Ep. 256 - October 13, 2022 Light Version
Google has new Webmaster guidelines! They’ve changed the name to “Search Essentials”. In this episode I give my thoughts on these guidelines and also premium readers get my thoughts on the focus of the September core update and a bunch of stuff I found to be helpful on Twitter this week.
A note from Marie: You may have noticed that the tone of newsletter is a little different lately. Newsletter is once again written by me. I realized that the main reason why I produce a newsletter is to keep me up to date on what is happening. Every time I find something interesting on the internet that helps me be a better SEO, I pop it in newsletter and in most cases share my thoughts on why this is important for us to know.
There’s more of my rambling in the premium version. Ty to those of you who subscribe. Writing this newsletter is such a joy for me.🙏
Analyzing the September Core update
The September Core update feels different to me! In this episode I share my thoughts after analyzing many pages that won and lost following this Google core update.
The most important thing a site can work on if hit is ensuring that you are the best option to meet the immediate needs of the searcher. If we thoroughly understand the intent of searchers, we can create content that helps them meet that need better than other sites.
In this episode I review two pages that did well following the September core update. They may look like they are lacking E-A-T, but I think Google promoted them because they quickly met searcher needs.
News About Google's Algorithms
New Google Webmaster Guidelines!
I was just about to publish when I saw this:
In 2002 we launched a page with a set of guidelines for site owners that gave an overview of best practices when it came to building a site. A lot has changed since then, so today we're launching a refreshed, simplified version of the Webmaster Guidelines:https://t.co/0xXAcwDHSI pic.twitter.com/QotRXJLieT
— Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) October 13, 2022
I am very excited about the new guidelines. They’re a repackaged version of information Google had in multiple places before. I feel like some of it is new as well. I gave my thoughts in a live tweet. (What kind of a dweeb live tweets reading Google documentation? I am not sure what is wrong with me.)
Under technical requirements:
"There are actually very few technical things you need to do to a web page; most sites pass the technical requirements without even realizing it." pic.twitter.com/toF3W6cBxm
— Dr. Marie Haynes🐼 (@Marie_Haynes) October 13, 2022
If you don’t have time to read all of that, here are what I think are the most interesting parts:
- Google says there aren’t many technical requirements to appear in search.
- Spam policies can get you demoted or kicked out of the search results.
- One question to ask ourselves to tell if our content is good is whether we already have an existing audience.
- “After reading your content, will someone leave feeling they’ve learned enough about a topic to help achieve their goal?”
- “Will someone reading your content leave feeling like they’ve had a satisfying experience?”
- GET TO KNOW EAT AND THE QRG
- Quality raters give Google insight on whether their algorithms are providing good results.
My thoughts on what changed with Google’s September Core update
I have been doing a lot of client work lately, much of which involves looking at content that won and lost with the September core update. I really think that with this update Google greatly improved their understanding of whether a searcher’s needs have been met.
In the premium version I share my early thoughts on recovery so far. I also give detailed thoughts on why I think Dr. Axe’s site is seeing improvements. It’s actually not completely about E-A-T.
The product review update is page level, but could have sitewide effects
If a site has a lot of content Google has identified as product review content then the quality of that content has the potential to affect the whole site.
If you don't have a lot of product reviews (a really substantial not-single-digit-percentage part of your entire site is made up of them), a site-wide evaluation is not likely to happen…
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) October 7, 2022
This is what I thought based on analyzing many sites impacted by the PRU. If you have a ton of reviews content, it can be like a site-wide evaluation. If you don't have a lot of product reviews then a site-wide evaluation is unlikely to happen. Great that Danny provided more info https://t.co/ydcBDfTqDL
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) October 7, 2022
Something big looming?
This morning the Semrush sensor was higher than it’s been in a while. Several people responded to this tweet are seeing massive increases in traffic today.
— Eromosele Odanlumen (@judziy) October 13, 2022
I had a site owner that was impacted on 9/20 by either the PRU or core update ping me early yesterday that they saw a big jump in rankings for queries that were impacted in Sep. That lasted about 3 hours and then dropped back down. Seems like Google is testing something big… 🙂 https://t.co/yORhI9eRGr
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) October 13, 2022
New article on recovering from a core update from Marie on Wix’s site
I was honoured to write this for Wix:
My talk at SMX Next
I’ll be recording my talk this weekend and you can watch it and engage with me on November 15th. There’s more info here. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on Google using machine learning to weight ranking algorithms and how we can take advantage of this knowledge.
SEL article coming soon
This morning SEL asked for an article re Google’s new Webmaster (aka Search Essentials) guidelines. I have no idea where I’ll find time to do this, but it will likely get done!
Google Data Studio is now Looker
I did not see this coming.
Today is a big day for what's next.
For those of you in the #measure community, Data Studio is fully becoming part of the Looker family. It is now Looker Studio, helping complete our enterprise business intelligence suite.
— Louis Gray (@louisgray) October 11, 2022
Google would like us to leave feedback on their documentation
If you have any suggestions, use the send feedback button.
click the send feedback button (it's at the top and bottom of every page) pic.twitter.com/TZhRpQKadd
— Lizzi (@okaylizzi) October 10, 2022
Google talks about using AI images
This was a very interesting podcast.
— Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) October 6, 2022
John Mueller and Lizzi Sassman were discussing using AI generated images on websites. John said, “That would be an exciting move.”
Lizzy shares how her attempts at drawing SEO related art don’t tend to go well. I understand.
I tried to ai generate you something and I'm not sure what happened. pic.twitter.com/4KqmMSFzmh
— Dr. Marie Haynes🐼 (@Marie_Haynes) October 11, 2022
Lizzi asked specifically whether it would be acceptable to use AI art instead of stock photography. John said, “I think if you wanted to use them as a decorative element on a page, it’s perfectly fine. It adds a little bit of flavor, a little bit more color to the post, or to whatever content we have there. “ Later he says that decorative images are not likely to rank for much.
