July was a busy month for me where I was able to join other amazing panelists (Duane Forester, Evan Kirstel John Morabito, and Mike Cooley) at the Voice Summit in Newark to talk about the opportunities with voice search. Here’s the photo proof:
Here’s what I picked up while at the event:
- While the US is Alexa driven, Google Assistant is the big player in other countries.
- Brand personas are critical for voice app development if you’re going to have a voice actor provide the voice.
- FAQ schema markup on your page can not only potentially give you a rich result in Google search, but could also be triggered on Assistant with a default FAQ action. This is also super easy to do if you’re using Yoast’s SEO plugin.
Before we get into the updates…
You should take action on this important legislation that impacts your use of the Internet.
If you’re a citizen of the Internet you should let your senators know you oppose this bill. More info and a place to take action is here:
As explained by the Electronic Freedom Foundation:
“the bill would supercharge a “copyright troll” industry dedicated to filing as many “small claims” on as many Internet users as possible in order to make money through the bill’s statutory damages provisions …This bill creates a situation where Internet users could easily be on the hook for multiple $5,000 copyright infringement judgments without many of the traditional legal safeguards or rights of appeal our justice system provides…(most importantly the bill) does not require any proof of harm or illicit profit, or proof that the copyright holder has registered their work”
And without further ado, here are the big news items this month:
GOOGLE ANNOUNCEMENTS AND UPDATES
Google Announces June 2019 Broad Core Algorithm Update. Though Google officially says that there is nothing to do.
And this update did drive a few companies out of business.
If your site got hit, you can ping us for a traffic decrease assessment.
AMP powered mobile swipe – more traffic to publishers from image search.
Google just upped the argument for rolling out AMP on your pages if you are image-heavy. Users can now swipe and your website will load directly from image search. You only get this feature if you’re already using AMP pages. Here’s an animated gif of how it works:
Google finally adds the swipe to visit (swipe up on image results) to see AMP articles https://t.co/hlKdH12oIi pic.twitter.com/68Zh3Hg5Pv
— Barry Schwartz (@rustybrick) July 26, 2019
It also seems like tracking interaction with these elements will be an issue as they are dumped into the organic traffic bucket.
Google News SERP changes
Google has changed how Google news displays on search and is now only showing one result per news story (vs showing multiple news outlets/perspectives per story. You can get more of an explanation, including the before and after layout in this article.
Before and After: Search Engine Land
Heads up that you may see decreased or increased traffic from Google news if you are running a Google news site. This is dependent on whether you get that single article card or not.
Ask Google Webmasters YouTube Series
The first #AskGoogleWebmasters YouTube Video Series is out. Here’s the announcement:
We've got a new show coming in hot ?
Subscribe now to catch the first episode and check out the teaser below to learn more. #AskGoogleWebmasters and your questions could be answered, hosted by @JohnMu.
Subscribe here → https://t.co/yvJjJaOdWo pic.twitter.com/JZ9mmTNA95
— Google Webmasters (@googlewmc) July 11, 2019
You can view the first one here:
Hotel Schema.org Markup
Google just announced that they are supporting a range of hotel schema.org markup in search results. Considering Google’s role in the travel space, you can’t help but wonder if this markup would be beneficial to the business or will result in Google scraping their listings for their own travel solution? This would definitely be something you’d have to test.
Forward this to all of your developer friends!
Google no longer supporting noindex directives in Robots.txt
As of their announcement, Google will no longer support noindex directives in the robots.txt. Here’s their announcement. Google has also published (last month) more information about how they use and recommend formatting your Robots.txt file.
Tech SEO Boost in Boston – ticket lottery is open
The show is in December this year, but the lottery for free face to face tickets and registration for the live stream is now open. This is the BEST conference for technical SEO. Enter the lottery here.
What technical issues will Google fix for you?
Here’s A great video replay from SMX Advanced that covers the type of technical goofs that Google will most likely fix for you and you should not prioritize as a technical fix.
Great tutorial on how to Identify, test, and Reduce Render-Blocking Resources
Not only does this article have great data points on why you’d want to increase your page load speed and the critical rendering path based on user research studies, but it also walks through how to use webpagetest.org and Chrome Dev Tools to identify which resources are not critical to render the above-the-fold content and could be deferred. You can read more here.
Interested in infinite scroll/lazy loading & SEO?
Virtual scrollers are discussed in this Google SEO Myth Busting video. This can impact ecommerce product listing pages and long-form content as well.Google is working on making these visual scrollers so that they work with search.
Twitter shares might help you get a Google discover card.
Check out the study here. Findings: Crappy machine-generated content + a bunch of Twitter shares = Google Discover card.
| Please |
| Retweet |
| Testing Something |
— JR%20Oakes ? (@jroakes) July 2, 2019
Holy crap BAM! Thanks for all the retweets. Findings: Crappy machine-generated content + a bunch of Twitter shares = Google Discover card. https://t.co/sXtoylnX9z pic.twitter.com/pudHXdwcNO
— JR%20Oakes ? (@jroakes) July 2, 2019
Experts need to write YMYL content
Google states that it would make the most sense to have medical experts write your medical content. duh!
Featured Snippets Resources
- First off, there were a bunch of great resources shared recently from Britney Muller’s presentation at MozCon and elsewhere that I wanted to share.
- Great insights on this podcast about how to find, track, and keep featured snippets.
- Featured Snippet measurement. You can tag all of the featured snippets you currently own in e.g STAT, and then set up an alert to notify you if you gain or lose a featured snippet.
