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Episode 55 - October 31, 2018 (Light Version)

Click here for the paid members version

This is a massive edition of the newsletter with a LOT of interesting SEO tips. We’ll talk about the most recent algorithmic turbulence and whether it is likely to be connected to link quality. We also have a lot of tips from help hangout information including a great tip on improving E-A-T of authors. We’ll also talk about whether it helps your E-A-T if you have a physical address.

In this episode:



Paid members also get the following:

  • Having trouble getting shown in Google News?
  • Unnatural links could get your rich snippets removed
  • A Link Building Tip
  • Google says that the location of content on your page matter
  • A new kind of featured snippet
  • Did you know that GSC can show you past versions of your robots.txt file?
  • Heads up SEOs: Google caches JavaScript & CSS files for a ‘fairly long’ time
  • Google News bug chewing up serious amounts of data
  • Is it ok to leave your meta description blank?
  • How to review & control your search activity via your Google Account
  • PWAs Come to Windows with Chrome 70
  • How about that for a new Chrome feature! .NEW in Google Docs
  • Ahrefs Now Lets You Perform inURL: Searches
  • Can you serve up AMP pages just for countries with low internet speeds?
  • Did you know that you can use archive.org to see old robots.txt files?
  • Is it better to put your hreflang in your sitemap as well as your html?
  • Reminder: It’s not a good idea to redirect all pages to the home page
  • Does having a physical address speak to your E-A-T?
  • Solved: Glenn Gabe updates his post about the magical moving meta robots tag
  • Bing opens up about their crawling
  • Interesting explanation for seeing “submitted url has a crawl issue” in GSC
  • It seems Google gives a rel= “prerender” to sites that have high CTR
  • Good information for those who run affiliate sites
  • Another tip from John Mueller about author E-A-T
  • Local SEO: Ratings Without Reviews Not Appearing in Google Maps App
  • Local SEO: What size of image should you use for Google posts?
  • Local SEO: Having a Beacon in Your Businesses Could Trigger Customers to Leave a Review
  • Local SEO: Resolve local business listing issues like a pro! Helpful contact info for the top U.S. citation sites
  • Local SEO: Can you use a boat as your GMB address?
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and local SEO articles

Algorithm updates

October 21-24

There was some type of update at this time as we have a large number of profiles in our GA sites that we monitor that are showing significant changes. Most of the sites that saw changes were ones that were previously affected with a quality update sometime between August 1, 2018 and September 27.

It was a tough update to analyze though as it is harder than usual to see patterns.

Usually with quality updates, we see that quite a few of the sites that we have worked on see nice improvements. With this update, many of the sites that are on our waiting list for help with traffic drops saw even more of a decline.

This is a site that we are currently reviewing. They saw big drops with the August 1 update and further drops starting around October 23, 2018:

The site has loads of quality issues, especially in the area of trust.

One odd thing that I am seeing is that every other site that I have in my spreadsheet that saw drops in Google Analytics did not have those drops reflected in SEMRush. This can mean a few different things. Sometimes SEMRush doesn’t accurately pick up traffic patterns if the changes are subtle.

However, it could also mean that the drops in traffic that we are seeing are not due to a loss in keyword rankings, but rather, that sites are seeing less clicks due to a change in the presentation of the SERPS. For example, we reported in this newsletter that for some queries Google is now showing double featured snippets. This could cause sites to see fewer clicks.

It is also possible that some of the traffic lost for sites is irrelevant traffic. To explain this further, let’s say that your site was ranking well for thousands of long tail terms that really weren’t relevant. These updates may have not touched rankings for your most important keywords (which would mean that SEMRush would be unlikely to report losses).

We did see a few sites make gains, but again, it’s tough to draw conclusions as to why. There are no discernable patterns at this time as to the type of site that was affected.

Links?

There is possibly a link component to this update. This site that previously existed on the power of guest post links saw a bit of a dip.

This is another site that we have recently analyzed. We had advised on doing a thorough link audit as there were a large number of undisavowed unnatural links present. GA shows a bigger drop than is reflected here in SEMRush.


More on the connection between the Medic update and Penguin

I found this article by Sistrix quite interesting. In it, they discuss the possible connection between the massive August 1, 2018 update (Medic) and links. They have noticed that many (if not all) of the sites that saw drops with Medic were also affected by a previous Penguin update. I do think that many of the latest updates incorporated link quality as a measure of trust.

I hopefully soon will be publishing info on link quality and whether or not disavowing will help sites to see ranking/traffic improvements. But really, I do think that Google is using E-A-T as an indicator as to whether or not they pass PageRank through a link.

If this is true, then it may be that Google is getting much better at figuring out which links truly are natural mentions from authoritative sites and only counting those.


