SEO News Updates 24th November 2017

What are the latest SEO News & Updates for 24th November 2017?

Nominally, it was a quiet week in terms of SEO news. That is apart from the abhorrence of Net Neutrality, YouTube’s ad horrors and John Mueller trolling link-builders.

Oh, and some other updates around link text, Featured Snippets disappearing and some amusing SEO Bits & Pieces.

Not such a quiet week then.

I’d read the very latest SEO News and Updates for 24th November 2017, if I were you. It will fill your day with lightness and wonder.

#SEO #SEONews #NetNeutrality #YouTube #LinkBuilding #FeaturedSnippets #InternalLinks


Net Neutrality Threatens The Internet

Key Issues Summary:

  • My friends at DSL Reports, especially the indefatigable Karl Bode, have been flagging the spectre of Net Neutrality being dismembered for a while. It seems it has now come to pass, quietly over the Thanksgiving weekend.
  • US ISPs will now be allowed to run multi-stream internet speeds. Allowing them to charge more for certain types of traffic, like YouTube video, and less for others, like streaming video from a competitor who has paid to fast-track traffic.
  • This is dreadful news for the open internet, and potentially for SEOs and content marketers.
  • Get ready for a restricted internet.

Net Neutrality Threatens Internet

Key Actions To Take:

  1. Get ready for a two-tier internet with truly desirable content on higher-paid plans.
  2. Get ready for increased advertising to fund additional charges from ISPs.
  3. Finally, get ready for decreased organic distribution of content as “pay-to-play” becomes an increasing model.
  4. Click here to contact me to discuss how the diminution of Net Neutrality will be to the internet’s detriment.

Insights & Discussion:

The web as we know it was set up to enable the free-flow of information and ideas in a neutral manner. Removing those neutrality safeguards is a bad thing for end-users, as they will get charged more to access the same, or worse, content.

Content will become more expensive to distribute, and will need to be funded by even more aggressive advertising. If YouTube is on the slow lane list, receiving less traffic, they will reach for the increased advertising button to maintain revenues. CPMs will drop, but you will need to buy more CPM inventory to overcome the flood of other advertising, or you will need to pay higher CPMs to be seen on fast lane traffic. Either way, you will pay more.

More Information:

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YouTube & Google Lose Major Advertisers

Key Issues Summary:

  • Despite proudly showing off its AI and machine-learning neural network photo recognition skills, Google cannot identify and remove offensive comments on YouTube videos of children.
  • According to The Guardian (and the Beeb) This has caused a number of significant global advertisers to pull their YouTube and Google ads until Google resolves the situation.
  • This is not the first time this year Google has run into big issues with YouTube and advertisers.

YouTube Google Lose Major Advertisers

Key Actions To Take:

  1. If you are advertising on videos with children in them, be proactive in ensuring your brand advertising is not next door to offensive comments.
  2. If it is, either remove your advertising, or contact Google and pressure them to resolve the situation.
  3. If more ads are removed, or there are fewer places to advertise, then expect advertising costs to increase.
  4. Click here to contact me to discuss the state of YouTube advertising.

Insights & Discussion:

This is getting silly. Google heralds its artificial intelligence abilities, and yet it fails in something so simple as screening comments on videos of children.

Given its extreme photo recognition skills,  (and the heuristics learnt from spam filtering for Gmail) it’s not beyond the realms of fantasy that Google is able to identify videos with children in them, and either : stop advertising on those videos, moderate comments, or just screen and flag comments and accounts.

Google’s long-held argument against copyright infringement was that YouTube was a common carrier, but it (amazingly) managed to create detection software which identified proactively potentially infringing videos and remove them / block the account. Not employing these kinds of screening safeguards before smacks of Google not taking the issue  seriously enough, or perhaps, not being hit in the hip-pocket enough.

Google is now big enough that it decided “Don’t Be Evil” wasn;t right for it anymore. Perhaps it needs to remember that “Evil flurishes when good (people) stand by and do nothing”.

More Information:

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Featured Snippets Disappearing From SERPs

Key Issues Summary:

  • After an extensive rollout of Featured Snippets into the SERP, it seems like Google may be rolling them back somewhat.
  • Search Engine Land has reported a significant drop in the number of SERP with Featured Snippets displaying. Numbers vary but the initial figure seems to be around 2-6% of search results have had Featured Snippets removed.
  • In some of their places, it seems like Knowledge Panels have taken root.

Featured Snippets Disappearing

Key Actions To Take:

  1. If you were relying on Featured Snippets, I would check those rankings and traffic pretty quickly.
  2. There are still plenty of SERPs which generate Featured Snippets, so do keep building.
  3. Realise, however, that their days may be numbered.
  4. Click here to contact me to discuss generating Featured Snippets.

Insights & Discussion:

My experience of Featured Snippets was that a large number were poor, especially as they rolled out across a greater number of search results and webmasters started to target them more. The answers were either wrong, half-wrong, or correct, but only half the story.

