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Episode 66 - January 16, 2019 - Light Version

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There has been some chatter of updates happening. We are seeing a bit of an increase in some sites, but this doesn’t seem like a significant update so far. In this episode we’ll talk about Google removing comments from blog posts, some new SERP features and an interesting bug that allowed people to make it look like they were ranking for any query. Paid members get a good discussion on what is happening right now with sites that are competing for addiction related queries.

In this episode:


Paid members also get the following:

  • Google releases Ad Reports to GSC
  • How Google approaches SEO
  • Google Analytics demo account available for people to play around with
  • SERPs display rich snippet feature of when the question was asked
  • New format for ‘best of’ queries
  • What is going on in the addiction SERPS?
  • Geolocation redirects are okay within a single country
  • John Mueller on #!/Ajax crawling depreciation
  • Date formatting changes in Google Analytics (depending on time frame)
  • Reminder: UX is important across ALL devices
  • Shopify cheat sheets!
  • Slow website? It could possibly be GoDaddy’s fault
  • Gary Illyes may be setting up a Reddit AMA soon
  • What was ‘G-mail’ before Google claimed it?
  • Interesting tweet about transitioning from Chrome
  • Prevent XML Sitemaps from being indexed by using a noindex x-robots tag
  • How best to canonicalize the mobile and desktop versions of a webpage when you have an m.dot site
  • Speed of indexing/deindexing the same for sites pre & post switch to MFI
  • Local SEO: Are tracking numbers okay for GMB?
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

Algorithm Updates

January 7-9, 2019 - Possible update

There was a lot of chatter this week about a possible algorithm update on January 9, 2019. We did see several clients with increases at this time. However, most of these sites usually see seasonal increases. Here is one small business that has been working on a number of quality improvements. January 7 is marked:

We did see some nice increases in a couple of sites that have been working for the last year on improving and/or removing thin content. Also, a couple of sites for which we have done link audits in the past saw a jump up as well.

This site, for which we did a link audit, saw a very nice jump up on January 7 according to analytics. We’re posting SEMRush stats here as we haven’t asked for permission to use GA data for this site. But GA shows an even bigger increase. This site does not normally see a seasonal increase at this time.


It should be noted that the links that we disavowed for this site were very obvious, self made links like low quality article links with keyword anchors, links in low quality directories, etc. Not all sites should disavow, but if your link profile looks like you were actively building that type of link in the past, you really should consider filing a thorough disavow.

At this point I think that January 7-9 was Google making tweaks to their assessment of quality. I also think that there could be a link quality component to this update.

We had quite a few other sites with nice increases in early January. However, many of these sites normally see an increase at this time of year. Here is a good reminder from Glenn Gabe:


Google Announcements

New features in search console

We tested it out on our new article on mobile first indexing. You can use the URL inspection tool and then click on “View Crawled Page” and you’ll see the raw HTML for the page.

When we clicked on “screenshot” we were told we would need to test the live url:

After a couple of minutes, the entire page was shown right in GSC.

This looks like it is the same as fetch and render. If you have a page that is not ranking properly, this would be one of the first places to start an investigation to see if Google is able to properly see and render your pages.

The “More info” tab is helpful as well. We can see that this page is sending a 200 response code (which is what you want for a live page.)

Most of the resources that couldn’t be loaded were ones that were purposely blocked in robots.txt. However, for some sites, you may find significant issues here.

We can also see information on the scripts on the site:

Super helpful!


Pick up where you left off with Activity Cards

Now in the SERPS you can find “Your Related Activities” and find a list of recently visited sites and get back to where you left off in search! You can add these websites to your Activity Cards. You can create activity cards for your recipes, hobbies, special interests and save websites directly to each of your cards for later. It’s convenient way to save recipes for that new diet or stretching routines for after the gym and keep with those New Year’s Resolutions!


Google’s MFI notifications are being sent in batches

Instead of sending an email with one URL that’s been moved over to Mobile First Indexing (MFI). Google is now sending out notifications with a batch of sites that have been moved over to MFI. John in the tweet below states that it’s a friendlier set up. Have you been notified that your site has been switched to MFI? If so check out this article we published on everything MFI!


