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Episode 77 - April 3, 2019 - Light Version

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In this episode, we will cover how to find the Google-selected canonical URL with the URL Inspection Tool in Google Search Console, the latest changes to GSC, and the news that the old search console will be retired eventually. We will also have tips from John Mueller on cleaning up thin content, what it means if a link doesn't show in GSC, and whether folders or parameters are best for paginated URLs.

In this episode:


Paid members also get the following:

  • Chromium Blog: Debugging websites for Chrome in iOS
  • Google releases a new resource for improving mobile experiences
  • Google offers more to the travel community courtesy of Google Hotel filters
  • Robots.txt stops URLs from being crawled, not from being indexed
  • Don't rush and delete your old properties in GSC for a while says John Mueller
  • Folder directory vs parameters for paginated content
  • Data Studio provides Radial Scorecards for clearer bounce rates and conversion rates
  • In general, if a link doesn't show in GSC, it's usually "pretty irrelevant, overall"
  • If you have two versions of your site - an m. site and a responsive version - which version will Google prefer?
  • Google recommends to use JSON-LD for your structured data markup, though is there a benefit?
  • Good news if you’re redirecting to higher quality content on your site
  • Thin content and how it should be addressed
  • Final approval for Europe’s controversial overhaul of online copyright
  • Heads up webmasters: Google Analytics is automatically granting Owner status to third parties in GSC
  • A new search engine from Ahrefs
  • Transcription for Google Podcasts. Here’s what you need to know!
  • Use translate in Google Sheets!
  • A new feature from Facebook called “Why am I seeing this post?”
  • Seeking answers to your GMB questions? Don’t forget to look in the GMB Community for help
  • My tl;dr summary of some excellent recent SEO and Local SEO articles

Algorithm Updates

In reviewing all of our client data, there is no obvious evidence of a significant update happening in the last week.

Barry Schwartz has written about a couple of potential updates:

We think that these are likely more refinement of the changes that we saw after the March 12, 2019 Core Quality Update. We did get a couple of emails from clients who saw big gains March 12 and then in the last couple of days had some of those gains clawed back. They’re both still up overall though.

It is quite common after a significant update to see a lot of turbulence in the weeks that follow.


Google Announcements

You can now see Google selected canonicals in Search Console

Google has announced that you can now use GSC's URL Inspection Tool to discover which canonical version of a page Google has selected, and what to do if it's the wrong version. Also, site: and inurl: commands will not necessarily show the Google-selected canonical because Google is fulfilling an exact request.

To see the Google-selected canonical, you'll need to check with the URL Inspection tool, which will show you if your URL is being canonicalized to a domain you don't manage. Finally, info: command is retired in favour of the URL Inspection Tool.

And a preview from Glenn Gabe with an excellent tip!

For additional info, check out the SEJ article.


More reports dropped from Google Search Console (+the future of old GSC)

March 28th has come and gone. That means that the old GSC is now a shell of what it once was. According to SEL, what remains is the Data Highlighter, International Targeting, Remove URLs, Crawl Stats, Robots.txt Tester, and URL Parameters. Otherwise all else directs the user from the old GSC to the new version.

You can expect more old GSC features to be removed over time, but we hope for everyone’s sake that much of it will be migrated to the new version beforehand.

Earlier this week John Mueller, along with some other members of Google, were in Germany for SMX Munich and an interesting remark was made. A short Q&A revealed that Google may have some plans to retire old Search Console. Here’s what we know:

We’re curious to learn more about this, and as always, we’ll update you when new info becomes available.


Google+ is officially dead

April 2nd has passed which was the date Google provided to the public to start dismantling Google+. New accounts, pages, communities and events could not be created as of February, but this milestone date will see Google begin to delete content for good. You can expect the full deletion of content to take several months, however, G Suite users may still be able to see parts of their Google+ account via the Activity Log and some other Google+ content until the final bit of content remains.