Google on mobile adds a Discover feed

Google Discover has arrived. As reported last month, Google identified Discover as its new ‘personalized feed surrounding topics of interest to you’. Accompanying the search box, the default setting allows you to quickly see many of your most beloved interests. Have a favourite sports team? Constantly searching for a particular product? The latest news and updates from your top searches are delivered to your Google home page for easy access.

This may be only live in the US just now as I cannot replicate this on my phone.


Google Search Console: Recent Fixed Bugs

Finding time between creating awesome new reports and functionalities for webmasters, GSC tweeted about the hard work that also goes into fixing bugs and improving UI experience. Within the last month, some of the 50+ fixes include:

  • Link from / to Mobile friendly tester now remembers the user language
  • Report scorecards show you the number of issues (not just pages)
  • Dashboard charts now start from the first meaningful point.
  • Performance report fixes
  • All your filters and selections are kept when switching between properties
  • Filter by query is now case insensitive
  • Removal of points from the over time graph when there is no relevant data to display

Double featured snippets are appearing in the search results

According to Glenn Gabe, these are mostly appearing for YMYL queries. It seems that Google is trying to do everything they can to display the best results.


Bringing Lens to Google Images

On its 20th Anniversary, Google announced the initiative to make images a more useful resource online. Introducing the Lens! The feature is designed to provide users with automatically generated contextual information that doesn’t require manual input. Now, if you’re looking at an image and see something that piques your interest (let’s say, a landmark or a product), you can use the Lens to explore within the image. Simply tap and select. No more frustration or time wasted searching for an answer. Lens is live on mobile across the US, and will soon be available in even more countries.


Google for Entrepreneurs becomes Google for Startups

The mission remains the same, but they’ve announced a new name in order to better reflect their users. Google for Startups is where you can find the best of Google’s products, connections and best practices to help startups to build something better. What’s new? They’re opening a Campus space in Tel Aviv, and also opening applications to Google for Startups Residency which will allow participating startups the opportunity to receive 5-6 months of tailored mentorship and workspace at a Google for Startups Campus in London, Madrid, São Paulo, Seoul, Tel Aviv or Warsaw. Interested? It’s all in one place at startup.google.com.


Google Search Console now notifying you when you have slow pages

Google Search Console is notifying site owners that have “significantly below average” speeds. The warning, says that slow sites can cause significant problems for users. Let’s face it, we all know that speed is ranking factor for both mobile and desktop. With mobile-first indexing on the rise, fast page speed is of growing importance.


Google’s recaptcha has been improved


Google serves up a new ‘Claim this knowledge panel’ button

Thanks to Barry Schwartz for pointing it out, it seems Google is testing a new design here.


Bing Search Becoming More Advanced

In February, Bing announced its Multi-Perspective Answers a type of Featured Snippet that gives different perspective answers on a given topic. But earlier this month, Bing has been testing Featured Snippet Tabs. When you search for a query the results Bing gives you have a tab in the Featured Snippet that you can click through. For example, the query “How to make slime” in the Feature Snippet there are more tabs that you can click for “Tips”, “Warnings”, “Things Needed”. The same goes for Wikipedia searches in Bing you can clearly see the table of contents within the Featured Snippet tabs. This is extremely sophisticated and deliveries answers to searchers in a new fast and dynamic way.


New Functionality Announced for AMP Pages

The AMP project has announced a bunch of new features that we should keep our eyes out for. These features include video docking, infinite scroll for page elements, input masking, video player enhancements, and sticky ads.


SEMRush is looking for writers!


Local SEO

ThriveHive Grader - A New Free Google My Business Tool

Joy Hawkins reported that she is very excited to use this new tool as a conversation starter with potential leads and new clients. The tool, created by David Mihm and ThriveHive, allows you to see how well your GMB account is performing with customers based on how effectively you are using all of its features. After grading your account, the tool then gives you suggestions for improvement or connects you with a pro. ThriveHive Grader can be found here.


Bug affecting knowledge panel listings

If you lost your images in your knowledge panel, you are not alone! This was apparently a bug and should be fixed by now.


Recommended Reading

Great interview with Google’s Matt Cutts
https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/internet-history/182-googles-matt-cutts-LrpfEJ1-0iK/
October 29th, 2018

This interview with Matt Cutts (former head of webspam at Google) was fantastic. He spoke about the history of Google.

 

How to Get More Keyword Metrics for Your Target Keywords – Bill Sebald
https://moz.com/blog/more-keyword-metrics
October 22nd, 2018

Bill Sebald sings the praises of Supermetrics for your keyword research. Supermetrics is a Google Sheets add-on which allows you to populate your sheet with data from external sources such as Google Search Console.

