In September, I attended both the DC Digital Marketing Summit and the Advanced Search Summit. I really learned a ton from both shows, but the one new idea that I took away from the Digital Marketing Summit was this:
Turn whitepapers into audio files for more consumption
Did you know that reading a white paper can take up to 2 hours? Are you pushing whitepapers? SAP actually hired voice-over artists to read the white paper. The end result was an audio file that was 39 minutes vs 2 hours, and it performed at 144% of the plan. If you’re in an industry that utilizes white papers to publish research, you should test out turning them into video files.
And without further ado, here’s the rest of the updates from last month:
Google Announcements and Updates
The old Google Search Console has been officially retired.
FYI, the change of address tool is now here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/change-address. There are other valuable tools in the new interface, like this:
A big change in desktop search snippets for recipe queries
The SERPS now only shows recipes that have structured data markup in a card fashion with a big “more” button that just displays more recipes marked up with schema.org markup. I think its time for every website with recipes to ensure that they have that markup in place.
Google provides more snippet controls
Google rolled out more “controls” to websites who want to be specific about what is showing in the search snippet. You can now adjust the robots meta header with the following options:
This is an existing option to specify that you don’t want any textual snippet shown for this page.
New! Specify a maximum text-length, in characters, of a snippet for your page.
New! Specify a maximum duration in seconds of an animated video preview.
New! Specify a maximum size of image preview to be shown for images on this page, using either, “none”, “standard,” or “large”.
You can read the announcement here.
New Google Search News YouTube series with John Mueller
In an amusing new format, @johnmu covers the latest search news. Check it out on their YouTube channel:
Google Search Console now has fresher data
You can now see data as fresh as a day old! It’s a bit of improvement over the lag that used to exist when using this data source.
Search Console is rolling out the new and long anticipated 🥁 fresher data for the Search Performance report 🎉 You’ll now have data as recent as less than a day old! 🚀 https://t.co/pjaMtJ0d5C pic.twitter.com/OSRt0Og6ah
— Google Webmasters (@googlewmc) September 23, 2019
Google Search Console now has a breadcrumb markup report
If you check in your “enhancements” section you’ll now see any errors that might exist with your current breadcrumb markup. It looks like this:
Here’s Google’s announcement about the report:
Great news, we have a new report on Search Console 📢 As of today, if you have Breadcrumb 🍞 structured data in your site, you'll see a new report under Enhancements (see screenshot). Check if you have errors and get to work! 🛠️ pic.twitter.com/b8I4vbJwb9
— Google Webmasters (@googlewmc) September 19, 2019
French copyright law to impact global publishers
Google Search will remove the display of text snippets, video previews, and thumbnail images from your property(s) in France based on a new copyright law beginning late October. Here’s the tweet global news sites will be seeing:
— Marty Meany [Insert tech event here] (@martinmeany) September 25, 2019
Google’s webmaster conference
Google is hosting a webmaster conference at its Googleplex headquarters on November 4, 2019. If you want to attend, you can learn more here.
Updates to the Google Human Rater Guidelines
The updated sections focused on news content, video content, YMYL and EAT. There’s an ongoing emphasis for bios of authors on website (especially if they are YMYL sites) and on what is considered high-quality video content. You can read the overview of the changes here. This was announced along with their blog post about elevating original news reporting in search.
Google Announced new link attributes – Nofollow, Sponsored, & UGC
Here’s the Google Announcement:
Today, we’ve announced two new link attributes – “sponsored” and “ugc” – that join “nofollow” as ways to identify the nature of links. All will now work as hints about which links Google Search should consider or exclude for ranking purposes. More details:https://t.co/V6X2xjEC5L
— Google Webmasters (@googlewmc) September 10, 2019
This chart from Moz has the best explanation of the new change:
Here’s the key takeaway:
You don’t have to do anything to change your existing internal link set up.
Unless you’re using nofollow internally to control crawling, then Google recommends that you make a change. As of March 1, 2020, Google started viewing nofollow attributes as a “hint” anyway.
