SEO Update & Tips May 13th
The latest on the May 2020 core update
This update is shaping up to be a very large one. Initially, when Google announced that they were pushing out a core update, we hoped that the primary reason for an update would be to protect searchers so that they would be less likely to surface dangerous advice surrounding COVID-19 and the struggling economy.
Here are some other articles on this update from across the web. These two posts share the early winners and losers of the update.
Robots.txt isn’t a hint, it’s always obeyed
A firm reminder from Gary Illyes that robots.txt is not a hint, and to stop thinking of it that way. Directives such as user-agent, allow and disallow are always obeyed by Google.
Google almost never indexes all content
No surprises here, once again John Mueller has confirmed that Google does not index every single page on a site. From their perspective, they’re trying to index just the highest quality of pages and exclude the ones that do not find hold sufficient value to users.
April 2020 Local Search Algorithm Update Continues
There is obviously something going on with local search ranking. We reported last week that Google announced a “Core Algorithm Update” (boring naming yet again) Danny Sullivan indicated that nothing was being tweaked in the Local algorithm. Regardless, we continue to see a ton of volatility in local results since April 23 – with businesses bouncing in and out of top-ranking every 48 to 72 hours. Weekends seem to factor into businesses being in and out as well.
A look at the Local Rank Flux tool from BrightLocal reinforces a good amount of flux – anything above 3.0 is particularly active. The peak seemed to be May 8th with a flux of 5.58.
Before you ask, we have no idea what is causing this – or when it will be “done.” There is no way to speculate about how to “protect” your listing or “fix” it at this time. We recommend what we’ve always recommended. Do good work for your customers, get great reviews, write engaging, useful content, build your brand with media mentions, have a completely filled out and optimized Google My Business profile – and if you’re trying to “game the system” – maybe stop that.
COVID-19 Posts Cause Regular GMB Posts to Disappear
If you’re using the COVID-19 post type to gain additional message visibility in your Google Business Listing – take note that your regular GMB posts are not visible on the business listing. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – but many are not aware that the “regular” Google Posts are not visible. You may want to weigh the pros and cons of higher visibility of COVID-19 posts vs lack of visibility for other posts if you’re using this post type. COVID-19 posts do have limited features but do last 14+ days.
A/B & Multivariate Testing for SEO: How to Do It the Right Way – Rachel Costello
May 7, 2020
For those unfamiliar with A/B testing in SEO, Rachel Costello has written a great guide to help you get started the right way. A/B testing, or split testing, is a great way of testing the performance of your CTAs or campaigns. Rachel makes good points about running these tests with SEO in mind. Thanks for this great piece, Rachel! We will definitely keep these in mind for our next test.
Google is changing the face of ecommerce – Andrew Charlton
May 6, 2020