Google took its 20th anniversary as an opportunity to hang a pinata of search updates that have already begun to rain down on us. From "topic layers" in what is an all but transcendental Knowledge Panel, to Google pulling site content to create its own version of AMP Stories, the updates announced at Google's 20th birthday bash event are set to change the way users interact with search.
Here's what I think the common denominator between the changes is, what it means for search, and what you might want to do about it!
There was no major Google algorithm update this past month that shook up the entire SEO community. Instead, we got a few shorter "bursts" of rank volatility that had their own story to tell. On top of that, mobile indexing multiplied by immense proportions, Chrome's update brought us more direct answers, and a good dozen or so SERP feature tests and changes popped up.
Oh, and Google announced a slew of some pretty big changes that could change the entire way we think about search and go about optimization vis a
vis the user's experience.
Dealing with feature heavy SERPs is a big problem for a lot of folks. I went around and asked some pretty smart people what they thought the best way is to handle ranking amidst Google's SERP features. The idea was to combine the different pieces of the puzzle into one resource.
To be blunt, this is not another roundup so that a bunch of people can walk away with links where nobody really says much of anything. These are the best thoughts these fantastic folks have on how to deal with a SERP where Google is a formidable competitor.
In the not too distant past, I wrote a piece highlighting how machine learning has impacted rank volatility (in that rank is considerably more volatile). At the time, we touched on what machine learning means for understanding how ranking works and how the process directly influences rank. Here, we'll get into the nitty-gritty of it all by analyzing the holy of holies of optimization information, ranking factor studies, particularly niche ranking studies by asking one very simple question
.... Do ranking factors studies still apply in a world where machine learning and intent reign supreme, and if so, to what extent?
Most SEO professionals know the ins and outs of the trade – that content is king, that technical SEO optimization is a must, and that you can’t get serious rank traction without quality backlinks. The thing is, that succeeding as an SEO agency is not just about knowing SEO, it’s about understanding how to manage the client relationship, a central part of which is knowing the right way to prepare SEO reports.
There's this sentiment that rank has become increasingly more volatile. To a large extent, we've chalked this up to machine learning, or RankBrain in specific. That said, what does the current ranking landscape actually look like? How does it differ than the allegedly more stable past? What new ranking dynamics has machine learning left us with? What can we do about them?
August was a month for the Google SERP record books and it's not all thanks to the monster of an update that rolled-out. Yes, the early August Google Update, commonly referred to as the Medic Update, was massive and I'll surely discuss it and how it has changed the name of the game in many ways. However, one of the most exciting things to develop over the month has been Google Posts and it's move towards independence.
Welcome to the SERP News covering August 2018!
Google's early August update was one the most drastic changes I've ever had the 'pleasure' of studying. No site within any niche was safe. Not even the top results on the page could withstand its algorithmic inertia. Amidst the waves of rank fluctuations, a peculiar site pattern emerged, one that had us wondering...
Can Google now profile your site?
What's Google showing in the new desktop carousel? Where do the carousel's YouTube URLs rank within YouTube itself? Is the SERP getting the best YouTube has to offer? Can you optimize for YouTube and the desktop video carousel simultaneously? Does top spot YouTube placement guarantee carousel priority?
I took 155 video carousel keywords and compared the rank of the top 6 cards in each carousel to the URLs rank inside of YouTube - these are my results.
I don't think I need to say that Google's August 2018 broad core update was a big deal. You can judge an update by the buzz it gets... and this update was thunderous. Of course, anyone and everyone
is grasping at straws trying to 'figure the update out'. How impactful was the update? Which sites did it hit? What kind of sites were affected? While I can't definitively explain the update (Can anyone?), I did some digging and came back with some small trinkets of algorithmic treasure. Here's what I found.
When it rains it pours, or in SEO terms, when Google showers us with changes to the SERP, it follows them up with even more adjustments! The June SERP's big-ticket momentum rolled right into July as the SERP continued to evolve at break-neck speed... a Speed Update that is. Not only did the search engine roll out its highly anticipated mobile speed update, but it made a splash with some serious SERP feature shifts and a series of tests to hotel Knowledge Panels that make all previous tests look like child's play!
There are two things we don't need to tell you: your time is limited as well as valuable and Google Analytics is beyond important for good SEO. So, we would like to tell you that you can more easily and quickly access your Google Analytics data with the new and dare we say 'nifty' widgets that have been recently added to Rank Ranger!
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