If you’re a large enterprise site using nofollow on faceted navigation to control how Google crawls your internal search functions, you should keep an eye on how Google is handing discovering that content on your site, and you might have to come up with different options to control this crawling moving forward.
New Structured Data Markup for Movie Carousels
Check it out here. It looks like this:
Like the recipes schema.org example above, this would be critical if you are in the media industry marketing movies.
More Bing SEO tips
Ever since I realized that 45% off voice devices are powered by Bing, I’ve been obsessed with collecting SEO best practices regarding Bing optimization, and I found a new resource that I wanted to share with you.
If you’re more interested in listening there’s a YouTube video that reviews the highlights.
Bing: New search results Snippet Test
Bing is testing a new layout within their Search results snippets that shows multiple tabs in a carousel that searchers can scroll through. Here’s a preview courtesy of a user on Twitter:
TikTok now has video search
If you are following the Chinese social media platform TikTok, it now has the ability to search in-video for products and buy those products directly. You can also search in the video for someone’s face to find more videos of them. The takeaway is that the capacity for machine learning to identify images within a video accurately has made leaps and bounds. Searching without using text is really going to be our future and as marketers, we need to pay attention.
Twitter Audio Grams
In the “new to me” category, I was introduced to the DC Digital Marketing Summit last month.
Using Audiograms, you can convert your audio using the service into engaging videos that you can then share online.
Impact of URLs with 5xx status
In a recent Google Hangout, Mueller confirmed that If a server error is shown on a page for as long as a week, Google will reduce the crawling of that page and remove it from the index. However, they will still ping the page intermittently to see if the content is available again.
Improving rankings can take 10-12 months
Even with good evergreen content, ranking can take some time. Here’s a presentation that I attended at Advanced Search Summit where the SEO from Conde Nast presented his work merging content into one powerful evergreen piece:
— Simon Heseltine (@SimonHeseltine) September 19, 2019
Even with some really smart content consolidation driven by SEO data, each effort took months to see results. SEO is definitely a long game.
The difference between Google Search Console ranking and SEO ranking
FYI: While we as SEOs talk about ranking “zero” if we land a Featured Snippet, Google Search Console will show that as ranking in position #1. John Meuller from Google explains more in this video:
New Tools and Resources
Grab your website’s Reddit mentions:
How handy is this? It’s like the hack that Annie Cushing found for Pinterest, but it’s for finding your Reddit mentions. HT to @IrishWonder
New Feature Announcement from BrightEdge
Supposedly Bright Edge customers can put “put SEO on autopilot” with their latest version of their software. Supposedly their BrightEdge Autopilot will identify and perform SEO tasks including:
- Duplicate content issues
- Broken links
- Mobile issues
- Page performance
- Infrastructure issues
However, the brands that they shared (Campbell’s) is a CPG brand that probably has not done SEO previously and is not in a competitive SEO space (where I think you still need a real live SEO to help you increase your organic traffic). Here are the Campbell Soup results they found after only taking one day to set up the new BrightEdge Autopilot:
- 4,000 keywords moved to Page 1.
- 75,000 images were compressed automatically.
- 35% of pages earned a faster mobile page speed.
- There was an overall 5-second load time improvement.
The SEO conversation around this announcement is a must-read.
Free GA Powered Heatmap
Amazing – a Free Google Analytics Powered Heatmap – provided by Crazy Egg! If you’ve ever tried using the Google Analytics click overlay options they have had throughout the years, you know that they are all awful. And sometimes it’s really handy to know where your audience is clicking on your website. Well, Crazy Egg just realized a new free heatmap tool that is powered by your GA data. Definitely worth checking out.
Share a link to a website that is not yours, but with a call to action back to YOUR website
Yes, really. That’s what http://snip.ly/ will let you do. You can share links to other articles via social media but with a call to action back to your own website. It comes with analytics too (of course). I’m going to try this out this week and I’ll report back on how well it goes over.
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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