JEMStones – Search Engine News – S1E1 – An SEO Podcast

Search Engine Topics

  1. The Challenge with Hunter Douglas Websites
  2. Google On Word Count As A Ranking Signal
  3. Google: We Do Not Index Links, We Index The Pages Between The Links
  4. Google Indexing Issues Rumblings But I Cannot Replicate
  5. Most SEOs Believe Google Can Penalize A Site Without A Notification
  6. Google My Business Adds Adds Video Conferencing Integration

Transcript: Introduction

Matt (00:03):

Welcome to the JEMStones podcast. This is your host, Matt Lewis. I’m joined here with Julian and Kimmy. Julian and Kimmy, say hi.

Kimmy (00:12):


Julian (00:15):

Good afternoon. Good evening.

Matt (00:18):

Alright. So we’re going to talk about some SEO news. I think the first thing that we gotta, we just gotta get it out of the way. Especially because it is directly affected all three of us, is how terrible Hunter Douglas websites are. Julian. You, sent the email out, do you want to tell us a little bit about what happened and how it’s affecting us and our clients?

Julian (00:42):

I have to take a deep breath every time I deal with a Hunter Douglas site. All I can say is maybe they’re going to do better one day, since they’re always trying to update their sites. But yeah, I don’t even know where to start.

Matt (01:03):

All right, what it sounded like was , they did a mass update, for their entire, CMS and it reverted all changes that we’ve made to do anything to help with SEO. And, what that essentially means is everybody kind of went back to square one. Is that right?

Julian (01:23):

Yeah. So, I guess about a year or two ago, they decided they wanted to really focus on SEO. So I got a chance to speak to some of their team. There’s one crucial thing that like nobody told them, which, you know, duplicate content is not a thing. Nobody told them that like, “Hey, maybe you shouldn’t do that.” So they’re still, thinking things are great in the way that they syndicate their, their products and their pages and things like that. But up until recently, we were able to customize title tags, meta descriptions, and add special content segments among all the similar or duplicate content. They’ve been working on their website for, well, updating their CMS. You know, I’m not sure exactly what they’re updating, but what I’ve seen lately, as it looks like they’ve finished those updates. I do see a slightly different layout. You could see that in to identify the layout and the kind of design changes, but basically what they’ve done is a wiped out all the segments that were custom content. So now what’s left is these very finite, slightly changed, but dynamically name, address, and phone number inserted into generic content blocks. So really, you know, unfortunately we’ve seen a lot of our content drop in rankings and, we’re ensured that we can follow up with them to see what we can do. But, I think Kimmy, have you had a chance to deal with them?

Kimmy (02:21):

Yeah, quite a few times. Unfortunately all the content that got removed was all my hard work. So, that was a kind of a huge blow. But I have had to work with them a little bit more recently, with their support team being that everything is under construction. So like you said, I guess we’ll just have to see wait and see what happens. Hopefully it’s not a terrible blow for a lot of our clients.

Julian (03:27):

Yeah. I can’t imagine that they would intentionally, drop their client’s rankings and prevent traffic from coming in. So I assume that it’s just a large company that has a lot of red tape to get through before they get to the perfect solution. So let’s say five steps forwards, three steps back every time for progress.

Matt (03:55):

So are you guys feeling pretty good about, you know, kind of regaining some of those ranking positions that we lost? Do you think that because this was across Hunter Douglas, any competitors that are also Hunter Douglas suffered the same issue? So are we going to see, you know, a total loss or what do you guys think that’s going to mean for our clients and things like that moving forward?

Julian (04:18):

Well, the links on the authority, anything with built or they’ve built organically is still there. And as for the content, Kimmy’s still got that locked down somewhere, ready to go.

Matt (04:30):

So we’ll be back up and running in no time? This is what you’re thinking?

Julian (04:34):

If given the opportunity, we’ll be able to jump right back out of the hole that that seems to have been created as content gets removed from the websites.

Matt (04:44):

Well, that’s a great segue into the next thing that we wanted to talk about, which is, we’ve recently heard from a are very, very good friend, John Mueller, that Google does not take word count as a ranking signal. What do you guys, what do you guys think about that?

Kimmy (05:10):

Well, I think we’ve heard that quite a few different times, and I know that, you know, we’ve all talked about it plenty of times that while word count may not necessarily be a ranking signal, you know, having good content on your site allows you more opportunities to be an authority on the topics that you want to be ranking for. So while it’s not directly affected, I feel like it’s kind of indirectly the same thing.

Matt (05:38):

Yeah. I like to think that that’s, you know, that’s almost the lawyer in John speaking there is that word count. Isn’t a ranking factor, right. But, to be very authoritative on a subject, you typically need to explain it at length. So, more words typically means more authority, but the actual word count itself, isn’t a factor to Google. They’re not counting words, they’re looking for quality content.

