The show was filled with a lot of new updates. Ross & Scott talked about the new goals migration tool for GA 4, the possible reasons why rankings drop after optimizing existing content, multiple updates to Google search results, and much more
Noteworthy links from this episode:
- SMX Advanced is FREE
- Best Times To Post On Social Media In 2022
- Sprout Social’s Best Time To Post On Social Media
- Why Would Optimizing Existing Content Cause Rankings To Drop?
- Google rolling out conversion migration tool for Google Analytics 4
- Google Tests ‘What People Are Saying’ Search Results
- Google Site Kit Now Has Question Hub Data
- Google tests big changes to featured snippets
- Google Search Console notices for removing intrusive interstitials
Transcription of Episode 430
Ross: Hello and welcome to SEO 101 on WMR.FM episode number 430. Wow, I get a bit of a pause once in a while when I say stuff like that. This is Ross Dunn, CEO of StepForth Web Marketing and my co-host is my company’s senior SEO, Scott Van Achte.
Gosh, we’re on the way there. Episode 450 will be kind of cool. Then 500 would be wild.
Scott: Can we get there by summer? Let’s see, we can just keep ripping out episodes every day.
Ross: It seems to be every two weeks. I’m gonna have to update my schedule right now, because it seems much more every two weeks. Everyone listening, I’m finally updating it to every two weeks simply because that just seems to be how it works. I gotta be honest with myself, and we don’t have reruns, I don’t think, running every week.
SMX Advanced is FREE
Ross: Well, we have lots to share today. It’s been a couple weeks since we had our show and lots of good stuff is happening. The first one I really enjoyed finding out about and that is SMX Advanced, it’s one of my favorite conferences. Actually Scott and I have gone to one, I took him one year, and I’ve gone to many. That’s actually where I got to hang out with John Carcutt quite a lot. Rest in peace, my friend, but we used to go and hang out with him at those conferences. It’s one of the few we got to hang out at. They’re always a blast in Seattle. Anyway, they’re now making it free. So now you can go to MarketingLandevents.com/SMX/advanced and sign up and enjoy a free conference. I hope I’m not jinxing it but it’s always been amazing. Excellent. It is designed for people who already have some SEO skills so no, it’s not particularly targeted for our audience. But I know a great number of you are SEOs or at the very least, have a decent grasp of it. So I think you’ll find it very interesting. At the very least, it might open some new trains of thought, even if you find it a little overwhelming at times, you don’t have to go all to them anyway.
Scott: One thing I wonder about is, last year was really good but of course it was paid. But I wonder if being free, what the bandwidth is going to be like because they’re gonna have a lot more people in there. Are their systems going to be able to account for this bandwidth? That’s going to just boost it. Hopefully that goes smoothly, I’m sure they’ve considered that. They must. I don’t know how they wouldn’t. But it’ll be interesting, for sure.
Best Times To Post On Social Media In 2022
Ross: You know, best laid plans. We’ll see how it goes. Alright. Next up is the article ‘Best times to post on social media in 2022.’ This is our non-SEO news. So what’s going on here?
Scott: This is just a little bit of some interesting intelligence here if you run a social media campaign, so there was an article for it at Search Engine Journal. I think it was Matt Southern that posted it and it’s about a study at sproutsocial.com. Both of those links will be in the show notes and maybe I’ll post them over to Facebook as well. Anyway, Sprout Social looked at more than 30,000 accounts to find out when the best times to post to your social media accounts are and the first one, I found kind of interesting. Well, first of all, I’ll say that Sunday is the worst. Midweek mornings are generally the best. So there’s your main takeaway: midweek mornings are when you should be posting. If you want to get specific, the article at Search Engine Journal really dives in, but generally:
- Facebook: Monday to Friday at 3am. So you might want to schedule those posts.
Scott: I was a bit surprised to see it so early, but that’s what they found.
Ross: This is Eastern time?
Scott: Oh, sorry. It was Central Standard Time CST. I guess it would depend though, like how effective this would be based on your target audience, but maybe not.
Scott: Yes. But you know, probably 3am your local time might be,.. I don’t know. Anyway,
– Instagram: Mondays at 11 in the morning
– Twitter: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday (don’t know what happened to Thursday) at 9am and
– LinkedIn: Tuesdays between 10 and noon.
