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Episode 95 - August 7, 2019 - Light Version

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In this episode, we dive into our thoughts on the July algo tweaks, Google's blog post that stirred up a lot of drama on SEO Twitter, some notable Google announcements, and as always, loads of interesting SEO news and tips.


Marie’s Podcast for this episode

We are now publishing our podcast recording of each episode on the same day as the newsletter is published! You can listen to it below.

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In this episode:


Paid members also get the following:

  • More on Google using scientific consensus as a trust factor
  • Google blog post on what we should now about core updates
  • Google announces evergreen rendering in their testing tools
  • Algo update improving featured snippets
  • Changes to Google Ads should provide additional benefit
  • A clever tip for researching old robots.txt files
  • How to claim your Knowledge Graph
  • From Google: Would a federal medical center benefit from adding doctor author bios?
  • More from Google on duplicate content
  • Is hidden text on a page always against Google’s guidelines?
  • Should an eCommerce store have a separate page for every product variation?
  • Interesting case study...seeing traffic increases immediately following a disavow
  • GMB is showing People Also Ask (PAA) within the businesses Knowledge Panel
  • The Local Scroll Pack has changed!
  • Need a reason to track GMB calls separately?
  • Lighthouse offers additional insight
  • A lesson in HTTP request headers
  • Generate redirect codes
  • Substantial growth in links showing in GSC?  What gives?
  • Domino’s Pizza still in a legal battle surrounding web accessibility
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

Algorithm Updates

We have spent many hours over the last week assessing sites that were affected by Google’s algorithm turbulence in July. As we have reported in the last few newsletters, there have been several dates over the last few weeks in which we feel that Google made significant tweaks to their algorithms.

In almost every case, we feel that drops in traffic in connection to these updates can be tied to how Google assesses trust for a website. 

While we do feel that July 29-Aug 3 or so was another one of these tweaks to how Google determines trust, we do not feel that any of the July/August 2019 updates were significant enough on their own to warrant a full discussion on what is happening.

If you were negatively affected at the time of a Google update, we would recommend thoroughly reviewing the following resources:

Our document on E-A-T (Which was recommended in a Google blog post this week!)

Google’s Search Quality Guidelines - especially read through the examples given to see if you can find sites that are in a similar niche to yours.

Our document on the September 27 update as it has a lot to do with trust.

Our document on the June 3 core quality update

One thing of importance that we theorized in our article on the June 3 update was that Google was getting better at determining when medical content contradicted scientific consensus.

I, Marie, will hopefully be writing a thorough article soon on how Google may do this (and how we can structure our content in ways that Google will not consider fake news). For now though, if you are a paid user, the next section contains our early thoughts on what Google is doing here.


MHC Announcements

Keep a close eye on this section next week. We will be announcing some exciting news!! 🙂


MHC’s work on E-A-T mentioned in Google blog 

We were incredibly thrilled to see that Google linked to our post on E-A-T and SEO in their article discussed above on Core algorithm updates.

The fact that Google linked to us and several other amazing SEO’s who have written on the subject stirred up quite a controversy on SEO Twitter. If you’re interested in the drama, listen to Marie’s podcast for this week (embedded at the top of the episode) for her take on what people are upset over. 


A guide to internal linking

For this episode, we selected Callum Scott’s guide to internal linking which is part of our content series over on our Wix site. You can find some really great info surrounding internal links on main vs. supplemental content, best practices, HTML formatting of an internal link, common problems, and of course, how to implement them on Wix! Overall, this is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to brush up on internal linking!


Google Announcements

Google is launching a new property type in Analytics, called App + Web

This will allow you to combine app data with your web data in order to unify reporting and making analysis easier. This will be available as a beta to all Analytics and Analytics 360 accounts in the coming weeks.


Google SERP Changes

Google is now showing Suggested Clips in the SERPs, instead of taking users to YouTube

It overlays a video above the SERPs. Barry shows us how. First, search for “how to” content and you’ll likely get a clip from YouTube where you can watch it straight from the SERPs. The only problem? It could be taking away from YouTube creators. 


