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Episode 59 - November 28, 2018 (Light Version)

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It is always tough to determine whether there was an update when a potential update coincides with a holiday weekend. Many of our clients had gains seen in Google Analytics. However, most of these could be attributed to seasonal increases at this time. In this episode, we’ll cover our thoughts on this update along with information on SERPS with zero search results, featured snippet carousels, the local search ranking factors survey, and much more.

In this episode:



Paid members also get the following:

  • Are the latest algorithm updates connected to link quality?
  • Featured snippets carousel testing
  • Why there are fewer image and video carousels in the SERPs
  • Google says they fixed the Google News indexing bug. Is it really though?
  • Can you rank by spamming?
  • The polls are closed! The Twitterverse has spoken on their favourite title tag separator
  • Geo-blocking FAQs answered
  • Bing's funny message for Google searches
  • Local SEO: Moz unveils this years Local Search Ranking Factors survey
  • Local SEO: Can you use 3rd party reviews on your site?
  • Local SEO: All the blacksmiths have left Scotland says Google My Business
  • Google: ‘We spoke too soon’. GMB Insights will have to wait
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and local SEO articles

Algorithm updates

November 23-26 updates

We have seen a few of our clients make some nice improvements in the last week that we think truly are nice improvements and not seasonal. The question though is whether this is the result of an algorithm update or whether their changes towards higher quality are being recognized.

This client was hit strongly with the September 27 update. They have made almost a complete recovery:

When we see a recovery that happens this quickly, it’s often hard to say whether the site actually recovered because of work that they did or, whether the algorithms just changed to now favor the site. We think that the former is the case.

This site did the following:

  • Improved use of citations for medical articles.
  • Added information to explain that some subjects that they cover are potentially controversial. This was done on our advice based on several mentions in the Quality Raters’ Guidelines on how important it is that medical information does not contradict scientific consensus:
  • Much more clarity on their monetization methods

Our current theory is that the majority of sites that were affected by the September 27, 2018 update had issues with trust. You can read more here on my thoughts on the relationship between the September 27 algorithm update and trust.

Glenn Gabe also noted some recoveries for sites that had been recently affected by Quality updates.

Also, Barry Schwartz has a good article in which people are talking about this update and noting recoveries. Here are some quotes:

  • “Health niche here Seeing a huge ROLLBACK of 1st August. Most of the dropped keywords are going up again since yesterday, but mostly today. Gained plus 30-40 contemporary users in anayltics real-time statistics.”
  • “Same here. Back to pre-August figures. Even better.”

However, the algo checker weather tools are not noting significant movement.


It’s back! Google shows zero results once again for some queries

Time, calculations, and unit conversion queries are without search results. Seemingly, if Google is confident it can provide the correct answer, they omit the other results but provide a link to ‘show all results’. For other answers (say if Google thinks the searcher may want to get to search results), they’ll provide the answer and accompany it with all the search results by default.

Some people are asking why Google has done this, but ask yourself this: Did you really want to see the SERPs or did you really just need the answer?

Though we tested this ourselves for the India and New York examples outlined, we didn’t see the same results.


Search Console to replace Search Analytics with new report

Open up the Search Analytics report in Google Search Console and you’ll be welcomed to a notice that the report will soon be replaced by the new Performance Report. At is stands, no exact date for the transition has been provided, but the notice indicates you should update your links to point at the new report (better safe than sorry!).

John Mueller has also indicated that you should be able to access all the same data in the new report. Even more, Barry Schwartz has noticed that many other reports that already have replacements have a similar notice indicating a change ahead.


You’ve been demoted: "Social engineering content detected"

Hacked pages or malicious pages or ads may lead you to a demotion as Google Webmasters reveals.


Double row carousels for top news stories


Local SEO

New sign up process for Service Area Businesses in GMB

After recently removing addresses in Google My Business, Google has now changed the sign-up process so that service area businesses can indicate if they don't want their address associated with their listing. Pointed out in a recent post on Local Search Forum, it shows that the second step now asks if you’d like your address to show up in Google Maps or not.

As it stands, it doesn’t appear to be available on all listings as of yet. Shoutout to Joy for spotting this!


Google has a new local 4-pack for hotels

In the works since at least July, Google has implemented a complete overhaul to it’s design. Newly added, there are five filters for users to choose from: Top Choices, Guest Favorites, Budget Options, Luxury Stays, and For Tonight.

Google appears to be trying to have more people use filters for more relevant results. One particular highlight of the new design? The Guest Favourites filter which removes listings under 4 stars. Yet again, Google is favourable to high quality reviews.


Follow button for hotels? Wait a minute…

Good catch Tim!


Recommended Reading

France is ditching Google to reclaim its online independence – Clothilde Goujard
https://www.wired.co.uk/article/google-france-silicon-valley
November 20th, 2018

France is looking to increase digital sovereignty due to growing concerns over the protection of citizen’s data, military cybersecurity capabilities, and issues regarding the taxations of large foreign tech companies.

Using topic modelling frameworks for NLP and semantic search – Dawn Anderson
https://www.slideshare.net/DawnFitton/using-topic-modelling-frameworks-for-nlp-and-semantic-search
November 5th, 2018

In these slides Dawn gives us some incredible insight into some of the more complex sides of how search actually works. This is a great place to start if you want to learn about some interesting aspects of Google’s algorithm and how it can relate to SEO.