It’s not what I would have expected. The general rule that weekday mornings are good, makes sense to me but to see something so specific as ‘Tuesdays at 10.’ What is it that makes that the best? I don’t know. I read the Matt Southern article, but I did not read the official study. So there might be a lot more information in the study about why that time in particular is good but yeah, schedule your posts around social if you’re going into. It can’t hurt that’s for sure.
Ross: I haven’t read it but the skeptic in me just wonders if this is just a great way to get some extra press. Because obviously, this has to be generalized. But it is nice to have some intel. Sprout Social probably has done this every year. But I know I see this kind of information every year, at least. So we’ll take what we can get.
Why Would Optimizing Existing Content Cause Rankings To Drop?
Ross: One of the articles I saw on Search Engine Journal today was, ‘Why would optimizing existing content cause rankings to drop?’ I thought it was interesting, because I know it’s a question we get occasionally. Well, more often an urgent issue we get in this case, I’ll just give you a little update on what the situation was. This person started working at a startup. The blog… I’m just cutting this back a bit, it’s a fairly long question. The blogs were horrible, only had 20 blogs that were converting to try their software. They wanted to do some minimum optimizations, corrected the H- titles, made sure each post had a meta description and checked that any images had an alt attribute tag. For some reason, they found that their rankings dropped from number 9 to number 55 for some of their top queries, that’s freaking them out and I get it. That’s a good reason to be freaked out. Immediately, the first thing that comes to our mind, I think, as fairly seasoned SE-host to put it mildly, is that the stuff takes time. That’s the first thing they mentioned also in the article, fluctuations are normal during a reassessment. If you change this kind of content, especially if you do it site wide, Google’s going to take a little bit to decide what’s going on. Hopefully, it’ll shake out into a positive ranking but maybe not. And that’s when we start digging into some of the other stuff.
Ross: Next, meta descriptions, those won’t affect your rankings. They just help with click throughs when you do have a rank.
Alt attributes, generally, if you do those right, and it’s pretty hard not to, unless you’re keyword stuffing, that’s going to be a boon. It’s going to help, it’s going to add some more context to the images on your website. So when Google looks at the images, and tries to determine what they’re about, it looks at the text attached to it, it’s going to know that this is what it’s about. That should help.
Ross: Where the question sort of lies, is what did they mean by optimizing the heading tags, or in this case, rewriting the HTML heading tags? In this article, written by Miranda Miller, who always does great writing. She brings up things such as keyword stuffing. What did you do when you made these changes? Did you stuff, perhaps the alt attribute, but definitely did you stuff the HTML or the heading tag? Did you alter the relevance somehow? Perhaps he thought that if they were already gaining a ranking in this one area, that you could add another ranking to it as well to try and multipurpose the page. Generally, that’s possible. But if you were trying to improve it, I would focus on that improvement first, and then start to diversify your targeting. When she reviewed the site, we don’t have access to the site, so we can’t personally mention anything, but I’ll pass along her tips. When she reviewed the site, she said that some of the content seemed to be outdated. So 2020 needs to be updated to show to Google that you are trying to keep a fresh website, she suggested. She didn’t see any internal linking so improve that, that’s something we always recommend as well. A part of all beneficial optimizations is ensuring that you have internal linking throughout your site. It creates excellent flow between relevant information throughout your site and it passes the page rank and it’s just a wonderful way to connect pieces of site together that are relevant. And for readers, it’s really helpful too, you get around the site and you understand where you are and you can learn more things about a particular service or product. Also, improve the writing quality. She noted that the blog had spelling issues, she suggested using Grammarly, that’s something I use, and Hemingway was the other one she suggested that I haven’t used. Ultimately, test. Try these things, see how they go and prioritize your changes. So it’s a very brief analysis or brief outline of what she mentioned in this article again, the title is ‘Why would optimizing existing content cause rankings to drop?’ I do suggest reading it, it was good. I think it gives a few great reminders, which I tried to summarize for you. What’s up next here, Scott?
