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Episode 78 - April 10, 2019 - Light Version

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In this episode, we have a number of Google announcements to cover, including the technical issue that caused widespread de-indexing issues this past week, a new date command feature, and the new performance reports added to Google Search Console. We also have tons more SEO and local SEO news and tips for you this week.

In this episode:


Paid members also get the following:

  • Lazy loading by default to begin in Chrome 75
  • Search Console welcomes new data for Android Apps
  • It’s here, Google Assistant now showing ads in some answers
  • A new feature of Google Arts & Culture has been added to the Search results
  • Google doing more testing in their Image Search
  • Changes to the new AMP Story search result format
  • Audience added reviews for music
  • Does a 301 to a different domain count as a backlink?
  • Increase the likelihood your page being crawled (Advanced Search Summit tip)
  • Reputation tip from Advanced Search Summit
  • Top takeaways from Kevin Indig at Advanced Search Summit
  • The combination of the new GSC, robots.txt disallow all, and domain property could cause you problems
  • In case you needed another reason to not have a single page website!
  • Excellent tip from Patrick Stox at SMX Munich
  • Some SEOs are seeing an increase in their conversions on DuckDuckGo
  • How to make a screenshot of a specific node on Google Chrome
  • Bolded title tags? This is interesting
  • Popups – love them or hate them this tip is for you
  • WordPress Google Maps plugin vulnerable
  • Bing provides some solid (and universal) advice on things SEOs should care about
  • Bing focuses on highlighting call-to-actions
  • In case you missed it, knowledge panels can have themes
  • Local SEO: New from GMB: Product Catalog available on the business profile on search
  • Local SEO: From Andrew Shotland's talk at the Advanced Search Summit
  • Local SEO: Here’s how you can report a fake, unverified Maps listing
  • Local SEO: A comparison of GMB Guidelines to their equivalents in different search engines/ecosystems
  • Local SEO: UTM codes showing up again in GSC?
  • Local SEO: Google has started showing ‘Google Guarantee’ badge for Local Services in the Google Home results
  • Local SEO: FTC serves multimillion-dollar fines to four robocalling companies
  • My tl;dr summary of some excellent recent SEO and Local SEO articles

Algorithm Updates

From what we can see, there were no significant algorithm updates in the last week. However, many of the algo weather tracking tools are showing a lot of turbulence. Here is the latest Mozcast chart, showing big increases in SERP turbulence starting this past weekend:

This turbulence is likely due to the widespread issue Google had this week with deindexing pages. We’ll have more on this below.


Google Announcements

Widespread Google de-indexing issues. Could it be a bug?

Late last week several webmasters reported something not quite right with Google. Many indicated that their URLs and webpages were being removed from Google’s index (confirmed through their GSC), leading them to lose visibility and traffic. In some cases, webmasters reported up to 50% (yes, how crazy!) of their site being de-indexed! Some turned to the fetch feature to get their pages into the index, though you can understand the magnitude of this for larger sites. If you are dealing with a larger site, you could also consider using the Google indexing API as well.

Google has acknowledged the matter as a ‘technical issue’ and is working on getting things fixed asap.

(We did think it was interesting that John commented on duplication here. Could it be possible that this bug was related to Google’s attempt to remove duplicate pages from the web?)

Also, Barry has mentioned receiving comments from site owners saying their pages have lost their rich results or are no longer mobile friendly.

Finally,

It does sound like the issue is almost entirely resolved by now (the most recent update provided a resolution target of around Tuesday, April 9th early to mid-day), but in case the automatic adjustment from Google may have missed something specific on your site, you could try either of the tools mentioned above.

If you’d like to follow the development and see all the updates, Barry Schwartz has been doing a fantastic job consolidating all the info for your convenience.


User experience improvements with page speed in mobile search

Thanks to page speed becoming a ranking factor for mobile search in 2018, Google has spotted a number of improvements. Here are some of the highlights:

  • They noticed improvements across the whole web ecosystem. On a per country basis, more than 95% of countries had improved speeds.
  • With faster speeds, users should be expected to be less inclined to abandon a sites navigation. The results showed just that, representing a 20% reduction in abandonment rate for navigations initiated from Search.
  • 2018 saw developers run over a billion PageSpeed Insights audits to identify performance optimization opportunities for over 200 million unique urls.

