Welcome to another Jemstones podcast. The first podcast in October, again, I’m your host, Matt Lewis. And I’m joined again by Julian and Kimmy. How are you guys doing?
All right. Well, we were out for a couple of weeks, so we’ve got a lot to talk about. First one big announcement from a Google search, with a ton of different things, but BERT kind of leading the way. BERT now being used in 10% of all English queries, it was launched about a year ago, and BERT stands for, do you remember what it stands for? Yeah, it’s bi-directional and coder representations of transformations. I know everyone listening to this podcast knows what that means, but basically what it means, is it’s helping the search engine understand more natural language queries. so things like, what’s the best pasta recipe or something like that.
It might bring up some, highly rated pasta recipes, things like that. So, basically what it says is, or what Google was saying is how much better it’s gotten. And it’s, it’s being used quite a lot. some of the other things they were talking about was there, spelling corrections have significantly improved, as probably the worst speller here, I would have to say, I’ve definitely noticed an increase and, not getting told that I’m wrong. so that’s, that’s good, and emails and things like that. So, Julian, anything else you wanted to, you wanted to bring to that?
Julian 2 (01:47):
I’m quite happy with the BERT algorithm. I think that the better Google understands human language, the better, there were a lot of terminologies and ways of presenting things that Google doesn’t get. For example, Google’s search results are all based on search intent, and so that means that Google wants to get the correct search intent when you search, search for something, a product or service or a question. And a lot of times you can look down and you’re like, wow, that’s not quite aligned, but we often end up aligning for the Google’s perceived search intent, not the perfect case search intent. So, Google is always trying to learn that, and I think BERT a good step in the right direction, when it kind of Locks down that natural language processing that they work on so hard to achieve.
Yeah, absolutely. Another big one was the passages update, and if I’m understanding it correctly, it seems like Google is now going to index part of a page as opposed to the whole page. We’re currently kind of in the content wars of 2020. So, everyone’s trying to create content. So maybe having the, exact, BERT related, search query, in your page will help, isolate that one piece of content and serve it to the query.
And isolation is the key part there because there’s still indexing the whole page. It’s, they’re just basically saying we’re going to do a better job of snapshotting this question, or this bit of information that has your title or It has your block of content. And that’s something that Google has been moving for a while in that direction. And there’s often times, like my best example is we’ll set a title tag, we’ll write the content for that page and it’ll be top down alignment, but then there’ll be an H two on that page, which for the particular search and for ranking that page is actually better than our title tag. And it will, dynamically switch the H two for our set title tag, and then often, not as often, but it could even change our meta description for block of the content, especially if it’s an informational search.
So I think the more Google does understand human language and the better it can compartmentalize the content on a page, providing that we structure the page correctly So it can be read by a human and a search engine that way, then I think it’s only going to help us. In a perfect world, we’ll be able to rank one page for more search terms. This is hopefully going to go away, but I always say one page websites rank like crap. The reason for that is because they’re not an expert on any particular subject, it’s just a bunch of information. And Google has historically had issues identifying that information and parsing it out. So I’m really liking a lot of these things. Google is saying, and the direction they’re going in, it should actually make our lives.
I, 100% agree. All right. So enough about all the great things Google is doing, let’s talk about the things that they’re not doing so well. There’s been a bit of turbulence in rankings over the last few weeks. Would you agree?
Yeah, I was. When you first mentioned it that Matt, I was like, Oh yeah, we’re right, “They’re having some indexing issues and REL canonical issues, I’m like, Oh, just check, search console, if there’s an issue.” And then, like there was like a two week lag where they were working on it and then I’m like, Oh, now it’s hitting my clients,
Yeah. Yeah. There has been a lot of talk in the SEO community about whether these are ranking updates or just a ton of instability over, the REL CanonicalL bugs. There’s been a few different issues in fact, so much so that Google is suspended. the request indexing feature, while it’s having all these indexing issues and that’s, to me, the biggest red flag you could ask for is suspension of the request indexing, which is the primary job of Google. If you ask me, it is indexing pages.
So I did notice, without going into detail, they’re like, Oh, we fixed the issues with mobile first with the indexing of mobile versions. And I’m like, no, you didn’t. I was still having a lot of indexing issues. And I was like, “Oh, look, it’s taking six hours to get a page index when you request it manually. Oh, it’s been two days. Oh, it’s been over a week.” And then later they’re just like, “Oh… we,graded out. You can no longer request manual indexing.” And I’m like, “yeah, because it stopped working,” right?
Yeah. Yeah. That’s a, that’s a duct tape fix. If I’ve ever, if I’ve ever seen one,
You get like, Oh, we’ll just pause it for a minute. I’m like, it stopped working like weeks ago, by the way. Yeah.