Google rolling out conversion migration tool for Google Analytics 4
Scott: Yeah, so we’ve talked a bit about Google Analytics 4 and how everyone’s going to be forced to use it. Little bit of good news coming out of Search Engine Land, and from Google, that there is now a tool available to help migrate your existing goals from your Universal Analytics into GA 4. If you’ve started setting up GA 4 and you’re struggling, “How do I get my old goals and all this stuff in?” Well, now there’s a tool to help you do that. It allows you to quickly recreate eligible goals from your connected UA property in your GA 4 property. So it sounds pretty simple to do. I haven’t tried it yet but I definitely will. The tool can be accessed from your GA 4 settings screen in the Setup Assistant tab under the Conversion section. So it does sound like it might just be a couple clicks, and you’re good to go. I actually just sent this link to Nathan, our analytics guy, and that might make his life a bit better, because I know he’s not loving the switchover. He may have already figured out how to do this his own way. But if not, if he hasn’t figured that out yet, this should make his life and a lot of people’s lives a lot easier.
Ross: We can hope. We still are going to lose all our data from history. That’s not moving the data over, it’s just moving goals. I’m waiting, anticipating some savvy developer out there is inventing some way to take that data and make it useful, that past data because you won’t be able to download it when everything is done — all of your GA 3 data. So let’s hope because that is a huge commercial opportunity for someone out there that knows how to do this stuff. So hopefully that will happen. Google really should be doing this. But I know that Google Analytics 4 is a fundamental rewrite to the whole concept of analytics. I think it would be difficult to port it in, but we should not have lost that information. But very cool, any kind of help is good. Let’s just hope it’s not like typical things with Google which is clear as mud.
Google Tests ‘What People Are Saying’ Search Results
Ross: Google tests ‘What People Are Saying’ search results. This is just something that’s seen in the wild. In this case, someone was searching for ‘Mexican baby names’ and I thought I’d look it up myself and got totally detoured. Oh my God, the cutest stuff there. Lots of cute babies. Never been into that but once you have your own, you just get sucked in again.
Scott: Are you trying to tell us something? Is there a new baby Ross on the way?
Ross: Hell no.
Scott: Just checking, because you never know, right?
Ross: If you could see my face.
You know how you can sometimes see on the page the Related Searches, What People Also Ask, that kind of stuff? Well, this is a new segment that was added in this one example, someone thankfully screenshotted, which says What People Are Saying and what it is, are links to different forums, which I think is pretty cool. I don’t know if this is going to roll out at some point. But if it does, this will give any work you’ve been doing in places like Reddit, or in this case, whattoexpect.com or babycenter.com, that if you are active in those communities, this is a one additional way that you can actually get a little exposure from it. We’ll see. I think it could add a lot of noise too, if it’s not done right. I mentioned that’s why they’re testing it.
Google Site Kit Now Has Question Hub Data
Ross: Now, quite a while back, Google launched Google Site Kit, which was a plugin for WordPress that allowed you to integrate console data, analytics data, and a whole number of different pieces of the Google Analytics chain into your WordPress dashboard. Very cool. It’s a nice way to use it. At least theoretically. Scott, what’s your experience with it?
Scott: Not good. I set it up on one of my personal websites and all the settings have a little green checkmark that says ‘Google Analytics has been integrated’ (I think there’s a word they used) ‘Google Search Console has been integrated’ all this stuff it looks like it should be perfect. Then you go to look at the data and it’s just all errors, all kinds of errors. It doesn’t work. If you click on Google Search Console to see that specifically, it’s just gray. I never thought to select all, maybe they’ve got gray text on gray background. Maybe they’re like “This guy’s an SEO let’s mess with him.” I don’t know. It just doesn’t work for me. I don’t know, I suppose I could troubleshoot it and dive in and try to figure it out. I guess I’m too busy to worry about it. So I haven’t actually done that yet.
Ross: But now they’re adding a new component called Question Hub, which actually, we can’t use anyway because we’re in Canada. That must be really exciting for you.
Scott: It’s a lot of motivation right there to get it working. ‘I’m gonna get it working so I can’t use this new feature, alright.’
