SEO News May 10th

Google Mother’s Day Weekend Search Algorithm Update (May 6th – May 8th): To Date this is unconfirmed though there is a lot of chatter in the comments on this article. As I’ve been saying for some time the level of volatility we’re seeing isn’t really abnormal or Google would’ve confirmed an algorithmic update by now.

Google Adds Troubleshooting For Title Links & Valid Page Metadata Help Docs: Google added a new help doc for valid meta data which lists the elements that can be included in the meta data. If Google encounters a bad tag it assumes that is the end of the head so if you have to use these tags be sure they are after the meta data you do want indexed.

Google add 2 new documents for troubleshooting titles and writing description snippets:

  • Control your title links in search results: adds the term “title link” to describe the link in the search, news and other Google properties. The document includes best practices for writing titles, the sources for title links and how to troubleshoot issues with titles and how Google decides which headline to use if it re-writes them.
  • Control your snippets in search results: Google says structural changes only with no new guidelines.

Google On Product Reviews Update: Content Should Add New Information To Body Of Knowledge: Alan Kent of Google has provided more information about what Google believes makes a good review. Alan said in a tweet that the review should add to the body of knowledge about the product and not just be the information the manufacturer or provider provides about the product. Alan provided this statement as an example on twitter “I could test a car tire using a machine instead of on my own car. But just repeating the specs from the tire website with different words adds nothing.”

Google Allows FAQ Schema Markup That Are In Different Sections Of A Page (Not Lists): John said yes, assuming the FAQs are visible on the page. Interesting the FAQ markup did not have to be a list or schema as Google will also use structured data. With each new announcement of this sort it seems Google has accepted that schema markup usage will not grow from its current 20%.

Google’s Digital Marketing Certification Course SEO Advice Includes Word Count & Keyword Density: At least Barry is no longer calling this SEO certification. The SEO information is pretty out of date if keyword density below 2% is seen as a thing and having more than 300 words. Considering search relevance is now entity driven keyword density is a useless metric. Danny Sullivan a member of the search team said to ignore this information which makes the use of the term “Google subject expert” and the whole course suspect at best.

Google On Copying Your Own Content To Repurpose On Other Sites: this started with the question “Is Google okay with publishers plagiarizing their own content?”. John responded initially by saying he didn’t think it was plagiarism to copy your own content.

Further on John added  “from Google’s point of view if you’re taking content from your own website and publishing that again with some elements of the page change, that’s essentially up to you. And it’s something where my assumption is in many cases you’re not providing a lot of value by just copying the existing article and changing some of the words on it.”

Content always comes down to the value add. There are literally 00’s if not 000’s of articles written for any competitive keyword so if you are just writing the same info as everyone else and relying on domain authority or building links to it to make the post rank you are likely using a bad content strategy. These factors alone don’t make run of the mill content seem any better to Google. It may not even get indexed.

Google: Duplicate Content Issues? Then Focus On Adding Value. A question to John Mueller on twitter “we’re thinking of publishing quite a few public domain texts (like grimm’s fairy tales) on our site. how would you recommend dealing with duplicate content issues in this case?” John’s response was classic “I’d focus on the value that you’re adding, not on the content you’re copying.”

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By Terry Van Horne

Terry Van Horne AKA Webmaster T has been marketing and programming in electronic media for over 30 yrs starting with a BBS where he and his brother tried their hand at Ecommerce.