Yeah. Well, and on that topic, a mobile first indexing as has come up yet again, the complete move to mobile first indexing, as we all know, has been moved because of, COVID two next year, I believe it’s March next year, 2021. Kimmy, you saw this too. What, are your thoughts on a mobile first indexing should be mobile only indexing?
Well, I mean, like you said, we’ve been talking about it for a while and it was mentioned that, probably only a small portion of people aren’t quite to that step yet in being mobile first indexing, but I think it, it has a lot to say for, how our search queries and how are our behavior of our, our searchers, I guess, has changed. just making sure that we have our sights set for mobile first indexing is something that we’ve been focusing a lot on for our clients to make sure that we’re all set and ready to go. And it is nice that they kind of move that date a little bit, giving people a little bit more time. Obviously people have had some more important issues to focus on in the recent months. So, it’s nice of them to do that, but it is a good to know that they’re a little bit more serious on that March, 2021 deadline. And hopefully everyone can get everything in order for that.
Yeah. Anytime Google says something like, “Oh, it affects a small percentage of search, two percentage of search or 2% of websites.” We were talking yesterday as a team about what 2% of all the index sites of Google looks like, and when you have 37 trillion times math, that’s still,a couple of hundred billion sites that are affected at 2%. So that’s, there is a lot, there’s a lot to take into account even though they say something small, like 2%, yeah. It’s, it’s a small percentage, but it’s still a ton of sites. Now, we have been historically mobile first minded for years. So I think most of our clients, aren’t going to have that issue. We might see a little bit of shakeup when that does finally happen. We’ll see a little bit of movement in SERPs, but, I can speak at least for all of my clients. Not that worried. I think we’re doing pretty fantastic.
So periodically I do get a client hit, by having a bad mobile site. And I pointed this out many times, but it’s just such an uphill battle and there’s so much work to be done. And it’s one of those things when you’re talking about, touching on page speed, mobile page speed. It’s something that you get it where you want it. Six months later, you’re like, “Oh man, why is it slow again?” So it’s one of those things that it takes a lot of work upfront. There is an unlimited amount of work. Like it’s like how long is a piece of string? It’s like, how far will you go for mobile indexing? sorry, mobile speed. And what I’d like to point out is really, how far should you go? far out far enough to where your mobile speed isn’t, impacting or negatively affecting your ranking position.
There is the next step we are like, well, is it still so slow that I’m still getting a bounce rate with people getting frustrated? Cause they scroll to the bottom and they can’t quite get what they want quick enough. That would be the next thing I would consider, but if they’re not, if I’m not getting them to the website, then it doesn’t matter if they bounce because they’re not on the website and, when it comes to caching, when it comes to the size of images and things on the site page, those are those main things, but what’s even more important is Google will say right now. Okay. what is the industry standard for your type of product or service? Are you in the middle or better? Okay. You’re not going to get affected and that’s really based on just page speed.
So it’s an easy metric to work with. We are moving away from page speed. So, in a year or two, they’ll start looking at web vitals, which has the next upgrade from page speed. And that will be, is your text too close together? How long does it take for the first frame to load? That might take two seconds, but the whole website takes three seconds. It’s a fast loading site. The fact that the first frame took two seconds, you’re going to get penalized for that. So we can consistently see the direction they’re moving in even before they get there.
Yeah, absolutely. And again, if you are one of the small percentage that do have a poor mobile site or a poor mobile score Google has started asking searchers to leave online purchases. So that might, that might hurt you a little bit there. Kimmy, you saw this article as well. Yeah. Purchase reviews, Kimmy, What did you see? What do you think of this?
Yeah, so, it looks like we’ve been seeing some instances where Google is coming back to someone’s, let’s say they’ve already been to a site. Google’s like, okay, well you found us from this search. You may have made a purchase from the site. Let’s say, it was a bookstore or something like that. And then the next time you’re searching for something related it will pop up a little feature asking you how your experience was with that. They’re really just trying to, gain some insight on how your experience was with different businesses. And I’m not exactly sure what they’re going to be doing with that information. but it should be interesting to see. One thing I thought might be kind of interesting and it’s sort of the flip side of that is, is if they were to create a feature that was more for businesses to kind of do a follow ups, that kind of like a remarketing for reviews for businesses that people had made purchases from in the past. I know that, a few weeks ago we talked about on our podcast, just, the importance of reviews and how that’s always something that we’ve always really pushed for our clients, having a lot of reviews having really good reviews can always help your rankings. So it could be interesting to see something like that where we could have a feature where we could almost solicit those reviews and sort of a remarketing technique
Yeah. Through Google, as opposed to using a third party software that would, would require that. Yeah, that would be great. And this is just my friendly reminder to ask your clients for reviews before Google does. Yes. Speaking of which Google also got a little bit of flack for their wait times for local restaurants are inaccurate. Now, I’ve always noticed that whenever I go to a restaurant, the wait times are inaccurate, it just seems to be something that is, it seems to be pretty standard in, in local restaurants is wait times tend to be, either oversold or undersold a little bit. So I, I get that from, it can be frustrating, especially in these times where you’re trying to minimize how much contact you have with people and things like that that wait times could be an issue. Kimmy,again, this is something that you saw and brought to our attention. What, what are you thinking in this?
