What was the Google Core Update all about? And 400 great SEO tips - use it for your 1 tip a day calendar
The talk of the town has been the Google Algorithm Core Update and what it was all about. There're a couple videos below and a Lily Ray article on category Winners & Losers that provides some insights.
So far, luckily my main two sites, Site 1 and Site 2, haven't seen much effect, other than a traffic lull after Black Friday. Rankings haven't changed all that much.
But Site 3 saw a drop in rankings. You can see in the Google Search Console screenshot that there were 2 hits to Impressions on Nov. 17th and Dec. 3rd. There was talk on Nov. 17th that Google might've been updating things. I didn't pay too much attention back then because my focus was on getting ready for Black Friday, but now I see that Site 3 was affected. Maybe Nov. 17th was a test for the real update on Dec. 3rd?
Both times, the impressions and rankings have recovered. The Dec. 3rd recovery in rankings has actually been better after the initial hit. With the Nov. 17th update, there was little traffic effect because it was mostly the low ranking keywords that dropped off. The higher ranking posts weren't affected back then. On Dec. 3rd, all posts were affected.
Traffic has actually hit a daily high the last couple days with the recovery. I'm going to wait until the updates are officially over before I start celebrating the recovery - Easy come, easy go.
Charles Floate discusses his early findings from the latest Google update. He does say to take it all with a grain of salt.
A main base of his findings is it hit foreign SERPs at the same time, which shows it's more of a link-based update. If it was a content-based update, due to differences in English and foreign languages, foreign updates usually happen a couple days after the first update for English content.
Charles mentions Lily Ray's post on the Winners and Losers of the update. She separates it out by categories (niches) and domains. It's an interesting first analysis. Remember that the update will roll out over the course of a couple of weeks, so her post on Dec. 7th could be different after the update has completed.
These are his main assumptions on what's been affected:
He suggests to focus on: High authority link building efforts Content depth Link audits & disavows Video content - YouTube
He made a 2nd video on Dec. 10th that's a quick update after the initial one, because Google sent out another update.
His conclusions here: More of a content focused update this time as Foreign SERPs are delayed Local SEO was affected as well this time Featured snippets not changing much 301 Redirects hit again * Internal linking is winning
I don't agree with or see everything he's seeing. It's not clear where he gets his data from, but my sites don't follow all his points. So do take everything with a grain of salt as it might not work for your particular sites.
Income School did their own survey of independent bloggers and presented their results.
They made note of one bullet point of what Google says about algorithm updates and how to improve sites.
The point covered that many sites outsource content, so it could be that Google was looking for Life.
Life Behind the Content - Google was looking for Life behind sites and not mass-produced content that's dry.
This could be one argument that GPT-3 might not replace good content writers just yet.
Google SEO Office Hours - December 11, 2020
46:37 time mark - Interesting question about Google rewriting meta titles for SERPs to one word. The person is worried about it hurting his ranking, because he saw a drop in rankings.
John Mueller does say that Google will show different titles depending on user search intent and relevancy. He does add that when Google changes the titles, it's not about changing rankings. It's more about relevancy.
If you're commonly seeing titles are being rewritten, it could be that your titles across your site are not relevant with the content in the article.
One example he gives is when people try to stuff keywords into a title. Google will then only grab what's relevant to your content and search intent.
It might be a good 20 min. to spend (less if watching at 1.5x speed), because the topic discussion goes on with more follow-up questions from others on the call.
Google's compiled their list of 18 FAQs in preparation for May 2021.
I'm really not sure these are that helpful for most beginner affiliate site owners that don't have a tech side to them. I feel that most beginners are better off hiring someone to do the work for them, because it's a pain to diagnose and then fix speed issues.
The techy side of me likes to try and diagnose causes for slowness. The satisfaction of seeing Green in test results is awesome. But then I realize I just spend a couple hours trying to figure out one little thing.
With all the hype about Core Web Vitals and Speed, do you think that it's going to all end up being a let down in terms of the impact that speed will have with rankings?
Or will CWV be a big ranking factor and that's why Google is giving us lots of advance notice?