Kimmy (06:11):


Julian (06:12):

Which we’ve gotten a chance to hear Google request over and over again. And, you know, I do get the impression in a perfect world, they would judge their rankings heavily on content, and not so much on their link equity, but Google’s algorithms are particularly focused on links, which has, it’s a double edged sword. So, yeah. Good content.

Matt (06:37):

Well, again, perfect transition. Google also recently, stated again, John coming out and saying that, they don’t index links, we index the pages between links. And this is one of those things that I think when we as an SEO specialist, when we’re talking to clients about sometimes the time it takes for Google to recognize those links. Basically what they’re saying is we’re, we’re running page a and then we’re scanning page A and then we’re scanning page B, and then we discover the links between those pages. Right? So, it can take a while for Google to catch those, but just because you have a link doesn’t mean Google is necessarily going to see that right away and make those adjustments.

Julian (07:30):

Yeah. Yeah. I definitely agree. You know, we’ll probably go into this a little bit more in a minute here, but having pages indexed and having pages indexed regularly, especially if they’re pages that are getting updated, Is always been something that I’ve had, that we’ve had to work on, actually, especially, you know, it’s not always mentioned in our SEO news across the board, but there are many times when I notice multiple sites having indexation issues where Google is not seeing the changes as fast as it could. And, you know, it also touches on, maybe a site doesn’t get authority from a no follow link, but the bot is still crawling. On any page, It crawls that link and It goes to another page. It finds that content, reads that content. So on and so on. So, you know, in a simplistic way, the more links, the more chance you have for that page to get seen and updated by Google.

Matt (08:37):

So, again, just a perfect, a perfect segue into Google had some indexing issues. It seems like September. Yeah. Believe it or not. It seems like Google had some indexing issues on September first, second, third, somewhere around there. We were seeing a lot of publishers, having issues with stories and things like that. Do you think that has anything to do with Core updates? Where, where do you think that’s coming from Jillian?

Julian (09:10):

You know, there are a lot of the big algorithms that come through and things like that, where you noticeably see like, “Hey, all the latest news showing up in the Google search is out of date.” You know, it hasn’t been updated in the last six hours, 10 hours, and that’s something where it’s easy to catch. But there’s all these little in between signs where we see where we’re dealing with two or three hundred clients at a time where we often see a problem across many of our clients. And we can see the correlation, or the causation of a small algorithm update that’s caused some disruption and the updates of pages. And, you know, we’re always hearing news come through on the, on the wire about a couple of pages, well, about pages getting removed from the search index, but not de-indexed, just an indexation issue where it takes a while for them to update those, the search results page. So, it’s always a frustration with me, and I think that Google doesn’t, or isn’t as honest, or doesn’t like to say like, “Hey, we often have some issues here.”

Matt (10:21):

Yeah. You know, Google seems to plead the fifth a lot when it comes to, when they have issues, you know, an important thing to remember is that Google is reliant on computers and data centers and things like that as any other.

Julian (10:39):

And humans.

Matt (10:42):

Yeah, and humans. So if there’s a, if there’s a data center that goes down, or if, you know, something like that, that happens that, we might not hear about as consumers or, or even digital marketers, people who are, have our finger on as much of the pulse as we can, something like that happens. And it throws rankings into flux and articles aren’t publishing and things like that, that can be, or have pretty huge ramifications, to not only us, but to our clients and rankings and things like that. So it’s important to remember that Google isn’t infallible.

Julian (11:19):

It is. I just wish that they were a little bit more open and allowed us to know some things in a little more of an absolute. But, you know, just for today, I got my Google shirt on here. I got it While I was at Google. But back to the point, yeah. I feel like they just give you enough information to push you on the direction they would like, but not necessarily the direction of absolute fact.

Matt (11:50):

Well, yet again, we’re a segued perfectly into our next topic, which is most SEOs believe that Google can penalize a site without a notification. A Twitter poll went up, which is clearly the best way to pull the industry. But, Deshaun SEO asked webmasters and SEOs if there were, if Googlers have the ability to demote a domain or a page without sending out any kind of alert to search console. 75% said, they do think that it’s possible for them to do that And 25 said, no. What do you guys think? Have you seen that? Seen anything like that in your time?

Julian (12:42):

Kimmy, anything before I for a jump in here?

Kimmy (12:43):

I mean, I think it’s possible. I would think that they could do that. You know, I’m sure there’s all kinds of weird stuff on the internet that needs to get off there as soon as possible without people getting notified about it.

Julian (12:43):

That’s a good point actually. You’re right.

Kimmy (12:43):

So, I don’t think it’s impossible. I would say maybe there’s some limitations on what they can do, and what they can’t do without notifying somebody, but I would say it almost has to be possible.

Julian (13:12):

Yeah. And I think that it’s always good to remind ourselves the difference between, a penalty and like an algorithmic kind of, update. You know, you’re algorithmically being held back or dropping in rankings versus a penalty, and a penalty fits, you know, quite well in what you said. I think that if you go by the point of this, probably a few times with something is so egregious that it needs to be removed instantly and doesn’t have to go through the normal channels.

