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Episode 8 - May 5, 2017

In this episode we'll talk about my thoughts on how so many sites that were affected by Fred had issues with Expertise-Authority-Trust (E-A-T). We'll also cover a bug affecting Amp pages. There are several tips for local SEOS and also some link building advice and much more.

In this episode:


Paid subscribers:

Paid subscribers also get the following:

  • A LOT of information on how to show Google that your site has good E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, Trust).
  • Is it ok to republish other people's content?
  • How to check for errors in HTML coding...and does that affect your SEO?
  • How to find broken outbound links from your site.
  • Info for local SEOs on changes to how Google is displaying searches for "best" professionals in your area.
  • Tips on checking rankings without seeing personalized search results.
  • How to get fake reviews removed from Google.
  • A really good link building idea that any site can use.

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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Latest Big Algorithm Change: Google's Owl Update

Google made an announcement on April 25, 2017 about a big algorithm update. This update is geared towards removing fake and hateful results from the search results and also from autocomplete and featured snippets.

Now, when you see a featured snippet, there is a feedback link. If you click it, you'll see this:

featured snippet feedback

What we don't know is how Google will use this feedback. The first thought I had is whether people will use this for negative SEO. What if your competitor has the featured snippet you want? Can you just report their results as inaccurate? I am betting that these requests are handled manually and not algorithmically which means that you probably can't take out a competitor by using the feedback button. But, who knows?

There is more information on this algorithm change here:

http://searchengineland.com/googles-project-owl-attack-fake-news-273700


My latest thoughts on "Fred"

There have been a number of changes to the core quality algorithm in the last few months. I have had the chance to do traffic drop assessments on several of those sites and I'm noticing an obvious trend that affects many (but not all) of these sites.

Many of the sites that saw decreases with Fred or with the February core algorithm changes are sites that may have decent content, but lack formal expertise. For example, one was a site with informative legal articles. But, the articles were written by people who were not lawyers. Another had really good nutrition articles but the author had no formal nutrition training. And a third was a business coaching website. I thought their information was good, but they were consistently being beaten by sites who had authors who were professors in business college and who were quoted often in major business publications.

I do think that a huge change that Google has made lately is the ability to determine authority. So, how can you beat this? If you are a paid subscriber to this newsletter, the last item in my newsletter is a thorough writeup on my guidelines for establishing E-A-T (Experience, Authority and Trust).

 


Amp pages are not being tracked in Google analytics properly

Jennifer Slegg wrote on April 27, 2017 about an issue that is causing some publishers with Amp pages to not have those pages tracked correctly in Google Analytics. It is currently believed that Google implemented a change in the Analytics program to help stop referrer spam and that that change somehow affected how Amp pages are tracked.

Google is aware of the issue and is currently working on a fix. But I'm not sure if it is fixed yet.


Chrome is going to start showing a warning for ALL sites that are http rather than https

Starting in October of 2017, people using the Chrome browser will see a big "Not Secure" warning on any page that they visit that is not https. If this story sounds familiar, it is because Chrome has already started doing this but only for pages that collect password or credit card data.

This is a part of Google's push to move all sites to https.

I was recently asked by a site owner whether switching to https was simple as his hosting company offered a service whereby he could "flip a switch" and be https. I'm skeptical about this. My reasoning for being skeptical is that I have produced many traffic drop assessment reports for sites that saw a big drop after switching to https. Some of the most common reasons for the drops included the following:

  • Not redirecting http visitors to https.
  • Not updating internal links to point to the https version of your site.
  • Invalid security certificate issues.
  • Forgetting to change canonical tags.

I also have seen a number of sites that appear to have done everything correctly, yet the site dropped significantly in rankings after switching to https. I have a theory that when you switch to https, Google views each of your pages as new when applying quality filters. I think that if you are on the edge of a quality algorithm, a switch to https might trigger that algorithm. This is just a theory, but I have seen several sites for which this seems to be the case.

For example, I recently reviewed a site that had been ranking extremely well for 10 years. They switched to https, apparently did everything correctly, and then saw a massive ranking drop for their main keywords. When I reviewed the site it read as extremely keyword stuffed. I had wondered why it had never been suppressed previously for keyword stuffing. I think that possibly the keyword stuffing algorithm is more harsh on "new" pages. Switching to https may cause Google to re-evaluate your pages for things like keyword stuffing and other quality issues.

For this site, we rewrote the entire home page and reduced many of the instances of the main keyword. We resubmitted the page to Google's index and within 24 hours the site was back to up to top rankings again.

Here is a great checklist by Aleyda Solis that outlines all of the steps needed to migrate properly to https:

http://www.aleydasolis.com/en/search-engine-optimization/http-https-migration-checklist-google-docs/


Your image might be used in someone else's featured snippet!

Barry Schwartz wrote a story commenting on how many site owners are noticing that their image is being used next to someone else's featured snippet. John Mueller from Google tweeted saying Google has been doing this for years. However, I noticed just this week that a lot of people were tweeting about this issue.

Unfortunately there is not a lot that you can do if this is happening to you. I do think, however, that if your image is being used in a featured snippet that it may mean that you have the opportunity to win that snippet.

If you haven't read it already, here is my guide on what you can do to win featured snippets.


Recommended Reading

Hitting Reset

I loved this article by Dan Sure. In it, he talks about some of his struggles as a solo SEO consultant. If you do freelance consulting, I am sure that you will relate to this article.

The Secret Lives of Google's Quality Raters

This is an interesting look into how Google hires and trains Quality Raters.

Stop shaming your users for microconversions

If you use a modal/popup to get email subscribers this is a good article to read. There is a trend right now whereby in order to close a popup you have to click on a shaming statement like, "No thank you, I don't need any more traffic to my site". These migt result in a few more newsletter subscribers according to some studies. But users hate it. They're not good for your brand.

How does SEO work?

There are some good case studies here along with a discussion of how SEO was used by several people to improve traffic to their clients' websites.


Want more?

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

  • A LOT of information on how to show Google that your site has good E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, Trust).
  • Is it ok to republish other people's content?
  • How to check for errors in HTML coding...and does that affect your SEO?
  • How to find broken outbound links from your site.
  • Info for local SEOs on changes to how Google is displaying searches for "best" professionals in your area.
  • Tips on checking rankings without seeing personalized search results.
  • How to get fake reviews removed from Google.
  • A really good link building idea that any site can use.

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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