Tag Archives: google updates

Google's-Sept-2019-Core-Update

BOOST YOUR SITE’S AUTHORITY & STOP WORRYING ABOUT GOOGLE’S NEW SEPTEMBER 2019 CORE UPDATE

Google announced the launch of the September 2019 Core Algorithm Update via Twitter on September 24th and like previous core updates, this year too, there was hardly any supporting document included.

 google-tweet-regarding-2019-algorithm-update

Image Source: twitter.com/searchliaison

Actionable Strategy

Check out the Search Console Performance Report to find out whether your site has been affected by the core update or not. The easiest way to know is to look for a drop in starting around September 24th, the day the update was launched.

There are ways to recover if you see a drop in the position of your site due to the update, as the updates are all about quality. Identifying the issue and putting your site through a security audit is the first step in recovery. At times, the fix has to do with a big focus on building your site’s Expertise, Authority, and Trust (E-A-T) Signals.

As far as our clients are concerned, we aren’t surprised that this update hasn’t affected our websites. The rankings continued to improve as this update rolled out.

What You Can Do If You Have Been Affected!

The following is a list of things that you can do to protect your site from Google’s next Core Update.

  • Read Google’s Quality Guidelines: Reading Google’s Quality Guidelines will give you an in-depth understanding of the various factors that Google uses to “refine results.”
  • Update the “About Us” Page: Adding new images and relevant content is the key to engaging customers. Mention about your recent achievements, endeavors, and more for the customers to know and connect with the content on your site.
  • Improve Page Load Speed: Focusing on mobile page speed is crucial while working on your page load time. Make sure you run your site through the newly updated PageSpeed Insights Tool by Google. Ideal loading time for First Contentful Paint should be less than 3 seconds, while speed index with & without ads should be less than 9 seconds & 7 seconds respectively.
  • Fix Site Errors: Remove any technical issues that your site may have, such as broken links, broken images, chain redirects, and more. Our dashboard crawler helps you identify issues on your website.
  • Have a Clear Call to Action: A clear call to action can be the determining factor between a lead and a conversion. Hence, have a clear and direct call to action telling exactly what you want your customers to do. For example – Call Now!
  • Be Easy to Navigate: Performing a User Experience (UX) audit is vital to look at your site from a user’s perspective, on mobile as well as desktop. It can also pay huge dividends depending on how focused Google is on their version of the ideal user experience.
  • Remove or Rewrite Thin Content: Combine a handful of thin/duplicate pages to create one strong resource on a specific topic when focusing on your site’s thin content.
  • Include a Clear Ad Disclosure: You need a clear ad disclosure on your site if you run a lot of ads on it. A simple sentence such as, “This post may contain affiliate links” (with a link to your disclosure/privacy policy). You can find a suitable example at the top of this page. Also, make use of rel=“sponsored” to highlight sponsored & affiliate links.
  • Add ‘Terms of Service’ & ‘Privacy Policy’ Pages: Both these pages are crucial for your site’s overall authority with Google. You can get more into detail on what these pages must include by reading Google’s Quality rater guidelines.
  • Include References for Medical/Scientific Claims: In case you make Medical, Scientific, or factual claims, always be sure to link out to a reliable site to support your claims.
  • Build up Your Footer: As said by Google, the address in the footer is recommended as it can be seen as a sign of trust. Your footer must contain primary business information with a current copyright date. You can also show your expertise by adding any awards or honors that you’ve earned.

After making the above fixes, make sure you get people who are not associated with your website to give you a feedback in order to make changes as required. And as always, if you need any help with optimizing your website, we’re just a call away!

voice-search-seo

Now Is The Best Time To Embrace Search

Voice Search is undeniably growing at a rapid pace, and for good reason — it’s fast, convenient, allows you to search on the go, and it’s becoming part of the devices that consumers are using. It has taken a good percentage of total searches across the world. This is thanks in part due to AI assistants like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, etc.

With mobile impacting desktop in terms of search queries, and home automation devices becoming mainstream, voice search will power many future local search queries. Optimizing for voice search conversational terms will be a key differentiator.

The good news is that we already have services in place according to Google’s priorities such as surveys and widgets to boost customer reviews in Google / Yelp / Facebook. We were one of the first agencies to adopt Voice Search optimization, wherein the content we create is more conversational and matches user’s natural language pattern.

