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Episode 69 - February 6, 2019 - Light Version

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We've got no major algorithm changes to discuss this week, but we have information about finding and fixing hacking/malware, an issue with the PageSpeed Tool that was causing it to give out inaccurately low scores, whether or not HTTPs is indeed a ranking factor, whether Google passes PageRank through links that require a click to see, and much more.

In this episode:


Paid members also get the following:

  • We have a new Search Advocate to pester with questions
  • Google to start deleting Google+ things on April 2nd
  • Martin Splitt of Google talks Dynamic Rendering with Rendertron
  • Rank #1 for your keywords by tweeting about them
  • Do XML Sitemaps have to be indexed?
  • Google clarifies if an SSL Certificate is likely to impact your rankings
  • Should the Google and/or AMP Project hosted URL have a Noindex tag?
  • Moved to the new WP but no interest in the Gutenberg editor? Here’s how to remove the unneeded CSS
  • Have you seen a Harmful Content warning for “Uncommon Downloads” before?
  • Does Google pass value through links which require human interaction to be visible?
  • Personalized message from John Mueller on Google Search Console
  • Update on Google’s work to prevent abuse ahead of the EU elections
  • Increasing presence of related searches in image search
  • A flow chart: "Is the topic covered by existing content?"
  • Local SEO: Hashtags have arrived in Google Map reviews and GMB posts
  • Local SEO: Small Area Businesses can set-up their GMB at one of the business partners addresses
  • Local SEO: How to get 'Sold Here' to display on your GMB listing
  • My tl;dr summary of some excellent recent SEO and Local SEO articles

Algorithm Updates

It has been relatively quiet in terms of algorithm updates for the last several weeks! We did not see any obvious evidence of significant algorithm changes this week either. As usual, you can read this article to see our thoughts on the most recent Google algorithm updates.


Google Announcements

The Security Issues tab in GSC can now help you find and fix hacking and malware


Forget the rumors. Search Console is NOT going away


New Google Data Studio Features for 2019

The Data Studio team have posted some new information on the marketing platforms blog about the new features that they have added for the new year. Some of the top additions includes a new interactive charts feature through which you can apply the details of any chart as a filter onto another. This should make exploring and presenting your data much faster and digestible. You can also embed entire web pages as part of your content, and filter results using Google’s BigQuery database.


Google’s PageSpeed Tool was broken, causing low scores

Thanks to Sebastian Simon for reporting this!

The potential bug was first reported on Github in which users stated that any websites with compressed CSS or JavaScript files were not having that compression recognized by Lighthouse. There is also a good discussion on the Google help forums on this topic as well.

In that thread, on February 4, Elizabeth Sweeny says, “We identified an incorrect network payload size bug that caused incorrect calculations of the performance metrics and ultimately a lower score. As of 5pm PST today, the bug was completely addressed via a new production rollout.”

We reported last week that the new PageSpeed scores that are now delivered by Lighthouse are much more harsh than they used to be. This is possibly why. What we don’t know, however, is whether these low, harsh scores had any impact in Google’s speed related algorithms.


SEO Tips

You can now submit up to 10K urls to Bing

This change is enabling Bing to trigger a shift in the way its search engine works. Essentially, it’s aim is to reduce crawling frequency of sites, and take a new angle which is driven by retrieval and notification of an update rather than frequent monitoring.

The new feature also significantly alters the submission limit which was previously set a maximum of 10 URLs per day and 50 URLs per month, to a new daily max of 10,000 per day. and no monthly quota (with the ability to adjust the limits at request). So what does that mean? Well, your content will be indexed much faster!


Other interesting News

Have you noticed Googlebot Speakr in your logs lately?

A new user agent has been discovered which has people talking. There’s no word from Google on the matter, but at this point in time it’s speculated that it’s some sort of Google Assistant or Home crawler.

Update: Danny Sullivan from Google told us this:

Google Go is a feature that allows people with slow data connections to have Google read web content aloud. It can currently translate 28 different languages.


Google adds an easter egg for Super Bowl


Local SEO - Google Announcements

Google+ APIs shutting down

Google+ APIs and OAuth are being shut down on March 7, 2019. There are some implications for GMB, but Google has not yet clarified things.


GMB adds feature to help users manage and organize multiple locations

Essentially the new GMB dashboard now has the spreadsheet functionality. This feature allows bulk users to download and upload their location to and from spreadsheets. Learn more from Google or join the discussion.


Local SEO - Google SERP Changes

Social media icons make a return to Knowledge Panels


Recommended Reading

Common Robots.txt Mistakes and How to Avoid Them – Sam Marsden
https://www.deepcrawl.com/blog/best-practice/common-robots-txt-mistakes/
January 2019

Sam Marsden wrote a great list of mistakes often made in robots.txt files that every SEO should be aware of. Some of these include; not using separate robots files for subdomains, not adding trailing slashes and many involving the matching rule. Check out this quick read for the full list of ten.


How to Optimise for Searcher Intent Complete Guide 2019
Dan Smullen
https://www.stateofdigital.com/optimise-for-searcher-intent-complete-guide-2019/
January 29th, 2019

Searcher (or user) intent is being written more and more into search algorithms. Why? Because, as Dan Smullen points out, it will always be in Google (and other search engines) best interests to provide searchers with the most appropriate answer to their query - and search has gotten very very good at this in recent years, and it looks like it is only going to be better and more sophisticated.

