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Episode 60 - December 5, 2018 (Light Version)

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You’ll notice some changes in the newsletter this week. We’re working on making the content easier for you to skim and read at your own pace. Starting with this episode, you’ll see that we have content divided up into topics that are organized with the most important Google announcements and updates seen first.

In this episode, we’ll go over a possible algorithm update (although I am not seeing much), a bug in Google images, Search Engine Land’s deindexing, and much more!

In this episode:



Paid members also get the following:

  • GSC Performance Report: There’s a bug in Google Images data
  • To what extent does Google use personalization?
  • Are you ready for PHP 5.6?
  • Should you update to WordPress 5.0?
  • Site recovers from medic after removing auto translated content
  • Unique images on each page are worthwhile
  • Bing pokes fun at Google
  • Top Stories are never personalized
  • View all of your keyword rankings with ease
  • Want a simple and easy way to auto reply to unwanted or repetitive emails?
  • Ahrefs to begin rolling out YouTube data
  • Google Translate gets a new look (& many more features!)
  • Tumblr will ban all adult content on December 17th
  • Sigh...don’t do this
  • What people are really doing with their Alexa and Google Home assistants?
  • Another subfolder/subdomain experiment
  • Local SEO: Leverage local search like a pro
  • Local SEO: Did you know that customers get a notification from Yelp when a business owner responds to a review?
  • Local SEO: Google Maps’ tracking problems are lingering
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and local SEO articles

Algorithm Updates

November 30, 2018?

This is an odd week for reporting on algorithm updates. There is a lot of chatter in forums about an update happening starting on November 30, 2018. However, after going through hundreds of Google Analytics profiles that we have access to, I really can’t see any clients that obvious non-seasonal changes at this time.

Barry Schwartz has a post describing the online chatter regarding this potential update.

Also, many of the online weather tools are showing changes.

MozcastSEMRush Sensor

I found this post on the potential November 30 update by Jonathan Griffen quite interesting. He postulates that this was a reversal of the update that we saw on November 16. In our Google algo update list we had noted the following about November 16:

In my newsletter summary of the November 16 update, I wrote that it did not seem terribly significant.

I am wondering if perhaps what some people are seeing as an update is actually just normal holiday traffic fluctuation as this past week (post US Thanksgiving) is historically a time where a lot of eCommerce sites are going to see wild fluctuations.

For example, this site looks like it is seeing massive gains, followed by a loss in traffic:

But, when you compare this to seasonal traffic (by looking at the previous year’s traffic), you can see that this is just a normal pattern that happens at this time of year:

This doesn’t completely explain the chatter however. The algo weather checker tools look mostly at keyword rankings, so seasonal traffic should not affect them.

It is also worth pointing out that there seems to be more chatter in black hat circles about this potential update.

I’ll keep an eye out for obvious patterns and changes and report back if anything obvious emerges.


Google Announcements and important news

Google develops rich results for Q&A pages

People come to Google for answers. Much of the time, users find their sought out answers on various social platforms, forums, help boards, or just general question and answer sites. Well, Webmasters has taken notice!

Google Webmaster Central Blog also indicates, “To be eligible for this feature, add Q&A structured data to your pages with Q&A content.”

It is important to note that this structured data is not recommended for regular FAQ pages:

 


Google has updated their recommendations on images


Google asked for webmasters feedback on Search Console workings

Unfortunately, it appears to have been just for a short window. The submission link reads: “The form Search Console / Performance report beta is no longer accepting responses.”


Changes in Search Console surrounding mobile-first indexing initiative

Google announced they’ve made changes to how they report in Google Search Console. With mobile-first indexing in full swing, the index coverage status report will now reflect mobile data once your site is transitioned from desktop-first. As such, the report will now display the mobile errors. Indexed page counts are not affected by this change. This is a reporting change only; it does not reflect any changes on your site.


Other Interesting SEO News

Search Engine Land gets removed from Google’s index

This one got some chatter over Friday and the weekend. That’s because Google misidentified the site as hacked and quickly removed it from the search results. Google claims it was simply a mistake by their systems and had the site returned to the index the same day.

This serves as a reminder for us to all have access to Google Search Console so that we can see messages like this!


Fun (but not super important) SEO News

It’s official: The sticky header and rounded search bar are here to stay

Having been tested for several months, Google has adopted a new search bar for desktop users. The rounded search bar, which also remains sticky as you scroll through the search results, is beginning to be be rolled out. Very cool!


Speakable markup for Google Home Hub has arrived

When it was first released, the Google Home Hub did not support it. However, the time has come where speakable markup is finally supported. Check out Barry Schwartz’s article with a short demo.


Google tests SERPs without Knowledge Panels

In order to improve search experience for users, Google periodically needs to conduct tests. They did confirm that what you are seeing is in fact just an experiment.


Goodbye Internet Explorer/Edge!

Microsoft announced today that they will be building a brand new web browser, this time, powered by Chromium.


Google Help Hangout News

We have transcribed the most recent Google help hangout along with our thoughts on the most interesting parts. If you read that post, you’ll learn about the following:

  • Google’s algorithms like to see “date” and “last updated” on articles.
  • How does Google decide upon which algorithm changes to announce?
  • Info on author bios
  • Autotranslated content can be considered spam.

