Here is a digest of the latest and best SEO news and views from February 2020.
Google Discourages Repetitive Use of FAQ Structured Data Markup
Google updated its guidelines for the use of FAQ structured data with recommendations regarding repetitive content.
The following line has been added to Google’s developer document for FAQ structured data:
“If you have FAQ content that is repetitive on your site (meaning, the same question and answer appear on multiple pages on your site), mark up only one instance of that FAQ for your entire site.”
This is consistent with Google’s objective of improving user experience.
February 27, 2020
Google’s Advice on How to Hire an SEO
Google provides a three-step process to vetting an SEO before hiring them which consists of:
- An interview
- A reference check
- A technical audit
Google recommends listening to make sure they’re focused on the right things.
For example, they should be focused on helping a business overall by improving how they appear in search results.
The mark of a good practitioner, Google says, is their ability to help make SEO an integral part of general business operations.
Before any work is started, it’s important to work with the SEO and agree upon goals, metrics, and how results will be tracked.
February 26, 2020
Google Penalties on Guest Post Articles
Google is contacting website owners through Google Search Console accounts with the following message:
“We have detected that some of your articles are guest posts… We have disabled your authority for your outbound links. Please set your outbound links to nofollow and submit a review request.”
The warning email received from Google states that this manual action is specifically about paid guest articles.
The publisher reported that his site does not mention that they accept guest posts.
February 26, 2020
Are Blog Comments Useless for Link Building?
If you run or manage a WordPress site today, especially one that hasn’t activated Akismet for spam protection, you know all too well that people love to try and comment on blog posts purely for the sole purpose of dropping a link in the comments.
Some might think this tactic is an effective form of link building, however commenting is a useless form of link building today.
In fact, Search Engine Journal’s Roger Montti listed blog commenting as one of 18 link building tactics to avoid.
February 25, 2020
Get it wrong and you have horror stories like this that Mark Williams-Cook shared on Linkedin.
“The developer insisted they knew what they were doing and that “Google can index the content”. The result is people have been laid-off with the subsequent damage it has done to the business.”
February 14, 2020
Google Offers Advice on Ranking Better
Google’s John Mueller confirmed that sites need to be promoted in order to rank. This goes beyond Google’s common advice about building awesome content.
A few of my new websites in competitive niches have started to rank without building even a single link, just with pure content.
It took a while though, more than two year. Could I have saved precious time by building links from high end websites to reduce this time period?
This is John Mueller’s response:
We use a ton of different factors when it comes to crawling, indexing and ranking.
So it’s really hard to say like, if I did this how would my site rank compared to when I do this. …those kinds of comparisons are kind of futile in general.
In practice though, when you’re building a website and you want to get it out there and you want to have people kind of go to the website and recognize what wonderful work that you’ve put in there, then promoting that appropriately definitely makes sense.
The message seems to be that you can’t just rely on SEO to promote your website. Even Google sends out direct mail and runs TV ads.
February 10, 2020
How to Beat Big Brands in SEO
As a smaller player, you stand a chance against bigger brands if you pick your battles wisely.
Leverage your strengths and take advantage of bigger brands’ weaknesses to quickly grow your business, so that you can take them head-on someday in the future.
February 7, 2020
How to Get Google to Index Your Site With the Coverage Report
Google Search Console Index Coverage report is an invaluable tool for understanding:
- Which URLs have been crawled and indexed by Google and which have not.
- And, more importantly, why the search engine has made that choice about a URL.
The report seems relatively simple to follow with its traffic light color scheme.
- Red (Error): Stop! The pages are not indexed.
- Yellow (Valid with warnings): If you have time to spare, stop, else, hit the gas and go! The pages may be indexed.
- Green (Valid): All is well. The pages are indexed.
Problem is, there’s a big grey zone (Excluded).
A large number of pages in the grey zone is a concern but you need to drill down into the reports.
February 6, 2020
See our January news digest.