October 21st, 2018

Mike Blumenthal lets us in on some of the research he has done into historical downturns on “Near Me” local searches.

Local Services Ads Click Study – Bright Local
https://www.brightlocal.com/learn/local-services-ads-click-study/
October 19th, 2019

Bright Local is back with some more insightful research. The research examines the effectiveness of Local Service ads as they become available in more and areas.


SEO Jobs


Our first nomination for the US Search Awards

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be able to lead this business. Just over a year ago I was a solo consultant with too much business. I decided to hire someone to help me data gather, but instead hired three. We’re now up to ten employees!

I had the honour of taking some of my team members with me to Pubcon Vegas this year. We were nominated for two search awards - Best SEO Campaign and also Best Small SEO Agency.

Although we didn’t win (this year!), we had such a great time. I am so proud of this team!


Where to find Marie

I recently spoke at the Digital Dealer conference and shared tips on using the information in the Quality Raters’ Guidelines to help improve rankings:

This podcast with Dan Sure was awesome. We did a call in show and answered a few SEO questions. I also spoke a lot about the August 1 (Medic) update and E-A-T.

I also presented recently at Optimisey in Cambridge on the Quality Raters’ Guidelines. It was a great experience!


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Paid members also get the following:

  • Is any site that sells products YMYL?
  • The proceed to site option is no longer there for HSTS warnings
  • Google is testing favicons in the SERPs
  • Duck Duck Go is gaining ground!
  • Local Content is a Great way to Give Your Site the Edge in Search
  • Fixed! Google Cache Bug With Mobile-First Indexing
  • Nike, Best Buy, and Sephora partner with Shopping Action
  • Some interesting insight on Google+ vs Instagram now that Google+ is no longer around. #RIPGOOGLEPLUS
  • Moz doubles its keyword database
  • Tips from Aleyda Solis on internationalization
  • New: Shopping Insights Tool
  • An interesting SEO test
  • How many htaccess redirects are too many?
  • Tips from Jennifer Slegg on the Quality Raters’ Guidelines
  • More tips on the QRG, from Paul Macnamara
  • Local SEO: Pubcon tip - Ask your own Q&A questions!
  • Local SEO: Are virtual offices a no go?
  • Local SEO: Here is a good reason why you should monitor which staff control your social/review accounts
  • 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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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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