Frankly, Featured Snippets were a tad under-whelming on the user experience side of things. I’d also say that as traffic-stealers from organic listings, I wouldn’t be that sorry to see them go.

Only time will tell if this is the beginning of the end (like rel=author), or if it is a tactical retreat, or some other algorithmic weirdness from The Google.

More Information:

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Google: Most Sites Rank Without Link Building

Key Issues Summary:

  • Cat meet pigeon. Pigeon meet cat. That’s exactly what John Mueller did answering on Twitter that most websites rank without link building.
  • Unsurprisingly, this sent the pro-linkers into a frenzy of defensive posting, and the anti-linkers into a frenzy of smug tittering.
  • John’s line is undoubtedly true, but it is also a little disingenuous.

Google Sites Rank Without Link Building

Key Actions To Take:

  1. In order to rank well you need links.
  2. You can create links organically through great content.
  3. Or semi-organically through relationships, where people link to you because they like you.
  4. It’s not advised to go on a spam-fest to build rubbish backlinks.
  5. Click here to contact me to discuss how to go about link building in a sustainable way.

Insights & Discussion:

The argument John is probably making is two-fold. Firstly, lots of websites are the only real answer for their query – eg a recognisable and individual brand name, or the only page on the internet about lesser-spotted red-tailed widgets. Therefore, there is little need, once Google knows about these sites,  for them to go out and actively build links.

The second fold of the argument, is that many site do not actively *build* links. They don’t actively set out to do something which will generate an equity passing link which gives them an bump in the search results. However, you can bet that some of them look to acquire links, or they have such great content that they acquire links completely naturally.

Do you think Wikipedia, Facebook, or Google even sent an email saying “Dear Webmaster, I love you blog. Please can I guest-post on it with two links to my homepage”? I doubt it.

In the meantime, this was the second time in as many weeks that SEO webmasters got to wave their pitchforks around in a most agitated manner. I think they got trolled.

More Information:

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Google: Internal Link Anchor Text Matters

Key Issues Summary:

  • Well blow me down, Google has come right out and said that anchor text on internal links matters.
  • This despite it laying in plain sight on the original PageRank citation for the last 20 or so years.
  • (Hint: the paper talks about relevance of links & value passing to the destination page, as well as some reflected glory on the originating page).

Google Internal Link Anchor Text Matters

Key Actions To Take:

  1. Label your internal links correctly and accurately.
  2. Always use descriptive linking using relevant terminology.
  3. Avoid “find out more”, or “click here” like the page.
  4. Anyone who bleats about “user experience” doesn’t understand what user experience actually is.
  5. Click here to contact me to discuss how to construct internal linking to benefit user experience, ranking, and general well-being.

Insights & Discussion:

I have to chuckle sometimes. How else does a contextual search engine based on stored value of links work, if not on contextual terminology used on those links? (Yes there are plenty of other factors).

Considering that a link is a link is a link, there is almost no difference between an internal link and an external link in terms of relevance that is passed from one to the other. There are differences in authority, but not relevance.

I say chuckle. I also despair, as often people asking these questions put themselves forward as professional SEOs, or are SEO Managers for organisations. And after despair, I stop wondering at how the industry occasionally gets a bad name for itself.

More Information:

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SEO Bits & Pieces 24th November 2017

SEO Bits Pieces 24th November 2017

  • Booo! Google has no plans for an API to access the Structured Data Testing Tool – despite this being one of the most useful tools known to man. Sometimes, it feels like Google only goes halfway with being helpful to webmasters. Note he says *public* plans. Makes you wonder if there are some private APIs floating around…
  • Bye bye “site’s robots.txt” description in SERPs and hello “No information is available for this page”, which is possibly true, but completely anodyne and thoroughly un-useful.  It’s as if Google us hell-bent on removing anything technical from their results.
  • In a bizarre turn of events, Danny Sullivan, recently appointed to Google’s Sinecure program, was to be found answering an enraged (okay, mildly miffed) Matt Cutts query over FUBAR search results. Yes, the world does move in mysterious ways.
  • This is a good piece about the industry struggles over Fake Reviews, and how they are now the bleeding edge of wild west behaviour and spam. Don’t do it kids, it not worth the risk.
  • Click here to contact me to discuss this further.

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TL;DR

  • Net Neutrality passed last week. It’s rubbish and it’ll be rubbish.
  • YouTube and Google have lost some major brand advertisers over comments against children’s videos.
  • Featured Snippets are disappearing from SERPs, possibly being replaced by Knowledge Panels.
  • John Mueller trolled link builders like a pro.
  •  Internal link text matters. Who’d have thought it.
  • And the fabulously fantastic SEO Bits & Pieces. Not to be missed.

Thanks for reading. If you would like to discuss what these changes mean for your web property, or would like to know how to implement them, please feel free to contact me.

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