If you’re extremely pushed for time we’ve condensed this month’s post into the short video below.
Your to do list this month!
- Check your rankings to see if your site has suffered since the Bedlam update – or to give it its Google-approved name, now they’ve confirmed it did happen, the Nov. 2019 Local Search Update
- Watch the new videos released on Google Webmasters YouTube channel
- If you have a WordPress site, upload and activate Google’s new Site Kit plugin
- Check out how your URLs measure up in the new Search Console Speed report
Was it Bedlam for your local rankings last month?
Filed under: The SERPs > Algo updates
There was much chatter in the local SEO community last month regarding a potential update to Google’s local search algorithm – which Google confirmed on Twitter on December 2nd did happen.
Many SEO’s reported they’d witnessed abnormal fluctuations for their clients local rankings over a week long period which peaked on Guy Fawkes night.
There were many theories as to what caused the fluctuations, it was delightfully named by Joy Hawkins as the Bedlam update but has since been called somewhat less memorably the Nov. 2019 Local Search Update by Google.
Google haven’t commented on this update specifically. We can’t detect a pattern from our own clients rankings over this period, but we did witness fluctuations. In the most part, our clients rankings have settled back to where they were.
We’ll update our clients in more detail in their monthly reports.
If you are tracking any keywords for your business, you could take a look at what happened from 1 – 15 November, as this appears to be when activity peaked. Then you could compare your local pack rankings from the start of November to now.
If you wanted to read more about the alleged update, then I’d direct you to the two articles below, as the authors have both invested far more time in analysing this than we can.
More new videos to watch on the Google Webmasters channel
Two more videos were added in November, Setting goals for your website (and why it matters) and Tips for hiring a web developer (if you need one).
If you’re not familiar with Search Console, it is a free tool available to all website owners that not only provides information about how content is performing on Google Search, it also gives insight about what content is included in Google’s index, allows you to submit content to the index and highlights issues as and when they arise.
If you’re not convinced yet how important video content is, all this new video content from Google might change your outlook.
Subscribe to the Google Webmasters channel and watch all this tasty new content.
And if you haven’t got one already, create a Search Console property for your website.
Google launch WordPress plugin
We’ve just uploaded and installed Site Kit on the Digital Davidson website. Once you’ve connected your Search Console and Analytics profiles – which is a pretty smooth experience – you have access to top level reports right from your WordPress dashboard, as per the image below.
You can also connect your AdSense, PageSpeed Insights, Optimize and Tag Manager accounts, should you have them.
One distinct benefit will be for site owners who don’t currently have a Search Console property – as it appears they’ll be able to complete this through the plugin which might take much of the confusion out of the process!
But we can’t guarantee that as we haven’t tried it yet.
We think this is an exciting new development. Putting this crucial information in a place website owners regularly access – assuming they’re updating their websites that is – can only be a good thing.
If you’ve got a WordPress website we’d recommend you install Site Kit.
Speed report launched in Search Console
Filed under: Reporting > Google Search Console
Google launched the Speed report in Search Console last month. This was announced in their Google Search News for November 2019 article (we’re also keeping an eye on this for relevant info you’ll be pleased to hear).
The speed with which your pages open when clicked on in Google Search is a very important factor and is something you or your webmaster can influence. It’s all about user experience, Google don’t want to promote content on their search engine results pages (SERPs) that takes an age to load.
The report highlights fast, moderate and slow URLs on your website, and presents advice for how to fix problems.
Google introduce new limit for service area businesses
Filed under: Local SEO > Google My Business optimisation
In the midst of the supposed Bedlam update, Google took the opportunity to update service area business Google My Business (GMB) property owners of a change to their free tool.
A reminder that we were advised in September, as reported in SEO you need to know, that Google had updated the service areas for businesses that hadn’t yet specified their own.
Now we’ve been told that each business can have a maximum of 20 service areas assigned to their profile.
Our advice here in the UK for businesses that serve customers outside of their own town or city, is to use counties rather than towns/cities for their service areas.
Another reason to add a short name to your GMB profile
Filed under: Local SEO > Google My Business optimisation
If you haven’t added a short name to your GMB profile yet, an update last month to the GMB interface on mobile, might just provide the incentive for you to do so.
Whilst this might not be the most high-profile placement for short names, and we haven’t seen it on desktop Knowledge Panel’s yet, it does represent further commitment from Google to the concept.
Dead simple, claim your short name if you haven’t already.
Google tell us how to search
Filed under: SEO resources > Advice from Google
We all know how to search for something on Google don’t we? I have to admit, nine times out of 10 I’m pretty impressed with the results Google provide when I perform a Google Search. They’ve invested a lot in how their search algorithm works.
By advising us how we should be searching, I pondered if they were in a roundabout way, providing a window into the world of how their search algorithm works.
Take a look at the post and make your own mind up.