Programming Note: Offline Tomorrow Thursday & Friday For Passover 5780

This is a programming note that I will be 100% offline the next two days, Thursday April 9th and Friday April 10th, for the Passover holiday. This year I decided not to schedule any stories or videos. I won’t be back online until late Saturday night and I will catch up on things then.

This is a different year than any of us experienced, any of us could have imagined.

I am going to try not to worry about what is going on in the search community, the current world situation and more.

Easter is this coming Sunday as well, so for those celebrating – happy Easter and happy Passover.

This week’s Friday video won’t be happening, I hope to pick it up next Friday. But if you want to watch the archives, check them out over here. You can also watch the vlog archives over here.

I hope you all stay safe and healthy and hope to report back on Monday, April 13th.

Again, I will not be online at all from Wednesday night through Saturday night for this holiday. I also go offline the following week, on Wednesday (Tuesday night) and Thursday (through Thursday night) for the last days of Passover.

If anyone asks if I am okay, share this post with them.

Google Search COVID Announcements Will Be Live Soon

A week ago we we reported that Google has new structured data named SpecialAnnouncement that some sites can use to markup their Google search results. Well, Google didn’t write a blog post about it until Friday afternoon and it isn’t live yet. Danny Sullivan of Google said it should be live soon.

So if you are wondering why your markup here doesn’t work, it isn’t fully live yet. Danny said it should be soon, here is that tweet:

If you are wondering what it looks like, here is a sample screen shot from Google:

click for full size

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Vlog #60: Eric Wu – The Reason Google Built The Panda Algorithm?

Eric Wu

Eric Wu is an SEO who has been doing some pretty intense SEO since 2000. He fell into doing SEO for the City of San Diego when the San Diego Fire Department had a porn site outranking them on Google. It was not easy to outrank a porn site back then.

We can also blame Eric for Google releasing the Panda algorithm. He worked at Demand Media, specifically eHow.com and LiveStrong.com and that was a key site that got hit. He also said query not provided is also partially his fault because of they would look at query data to figure out demand on what the company should write about.

How To Get Developers To Listen To SEOs

We spoke about how SEOs can help get developers to do the tasks they need. He said it is important to make friends with them and talk their language. He said he sometimes would bring up the Chrome inspector tool, and not an SEO tool – use their tools, not SEO tools in front of them. He said never tell them what to do, but rather, give them the business case and give them the Google doc. Buttering them up doesn’t always work so well he said.

SEO Beyond Content & Links

He felt Google Panda was one of the first machine learning/AI based algorithms Google has released. He said user experience is so much more important today than it was. If you fit the machine model for what Google expects your content to be, and if you fit the machine model for what it expects the links to behave and the user to behave – you can rank number one even without the best links or best content. This is because you are creating the user behavior that Google expects. He feels Google looks at its own search stream, but Google does not use Google Chrome or Google Analytics data. It is all about solving the user intent with your web site.

You can follow Eric Wu on Twitter @eywu and online at growthgauge.com.

You can subscribe to our YouTube channel by clicking here so you don’t miss the next vlog where I interviews. I do have a nice lineup of interviews scheduled with SEOs and SEMS, many of which you don’t want to miss – and I promise to continue to make these vlogs better over time. If you want to be interviewed, please fill out this form with your details.

Forum discussion at YouTube.

Google Posts New Guide On How To Use Structured Data With JavaScript

Google has posted a new developer help document guiding SEOs and webmasters on how to use structured data with JavaScript. This goes through using Google Tag Manager to generate JSON-LD dynamically and using structured data with custom JavaScript.

The document explains that modern websites use JavaScript to create websites with lots of dynamic content. There are a few things you need to look out for when using JavaScript to generate structured data on your websites, and this guide covers best practices and implementation strategies. If you’re new to structured data, you can learn more about how structured data works.

