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Episode 7 - April 20, 2017
Light Version

This is a massive episode of my newsletter. A lot of interesting things have happened recently. We had a couple of significant algorithm changes in April. I have written my thoughts on those. There is some new information on reavowing links that I found quite interesting as it contradicts something that Matt Cutts said two years ago. This episode has a couple of great tips for local SEOs and also for eCommerce stores.

My favorite part of this episode is the challenge in which I'm going to walk you through some steps that I took to try and increase conversions for one page of one of my sites. I'm going to challenge you to do the same! Note: This challenge is available to paid subscribers only.

In this episode:


In the full (paid version):

Paid subscribers also get the following

  • How to add fact checking schema to your site
  • Information on whether Google is going to increase the ranking boost for https
  • When will mobile first launch?
  • New information on adding schema to product pages for eCommerce stores
  • New info for Google My Business pages for restaurants
  • Several tips for local SEOs including a way to see what categories your competitors are using in their GMB profile
  • How to tell whether a phone call from Google is a scam or legitimate
  • Interesting observations on new Carousel appearances
  • A big challenge to increase conversions for one page on your site. I did this on my site and will be reporting on my findings in a future episode.

Note: If you are seeing the light version and you are a paid member, be sure to log in and read the full article here.


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Recent significant algorithm update: April 4 and April 17/18, 2017

Google makes many changes to their algorithm on a regular basis. However, every now and then there is one that is worth recognizing. It does look like there was a significant core algorithm update on April 4, 2017 and another around April 17/18. With that said, I did not notice any obvious ranking or traffic changes among the sites that I monitor.

Barry Schwartz has a good post about the change on April 4th and another for the second change on April 17/18 in which he mentions that most of the rank trackers showed spikes on those days. Also, there are several comments from site owners whose sites saw significant drops. Here are two of those sites:

https://www.readingsanctuary.com/

SEMRush is reporting a drop April 10, 2017 for this site, but the site owner said on Barry's post that it happened the night of April 4th:
reading sanctuary semrush

From what I can see from looking at this site, it appears to have a lot of thin pages like this one with very little original content.

Another site that saw drops that started on April 4, and then got worse on April 17 is http://remedes.ca/. This site is in French, so it's hard to assess, but overall it looks like a decent site:

semrush traffic

I can't say this with certainty, but I wonder if this site was affected because it is a site offering health advice. Google's most recent Quality Rater Guidelines spoke a lot about making sure that health articles come from authoritative sources and have authors with a significant amount of Expertise, Authority and Trust. I could not find any articles that were written by someone with medical credentials.

Again, I can't guarantee that this is the site's problem, as it usually takes me a few days to do a thorough traffic drop assessment. But, I have noticed that a good number of the sites that have approached me for help with rankings over the last month or so fit this pattern: They have articles that cover YMYL (Your Money and Your Life) issues such as medical, legal or financial articles, but the articles are not written by someone who has legitimate credentials in this area.

These were the only two sites from the comments section of Barry's post that I was able to analyze, so we don't have enough to make any conclusions. What I think is happening though is that every time Google does a core algorithm update they are getting better and better at detecting true quality.

If you were affected, either positively or negatively on April 4th, I'd love for you to share that with me.


You can now submit urls to Google right from the Google search interface

Rather than logging in to Google Search Console and running a Googlebot fetch, you can now submit new pages by searching for "submit url to Google". Bill Hartzer and I ran a little test to see how quickly this worked.

He wrote a post, and I submitted it to Google's index:

submit url to google

Within minutes, it was in the index:

Bill hartzer post

 

It may possibly have been indexed instantly. For some reason the url only showed up if I searched for it with no quotes. For the first few minutes I was searching for the url in quotes.

It's also really strange that Google thinks that Bill wrote that post 9 hours ago. That's weird.


There is no longer a time lag present when re-avowing.

Two years ago I wrote this article on Search Engine Watch about reavowing links. You can reavow a link by removing it from your disavow file. I mentioned in my article that Matt Cutts from Google had said that if you remove a link from your disavow, there is a lag built in, so that it could take a long time for that link to start counting again. Also, Matt said that the link may not count for as much as it did previously.

On Twitter this week, there was a discussion about disavowing and the following question was asked:


This is interesting because it contradicts what Matt Cutts previously said. So, does this mean that things have changed, or that Matt was not telling the truth? My guess is that things have changed since the introduction of real time Penguin in September of 2016.

Note: I am currently taking some clients at a discount to do some reavowing work. It can be a good idea to reavow links if you have been overly aggressive in your disavow efforts in the past. To see if your site is a good candidate, contact me and I can give you a quote.

 


Recommended Reading

The 3 most important steps in a website https migration 

This is a good post for anyone who is considering migrating to https - from GoFish Digital.

Monitor when Google updates their cache of a webpage

This is a really great idea. I haven't tried it yet, but likely will soon. Tom Blackshire writes about how he used a tool called Visual Ping to get an alert when Google updated the cache of a particular page.

SEO Proposals: Pain, Progress and Starting Completely Over in 2017

This is an interesting read written by Dan Sure in which he talks about the process he goes through to get clients. It sounds like Dan really goes above and beyond by offering a certain amount of free consulting in order to prove his worth. I think that this can work in some cases, but I can really see people taking advantage of this as well. Still, if you are an SEO consultant, this is an interesting article to read.

What you need to know about ads in the 3-pack

If your business has a local presence, then it may be worthwhile taking a look at the new Adwords placements in the local pack. I have one client who is doing this and has seen a nice increase in conversions as a result. Joy Hawkins does a good writeup here.

How we fought webspam - webspam report 2016

This post by Google gives some statistics on how they fought webspam last year. Some interesting points:

  • Google sent over 9 million messages to webmasters about webspam last year. Wow.
  • They sent out over 10,000 manual actions for spammy structured markup.
  • Out of 180,000 spam reports submitted, 52% were acted upon.

Facebook for local business - Creative ways to grow.  If you do any Facebook marketing at all, this post will help you. It explains in great detail how a dentist used Facebook marketing to grow her business incredibly.


Want more?

Paid subscribers of my newsletter received lots of additional information this week including the following:

  • How to add fact checking schema to your site
  • Information on whether Google is going to increase the ranking boost for https
  • When will mobile first launch?
  • New information on adding schema to product pages for eCommerce stores
  • New info for Google My Business pages for restaurants
  • Several tips for local SEOs including a way to see what categories your competitors are using in their GMB profile
  • How to tell whether a phone call from Google is a scam or legitimate
  • Interesting observations on new Carousel appearances
  • A big challenge to increase conversions for one page on your site. I did this on my site and will be reporting on my findings in a future episode.

Note: If you are seeing the light version and you are a paid member, be sure to log in 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. 

Marie's newsletter is a game changer because it manages to cut through the fluff and deliver high-quality information that is not only really important for those that do SEO, but it is presented in a format that is really easy to absorb.
If you are looking for a trusted information related to search that is highly actionable I would strongly reccomend Marie's newsletter.
Paul Macnamara - Offers SEO Consulting at PaulMacnamara.com

I would love for you to leave a comment on any of the topics I have written today. Also, if there is something you would like to see more (or less) of in this newsletter, please let me know.

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