Well, it’s kind of like you said, it’s not always super accurate and you kind of have to take that information with a grain of salt. But I could see I could see it being a pretty dramatic effect for some of our clients. we work with a lot of smaller businesses, local restaurants, local shops, that kind of thing where their occupancy is already only so much. So if we’re reflecting that, our businesses are at high occupancy or are full and we’re driving away some of the business that we could have, there could have a pretty dramatic effect. We have some clients who are smaller restaurants, downtown New York city. And as we know, there’s already a lot going on there and people are trying to stay away from each other as is.
So, it would be nice to see if we could get that kind of back up and running a little bit. But it looks like after kind of looking into it further, a lot of SEO experts are saying that it seems that because of the recent trends in guests business, across the board, it seems like Google’s historical data is no longer as accurate as it used to be. And that is, what’s kind of creating these discrepancies between what is actually happening in their business and what is projected to be happening in the business. So, it would be interesting to see how long it’ll take for that to clear up and for things to get back to normal.
Absolutely. In these, Oh, go ahead, Julian.
I was going to say that in this particular example, I would say that looking down and identifying the busy times at a restaurant would, you could say, “Oh, well, those are going to be the longest wait times”, they you could go ahead and try to support the restaurants and the slow times that would be accurate. Cause they could see your location, they can see you checked in there, they can see your presence at the location. When it comes to your actual wait times, I don’t even know how they would estimate that that’s, like how long your food comes, minus how long your average person takes to eat. I don’t know. I’m just making that up, but it seems like a pretty hard calculation to throw out there.
I would imagine there’s a very deep and complicated and intrusive algorithm that tracks your phone while you’re grabbing food at places. Yeah, absolutely. Well, and as we’re all sick of hearing we’re in these unprecedented times, so precedents seems to go a little out the window, not only in search terms, but in wait times and a lot of different things. I’m sure this time, last year “face mask for sale” wasn’t searched a whole ton. So, something to consider there. Good news is Google My business is adding some more COVID based Google things that you can add to your Google My Business. Things like appointments required, mask required, temperature checks, all sorts of things like that again, Kimmy, this is something that I know you wanted to touch on and I can really only see this being a benefit,
Right? Yeah. it just was a, kind of a follow-up from what we had talked about in weeks past, obviously
They are ever changing, trying new features and trying to provide users with the information that they need prior to going to those businesses. Obviously things have been changing a lot. There’s a lot more and different requirements than we had been used to seeing in the past. In addition to some of the things they added a month ago, as things you just mentioned about temperature checks, staff wearing masks, things like that, they’ve now added a couple new, I guess, sets of information for users, whether or not that they’re providing safety dividers between you and the staff, and whether or not this staff is required to disinfect the area between visits, let’s say for a doctor or a dentist or a, just maybe some sort of consultation, even just one-on-one business, whether or not they’re required to disinfect that space prior to taking on another meeting could be pretty interesting to see how that plays out.
Yeah, I know that would definitely affect my decision to visit one business over the other is seeing that they’re taking the proper measures. So that is really good to have that upfront and have that be something that is easily accessible without having to visit the website or call ahead or something like that. So that’s great.
There’s a lot of power in the Google My Business listing and Google knows it. So they’re going to keep improving it, cross our fingers that they won’t, that they’re not going to monetize it too quickly because it’s where I find the phone number is where I find local business. I use it very much like Yelp at times, and a lot of the information and I read the reviews. I use that like, I’m a, I’m a big Google user. And, when it comes to content and reviews, when it comes to pulling information off the website, when it comes to filling out the products and service information. This year I can say, “Oh, look, when I add a ton of services and full descriptions”, suddenly it ranks for more things. And then next year I’m like, “Oh, it doesn’t make a difference, but it’s back to reviews”
It’s pulling information out of the reviews and there’s these little hints you see of which direction they’re going in and it’s not consistent. It changes the weight changes, but you’ll see something, you’ll see a GMB you’ll look down and all say, it will highlight or bold a section of your search and say, this has mentioned on your website, or this has mentioned in a review, or this has mentioned it a product and it’s pulling from all these different areas. And it is kind of frustrating that the weighted value of each of these areas changes quite rapidly actually. But if you check all of them, then we’re good.
