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Troubleshooting common SEO problems & how to fix them.

Troubleshooting common SEO problems & how to fix them.

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HereisanexampleofacleanURL:

http://www.examplesite.com/football-jerseys

Muchbetter.

TakeaquicklookatGoogle'ssearchengineresults.Youwillseeaverylarge

portionofsitesinthetop10havecleanandreadableURLsliketheabove

example.Andbyaverylargeportion…Imeanthevastmajority.

MostsitecontentmanagementsystemshavesearchenginefriendlyURLsbuilt

intothesite.Itisoftenamatterofsimplyenablingtheoptioninyoursite

settings.Ifyoursitedoesn'thavesearchenginefriendlyURLs,it'stimefora

friendlychatwithyourwebdevelopertofixthisup.

2.Internalnavigation

Thereisnolimitonhowtostructurethenavigationofyoursite.Thiscanbea

blessingoracurse.

Somepeopleforcevisitorstowatchananimationorintrobeforetheycaneven

accessthesite.Intheprocess,mobiledevice,theindexwillprimarilyusethe



mobileversionofapage'scontentgoingforward.Wearen'tcreatingaseparate

mobile-firstindex.Wecontinuetouseonlyoneindex."

Wantsimplelanguage?Googleisnowusingthemobileversionofwebsitesas

thefirsttouchpointincalculatingthesearchindexandsearchresults,forboth

desktopandmobileresults...Holdupaminute...DidIjustsaythatthemobile

versionsitewillbetheFIRSTtouchpointforcalculatingBOTHresults...Damn

straight!

Makessensewhenyouthinkaboutit.ThevastmajorityoftheInternetare

mobileusers.Toensuresmartphoneaddictsaredeliveredwithbetterresultson

themove,itmakessenseforGoogletomakemobilethehighestpriorityinthe

algorithm,withdesktopquicklybecomingasmallminorityofInternetusers.

Probableoutcomesandactionstepsforsiteowners.

Ifyouhaven'tjumpedonthemobilebandwagonbynow—withmobiletraffic

makinguparound70%-80%oftrafficformostsites—you'remissingouton

trafficrightthisverysecondandit'spossibleyouwilleventuallycompletelyfall

offthemobileresults.

Fortunately,there'sanelegantsolutiondiscussedearlierinthemobileSEO

sectionintheon-pageSEOchapter,butI'llletGooglespokespersonGaryIllyes

takethereins,withadirectquotefromadiscussionabouttheupdateattheSMX

AdvancedsearchconferenceinSeattle...

"Ifyouhavearesponsivesite,thenyou'reprettymuchgoodtogo.Why?

Becausethecontentonyourdesktopsitewillbeprettymuchthesameonyour

responsivesite.Thestructureddataonyourdesktopsitewillbethesame.”

Inotherwords,ifyoursiteisresponsiveandsupportingmobileusers,youcan

liebackandenjoyaPiñaColada,knowingyourdesktop-onlycompetitorswill

eventuallyfalltothewayside,whileyoubaskinthegloryofamobile-first

paradiseforusers.

Forthedetail-a-holicsoutthere,herearethelikelyscenariosforvaryingmobile

implementations…

-DesktopsiteswithnomobileversionswillnotbecrawledbyGoogle'sspecial

mobilespidercalled'SmartphoneGooglebot.'Theywillcontinuetobecrawled

bydesktopGoogleandlikelyperformworseinmobileresultsduetoGoogle's

continuedfocusonimprovingmobileresultsformobileusers.



-Siteswithresponsivewebdesigns(supportingbothdesktopandmobileinthe

onedesign)willcontinuetoperformthesameinbothdesktopandmobile

results.

-SitesbuiltentirelyinAMPHTMLwillcontinuetoperformthesameinboth

desktopandmobileresults.

-SitesusingseparateURLsformobilevisitorswillhavethemobileURLs

crawledbythesmartphonespiderandrankingsadjustedaccordingly.

-Sitesdynamicallyservingdifferentcontentfordesktopandmobileuserswill

havethemobilecontentcrawledandrankingsadjustedaccordingly.

-SitesusingbothAMPandnon-AMPversionsofpageswillhavethenon-AMP

mobileversionofthepagecrawledbyGooglebotandrankingsadjusted

accordingly.

Summingitup—notmuchtodoreally,besidesmakingsureyourmobilesupport

istopnotch.Ifyouneedtoimproveyourmobilesupport,readthemobile

supportsectionintheon-pageSEOchapter.Andifyouwanttoreadaboutall

thebellsandwhistlesinvolvedwiththisparticularupdate,Googlehaveput

togetheradigestibleguideforbusinessownersanddevelopersalike,available

below...