Local SEO

Google Local Services arrives in Canada

Showing success in the U.S. market, Google’s lead generation program for small local service providers has touched down in Canada this week. The preliminary launch has been across three verticals (locksmiths, plumbers, and HVAC) among the cities of Vancouver and Toronto for now.

Keep an eye out for these local service ads appearing at the top of the search results. We here are eager to see their development.


Google local now has ability to report spammers

Is someone repeatedly calling your business or spamming you online? Fortunately, there’s a solution. This special form allows you to report them to Google My Business for violations to its third-party policies. Google advises the tool should primarily be used when you’re not able to resolve the issue with the third-party. So what can be reported? Some of the violations include:

  • Third party that is repeatedly calling or making robocalls
  • Third party claimed your Google My Business listing without your consent or by extorting consent from you
  • Third party is misrepresenting its relationship with Google (e.g. they claim to be Google employees or to have an official partnership with Google)
  • Third party claims it can guarantee top placement in Google Search or Maps
  • & more!

For more, visit Barry’s article on Search Engine Land!


New update for Google My Business API

This latest update to version 4.3 will help business owners manage reviews, answer questions, and deal with issues at individual locations.


Local pack results see ‘Sold here:’ feature

Eager to learn if a business carries a product of interest? Google has made it even easier thanks to a new addition to the local pack.

It’s been reported that users have spotted this as far back as early November.


Google Maps for businesses now allows hashtags

Yes, Google Maps has quietly rolled out a new feature! You are now encouraged to add up to five (most appropriate) hashtags at the end of your posts to help users discover places others have recommended. This also means it allows the possibility to find social recommendations.

For example, trying to find a great #datenight spot? Use the hashtag. Is the business #familyfriendly or #wheelchairaccessible, you can note those sorts of things, too.

At the moment, some SEOs have mentioned they’re having difficulty with certain hashtags. Also worth mentioning is that it seems to be currently only available to local guides.

This makes me think about the new hotel design for Google that we noted last week, and how hashtags could feed into this idea. In essence, it is entirely plausible that a number of various filters could be rolled out to Google Maps and local packs in the future given that hashtags are widely accepted.


Recommended Reading

How To Use Scroll Depth Tracking, Adjusted Bounce Rate, and Average Time On Page As A Proxy For User Engagement and Content Quality – Glenn Gabe
https://www.gsqi.com/marketing-blog/how-to-use-google-analytics-understand-user-happiness/
November 28th, 2018

A lot of people just use the regular Google Analytics setup but it’s such a powerful tool if you manage to set it up right!


Here’s what happened when I followed Googlebot for 3 months
– Max Cyrek
https://searchengineland.com/heres-what-happened-when-i-followed-googlebot-for-3-months-308674
November 28th, 2018

This fairly in-depth article sought to see if there was a way to bypass the First Link Counts Rule.


Technical SEO in the wild: Real-world issues and fixes
– Barry Adams
https://searchengineland.com/technical-seo-in-the-wild-real-world-issues-and-fixes-308578
November 27th, 2018

Text book technical SEO and real-world technical SEO are two very different things. A lot of the time problems happen in less than ideal environments so we have to know how we can identify and fix them. In this article, Barry outlines some common issues that he’s run into over the years.


What to do before and after your biggest client leaves?
– Wil Reynolds
https://medium.com/@wilreynolds/what-to-do-before-and-after-your-biggest-client-leaves-574dd3943cad
November 26th, 2018

Wil notes that the agency life isn’t all about ‘crushing it’. In fact, sometimes you lose a client along the way and it’s just the sad reality of it all.


Norwegian switches to airports that do better in flight search engines, adds summer flights
– Ethan Wolff-Mann
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/norwegian-switches-seo-friendly-airports-adds-summer-flights-103052382.html
November 28th, 2018

Explosive growth, cheap fares, and many shiny new airplanes are some of things that come to mind when you think about Norwegian Air. Well, in the midst of adding and seasonably adjusting routes, they’ve decided to make a few changes simply based on search.


Update 1.85 – Lighthouse & CrUX Data at Scale
– Patrick Hathaway
https://urlprofiler.com/blog/update-1-85-lighthouse-crux-data-at-scale/
November 27th, 2018

This article gives a nice breakdown of Lighthouse and CrUX data. To begin, they speak on the six core lab data timing metrics examined by Lighthouse.


Using a New Correlation Model to Predict Future Rankings with Page Authority
– Russ Jones
https://moz.com/blog/ranking-factor-studies-separating-leading-and-lagging-factors
November 28th, 2018

Correlation studies are still important for a number of reasons despite the fact that they do not attribute causation.


How to Use Machine Translation to Localize UGC for Global Websites
– Motoko Hunt
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/machine-translation-localize-ugc-global-websites/280035/
November 28th, 2018

Should we be using machine translation in SEO and if so, when should we be using it?


