Here we go. There is only one update for August, and I’m realize that I’m posting it in September.
This is not because there weren’t any updates (in fact, there was a big Google “broad core” algorithm update). There’s a great SEO community discussion about the update on this Twitter thread that I think is worth reading.
There were no update posts because I spent a week in the hospital with my youngest daughter (she’s OK now) and the entire family got hit with hand, foot, and mouth disease. It was quite a whirlwind of sickness. We’re all on the mend, and ready for a new month.
Here are the updates:
Google specific updates:
Changes to Google’s structured data recommendations
Google has made a couple changes to their structure data recommendations for non-AMP article pages, and now recommends that you add datePublished and dateModified to those pages.
New Rich Snippet layouts announced
Gary Illyes from Google announced that there are new rich snippet layouts coming to the SERPs. The new features function for FAQs, Q&As and ‘How to’ sections, and will display in a similar fashion as how Reddit and Quora pages currently display in the SERPs.
Google updates rich snippets for comparison queries
The announcement is here. It’s a quick read but really useful. Here’s what the new rich snippet will look like:
Google releases study of daily habits with Google Home
The Google announcement is here and the results are not that surprising. If you are a news site, you should have voice optimization on your roadmap if it’s not already implemented. If you’re not entirely sure how to optimize for voice search then check out my post based on my presentation at the Voice Summit.
Google may look at 5 million factors in ranking
Bill Slawski is looking at a newly filed patent from Google which outlines that they may look at 5 million factors in ranking. As you know, SEO is complicated folks.
New research, patents and case studies:
Why ongoing promotion of online content is important
An aha moment for me when I saw Bill Slawski’s tweet based on a Google patent, and I suggest you all give it a good read: https://twitter.com/bill_slawski/status/1032651819430830081?s=09
Can you hack the Chrome back button to get usability metrics on competitors?
Check out what @DejanSEO was able to accomplish —before Google took it down.
Modifying your site’s architecture for an SEO win
This is a great guide by Cyrus Shepard that walks through the ways you can modify your site’s architecture to increase your SEO rankings and traffic. I’ve tried a few of these with clients in the past and have seen similar results.
New tutorial on how to land a video featured snippet “suggested clips”
Here is a great how-to if you are a publisher with a lot of instructional “how to” videos and you think you can position your content to claim this top spot.
Google patent: using Biometric parameters as a ranking signal
Seeing this patent overview by Bill Slawski made me smile. It covers a patent where Google might use your eye movement while looking at search results on your phone (by using your camera) to evaluate whether or not the search results are solving your searcher’s intent. See the image below:
When Google got into wearable computers with Google glass, I remember folks were curious as to why Google was getting into the wearables market, my answer was based on my understanding of wearable computer development and my over a decade of SEO experience- Google was conducting a huge eye tracking experiment to improve their search results. As it turns out, it wasn’t a conspiracy theory – it was true.
News Content Specific Updates:
Is Google News biased?
This was prompted by Trump’s tweet regarding Google being biased. In response, Barry Adams wrote a great article about how Google News works. The answer isn’t entirely cut and dry. This is a must read if you’re a news publisher.
Criteria for being included in Bing NewsDon’t forget that there IS another search engine here in the US! If you want to grab traffic from the Bing news feed, then here are their requirements. And if you meet their requirements, you can submit your site here.
Free quality rater feedback for news publishers
This is the top gem that I discovered last in August. As covered by Glenn Gabe, there is a Newsguard system (which comes with a Chrome plugin) that uses real journalists to evaluate your site across the same standards as Google does for their EAT criteria in the Human Rater guidelines. Check out the post and plugin.
Estimate your Dark Social traffic
Did you know that when users share your content via email or Facebook messenger, or WhatsApp, you won’t see that traffic in your Google Analytics reports? It can’t be attributed and will show up as “direct”. The amount of this “dark” social sharing is potentially huge, and now there a free tool to help you estimate how much of your direct traffic is actually dark social.
Content Pruning SEO Case study
This post looks at how QuickBooks nearly doubled its traffic by pruning its content – almost deleting half of its content.
New tools (and features):
Checking page load speed in bulk
You can set up this tool to check for any changes on a website – the robots.txt or server responses, page title changes etc. It’s great if you have a lot of people working on the site that impacts SEO.
SERPsimm is a cool bulk SERP simulation tool. You can upload a URL and it will show you what that URL looks like in search and then you can share that snippet with your writers. Here is an example:
I just signed up for this beta. You add a URL and it will read articles to you. I’ve been waiting for a tool like this. It’s kind of like Pocket’s Listen, but it works for any URL.
Moz’ NEW Link Intersect Tool
If you’re doing link building for a client, you really need to check this out. Moz had a great tutorial that walks you through how to use the tool.
Simulate your SERPs on Mobile and based on location
Finally, a free tool to do this that isn’t Google Ad Planner. Check it out.
And that’s it from me. I’ll be busy this fall training a ton of new and old clients on SEO best practices. If you’re interested in joining, drop me a note!
PS: Thanks for taking the time out to read my post and geek out about SEO with me! I get my inspiration for post topics from other SEOs and in-house marketers struggling with SEO strategy and implementation questions, so if you like this post, please…
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