Finishing Out 2020
nosnippet, nofollow, yes speed, yes clusters, Google removing sites for too many ads, and more...
2020 is finally coming to a close. It's been one crazy year all around the world.
I have a list of things I want to do before the year ends, so I can hit the ground running in 2021. Will still try to enjoy the holidays of course. Some of the things I want to clear off my list:
Publish the backlog of ~20 articles from writers. It takes time because I edit and optimize the content with Frase, plus do the formatting and images.
Finalize picking the niche for a new site (or 2) I want to start. I've also been looking at buying smaller sites, so that is another option.
Figure out a plan for a Virtual Assistant - which also means laying out my SOPs for others to follow.
Plan a restructuring of the sites. Site architecture has gotten a little messy with sites, so I want to clean them up for the search engines. I've been wanting to do this for months now, but didn't want to do it before the holidays.
What do you have on your To Do list before 2020 ends?
Brian Dean and another great in-depth article. This time on SEO trends and strategies in 2021. He covers some of the bigger things coming that affiliate sites need to keep an eye on next year.
Core Web Vitals and Passage Indexing are of the biggest changes that we're going to need to account for. Other optimizations and SEO trends he discusses are featured snippets, visual search, domain authority 2.0, video surging, mastering search intent, and increasing CTR.
Nightwatch has a good article on topic clusters and what they are. This is a big part of how I structure content and helped my sites increase relevance and traffic.
As I was writing my post on how I do keyword research, I started to broach the subject of topic clusters and content planning strategy. When I do keyword research, I'm simultaneously looking ahead and planning out the content strategy.
But as I tried to explain that content strategy and topic clusters in a brief manner, I realized it couldn't be brief and make sense for the beginner at the same time. The article quickly went off-topic from keyword research. So I stripped most of the topic clustering info out and am saving it for a separate article on how I cluster topics and plan my content.
In the meantime, this Nightwatch article does a good job of covering the basics. I've shared other links related to keyword and topic clusters in the past, so do check out past waves (issues) for those!
Creating clusters of topic based on a single topic (a pillar) can ensure easier site navigation, better SEO and more traffic. This is what the entire process is all about.
This podcast episode covered the rather hot topic of nofollow links. We all use nofollow links and dofollow links for different purposes. Many people say Google still follows and gives link juice to nofollow links, while others say Google doesn't.
1:40 - Google is looking into following "nofollow" links and testing things out in 3 different projects. There are potential scenarios where users make errors when it'd be more useful to use the follow links, so they're testing and trying to figure things out at the moment.
Looks like Google will ignore the follow tags, if they think the website owner made a mistake or if they just know better. They said they'll announce something if they're going to officially launch a project.
6:55 - Gary is creating a cooking blog with recipes, including Japanese noodles. If anyone knows the site or can find out what it is, let's see what he does for SEO.
11:00 - Speed Metrics - Martin discusses how Core Web Vitals and how the metrics came about. Nothing actionable here, but if you're interested to hear him talk about the history of it, it's interesting. I always find it interesting to understand the why's and reasons for things. It helps me understand how to best proceed with changes.
While the nofollow projects play out, I'm interested in seeing the cooking blog. Let's see how a Google insider does SEO ;-)
TOOLS AND RESOURCES
"data-nosnippet" - Stop Google From Grabbing The Wrong Snippets
Google has been grabbing and showing their own meta descriptions from what's in your content - no matter what you put in the meta description field of your favorite SEO plugin (Rank Math, Yoast, etc).
Sometimes, this could even be your affiliate disclaimers ("There may be affiliate links...") if you put it at the top of your posts - which is what I do. Having the disclaimer up at top is good practice and less issues with Amazon.
Google showing your affiliate disclaimer in the SERPs is bad for business, because a user scrolling through the search results will not click through to your site if they see the disclaimer as your site's description.
Bye-bye CTR (click-through rate).
Unfortunately, you can't force Google to show what you want for the snippets, but there's a way to stop Google from showing them what you don't want to show.
Stop it by adding the Google-approved "data-nosnippet" HTML attribute.
I've added it to all my sites.
Aleyda Solis gave 6 great steps + 6 free tools + 1 link to a spreadsheet to help you with site speed analysis to get ready for Core Web Vitals.
Do take a look at each of the steps if you want to analyzing your sites. The spreadsheet of free tools is also a great resource to have handy when you want to check certain things and need a reminder of where to go.
More and more affiliate marketers are making use of YouTube videos to go along with their website articles. I haven't started myself, but it's something I'm looking into.
This article covers 6 questions that were asked to the YouTube Search & Discovery team. The answers are all useful for those of you creating video content for YouTube:
If a video isn’t performing well, would it help to change the title and thumbnail? Or would that make the algorithm lose confidence in the video?
Can old/inactive subscribers negatively affect the performance of a video? The concern is this could lead to a lower CTR, which may result in the video not being recommended as much.
How is a total subscriber count relevant if YouTube won’t push out content to all subscribers based on their inactivity/lack of engagement on the channel. Shouldn’t videos be pushed out to someone unless they unsubscribe?
How does YouTube rank search results?
Can uploading videos in two different languages on the same channel affect how videos from that channel are recommended by YouTube?
Does it take a certain amount of hours of watch-time before a video is recommended by YouTube’s algorithm?
The idea behind starting a blog in hopes of making enough money to quit your day job sounds like a dream too good to be true; however, it is very possible. Many aspiring entrepreneurs are finding online assets to be the next frontier in the global workforce.
Empire Flippers (EF) is one of the largest, if not the largest, online marketplaces for buying and selling online businesses.
EF goes into many of the factors that will help you prepare for a six figure sale, including setting benchmarks of "$3,000/month in average net profit for a 12-month period before you can justify a six-figure listing price."
One of the biggest takeaways is to get your Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and documents like income statements in order. Having those documents ready hand over to a buyer will help you get top dollar for your site.
One of the things I've learned to do from starting and managing projects in the past is to keep track of everything, especially finances. Even if you don't plan to sell, those financial and income statements will tell you the health of your business. After all, your website(s) are a business. So be sure to treat it like one.
If you're interested in seeing how much your website might be worth, check out their Valuation Tool
In a Google Search Central live session with John Mueller, he talks about sites with lots of ads and how they could be affected in search results, including the complete removal from rankings.
Mueller refers to algorithm updates that are tied to offering better user experiences for visitors. The Page Layout Algorithm update in 2012 that impacted "sites with too many ads above the fold." The Page Speed Algorithm update in 2018 for pages that loaded slowly due to too many ads.
Next year, there'll be the Core Web Vitals update that Google has said will be a ranking factor. They rarely ever give out ranking factors and since Google has mentioned this many times, I'm going to be sure my sites are fast come May 2021.
Mueller does still say that even if your site is giving a poor user experience, there's still a possibility your site will rank because of search intent. Mueller says:
...for example, if you search for a website’s name then you would expect to find that website even if it is doing weird things and has a really bad user experience. You would still expect to find that website.
When Google does decide to remove sites, it's a manual process they perform when sites have a horrible user experience + irrelevant + not unique.
Do read the rest of the article and even watch it to get Mueller's full take.
weighs in on how sites with lots of ads are handled when it comes to ranking in search results. In response, Mueller describes several factors that can determine how sites with many ads are dealt with in search results.