SEO Tips

Latest #AskGoogleWebmasters video

This episode answers how voice search is used in search console, and how the Google Assistant can affect this. John’s answer: voice search queries are already logged in Search Console, but is slightly different when using Google Assistant. Watch the full episode for more and don’t forget to submit your questions using the hashtag #AskGoogleWebmasters.


Bing says its guidelines on duplicate content are much more strict than that of other search engines


Google Help Hangout Tips

John Mueller says, no benefit to marking all outbound links as nofollow.

Some site owners choose to nofollow all of the outbound links because they don’t want to send the signal that they trust the site they are linking to. John stated in a recent webmasters hangout that assumption is wrong. He even goes beyond that, saying “… I suspect it’s even, on the contrary, that if you have normal linking on your page then you would probably rank a little bit better over time – essentially because we can see that you’re part of the normal web ecosystem. So it’s definitely not the case that you have any kind of ranking advantage by marking all outgoing links as nofollow.”


Can alt text be picked up by Google for FAQ content?

A user in a help hangout asked this question. John’s answer is that alt text on images could possibly be picked up for FAQ content by Google, but that it is better to have the text on the page within the HTML:

“I think theoretically we might be able to pick that up but practically I would recommend making sure that the text is actually visible on the page. So what kind of happens with the alt attribute for images is we do pull that into the page. So it's it's kind of on the page we can kind of see that. It's obviously not as good as if we have normal real HTML text that we can pull in. So that's one aspect. And on the other hand for the rich results types we do check to see if this text that you you've marked up - for example if you're using json-ld markup where it's not marking up the HTML itself - we do check to see if that is actually visible on the page. So that's something which is kind of colliding in a weird grey zone area where I would say it's possible that it would work, but it's definitely not not guaranteed and it's probably not something that I would try to rely on. So if you really need to have the FAQ rich results visible for your pages or if there's some other type of rich result type that you really want to target, then I'd recommend making sure that you're really using text on the page and not putting the text in images.”


Other Interesting News

Beware if your site has a paywall

People will be able to detect if you are in incognito mode with a Chrome “loophole” fix, and as a consequence Google unlocked 33% of paywalls for news sites on July 30th. WNIP tried to block this from happening with no luck, which means all payrolls were unlocked using Chrome 76. This will pose a major problem for some smaller publishing sites… 


Hey Dan, we couldn’t agree more! This needs to change!

There’s some good discussion on this thread with respect to options to implement this on Google’s end. Whether it’s labeled paywall, premium content, or whatever, we feel as though this type of content should be clearly identified in the SERPs.


An example of a Google Trends spike following a brand following a live TV appearance


Refunds from Nacho Analytics now underway

A quick note here, SpyFu is the creator of Nacho Analytics. It seems the webmaster pushback has helped people earn refunds!


Save the date! Eric Enge and Rand Fishkin to host a live webinar

Details: Thursday, August 8 @ 1 - 1:45 PM ET


Martin Splitt wants your web dev questions that aren't yet covered in Google's resources


Bing Webmaster Guidelines soon be refreshed. Have your say!

Bing is refreshing their Webmaster Guidelines and are asking for your thoughts on the current guidelines and for feedback on things you'd like to see addressed.


Donald Trump’s encounter with Google’s Sundar Pichai

Here’s an interesting tweet from Donald Trump which speaks about his recent meeting with Google’s CEO. It’s clear that he’s a little hesitant to trust Sundar’s words. 


 

Local SEO - Google SERP Changes

You might see an ad in the Local Scroll Pack

Sticking to the topic of the Local Scroll Pack, this recent update may have also initiated ads! Get a load of this:


A List View is now showing up in Google Trips results


Local SEO - Other Interesting News

Goodbye published/unpublished listings – GMB gets new identifiers


Someone notified GMB of an account offering their service of creating fake reviews

When you’re breaking Google’s guidelines, don’t expect that it’ll go unnoticed. If the webmasters don’t get you, Google likely will!


