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Episode 62 - December 20, 2018 (Light Version)

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Once again it looks like we have had a significant update. We are seeing nice, albeit small, upticks on several of our client sites. In this episode we have some comments from John Mueller on Medic, interesting info on Mobile First Indexing and a bunch of other SEO related news.

In this episode:



Paid members also get the following:

  • You may possibly have been recently moved to mobile first indexing
  • Support for many old Google Search Console reports are gone
  • WordPress urges you to update to 5.0.1 asap
  • Follow-up to the ‘ignore bad links’ chatter
  • Google fixes the date bug in GSC
  • The difference between teaching and sales
  • Should you pay attention to negative SEO attempts?
  • Google honours the most restrictive settings on a page
  • How to explain rankings so people ‘get it’
  • Links within iFrames can be interpreted multiple ways
  • Media/Press pages are okay by Google’s standards
  • Is Shopify good for SEO?
  • Which links should be nofollowed?
  • Streamline your SEO tasks like a pro!
  • Analyze your email performance!
  • Cool tool to remove the background of images
  • Kudzu.com Has Closed
  • Google Posts changeup hurting local businesses
  • People are being sued for their online reviews
  • This hotel affiliate site is hijacking hotel GMB listings
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and local SEO articles

Algorithm Updates

Dec 14-17, 2018 Update

This appears to be a moderately significant quality update. We saw increases specifically starting on December 17 for a number of sites that we have reviewed. In quite a few of these cases. Here is one site in a very competitive niche that worked on improving technical issues and also worked on many of the trust issues that we have discussed over the last few months.

 

There are enough sites in our Google Analytics dashboard that are seeing a bit of a leg up on December 17 that I am comfortable calling this a quality update. We also saw a few of the sites that are on our waiting list see a mild decline on this day. There really isn’t a specific feature that stands out to tie all of these sites together. But, most have worked on the following:

SEMRUsh sensor is showing a lot of algorithmic activity on December 15 and 16:

And MozCast is showing activity on the 14th and 15th:


Medic recovery case study

I really liked this article on Search Engine Land by Christos Managoudis about a potential recovery from the August 1 (Medic) update.

I sleuthed out the site’s name (as there is a link to a help forum post that then links to the site itself) and verified that SEMRush is reporting nice improvements since their August 1 hit:

The site appears to be one that connects people with doctors. You can read the full article for tips on what they changed, but here are the important points:

  • They recognized that their blog was full of potentially spammy content. As such, they nofollowed all links to their blog and aggressively trimmed out low quality content. (Note: This is an interesting tactic. I do not think that most sites should be removing their blog. However, if you determine that a particular section of your site contains a lot of low quality posts, it may be worth considering making changes here.)
  • They labelled each page according to user intent. Was it a “do” page (where people wanted to connect with a physician) or a “know” page where people wanted information and worked on making the focus clear for each of these pages. (Note: The QRG talk about making it clear what the “beneficial purpose” of a site is, so this makes sense.)
  • Reduced the promotional calls to action.
  • Created an editorial policy and openly informed on how they verified health information.
  • Improved author bios.
  • Had physicians review medical content and added them as reviewers in schema.
  • Linked author profiles to author pages.
  • Added forms for patient feedback.
  • Removed an auto-translate plugin that was creating auto-translated pages as Google often treats these as spam.

They credit their research in the Quality Raters’ Guidelines as the biggest source of info to help with their recovery.


John Mueller’s comments on the Medic update

A few days ago, an SEO took to Reddit for advice on dealing with a difficult client surrounding the August 1st update. They explained that their client isn’t interested in hearing about the Quality Raters Guidelines, statements by John Mueller, or any other authoritative SEO materials. Instead, the client believes in real data mainly in the form of the things like # increase in backlinks (regardless of quality), # keyword in h1, position of keyword in title tag, etc.

Well, John stepped in and noted that it goes beyond the technical side of things, saying that technical SEO “can give you incremental wins.” However, he also said that the best way to go past these incremental updates is to instead rethink things overall. To quote John:

“The quality rater's guidelines & the old Panda blog post ("More guidance on building high-quality sites") are good places to get ideas. The important point (in my eyes) is that this is not a "tweak h1's, inject keywords, get links" kind of traditional SEO work, but rather you'd want to step back, understand where the site's audience is & where it's going, and rethink how you'd like to position the site within the 2019+-web.”

While we still recommend doing everything you can to improve upon technical aspects of a site, we are completely convinced that the QRG are full of incredible advice to help you improve the quality of your site.


Google Announcements

Mobile first indexing turns two!

Google put out a blog post this week to tell us that it has now been two years since they started doing mobile first indexing. For those who are new to SEO, mobile first indexing is the process by which Google crawls the mobile version of your site rather than the desktop version.

