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Summary of SEO 101 Episode 364

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Google’s changes to the nofollow link attribute and quality rater guidelines caused a stir, while people in Dallas searching for local events were shocked by an invitation to an orgy as a result of EventBrite SPAM.

BrightLocal’s new tool for monitoring local search ranking fluctuations across major industries has been released and it looks great – it’s called RankFlux. Lastly, the hosts discuss comments and questions from the SEO 101 Facebook Group.

Notes from SEO 101 Episode 364

Google Updates Nofollow and Adds New Link Directives – Google Webmaster Blog
Main point: Google says “nofollow” is now only a hint, Bing says it’s always been a hint. Google added two new link attributes: rel=”sponsored” and rel=”ugc”.

“People are trying to figure out why they are doing this.” – John

Google: Meta Robots Nofollow Is A Hint Also – Search Engine Roundtable
Gary Illyes from Google said this on Twitter:

  1. There’s no meta robots ugc and sponsored, it won’t do anything if you add that.
  2. Meta robots nofollow is a hint now, like rel-nofollow.

quality ratingOld Google Search Console No Longer Available – Search Engine Roundtable
Google has finally removed access to the old Google Search Console.

Google Updates The Search Quality Raters Guidelines – Search Engine Roundtable
Google has updated its Search Quality Raters Guidelines on September 5, the second time this year after the changes made on May 16.

Google Says a Change in Its Algorithm Will Highlight ‘Original Reporting’ – New York Times
Google has made changes to its search algorithm that will give an advantage to publishers who did the “original reporting.” The changes will allow readers interested in the latest news to find the source of the original story.

“There’s a project called the Google News Initiative that is really interesting… If you’re into news space, take a look at the Google News Initiative.” – John

Google Search Showing “Orgies” For Things To Do In Dallas – Search Engine Roundtable

One discussion over Twitter exposed how an “orgy” event from EventBrite made its way up to Google search results for the query, “What to do in Dallas tonight?”

Local SEO News Segment (Weekly)

New Free Tool to Track Fluctuation in Local SERPs – Local Search Forum
Joy Hawkins shared a new tool from BrightLocal that tracks changes in Local SERPs. It’s called Local RankFlux.

“It tracks 28 keywords x 26 industries x 20 cities = 14,560 keywords (560 per industry) and lets you know when there are lots of variations.”

Here’s an example of cool segmentation of local rank flux shared by Joel Headley.

The Mueller Files

A photo of Google's John MuellerOur weekly section of commentary from Google’s John Mueller.

Headings Won’t Make Or Break Your Sites Rankings – Search Engine Roundtable

“Headings on a page are great for SEO & accessibility, but they’re not going to make or break your sites rankings.” – John Mueller

Questions from SEO 101 Listeners

1.) “I’ve been focusing on GMB for 2 of my clients. Simple postings of a photo with the right KW is moving the dial. Client is reporting several more calls due to this. Traffic is up 27% Considering his average profit per job is over $1200 he’s very happy. It’s only taking a few minutes a week to do this. Next week I’ll expand it with 300 word postings. Rolling this out to over 125 of my clients now.”  – Steven K. D.

2.) “This is new!!! The NEW Search console cannot read my sitemap and is reporting a general http error.

Also, when inspecting the url and requesting indexing it can’t index any pages? I’m getting a “Blocked by robots.txt” error……using Validator and Testing Tool everything looks fine??? Could it be a bug in search console?” – Zena S.

“One of the suggestions is to use the index tool, and I think that’s really a good move.” – Ross

3.) This was a personal search for me trying to find a pool builder.

Dear Google,

How is this the least bit helpful? If I trusted Yelp, Angieslist, Home Advisor, and Thumbtack or any other 3rd party directory I’d use them. But no, you allow such companies who have absolutely nothing to do with building a pool to clog up the SERP’s. Why? I would like to see real pool builders that deserve to be in the organics. Has Yelp ever built a pool? not likely. Has Angieslist ever poured a deck? I don’t think so. Has Thumbtack or Home Advisor ever installed pool equipment? Could be, but I doubt it. If you demanding quality content and social proof then all the above directories are invalid. They have never done what I’m searching for. Just one man’s opinion.” – Steven K.D.

(Check out the discussion here.)

4.) “I have a site that provides news and product reviews in a specialized industry. To date, I have used the Schema – All In One Schema Rich Snippets plugin for adding information on both reviews and the occasional event. 

I’d like to use schema to add Q&A/FAQ information for some articles. My current plugin does not seem to offer this functionality.

  1. Any recommendations on an alternative plugin? Extra points for anything that will replace the current plugin but retain the existing schema data.
  2. For product reviews where a Q&A in the SERPs might make sense, is there any potential problems using the Q&A markup instead of the Review?

Thanks in advance!” – Richard J.

“You have to be very careful when you’re using a Q&A schema… Q&A schema is really only used when: A) There are multiple answers for the questions… and B) Your page allows for you to generate your content so users can add additional answers.” – John

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.