No more commenting on Webmaster central blog posts

Recently, Google Webmaster Central Blog removed comments on their posts. Instead we are encouraged to go to the forums to seek out help and to have a better conversation there but Marie has often stated that comments are a sign of a healthy community. In the tweet below, Gary Illyes states that it feeds into the general quality of a website:


Google is discontinuing old GSC features

John commented on the latest Help Hangout that Google will be getting rid of old Google Search Console features over time. Some will have replacements in New Google Search Console and some will be completely dropped. In a tweet from John the old APIs will also be shut down.


Google is teaming up with Automattic and WordPress - Great stuff for local news!

Google has invested 1.2 Million dollars into a new publishing system tailor made for journalists called Newspack. Journalists should be writing stories and uncovering news this is why Google has partnered up with Automattic and WordPress to help small publishers and newsrooms to focus on content creation and less so on the technical side of publishing.

Matt Southern from Search Engine Journal noticed that organizations can apply to be considered for early access to Newspack at https://newspack.blog/. It’s beta launch is set for the end of July 2019, and the deadline to apply for this early access is February 1st, 11:59 PM Eastern Time.


Google SERP Changes

Chrome’s ad blocker will go live on July 9th

Google joined the Coalition for Better Ads last year and says that an ad blocker for chrome will be released on July 9th. This will help with Disruptive Ads and improve user experience as a whole.


Tips from the latest Google help hangout

The help hangout from January 11, 2019 was really good. You can click here to read the entire summary and transcript. Here are some of the most interesting parts:

Note: John later clarified, that the info above is not just for mobile first indexing sites.


Other interesting News

SERPs can be manipulated

An old trick has resurfaced recently which allows webmasters to manipulate almost any query to suit any knowledge panel of their choosing. Our good friend Barry Schwartz went as far as to make his Knowledge Panel become the chosen one for some incredibly different results (ie. tallest man alive, and shortest man alive). This left SEOs wondering about the consequences if say, the SERPs were manipulated for a political query for example.

Fortunately, a few short days after these above articles were published, the hack was fixed.


Local SEO - Google Announcements

GMB responds to delay in getting reviews from webhook

A recent post on the Google My Business Help thread indicated that one user was experiencing a delay in getting data from webhook. Fortunately, Google responded saying, “Our teams are working on the issue but they don’t have an estimate for when the issue will be resolved.” stay tuned!


Beta Product Menu available on GSC

There is a beta version of the Product Menu on the GMB dashboard. Small business owners will now be able to add products to their Google My Business listing. The products added will be visible in the Mobile SERPs. Follow the link to learn how to add your products.


Google Assistant now coming to Google Maps

Google announced at Google I/O that Google Assistant would be built into Google Maps. Now it has finally been released for both Android and IOS.


Local SEO - Interesting News

New community for local SEOs


Recommended Reading

The Entity & Language Series: Query Language, Phone Language & Physical Location (5 of 5) – Denica Nyagolova & Cindy Krum
https://mobilemoxie.com/blog/query-language-phone-language-settings-physical-location-5-of-5/
January 10th, 2019

This is a very thoughtful article that really evaluated the direction that Google is likely moving in and exactly how they appear to be doing it.


What Happens When SEO and CRO Conflict? –
Will Critchlow
https://moz.com/blog/what-happens-when-seo-and-cro-conflict
January 8th, 2019

Often SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) are believed to be working in tandem together towards a common goal. Logically this makes sense but in practice it’s rarely that simple. Sometimes efforts to increase one could negatively impact the other. So how can we mitigate these risks?


Content Marketing for SaaS with John-Henry Scherck –
Ross Hudgens
https://www.siegemedia.com/strategy/content-marketing-for-saas
January 7th, 2019

Ross has a great conversation with John-Henry Scherck who is a B2B marketer with a specialty in SEO.  The conversation gives us some inspirational insights into how we can be better producing/structuring content and what some emerging trends are in B2B sales content.

 

How to Use YouTube Stories: What Marketers Need to Know – Owen Video
https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-use-youtube-stories-what-marketers-need-know/
January 8th, 2019

YouTube stories are now rolling out to channels with more than 10,000 subscribers.