Ross: The good news is for our significant American listener base, Google did just add the United States English recently to Google question hub so you can get that data. At this point, though, it is limited to India, Indian English, Indonesia, Bahasa and Indonesian, and Nigeria English. Unless you’re in those areas, including the United States, this edition really isn’t going to be of any help. But the cool thing about this question hub…For those that don’t know what it is, I had to refresh my memory myself, because obviously we can’t use it. It gives you some perspective on what people are searching for, so that when you’re trying to determine what to write about on your website, you can actually see what questions are still out there that, I guess, says what content hasn’t got decent answers yet. That part I don’t know, I haven’t been able to see it. I think it’s a pretty valuable addition. I do look forward to giving it a try myself when we’re added someday.
Ross: We’re Canadians.
Scott: 2024, maybe?
Google tests big changes to featured snippets
Ross: Alright, featured snippets. What’s this on?
Scott: Yeah, I don’t know anymore. Google is testing some new featured snippets here, I’m just going to open the link so I can actually talk about it with some smarts here. A couple things they’re testing. One is called From The Web, which takes a brief snippet followed by a link to the website and it appears to be about three snippets from three sites. We’re kind of used to seeing those larger paragraph Featured Snippets where this is a little bit smaller. The example they used on Search Engine Land was for the search, ‘express VPN review.’ If you’re in the US, do that search and you might see this, I could not replicate it myself. They just show a couple sentences or a sentence for each and a link to like PCmag, for instance, an excellent VPN service posting a massive blah, blah, blah. Just like an extra little featured snippet that we haven’t seen. Another one that they’ve come out with is Other Sites Say, which appears below the usual paragraph style snippet. You normally get that paragraph, it’s two – three sentences with a proper link. Then this is a bit smaller, nested below, it’s almost like bullet points that contribute to..The example they used were ‘benefits of carrots.’ The Featured Snippet has a few sentences about carrots. Then the Other Sites Say section are basically bullet points taken from different websites. One says, ‘they help keep blood sugar levels under control’ and that’s it and then more links. You can learn a bit more on Google without going to these websites. But then you can of course, dive in a bit more. If you’re one of these websites that ends up in these snippets, that’s fantastic. We’ll see how it plays out. It’s just a test right now. I don’t know how widespread it really is. It always mixes things up a bit when they do this sort of thing.
Ross: Yeah, if this keeps up, we’re going to have to have a whole section of our show called Tests. Usually there are enough of them going on, but maybe we should do it.
Scott: We might need to.
Google Search Console notices for removing intrusive interstitials
Ross: Alright. Google Search Console notices for removing intrusive interstitials. I like the sound of this. What’s this all about?
Scott: Intrusive interstitials have been bad for a while now. I think they had the update, maybe five or six years ago, in 2016, I think.
Ross: Pause, give a reminder of what those are.
Scott: Okay, so an interstitial is essentially kind of like a pop up. You know, you’re going in, you’re loading your page, and this big thing pops up in front of you covering your whole screen, and you have to do something. Usually you can just X out, that’s all I ever do.
Ross: It’s painful.
Scott: Oh, it’s so bad, especially on mobile because you try to click that little X so you can see whatever the content is you’re reading. Typically news sites, they’re notoriously bad for it. You try to click the little X but of course, it’s not mobile friendly. The X is so tiny so you go to click it, but you click One Click Buy Now so now you’ve ordered a thing — not quite, but it’s always something bad that you end up clicking. If you’ve got those on your website, that’s bad. Google will penalize you or at least when it first came out. It was considered a penalty. It’s probably just a bit of a demotion. I don’t think it’s a full scale ban ever. Now Google is sending out notices within Google Search Console. I’m kinda surprised they weren’t doing this before. But this is good. Hopefully, these offending websites that have this problem that don’t know they have it, they don’t know it’s bad are going to get these messages and maybe fix it. I’m not going to name any names, but I have a few websites I frequent and it drives me insane. I still go to these websites, because they have stuff I need. So hopefully, they get the hint.