BestPracticesforMobileFirstIndexing-Google

https://developers.google.com/search/mobile-sites/mobile-first-indexing



Google'smobile“SpeedUpdate.”

Smartphoneuserswantanswersdeliveredfast—asdiscoveredinastudy

conductedbyGoogleinFebruary,2018titled“NewIndustryBenchmarksfor

MobilePageSpeed.”Thestudyanalyzedsitespeedimpactsonmobileusers,

uncoveringinterestingbutnotentirelysurprisinginsights...

-Whenmobileloadtimesincreasefrom1sto10s,theprobabilityofusers

leavingyoursiteincreasesby123%.

-Whenthenumberofpageelementsincreasesfrom400to7000—titles,text,

images,andsoon—conversionprobabilitydropsby95%....Inotherwords,

throwneverythingbutthekitchensinkintoyourpage?You'reonlyachieving

halfofyourpotentialsales.

ItcomeswithlittlesurpriseinJanuary,2018Googleannouncedanupcoming

updatetitledthe“SpeedUpdate,”rollingoutJuly2018.Googlearetight-lipped

aboutupdates,sowhentheymakeanannouncement,it'ssomethingbusiness

ownersanddevelopersmustprioritize.



Sitespeedwaspreviouslyusedfordesktopresults.Google'sSpeedUpdatewill

focusonmobileresults.Googledidn'trevealexactimpactstotheslowloading

sites—butit'ssafetosay,slowsiteswon'tberewardedwithhighermobile

rankings...

Wonderingwhattodo?Simple.Makeyoursiteloadfastonmobile.Your

rankingswillbesafeandsaleswilllikelygouptoo.Instructionsforimproving

loadspeedarecoveredintheloadspeedsectionintheon-pageSEOchapter,for

bothdesktopandmobilespeedimprovements.Thefollowingresourcescover

thisupdateandincluderesourcesspecificallyfocusedonimprovingmobileload

speed.

UsingPageSpeedinMobileSearchRanking-Google

https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2018/01/using-page-speed-in-mobilesearch.html

TestYourMobileWebsiteSpeedandPerformance-Google

https://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com/

FindOutHowYouStackUptoNewIndustryBenchmarksforMobilePage

Speed

https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/marketing-resources/datameasurement/mobile-page-speed-new-industry-benchmarks/



TheriseofvoicesearchSEOandGoogle'snew

Speakablemarkup.

Withtheriseofminiaturecircularvoicespeakingrobotsinvadingpeople’s

homes—virtualassistantslikeAlexaandGoogleAssistant—itcomeswithlittle

surpriseGooglearemakingmovestocapturethismarket,andyoucantoo!

BeforewecoverGoogle's"Speakable"markup,andhowanybusinesscan

optimizeforvoicesearch,youmightbewonderingwhyvoicesearchis

important—afterall,youwantcustomerstolandonyoursite,notspokenaloud,

right?

Notnecessarily...Ifvoicesearchersfindasolidvoiceanswer,theyarelikelyto

visityoursite.Voicesearchisanupwardtrendandbestviewedasanadditional

sourceoftraffic,notsomethingthatwilltakeawayfromcurrenttraffic.Now

we'veestablishedit'sworthwhileputtingvoicesearchoptimizationontheradar,

letsjumpintothegrittydetails.



Onthe24thofJuly,2018,GoogleannouncedSpeakable,structureddatamarkup

—websitecodeinlayman'sterms—forUS-basednewspublisherswhowantto

highlightcontentsuitableforvoicesearchandincreasevoicesearchtraffic.For

businessownersandmarketerswhoaren'tUS-basednewspublishers,industry

insidersobservedahandfuloftechniquestomakeitmorelikelytoappearfor

voicesearchresults,discussedlaterinthissection.

ImplementingSpeakableforUSbasednewspublishers.

ImplementingSpeakableisstraightforward.Firstly,youneedtobeaUSbased

newspublisher.Secondly,youneedtosubmityoursiteforconsiderationin

Google'sPublisherCenter.Finally,youwillneedtodirectyoursitedeveloperto

reviewSchema.org'stechnicalguidelinesandimplementtheircodeonyoursite.

Reviewthefollowingresourcesandgetstarted.

Google-SpeakableandSubmissionforEligibility

https://developers.google.com/search/docs/data-types/speakable#eligibility

Schema.org-SpeakableDeveloperDocumentation

https://pending.schema.org/speakable

VoiceSearchOptimizationforregularsiteownersandmarketers.