This is a ridiculously awesome list of 400 SEO tips that he's been curating since 2019.
Mark Williams-Cook shares 1 SEO tip a day on his LinkedIn and he then adds it to this post. You can bookmark the blog article or you can follow him on his LinkedIn profile.
TOOLS AND RESOURCES
Ever migrate to a new domain and wonder if Domain1's traffic decline is matching up with Domain2's traffic growth for little or no traffic lost?
I know I have!
Kristina Azarenko put out a blog post that shows how to track the traffic, clicks, and search queries of both domains in Google Data Studio. She also recorded an over the shoulder YouTube video for how to set it up.
The checklist domain migration is good too with the main steps, but it's not detailed with the how. I've migrated a few domains in my time and it's on my list of articles to write too.
There's some good information out there, but not a complete walk-through of one. Most go through maybe 25-50% of the steps and leave out other important things. Similar to this checklist, they'll say "do a 301 redirect," but not actually how to do it, like with htaccess (I'll finish my 301 redirect tutorial eventually).
It's a good thing to know if you have an EMD (Exact Match Domain) and want to migrate to a new branded domain - which I do recommend. I did it with Site 1 and I'm currently thinking about doing it with Site 2. It won't be until after the holidays if I decide to do it.
Google shares the top trending questions and topics that people are searching due to Covid-19.
I could easily see the majority of these to be great articles or YouTube videos!
For example, if you're in the dating niche, these could turn into fun content:
Quarantine date ideas
Virtual date ideas
Long distance date ideas
Free date ideas
Social distancing date ideas
WordPress pushed out the 5.6 update this past week. I didn't update Sites 1 and 2 yet, but I I had to update Site 3 because I transferred it to a new server. The new server's WordPress install was automatically 5.6 and I didn't feel like manually doing a 5.5 install.
I won't be updating on Sites 1 and 2 until the next maintenance update, 5.6.1, that fixes any bugs with this release. These are jQuery updates that can cause issues with plugins that aren't always kept up to date instantly, especially any free plugins. Developers are less incentivized to update and shore up any potential security holes.
Here're some 5.6 resources for you:
Wordpress Blog Announcement - WP's own blog article discussing the update.
Test jQuery Updates - Plugin to test your site for potential issues before updating.
jQuery Migrate Helper Plugin - to help fix any potential jquery issues with your site.
Wordfence Blog Article on 5.6 - They discuss a potential risk with Application Passwords in 5.6, because now WP will allow external applications to connect to the site and generate a password to your site. You can disallow application passwords in Wordfence though.
WP Crafter Video on 5.6 Features - He gives a good overview of the main features.
If you do decide to update, be sure you have a way to revert back to your current setup. I use WP Reset Pro (paid) and UpdraftPlus (free). They offer different backups.
UpdraftPlus, Free - The traditional backup plugin that makes a copy of your site and you'll be able to restore the whole site as-is. The only issue is you'll need access to your WP dashboard, so if the update gives you the white screen of death, you may need to start all over with a fresh WP installation.
WP Reset Pro, Paid - This plugin takes snapshots of your site whenever you make updates to your site, so you can always revert back to pre-update. If you get the white screen, they give you an emergency recovery page that will give you the option to roll back to pre-update, as well as disabling any plugins for debugging. They do have a Free version, but I haven't used it before, so not sure of its capabilities.
If you're signed up with Google Adsense, you probably received the below email. Those text ads that can sometimes feel like actual content put there by the blogger is going away. Here's a nice comparison of text vs display ads, even though it's a moot point now with Google.
I copied the first couple sections as that's most relevant.
We've decided to retire link ads. This is in order to modernize our available ad formats, based on the feedback from users, publishers and advertisers. Going forward, we’ll be focussing on improving and developing other ad formats to help you grow.
What does this mean?
You will no longer be able to create link ad units.
Your link ad units will be renamed with [previously link ad unit] added to the end of the ad unit name. This will apply to both responsive and fixed-size link ad units.
Responsive link ads will begin to serve display ad units on your site(s).
Fixed-size link ads will stop serving on your site(s). We will collapse each ad unit where possible. In other cases we will show a blank ad.