 

7 Tips That Will Help You Optimize Your Keyword List for SEO – Alexander Kesler
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/tips-optimize-keyword-list-seo/283017/
January 28th, 2019

Keyword optimization is an essential part to any successful SEO campaign. Alexanders list of 7 tips will help you keep your content performing well and attracting visitors to your site. 


Google Takes Its First Steps Toward Killing the URL
– Lily Hay Newman
https://www.wired.com/story/google-chrome-kill-url-first-steps/
January 29th, 2019

This past September, Google’s Chrome Security team put forth the idea of killing off URLs. They don’t want to fundamentally change the web’s infrastructure, they are more just concerned about the protection of users from hackers.


DuckDuckGo is growing fast but not enough to grab SEOs’ attention
– Greg Sterling
https://searchengineland.com/duckduckgo-is-growing-fast-but-not-enough-to-grab-seos-attention-311154
January 28th, 2019

DuckDuckGo announced recently that they had passed the 9 billion search mark in 2018. However, despite its rise in popularity thanks to its stance on privacy, the search engine possesses less than 1% share of all search volume in the US.


Google says SEOs focus too much on links. I agree. –
John Doherty
https://www.getcredo.com/google-says-seos-focus-too-much-on-links-i-agree/
January 27th, 2019

John Mueller came out swinging this January by saying that SEOs “focus too much on links” continuing to reinforce that Google uses hundreds of different factors when looking at sites. 


Nearly 70% of Consumers Say Page Speed Impacts Their Purchasing Decisions
– Matt Southern
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/nearly-70-of-consumers-say-page-speed-impacts-their-purchasing-decisions/290235/
January 29th, 2019

Beyond the 70% of consumers that say a site’s loading time affects their willingness to buy, a further 81% of marketers are aware that page speed impacts conversions, but most just aren’t making it a priority.


Reciprocal Links: Will They Hurt Your SEO in 2019? (A Study by Ahrefs)
Tim Soulo
https://ahrefs.com/blog/reciprocal-links/
January 29th, 2019

This study is upfront in acknowledging that there is survivorship bias to this study since they were only looking at domains which were receiving traffic (meaning that penalized websites were very likely excluded from this study), so you do need to take the results with a grain of salt. However, they did use a huge sample size, which helps improve the statistical confidence of their findings. 


Internal Links for SEO: An Actionable Guide –
Joshua Hardwick
https://ahrefs.com/blog/internal-links-for-seo/
January 31st, 2019

So, as we all hopefully know, internal linking is super important! Joshua does a great job of reinforcing that very point in this recent article from Ahrefs.


Recovering your Organic Traffic after a Web Migration Gone Wrong
– Aleyda Solis
February 4th, 2019  

The most recent Crawling Mondays episode covers recovery from a mishandled site migration.


Switching from Chrome to Firefox? Check out the Top Firefox SEO Add-Ons
– Aleyda Solis
January 28th, 2019  

In last week’s episode of Crawling Mondays, Aleyda breaks down her transition from Chrome to Firefox and reveals which SEO extensions are compatible with her browser and also provides some alternatives. She talks about SEOminion, Link Redirect Trace, Mangools, SEOInfo, Pretty XML, Disable JavaScript, and also the built-in functionalities that come with Firefox.


It’s time to approach SEO as an investment
– John Doherty
https://www.getcredo.com/seo-as-an-investment/
January 27th, 2019

Unfortunately our society has been conditioned for immediate payoff. This has led far too many people to give up on things when they encounter difficulty or the payoff is doubted.


Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

Fake Google Maps Locations Gone Wild Adam Henige
https://netvantagemarketing.com/blog/fake-google-maps-locations-gone-wild/
January 24th, 2019

Adam Henige shares what he found after checking up on the local results for the areas his company have offices in.


Location, location, location! –
Bing Team
https://blogs.bing.com/maps/2019-01/location-location-location
December 12th, 2018

Microsoft has recently released 3 new location APIs for Bing. These are: Bing Maps Location Recognition, Bing Maps Local Search API, and Bing Maps Local Insights API. Each of these is designed to help users answer specific types of questions.


Jobs


 Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • We have a new Search Advocate to pester with questions
  • Google to start deleting Google+ things on April 2nd
  • Martin Splitt of Google talks Dynamic Rendering with Rendertron
  • Rank #1 for your keywords by tweeting about them
  • Do XML Sitemaps have to be indexed?
  • Google clarifies if an SSL Certificate is likely to impact your rankings
  • Should the Google and/or AMP Project hosted URL have a Noindex tag?
  • Moved to the new WP but no interest in the Gutenberg editor? Here’s how to remove the unneeded CSS
  • Have you seen a Harmful Content warning for “Uncommon Downloads” before?
  • Does Google pass value through links which require human interaction to be visible?
  • Personalized message from John Mueller on Google Search Console
  • Update on Google’s work to prevent abuse ahead of the EU elections
  • Increasing presence of related searches in image search
  • A flow chart: "Is the topic covered by existing content?"
  • Local SEO: Hashtags have arrived in Google Map reviews and GMB posts
  • Local SEO: Small Area Businesses can set-up their GMB at one of the business partners addresses
  • Local SEO: How to get 'Sold Here' to display on your GMB listing
  • 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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