New date commands from Google

Google is welcoming in a new search command that’ll allow users to search for content based on dates. This concept isn’t new by any means as they’ve filtered queries with these kind of options before (ie. Recent, Past hour, Past 24 hours). What makes this unique is that you can now begin to search for content before, after, or between a given year(s) or exact date(s).

Important to note, providing only a year is the equivalent of using a predefined date:

 

[before:2018] =

[before:2018-01-01]

[after:2018] =

[after:2018-12-31]


Both dashes and slashes are valid, and single digits for a month or day are fine.

Google is reminding users the importance of setting dates appropriately. If you need to brush up on this, check out their recent resource on communicating dates effectively.

Finally, with this new feature being ushered in, the sort-by-date option will be retired with the exception of news search.


The latest from Google Assistant on Android

Google has announced a new update to Android phones that will “provide better visual responses and more complete information at a glance.” Information will be clearly presented and will give users a more useful result given new and improved answer styles. Some of the new additions include:

  • Stock charts in addition to important figures
  • Image carousels associated with lists
  • Additional info surrounding event listings
  • Better laid out results for queries with multiple sources of reference
  • Ads paired with search results (more on this below!)
  • Plus additional tools like mortgage and tip calculators

Click the link to see the visuals for each addition or change!


GSC adds Discover Performance Report

The new GSC now has a new report that shows information from Discover, going back to March 2019. You will be able to see statistics based on your Discover traffic and performance that should give further insight into things like how much traffic is Discover driving to you, which pieces of content perform well there and how it is different from how it performs in the SERPs. If your interested in knowing more about Discover itself and how your users can use it, check out the blog post for more info.


SEO Tips

New JavaScript SEO video out from Martin Splitt, this time about React web apps


Other interesting News

Schema.org v3.5 was released


GSC Enhancement Report indicate surge in issues reported

Pedro Dias comments in the thread that he thinks it may be a side effect of the increased sample size of URLs these reports are collecting (i.e. more URLs = possibly more issues). Here is the article about it from SEL.


Martin Splitt wants your feedback on dynamic rendering

It's been about a year since dynamic rendering has been released by Google as a possible way to get your site's content indexed more quickly. Now, Martin Splitt from Google has opened his Twitter DM's and is looking to get feedback from webmasters and clients who have implemented it.

Here's Martin's Tweet:


A refreshing discussion about things SEOs personally have changed their minds on

There’s a seriously good discussion going on within this thread. We recommend you have a quick read and you may here some excellent tips from various SEOs.

One shift in mindset that stuck out for us: “Working with bloggers” says Maria Amelie White. It’s clear that Google is all about quality. Those who are producing content for your site should have a high level of E-A-T. Unfortunately, your everyday blogger just may not cut it anymore.

Here’s the rest:


Local SEO - Other Interesting News

Google testing a new GMB dashboard


Recommended Reading

10 Characteristics of a High-Quality Blog Post – Shelley Walsh
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/characteristics-high-quality-blog-post/300533/
April 3rd, 2019

Improving the quality of your blogs should be a priority for everyone in 2019 and beyond. This SEJ articles provides 10 solid steps (with examples!) for creating high-quality and outstanding blog articles.


Glen Allsopp on Reviewing 500+ Websites and the Future of Link Building
Pete McPherson
https://doyouevenblog.com/seo-legends-glen-allsopp-future-link-building
April 3rd, 2019

This is a write up of the recent podcast from Pete McPherson where he interviews Glen Allsopp from detail.com covering (amongst other things) what Glen has learnt having reviewed over 500 websites and what his thoughts are on the future of link building. 

 

WordPress Site Speed Optimization Guide – Jon Henshaw
https://coywolf.marketing/seo/wordpress-site-speed-optimization-guide/
November 11th, 2018

If you are part of the 1 in 3 who uses WordPress, this guide is for you! This was originally published back in November, but the content has only recently been made public which is why you’re just seeing it now. Jon packs a wealth of information in here focusing on all things site speed. He covers things like choosing the right theme for your site, CSS and JavaScript optimization, image optimization (we should add, there’s a great diagram on this), plugin management, and more! A little bonus here is the schema section which focuses on how to add it to your templates.