We'renotallUS-basednewspublishersandit'sunderstandableregularsite

ownersandmarketerswanttojumponthevoicesearchbandwagon.Whilevoice

searchoptimizationisnew,ahandfuloftechniqueshavebeenestablishedby

industryinsiders.Implementtheseandyouwillincreasechancesofhavingyour

wordsofwisdomechoedbyavoicespeakingrobotinastranger'shome.

-Shortanswersinsubstantialcontent…Pageswithover2000wordsappear

morefrequentlyinsearchresultsthanarticles500orsowords.Withinlong-form

content,includeshort-formcontent,inaquestionandanswerformat,usingshort

andconciseanswers.

-65%ofvoicesearchresultsuseHTTPSandhaveSSLcertificatesinstalled...If

you’vereadthisfarandhaven’tinstalledanSSLcertificate,I’mstartingtogeta

littleconcerned.

-Focusonbuildinganauthoritativesiteinyourniche—relevantlinks,high

valuecontent,activesocialprofiles,andsoon.

-Makesureyourwebsiteloadsfast—4.6secondsorfastertobeprecise.Alarge

portionofvoicesearchesareperformedonmobiledeviceswithslowInternet

connections.



CheckoutNeilPatel'squickanddirtyVSOguideformorepracticaltips.

NeilPatel-3SEOTipsforVoiceSearchOptimization

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpaOahLBmFQ



Google’s"MedicUpdate"—A.K.A"YourMoneyor

YourLife."

Onthe1stofAugust,2018shockwavesechoedacrosstheSEOstratosphere.

Googlereleasedanupdateshakinguptheresults,withsitesshowingupto50%

gainsand50%lossesinInternettraffic.Googlereleasedatight-lippedcomment

onTwitter...

"Lastweek,wereleasedabroadcorealgorithmupdate.Wedotheseroutinely

severaltimesperyear....There’sno'fix'forpagesthatmayperformlesswell

otherthantoremainfocusedonbuildinggreatcontent.Overtime,itmaybethat

yourcontentmayriserelativetootherpages.”

That'ssomevagueadvice...Fortunately,severalindustrySEOanalystsdid

intenseresearchrevealingsitesaffectedandwhy.ThevenerableBarrySchwartz,

ofSearchEngineLandfame,coinedthis“TheMedicUpdate”,withthemedical

industrysufferingthebiggestimpact.Butthistitleismisleading,impactedsites

includeanysiteorpageaffectingfinancialorphysicalwell-beingofusers...So,

Iherebycallit,the"YourMoneyorYourLifeUpdate",asitaffectsboththe

moneyandlifeofusers—andultimately,thefinancialwell-beingofwebsite

owners...Let'slookattheYMYLupdate’scommonattributes.

YMYLupdatecommonattributes.

-ImpactedsitesandpagescovertopicsthataffectInternetusers'physicaland

financialwell-being.

-Impactedsitessawupto10%-50%decreasesorincreasesinsearchengine

trafficaroundthe1stofAugust2018.

-YMYLsiteswithlowtrustsawdecreasedrankings.

-YMYLsiteswithhightrustsawincreasedrankings.

-TheupdatealsoaffectedlowqualityYMYLsites,suchasaggressivepopups

andauto-playads.

-Thetrustandqualityfactorsobservedinaffectedsitesarepublishedin

Google'sSearchQualityEvaluatorGuidelines.Examplesincludemakingsite

ownershipclearonanaboutpage,reputableauthorspostingonsensitivetopics,



qualitycontent,nothavingannoyingpopupsandads,andsoon.Google’s

SearchQualitywhitepaperlocationisincludedlaterinthissection.

ActionstepsifnegativelyaffectedbytheYMYLupdate.

Likeallupdates,it'salwaysasolidmovetogetasecondopinion,ensuring

you'renotfixingproblemsthatdon'tneedtobefixedandunnecessarilydamage

yoursite.Thatsaid,followthesestepsifpossiblyaffectedbytheupdate.

1.UsingGoogleAnalytics,reviewsearchtrafficaroundthe1stofAugust,2018.

AndreviewsearchvisibilityinGoogleSearchConsole.Ifyouseeasharpdropoffinsearchtrafficandvisibility,morethan10%or15%,it'spossibleyou’ve

beenaffectedbytheupdate.

2.Ifyoursitegeneratesadrevenueandrevenuedroppedoff,don'tgocrazy

fillingyoursiteupwithextraads.Itwillmakethingsworse.

3.ReviewyoursitetoseeifitisguiltyoftheYMYLupdatecommonattributes

listedearlier.