The post tells us that over fifty percent of the pages in search are now on mobile first indexing. The blog post also explains two of the issues that may keep your site from being moved over:

1) Structured data - If you mark up your pages, make sure your schema is on your mobile version as well!

2) Alt attributes - Alt attributes on images can help towards rankings. Make sure these are included on your mobile version.


Chrome 72 is in beta

Chrome announced the Chrome 72 beta is now out. An interesting part of this post is the following:

It looks like this new version of Chrome will also make it much harder for sites to artificially disable the back button.


New Google SERP features

Google rolls out image thumbnails in Related Searches on mobile

Yes, it seems like this August test is now being rolled out for all mobile users.


Google adds stories

We mentioned it in late September and now it has finally arrived! Google has added stories to the search results to allow users to have a more visual way of learning about a query.


SEO Tips

My E-A-T Webinar – Part 1 of 3

Missed my free webinar on E-A-T last week? Part 1 is available for your viewing pleasure! We covered a lot of material thanks in part to the vast amount of questions we gathered from SEOs.

Don’t forget to stay tuned for part 2 (Author E-A-T) and part 3 (Trust) in the coming weeks.

Thanks for the shoutout, Glenn!


Other fun stuff

Google gets into the holiday spirit


Here’s what I got my staff for Christmas

What do you think?


Tips from Google Help Hangouts

You can read the entire summary here of the December 11, 2018 Google Help Hangout with John Mueller. Here are the most important things that we learned:

  • How can you tell if Googlebot can see your mobile navigation links? Try the mobile friendly tester and see if the rendered HTML has the links in it.
  • Why would a page that is not noindexed be marked in GSC as noindexed? In this case, John said that the noindex tag was removed some time ago and Google had not yet recrawled the page. He recommended submitting the page to the index to encourage Google to crawl it again.
  • Someone asked whether a move to mobile first indexing was responsible for their drop in traffic. John said it was likely due to algorithmic updates instead.
  • If you’re using rel=prev and next you need to also make sure that there are actual links to those pages as well.
  • Should paginated pages be indexed? This is really tough subject! You can read John’s response in the help hangout notes. Most likely we’ll have an article out on this subject in the new year. For now though, you may find the responses to this tweet of mine interesting:https://twitter.com/Marie_Haynes/status/1075120750493720576
  • Should outdated content such as an event from last year be noindexed? John suggested having one page for the event and then move outdated content to a subdirectory. For example, you could have a page called /event/ and then in 2018, move the 2017 info to /event/2017.
  • Can you have two different kinds of structure data on a page? For example, can you use both microdata and JSON-LD on the same page? John says that’s fine, but it’s less confusing to just stick to one type.
  • Can the content of comments affect the quality of your pages? Yes!

Local SEO

Google rolls out hotel highlight details in an overlay window

A month ago it was simply a test. Now though, it’s the real deal. While there’s no new information being shown, this new interface reflects the hotel’s highlights in an icon format. Select the icon, and you’ll be shown more details.


Recommended Reading

How 3 SEO strategies built today’s eCommerce giants – Manish Dudharejia
https://searchengineland.com/how-3-seo-strategies-built-todays-ecommerce-giants-309321
December 11th, 2018

What exactly can we learn from the internet giants like Amazon , eBay, or Etsy? Manish took a look into these eCommerce sites through the lens of SEO to help provide us with some insight.


10 Important 2019 SEO Trends You Need to Know
– Danny Goodwin
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/seo-trends/281053/
December 11th, 2018

Danny takes us through some more trends that we should be keeping an eye on as we inch closer to 2019 according to 27 of the top SEO professionals in the world.


Become *Everyone's* Trendsetter
– Tom Rayner
https://raynernomics.com/become-everyones-trendsetter/
December 10th, 2018

This is a follow up to one of Tom’s previous articles in which he examined how Google is constantly adjusting SERPs based on what it believes to be latent intent for search and how to you can capture that.


Getting the Most out of Google Chrome for Technical SEO
– Saijo George
https://trafficthinktank.com/google-chrome-technical-seo/
December 10th, 2018

Google Chrome is more powerful than people think. It can even be a great tool for some of the more technical aspects of SEO. Often times it’s as easy as using the page inspection tool and selecting the right option!


Can You Still Blog Your Way to Visibility & Credibility?
– Rand Fishkin
https://sparktoro.com/blog/can-you-still-blog-your-way-to-visibility-credibility/
December 11th, 2018

The brightest of marketers understand the trends. In this article, Rand Fishkin dissects the way people blog and gives his opinion of what’s ahead.


How to Get Backlinks: 7 Tactics That Don’t Require New Content
– Joshua Hardwick
https://ahrefs.com/blog/how-to-get-backlinks/
December 11th, 2018

Joshua from Ahrefs breaks down 7 things that we can be doing to get backlinks for our websites. He reinforces that we don’t always necessarily need new content and it doesn’t always have to be hard!