Ross: What I find kind of ironic, although they aren’t technically interstitials, they are just about as annoying to me. Google ads within content — AdSense, in other words. You’ll see content appear, you’re reading it in the news article, and then you’ll see the ad. Then what seems to happen, I don’t understand how, but the ad actually tends to cover some of the content and you can’t read it, you can’t X out of it, because if you exit, it goes, ‘Why are you leaving this? What is wrong with this ad.’ So it actually doesn’t remove, you can’t see the content. It drives me nuts. Actually Google’s actually causing a lot of the issues themselves. I don’t bother telling them about it. They gotta know by now. There’s louder people out there than me but it’s just frustrating. I find it really, really silly that Google themselves are perpetuating this issue. Of course, in the name of money, why not? But it’s still very frustrating.
Ross: Before we get into the Mueller files, let’s take a quick break and we’ll be right back.
SEO Best Practice for Alt Text
Ross: Welcome back to SEO 101 on WMR.FM. Hosted by myself Ross Dunn, CEO of StepForth Web Marketing and my company’s senior SEO, Scott Van Achte. Mueller files, good ol’ John, we gotta get him back on again soon. It’s always great to have him on the show. ‘SEO best practices for alt text.’ That’s almost a segue from the last one but it’s a little late.
Scott: It is a little late but that’s okay. I saw this mentioned, and it’s kind of perfect for the 101 crowd. If you’re new to SEO, you might find this helpful. So I figured let’s throw it in here. John had a question from some person, I don’t know who and I don’t know what platform it was on. But he got a question and the question was: “Google said that there’s a maximum of 16 words that you can use in your alt text. And the question is, does Google read the rest of my alt text and what does this mean for usability?” Which I found interesting, because I’ve never seen Google say there were 16 word limits in alt text but John covers that. He says, “…I think the important part here is we don’t have any guidelines with regards to how long your alt text can be. So from a Google Search point of view, you can put a lot of things in the alt text for an image, if that’s relevant for that particular image.” Which is true, of course, John does go on to say that “So if you have a picture of a beach, you could use an alt text and say, ‘Oh this is a beach.’ But you could also say, ‘this is the beach in front of our hotel’ or ‘this is the beach that we took a photo of when we were doing a chemical cleanup.” That’s a very specific example. I guess John was recently doing a chemical cleanup on a beach. But his point is, those kinds of intents are very different and people will be searching in different ways on Google. So having more information there will help your content show up under those contexts. If someone’s doing a search for chemical cleanup on a beach, which I’m guessing isn’t a lot of search volume behind that one, but maybe, then your picture will show up. If that’s what you’re actually doing, you should probably include that. As a general rule of thumb, I tend to keep image alt attributes at about six words as a maximum. Of course, even as John says, there’s really no limit, you can go as long as you want. But I feel like if you go too long, you start to lose the relevance of what you’re trying to convey. So I like to keep it at around six words. I don’t really have a character limit, but you know, probably 30- 40 characters at most, generally speaking, but just keep it relevant. So there we go. Just a quick little John tip, basically.
Ross: Great, very detailed one.
Scott: A detailed quick tip about chemical cleanup.
Ross: Alright, well, let’s jump into one of the questions, we had one from Kamran. Kamran asks..I’ll read his question here. “For a while I’ve been using Lighthouse to measure performance.” I’ll pause there and just say to the listeners that Lighthouse is a measuring technology that Google uses to measure the performance of web pages in terms of load speed, core web vitals, all these things, all stuff we talked about in prior shows. Alright, back to the quote. “This week, after making performance optimizations, I saw my site’s Lighthouse performance score degrade by 50%. Yet when I tested on Gtmetrix, catchpoint, pingdom, all of these showed HUGE improvements, so I ended up keeping the configuration changes despite Lighthouse suggesting performance has deteriorated a ton. I generally want to optimize for all things Google, but based on actual stats , especially improvements to LCP,…” What is that again, Scott?
Scott: Last Contentful Paint.
