Summary of SEO 101 Episode 370

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Google’s Nov 2019 Local Search Update is official and the source of much discussion in the industry. Ross and guest co-host Scott Van Achte discuss what is known along with other findings from the Local Search Forum.

They also discuss a Mueller file, an improvement to Google’s Search Console, and a question from a listener.


Notes from SEO 101 Episode 370

Local SEO News Segment

Google confirms Nov. 2019 Local Search Update – Search Engine Land
Google confirmed it began using neural matching in early November “as part of the process of generating local results.” They call it the Nov. 2019 Local Search Update.

Take note: Neural matching is NOT the same as Rankbrain. RankBrain helps Google better relate pages to concepts. Neural matching helps Google better relate words to searches.

In the Local Search Forum, a member (Gabagoon) said, “In the next few months I predict on page is going to dial down even more as a ranking signal for GMB ranking.”

Joy Hawkins replied:

“We are seeing the complete opposite. Onsite factors were the main thing we saw driving increases for this update.”

Should you *delete* your GMB listing if you’re a “national” business? – Local Search Forum

I don’t think I’ll ever do it for Sterling Sky because I really like having our reviews.” – Joy Hawkins

“The reviews…you don’t want to lose out on that. Because that’s eventually huge.” – Scott

General News

Google Search Console Update to how messages are displayed – Search Engine Land
Google Search Console users can now view messages without leaving reports. When a user clicks on the “bell” icon to display messages, the tool loads in a little pop-up from the right rather than a new page.

Sergey Brin & Larry Page step down, Sundar Pichai becomes CEO of Alphabet – Search Engine Land
Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin stepped down from their respective roles as Alphabet CEO and President. Google CEO Sundar Pichai is also now leading Alphabet.

We Call Your Bluff: 5 Digital Marketing ‘Tells’ You Need to Stop Right Now – Search Engine Journal
How to tell if a digital marketer really knows what he or she is doing or is just bluffing?

“If you have an SEO professional that you’re not regularly [working with]…  Especially if it’s someone who has approached you to try to sell you, you really have to look into what they’re telling you to make sure that it’s actually accurate.” – Scott

The Mueller FilesA photo of Google's John Mueller

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

Google Encourages to Differentiate Your Site – Search Engine Journal
When asked about how Google responds to sites that all have the same content due to commodity content, John Mueller said:

“It doesn’t matter what kind of site, ultimately you need to find a way to differentiate yourself, especially when it comes to ‘commodity content.’

What would make your site the objective best result by far for your preferred queries? Just being the same as others doesn’t cut it.”


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 detailed answers to these questions.

Q:I’d like to perform a page cull, however, if you google the word cull here in the UK you get to read about the abuse of badgers. I have inherited a 10 year old site that I’m creating a rebuild for. It’s got many, many pages which I’m sure don’t all need to be in existence.

Has anybody got any ideas on how to quickly decide which pages to keep and which to remove or is it just a case of trawling through Google Analytics and finding the worst performing pages in the last year?” – Zena S.

“There are a lot of metrics you have to look at… You’ve got to know which pages have rankings first of all.” – Scott

  • Check for rankings that individual pages have (SEMRush for instance)
  • Check for landing page traffic to pages
  • Check for inbound links to pages (Majestic for instance)
  • Check for total page views (internal traffic may be decent)
  • Pages that have higher time on page or low bounce rates may also indicate quality and as such worth keeping


End of Show Notes

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