Technical SEO Roundup November 2018
– David Hellowell
https://merj.com/blog/technical-seo-roundup-november-2018
December 12th, 2018

David has given us a great recap of some of the top SEO news stories that came out in November.


13 Easy Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses (That Won’t Break The Bank)
– Rebekah Bek
https://ahrefs.com/blog/marketing-ideas/
December 13th, 2018

Ahrefs has come out with a great list of marketing initiatives that are easy to action for a smaller business that might not have a huge budget. Speaking on the podcast circuit is a great way to get the message about your products/services out to a wider audience.


SinglePlatform and Moz partner for restaurant SEO and content distribution
– Greg Sterling
https://searchengineland.com/singleplatform-and-moz-partner-for-restaurant-seo-and-content-distribution-309459
December 13th, 2018

This is a really cool match up which is aiming to help restaurants with their visibility in search.


Product pages are the new packaging: Think beyond lower prices to win online
Andrew Waber
https://marketingland.com/product-pages-are-the-new-packaging-think-beyond-lower-prices-to-win-online-253429
December 11th, 2018

When we walk into a store, we have the expectation that products will be presented to us in a specific and appealing way. The same therefore should be able to be said for online shopping. To examine this, the author of this article examined a study that looked at Amazon product pages for 5000 coffee products in the same price range. The study compared the top-selling 10% against the bottom-selling 10%.


Growing Your Organic Search in International Markets [INBOUND Presentation Write Up]
Aleyda Solis
https://pitchbox.com/blog/growing-your-organic-search-in-international-markets/
December 13th, 2018

Aleyda gives us the downlow on why so many companies have trouble expanding into new markets.


Mapping the Overlap of SERP Feature Suggestions
– The STAT Team
https://getstat.com/blog/the-overlap-of-serp-feature-suggestions/
December 17th, 2018

This was a really interesting study that sought to examine how much keyword overlap might exist between SERP features like carousel snippets, “People also ask” boxes, “People also search for” boxes, and related searches.


Posting Evergreen Content on Medium is a Terrible Idea
– Thomas K. Running
https://bts.nomadgate.com/medium-evergreen-content
December 19th, 2018

Blogging on Medium may not be as beneficial as it used to be, especially if you already have your own website. Once upon a time, it was a great tool that bloggers could use to take advantage of the high domain authority and get more views. Unfortunately, it’s not as good as it used to be for sharing evergreen content.


I Bought Guest Post Links from The Hoth: A Detailed Review
Glen Allsopp
https://detailed.com/the-hoth-review/
December 19th, 2018

I debated on whether or not to include this in the newsletter as it’s a post that is promoting buying links, and as we all know, buying links to help improve rankings is against Google’s guidelines. Yet, there is a lot to be learned here.

 


Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

Questions about glowing online reviews for Valley business – Joe Ducey
https://www.abc15.com/news/let-joe-know/questions-about-glowing-online-reviews-for-valley-business
December 13th, 2018

For an Arizona garage door company, their family led business relies heavily on word-of-mouth and online reviews.


Why Local Businesses Will Need Websites More than Ever in 2019
– Miriam Ellis
https://moz.com/blog/local-businesses-need-websites
December 12th, 2018

Google is being called the new homepage for local businesses which should actually be scaring some people. Miriam argues that as this trend continues, it’s going to become more important than ever for small and medium businesses to actually have their own website.


Better Take Your Inane Complaints to Google Because Yelp Is Over
– Emily Alford
https://jezebel.com/better-take-your-inane-complaints-to-google-because-yel-1831133520
December 16th, 2018

Yelp hasn’t been doing well as Google Reviews have been growing in popularity. The effects have hit them hard, recently losing 30% to the value of their shares as they were abandoned by advertisers. The loss of advertisers is thought to be due to the growing reports of shady practices by Yelp.


SEO Jobs


Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • You may possibly have been recently moved to mobile first indexing
  • Support for many old Google Search Console reports are gone
  • WordPress urges you to update to 5.0.1 asap
  • Follow-up to the ‘ignore bad links’ chatter
  • Google fixes the date bug in GSC
  • The difference between teaching and sales
  • Should you pay attention to negative SEO attempts?
  • Google honours the most restrictive settings on a page
  • How to explain rankings so people ‘get it’
  • Links within iFrames can be interpreted multiple ways
  • Media/Press pages are okay by Google’s standards
  • Is Shopify good for SEO?
  • Which links should be nofollowed?
  • Streamline your SEO tasks like a pro!
  • Analyze your email performance!
  • Cool tool to remove the background of images
  • Kudzu.com Has Closed
  • Google Posts changeup hurting local businesses
  • People are being sued for their online reviews
  • This hotel affiliate site is hijacking hotel GMB listings
  • 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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