Ross: Right, thank you. I always get that wrong. Okay. “…I chose to not listen to Google Lighthouse. Any thoughts?” I do have thoughts on this. I don’t know how 100% accurate it is because the whole thing frustrates the hell out of me, I just can’t stand it. We actually chose to stick to GTmetrix for our clients because Lighthouse was driving me batty. Now, I will base this suggestion on some good data. Now I went to GTmetrix, actually went online and searched for why there are such differences? And GTmetrix has a great article, “Why is my GTmetrix performance score different from PageSpeed, insights, Web Page Test and web.dev.” They get into quite a detailed explanation of what the differences are. What I found revealing here is that Lighthouse has to sort of test sites based on generic data. Whereas with GTmetrix, you can specify a mobile view, you can specify the speed in which the person is accessing the website, like you can make sure that they’re accessing it using dial up, if you want to see how fast your page loads, and really get more granular with the information you get. I like that, and I think that actually adds more value. Whereas with Lighthouse, again, it’s generalizing it. If I go to some of the hardware differences that are noted on this page.
Ross: For PageSpeed Insights, essentially the same concept, unknown hardware specifications, apply CPU throttling for mobile or desktop results, likely similar CPU or memory sources as web.Dev, for mobile tests only. Again, reading this from the article from GTmetrix.
For test locations, PageSpeed Insights, likely launches its test from one of four locations, whereas with GTmetrix, I’m just choosing to use that because that’s what we use, you can specify the main locations you want to go from. If you’re closer to say, Dallas, you can use their Dallas server. This is good, especially for local businesses. Let’s say you’re in Dallas, well, this is phenomenal. This will give you a better idea of how well you load for your primary market, which in this case might be or in this case is local, 100% local. You don’t care if your site loads slowly out of Seattle, that’s not where your business is. I love that you can specify that within GTmetrix. We do have a paid account there, I do recommend it. No, they’re not sponsoring us or anything. It just happens to be one of our favorite tools.
For connection speeds, PageSpeed Insights uses simulated throttling, it emulates a slow 4G connection. Whereas again, I like to go with 3G connections or something slower, again, why not? If I can get a good ranking, or a good PageSpeed result from GTmetrix for a site that is loading on a slow, slow, slow connection, well, great. That’s even better.
Last of all, real browsers versus headless or emulated browsers. This is a little technical, but you know, what kind of browser are they using? Well, on GTmetrix, I can specify. I can say if I want them to test it in Chrome, I want them to test it in Safari, wherever it may be. Whereas PageSpeed Insights, uses an emulated browser, a mobile and then a desktop. You can’t change the screen resolution. You can’t change the type of phone being used or anything like that. It’s free, it’s basic, and just gives you some concept of how things are looking.
I don’t disagree with you, Kamran, I would stick to GTmetrix. If you go through this entire article from GTmetrix, even they suggest testing it on different platforms. I think that’s a very quick way to insanity. You change one, as you’ve noticed, another one goes down, it’s insane. We had to put our foot down and say ‘We’re using one system.’ This system is great. We do have to work our butts off to make sure that we get a good ranking in GTmetrix and your site is doing well.
Everyone has to remember that this page speed is not a great, massive factor on how well your site ranks. It is a tiebreaker as we call it. If you had everything else created equal with your competitor, you had all the sync benefits, you have just as many links, your site was just as well optimized. If one of them happened to have a faster PageSpeed perhaps it would move ahead of yours. That’s not even guaranteed, but that is essentially it. Think of it as a tiebreaker that way, it is so minuscule. Don’t get obsessed with it. Too many people are. So just go with something that works for you like GTmetrix that you can still be very conscientious to use it and you know, really get it done right and you’re gonna be set. So don’t worry about it. I think you’re doing the right thing there, Kamran. Very long winded but that’s what I’d say.
Scott: I would follow up with that and just say to anyone, if you haven’t listened to the Martin Splitt interview we had several weeks back now, Martin does basically reiterate a lot of.., or I guess Ross is kind of reiterating a lot of what Martin said in that interview. He did talk a lot about Lighthouse and how you can use it kind of as a guide, essentially. It’s not the end all be all. Don’t stress about it. But if you’re interested in that, go to that episode. I think it was episode 426 and zip forward. I think it was about halfway through the podcast, a little bit past halfway, and listen to that part of it and that’ll help.
Ross: It will. Yeah, it’s nice to hear from Google’s mouth. Pardon me, Martin. Anyway, it’s a good thing to hear from them correctly. Even the roundabout suggested that it is difficult. So just don’t go too far over this and don’t be obsessed. It’s not worth it. Alright, what’s next here?
