Daily Search Forum Recap: June 23, 2017

Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:

Other Great Search Forum Threads:

Source: SEroundTable

Search Buzz Video Recap: Google Mobile First Index Hints, Google Posts Live, Google Job Search & The SEO Movie

This week in search, we got a bunch more information around the Google mobile first index. Google said if you are planning on moving to an m-dot domain to responsive, do it before the mobile first release. Google isnât going to release the mobile first index on one specific day. Google Posts are now available for all Google My Business customers. Google released structured data for job search. Google joked they may be messing with the algorithm tracking tools. Google to make your mobile and desktop pages equivalent. Google said moving a site that was hurt by Panda wonât help you. Google said content stitching or quality is not near duplicate content. Google may skip URLs that repeat the same path many times. Google said they do love breadcrumbs trails. Google said checkmarks in titles is spammy. Google said site moves can take 3 months. Google said be careful with the parameter handling tool. If you use the Google Search Console API then make sure to refresh the last day of data. You can now trigger a suggested video clip in Google. Googleâs Gary Illyes doesnât have manual action access. Google launched they local highlight icons and hotel pricing labels. Google has a new fun fidget spinner easter egg. The SEO movie is out, check it out. That was this past week in search at the Search Engine Roundtable.

Make sure to subscribe to our video feed or subscribe directly on iTunes to be notified of these updates and download the video in the background. Here is the YouTube version of the feed:

For the original iTunes version, click here.

Search Topics of Discussion:

Please do subscribe via iTunes or on your favorite RSS reader. Don’t forget to comment below with the right answer and good luck!

Source: SEroundTable

Google: Moving A Site Won't Help A Site Impacted By Panda

Google Panda Algorithm

It has been some time since we talked about Panda here and I am sure most of you are happy about that. But since Gary Illyes from Google brought it up yesterday on Twitter, I feel obligated to bring it up here as well – as expected.

Gary said that Panda is part of the core algorithm and because of that, the only way to get your rankings back is to make your site better. He said, moving your site to a new domain or something won’t be enough. Gary wrote “don’t think of Panda as a “penalty”, it’s part of core ranking algo & if you don’t improve the site, a move won’t help you untangle yourself.” He later added that “you need to improve the quality of the site, moving domains will not improve your ranking.”

Here are those tweets:

Honestly, I am not sure what was the trigger for Gary to tweet this, but it is good advice to come from Google anyway.

Ah, it feels good to get a Panda post out…

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Source: SEroundTable

Google: Parameter Handling In Google Search Console Is A Big Gun, Watch Out

Do you use the parameter handling feature within the Google Search Console interface? If so, Google’s Gary Illyes wants you to be careful. He told one webmaster that using that feature is considered not just a hint, but rather it is a directive. He added that using it is also a “big gun” and you should “watch out with it.”

Here is what Gary posted on Twitter:

This tool is used to help you control how Google understands your web site and URLs, espesially for dynamic URLs. To learn more about it, see this Google help document.

The feature has been in Google Search Console since 2009 so it is a solid feature.

Forum discussion at

Source: SEroundTable

Google: Use The Google Search Console API? Refresh The Last Day Of Data.

This is probably common sense to most of you but if you are using the Google Search Console API it is recommended that you refresh or redownload the previous day of data to make sure you have the most complete set of information. Sometimes the last day of data has incomplete data and the data might still be funneling in, this it is important to make sure your process includes refreshing the last day you have of data.

John Mueller of Google said this on Twitter, “the last day can sometimes include partial data, so if you use it, I’d recommend refreshing your copy next fetch.”

Here is the tweet:

Good practical advice here.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Source: SEroundTable

Google Posts Now Live In Google My Business For All Businesses

Last night, as I covered at SEL, Google Posts went live to all businesses verified within Google My Business.

Google Posts are an instant way to post a message to your customers and prospects in your Google Local business listing in Google Search. Here is a message I just posted minutes ago:

click for full size

See the photo of my team, the message and the learn more button, that is the Google Posts part. I was able to inject that into the Google search results within seconds.

How, go to Google My Business and click on your listings. Then on the left side there is a “Posts” button in the navigation which takes you here:

click for full size

Then click on the add post and you can fill out a form with a photo, description, a call to action button and even add an event date/time. This is what I wrote:

Then, you can preview it:

After you click publish, it adds it to the log of Google Posts in your business:

And of course, posts it in the Google search results immediately.

Please don’t abuse this and make Google take away this feature from businesses.

Forum discussion at Google My Business Help.

Source: SEroundTable

Daily Search Forum Recap: June 22, 2017

Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:

Other Great Search Forum Threads:

Source: SEroundTable

Early performance results from Google’s update to close variants

Back in March, Google began expanding its definition of what constitutes a close variant exact match, a change they expected to roll out “over the coming months.”

At last Tuesday’s “Mad Scientists of Paid Search” session at SMX Advanced, I presented the latest Merkle data on what kind of impact we’ve seen so far. Here I’ll walk through some of the data presented there and explain what it means for advertisers.

Close variant traffic share steady so far

Taking a look at the share of all “exact” and “exact (close variant)” non-brand traffic attributed to close variants for a set of Merkle advertisers, we find that it has remained relatively the same so far in Q2 compared to what we’ve observed since the beginning of 2016 across all three device types for the median brand.

I measured close variant traffic in this way because it gives a sense of what share of traffic would be attributed to close variants if every single keyword in an account were set to exact match. Thus, this method helps to minimize the effect of some advertisers relying more heavily on phrase and broad match types than others, which would heavily impact metrics like the overall share of search traffic coming from “exact (close variants).”