Google Shuts Down Its mHealth Quest for a Glucose-Sensing Contact Lens – Eric Wicklund
https://mhealthintelligence.com/news/google-shuts-down-its-mhealth-quest-for-glucose-sensing-contact-lens
November 19th, 2018

Google is ending its mobile health (mHealth) project which sought to create a glucose-sensing contact lens which originally launched in 2014. It was a joint project that was developed by Google’s Verily division and Alcon Novartis.

 

Google helps boost High Street spending with search – Jane Wakefield
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-46274578
November 20th, 2018

Google is helping give a boost to people shopping on UK high streets. They have recently partnered with a start-up called NearSt.

How to not index a URL – Valentin Pletzer
https://valentin.app/robotsmeta.html
November 20th, 2018

Google accepts robot (singular) as well as robots (plural). Upon this discovery, and with help from a number of SEOs, Valentin sought out to determine which noindex implementations Google (and other crawling tools) would honour and which they would not.

The Future of Content Marketing: It’s Not What You Think – Neil Patel
https://neilpatel.com/blog/future-content-marketing/
November 6th, 2018

There are more blogs than ever before and the numbers keep growing. According to some of the latest statistics there are over 440 million blogs hanging out there on the internet. If you include blogs on sites like Medium and Tumblr then that number soars well over 1 billion. This is the reason why content marketing has become all the more competitive and why we need to change our approach to it.

Google rivals claim product search remains unfair – BBC News
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-46303300
November 22nd, 2018

Google is taking on the European comparison shopping services. Going head-to-head, this seven year battle over its dominance in the search market has seen Google fined (which they are appealing) and has seen them make changes by creating a system that they believe to be more fair. However, not everyone agrees this is a fix.

How to Speed up Your WordPress Site (Ultimate 2019 Guide)
https://kinsta.com/learn/speed-up-wordpress/
November 20th, 2018

With over 30% of website being powered by the WordPress platform, it’s incredibly important to understand how to best optimize the speed of these pages.

How to rank for head terms – Tom Capper
https://www.distilled.net/resources/how-to-rank-for-head-terms/
November 20th, 2018

Car insurance, laptops, flights. What do these have in common? They’re all super competitive, high volume keywords and also the topic of conversation in Tom Capper’s recent article.

 

Kyle Roof Interview - Ranking With Lorem Ipsum & Reverse Engineering Google – Charles Floate
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuwTOG02BKk
November 26th, 2018

In this interview, Charles speaks to Kyle Roof. He is a SEO who has run over 250 scientific tests on Google’s algorithm, is the creator of Page Optimizer Pro, and recently became infamous in the eyes of Google after taking a number 1 organic and maps ranking for a page built for an SEO competition. He ranked the website for the keywords “Rhinoplasty Plano” while completely writing the site’s content in lorem ipsum.

How to Work Effectively with Google Search Console Data to Analyze Google Updates – Marcus Tandler
https://medium.com/@marcus_54296/how-to-work-effectively-with-google-search-console-data-to-analyze-google-updates-4a2031433241
November 23rd, 2018

GSC has seen so many improvements since it first launched. Along with GSC and Analytics we have more ways to more accurately interpret data about our websites than ever before.

What to Do with Your Old Blog Posts – Laurel Taylor
https://moz.com/blog/what-to-do-with-old-blog-posts
November 26th, 2018

Over a decade ago, blogging was a platform for businesses to generate swarms of traffic and improve revenues. Fast forward to today, and many of these blogs are often outdated or are just sitting there with little to no visibility.

What SEOs Can Learn from AdWords - Whiteboard Friday – Dana DiTomaso
https://moz.com/blog/what-seos-can-learn-from-adwords
November 23rd, 2018

Paid search and SEO shouldn’t have to work independently. In fact, we can often take cues from Google AdWords (aka Google Ads) and translate them to our SEO.


Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

New form of Google banking scam – Abhijit Tomar
http://blog.abhijittomar.com/2018/10/19/google-business-claim-scam/
October 19th, 2018

There is a new scam that is directly using information available on the knowledge panel in India.

Google’s Backdoor Shift to a Social Network – David Mihm and Mike Blumenthal
https://streetfightmag.com/2018/11/26/googles-backdoor-shift-to-a-social-network/
November 26th, 2018

Google is shifting to integrate features that are common among social networks, but not necessarily in a traditional way.


SEO Jobs


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Paid members also get the following:

  • Are the latest algorithm updates connected to link quality?
  • Featured snippets carousel testing
  • Why there are fewer image and video carousels in the SERPs
  • Google says they fixed the Google News indexing bug. Is it really though?
  • Can you rank by spamming?
  • The polls are closed! The Twitterverse has spoken on their favourite title tag separator
  • Geo-blocking FAQs answered
  • Bing's funny message for Google searches
  • Local SEO: Moz unveils this years Local Search Ranking Factors survey
  • Local SEO: Can you use 3rd party reviews on your site?
  • Local SEO: All the blacksmiths have left Scotland says Google My Business
  • Google: ‘We spoke too soon’. GMB Insights will have to wait
  • 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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