Ep. 166 - Jan. 13, 2021 - Light Version

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In this episode, we discuss a possible algorithm update last week, more on the December core update and what it may mean, GSC updates including it now reporting on Google News (finally!), some quick SEO wins, and more!

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The following topics are covered in the premium version of this episode:

  • Possible algorithm update January 7-9
  • Interesting observations re the December Core update in regards to intent
  • The December Core update may have lowered the dial on authority for some queries
  • Did Google replace the BERT algorithm with SMITH?
  • An update to the Google Search Console Coverage report
  • Google Search Console now reporting on Google News
  • Quick SEO wins
  • You’ve updated a URL slug and both URLs are showing as indexed…what now?
  • What’s the daily limit on the ‘Request indexing’ tool?
  • Google comments on the usage of hreflang between different countries, but the same language
  • Is it necessary to link all pages on your site from your homepage?
  • WordPress emoji script are likely causing code bloat (plus why code bloat should be mitigated)
  • In case you ever wondered about the max number of URLs you can disallow in your robots.txt file…
  • How rule-breaking sites continue to rank well
  • John Mueller’s recent guest spot on a podcast — here’s what we learned
  • Odd case where scraped copy outranked the originating site
  • Google says they’re in the process of improving its robots.txt tool
  • Recap: Google discusses local ranking factors
  • You can filter GMB Insights queries by month and why it’s useful
  • How to change/update the reviews seen in a knowledge panel
  • Our tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO articles
You’ll also have access to all past episodes, including this one.
I


Algorithm Updates

Don’t forget to annotate this date in Google Analytics

Much like the US Election Day and other major events, it may be worth annotating January 6th. There may have been fluctuations in traffic, uncorrelated to anything that is directed related to your domain. 

Ahrefs Tip of the Week

Use Ahrefs’ Toolbar to easily see the SERPS from different countries (Sponsored, but good for everyone!)

If you do SEO work with clients who are outside of your country, this tool can really help.

To test this, we did a search for “ski goggles” and compared the results after selecting “United States” vs “United Kingdom”. For the UK results, we saw the shopping results being listed in pounds vs dollars, and we could easily compare our client’s SERPs as seen by a US visitor to what a UK searcher would see.

uk results for ski goggles

You also get loads of information, right in the search results showing Ahrefs statistics such as their estimated Domain Rank (DR), the number of linking domains, the number of keywords each page ranks for and more.ahrefs stats in serps

Google Announcements

Confirmed: subtopics are now live

In Google’s post in which they described passage based ranking, they also spoke on something they call, “subtopics”.

Google on subtopics

Danny Sullivan says this went live in mid-November.

In Marie’s podcast episode this week she will chat a little about this change and how we should be paying attention to it as SEO’s. It may give us some better understanding of how Google’s interpretation of intent is changing for many keywords.

 

View Search Console News queries in Google Data Studio

Google Search Console can now completely integrate with Google Data Studio. Once authorized, you can easily create customized reports based on your new data sources. If you’re new to Google Data Studio, check out this tutorial to create a new report.

SEO Tips

This item is commonly overlooked when conducting a website migration

Don’t forget about images! As Kristina points out below, they are something very important to consider in your migration plan. 

Other Interesting News

Google could be switching Chrome’s address bar to HTTPS by default

Yep, that’s right. If you haven’t yet made the switch to HTTPS, you may want to. Google Chrome will begin prioritizing sites that are secure when you type directly into the search bar. After a few seconds, if no secure site is found, it’ll then default to the HTTP version. To maximize your traffic and prioritize your site, you should look into HTTPS. Google has described it as a lightweight ranking factor, but we’re confident that this and other user experience metrics will continue to grow in weight over time.

Local SEO

We’re still in the green on BrightLocal’s algo flux tool. There is no indication of an algorithm update or major change with a steady flux currently seen.

local flux

Local SEO - Google Announcements

Google launches new Google My Business performance reporting

If you log in to your GMB Insights, you’ll notice that it says they’re moving. There are now metrics you can see with more to come in the next few months. You can see how people discovered you and what search term they used and your messages and calls within 6 months. However, a lot of website metrics are missing such as whether they found you on Search vs. Maps, or website clicks. To learn more, read Barry’s article on the changes.