Start word triggers for featured snippets:
- There is no way to measure if you’re getting traffic from a FS in your analytics. :=( And as you’ll see later in this post, if the voice snippet is read as an audio answer you won’t see the traffic at all anywhere.
- If you provide summaries (or tl;drs) at the end of your content, you might very well get more featured snippets @BritneyMuller #MozCon
- You can get Featured Snippets from LinkedIn posts.
Bright Local rolled out a new local SEO benchmark study
The BrightLocal study specifically looking at Google My Business listings. Some of the findings?
- Businesses had an average of 11 photos.
- More complete GMB listings result in more overall clicks. Google even states that a business profile that is complete will get on average 7x more clicks than empty ones. Health and fitness listings average a 6% conversion rate.
Google replacing voice search with Google Assistant on Android devices
This is a sign that voice searches done on Android device will be even more personalized than before. Here’s the announcement.
This also means less traffic in Google SEarch Console asIn the second episode of #AskGoogleWebmasters, John Mueller mentioned that voice searches conducted through Google Assistant and answered verbally do not show as an impression in Google Search Console.
Pew Internet study on YouTube popularity
Research around what works on YouTube is rare, which is why you should read the full study here which digs into the data behind the most popular YouTube Channels.
Here are the useful tidbits :
- Certain video title keywords were associated with increased view counts. For instance, videos mentioning words like “Fortnite,” “prank” or “worst” received more than 5 times as many views at the median as videos not mentioning those words.
- Effective channels cross promoted their videos to other social media channels, and 7 in 10 of these videos mentioned other prominent social media platforms such as Instagram or Twitter in their description (either in links or in the text itself). SO optimize those video descriptions folks!
VidCon YouTube updates
Here are the updates that I think are most impactful:
- YouTube stars are growing followers on TikTok and move them over to YouTube to monetize those followers.new channel membership levels. 5 different price points.
- YT is providing more merchandising options for large channels.
- YouTube is working on rolling out Learning Playlists are playlists optimized for educational material, which Mohan says YouTube is rolling out in “a cautious fashion” with high-profile channels such as CrashCourse and Khan Academy. They allow such creators to collect videos into course-like collections, and remove the “Watch Next” module that might otherwise divert a viewer’s attention. “You get a much more focused experience,” says Mohan. You need to work directly with YouTube to be part of the program. Here’s more about the program and can check out the new Learning channel here and read their tips about becoming a YouTube educator here.
- YouTube Giving now allows creators to add a donation button to their channel, with 100% of funds going to charities selected by the creator from a list of approved organizations.
Latest Video SEO presentation from Justin Briggs – from VidCon
Any presentation from Justin is a must to add to your reading pile. In this presentation he breaks down the four different YouTube algorithms based on the feature – there’s one for the homepage, for YouTube search, for news content and for suggestions, and he outlines how those change once you log in.
He also highlights Google’s computer vision and how it helps the engine spot objects in the videos, and how it can “listen” to the audio. He even goes into how to use ScreamingFrog to scrap a competitor’s YouTube video keywords! Amazing as usual.
Potential option for tracking Google Discover Traffic in your Analytics
If you’ve been reading these monthly updates (or my blog in general) you know that I’ve been frustrated that much of the Google ecosystem does not send specific referrers to your web analytics, and most gets caught as “direct”.
There’s a potential work around for how to set up a Google Analytics filter to track the traffic that comes from Google Discover. As mentioned in the article the author found this work around due to the fact that he was:
“able to confirm that indeed the official Google Android app is sending https://www.google.com as a referrer – but only if a user clicks on a recommendation card (aka Google Discover) since a search will always open a browser/webview with a typical result page and this will send a “normal” referrer.”
Sometimes local ranking is easier
Only 5.7% of pages published will rank in Google top 10 in one year – but research shows that ranking in the local pack in search can happen faster:
Only 5.7% of all newly published pages will get to Google top 10 w/in a year – but ranking in the local 3-pack can take less than a day. @JoyanneHawkins #mozcon
— Ruth Burr Reedy (@ruthburr) July 17, 2019
NEW TOOLS AND RESOURCES
“Search Engine” of Google Data Studio Resources
Someone has created a “search” interface (using Google Data Studio) to help you search for other Google Data Studio templates and tweets about Google Data Studio resources. I’m bookmarking this one.
Need to optimize a Wix site?
While historically they have been impossible to optimize, they have made some SEO friendly changes and the team at Marie Haynes Consulting is documenting the ways in which you can optimize a WIX site here.
Fast image modification tools
Just a collection of images modifications tools that I’ve bookmarked recently:
- Automatically remove the background from an image in seconds with remove.bg.
- Copy this script into a bookmark to see the image entity search tags associated with an image https://gist.github.com/natzir/6307ea16113a74616d63a99cb7c06faa
- Resize images but keep the image quality: Optimizilla and Squoosh.
Didn’t get a chance to attend? There’s notes and links to every presentation in this shared Evernote notebook. It’s totally worth a quick look.
Study shows that Facebook use causes reduced sense of well-being
Time to reduce my personal Facebook usage…You can read the study here. In fact, Edison Research has found that users are leaving Facebook by the millions. Another study shows that those people who leave Facebook are happier but less informed.
Toddler search engine?
And this Google patent that Bill Slawski uncovered related to a search engine for toddlers is frightening as a parent. My children will not be participating.
P.S. Thanks for taking the time to read my post and geek out about search, social and analytics with me! I get my inspiration for post topics from other SEOs and in-house marketers struggling with digital marketing strategy and implementation questions, so if you like this post, please…
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