There are different ways to generate structured data with JavaScript, but the most common are:

  • Google Tag Manager
  • Custom JavaScript

This document has some very nice guidance that I know some in the SEO community wanted clarity on.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Daily Search Forum Recap: April 3, 2020

Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:

  • Search Buzz Video Recap: Google Search Volatility, Search Console Features & COVID, COVID & More COVID
    This week in search it was mostly about COVID-19 changes made to Google Search and Google Local/Maps. But before that, I published the monthly Google webmaster report and covered a possible…
  • Google Posts New Guide On How To Use Structured Data With JavaScript
    Google has posted a new developer help document guiding SEOs and webmasters on how to use structured data with JavaScript. This goes through using Google Tag Manager to generate JSON-LD dynamically and using structured data with custom JavaScript.
  • Google Search Console COVID-19 Announcement Beta Tool
    As part of the structured data specific to COVID-19 announcements that we covered the other day, Google has launched a new beta tool for posting an announcement to your search results listing using Google Search Console.
  • Google: We Are Not Filtering Out Sites For Coronavirus Searches
    Google’s John Mueller was asked if Google is filtering out web sites for searches related to the coronavirus. John said no, he isn’t “aware of anything where we’re manually filtering out sites specifically around health terms.” He did say that Google wants to show a higher level of sites for health related terms and he also said Google does have special one boxes of information.
  • Bing Testing New Curvy Logo
    It looks like Bing is testing a new logo, one with curves. The current logo has sharp edges and corners but the new one gives the whole logo softer edges, more curves and maybe a friendly look.
  • Google Logo Says Stay Home. Save Lives. With Coronavirus Tips Results
    If you go to the Google.com home page and see the Doodle today, it will be an animated GIF recommending you stay home, save lives with things to do at home. Then if you click on the logo, you get a search result page that is widely different from a normal Google search result page.
  • Google Wooden Key
    Here is a big wooden key from Google Campus in Tel Aviv, Israel. This photo is from a while ago, but I do wonder what this big wooden key opens up. The image is on Instagram.

Other Great Search Forum Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Promotion Building

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Search Features

Other Search

Search Buzz Video Recap: Google Search Volatility, Search Console Features & COVID, COVID & More COVID

This week in search it was mostly about COVID-19 changes made to Google Search and Google Local/Maps. But before that, I published the monthly Google webmaster report and covered a possible, but yet unconfirmed Google search algorithm update. Google is providing search support and advice to official health organizations. Google added structured data for COVID-19 announcements. Google featured snippets is being tested in the lower part of the page. Googlers can look up your real PageRank score, but there is rarely a need to. Google released the videos from last years Google Webmaster Product Summit. Google Search Console added new email preferences and a method to not show preference report data all or some of your sites in the search results. Google Ads is disallowing profiting off of COVID-19 and similar situations now. Google Ads is testing that carousel format again. Google My Business is busy with COVID-19 stuff also, with support options, Google Posts features, issues and bugs and new attributes for restaurants. I also posted two vlogs this week, one with Kevin Doory and the other with Dawn Anderson. I hope you are all doing okay during these times. Please note, next Thursday and Friday is Passover and I will be offline, there is probably no video next week. Oh and if you want to help sponsor those vlogs, go to patreon.com/barryschwartz. That was the search news this week at the Search Engine Roundtable.

Make sure to subscribe to our video feed or subscribe directly on iTunes to be notified of these updates and download the video in the background. Here is the YouTube version of the feed:

For the original iTunes version, click here.

Search Topics of Discussion:

Please do subscribe on YouTube or subscribe via iTunes or on your favorite RSS reader. Don’t forget to comment below with the right answer and good luck!

April 2020 Google Webmaster Report

Well, it has been an interesting month to say the least. I mean, tons of COVID-19 related changes have been made to Google search and local – tons. Besides for that, Google’s search results are incredibly volatile the past month, just look at all the update stories we wrote this month – Google has not confirmed any of them.

Google said it will switch all sites to mobile first indexing by September. Currently the nofollow change was a policy change and nothing was really implemented yet. Google is working with official health organizations to get them more visibility in search.

Google Search Console added new email preferences and the ability to hide the performance report in the search results. Google has stopped displaying right side featured snippets.

It was a weird and busy month and the chatter in the WebmasterWorld forums is still around algorithm updates. To see last month’s report, go here.

Here are the more important stories over the past 30 days if you want to catch up quickly:

Google Algorithm Update:

Google SEO: Google Search Console: Google User Interface: Google My Business & Google Local:

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Vlog #59: Dawn Anderson On Google BERT & What It Really Means

Dawn Anderson

Dawn Anderson runs an agency in the UK named Bertey, and it was named that before Google BERT came out. Her agency is actually named for her dog, which she named Bertey several years ago. So really, nothing to do with the Google BERT natural language stuff.