Google Analytics 4 Won’t Be a Search Ranking Boost
Scott: Yeah. So there was a question posted to Facebook by Jacqueline, to our SEO 101 group, asking about Google Analytics 4 and at the same day, there was somebody asking a question, it was actually more of a joke about GA 4 being a ranking factor. I thought, let’s start just a couple little Google Analytics 4 questions that I’ve seen flying around there and just mention them real quick here. So the one that was on Search Engine Roundtable, John was jokingly asked if implementing Google Analytics 4 could be a ranking factor and of course, John replied, “That’s not going to happen.” For most people, most of you probably know that whether or not you use Google Analytics will have no impact on rankings. But it made me think, “I bet there are a lot of people that still think that it does,” because I know when Google Analytics was brand new, a lot of SEOs thought “We got to install this because it’s going to matter, your rankings are going to matter.” And of course, it was irrelevant. When Google rolls out something new, the first reaction is ‘We need to do it to keep Google happy.’ Maybe there’s some hidden agenda, or some conspiracy here, while there isn’t. I don’t think there is, I guess if there is, we just don’t know about it. So no, Google Analytics 4 will not be a ranking factor.
Then Jacqueline had also posted, she had asked, “Will Google start charging for Google Analytics 4” and I’ve never really seen a lot of people asked about if it will be a paid service. I had replied to her in the Facebook group, and I said, “I doubt they’ll ever start charging for it. I’ve seen no indications that GA 4 will be a paid service. And I would be surprised if they ever did. But then of course, that said, Google does like to surprise us.” But realistically, I don’t ever anticipate GA 4 being paid but I guess it could happen someday but I wouldn’t worry about it. I wouldn’t expect it to ever actually happen.
Ross: You don’t have to be stuck to Google Analytics, either. There are alternatives out there, but you will have to pay.
Scott: Yeah, that’s just it, right? If Google does decide to charge, it might still be the cheapest option. I guess that worry could stem from things like cloud storage where, you know, it was free, and now it’s not, that sort of thing. So you know, let’s get everybody hooked on it and then we’re going to ding them for it. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Ross: The only thing I can see them doing is perhaps using more of the data anonymously. I don’t want to get into too much trouble but I can see that happening in the future. But I don’t really care, I think that’d be interesting.
Scott: Evil side thought, Google could just come up with a $99 fee for the ability to import all your old Google Analytics data into GA 4. If you imagine, everybody would pay it, every single person would pay it, and they would all be angry, and they would all do it. PR nightmare, but they would do it, I would do it.
The last question, and I’ve actually seen this question come up quite a bit before too. ‘Does Google use Google Analytics data for ranking purposes.’ Over the years, it has been brought up a lot. John Mueller last confirmed that I could find in 2020, that they do not use it. I could see why there would be speculation they might because they want a good user experience. What better way to help verify that users are having a good experience by seeing that data and tracking them within analytics. Are they making the purchase? How many pages are they viewing? How long are they hanging out for? I mean, they could totally verify all of that using that data. They said they don’t do it, I don’t think they do it. I don’t think they ever would do it, but they almost should. They got some good data there. You know, you should be able to opt in, opt in to use my data for search rankings. I don’t know.
Ross: Is there some sort of an opt in? I can’t remember. I’ve seen so many things for so many years that allows you to opt in to generalized industry ranking. I think it’s industry ranking, I can’t remember. Anyway, well, it’s not a big deal. I think they’ve got a few too many eyes on them to do anything that stupid. You know, that would really hurt anyone.
We had a little bit left there, we’re gonna move over to the next show. Filled this in quite nicely. I hope everyone enjoyed it.
On behalf of myself, Ross Dunn, CEO of StepForth Web Marketing and my company’s senior SEO, Scott Van Achte, thank you for joining us today. Remember, we have a show notes newsletter you can sign up for at seo101radio.com We’d love to have you and we work hard to keep it very accurate so check it out. If you have any questions you’d like to share with us, please feel free to post them on our Facebook group easily found by searching SEO 101 podcast on Facebook. Have a great week and remember to tune in to future episodes which air every two weeks at WMR.FM
Scott: Great. Thanks for listening, everyone. We’ll talk to you again.
Ross: Take care.