SEO Tools

Looking at Sitebulb in 2020 

Before we archive 2020 and pretend it never happened, we thought we’d have a quick look back at some of the developments our sponsor, Sitebulb has gone through this year.

Sitebulb have added a whole host of new SEO auditing features recently. Including site-wide structured data testing, crawl scheduling, point & click content extraction, and loads more.

So if you’ve been meaning to give Sitebulb a try, now is a great time. As a one of our listeners, you can get a special, 60 day, extended trial licence at Sitebulb.com/SearchNews

Recommended Reading

21 Smart Google SEO Tips for 2021 – Cyrus Shepard
https://moz.com/blog/21-seo-tips-2021
January 8, 2021

Cyrus Shepard’s article is filled with amazing tips that could help you optimize your site’s SEO. One thing to keep in mind is to make sure you have mobile link parity between your desktop and mobile setups, as you don’t want to miss out on any link equity. Read the article for more great tips! 

 

Beyond Trends: 4 Key Activities To Maximize and 3 Aspects To Stop For Your 2021 SEO Success – Aleyda Solis
https://www.aleydasolis.com/en/search-engine-optimization/seo-success-this-year/
January 5, 2021

The wonderful Aleyda Solis outlines a series of must-do and must-avoid SEO activities that impact your site’s search performance. Be sure to check out the article for more detailed explanations along with key questions to ask yourself for each item and tips for best achieving these.

 

Getting Tech SEO Implemented – Areej AbuAli
https://www.areejabuali.com/blog/getting-tech-seo-implemented
January 10, 2021 

This article comes from Areej AbuAli and she introduces her “RPI Framework”, which we’re totally expecting to catch on. “RPI” stands for recommend, prioritize, and implement, and is Areej’s framework for getting technical SEO recommendations actually implemented by clients. The premise is that, whether or not you’re on the client-side or agency-side of things in SEO, technical problems are people problems; using Areej’s RPI Framework, you can help bridge the gap and get more recommendations actually implemented.

Recommended Reading (Local SEO)

Expert Local SEO Predictions for 2021 – Stephanie Newton
https://www.brightlocal.com/blog/expert-local-seo-predictions-for-2021/
January 11, 2021 

Brightlocal reflects on local SEO predictions for 2020 and what experts predict for 2021. Give this brief article a read for more information that could potentially help your business to get ahead of the game.

Want More?

Premium members also get the following:

It’s well worth the $18 per month!

The following topics are covered in the premium version of this episode:

  • Possible algorithm update January 7-9
  • Interesting observations re the December Core update in regards to intent
  • The December Core update may have lowered the dial on authority for some queries
  • Did Google replace the BERT algorithm with SMITH?
  • An update to the Google Search Console Coverage report
  • Google Search Console now reporting on Google News
  • Quick SEO wins
  • You’ve updated a URL slug and both URLs are showing as indexed…what now?
  • What’s the daily limit on the ‘Request indexing’ tool?
  • Google comments on the usage of hreflang between different countries, but the same language
  • Is it necessary to link all pages on your site from your homepage?
  • WordPress emoji script are likely causing code bloat (plus why code bloat should be mitigated)
  • In case you ever wondered about the max number of URLs you can disallow in your robots.txt file…
  • How rule-breaking sites continue to rank well
  • John Mueller’s recent guest spot on a podcast — here’s what we learned
  • Odd case where scraped copy outranked the originating site
  • Google says they’re in the process of improving its robots.txt tool
  • Recap: Google discusses local ranking factors
  • You can filter GMB Insights queries by month and why it’s useful
  • How to change/update the reviews seen in a knowledge panel
  • Our tl;dr summary of some awesome recent SEO articles
You’ll also have access to all past episodes, including this one.
I

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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


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