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Episode 65 - January 10, 2019 - Light Version

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Now that the major holiday season is over, many sites are seeing nice improvements. While an algorithm update was suspected in early January, we’re not seeing obvious evidence of this in the sites that we track. In this episode we’ve got some great tips. We’ll talk about why Google’s acquisition of Superpod is a little scary, some advice on handling AMP only sites, comments on featured snippets, internal link data in Ahrefs and much more!

In this episode:


Paid members also get the following:

  • URLs are here to stay
  • The impact of repeated internal links on your rankings?
  • John Mueller’s advice on handling AMP-only sites
  • Hard advice surrounding a low quality site
  • What does Google do when a site redirects all its 404s to the homepage?
  • Still using the old AJAX crawling scheme?
  • Are we seeing a new addition to featured snippets?
  • Does Google use CTR a ranking factor?
  • How will Google be handling AI selected links?
  • Hoping to solve your page speed issues?
  • Ahrefs now has internal link data
  • Great tip for finding someone’s email address to help with link outreach
  • Super helpful Google Sheets for marketers
  • Local SEO: Interesting “your match” test by Google
  • Local SEO: Unicode in Local Panel no more
  • Local SEO: New addition to Local Services ads
  • Local SEO: Are you properly tracking conversions?
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

Algorithm Updates

January 5-6 algorithm update?

Barry Schwartz noted that there was a lot of chatter in SEO forums about a potential update on this day. Also, some, but not all of the algo checker tools are showing increases. However, we did not note any changes in our clients that looked like anything other than seasonal changes.

We had several clients who saw fantastic increases starting January 2, 2019. However, these are likely seasonal changes. In many cases though, the increase was more than the previous year. This was likely not due to an algorithm update, but rather, due to the combination of increased search traffic (i.e. for diet sites, and other sites that see boosts in January) and better rankings obtained through quality improvements.

Here is one small business that we did some link cleanup for. January 2 is marked.


Here is another client that usually sees seasonal gains in January, but saw a huge boost this year. They have been working on a great number of quality improvements to help boost Google’s assessment of E-A-T. However, we think that most of this increase is due to implementation of a much better url structure, particularly, using a hub and spoke model, combined with greatly improved internal linking, based on our recommendations.

Given that the SEMRush sensor is showing increased volatility Jan 5-6, it certainly is possible that there was an algorithm update:

(Also, it’s interesting to see that Jan 9, 2018 is so high! We’ll be looking at this next week.)

We’ll keep on top of this and let you know if more information arises as to what, if anything, Google changed at this time.


Google Announcements

New feature for rich results from Google Webmasters!

The Rich Results Testing tool now supports code editing and allows you to see those edits in your search results in real time. Learn more about it here.

Additionally, it seems that they’ve updated their table of syntax error messages:


Gary Illyes from Google is now accepting your event requests


Google acquires Superpod answer engine for $60 million

It's speculated that the recent purchase of Superpod will shift Superpod's founders and assets over to the Google Assistant team to provide improvements to Google's voice assistant.

It will be interesting to see where Google goes with this. When you combine this technology with Google’s ability to produce featured snippets based on other people’s content, we think that it is possible that one day people will barely need to visit a website in order to get information as all of the answers will be on Google. Scary indeed.


Google Manufacturer Center gets some upgrades

Google has announced some new features including: new content, analytics, and expanded reach (making it available in an addition 17 countries).


Google Assistant growing once again

Plenty of new features have been added to the Google Assistant including Interpreter Mode (which allows users to ask Assistant to help you have a conversation in dozens of languages) and working with Google Maps for Android and iOS. Another improvement is the ability to control more devices at home.


Google SERP Changes

Mobile SERPs now serving more categories for lyric searches

Now when searching for lyrics on mobile not only do you get the lyrics in the SERPs, but also different tabs for Overview, Listen, Similar Songs and Other Recordings. Rock on!


Google Help Hangout Tips

You can find the December 21, 2018 Google Help Hangout with John Mueller here for the full summary. Here are some of the key items we learned:

  • Google can find your images in the source code but image sitemaps help Google understand the image better. Especially if you want the image indexed and be easily discovered in image search. If you want to found in the image results we definitely recommend submitting an image sitemap.
  • Google can run JavaScript on the cached page if it’s within the cached page.
  • If you change a theme of a website it usually changes the internal links. For example if you had internal links on the side of your page with one theme and with the new theme there are less links pointing to your content, that can cause issues and affect how we crawl and index your site.
  • A mention is not the same thing as a link, but Google can still see it. Our note: This is probably something that is used in Google’s assessment of E-A-T. For example, if the New York Times mentioned you, but didn’t link to you, you won’t get PageRank, but you may get an improvement in Google’s perceived authority of your site for your topic
  • Googlebot doesn’t keep a cookie.
  • Google is currently working on improving the rendering gap. But there is no timeline on a release date. If you have a website that has a lot of content or changing content we recommend using Dynamic Rendering.

Also, thanks to Glenn Gabe for these great tips taken from help hangouts:


Other Interesting News

DuckDuckGo on the rise

DuckDuckGo broke 9 billion searches in 2018, and it’s steadily growing. Compare this figure to the 2016 annual report which revealed 4 billion searches. To date, they’ve reported 25 billion searches, and while they’re not likely to take over Google’s reign, DuckDuckGo says they’re still committed to the privacy of users.