SEO Tools

FAQ Page schema generator


Recommended Reading

The Essential Guide to Managing Expired Content – Jes Scholz
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/the-essential-guide-to-managing-expired-content/318417/
July 30, 2019

EComms, job sites, classified sites, and event sites know all too well the frustrations of hundreds if not thousands of pages of expired content. Even more, that number seems to grow and grow as each day passes. Fortunately, Jes Scholz delivers an exceptional guide for handling expired content which covers six key considerations that help identify the optimal solution for webmasters. 

 

Perfecting XML Sitemaps – Barry Adams
https://searchnewscentral.com/blog/2019/08/02/perfecting-xml-sitemaps/
Aug 2, 2019

A sitemap is a staple in SEO and something that all sites should have, since it helps search engines understand how to crawl and index the pages of a website. In this article, Barry gives the tips he’s learned over the years for how to best optimize an XML sitemap, and what you need to know when creating one for your website. If you’re creating a sitemap for a new website, or just re-doing an old sitemap, we definitely recommend checking out this article.

 

Emerging Search Quality Signals: Clicks, Attention and Satisfaction – Dan Petrovic
https://dejanseo.com.au/cas/
July 29, 2019

Dan from Dejan Marketing discusses how Google’s usage of behaviour metrics (CAS - Clicks, Attention, and Satisfaction) is getting increasingly difficult to predict as non-linear SERP changes progress. With Google now featuring an increased number of no-click results, this ‘good abandonment’ phenomenon works well for them, but not so much for the average site owner. 

 

Long Term Duplicate Image Experiment – Shai Aharony
https://www.rebootonline.com/blog/long-term-duplicate-image-experiment/
July 29, 2019

We know that Google doesn’t like duplicate content. The algorithms will do all they can to keep exact duplicates of your pages out of their index, this is more or less common knowledge in the SEO world. In this article Shai Aharony and Reboot Online ask the questions and test if Google will give extra weight to articles that include original images not yet seen online. This is an extremely well conducted test worth a read through and the results will likely surprise you.

 

Entity Optimisation in 2019 Kevin Indig – Optimisey
https://optimisey.com/seo-advice/entity-optimisation-in-2019-kevin-indig/
Feb 19, 2019 

We’ve had this article on our radar for some time now but somehow we haven’t put it in newsletter yet! Here it is, Kevin Indig’s awesome talk (turned article) on entity optimisation. You can find plenty of actionable advice and tips for things to do on your own site. Seriously, give this one a read!

 

How to Earn Google Featured Snippets for Mobile: Large-scale Study – A.J. Ghergich
https://www.semrush.com/blog/how-to-earn-google-featured-snippets-mobile-study/
May 14, 2018

A.J. Ghergich analyzed 10 million mobile keywords and dissected 1.3 million featured snippets on Google. The study goes in depth about the anatomy of top featured snippets which is to say what do all of the top performers have in common. The study also talks about the architecture of how to establish your snippet and how to optimize for featured snippet. This is 100% a recommended read. 

 

How to track Discover in real-time – Valentin Pletzer
https://valentin.app/discover-tracking.html
Aug 1, 2019

This is a great article for those who are familiar with creating custom filters in Google Analytics, in order to use Analytics to track Discover referrer data. In case you are unfamiliar, Discover is the relatively new feed within Google Search that surfaces related topics and news based on your interests. Valentin walks you through how to set up a custom filter in Analytics that will differentiate between users who come from Google Search and users who come from Discover. 

 

Google to Capture & Learn Our Emotions on a Smartphone Camera? – Bill Slawski
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-emotions-smartphone-camera/318237/
July 29, 2019

Since his article on biometric parameters as a ranking factor in Google, Bill has been monitoring Google patents that involve using smartphones for monitoring emotions. He has found one that does exactly that. So what does this mean for ranking? Looking at a previous patent, it tells us that biometric parameters can indicate user engagement which affects the SERPs. 


Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

Review counts matter more to local business revenue than star ratings, according to study – Greg Sterling
https://searchengineland.com/review-counts-matter-more-to-local-business-revenue-than-star-ratings-according-to-study-320271
Aug 5, 2019

The small business SaaS provider, Womply, has released their data from a study where they examined over 200,000 small businesses in the US. This article is a great run-down of their key findings, but the one that caught our attention the most was that businesses with more than the average number of reviews is more strongly correlated with annual revenue performance than the star rating of that business.  Definitely check out this article since it has some more great insights on this finding, or if you're more interested in reading the full study from Womply, you can find it on their website.

 

Quality Visit Scores to Businesses May Influence Rankings in Google Local Search – Bill Slawski
https://gofishdigital.com/quality-visit-scores/
Aug 1, 2019

Bill Slawski reports on a recent patent that has been granted that teaches us how Google could be using “the frequency of repeat visits by one of more individuals to [a] physical location” to help account for inaccurate information on business’s real world locations in local search.

 

Do local citations matter anymore? Five local SEOs sound off – Greg Sterling
https://searchengineland.com/do-local-citations-matter-anymore-five-local-seos-sound-off-320015
July 30, 2019

Citations were always seen as a ranking factor, but this has since changed. Sterling decided to ask 5 local SEOs for their opinion on the matter. Are they still important? The consensus is that they aren’t as much as they used to be, but check out the full article for what they had to say! 

 

How To Do SEO For Multiple Location Businesses & Franchises – DFY Links
https://www.dfylinks.com/seo-for-multiple-locations/ 
July 29, 2019

SEO for multiple businesses can be difficult, but with the right tools and expertise, it’s certainly not impossible. This is a rather in-depth guide which discusses three key aspects of local SEO for multiple location: building a page for each location, proper Google integration, and link building (naturally of course!).

 

New research shows strong link between Google My Business photo quantity and search performance – Jamie Pitman
https://searchengineland.com/new-research-shows-strong-link-between-google-my-business-photo-quantity-and-search-performance-320199
Aug 1, 2019

This article is about a study where BrightLocal analyzed over 580,000 images across over 15,000 GMB listings to learn how GMB images could impact user behaviour. Overall, this article proves interesting. Looking at their findings, it may be worthwhile to invest time into getting more images on your GMB profile. Don’t know how to do this? No problem, this article has you covered. 


Jobs


Want More?

Paid members also get the following:

  • More on Google using scientific consensus as a trust factor
  • Google blog post on what we should now about core updates
  • Google announces evergreen rendering in their testing tools
  • Algo update improving featured snippets
  • Changes to Google Ads should provide additional benefit
  • A clever tip for researching old robots.txt files
  • How to claim your Knowledge Graph
  • From Google: Would a federal medical center benefit from adding doctor author bios?
  • More from Google on duplicate content
  • Is hidden text on a page always against Google’s guidelines?
  • Should an eCommerce store have a separate page for every product variation?
  • Interesting case study...seeing traffic increases immediately following a disavow
  • GMB is showing People Also Ask (PAA) within the businesses Knowledge Panel
  • The Local Scroll Pack has changed!
  • Need a reason to track GMB calls separately?
  • Lighthouse offers additional insight
  • A lesson in HTTP request headers
  • Generate redirect codes
  • Substantial growth in links showing in GSC?  What gives?
  • Domino’s Pizza still in a legal battle surrounding web accessibility
  • My tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO and Local SEO articles

Note: If you are seeing the light version and you are a paid member, be sure to log in (in the sidebar on desktop or below the post on mobile) 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 recommend Marie's newsletter.
Paul Macnamara - Offers SEO Consulting at PaulMacnamara.com


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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