Looking at this same measure for brand traffic, close variants account for a much smaller share of exact traffic, and there has been no obvious movement yet as a result of Google’s update.

So it appears that the updates to the definition of what constitutes a “close variant” haven’t affected how much traffic these matches drive just yet, though again Google mentioned a timeline of “over the next several months.” But what about the conversion rate of close variants relative to pure exact?

Close variant conversion rate holds steady relative to pure exact

Comparing the conversion rate of exact close variant non-brand traffic to pure exact, relative performance has remained roughly the same on desktop and tablet devices since the announcement. Tablet relative performance sank to its lowest level since the beginning of 2016, but this device type accounts for a very small share of overall traffic.

Thus, the update has not yet significantly impacted the relative conversion rate of close variants to pure exact match or the share of traffic coming from close variants.

Let’s take a step back from attempting to measure the impact of the update and focus on what close variants mean for performance right now.

Overall impact of close variants on exact match conversion rate

For the median advertiser, close variants are bringing down the total conversion rate of non-brand exact match traffic between 3 percent and 5 percent in Q2.

However, the impact ranges widely across the sample set studied, and some advertisers see far worse results. On the other hand, some brands actually see a slightly higher overall non-brand conversion rate when factoring in close variants.

For brands that see significantly negative impacts to non-brand exact match conversion rate as a result of mandatory close variants, it’s obviously important to stay active in mining search query reports to identify potential keyword negatives. On the other side of the coin, those advertisers seeing little to slightly positive impacts on conversion rate overall don’t have to be quite as concerned over mandatory close variants, though close variant matches can still cause inefficiencies for any specific keyword within an account and still need to be monitored.

Looking at how much close variants impact the conversion rate of brand keywords, there’s actually zero percent impact for the median advertiser across all three device types. This is due to close variants accounting for just 2-3 percent of all brand “exact” traffic for the median advertiser in Q2, as well as close variant conversion rate coming in very nearly the same as true exact conversion rate for brand keywords.

While the median difference in non-brand conversion rate for exact match queries due to close variants might seem relatively minor, even this level of negative impact can easily turn off valuable traffic.

How close variants can ‘turn off’ traffic

Imagine an exact match keyword that requires a bid of $1.50 in order to show on the first page of results, and an advertiser that needs a 3:1 return on ad spend in order to afford to continue getting traffic on that keyword. That means that the expected revenue per click needs to be at least $4.50, lest the keyword fall off the first page and stop getting traffic all together.

Now assume that pure exact match queries make up 90 percent of all traffic for the keyword and produce revenue per click of $4.50 exactly. The other 10 percent of traffic comes from close variants that produce revenue per click of $3.15.

In aggregate, the expected revenue per click of traffic on this keyword falls below the required $4.50 to warrant a bid high enough for the first page. The only way to avoid this is meticulous management from the advertiser in pruning close variant matches with negative keywords.

Even for those brands which might see even a slightly higher overall non-brand conversion rate for non-brand exact match as a result of close variants, these inefficiencies can exist for any given keyword. Thus, all brands need to be evaluating the close variant matches occurring in accounts in order to limit the adverse effects of these inefficiencies.

Shifting gears, let’s talk about the cost of close variant exact traffic versus pure exact.

Close variant clicks slightly cheaper for non-brand, far more expensive for brand

Non-brand close variant exact match CPC came in between 6 percent and 11 percent cheaper in Q2 for the median advertiser depending on the device type.

This is a welcome disparity for advertisers, given the lower conversion rate of close variants, though the difference in CPC isn’t enough to close the gap in return on ad spend for the median advertiser.

For brand keywords, close variant CPC actually far outpaces that of pure exact match.

I believe this might be because brand close variants aren’t receiving the same quality score benefits that the exact matched keywords they trigger from receive. Thus, even though close variants convert at very similar rates as pure exact for brand, the cost of the traffic is more expensive, though again, close variants account for only a small share of total brand traffic.


Google’s recent update to the definition of acceptable exact match close variants does not appear to be significantly expanding the amount of traffic coming from exact match close variants at this time. Further, the conversion rate of close variants relative to pure exact match does not appear to have meaningfully shifted as a result of the update.

The lack of meaningful change might be because Google is still rolling this update out, and their timeline of “over the next few months” makes it difficult to project when we can feel confident that the rollout is complete.

Additionally, these are well and actively managed accounts that are regularly combed for poor query matches. Accounts that receive less attention and optimization may see worse performance from close variants, both in the past as well as since the update.

Just as close variant performance currently varies significantly from advertiser to advertiser, so also the effects of this change will likely be different depending on the advertiser and keyword in question.

Regardless, advertisers should continue to actively analyze the search queries driving close variant traffic to identify potential keyword negatives. Reducing poor matches can help to reduce the negative effects of mandatory close variants, now and in the future.

The post Early performance results from Google’s update to close variants appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Source: SEland

Google May Skip URLs That Repeat The Same Path Many Times

Google’s John Mueller said in a Google Webmaster Help thread that Google may decide to “skip URLs that repeat the same path element many times.” So if you have a dynamic site and you use rewriting for your URLs but you do it in a way that shows the same path element too many times for many of your URLs, you may run into issues with Google indexing your site.

The site in question is wandelingen.nl. When you go to the site, immediately the URL changes to something like this wandelingen.nl/_/_/1/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_ and as you click, more and more of those _/_/_/_/_/_/ elements get added on. Here is a GIF of the URL as I clicked only four times through the site:

So if you are rewriting URLs, don’t do it in this fashion. John goes through a lot more with this webmaster to guide them in a way that makes this specific dynamic site more search engine friendly. It is a great technical SEO thread.

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

Source: SEroundTable