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Episode 68 - January 30, 2019 - Light Version

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We’ve got more information in this issue on use of the disavow tool. We’ll discuss the widespread messaging from Google re AMP errors, some interesting info on why Google may ignore the canonical tag, and we’ll look into the issue where many local websites are seeing a massive drop in impressions in GSC.

In this episode:


Paid members also get the following:

  • The remaining wave of mobile-first indexing migration will be harder
  • Google introduces Virtual Agent Modeling in Chatbase
  • Google is testing a video overlay (Lightbox feature) in mobile search
  • Google showing empty results to searches in EU
  • Google’s John Mueller explains why rel=canonical is sometimes ignored
  • Possible Google Structured Data Tool update showing increased warnings
  • A reminder for sites using Q&A pages
  • Q&A with Google Developer Martin Splitt on JavaScript & the Discoverability of Web Apps in Search
  • Using the AROUND(n) for internal link opportunities
  • Great idea for ranking for a search term that a lot of people search for
  • Google can tell when a domain changes ownership
  • A thought experiment in quantifying author expertise
  • Yoast finally comfortable suggesting move to WordPress 5.0
  • Seeing a drop in impressions in GSC for local sites? You are not alone.
  • Testing unrelated categories on GMB
  • GMB discontinuing SMS could spell trouble for large scale businesses
  • Legal firm sued over false online reviews
  • My tl;dr summary of some excellent recent SEO and Local SEO articles

Algorithm Updates

There was possibly a mild update on January 22, 2019 and again on January 27, 2019. There appears to be a link component to these updates.

However, out of all of the Google Analytics profiles we have access to, there really only are significant changes in a small handful of the sites we monitor.

As such, I am not calling either of these dates an update significant enough to talk about in great detail as of yet. I’ll come back to this next week if there is more evidence to discuss.

More on the January 9/10 Google update

Glenn Gabe is reporting that he is seeing bigger changes than originally thought in regards to the update that happened on this day.

We wrote about this update in Episode 66 of the newsletter. I went back to check on our GA data and my opinion on the update has not really changed. We have a few clients who are seeing nice increases starting around January 9, 2019. They have all been working hard on improving the overall quality of the site.

I still think that this was a mild update at this point.


Google Announcements

AMP errors widely reported by webmasters and publishers

Issues include AMP and non-AMP pages showing in top stories within in minutes of each other as well as an influx of AMP error notifications in Google Search Console. You can see more discussion on things here, too.

This doesn’t seem to be anything webmasters or site owners needed to worry about, though, as John Mueller has confirmed on Twitter that this was an issue on Google’s end.

Anyone who noticed this issue for their site should start seeing their AMP error counts decreasing automatically now.


Google’s focus on the new Search Console

As Google evolves the new Search Console, they’re looking to retire some of the older and already-improved stuff. By the end of March 2019, there will be a number of changes we can expect:

  • The old Crawl Errors report will be removed and the focus is changed on issues and patterns in the new Index Coverage report (to make things more actionable)
  • The old sitemaps report will be turned off and essentially replaced by new reports
  • The new URL inspection tool can be used to fetch as Google
  • User-management is now in settings of GSC
  • Structured data dashboard to dedicated reports per vertical to help with Rich Results
  • Letting go of some old features:
    • HTML suggestions
    • Property Sets
    • Android Apps
    • Blocked resources

Feel free to send your feedback to Google in the new Search Console, or for more detailed feedback, they ask that you kindly use the help forums.


Google SERP Changes

 

Google now showing Featured Snippets in Related Searches


 

SEO Tips

Do you need to disavow “cruft” spammy links?

There is a lot of confusion over the use of the disavow tool. Last week we reported that John Mueller confirmed in a help hangout that there is still opportunity for sites to see improvements in Google’s algorithms after filing a disavow.

However, as John notes, the links that should be disavowed are ones that you paid for, or ones that were unnaturally placed in order to improve your rankings. Google is really good at ignoring old, spammy links.


Excellent tip for Google Lens


How does Google measure author E-A-T?


Google Help Hangout Tips

If you would like to read the complete transcript, and also our thoughts on the January 11, 2019 Google help hangout, we’ve got a summary for you.

Here are the points that we thought were the most interesting.


Other interesting News

Part 2 of my E-A-T webinar

Just a quick update on this, we are hoping to have Part 2 of the E-A-T / Quality Rater Guidelines webinar likely around mid-February. In the meantime, you can stay up to date with me on Twitter, or rewatch Part 1 on YouTube if you haven’t already done so.


Gary Illyes’ Reddit AMA now has a date

We can now confirm that Gary will be joining Reddit users on Friday, February 8th at /r/TechSEO/. Gather your questions!

 


SEO Tools

Inspect Canonical Tool

Courtesy of Nick Leroy comes this handy new Chrome extension that will check the canonical tag of a page for you. This looks really helpful! We'll be trying it out now!


Other

Help out an SEO


Local SEO - Google Announcements

New features for service area businesses on GMB

A recent update from Google will allow local business owners to get found easier via Google Maps and Search. For new business owners signing up for the first time, the process allows you to either add a static address or choose to share your service areas. Existing GMB users make changes can do so using the edit feature.