4.Re-readGoogle'sSearchQualityGuidelinescoveredintheOnPageSEO

chapterinthisbook.Google'strustandqualityfactorsarecoveredthere,listing

causesandremediesforsiteownerssufferingfromtheYMYLupdate.

5.Gettoworkimprovingtheseareas.Youshouldseegradualimprovements

overseveralweeks.

6.Theabovestepsshouldcover99%ofcases.Ifyouclearlylosttrafficaround

the1stofAugust,2018,anddon'tseeanyprogressaftertheaboveactionsteps,

youmighthavetoreadGoogle'sSearchQualityEvaluatorGuidelinesto

improvetraffic.Yes,it's160-pageslong.Yes,ifIhadtochoosebetweenreading

a160-pagedocumentandlosingmoretrafficandsales,I'dreadthedocument.



GoogleSearchQualityEvaluatorGuidelines-July27th,2017

https://static.googleusercontent.com/media/www.google.com/en//insidesearch/howsearchwork



Keepingup-to-datewithGoogle'supdates.

Asofthelastcoupleofyears,Googleupdateshavebecomeprogressively

frequent.WhileIunderstandtheconstantchangesbyGooglemightmakeyou

feellikebangingyourheadagainstthewallanddoinganudierunthroughthe

office,don’tbedisheartened.Itcanbeeasytokeepupandtheresourcesbelow

aregreatforstayingupdated.Ifthere ’ sasignificantupdatetoGoogle's

algorithm,itwillbecoveredonatleastoneofthefollowingpages.

GoogleAlgorithmChangeHistory



https://moz.com/google-algorithm-change

GoogleWebmasterCentralBlog

https://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com

GooglePageRank&AlgorithmUpdates

https://www.seroundtable.com/category/google-updates



Google’s2019updates—what’sonthehorizon?

Youdon’tneedacrystalballorsecretinformeratGoogletogetageneralsense

ofwhat ’ sonthehorizon.Afterreviewingdecadesofupdatesmadeto

Google’ssearchalgorithm,orjustpreviousmonths,it’seasytogetageneral

ideaofwhatchangesGoogleislikelytomake.

Beforelookingatwhat’scomingup,let’slookatwhatpreviousGoogleupdates

haveincommon.Almostallpreviousupdatescangiveusinsightsinto

upcomingupdates.Previousupdatesgenerallyfocusontwothings;1)filtering

outspamandlow-qualitywebsites,and2)makingtheInternetandGooglea

betteruserexperience.TofigureoutwhatGooglemaybeworkingon,we

shouldlookatpossibleimprovementswiththesequalities,andalsoupdates

Googlehavepubliclyacknowledgedasbeingontheiragenda.

1.Security.

Googlehasalreadypubliclyadmitteduserprivacyandsecurityastrongareaof

focus.AftertheHTTPSupdaterewardingwebsitessecuredwithSSLcertificates

in2014,andGoogleChrome ’ ssecuritywarningsonnon-SSLsecuredwebsites

in2018,Googlewillcontinuethistrend,increasingthestrengthofSSL-secured

sitesintheresults,andpossiblyeventuallyevenpenalizingwebsitesthatarenot

SSL-secured.

2.Quality.

PenguinupdatesaregenerallythosemadebyGooglefocusedonlinkquality.

Pandaupdatesaretypicallyfocusedoncontentquality.Asolidupdateorrefresh

foreachoftheseareasusuallyhappensonceortwiceeveryyear.WhileGoogle

areremainingtight-lippedontheseupdates,it’slikelyGooglewillimproveits

accuracyinfindinglow-quality,non-relevantspammytypelinks.Googlemay

alsomakefurtherupdatesdevaluingwebsiteswithlow-qualitycontent,scraped

content,overaggressiveads,orprovidingalow-qualityexperienceforusers

overall.



3.Trust.

Asmoretraditionalbusinessesmoveonline,leadingtoincreasedpressureon

Googlefromcommercialadvertisers,wemaybegintoseefewerresultsforsites

perceivedaspartofabadneighborhoodshowingupinsearch,andbusinesses

performingdubiousbusinesspractices.Thisincludessitessuchasthose

streamingillegalversionsofTVshowsandmovies,siteswithunethicalor

illegalcontent,sitesusingshadymarketingpracticessuchasprivateblog

networks,orevensitesbeingmysteriousorvagueaboutwhoactuallyownsand

operatesthesite.Authoritativebrandswithlargesocialaudiencesandbrand

recognitionwilllikelycontinuetoberewardedwithhigherpositions.

