Google Update SEO Winners & Losers

by Jim September 6, 2016


Welcome back Rankers! Hope you’re having a good week. We are! One of our new guys discovered something we hadn’t seen before in SEO. All I can tell you is that it concerns titles and headings. The rest of the team won’t let me say any more as it had such great results for our clients. If you want to become a client and meet me in person, I’m more than happy to share the secret, but for now it has to remain under wraps.

A Google Update

Something else momentous happened over the weekend; a Google update! My attention was drawn to it by Dan Petrovic from Dejan SEO who tweeted about it on Sunday. MozCast also reported a temperature update, or a big change in the search results. It has been awesome for our clients so far (we love Google updates here) as the update has seen our clients not only jump up in organic rankings but also into Places where they previously were not. We’ve also seen some other things happen with Places. We’re seeing a lot of searches that are only having two Places entries now. We’re not sure why. Maybe it’s a Google test. They’ve only made recent changes to that, so maybe they’re reversing those changes.

Quality Issues

I’ve gone through and had a look at sites that have been hit hard by this update. I’ve had a look at the SEO community, as we’re always trying new stuff, and four of the sites that were in the top twenty for SEO-related phrases are now outside the top 100. I’ve had a look at those sites that have dropped outside the top 100 and a common theme with them is badly coded sites. Lots of on-page broken links, lots of on-page 301’s, and for the most part, they had pretty spammy backlinks, but no more I would think than other companies in the same vertical would have. The curious thing is that one of them was blocking all their images with robots.txt, which is odd. All the SEO companies that I’ve seen bounce out of that top 100 were quality related from what I can tell.

I went to ask Gary Illyes from Google what this update was about, and it appears as though he’s already fielding questions about it. His posted response is, “I’m out on vacation doing crap like this below. (Swimming with sharks) @JohnMu and [email protected] can take the questions about a potential update.” So that’s what I did, but unfortunately John was in Cheeseland, so when he wakes up I’m hoping to get further information about what this update is. UPDATE FROM @johnMu

Google Update No Comment
Google Update No Comment

It looks like there’s a local element. It looks like there’s a quality element going to it as well. Compare Your Rankings Some of the sites like this one, where we’ve been working on quality issues for a while, with upgraded content and those sorts of things, we’ve started to see revenue go through the roof.

Google SEO Update Good For Some
Google SEO Update Good For Some

This new update was roughly Saturday our time, and you can see the revenue has continued to climb since that update. For the most part, we can only see good things. We’ve had to go hunting for bad things. If you’ve been hit by this update, we’d love to hear from you, either via the blog or YouTube or SmartCompany. Just let us know what has happened, but by and large I would go and check your rankings. If you haven’t been monitoring your rankings but you have Google Search Console set up, this information isn’t available yet. What you can do in Google Search Console is go to your Search Analytics section, which is here.

Search Analytics After Google Update
Search Analytics After Google Update

What you’re looking for is a big drop. For the clients we monitor using Google Search Console, and Search Analytics, we haven’t seen an update since the end of August. It can take 48-72 hours to update. Hopefully by tomorrow you’ll have new data in Search Analytics where you can see if your impressions have dropped. UPDATE _ Google Search Console now displaying and UPDATE>

GSC SHowing Update
GSC Showing Update

If you see a drop in your red or blue line, chances are your rankings have also dropped. If this is the case for you, and you don’t know which phrases have dropped, you can do a comparison here. Select ‘Last 28 days’ and you can do a comparison over the last 7 days to the previous period. Ensure you have ‘Position’ selected and it will display the positions before and after whatever the perceived drop may have been. The tools can be a little flaky, but if you have no other tools at your disposal then it’s the only thing available. Your First Steps So what do you do? I would make sure everything is okay with your Google Places firstly. Make sure your addresses are up to date. Make sure you don’t have / instead of – when you meant to in your address. Those sorts of tiny details. Make sure you’re updating. I put a call in to Google last week on behalf of a client and it turns out their address was incorrect. We tried to fix it by their interface without success, so had to call Google. Google fixed it and the rankings went up. They give you the spiel about Google Places every time you talk to Google. They say you should get more reviews as that will always help you. If you get your five reviews, that’s when you get the stars.

Google Places Stars
Google Places Stars

You can see that we, and the companies around us, have received five stars and we’ve all had over five reviews. If you have less than five reviews you won’t receive the five stars. It basically helps your click through rate. So Google will say to get reviews, then it will tell you to make sure you update your entry on Google+ regularly, so always contribute on Google+ regularly. The Google staff member I spoke to also reminded me to make sure I use my keywords. It’s funny as they won’t put that in writing, but they’ll tell you over the phone. So update your Google Places, make sure you’re uploading updates to Google+ and use your keywords for Google Places. It might also be a good time to check your backlinks, although it doesn’t feel like a Penguin update unless it’s a slow rollout and there’s more to come. I haven’t seen a lot of sites drop that I know would have dropped. If I check our old favourite, ‘Skip Bin Hire Elwood,’ I can see Freddy is still there, which enforces my belief that it isn’t a Penguin update. If it is, then it’s very subtle and is rolling out very slowly. If you have seen a change in your rankings then please let us know via the blog, SmartCompany, or YouTube, as I’d love to take and look and gather more information. At the moment, Google is keeping quiet. Hopefully that’s helpful. I’ll see you next week. Bye.

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