SEO Tips

A new episode in Martin Splitt’s “JavaScript SEO” goes live

This week, Martin is discussing ways to use titles and descriptions to improve angular apps, including some tips to help GoogleBot understand them better!


Other interesting News

AMP for email has arrived

Google’s AMP for email will make your emails interactive within your inbox (was first announced here, last year). Announced last week, Google has revealed that it's coming to Gmail, but Yahoo Mail, Outlook, and Mail.ru will all support it, too.


BingBot set to make some improvements

After last years announcement at SMX by Fabrice Canel (Principle Programer at Bing) that his team would spend the next 18 months making some serious improvements to their crawler, BingBot, he provided us with an update on their progress in SEJ. Fabrice provides a good outline of why the crawler needs constant updating, stating the search engines focus being built upon three metrics:

  • Crawl Effectiveness - ensuring every indexed page is the freshest version of that content
  • Crawl Efficiency - trying to crawl sites once they go live, and once they update (getting this right is a notable challenge!)
  • Obey Website Politeness Constraints - crawl sites when they would like to be crawled. Again, this is a real challenge given the how differently different sites want to be crawled.

Some interesting ways Fabrice notes they are able to, and are trying to optimise for these metrics. These include better leveraging the use of sitemaps and rss feeds to understand how a webmaster wants their content crawled, they have helped with this by upping the amount of urls a webmaster can submit to the index a day to 10,000. They have also developed Bing Webmasters APIs that can be installed in your CMS to alert BingBot to updates and changes to your site.


Local SEO

A new GMB Help Community has launched - ask questions, get help, and be involved in GMB discussions


Recommended Reading

The Ultimate Guide to International SEO – Tomasz Rudzki
https://www.onely.com/blog/ultimate-guide-to-international-seo/
March 28th, 2019

On one hand international SEO is huge business, but on the other it can oftentimes be incredibly complex. So how do you navigate the waters to ensure you’re growing the business and making all the right moves? Fortunately this article, which is intended for SEOs and business owners, delivers an action packed guide covering topics such as hreflang, domain structure, using the International Targeting Report in GSC, and tips for avoiding international SEO blunders.


How to Bulk Remove Thousand of URLs in Google's Index
– Francesco Baldini
https://www.semrush.com/blog/seo-pruning-at-scale/
March 29th, 2019

This case study is designed to give you a step-by-step process to remove low value pages from your site and Google’s index. 


Google launches a new real-time data product for journalists
– Anthony Ha
https://techcrunch.com/2019/03/25/google-launches-a-new-real-time-data-product-for-journalists/
March 25th, 2019

One year after announcing the $300 million News initiative which supports independent journalism efforts and products developed by Google, Google is adding on to the News Consumer Insights by introducing a new tool called Real-time Content Insights.


Topical SEO: 7 Advanced Concepts of Link Relevance & Google Rankings
– Cyrus Shepard
https://moz.com/blog/link-relevance-seo
April 1st, 2019

The opening line says it all, “links matter or SEO. A lot.” This article features 7 advanced concepts that will help you better understand and potentially even leverage in your favour.


How to Rank Multiple Times in Google — Or: How Voucher White Labels Dominate the Results Pages
– LoisH
https://medium.com/@loish/ranking-multiple-times-in-google-how-voucher-white-label-sites-dominate-the-results-315ee0b8546
March 23rd, 2019

This article is an extensive followup to a previous post about how some websites are exploiting Google's search algorithms to rank multiple times with near identical content on highly searched keywords. 

 

SMX Overtime: Learn the difference between mobile-first indexing and mobile-friendly SEO Wendy Almeida
https://searchengineland.com/smx-overtime-learn-the-difference-between-mobile-first-indexing-and-mobile-friendly-seo-314582
March 26th, 2019

Eric Enge explained how to create a Mobile-Friendly SEO site with good UX during the “Mobile First Indexing & Mobile Friendly SEO” session at SMX West. He answered some great questions about Page Speed, Ranking, Interstitials Penalties and how SEO for mobile is different from traditional SEO. 


