JEMStones – Search Engine News – S1E4 – An SEO Podcast

Search Engine Topics

  1. Transcript: Introduction
  2. Happy Birthday DuckDuckGO
  3. September 23rd Google Search Algorithm Ranking Update
  4. Google Updated Their Google Local Documentation On Reviews
  5. Google: Anchor Text Is Primary and text Around Links Is Secondary
  6. Web Stories WordPress Plugin
  7. Bing AI Autosuggest & Bing Adopts Voice Search On Desktop

Transcript: Introduction

Matt (00:04): Welcome to the JEMStones podcast. I’m your host, Matt Lewis joined again by Kimmy and Julian. How’s it going guys?

Kimmy (00:11): Hey there. Good. How are you doing? Doing good Okay

Julian (00:11): Doing good.

DuckDuckGO Turns DuckDuckOld

Matt (00:14): Good good. All right. So this week, and we’re recording this on September 25th, and I want to kick everything off by saying happy birthday to my favorite search engine, Duck Duck Go. Duck Duck Go is a Google alternative for anyone who’s not familiar. If you’ve paid attention to analytics. I would say if I get a thousand Google visits and 200 Bing visits, I probably get about six duck duck go visits, but you know, it’s a really cool, interesting search engine. They’re serving between 1.3 and 1.5 (million) direct queries a day. So that’s huge growth for them, relatively new to the game, but really big fan of them. Just a nice, happy birthday to that team and that side of it

Julian (01:10): Yeah, I enjoy the Duck Duck Go. I have it on my phone as it’s a very secure way of searching with minimal tracking, or none, It’s one of their big selling points. But you know, the things we search on our phone can be a little bit more private then maybe on a desktop or a work computer. So I have the app, the Duck Duck Go app and I enjoy using it for that.

Matt (01:34): Yeah. Something that I really like about Duck Duck Go is I was recently looking for a new air conditioner for my apartment. And, once I buy one, I, it’s not like I’m starting an air conditioning collection, you know? So all the retargeting and things that happens on something like Google or Amazon, I’m not going to buy more than one AC, so it’s nice to not be served with those ads even after I’ve made that purchase. So that’s kind of, that’s one of the coolest that practical uses for Duck Duck Go.

September 23rd Google Search Algorithm Ranking Update

Matt Well, speaking of Google, we are seeing some early signs of some new algorithm updates around the 23rd. I’ve even seen it a little sooner than that. Julian, did you have, what have you been seeing with, kind of the fluctuations we’ve seen in Google search?

Julian (02:26): Well, it’s pretty much every week we see some kind of fluctuation. What I’ve really focused on with Google updates and fluctuations is really breaking it down, because tools have a hard time breaking it down and taking snapshots when there’s fluctuations and volatility. So a lot of the times, not only do we have to account for, okay, well what jumped and dropped and bounced back up, but how accurate are these reporting metrics? And so, it often means that I have to double check the ranking or the snapshot that may be our reporting tool, not just the ranking it showed me, because the snapshot maybe might like, on Google… What I’ve noticed lately, especially with some of my attorney clients, is the map three pack has dropped off on some of the attorney and lawyer modified searches. So, what it means is it really, really affects the way that that position reports. So sometimes they can, or the map listing will be put in, so they’ll go from position one to position four, but it’s just cause the maps, including in that column or maybe the map listing dropped off. So, these are the things that I just spend way too much time on whenever there’s any fluctuation, is trying to analyze what is legit movement and why it moved. It can be quite frustrating at times, or time consuming, I should say.

Matt (03:55): Yeah, I’ve seen a little bit of chatter on a canonical tagging, maybe being the cause. Any time there’s fluctuations this dramatic, the SEO community tends to just all jump and everybody says, you know what they’re seeing on their side. And something like, tags changing or any kind of big change like that, it might affect their site negatively and somebody else’s site positively. So it’s a very, it’s kind of putting a puzzle together each time that we see something like that. So that’s, That’s very important. Now,

Google Updated Their Google Local Documentation On Reviews

Matt: Google, updated the document on how reviews are impacting local rankings, Kimmy, what did that look like?

Kimmy (04:46): Well, it was changed just ever so slightly. I believe from the ranking factors “will probably” improve, to “can improve”. So, I guess the question is, is that any better? Is “can improve” them more definite then we’ll probably? Or what does that make that? I mean, I know that, we always preach that to our clients, that the more reviews you have, the better reviews you have, the better you’re going to do just as, a best practice. But I don’t know how much that really changes it, and it certainly doesn’t change, our strategy, but it’s interesting to see that they made that just ever so slight change to that document.

Julian (05:37): Absolutely. Sure. Whenever we see Google documentation, they quite often push you in a direction. Early on in the past, I’m talking a year, two years ago, you would search a term and you would see, the GMBs come up on the map listings, and if it was a term, the categories that we assigned to these map listings are very restrictive and there’s just not always the perfect category. And it makes you wonder, “well, how does Google know what to rank this map listing for?” Years ago, you would see highlighted that says, whatever your search term, it would highlight a segment and say It was mentioned, it would say mentioned in, and it would show you a review in a little highlighted section of the review. So that was for quite a while. It was like that.