Despite holiday gains, the future of voice is uncertain

Over the holidays Amazon stated that customer uses of Alexa had tripled over the 2018 holiday season. Despite leaked documents in August suggesting that only 2% of Alexa owners made purchases using voice and only 10% of that majority made a second purchase.


Google says Sir Isaac Newton is an FA Cup Player

English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian, author, and now a footballer? Check it out!


Local SEO - Google Announcements

Another Google social community shutting down

On January 16th, 2019, Google will be closing its Small Business Community from Google. The community, which hosts a measly 8800 members, has received a message pointing members to the Primer app, Grow with Google, and the Google My Business Product Support Community.


Recommended Reading

On-Page SEO for 2019 - Whiteboard Friday – Britney Muller
https://moz.com/blog/on-page-seo-2019
January 4th, 2019

Britney gets us ready for 2019 with the first Whiteboard Friday of the year!


Forbes is building more AI tools for its reporters
– Mac Willens
https://digiday.com/media/forbes-built-a-robot-to-pre-write-articles-for-its-contributors/
January 3rd, 2019

Forbes released a new CMS for their contributors called Bertie in July of 2018.


How to decide what faceted pages you should index
– Aleyda Solis
January 7th, 2019

In this latest episode of Crawling Mondays, Aleyda takes a look at best practices for what is very common in the e-commerce industry, faceted navigation.


Using Google Data Studio to review your http to https migration
– Simon Cox
https://simoncox.com/article/using-google-data-studio-to-review-your-http-to-https-migration
January 2nd, 2019

Simon takes us through his process of how he reports on site migrations with the help of Google Data Studio.


How to get 250k+ pages indexed by Google
– David Künnen
https://dev.to/kunnendavid/how-to-get-250k-pages-indexed-by-google-57ep
January 4th, 2019

David was set out to index a large number of pages, which didn't seem difficult, as he was certain that Googlebot was capable of rendering JavaScript (yes, he admits he was wrong!)


Universal Search Updated at Google
– Bill Slawski
http://www.seobythesea.com/2019/01/universal-search-updated-at-google/
January 4th, 2019

In this article Bill dives into an archeological mission going back to 2007, examining the history of Google’s Universal Search Patent.


Google Assistant will soon be on a billion devices, and feature phones are next
– Dieter Bohn
https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/7/18169939/google-assistant-billion-devices-feature-phones-ces-2019
January 7th, 2019

Ahead of their showing CES this year, Google has announced that they expect Google Assistant will be on 1 billion devices by the end of the month.


How to optimize PDF Files for Google search (Best Practices for 2019)
– Roey Skif
https://www.tldrseo.com/pdf-files-optimization/
January 7th, 2019

A lot of people don’t realize that they can actually drive a lot of traffic with SEO for PDF files on their sites. This, of course, isn’t for every site, but it certainly does have its applications!


Amazon's new ad strategy: Free samples based on what it knows about you
– David McCabe & Sara Fischer
https://www.axios.com/amazon-ad-strategy-free-samples-based-on-consumer-data-5ce0fe5b-6112-4d59-8d28-39278f457b6d.html
January 8th, 2019

Amazon has developed a new way to optimize their advertising.


Playing with Google’s new Indexing API and getting pages crawled immediately
– David Sottimano
https://www.davidsottimano.com/playing-with-googles-new-indexing-api-and-getting-pages-crawled-immediately/
January 8th, 2018

Google has a new indexing API specifically for crawling pages with job posting or live stream structured data on them.


Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

Leading local SEO predictions: Reserve with Google will grow, real-time local inventory gets real Greg Sterling
https://searchengineland.com/leading-local-seo-predictions-reserve-with-google-will-grow-real-time-local-inventory-gets-real-310044
January 7th, 2019

This article has aggregated advice and predictions for 2019 from some of the top minds in local SEO.


How to Help Service Area Businesses Succeed in Search
– Tom Waddington
https://www.brightlocal.com/2019/01/03/how-to-help-service-area-businesses-succeed-in-search/
January 8th, 2019

Working with service area businesses (SAB) can definitely be challenging. Tom offers some valuable advice that we can use to help our clients.


Jobs


Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • URLs are here to stay
  • The impact of repeated internal links on your rankings?
  • John Mueller’s advice on handling AMP-only sites
  • Hard advice surrounding a low quality site
  • What does Google do when a site redirects all its 404s to the homepage?
  • Still using the old AJAX crawling scheme?
  • Are we seeing a new addition to featured snippets?
  • Does Google use CTR a ranking factor?
  • How will Google be handling AI selected links?
  • Hoping to solve your page speed issues?
  • Ahrefs now has internal link data
  • Great tip for finding someone’s email address to help with link outreach
  • Super helpful Google Sheets for marketers
  • Local SEO: Interesting “your match” test by Google
  • Local SEO: Unicode in Local Panel no more
  • Local SEO: New addition to Local Services ads
  • Local SEO: Are you properly tracking conversions?
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

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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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