4.Mobile.

Whilewe'realreadyawareoftheMobile-FirstIndexbeingreleased,Googlewill

continuefurtherimprovingtheirmobilerankingsignalsformobileusers,and

providingimprovedmobilesearchresults.Ata20thanniversaryeventatSan

Francisco,onSeptember24th,2018,Google'sVPofsearchannouncedthe

followingupcomingareasoffocus...

-Fromanswerstojourneys.

-Fromsearchqueriestoquerylessdiscovery.

-Fromtexttovisualcontent.

Thisincludeschangessuchaspersonalizedcontentforusersbasedonrecent

browsinghistory,andmorerichmedialistingsbeingintroducedtosearchresults

abovetraditionaltexttypesearchresults...Whatdoesthismeanfortheaverage

businessownerormarketer?Maintainastrongfocusonprovidingthebest

possiblemobilesupport—andthiswillbeastrongcompetitiveadvantageinthe

searchresults.

5.Searchresultlayoutchanges.

Googlecontinuallymakessmalladjustmentstohowitssearchresultsappearto

makeGooglemoreuseful.Potentiallayoutchangestoincludeimprovementsto

listingsforlocalbusinesses,bettersupportforlistingsusingstructureddata

markupsuchasschema.org.

6.Increasedfocusonvoicesearch.

Voicesearchandspeech-recognitiontechnologyhasbecomeincreasingly

popular.TheChiefScientistofBaiduhassuggestedthat50%ofallsearcheswill



beperformedbyeithervoiceorimagesby2020,anda2018studybyComScore

revealed1in2mobileusersusevoicetechnology—with1in3oftheseusers

usingvoicetechnologydaily.Voicesearchisarisingtrend,Googlearelikelyto

continueimprovingvoicetechnologytomaintaintheirstanceasamarketleader

insearch.

ThatcoversprobableareasoffocusforGoogleoverthenext12months,based

oncurrenttrends,andwhatmanyindustryinsidersbelieveareareasoffocusfor

Google.

IamnotapsychicandIcannotseeintothefuture—theabovearejusteducated

guesses.Don’trunoutandchangeyourwholebusinessbasedonspeculation.

Thatsaid,keeptheseareasinthebackofyourmind,soyoudon’tgetcaught

withyourpantsdownfromaGoogleupdate.

Focusonimprovingthequalityofyoursite,providegoodmobilesupport,earn

goodqualitybacklinks,improveyoursecurityforusersandincreasethesocial

mediaactivityassociatedwithyoursite.Ifyoufocusontheseareasit’sunlikely

youwillrunintoanymajorproblems,andyouwillincreaseyouronline

performanceatthesametime.



BonusChapter2:Thequickanddirty

guidetopay-per-clickadvertisingwith

GoogleAds.

Whybotherwithpay-per-clickadvertising?

Youwouldhavetobeascrazyasaboxofweaselstopayeachtimesomeone

visitsyoursitewithpay-per-clickadvertising,whenyoucanrankhighinGoogle

forfree,right?

Notnecessarily.Pay-per-clickadvertisinghassomeadvantagesoverSEO,with

PPCcampaignsyoucan:

-Sendcustomerstoyoursitewithinhours,notthemonthsitsometimestakesfor

solidSEOresults.

-Trackresultsdowntothepenny,andgetveryclearinsightsintothefinancial

performanceofyouradvertising.Simplysetupconversiontrackingwiththe

instructionsprovidedbyGoogle,orwhicheverpay-per-clickprovideryou

choose.

-Achieveamuchlargeroverallnumberofcustomerstoyoursitebyrunning

pay-per-clickintandemwithyourothermarketingefforts.

-Inmostcases,achieveapositivefinancialreturnonyourmarketingspendand

keeponsellingtothesecustomersinthefuture.

Thereisonecaveattothelastpoint.Ifyouareasmallfishtryingtoenteran

extremelycompetitivemarket,suchashouseloans,insuranceorinternational

planeflights,it'slikelythebigplayersinthemarketarebuyingalargeamount

ofadvertising,forcingtheaveragecost-per-clicktoastronomicalprices,and

makingitdifficultfornewplayerstogetaprofitablereturn.

Ifyou'resellingpizzadeliveryinNewYork,poolcleaninginLosAngeles,or

cheapbaseballjackets...Inotherwords,ifyou'resellingacommonlocaltrade,

service,orproductonline,it'slikelyyoucanreceiveaprofitablereturnonyour

advertisingspend.

Whilepay-per-clickmarketingreallydeservesitsownbook,thisisaquickand



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