Recommended Reading

How (and Where) to Add Social Media Buttons to Your Site for More Engagement – Brad Smith
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/add-social-media-buttons-to-website/285637/
January 10th, 2019

Social shares on content are down 50% since 2015, but that doesn’t mean they’re dead.


How did the 2018 SERP changes impact organic search?
– Tanu Javeri
https://searchenginewatch.com/2019/01/21/2018-serp-changes-impact/
January 21st, 2019

Citing the biggest changes to impact organic search, Tanu pairs these items with informative recommendations as to how you should digest the info.


Think Fast: The 2019 Page Speed Report Stats & Trends for Marketers
– Colin Loughran
https://unbounce.com/page-speed-report/
January 22nd, 2019

Page speed is something that has always been important but a lot of people just haven’t realized how much of an impact it can have on users, not just search engines.


How reputation became a major ranking factor in SEO –
Chris Silver
https://searchengineland.com/how-reputation-became-a-major-ranking-factor-in-seo-310809
January 22nd, 2019

This is a really cool article that examines the evidence the points towards Google using reputation as a ranking factor.!


The 9-Step SEO Strategy for 2019 –
Brian Dean
https://backlinko.com/seo-strategy
January 8th, 2019

This is a great guide for anyone who is looking for a plan of attack for their next campaign. While the process should be familiar to all of us, what makes this article unique is the awesome bits of insight that Brian gives us as he describes the process.


Accelerated mobile pages: Are they worth it? –
Kristopher Jones
https://searchengineland.com/accelerated-mobile-pages-are-they-worth-it-310834
January 22nd, 2019

This is a good update on the latest with Google’s AMP project and its benefits and drawbacks for those considering the move.


How Google Treated a Major Site Performance Problem from a Crawling and Ranking Perspective (SEO Case Study) –
Glenn Gabe
https://www.gsqi.com/marketing-blog/how-google-treated-site-performance-problem-seo-case-study
January 23rd, 2019

Here’s something you might find interesting if you deal with a massive site: what happens when a site that normally functions completely fine experiences a performance problem that causes a bunch of its pages to stop loading?


Google Search Operators: The Complete List (42 Advanced Operators) –
Joshua Hardwick
https://ahrefs.com/blog/google-advanced-search-operators/
May 22nd, 2018

This is one of those articles that is going right into our bookmarks bar! Joshua knocked it out of the park with this amazing resource that shows us how we can use some of the more advanced features of Google Search (many of which we ourselves use daily!).


Does Google Use Schema to Write Answer Passages for Featured Snippets?
– Bill Slawski
https://gofishdigital.com/schema-answer-passages-featured-snippets/
January 24th, 2019

Google was recently granted a patent which described search engine query processing when it comes to question answering. What does that mean? Well, there’s now good reason for schema to be used if you’re going for a featured snippet.

 


This man has helped shape Google search almost from the start –
Harry McCracken
https://www.fastcompany.com/90241011/this-man-has-helped-shape-google-search-almost-from-the-start
September 29th, 2018

This is a neat little article from last year that covers some of what Ben Gomes has been working on over his career. Gomes has been working for Google since 1999 and was initially tasked with helping to scale PageRank. Today he is in charge of Google Search.


Google’s European Monopoly (and Shrinking Click-Through Opportunities) –
Rand Fishkin
https://sparktoro.com/blog/googles-european-monopoly-shrinking-click-through-opportunities/
January 23rd, 2019

Rand Fishkin from SparkToro has teamed up with the folks from Jumpshot to provide some statistical insights about how searcher preferences have changed over the past couple of years.


Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

10 New Local Search Features You Should Be Using – Brodie Clark
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/new-local-search-features/287871/
January 24th, 2019

There has been a ton of new features being added to Google My Business over the last couple years so it can be pretty hard for business owners to keep up on what’s going on! That’s where this awesome post from Brodie comes in.


Jobs


 Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • The remaining wave of mobile-first indexing migration will be harder
  • Google introduces Virtual Agent Modeling in Chatbase
  • Google is testing a video overlay (Lightbox feature) in mobile search
  • Google showing empty results to searches in EU
  • Google’s John Mueller explains why rel=canonical is sometimes ignored
  • Possible Google Structured Data Tool update showing increased warnings
  • A reminder for sites using Q&A pages
  • Q&A with Google Developer Martin Splitt on JavaScript & the Discoverability of Web Apps in Search
  • Using the AROUND(n) for internal link opportunities
  • Great idea for ranking for a search term that a lot of people search for
  • Google can tell when a domain changes ownership
  • A thought experiment in quantifying author expertise
  • Yoast finally comfortable suggesting move to WordPress 5.0
  • Seeing a drop in impressions in GSC for local sites? You are not alone.
  • Testing unrelated categories on GMB
  • GMB discontinuing SMS could spell trouble for large scale businesses
  • Legal firm sued over false online reviews
  • My tl;dr summary of some excellent 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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