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SMX West: Future-Proof Your Site for Google's Core Algorithm Updates by Lily Ray



Lily Ray's presentation from SMX West in San Jose on February 19, 2020.

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SMX West: Future-Proof Your Site for Google's Core Algorithm Updates by Lily Ray

  2. 2. @lilyraynyc LILY RAY SEO DIRECTOR
  3. 3. @lilyraynyc Seismic Shifts on Google
  4. 4. @lilyraynyc Your Money Your Life
  5. 5. @lilyraynyc Does This Look Familiar? (health site)
  6. 6. @lilyraynyc Does This Look Familiar? (health site)(drug site)
  7. 7. @lilyraynyc What does Google say we should do about core updates?
  8. 8. @lilyraynyc NOTHING!
  9. 9. @lilyraynyc
  10. 10. @lilyraynyc “With core updates, we’ve changed our calculations and found other pages that we think are more relevant. So it’s not a matter of doing anything wrong… We just don’t think these pages are as relevant as they originally were.”
  11. 11. @lilyraynyc SEOs:
  12. 12. @lilyraynyc Ignoring Google’s advice for a minute…
  13. 13. @lilyraynyc Can you recover from a core update? YES.
  14. 14. @lilyraynyc Can you recover from a core update? …but it isn’t easy. YES.
  15. 15. @lilyraynyc Recovery takes time, hard work, and patience.
  16. 16. @lilyraynyc Client Recovery Story
  17. 17. @lilyraynyc 12 Steps for Future- Proofing Your Site for Google Core Updates
  18. 18. @lilyraynyc Have a neutral 3rd party review your website’s usability and the quality of your content. 1. Content Quality
  19. 19. @lilyraynyc Common Scenario We have the best content on this topic so I don’t understand Why we were hit. CLIENT ME
  20. 20. @lilyraynyc
  21. 21. @lilyraynyc Stop producing content for the sake of producing content.
  22. 22. @lilyraynyc Common Content Problems • E-A-T issues • Mixes YMYL & non-YMYL • Making claims without sufficient evidence • Overly promotional • Too much of it • Spelling, grammar or readability issues • Insufficient depth • Poor structure • Lack of originality • Using blogs for evergreen topics
  23. 23. @lilyraynyc Jumplinks Thoroughly researched Contains citations to trusted sources Shows both sides of the story Supports claims with evidence Sufficient depth Captions on all images Labels on ads Good structure & optimized headlines Links to related articles Reading level: 9.6 Non-distracting ads
  24. 24. @lilyraynyc Have you ever manipulated search results in a way that violates Google’s guidelines? (…be honest.) 2. Own Up to Past Bad Behavior
  25. 25. Because there are 167 pages of things to consider. When is the last time you read the Quality Rater Guidelines?
  26. 26. @lilyraynyc When SEOs discuss the Quality Rater Guidelines…
  27. 27. @lilyraynyc Ben Gomes Google VP of Search, Assistant & News “You can view the rater guidelines as where we want the search algorithm to go. They don't tell you how the algorithm is ranking results, but they fundamentally show what the algorithm should do.” FUTURE PROOFING!
  28. 28. @lilyraynyc What can we learn from the QRG? • Different topics require different levels of E-A-T • Ads are ok if they are not too distracting • Your brand’s reputation matters • Misleading article titles are bad • Unsubstantiated conspiracy theories are bad • Misinforming, spreading hate, or deceiving users are all bad
  29. 29. @lilyraynyc What can we learn from Google’s webmaster guidelines? • There are at least 12 different types of link schemes • Low-quality localized landing pages are doorway pages • Spammy user generated content can result in a manual action
  30. 30. @lilyraynyc Has the intent of the search results changed for the search queries for which you lost visibility? 3. Focus on Relevancy & Intent
  31. 31. @lilyraynyc 4 Intent Types: Informational Provide information Transactional Buy something Navigational Find something Local Visit a location
  32. 32. @lilyraynyc Google Search Console is Your Friend Use Google Search Console to identify the pages, queries and topics that saw the biggest declines. Check current top performers and the SERP for relevancy and intent.
  33. 33. @lilyraynyc Check if your keywords switched to a local intent: • Local 3-pack (Maps) displayed • Localized organic results • Google appending city names to title tags Your non-localized page may no longer be relevant among local results.
  34. 34. @lilyraynyc Be careful using overly transactional language on YMYL content that’s intended to provide information.
  35. 35. @lilyraynyc Informational page about “Rosacea” Links to his main product
  36. 36. @lilyraynyc Author bios are great and you should use them, but leveraging help from real experts is even better. 4. (Real) Expertise
  37. 37. @lilyraynyc Author Bio (Losing Nutrition Site)