Dawn started in SEO in 2006 and first became interested a few years ago in how crawling works, that was before she became interested in information retrieval. It was from there where she became very interested in the science behind search and started following everything she can find related to it. She then began reading papers in Google Scholar and other places and then attending IR conferences. She said it isn’t necessarily hard, it just takes time – that is her being modest.

Google BERT is a hot topic, so I had her explain it. BERT is an open source natural language training model. Google BERT is an algorithmic interpretation on BERT to help Google contextual understand your queries better. She explained how BERT is fed sentences to help train it, and explains how BERT does it differently through bi-directional learning.

Bing also uses BERT and technically has been since before Google. But Bing says they use it for 100% of queries while Google says it uses it fo 10% of queries. I asked her why do you think Bing does it for 100% and Google only 10% and she thinks it is about cost. There are new versions of BERT coming out, such as AlBert and others that might make it less expensive to run.

Dawn said you cannot optimize for BERT but she said people need to focus on find-ability and structure of information. You need to build these strongly connected pages to connect it all. Potentially BERT can be used for this to help you do this. She added that you can potentially use this to figure out ambiguity in your content using BERT.

You can learn more about Dawn at bertey.com and on Twitter at @dawnieando.

You can subscribe to our YouTube channel by clicking here so you don’t miss the next vlog where I interviews. I do have a nice lineup of interviews scheduled with SEOs and SEMS, many of which you don’t want to miss – and I promise to continue to make these vlogs better over time. If you want to be interviewed, please fill out this form with your details.

Forum discussion at YouTube.

Hide Search Performance For This Query In Google

Yesterday I reported about new preferences with Google Search Console but focused on the email preferences. You can also communicate to Google that you want to hide the search performance for this query report snapshot you sometimes see in the Google search results in these new preferences.

First, this is what it looks like to see the search performance for this query report in the Google search results. It shows up for relevant queries, when you are logged in to an account that has Google Search Console access. You will see this box towards the top of the search results page:

I personally find most of these annoying, so if you want to turn them off for all or some sites, you can. Here is how to hide the search performance for this query report:

(1) Click on the gear icon in Google Search Console:

(2) Click on “Search Console in Search results”

(3) Then you can uncheck “Enable for properties as listed below” if you want to hide the box for all sites or select individual sites you want it to show or hide below.

I like this new feature.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Vlog #58: Kevin Doory on Local SEO vs Traditional SEO & Google My Business

Kevin Doory

Kevin Doory is the Director of SEO at AutoRevo. In fact, I know Kevin through two of my RustyBrick employees. He worked together with one of my employees back in Maryland. He actually started in SEO doing automotive SEO and did other things in SEO and now is back in automotive SEO. He has the agency experience, in-house experience, consulting experience and has done some of this numerous times.

Traditional SEO he said is easier because there is more known but with local SEO, there is less known with it. We briefly discussed that November Google update (aka Bedlam) that Google confirmed and said it was a neural matching update. He loves SEO because it is always changing and he loves to be constantly learning.

Google My Business listings are important, especially in automotive, because that is where the customers are. People are searching on mobile devices, and getting local results. He said it is important for all brick and mortar businesses, any business that would have had a yellow pages listing, needs to be in Google My Business. He is shocked how many companies have not yet claimed their listings with Google My Business.

The Q&A listings within Google My Business is fun. He said there is nothing better than seeing other people respond to simple questions and you not taking the opportunity to respond to your business questions. You can also look at your competitors Q&A and see where they are failing, and use those questions and answer them on your own site. In short, it is a content idea source to drive traffic to your site.

Kevin said he misses the old days of local SEO because it was easier to scale. He also misses the ability to call someone at Google for support. He believes that Google in general is getting better at overall Google Maps spam. He feels most of the changes Google is doing is for the good of the businesses using them. One example is Google Posts on mobile.

Kevin Doory can be found on Twitter @kevindoory.

You can subscribe to our YouTube channel by clicking here so you don’t miss the next vlog where I interviews. I do have a nice lineup of interviews scheduled with SEOs and SEMS, many of which you don’t want to miss – and I promise to continue to make these vlogs better over time. If you want to be interviewed, please fill out this form with your details.

Forum discussion at YouTube.