This week: Local results get hyperlocal, last month’s quality update is favoring the news, and some SEO myths get debunked.
Here’s what happened this week in SEO.
Study Shows That News Sites Benefitted from Last Month’s Quality Update
Google released a “quality update” in June.
The search giant has yet to confirm or deny that such an update occurred, but a SimilarWeb study indicates that 1) yes, the update did occur and 2) it benefited news sites.
Here’s what SimilarWeb’s Roy Hinkis had to say: “I took data from the top 100,000 websites of US in May 2016, based on organic search traffic and compared it to the same list in June 2016. What I found was a really interesting trend where we see news sites increasing their organic search traffic.”
Hinkis suggested that news sites might have benefited from AMP, because news articles are often featured in the AMP carousel.
He also said that “how to” articles took a beating in the recent update, just as they did in last year’s update.
Google Is Testing Card Style Sitelinks
Google is testing a new feature in mobile search results: block-style sitelinks.
Some guy named John Lincoln discovered the new feature in a mobile search. The search results included the new blocks just below the snippet in carousel form.
Again, it’s another test and Google could be teasing us. The card style sitelinks may or may not become a permanent feature for all users.
SEOs Reporting That Local Map Results Are Getting Hyperlocal
There are scattered reports that local results are becoming hyperlocal and fewer listings are appearing for local queries.
According to one Local SEO: “We are seeing massive compression in local search query radius and map pack search results. In many tested areas (legal, dog boarding, photographers) we were seeing 4+ pages of map search results — now seeing one page (two at most).”
Another chimed in as follows: “Very similar results around my area as well. Local Map Pack is definitely getting more hyperlocal with these results.”
If you’re also seeing changes to your local results, it could be the result of an update that Google is rolling out.
Someone Developed a JSON-LD Schema Generator Tool
Joe Hall could soon be every SEO’s best friend.
That’s because he developed a schema generator tool that makes it easy to produce accurate, relevant schema.org markup for websites.
It seems to be a simple enough tool to learn. You just decide what schema info you want on your site and fill out the appropriate fields.
Then, voila! You get a text area with the JSON-LD code that you can copy and paste into your own website.
Oh, yeah. It’s free.
Google Might Count Your Popup As Primary Content
If you’re worried that a popup on your website might be viewed by Google as primary content, then this news won’t relieve your concerns one bit.
On a Google hangout on Google+ this week, somebody asked the following question: “Is there a risk that Googlebot might give higher priority to the content on the pop-up instead of the content behind it?”
And this is how John Mueller answered: “That can happen, yeah. That can definitely happen.”
Mueller also said that webmasters who show popups before content create a bad user experience.
Google Analytics Might Be Testing a New Design
Looks like the folks at Google are testing out a new UI for Google Analytics.
Antonio Bologna shared a screenshot of the new design on Twitter. It uses smaller elements so that users can see plenty of information without scrolling.
It looks like the tool is also getting a new logo.
Other SEOs are saying that they’re seeing the same new design. If you haven’t seen it yet, give it time.
Google: Short Articles Won’t Penalize Your Site
If you’re under the impression that short articles on your blog will earn you a penalty from the Big G, think again.
Although there are numerous benefits to long form content, Google has always emphasized user experience over word count.
On a Google Hangout this past week, somebody asked John Mueller the following question: “My SEO agency told me that the longer the article I write, the more engaged the user should be or the Google will penalize me for this. I fear writing longer articles with lots of rich media inside because of this, is my SEO agency correct or not?”
Here’s how Mueller responded:
So I really wouldn’t focus so much on the length of your article but rather making sure that you’re actually providing something useful and compelling for the user. And sometimes that means a short article is fine, sometimes that means a long article with lots of information is fine.
So that’s something that you essentially need to work out between you and your users.
From our point of view we don’t have an algorithm that council words on your page and says, oh everything until a hundred words is bad everything between 200 and 500 is fine and over 500 needs to have five pictures. We don’t look at it like that.
Google: There’s No Penalty for Not Linking Out Externally
Another SEO myth got blown away at that recent Google Hangout.
Someone asked John Mueller this question: “I heard that there is a penalty if I don’t link out from my domain to different domain from any of my pages. Is that truth? Is not linking out from any of my page harmful?”
His answer: “No that’s not correct.”