Julian (06:34): So, and then before that, I would say, four years ago there was actually a segment in the GMB section in that map section that says things mentioned, it was like a word cloud. And it was like things mentioned within all the reviews. So that was the first step. Then it moved to quoting the reviews. And then now what it’s done in the last year, let’s say, is they have gone ahead and say mentioned on the site, and it will highlight a little segment from the site. So, I do believe, like I already realized that reviews had some influence when they started doing the keyword cloud, then they started highlighting it, and then now they started mentioning things on the site. So obviously there’s some, the systems picking up information on all of those sources or those informational sources, it’s just Google changes the weight of which it rates different areas of its checkbox, and its algorithm and it’s ranking factors. So, I think that Google is just constantly, upsettingly annoying when it’s like, “will probably”. Well, is it “will”? or “will probably?” So, yeah, I think that they’ll keep tweaking it, if anything, just to have us keep an eye on it and make a big deal over it. So they’re like, “yeah, yeah, rankings are important”, and they are, but the question is how important? yeah. Minus the click through rate and people saying “I’m going with that business.” So there’s a little bit of an indirect weight, which is very important.

Google: Anchor Text Is Primary and text Around Links Is Secondary

Matt (08:08): Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And in that same vein, Google has, I believe it was on a podcast recently, or a Mueller was talking about the context around linking is secondary to the prime to the anchor text, which is primary. And that’s something that, we, as I build links, or as Kimmy your writing content, that’s something that we always keep in mind is, we want to make sure that the, the anchor text is relevant to the link that we’re sending out, but also that the content around it helps facilitate that. Kimmy, you saw that as well, What did you think about all of that?

Kimmy (08:50): Yeah, I, I just thought it was interesting. And like you said, I’m working with content all the time for lots of different clients, and it guess its just something to keep in mind. You see anchor texts a lot of times with, a “learn more” or “click here” or whatever it may be just, “download” or something, but it doesn’t really tell you a lot sometimes about what it is that you’re getting directed to. So, it’s good to keep in mind that even when you are doing those simple things, like “learn more” button, maybe you’re a little bit more specific about what it is that you’re wanting to learn more about. Just something that, as I’m doing my daily work, I have to think about a lot. And it’s nice to see that they’re just providing a little bit more information about that.

Matt (09:42): Yeah, absolutely. And, that’s not only true on external linking, but also internal linking. You want to make sure surrounding content is supportive of where you’re going both externally to another website, or internally within your own website.

Web Stories WordPress Plugin

Matt (09:42): So, speaking of websites, WordPress, press plugins… that’s all you gave me. Julian. What did you want to talk about with WordPress plugins?

Julian (10:06): Oh yeah. So, just recently Google actually took, well push something out that was in beta, and now Google web stories WordPress plugin is now live. So, with web stories is an interesting creature. It gives you these little snapshots where you can put your content into like search image, discover apps, things like that. The problem with web stories is the formatting is so specific and has this different requirements for videoed text and things like that, that it can be quite a lot to deal with if you’re trying to do it independently. So the WordPress plugin has, got templates, it’s set it up to maybe may create a mainstream easy way of creating snackable content from your existing content. So from your blogs and things like that. I haven’t had a chance to play around with a plugin, but I think it could bring more people into more areas, like bring the content into, or,

Julian (11:06): It will allow more content rich sites to be eligible, to show in more areas. And I really support that kind of stuff, and I’m glad Google, well, Google is creating plugins that allow you to do this without having to get your developers and pushing it out and submitting it here and creating a lot of hassle there. So, I think there could be some opportunity for us to test that out on some of our clients and see how effective it is. They do mention that they have reporting on, how well and the metrics on that. So I’d also be interested to see what their reporting looks like.

Bing AI Autosuggest

Matt (11:41): Very cool. Yeah. That is great to hear. All right. So now onto the, onto the maybe forgotten, search engine, Bing. Bing has recently released AI into their search, much like Google had done previously. But we have auto suggest, people also ask intelligent answers and some more AI improvements within Bing itself, as well as getting some voice search options in their desktop search. They’re also testing an “open links in new tab”, which has all great quality of life improvements. I would expect being to get better at search. But that’s also at least for a lot of my clients and, and kind of keeping my eye on Bing. I’ve seen a lot of turbulence in the last week. We’ve seen a lot of kind of movement and things like that. But that’s typical Anytime you released AI, any kind of big new changes, either Google or Bing or any other search engine when they release those big changes, we tend to see a lot of, a lot of movement there. So, that was just something to bring up too. Bing is going to, we’re going to see some fluctuation and Bing and that’s just part of them getting better as a search engine. Anybody have anything else to comment on that?

Julian (13:08): As Google leads the way, you can see identification, sorry, areas where you can go ahead and manipulate the results easily and create suggested matches and things like that with some, let’s say “gray hat” areas of SEO and companies do. And I’m wondering, like just recently Google said, “well, we’re going to take away to suggestions when someone says, like, who should I vote for?” I’m wondering, as Bing brings that kind of stuff in, if they learn the lessons of Google, since they’re already taken gone down that path. We’ll see, we always hope that everything is minimally influenced. So that there’s a fair chance of everybody ranking, but not impossible to influence so that we can rank people, when we really want over time.

Matt (14:07): Yeah, absolutely. Well, I think that’s about everything that I have. Kind of a slower week in SEO news. Does anybody have anything else that they want to add?

Kimmy (14:23): Not today.

Julian (14:24): No I think we’re good. Alright.

Matt (14:27): Well, thank you everybody for listening and watching, and we’ll see you next week.

Kimmy/Julian(14:33): Catch ya later. See ya.