Yeah, absolutely. All right. Well onto the, kind of the last thing on my list at least is Google unlocks podcast search performance with their podcast manager. Now, seeing as we are on a podcast right now, I guess this is a pretty relevant topic.
What do they call it? The V-blog or a video podcast. Yeah, a Vlog. There you go.
Jullian, I know this is something that you wanted to talk about. I’ll just say, with this new, fantastic technology from Google, we’ll be tracking you the listener and we’ll be better optimizing for you. So no, no, we won’t. I don’t think we’re big enough to, to be able to use that. But Julian, what did you want to say?
Yeah. When you create a blog, what do you call it? A vlog? Yeah. Or, whatever you’re creating, push it to these different podcast platforms this is very limited information. So, when they’re like, “Hey, we’re gonna do a really good job and show you impressions, click through rates, minutes played, devices it came from. That information can be really helpful because it means that a lot of times you can make these tweaks and target your biggest audiences based on that information. And with data and knowledge, there is power. So I’m pretty excited that they’re going to put a focus on that. I’m definitely going to sign up. I have some clients that are always supplying me with limited information and metrics like that. So if I can go ahead and try out some of these new reporting systems, and then, then I can go ahead and forward it onto them once I’ve mastered it, let’s say.
Yeah, absolutely. It’s good to see that Google is taking some time to help the podcast community. I think podcasts, I’m not speaking out of school here, when I say podcasts are taken off and are really a, really a huge medium for an entire generation, if not multiple generations to get their news or get their information. So that’s, it’s great that Google is, giving content creators a little bit more control.
There is one thing I wanted to finish off because I felt like, are we coming to an end here?
Yeah. Yeah. We’ve been doing this for 23 minutes.
Yeah. Very good. Okay. Well, what I wanted to say is right now, and in the future, we forget how powerful indexation is when I say indexation Is. What I mean is we want Google to basically be indexing and checking on that page every day, every week, not every month, right? That’s not enough for us because a lot of changes don’t get seen. Algorithms will be based on something when they saw it two weeks ago and it will make their assumptions based on that. If there is a problem it’s not going to fix quick enough. So, I want to talk about ways to get it indexed in a perfect world, which used to exist by the way, let’s a year ago, you can submit a page to Google and within six minutes I would be indexed. That’s not the world we live in. And I don’t think we’re going back to that ever.
And I don’t even think, I think this tool will eventually be removed from Google search console permanently, just because of the way they’re hinting that it’s not important when it is. So, how do you get a page indexed? So, XML sitemaps and HTML site maps. What you want to ensure is Google has one place to, it’s basically coming down to crawl equity. When Google causal website, you don’t want to, you don’t want Google to crawl up the homepage link to a deep page, link to another page, like a folder inside a folder, inside a folder, because it just gives up, it just stops. I don’t know what the line in the sand is. You want to make sure that when Google gets to your homepage it can immediately get to whatever page you want indexed. So everything should be one click away from the homepage.
Why is the homepage, the page that gets indexed all the time? Well, that’s because there are the most number of links go into it. So a bot calls a link to a link to a link, and the most amount of links are linked to the homepage. The homepage is going to get indexed the most number of times. So XML sitemaps, HTML site maps . HTML site map can go on the footer. So it calls all the links on that. Cause those are traditional links. X more site map is loaded to Google search console. And Google will always look for a site map and XML sitemaps that doesn’t have to be pushed, or you don’t have to push a bot to that. If you think about it, a bot crawls link. So the more links you have out there, the more often your page is going to get caught.
So for example, I have one of my one of my friends, he has a music site, vlogs, videos, things like that. I’ve noticed that his pages get indexed right after he posts it, and they blow up on social media. It’s just social media will get caught more often. Those aren’t do follow or powerful links to build the authority, but it’s going to help traffic and it’s going to help those bots crawl that social posts and then crawl that page or that new blog. Is there anything else? Yeah, so that’s pretty much the best ways to get a page indexed as quickly as possible. And the idea is to keep your pages being indexed frequently through crawl equity.
Could not have said it better myself. Kimmy, do you have anything else to add before we wrap up?
I think Julian said everything there is to say on indexing.
Perfect. All right. Well, that’ll do it for us. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next time.
All right. See you later
Have a good one.