In-depth with Bing Webmaster Tools — the definitive guide
– Pamela Parker
https://searchengineland.com/in-depth-with-bing-webmaster-tools-the-definitive-guide-310157
January 9th, 2019

We’ve all come to love the workings of Google’s Search Console over the years. But, have you ever truly discovered the tools that Bing offers? For a truly comprehensive rundown of the various free tools Bing provides, this guide breaks down the six components.


How to 4X Organic Traffic in 6-Months Using Pure SEO Basics –
Mario Deal
https://authority.builders/blog/case-study-pure-seo-basics/
January 14th, 2018

On-page and off-page SEO is obviously very important to having a site rank well. Mario shows us through this case study what he implemented to have a health and fitness site see some enormous growth over a 6-month period.


How to Do a Content Audit and Boost Your Organic Traffic
Joshua Hardwick
https://ahrefs.com/blog/content-audit/
January 9th, 2019

This is a fantastic piece from Joshua that begins by examining the results of different case studies from Ahrefs and others.


How to Get Into Google News - Whiteboard Friday –
Barry Adams
https://moz.com/blog/how-to-get-into-google-news
January 11th, 2019

Barry breaks down what Google looks for when people are trying to qualify for getting their articles featured in Google News.


"Everything Is Fake": Ex-Reddit CEO Confirms Internet Traffic Metrics Are Bullshit
– Tyler Durden
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-12-27/everything-fake-ex-reddit-ceo-confirms-internet-traffic-metrics-are-bullshit
December 28th, 2018

Ex-Reddit CEO, Ellen Pao, is taking aim at those who stand by their internet traffic numbers.


How a top SEO agency works in Spain: Interview w/ Carlos Estevez, Internet Republica –
Aleyda Solis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxDcAU7qsFk
January 14th, 2018

In this week’s latest episode of Crawling Monday’s, Aleyda has a very insightful interview with Carlos Esteves, an SEO from Spain.


Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

Yelp Changes The “Rules”, Makes Keeping Positive Reviews Harder
https://eldersell.com/online-marketing/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-changes-to-yelps-algorithm/
January, 2019

Yelp has been changing it’s review algorithm and has been removing positive reviews if a business has too many. This can seriously hurt small to medium sized businesses as reviews are hard to get.


7 things you might not know about Google My Business categories
Joy Hawkins
https://searchengineland.com/7-things-you-might-not-know-about-google-my-business-categories-310312
January 10th, 2019

This is a very cool and eye-opening article that shows just exactly how important GMB categories can be.


Products Menu Available (Beta) in Google My Business Dashboard –
Tim Capper
https://onlineownership.com/products-menu-available-beta-in-google-my-business-dashboard/
January 10th, 2019

This is a nice, short step-by-step write up that shows us exactly how small businesses to add products manually to their Product Dashboard which is currently in Beta.


Jobs

And finally, CPAP.com is looking to hire an SEO analyst. You can read this for more information. We have done some work with this company in the past and they are really great to work with!


Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • Google releases Ad Reports to GSC
  • How Google approaches SEO
  • Google Analytics demo account available for people to play around with
  • SERPs display rich snippet feature of when the question was asked
  • New format for ‘best of’ queries
  • What is going on in the addiction SERPS?
  • Geolocation redirects are okay within a single country
  • John Mueller on #!/Ajax crawling depreciation
  • Date formatting changes in Google Analytics (depending on time frame)
  • Reminder: UX is important across ALL devices
  • Shopify cheat sheets!
  • Slow website? It could possibly be GoDaddy’s fault
  • Gary Illyes may be setting up a Reddit AMA soon
  • What was ‘G-mail’ before Google claimed it?
  • Interesting tweet about transitioning from Chrome
  • Prevent XML Sitemaps from being indexed by using a noindex x-robots tag
  • How best to canonicalize the mobile and desktop versions of a webpage when you have an m.dot site
  • Speed of indexing/deindexing the same for sites pre & post switch to MFI
  • Local SEO: Are tracking numbers okay for GMB?
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

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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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