Does Google Adjusts Algorithms By Category?

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Issue #115
February 26th, 2019

Hey, lunch buddies.  We hit a snow record here in Minnesota over the weekend.  We now have over 32 inches of snow for the month of February alone!  Between the snow and extreme cold, my kids’ schools have closened 5 days this winter.  The snow is fun but I think I’m ready for some fun and warm weather.

This week’s newsletter is busting at the seems.  It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the quantity of quality content being published.  I hope you enjoy the extended newsletter and that you can find something that helps you with a current strategy or further educates you in the SEO space.

See you next week!

What You Need To Know

Article: Google: avoid tagging internal links with tracking parameters 

What’s important?
Google’s John Mueller stated in a recent Webmaster Hangout that if you tag your internal links with tracking parameters you could risk confusing Google as it crawls your website.

Nick’s take:
Google very likely uses internal links as one factor to determine the canonical value of a URL. So while the canonical tag itself (even if on a parameter tracked URL) might not be enough to help Google crawl/index the correct version of a URL.  Do Not Use Tracking Parameters On Your Internal Links!

Article: Google tweaks its ranking algorithm by query type, not by industry

What’s important?
Barry quotes John Mueller as saying “So from our point of view it’s usually not the case that we would say we need to do something specific to make the search results better for one particular industry but rather we look at it I had the other way around and try to think about ways that we can improve search results with regards to relevance for users with specific types of queries.”

Nick’s take:
Speculation was that Google had special algorithms or even manually updated the SERP for specific categories — specifically porn, poker, and pills.  It’s not too surprising to hear John confirm special treatment for groups of queries though nothing all-encompassing by category/niche.

Identify any canonical value on any website URL  (click)

Interesting Reads in Your Spare Time

What kind of content produced the most links in 2018? – LinkedIn (Kirsty Hulse) 
Is this a scientifically proven case study? No.  but I appreciate the manual effort Kirsty put into evaluating content within a few competitive industries.  Read the article and let me know if you’re shocked by the content that garnered the most inbound links.

Hidden text (for screen readers) is perfectly A-OK –
This post couldn’t have been published at a better time.  I recently worked on a project who’s top priority was ADA compliance and SEO number two.  It was a shocker to get validation from Google’s John Mueller saying the ADA experts were right when recommending hidden text.  Mind Blown!

Get your local SEO reviews and ratings in one glance –
Darren and the White Spark team have done it again.  This single tool will aggregate your local reviews and ratings all within one interface.  Amazing work!

What we learned by analyzing 13 billion log files –
This was my favorite non SEO specific blog post this week. Two shockers (to me): 87% of sites running through SSL (HTTPS) and the number of requests SEO crawlers make to sites.  If you love data you’ll love this post.

How to synchronize for strategic link building –
Product team + PR + SEO = links?  It’s MUCH easier said than done but if you can make this equation balance out then you’ll be rolling in the links!

How to search an image on google with a phone or computer –
Reverse image searches via desktop have always been a great tactic for building links to a website.  However, doing it on a phone was completely new to me.

What is dwell time and why it matters for SEO –
Duane Forrester, former Bing webmaster tools employee walks us through what dwell time is… hint… Its likely not what your thinking!

Wrapping Up

Thanks for reading this week issue of #SEOForLunch.  If you have any questions or just want to say “HI!” feel free to hit “reply” and your email will go directly to my inbox. I respond to ALL emails.

If you want to follow Nick online:

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Nick LeRoy
Nick LeRoy
Nick has 10+ years of SEO consulting experience building and executing strategies for clients ranging from multi-billion dollar consumer packaged goods to fashion entities with hundreds of physical store locations. He also writes the weekly SEO newsletter #SEOForLunch that allows you to stay up to date with industry updates in the amount of time it takes you to eat your lunch.

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