Here’s a list of things were currently doing for Voice Search optimization:

  • Verified and Accurate Google My Business Listing – Most voice search queries will ask for directions to your business address. For this, we will make sure that your business is listed accurately on Google Maps. Without verification, it would be really difficult to rank for voice search queries.
  • NAP (Name, Address, Phone) Consistency across Local Sites – Accurate map listing, in terms of name, address and contact number, across multiple map databases will also help search engines to be more confident about your location, and it will form part of ranking algorithm. We will ensure that your business information (NAP details) is consistent across other top tier and second tier local search engines, directories and review websites.
  • Generating Positive Reviews – Customer Reviews are a critical part of ranking algorithm for voice search. We can help you get positive reviews on Google and Yelp for your business via our proprietary Plug and Play Review Widget and Survey Review Booster.
  • Mobile Friendly Website – Since most voice searches are done on mobile devices, you MUST have a mobile-friendly site. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, we can help you setup a mobile friendly version with the help of our experienced team.
  • Conversational Content – Mobile voice searches will use natural language, which means long-tail keyword phrases are more important than ever. A way to add natural language to your website is by using words and phrases that people actually speak (versus words they type into a search box). The content used will be more conversational in tone, and the keyword phrases will probably resonate more with a person performing a voice search. We have already started implementing this for website content which will help the site rank for voice based queries.
  • Microdata & Advanced Schema Markup – Google will start using schema markup both as a site quality and richness indicator (i.e. affecting rankings), and for creating carousel-like results for certain searches, with Knowledge Graph-like summary data on each result in the list. We will help you setup structured data on your site.
  • Rank Tracking – We have already started tracking rankings in mobile search results for voice based terms like “near me”, “close to me”, “around me”, etc. around physical location across all verticals and reporting these rankings on our dashboard.

For more SEO tips and the latest updates in digital marketing, contact us to learn more!

2018-seo-changes

Notable Changes in 2018 in The SEO World

We have witnessed some big changes in the SEO world in 2018. From big algorithm updates to mobile first indexing & changes in Google search console, there is a lot to catch up on.

Search ranking and algorithm updates

Speed update. Google pre-announced that they will be launching the Speed update anytime soon in January but launched it five months later in June. At first, many website owners and SEO professionals were flipping out, thinking that it will adversely affect their site ranking, but Google confirmed that this update will only affect the slowest sites. Google said it “only affect a small percentage of queries.”

Medic update. Clearly the biggest search ranking algorithm update in 2018. Google launched the Medic update around August 1 & confirmed it after the SEO community took notice and approached them to get more information. At first Google shrug it off saying that it just another “broad core algorithm update” that they do multiple times a year, but this update was different as it specifically impacted health and YMYL categories.

Other algorithm updates. Along with the Medic update, Google also launched March core Update and April core update.

Mobile-first indexing

Google started hinting that they will be going mobile first very soon….in 2016. Yeah, they were planning to go mobile first since 2016 and fully shifted to mobile first indexing in 2018. 1 NOTABLE CHANGES IN SEO WORLD IN 2018.

For those who are unaware of it, Google finally decided to index the internet from the view of a smartphone instead of desktop. They started sending notifications via Google Search Console to inform the site owners about this shift. Today, Google claims that almost 50% of the websites have been shifted to mobile first indexing. Here’s a Google guide on how you can prepare for mobile first indexing.

SEO changes

Structured data. Google is putting a lot of emphasis on structured data & schema. From speakable markup for voice search related queries, a brand new indexing API for job posting schema to image search changes, various updates to recipe markup, new job posting guidelines, Q&A schema, live stream support, datasets schema, how to, QA, FAQs schema and so much more.

Other changes. Google not only introduced new schemas & API but also dropped support for the old ones like news meta tag, the standout tag and editors pick in Google news. This move was seen as an attempt to appear unbiased because all of the internet giants are facing allegation of partial treatment from a lot of publishers & users.

Google’s effort around the dynamic rendering & lazy loading content and photos is an effort you’ve seen a lot around with JavaScript SEO in 2018 & will continue through 2019.

Personalization. As we mentioned earlier, the two internet giants Facebook and Google were accused of misusing personal data in 2018. However, Google said that they do not use personalization that much and it is limited to showing relevant local results. “BUT” the duck duck go founder says otherwise. He explained in a long Quora post that how Google misuses your personal data and how privacy becomes a myth when you use any of the Google products or services.

Google Search Console and other tools

Google launched a brand new search console in 2018. Just like most of their updates, they first launched the beta version of it and then removed the beta tag and fully launched it for everyone. They also provided a way to import your old search console reports and data to the new one.

