SEO Tips April 23 Update

Barry Schwartz reported on a possible Google update on April 16, which was Thursday of last week. We did have several clients that saw changes on that day. Thankfully, we saw more improvements than drops! However, we also had clients who saw upticks in traffic starting on April 13.

At this point, we do not feel that the changes seen are indicative of a significant update to Google’s algorithms.

We do feel, however, that for many YMYL queries, Google has shifted their algorithms to greatly prefer websites that are seen as authoritative and trustworthy.

Google Announcements

By next week, Google Shopping will be free for all merchants

This will start in the US and by the end of year the plan is to go global. Products listed on Google’s shopping tab will be mostly free listings. So what does this mean for you? If you’re an advertiser, now is the time to augment your campaigns for free listings. If you own a store, you may have more traffic from Google shopping. Now is the time to optimize for this. Additionally, Google has partnered with PayPal so merchants can link their accounts. Read the full details of this change here.

You can soon expect a new video series to arrive called Webmaster Conference Lightning Talks

A new Google video series featuring some of our favourite Googlers like John Mueller and Martin Splitt is arriving soon! The talks are short conference-like talks normally delivered at the Webmaster conferences globally. They’re covering topics such as links and JavaScript, https, structured data and Search Console, and Google monetized policies. The talks will begin this month and can be found on the Webmaster YouTube channel.

Watch the trailer →

SEO Tips

In what scenario does Google provide example URLs when they give out a manual action?

John says that it depends on the kind of manual action and the site receiving it. In our experience handling manual actions, Google generally does not give example links until a reconsideration request has failed. At that point you’ll receive a very small number of links that they feel are part of a larger pattern.

Local SEO – News from SterlingSky 

All was pretty quiet on the local rankings front this week. We’re continuing to see very little volatility or movement outside of normal flux. Nothing to indicate any type of algorithm change, which is welcome during these crazy weeks.

Does The Service Area in GMB Impact Ranking?

Sterling Sky’s Colan Nielsen published this case study where he tested the effect of adding service areas to Google My Business listings in an effort to improve rankings. (Hint: meh.) This is testament to how service area businesses with no brick and mortar offices are not treated fairly by GMB. Check out the test and the results.

Verification FAQs for Google My Business

Tim Capper put together a pretty awesome FAQ that asks the most common GMB listing verification questions he receives and answers them with actionable tips. Definitely worth a read if you’re fighting to get a listing verified – which has been nearly impossible during the COVID shutdown period.

GMB Reviews are On Their Way Back

New reviews are still slowly becoming visible on Google business listings. Most are captive to the restaurant and shopping categories – but we’ve seen the stray review publish for other categories – not enough to call it “fixed” for that sector, though.

Google Rolls Out Nested Departments for Car Dealership GMB

We saw these previously on big-box retail stores (think Walmart & Home Depot) as well as hospital campuses with multiple offices & businesses under one big umbrella. This change shows departments that are broken down by brand nested under the main listing.