  38. 38. @lilyraynyc Expert Reviewers (Winning YMYL Sites)
  39. 39. @lilyraynyc Identify & resolve issues related to your organization’s trustworthiness and credibility. 5. Manage Reputation Issues
  40. 40. @lilyraynyc “my company” reviews “my company” scam “my company” fraud “my company” quality “my company” customer service Conducting Reputation Research
  41. 41. @lilyraynyc Explain why you exist, how you make money, and why your content should be trusted. Maintain ad disclosures & editorial policies. 6. Transparency is Key
  42. 42. @lilyraynyc Healthline’sAd&SponsorshipPolicy 1. We choose the ads. 2. We don’t endorse any products. 3. We will not accept certain types of ads. 4. We clearly distinguish ads from editorial content. 5. We clearly distinguish between sponsored and nonsponsored content. 6. We clearly distinguish content that is part of a cobranded program.
  43. 43. @lilyraynyc Give users reason to believe your website and your organization can be trusted. 7. Trust Signals
  44. 44. @lilyraynyc
  45. 45. @lilyraynyc • 6,000+ words • Jumplinks to navigate content • Citations to trusted sources • Built-in fact-checking • Shows both sides of the story • Disclaimers about controversies • Easy to understand • Evidence “trust-meter” TheDietDoctor’sKetoDietPage
  46. 46. @lilyraynyc If your pages take too long to load, or the ads distract from the main content, this can work against you during algorithmic evaluations. 8. Page Speed & Ad Experience
  47. 47. @lilyraynyc • Limit ads above the fold • Make ads easy to close • Ads should not distract from the main content • Ads can create performance issues; pay attention to load times Google’s Recommendations For Using Ads:
  48. 48. @lilyraynyc Your comments contribute to the overall quality of your page. Poor quality or unmanaged comments can get your site in trouble during algorithm updates. 9. Take Control Your Comments
  49. 49. @lilyraynyc Google interprets the comments on your page to be part of the main content.
  50. 50. @lilyraynyc Client Example: Drug Testing These comments are indexable & considered part of the main content on a YMYL page!
  51. 51. @lilyraynyc Handling Comments If you want to keep comments and have them indexed Check if comments are indexable Check that they are actually being indexed Moderate comments for quality If you want to keep comments, but don’t want them indexed Require a user action (i.e. JS button) to view comments If you can’t keep up with your comments or they are low- quality Disable comments entirely! Read Glenn Gabe’s great post about comment indexation:
  52. 52. @lilyraynyc Warning: this advice is controversial, but it comes directly from Google’s Guidelines. 10. Content Accuracy & Scientific/Medical Consensus
  53. 53. @lilyraynyc Contradicting Consensus = Lowest Quality Rating Google mentions “consensus” 20 times in the Quality Guidelines
  54. 54. @lilyraynyc 4 Natural Medicine Sites:
  55. 55. @lilyraynyc Updating Content to Improve E-A-T
  56. 56. @lilyraynyc January 2020 Core Update: Natural Medicine Sites Beginning to Recover?
  57. 57. @lilyraynyc Recovering from core updates requires more than improving content quality and E-A-T. Your technical SEO health also matters. 11. Technical Issues
  58. 58. @lilyraynyc • Crawling, indexing and/or rendering issues • Mobile un-friendliness • Coverage report in GSC • Page speed • AMP errors • Manual actions (Schema, link spam, hacked content) • Broken pagination Technical Issues
  59. 59. @lilyraynyc Core updates look at your overall site quality. Low-quality pages can bring down the quality of the overall domain. Noindex or remove them. 12. Noindex Low-Quality Content
  60. 60. @lilyraynyc Remove (or Noindex) Low-Quality Content John Mueller paraphrase: Filter out the junk from the high-quality content, search engines evaluate the domain as a whole. (Source)
  61. 61. @lilyraynyc • Own up to past “bad behavior” on Google and reconcile any efforts that violate Google’s guidelines Share these #SMXInsights on your social channels!
  62. 62. @lilyraynyc • Own up to past “bad behavior” on Google and reconcile any efforts that violate Google’s guidelines • Improve content quality and E-A-T by leveraging real experts and removing/improving low-quality content Share these #SMXInsights on your social channels!
  63. 63. @lilyraynyc Share these #SMXInsights on your social channels! • Own up to past “bad behavior” on Google and reconcile any efforts that violate Google’s guidelines • Improve content quality and E-A-T by leveraging real experts and removing/improving low-quality content • Don’t ignore technical SEO – doing so can also get you in trouble during algorithm updates.
  64. 64. @lilyraynyc SEE YOU AT THE NEXT SMX! THANK YOU! Slides: Twitter: @lilyraynyc