They also talked about the importance of writing descriptive alt text on images. John said: “From an SEO point of view, my recommendation is always to provide context for the image as well
in the alt text. So if you have a picture of a beach, don’t just be like, “Oh, this is a photo of a beach.” But rather like, “This is the beach before the chemical spill happened.”
He also said that if an image was purely there for aesthetic reasons that it’s best to just leave the alt text empty. That’s not something I’ve heard before!
Is there value in going back and renaming image files to be more descriptive? John says that having descriptive alt text or even good surrounding text is more important than the filename.
Now is the time to create buying guides
Aleyda Solis tweeted a great example showing how Google is ranking buying guides amongst transactional pages for many shopping searches. For example, in her second image on a search for running shoes Google displays:
- a store
- a store
- an article with a buyer’s guide to buying running shoes
* Buy White Jeans
* Buy women’s running shoes
* Buy women leather jacket
* Buy womens tennis court shoes
Think these are highly commercial queries that will only be ranked by PLPs? Look at those well ranked guides!
Online stores: Invest in guides/ informational content now! pic.twitter.com/X00zBuFaY7
— Aleyda Solis 🇺🇦 (@aleyda) October 9, 2022
If you can create a guide that really does help people make choices in buying your product, this is likely excellent content.
There may be a bug in GA affecting queries data
I don't have any insight on this at the moment, but the team has been looking into it. (cc @danielwaisberg )
— ⛰ johnmu is not a cat ⛰ (@JohnMu) October 5, 2022
Google does not use the html lang tag
I did not know this.
Google doesn't use these, but screen readers do. Also, i think Bing might use them.
— ⛰ johnmu is not a cat ⛰ (@JohnMu) October 6, 2022
Other Interesting News
Google partnered with Coinbase – Could this be huge for Google Shopping?
This feels like a very big deal to me. Google announced a partnership with the cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase this week. This will allow people to pay for Google cloud services with crypto.
Google partnered with Coinbase🤯https://t.co/iOdLFMAAft
They're going to start allowing people to pay for G cloud services with crypto.
I wonder if Google will eventually allow merchants on G Shopping to take crypto🤔
— Dr. Marie Haynes🐼 (@Marie_Haynes) October 12, 2022
When I read this I couldn’t stop thinking about how this could be massive for Google Shopping. Have you tried Google Shopping? I have been very impressed with the options I have there. I have an inside joke with a friend about capybaras. Let’s say I wanted to buy her a capybara themed gift. Check out this shopping link. There are way more interesting gift options here than I’d find on Amazon. But, I am a bit leery about giving my credit card information to random sites on the web. I bet you that Google will make a system so that you can buy anything on the web via crypto.
I’m going to be keeping an eye on this topic!
There may be a problem still with SABs not ranking in their proper area
— Worse Than Monday Jason Brown 🇺🇦 (@keyserholiday) October 10, 2022
More re the issue with GSC properly tracking map impressions
One of the things we noticed was that at some point the UI for mobile results changed a bit, and not all / as many results link to websites (so there's no impression/click to track). I don't follow the local UIs that closely, so it's hard for me to confirm/judge.
— ⛰ johnmu is not a cat ⛰ (@JohnMu) October 12, 2022
Indian SEOs take note – there may be some mass scam campaigns happening
Stolen GBP listings alert🚨There are mass campaigns in India aiming to steal even well optimized pages. First they suggest edits on the phone number and then manage to verify it using the updated scam number. The worst part is that GS doesn’t seem to understand the violation ⬇️
— Nevena Ivanova (@BeHuTo) October 11, 2022
You can’t discourage bad reviews or only solicit positive ones
Google Maps review guidelines updated to disallow "discouraging or prohibiting negative reviews, or selectively soliciting positive reviews from customers https://t.co/SV1fxbpNJw via @ColanNielsen pic.twitter.com/cNQROr1lz9
— Barry Schwartz (@rustybrick) October 6, 2022
What I'm reading this week
In the premium version I share my thoughts on these articles:
How to Increase your Credibility & Authority Online – Why E-A-T is Critical for SEO Success
Machine Learning Use Cases for Technical SEO
Patrick Stox – October 6, 2022
Looking for a new SEO job? SEOjobs.com is a job board curated by real SEOs for SEOs. Take a look at five of the hottest SEO job listing this week (below) and sign up for the weekly job listing email only available at SEOjobs.com.
What do premium readers get?
Why would you want to pay for this newsletter? I put a lot more in the premium version. Join the hundreds of SEOs who subscribe to support me and learn more as I write about what I think is helpful in SEO each week.
The following topics are covered in the premium version of this episode:
- My thoughts on recovery from the September core update after analyzing many pages affected
- Detailed thoughts on why Dr. Axe’s site recovered along with an exercise on analyzing needs met
- Clarity from Google on who should write product reviews
- An example of excellent review content
- New news on structured data for product review content
- Interesting if you write on “best” products
- Some update analysis from Lily Ray
- Google SERP changes spotted this week – there are a lot!
- Example of useful 404 page
- Interesting case involving adult keywords
- Really good way to produce content that is unique and expert level
- Good tips for those who use AI in content creation
- Do you need English words in your urls?
- Tips to get you started in Python
- Will adding Adsense help Google index your site faster?
- Is it possible to outrank a high authority site?
- Tips for SEO for headless CMS platforms
- Recent advances in AI are astounding
- Pay attention to TikTok!
- Changes to Google Home
- New tool to scrape Google About this Result feature
Note: If you are seeing the light version and you are a premium member, be sure to log in (in the sidebar on desktop or below the post on mobile) and read the full article here.