The Digital Marketing List: 48 Things You Should Be Doing But Probably Aren’t
– Ian Lurie
https://www.portent.com/blog/internet-marketing/the_internet_marketing_list_59.htm
November 28th, 2018

We all want to stay on top of the upcoming trends, but for many, it’s difficult to manage even the most recent ones. Ian Lurie delivers a top notch list of what you should be doing right now.


Internal Link Building on Steroids (Tech SEO Boost)
– Kevin Indig
November 30th, 2018
https://www.slideshare.net/KevinIndig1/kevin-indig-internal-link-building-on-steroids-tech-seo-boost

Larger sites undeniably have more internal linking boost than smaller sites. Yet somehow, it is still often overlooked. Fortunately, Kevin Indig showcases his innovative approach that merges data from crawls, log files, and backlinks to solve the puzzle.


7 Search Ranking Factors Analyzed: A Follow-Up Study
– Jeff Baker
https://moz.com/blog/7-search-ranking-factors-analyzed-follow-up-study
December 3rd, 2018

Jeff recently concluded a study that focused on analyzing the ranking factors for blogs. The study involved the study of 96 blog entries on brafton.com over a 9-month period.


The Hardest SEO Quiz You’ll Ever Take – 2018 Edition
– Bill Slawski
https://gofishdigital.com/hardest-seo-quiz-2018/
December 4th, 2018

Do you have what it takes to ace the test? Bill delivers a seriously challenging SEO quiz...I mean the name was likely a giveaway! Give it a go!


Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

Who Needs a Google Beacon? Google Location Accuracy Tested and Assessed – Tim Capper
https://www.brightlocal.com/2018/11/28/who-needs-a-google-beacon/
November 28th, 2018

Many businesses are receiving Google Beacons if they have location extensions enabled in Google Ads


Reserve With Google – Which Categories & Services are Eligible?
– Mike Blumenthal
http://blumenthals.com/blog/2018/12/02/reserve-with-google-which-categories-services-are-eligible/
December 2nd, 2018

We’ve seen Reserve With Google expand since it was first announced. Most businesses that have a physical address that have a booking service that works with Google’s API are compatible with the service. Non-supported businesses include service area businesses, services that require an insurance payment, and on demand services which come to your home/business.


Local Search Ranking Factors 2018: Local Today, Key Takeaways, and the Future
– Darren Shaw
https://moz.com/blog/local-search-ranking-factors-today-takeaways-future
November 30th, 2018

Google has been doing an incredible amount of work to improve the importance and functionality of Google My Business.


Part 2 of the Best SEO Tips for Small Business from Dana Ditomaso, One of the World’s Leading SEO Experts | #439
– Tim Reid
https://smallbusinessbigmarketing.com/best-seo-tips-for-small-business-2/
November 29th, 2018

In this episode of Tim’s podcast, he spoke with Dana Ditomaso about the importance of SEO from local businesses.


4-Star Fake Review Issue - Over 2.3 Million Fake Ratings on Google
– Local Search Forum
https://www.localsearchforum.com/threads/4-star-fake-review-issue-over-2-3-million-fake-ratings-on-google.53556/
December 3rd, 2018

Since last Friday (December 1st), well over 2,300,000 fake reviews have been plastered all over GMB listings all of which are 4-star ratings with no comments.


How Proximity Impacts Localized Google Organic Results for Law Firms
– Colan Nielsen
https://www.sterlingsky.ca/proximity-google-organic/
December 4th, 2018

In this study, 72 search results for “personal injury lawyer” and 72 search results for “personal injury lawyer Toronto” were examined across 72 different postal codes in the city of Toronto, ON.


Where to find Marie

Marie on the Marketing Speak Podcast

I enjoyed this interview about keeping up with Google’s algorithm updates:

https://www.marketingspeak.com/keeping-up-with-the-google-updates-with-marie-haynes/


We now have a company LinkedIn Page!


In case you missed it….everything you need to know on E-A-T

If you’re wanting to learn more about Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trust, we’ve written a thorough article on it!

You may also be interested in our webinar in which we will answer your E-A-T related questions.

Not seeing the signup form? Join here.


SEO Jobs

+many more positions available at their Careers page

Not quite SEO...but quite cool for developers!

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Paid members also get the following:

  • GSC Performance Report: There’s a bug in Google Images data
  • To what extent does Google use personalization?
  • Are you ready for PHP 5.6?
  • Should you update to WordPress 5.0?
  • Site recovers from medic after removing auto translated content
  • Unique images on each page are worthwhile
  • Bing pokes fun at Google
  • Top Stories are never personalized
  • View all of your keyword rankings with ease
  • Want a simple and easy way to auto reply to unwanted or repetitive emails?
  • Ahrefs to begin rolling out YouTube data
  • Google Translate gets a new look (& many more features!)
  • Tumblr will ban all adult content on December 17th
  • Sigh...don’t do this
  • What people are really doing with their Alexa and Google Home assistants?
  • Another subfolder/subdomain experiment
  • Local SEO: Leverage local search like a pro
  • Local SEO: Did you know that customers get a notification from Yelp when a business owner responds to a review?
  • Local SEO: Google Maps’ tracking problems are lingering
  • 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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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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