 

Misusing the Chrome User Experience Report – Oliver Mason
https://ohgm.co.uk/misusing-the-chrome-user-experience-report/
October 24th, 2018

This article advocates on behalf of the Chrome User Experience (CrUX) report and why we should be using it in early conversations with our clients.

 

Trusty Signals: Recovery from E-A-T & YMYL Penalties – Brent Truitt
http://saskseo.ca/e-a-t-ymyl-recovery/
October 24th, 2018

Everyone is always wondering how they can recover from being penalised by Google. At times it can even feel incredibly daunting after seeing how your page has dropped in comparison to your competitors after a major update. Brent does a great job of breaking down resources on improving your E-A-T and YMYL best practices to recover from penalties that you might be facing after the Medic Update.

 

How PageRank Really Works: Understanding Google – Dixon Jones
https://blog.majestic.com/company/understanding-googles-algorithm-how-pagerank-works/
October 25th, 2018

The math that built Google. Dixon Jones sets out to explain (video included!) how PageRank works and how several SEOs may in fact be looking at it all wrong. Very interesting lesson indeed, one that will surely make you think twice about your strategy.

 

Law Firm SEO: The Definitive First Page Rankings Guide for Lawyers – Chris Dreyer
https://rankings.io/law-firm-seo/
October 24th, 2018

We know that a website is important to most service-based businesses in this day and age. That means that it is just as important in the competitive field that law practitioners are in.

 

How long does it take to rank in Google? An Ahrefs Study.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75u6p2tD9E&list=PLvJ_dXFSpd2s-OV4MiYXV8yhUjKYtW_bm&index=11
October 24th, 2018

Ahref’s, Sam Oh, studied 2 million random keywords and their top-ranking pages to answer this question: How Long Does It Take to Rank in Google? In this 10-minute video Sam Oh discusses the data he discovered while studying 2 million keywords.

 

Log File Analysis 101 - Whiteboard Friday – Britney Muller
https://moz.com/blog/log-file-analysis
October 26th, 2018

Log file analysis can be a really great way to see how Googlebot is interacting with your website.

 

Can You Still Use Infographics to Build Links? – Darren Kingman
https://moz.com/blog/can-you-still-use-infographics-to-build-links
October 24th, 2018

Whether or not we should be using Infographics for link building has been a hotly debated topic for a couple years now. The research featured in this article from Moz shows that there has been a definite trend away from using infographics, greatly favouring content like surveys instead.

 

The SEO Problem You Wouldn’t Expect: You May Be Over-Optimizing Your eCommerce Site – Chris Hickey
https://www.goinflow.com/over-optimization/
October 9th, 2018

What does keyword stuffing and too many internal links per page have I common? Well, Google perceives both as spammy. This over-optimization could be having serious consequences on your site. Inflow provides three recommendations to help you avoid the common culprits.

 

Building Links with Great Content - Natural Syndication Networks – Kristin Tynski
https://moz.com/blog/building-links-with-great-content-natural-syndication-networks
October 29th, 2018

We all understand that when it comes to getting natural links that developing great newsworthy, relevant, and data driven content is the best way to get your content picked up by news publishers. Also, that writing these articles and pitching them to news sites is a great way to get them to read your content and link back to your site. But do you know how these News Syndication Networks truly work?  In this article by Kristin Tynski she breaks down how top hubs like CNN, The New York Times, BBC and Reuters are interconnected to other publishers for content that is relevant to their own sites.

 

SEO strategies that scaled Yummly to 20 million monthly visits – Ethan Smith
https://www.reforge.com/brief/seo-strategies-that-scaled-yummly-to-20-million-monthly-visits#u_6fHve2iOtiIKV8IskF_g
September 12th, 2018

Yummly has been able to build incredible organic traffic for their website over the years. Recently, they’ve hit the astounding number of 20 million monthly visitors! One of the keys to their success has been a slow and steady SEO strategy.


Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Taking Full Control of Your Google Knowledge Panels – Miriam Ellis
https://moz.com/blog/ultimate-cheat-sheet-google-knowledge-panels
October 23rd, 2018

This guide does a fantastic job of breaking down the Google knowledge panel into individual components and informing us about which parts are important for us to manage as business owners. This is a fantastic resource if you’ve ever been concerned about what specifically you should be worrying about when it comes to the knowledge panel.

 

Battle Over Negative Reviews On Yelp Could Go To Supreme Court – Wendy Davis
https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/326975/battle-over-negative-reviews-on-yelp-could-go-to-s.html
October 23rd, 2018

A recent court case in California involving the review site Yelp could be heading towards the United States Supreme Court.

 

Are You Making These 9 Common Google My Business Mistakes? – Jason Brown
https://www.semrush.com/blog/are-you-making-these-8-common-google-my-business-mistakes/
October 25th, 2018

Your knowledge panel is your opportunity to shine! How do you stack up against the competition? Here are some of the most common mistakes hindering success.

