October was busy for me with lots of new opportunities, existing client work and a family wedding in Maine that we attended. It was a busy month for SEO updates too.
Here are the search updates in October that I thought you shouldn’t miss:
Impact of Google’s 20th Anniversary announcements on SEO
Google celebrated their 20th Anniversary, and there’s a great article here about that announcement that I think every SEO should read.
Here is the takeaway: Google is working to influence (and change/guide) the searcher’s next search and overall search journey.
If you haven’t already, you need to think about developing supporting content that keeps your user on your site – answering the next step in the search journey.
Google Algorithm update – adjusting for brand strength?
A very interesting analysis of the major updates this year and how the themes seem to be that sites which do well had good EAT, user experience, and brand signals. You can’t just write about topics you don’t know well and rank anymore. Especially if you’re a small brand. And if you’re not working to develop a brand affinity with your existing user base, that needs to be on your list for this year.
Google Algorithm update – Stay in your lane and check your online reputation
There’s some great analysis about the September update by Glen Gabe. Marie Haynes has some really great analysis about the update, too, but the big takeaway is that Google seems to be decreasing rankings for sites that are trying to rank for topics that are not within their realm of expertise.
Here’s the relevant quote from the article:
Google is clearly trying to surface results from experts when it comes to YMYL topics and doesn’t want to surface content from someone without that necessary expertise.
So when planning your site content (or auditing your site content). Think about whether you *should* rank for those queries. Do your writers know enough about the topic? Is the content relevant to your readers and site visitors?
Google: Author Authority seems to be a ranking factor
Inside the Google Quality Raters’ Guidelines, you’ll see instructions for the Quality Raters to look for external information about websites and also about “content creators” or, in other words, authors. Gary Illyes shared at Pubcon Austin that E-A-T is primarily based on what authoritative sites are saying about you:
I asked Gary about E-A-T. He said it's largely based on links and mentions on authoritative sites. i.e. if the Washington post mentions you, that's good.
— Marie Haynes (@Marie_Haynes) February 21, 2018
If you need the 411 about the Rater Guidelines and prefer to learn information via video, you should check out Marie’s talk at BrightonSEO:
Google using different ranking signals for top rankings?
A fascinating analysis and study from Search Love London looking at the factors that impact the top Google page one rankings and how they might be different than the lower rankings. If you have a site chasing head terms with high volume, you should check it out:
Google may move info from the Quality Raters’ Guidelines into their webmaster guidelines
I missed this tidbit from a Google help hangout in early September. Thanks to Deep Crawl for their help hangout summaries for finding this!
In 2013, we published our human rating guidelines to provide transparency on how Google works and to help webmasters understand what Google looks for in web pages. Source
Google: More content is not better
I have seen various sites that need to hear this tidbit from Google’s John Mueller:
Just putting out more content doesn't necessarily make a site better.
— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) October 21, 2018
Google: Send examples of other sites outranking you when you are the original source
The question came up during a recent Google Webmaster Hangout. If this has happened to you, you can send your example to @johnmu.
But…does Google “know” SEO?
This is an awesome article to read if you work in SEO. It highlights examples of where internally Google did not use SEO best practices on their own products.
Didn’t get across the pond for Brighton SEO 2018?
You can find all of the slides and videos from that show here
Moz has acquired Stat!
This month, Moz has acquired GetStat, which will be an exciting partnership for SEO ranking and management tools. Read more about the announcement here.
Google is the dominant search engine ….by a mile
Here’s some recent data from Sparktoro highlighting that especially in the US, Google is the top engine with basically no competitors. Just look at the percentages:
Google Assistant can help sell your product for you.
Based on this recent Google announcement, developers will be able to add a feature to their Google Assistant Actions that allow in-action purchases of digital goods. They have also streamlined the purchase process. Once Assistant users purchase a digital good, they can now use the Google Sign-In for the Assistant tool to leverage their Google accounts to sign up for each purchase Action via voice or a few taps. Users can also go through the entire purchase journey via voice alone.
Google rolled out an update captcha
They’ve rolled out reCAPTCHA v3. The best part is that users no longer need to solve challenges. (Personally, I’m excited about this, as I’m HORRIBLE at solving them for some reason – especially the photo-based ones). Watch this video to learn more:
Log file analysis 101
This is a great 101 session by Moz about what log files are and how to use them.
GTM Copy Paste Extension
New to me, but we now have a free Chrome Extension that helps you copy GTM tags, triggers, and variables from one account to another.
Google Assistant is testing of AI-based Duplex technology in select cities
Google announced that Pixel users in New York, Atlanta, Phoenix, and the San Francisco Bay Area will soon be able to experience the new feature in the Google Assistant, powered by Google Duplex technology, aimed at restaurants. As a user, you’ll be able to get your Google Assistant to book a table for you. This technology was originally announced at Google’s I/O ’18.
Interesting insights about Baidu
If you are working on ranking in the Chinese search engine, you might find the tips from this tweet useful:
Small takeaways I got about Baidu:
– noindex is not used
– canonical is not used
– hreflang is not used
– .cn ccTLD is almost a must to rank well
– only way to remove pages from Baidu index is to serve a 404 and submit the pages through Baidu Webmaster Tools
brb. crying. 😭
— Masaki Okazawa (@saksters) October 26, 2018
Surprising results from SEO A/B Tests
Not only is this a fascinating read if you’re working on A/B SEO test for clients, but he provides a link to a DIY SEO split testing tool they created and that is available for free.
And that’s it for this month. Good luck limiting your Halloween candy consumption! And if you focus on technical SEO, remember that next month there’s the Tech SEO Boost event in Boston, with a free live stream. Stay tuned for updates.
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