Measuring Traffic from Google Shopping’s New Organic Listings
– Hamlet Batista
https://www.practicalecommerce.com/measuring-traffic-from-google-shoppings-new-organic-listings
March 27th, 2019

Using Data Studio, Hamlet develops a technique for tracking organic traffic coming from Shopping feeds. His process involves using Google Search Console for tracking and using that data to lead into Google Data Studio. You’ll find step-by-step instructions and also information on verifying results!


Google Analytics: Guide to Getting The Most Out of ‘GA’ – Views and Filters
– Optimisey
https://optimisey.com/seo-advice/google-analytics-guide-views-filters/
July 27th, 2017

It may not be new, but this article is about setting up GA views and filters in Analytics and features a great tip about creating a filter that removes all traffic from you or your agency. This tip is particularly helpful when working with sites that only get a small amount of traffic (i.e. a local business).


Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

Google launches hotel search site: "This could undermine OTAs (Online Travel Agents)" – Lily McIlwain
https://www.hospitalitynet.org/opinion/4092529.html
March 22nd, 2019

We mentioned this in a recent newsletter but now we’ll look at the potential impact this will have on online travel agents and hotels.


The majority of listings for car accident attorneys on Google are fake
– Joy Hawkins
https://searchengineland.com/the-majority-of-listings-for-car-accident-attorneys-on-google-are-fake-314569
March 25th, 2019

Joy recently conducted a search which yielded 18 fake businesses out of the top 20 listings. Even more, work for a client provided her with a list of more than 250 fake listings within the top six pages of results for just two different keywords. The problem has been echoed across the industry as well and it’s getting out of hand.


Review Counts On Local Services Ads Recently Dropped By ~50%
– Tom Waddington
http://tomwaddington.com/local-services-ads-review-count-decrease/
March 26th, 2019

If you have a business in Local Services, reviews for you can be left on Google Local Service Ads (LSA) or on GMB - ideally, the platform the review is left on would depend on how the customer found you: if they found you via Google Local Services, they'd leave a review there, otherwise, it should be left on GMB. 


The Easiest Way to Get a Google Maps One-Box Result – without Spamming
– Phil Rozek
http://www.localvisibilitysystem.com/2019/03/31/the-easiest-way-to-get-a-google-maps-one-box-result-without-spamming/
March 31st, 2019

How can you claim the single GMB showing in the organic results? Well, for the purpose of this study, Phil wants to make it so that you Google concludes there is only one business in the specified city or area that matches the service a user is looking for. And to be clear, we’re not talking about using a fake name or keyword stuffing.


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 Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • Chromium Blog: Debugging websites for Chrome in iOS
  • Google releases a new resource for improving mobile experiences
  • Google offers more to the travel community courtesy of Google Hotel filters
  • Robots.txt stops URLs from being crawled, not from being indexed
  • Don't rush and delete your old properties in GSC for a while says John Mueller
  • Folder directory vs parameters for paginated content
  • Data Studio provides Radial Scorecards for clearer bounce rates and conversion rates
  • In general, if a link doesn't show in GSC, it's usually "pretty irrelevant, overall"
  • If you have two versions of your site - an m. site and a responsive version - which version will Google prefer?
  • Google recommends to use JSON-LD for your structured data markup, though is there a benefit?
  • Good news if you’re redirecting to higher quality content on your site
  • Thin content and how it should be addressed
  • Final approval for Europe’s controversial overhaul of online copyright
  • Heads up webmasters: Google Analytics is automatically granting Owner status to third parties in GSC
  • A new search engine from Ahrefs
  • Transcription for Google Podcasts. Here’s what you need to know!
  • Use translate in Google Sheets!
  • A new feature from Facebook called “Why am I seeing this post?”
  • Seeking answers to your GMB questions? Don’t forget to look in the GMB Community for help
  • 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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