Summary of SEO 101 Episode 359

The SEO 101 Logo for WebmasterRadio.FM

The hosts discuss the recent issues surrounding Google My Business which have caused a myriad of problems for business owners. They follow up with set-SEO-straight tips from John Mueller, and questions from SEO 101 listeners.

Also, Ross announced the new SEO 101 Show Notes Newsletter.

Important Links from SEO 101 Episode 359

SEO 101 Podcast Show Notes Now Available – You can now receive the show notes from the latest episode of the SEO 101 Podcast. Please check out SEO101radio and subscribe.

Google My Business Issues

1.) The Short Name Massacre: Many GMB profiles got suspended.

“The specialist team responsible for reviewing and reinstating listings is currently facing a backlog and responses may be delayed for up to 2-3 weeks. While the team works through this backlog, we suggest refraining from submitting duplicate escalations if you have already sent in a request and have not yet heard back from the team. We appreciate your patience while the team works through these requests.”

2.) Issue With Responding to Q&A on Google My Business: Doesn’t work on desktop at the moment.

Local SEO expert Joy Hawkins confirmed that the issue is “definitely still happening. No fix yet.”

She added: “Ben Fisher, however, gave me a super awesome tip that you can still respond as the owner using the Google Maps app on your phone.”

3.) Show personality with cover photos: Google says, “Businesses can easily set their preferred profile cover photo, putting their best foot forward.”

Unfortunately, that is only a “suggestion” and will not necessarily be used.

TextBack Case Study: Driving Big Reviews For A Small Restaurant – GatherUp

Mike Blumenthal helped a local restaurant, noting the “Textback” option has driven more customer reviews.

Google to Display Customer Photos in Shopping Ads – Search Engine Journal

Soon Google Shopping customers will have the option to upload their photos along with their reviews on the products they purchased.

Google is rolling out this new feature which is expected to be helpful for both retailers and customers.

A photo of Google's John MuellerThe Mueller Files

Our weekly section of commentary from Google’s John Mueller.

Be Consistent. Use Either Slash Or No Slash After URL, Not Both – Search Engine Roundtable
In response to a question about slashes after URLs, John Mueller said you can choose to use slashes after URLs or not, but it’s best “to be consistent and only use one version.”

“It can lead to way too many redirects to get specific content… It could trigger issues in your Google Search Console.” – Ross

Sites Prepared For Google Mobile First Indexing May Have Not Moved Yet? – Search Engine Roundtable
Is your website mobile-first indexing ready but hasn’t been moved over yet? John said this is possible, as not all sites have been switched over yet.

Both Old Or New Domains Do Not Benefit You In Google – Search Engine Roundtable
John also addressed the myth that domain age impacts rankings. Either old or new domains can rank well on Google, so domain age is not a significant factor for SEO.

Google Launching #AskGoogleWebmasters YouTube Video Series – Search Engine Roundtable
Google is launching the #AskGoogleWebmasters video series hosted by John Mueller.

Questions from SEO 101 Listeners

Ross and John also welcome some SEO-related concerns from listeners. Please listen to the show to find out their answers to these questions.

1.)  “Hi All, I’m looking for opinions on the SEMrush Backlink audit tool. I have a site that has never undertaken activities to gain unnatural links so I haven’t bothered too much with disavow files.

However, SEMrush is showing a high number (over 100) of ‘toxic’ domains and they seem to increase each week.

I’m interested to know what sort of number other sites are seeing in this tool, and how many of you go against Google’s guidelines and disavow these toxic links anyway.” – Ben C.

2. “Interesting problem… I’d implemented Google’s FAQ schema a while ago and noticed last month that a whole list of my questions and answers were featured in collapsible sections under my results in the SERPS. What makes this different to the answer box is that these FAQ excerpts include selective HTML markup – bold, bullet points and…. hyperlinks – both internal and external. These included affiliate links to Amazon, which presented a problem – Amazon detected click referrals coming from search results and assumed these clicks were coming from an AdWords PPC campaign that I’d set up. 

Even though these referrals are 100% organic they’re flagging them as PPC driven which is against their operating guidelines. They’re threatening to pull the plug on my account until stop clicks direct from Google no matter how much I explain the situation – the only suggestion the expert digital marketing team at Amazon team made was “after you build a website you go to google and turn on google, so look for an option to turn off google” (ugh!!!). 

I’ve removed the schema markup and waited for crawling to get fresh versions however the old FAQ content is still displaying in the SERPs – I think Google has either figured out the structure of my page and is able to display FAQs anyway, or has cached versions sitting somewhere. 

Is there a way to turn excerpts off so I don’t get banned from Amazon? If I remove my affiliate links from the pages so Google can’t scrape them then there aren’t any links on my own site to generate income.

There is a nuclear option which is a ‘nosnippet’ tag in the head of every page, however it looks like this wipes all snippets out of the SERPs including meta descriptions and answer box results – so I can wave goodbye to a majority of traffic. What can I do to prevent Google scraping links in my site and displaying them in SERPs? Amazon have given me 2 days left to fix…” – Rob D.

End of Show Notes

If you have any questions you would like to share with Ross and John, please feel free to post them on the SEO 101 Facebook Group. And, if you enjoy SEO 101 on WebmasterRadio.FM please consider supporting the hosts with feedback on Apple PodcastsStitcher, or your favourite podcast stream.