Julian (13:45):

So that makes a lot of sense. I do think they’ve gotten a lot better, with notifying you of a strict penalty in Google search console. If you’ve got it set up, you can see that, and a Google penalty is something that probably got picked up by the system, but once you’ve fixed it, you do have to send it to Google for a manual review and write, you know, what did you do to fix it? I know that I had a client that deals in the RX world. So they deal in a lot of prescription drugs and a lot of nonprescription drugs on an informational basis. And the amount of times that I have gotten a penalty and had to submit, but it would be a penalty on a page by page basis, which was nice. So they would absolutely not remove, but totally devalue all rankings, on a particular page about a particular drug.

Julian (14:41):

And I would have to submit, I’d find that in Google search console, I would see the page that had the penalty. And I would submit all the information to show that it was a legitimate page. I haven’t gotten that in a while, but I would basically do that every three months. So, Google isn’t perfect about that. And I still do think they pick up things, maybe there’s like red flags that come in algorithmically and then it gets pushed to a penalty stage. And then it’s more of a manual process. So, it only, we knew the steps in that

Matt (15:15):

I will say back in the old days, as the resident old guy, I will say that, Google used to not, anytime a manual action was performed, Google would not notify you in search console. It would just happen. The other thing to keep in mind here, is when there is a, you know, some sort of algorithmic change, and they release something new, you might feel like you’re getting penalized, but it’s just, there’s been a new update or something that has kind of pushed your site down. Something you were doing, wasn’t, good with the new updates. So they’ve, you know, dropped your site rankings significantly. And it feels like overnight, so that could be something that I think, a lot of people might misinterpret as a manual action because as we all know, everybody in SEO is always white hat and never does anything bad. So that’s, that’s one of those things to keep in mind too, is, sometimes it feels like you’re being penalized when really it’s just the algorithm catching up to you.

Julian (16:17):

Absolutely. Absolutely. And, to speak on behalf of the JEMSU team, I reserve the right to change my strategy to try to beat Google’s algorithm updates or capitalize, I should say, on their updates.

Matt (16:35):

Yeah. And speaking of updates, it looks like the Google My Business team is finally catching up with all of the things that have, hit them, especially hard with a COVID. But it looks like, they’re getting some video conference integrations and they’re getting updated service availability. How do you think that’s going to pan out for, our clients?

Kimmy (17:04):

I would say hopefully pretty well. We work with quite a few smaller businesses who, I know that we were having, from the get go, just some issues, making sure that everything was up to date for them. Having those feature where you can go in and just select those really important, top features, are they open? I can’t remember what the other couple ones were.. Are they doing onsite service and online appointments? I think that’s really crucial. And definitely the addition of the video conferencing. I mean, obviously in today’s new age, video conferencing is like, you know, going and grabbing a drink with someone. So, it seems pretty crucial that every business should have that.

Julian (17:48):

Yeah, I’m pretty happy with that, the option of video conference., There is quite a few applications I’m using that are giving you that option. I also have been dealing with GMB for a long time. And, as someone that’s had to do 400 locations at once on all different ways of doing it, that team, if you’re in it every day, they change things around a lot. Like, more often than any other segment of Google I’ve ever seen. You know, needless to say during COVID they did, they did kind of block out some of the updates you could make. And a lot of times you make an update and it goes into pending. And, you know, I do wonder if someone is manually reviewing something arbitrarily? Or if it is, a system that just puts it in a queue, And if it gets red flags, then it gets manually reviewed?

Julian (18:42):

I have noticed during COVID that some of the things have gone into review and instead of 10 minutes, it’s taken like 10 days. And it’s not always something that’s particularly important. I’ve even seen, clients or experienced lately, where I’ll get the postcard, the verification postcard, and I’ll put it in and it will knocked it back into a pending status before it gets opened back up. So, you know, it’s definitely something that is forever changing, they’re always trying to adapt it. It’s quite a nimble platform where they’re always testing, except you would think that, they seem to test the wall, put it that way.

Kimmy (19:32):

Yeah. Always an update.

Matt (19:34):

Yeah. Keeping us on our toes. Cool. well that’s about all the SEO news I have for this week. Do you guys have anything that you’d like to add? Any closing Notes?

Julian (19:46):

Oh, I feel like I’ve gotten to say a lot today.

Kimmy (19:53):

That’s nothing out of the norm.

Julian (19:55):

You’re right. Well, I mean, I’m excited to, start doing podcasts and letting us talk a little bit about what we do and what we think.

Julian (20:06):

Yeah. This is our first go of it. So we’re going to definitely see some changes. We, I think we have some music coming and, upcoming podcasts and yeah, this is going to go a lot further. So thanks for joining us, from the whole JEMSU team. Thanks for listening. And we’ll see you next time.

Julian (20:23):

We love comments and opinions, so chime in. Have a great one everybody.

Kimmy (20:28):

See you later, San Diego.