Google also started showing Search Console snapshots directly in the search results for site owners. They also changed the limits and quotas on crawling and indexing within search console, removed the ability to use the public URL submission tool & provided convenience to the site owners by automatically verifying them with their Google Analytics account.

Google also tested new form of domain properties for cross site reporting, added a number of reports for event listing, AMP, links, mobile usability and more. They also launched several tools in 2018, and one of the best from the lot was URL inspection tool.

This wonderful tool gives a snap shot of how Google sees your page. Pretty awesome, isn’t it? They also heard the demand of the SEO community and finally allowed us to view 16 months of historical data. Not only that but they also expanded the API to provide us with 25,000 rows of data.

Google local

Google Posts. Google spent a lot of time polishing Google Posts. They tested many UI around Google Posts on both desktop and mobile searches and also updated the My Business Console to enable Google Posts on the web or through the mobile app.

However, all these efforts from Google didn’t yield the type of results they were expecting since many local SEO experts said that the Google posts traffic and engagement level is on the decline.

Google My Business. Google not only updated the GMB API several times in the past year but also updated the GMB mobile app to allow business owners to manage their listing on the go. They added more insights data, analytics, branded searches, more query data and also launched an agency dashboard as well.

Mobile search and voice assistants

The increasing popularity of voice assistants has made many SEOs take keen interest in voice SEO. Although Google Home is considered the smartest one out there, but the competition is neck & neck since all the tech giants like Apple, Microsoft & Amazon have their own home assistants. But we can give credit to Google home for being the first home assistant that comes equipped with a display.

Google UI changes

Google rolled out a new design for desktop searches, discover feed & more results button for mobile and did many changes to UI.

They also increased and then decreased their snippet length, expanded the autocomplete predictions and started showing cameos of famous people in search results.

AMP. Coming to AMP, Google released a developer preview of showing the publisher URLs in search and not the Google AMP cache URL. They also launched AMP stories in search & a bunch of other AMP features.

Other big Google news

In other news, Google is finally closing down Google Plus after 7 years due to many security incidents.

Continuing from the last year, our client’s rankings haven’t had any major impact after rollout of these algorithm updates and continue to rise as we shift to 2019.

google-my-business-app

Reviews Now Manage Your Business On The Go With New Google My Business App

Google announced last month that they are launching a new Google My Business App that provides a host of features that can help small business owners to easily manage their online presence and respond to customers.

Following are the biggest features and highlights:

1. Profile Tab
Google has made it extremely easy to upload photos, create offers and add events by providing a post button. You can also update information of your business from the profile tab and it will instantly appear on the search as well as Map.

2. Customer Tab
People can connect with you in many ways. They can message you, follow you, book a service or leave a review. From now on, you can see all of these customers in one place – The new customer tab. You can not only see but also respond to the reviews & post offers. Not to mention that you will get a notification when you get a new customer connection. Also, you will soon be able to respond to messages directly from the app.

3. See your Progress in Real Time
The data that matters to you the most is now on the home screen itself. So you can now check how many new people interacted with your business, new connections & more in one place.

Here’s a short video:

Takeaway

Google My Business App is a very powerful tool that every business owner and SEO professionals must have. It’s easy to use and offers a lot of tools that make tracking, analyzing and making changes easy. The other big news is that Google is about to launch a chat feature for Maps. So users can directly chat with business owners directly after searching for their business. Having a GMB app will help you with this feature as well.

To learn more about the Google My Business app connect with us!

Local Booking Service

Here’s Why You Should Opt For Google’s Local Booking Service

Google unveiled the option to book appointments with local businesses directly from the search results in August 2017 and since then they have been pushing it to local business owners in a very discreet manner. Maybe it’s because they don’t want to appear like a pushy salesman. However, this feature didn’t receive the kind of warm welcome they were expecting. It might be because people were not sure whether they are just testing it or planning to fully launch it before putting efforts, money and time into it.

local-booking-appointments

If you want to test this out (recommended), first you have to go to your GMB dashboard and check whether your business is eligible for the booking feature or not.local-bookings-gmb

And if your business is eligible, you will have to choose a third party provider from all the listed options. Yes, you read that right. Google has partnered with third-party booking services for this feature and you have to shell out anywhere between $20-$80 a month. But it “might” be worthwhile for you since bookings can increase given how convenient it is to book appointments directly from the search.

Need more information on Google’s Local Booking Service? Connect with us to learn more!

Full-Version-Google-Search-Console

The Full Version of The New Google Search Console is Here

Google launched a beta version of the new Search Console at the beginning of this year. Since then, they have added a lot of features to it and it’s now out of Beta. Here’s a list of features you need to know.