 

Google My Business New Features: ‘Add Product Collection’ & Branded Search Insights’ – The Bigger Picture – Mike Blumenthal
http://blumenthals.com/blog/2018/10/22/google-my-business-new-features-add-product-collection-branded-search-insights/
October 22nd, 2018

As we reported last week, GMB is featuring ‘Add Product Collection’ (in beta) along with new Insight’s data, ‘Branded Searches’.

 

31 Words That Will Cause Your Google Posts to Fail and Filter Your Google Reviews – Joy Hawkins
https://www.sterlingsky.ca/words-that-cause-failed-google-posts/
October 18th, 2018

Sterling Sky has posted a list of 31 words that will negatively influence your GMB, even filtering out reviews.


Why Android Nearby, iBeacons, and Eddystone failed to gain traction
– Kyle Wiggers
https://venturebeat.com/2018/10/27/why-android-nearby-ibeacons-and-eddystone-failed-to-gain-traction/
October 27th, 2018

BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) beacons have been widely available on the market for about 5 years now. They allow businesses to communicate with  a customer’s devices if they are in the same physical location (up to 450 meters at times!). Both Apple and Google have released their own platforms for this technology and have seen varying levels of success.

 

False hope for cancer patients: Report slams hospitals for tear-jerking ads that make unusual success stories sound common – Natalie Rahhal
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6321297/False-hope-cancer-patients-Report-slams-hospitals-deceitful-tear-jerking-ads.html
October 26th, 2018

Cancer treatment centres across the US are using compelling testimonials to lure patients into their facilities.

 

Google Maps “Follow Posts” – A Revolution or Just More “S%!T” Thrown at the Wall? – Mike Blumenthal
http://blumenthals.com/blog/2018/10/26/google-maps-follow-posts-a-revolution-or-just-more-stuff-thrown-at-the-wall/
October 26th, 2018

Google users now have the ability to follow posts from their favourite businesses and locations on Google Maps. This will theoretically allow for an easier time getting updates about their favourite places and give them access to notifications about events and offers.

 

Q&A with Mike Blumenthal about GatherUp and the State of Reviews – Greg Sterling
http://www.lsainsider.com/qa-with-mike-blumenthal-about-gatherup-and-the-state-of-reviews/archives
October 28th, 2018

Mike Blumenthal sat down with Greg Sterling to discuss the website Get Five Stars and the recent rebranding to Gather Up ad the history behind the sit itself.


Who's rating doctors on RateMDs? The invisible hand of 'reputation management'
– Kelly Crowe
https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/ratemds-privacy-reputation-management-1.4880831
October 27th, 2018

An Ottawa, Canada doctor was surprised to learn he could pay to remove bad ratings—this came soon after receiving a negative review for a procedure he doesn’t do.


SEO Jobs


Where to find Marie

My next speaking engagement is at the RD Summit in Brazil.


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Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • Having trouble getting shown in Google News?
  • Unnatural links could get your rich snippets removed
  • A Link Building Tip
  • Google says that the location of content on your page matter
  • A new kind of featured snippet
  • Did you know that GSC can show you past versions of your robots.txt file?
  • Heads up SEOs: Google caches JavaScript & CSS files for a ‘fairly long’ time
  • Google News bug chewing up serious amounts of data
  • Is it ok to leave your meta description blank?
  • How to review & control your search activity via your Google Account
  • PWAs Come to Windows with Chrome 70
  • How about that for a new Chrome feature! .NEW in Google Docs
  • Ahrefs Now Lets You Perform inURL: Searches
  • Can you serve up AMP pages just for countries with low internet speeds?
  • Did you know that you can use archive.org to see old robots.txt files?
  • Is it better to put your hreflang in your sitemap as well as your html?
  • Reminder: It’s not a good idea to redirect all pages to the home page
  • Does having a physical address speak to your E-A-T?
  • Solved: Glenn Gabe updates his post about the magical moving meta robots tag
  • Bing opens up about their crawling
  • Interesting explanation for seeing “submitted url has a crawl issue” in GSC
  • It seems Google gives a rel= “prerender” to sites that have high CTR
  • Good information for those who run affiliate sites
  • Another tip from John Mueller about author E-A-T
  • Local SEO: Ratings Without Reviews Not Appearing in Google Maps App
  • Local SEO: What size of image should you use for Google posts?
  • Local SEO: Having a Beacon in Your Businesses Could Trigger Customers to Leave a Review
  • Local SEO: Resolve local business listing issues like a pro! Helpful contact info for the top U.S. citation sites
  • Local SEO: Can you use a boat as your GMB address?
  • 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.

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