How to conduct a content migration audit
– Nick LeRoy
https://searchengineland.com/how-to-conduct-a-content-migration-audit-314820
April 2nd, 2019

Know which content you need to keep! Migrating an entire site can be both time consuming and expensive. For that very reason, some teams choose to only migrate portions of the site to save on budget. As SEO’s we know this can have a tremendous effect on organic traffic, and through this handy guide, Nick outlines exactly how to find your most important pages. 


The anatomy of an SEO robocall scheme
– Craig Mount
https://searchengineland.com/the-anatomy-of-an-seo-robocall-scheme-314850
April 3rd, 2019

Have you ever gotten the call, “Your Google listing has been flagged for removal. It is not compliant with Google’s standards and at risk.”? Usually, most businesses owners hang up on these automated calls. Craig Mount on October 11, 2018, did not. He was intrigued and wanted to know how these SEO Robocall Schemes worked. Follow Craig as he dives deep down this rabbit hole and discovers how these schemes function, how much revenue they generate and how a company in the U.S. can get away with an SEO Robocalling Scheme.


How to Diagnose and Solve JavaScript SEO Issues in 6 Steps
– Tomek Rudzki
https://moz.com/blog/diagnose-and-solve-javascript-seo-issues
April 2nd, 2019

JavaScript sites and single page applications have all kinds of attractive UX benefits, but as many of us know, there is a maze to navigate when it comes to ensuring there is no SEO damage done in the process of a launch or migration. Tomek Rudzki provides an excellent offering here, identifying six common JavaScript SEO issues and with step-by-step instructions on how to test for and diagnose them. There are some really handy tips provided on how to figure out if Google can find all of your internal links (including pagination links) and whether or not content behind tabs can be seen by Google.


Semantic Content Optimization with Entities
Kevin Indig
https://www.kevin-indig.com/semantic-content-optimization-with-entities/
April 2nd, 2019

This is a really comprehensive article about how you can best optimize your content by making use of entities. The whole concept of entities has been a much discussed topic as of late, and this is a great guide to what entities are (people, places, things, and ideas), how Google likely uses them (they’re the foundation of the Knowledge Graph), and how you can use attributes to provide more context to the entities.


Jobs

The SEO team at GoodRx is currently hiring for the following positions in Santa Monica or San Francisco:

Senior SEO Front End Engineer (posting)

UI/UX Designer (posting)

Contact John Vantine (johnvantine@gmail.com) with any questions about either listing.


 Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • Lazy loading by default to begin in Chrome 75
  • Search Console welcomes new data for Android Apps
  • It’s here, Google Assistant now showing ads in some answers
  • A new feature of Google Arts & Culture has been added to the Search results
  • Google doing more testing in their Image Search
  • Changes to the new AMP Story search result format
  • Audience added reviews for music
  • Does a 301 to a different domain count as a backlink?
  • Increase the likelihood your page being crawled (Advanced Search Summit tip)
  • Reputation tip from Advanced Search Summit
  • Top takeaways from Kevin Indig at Advanced Search Summit
  • The combination of the new GSC, robots.txt disallow all, and domain property could cause you problems
  • In case you needed another reason to not have a single page website!
  • Excellent tip from Patrick Stox at SMX Munich
  • Some SEOs are seeing an increase in their conversions on DuckDuckGo
  • How to make a screenshot of a specific node on Google Chrome
  • Bolded title tags? This is interesting
  • Popups – love them or hate them this tip is for you
  • WordPress Google Maps plugin vulnerable
  • Bing provides some solid (and universal) advice on things SEOs should care about
  • Bing focuses on highlighting call-to-actions
  • In case you missed it, knowledge panels can have themes
  • Local SEO: New from GMB: Product Catalog available on the business profile on search
  • Local SEO: From Andrew Shotland's talk at the Advanced Search Summit
  • Local SEO: Here’s how you can report a fake, unverified Maps listing
  • Local SEO: A comparison of GMB Guidelines to their equivalents in different search engines/ecosystems
  • Local SEO: UTM codes showing up again in GSC?
  • Local SEO: Google has started showing ‘Google Guarantee’ badge for Local Services in the Google Home results
  • Local SEO: FTC serves multimillion-dollar fines to four robocalling companies
  • 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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