More Data

  • Index coverage report that shows a concise view of your website content.
  • Access to 16 months of search analytics data.
  • Links report to view all the links pointing to your site.
  • URL inspection tool to get information about the indexed version of a specific page.

Automatic Alerts and Other Fixes

  • Get automatic alerts. Also, you will now be able to see the pages affected by indexing, AMP, crawling or other issues.
  • Now you can see the HTML code (If any fix is required) directly from the reports.
    A more convenient way to share information within your organization to quickly fix any issue.
  • After fixing an issue, notify the Google and they will review your page and get back to you. Here’s how you can file a reconsideration request.
  • Manual action report has gotten a new look and it also shows any manual action that is pending.

Simplified Account Settings Management

  • Now you can submit sitemaps and help Google better understand your site structure.
  • You can submit the URLs of individual pages.
  • You can now effortlessly add a new site to your account & manage users with ease.

Be informed that not every feature is available in the new search console. Here’s what Google has to say:

“While the old Search Console still has some features that are not yet available in the new one, we believe that the most common use cases are supported, in an improved way, in the new Search Console. When an equivalent feature exists in both old and new Search Console, our messages will point users to the new version. We’ll also add a reminder link in the old report. After a reasonable period, we will remove the old report.”

If you are having a problem migrating to the new search console, head straight to their help center.

Contact us for more information on the latest features and updates to Google Search Console!

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GMB-Listing-Ownership

A Gentle Reminder That You Don’t Own Your Google My Business Listing

The main aim of having and maintaining your Google My Business listing is to spread awareness about your business. But in case you forget to fill the Service area then you will face something that’s rather strange. 

Many users have reported that, when they forgot to fill the service area, a third party lead generation company’s link called “singleplatform.com” appeared in front of the service section.

ownership-google-my-business-listing
Upon clicking on the link, it takes you to a page that is dedicated to the business. And the weirdest part is, it doesn’t open in a new window, but rather navigate you out of Google.

Claim-menu-google-my-business-listing

Sometimes it shows “Get a Quote” option, not from the business that you have searched for, but from the businesses that have paid on singleplatform.com to get listed.

When you click on the “Claim this Menu”, it will show you a service cost that ranges from $99 to $149 a month. Although we didn’t investigate further, Google forcing business owners to opt for a paid option is a wakeup call for those who think that they “OWN” their Google My Business listing.

Although the above encounters were mostly from the home service industry & were limited to the cities which have Google local services active.

The only way we can see to protect yourself from this is to fill out your services menu within Google My Business. We recommend you do this regardless of your industry. Just because Google is focused on the home services industry doesn’t mean they won’t turn to your industry next.

For more in-depth insights into the most vital features of Google My Business, Download The SEO Solutions 2018 Guide to Google My Business to learn more!

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Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 2.59.26 PM

Google Quietly Updates Its Ranking Algorithm – The Maccabees Update

The Google Maccabees Update

December is when every business owner out there is busy getting the biggest pie from the
holiday cake. So it’s very rare that you see any buzz in SEO forums. But this time, we witnessed
something different. Many people were online, sharing their experiences. Just like an
unexpected tornado caught them off guard, and took away everything they had. Well maybe
it became way too more dramatic, but we would like to inform you that Google has made
changes to their core ranking algorithms. And as a result, many websites witnessed a drop in
traffic as massive as 35%!

Moz reported high volatility in search results through Mozcast as can be seen below

google-weather-screenshot

 

A nonseasonal site owner, who hardly witnesses any fluctuations witnessed a drop of 30%! However, they were not alone and this was not due to any glitch. Many other users started sharing their trauma on webmaster forums. After a thorough research, we found out that Google did make changes to their core ranking algorithms and later on they confirmed the same. The statement Google sent was “we released several minor improvements during this timeframe, part of our regular and routine efforts to improve relevancy.”

We decided to do some number crunching ourselves. Our dataset of 4000+ websites and 350,000+ keywords (local and national) makes it easy for us to get a birds-eye view of how our client campaigns are performing.Not surprisingly, we were happy to find that this update didn’t have any negative impact on our client campaigns. Most probably, the SEO deliverables which we offer saved our clients from this update. This is another example of how our strategies future-proof your business.

So if your organic leads were affected, especially around December 13th or 14th, open
Google Analytics and check whether your site was hit by the MACCABEEs update or not. If you were hit by this update OR want to make sure you’re not going to be a likely victim, we can help. Just connect with us and let our professional SEOs to do the work for you.