Links from the show:
- Google Search Console beta should give us a years worth of data
- Beaver Builder 2.0 released
- Your search results will no longer be based on Google domain names
- Google rolling out a curved design on mobile
- Structured data not required for rich snippets (but highly recommended)
- Pruning content should have never worked for Panda
- Maybe pruning can work after all
- If a Google Employee clicks on an AdWords ad, there’s no cost
- Your multilingual pages shouldn’t be word-for-word translations
Google Search Console is great. If you manage a website, you should be using it frequently. However, one big issue with search console is that the data in it only goes back 90 days. Thankfully, that’s about to get extended much further.
Before we get into that, though, I’m Mickey Mellen and this is A Brighter Web episode number 24 brought to you by all of us at GreenMellen. Our goal with this podcast is to give you quick weekly insights for news, products and ideas so we can all make the web a brighter place to be. This is about the extra web tips, talking about strategy, search engines, WordPress plugins and UX or it might be productivity ideas to help you get more done and free up your time to do great things.
We also want to thank our sponsor at ClickHOST.com. ClickHOST provides top rate web hosting at prices as low as five dollars a month. Visit clickhost.com/abw for an exclusive 20 percent off discount for listeners of A Brighter Web. Today we’ll talk more about Google Search Console data going back a full year, Beaver Builder 2.0 released and lots of other news from Google. Let’s dig in.
So as I mentioned at the top, if you run a website and you don’t use Google Search Console you probably should. There’s lots of good insights in there for how Google sees your site, keywords that you come up for and things of that nature, but the data only goes back 90 days. Since about 2013 Google’s been promising to extend that data back to a full year but there’s been no sign of it, but now with Google Search Console’s beta looming, it’s coming out very soon, it seems we may finally get our year’s worth of data. No indication when that beta might launch, but getting that year’s worth of data in Search Console would be great and hopefully we’ll see it pretty soon. Beaver Builder’s a popular page builder for WordPress and version 2.0 was just released with lots of great new features in it. This includes some visual setting including a new tools menu, better performance and usability, new keyboard shortcuts, a preview mode and if you’re a Beaver Builder fan this is a great new update. Link to their full blog post can be found in our show notes so you can see all the great stuff they have in there.
Since pretty much the beginning, your choice of the Google domain that you use such as Google.de for Germany would influence the results you got. No longer. From Google, they’re saying “today we’ve updated the way we label country services on the mobile web, the Google app for iOS and the desktop search and maps. Now the choice of country service will no longer be indicated by domain. Instead by default, you’ll be served the country service that corresponds to your location. So if you live in Australia, you automatically receive the country service for Australia, but if you travel to New Zealand your results will switch automatically to the country service for New Zealand. Upon return to Australia you will seamlessly revert back to the Australian country service.” So in short what they’re saying is you used to be able to get country specific results just by going to the other country domain name for Google, again such as Google.de for Germany and that’s no longer the case. Google knows where you are. They’ll serve up results that are specific to what you need based on where you are which really makes it better for the average user, a bit trickier for webmasters and SEOs to be able to test in other countries, but there’s other ways around that. So just be aware of that as you’re doing your searches.
If you use Google on mobile you may notice a subtle little change starting to roll out. The first major redesign since 2013, they’re rolling out a curved interface on mobile devices. It’s a fairly subtle change but looks very nice. You can see some screen shots of that in our show notes.
The Google search results often contain rich snippets. That’s extra info in the search results such as star ratings or pricing. To get rich snippets in the search results you can set up what’s called structured data to help Google understand your website. However, Google has confirmed that structured data isn’t required for rich snippets but it’s highly recommended. Google’s John Mueller said “yeah, though as far as I know it’s rare. If you really want them, I’d just use structured data. It’s cleaner.” So he’s saying it can happen. You can get those rich snippets if Google understands the data on your site and thinks they can do it for you, but there’s ways to do it with the structured data to make sure that Google understands your site and it’s always good to help Google understand things to the extent possible. So if you have star ratings on your site or pricing or things that could help augment the search results in your favor, you should look into that structured data to see how to set it up on your site.
When Google’s Panda update came out which targeted sites with thin content, many sites simply pruned that thin content from their site to help escape the penalty. However, Google’s Gary Illyes said at SMX last week that “Pruning low quality content will never work for Panda.” This confused a lot of folks because that was something webmasters did and it did seem to help, so a few days later Google’s John Mueller clarified by essentially saying that both pruning and improving are “valid strategies.” John’s full thoughts are a bit long to share here, but you can read them from the link in our show notes if you’re interested in learning more about what Google had to say about that.
Google’s confirmed another bit of small news. If someone at Google clicks on an AdWords ad, there’s no cost for that click. It’s something people have often wondered as they’re working with AdWords specialists to test things, if they’re being charged for those clicks and Google’s confirmed that anyone that’s a Google employee is free to do trials and testing without worrying about unnecessarily spending someone’s ad budget by not counting any of their clicks. You can rest assured on that.
Google’s also said that your multi-lingual pages should not be word for word translations. Some have thought that sites with multiple languages need to translate those pages word for word even though that often isn’t the best case for the reader. Languages don’t always translate exactly word for word and Google has confirmed that “equivalent across languages and regions doesn’t require your word for word translation,” so if you have a site with multiple languages, you want to make sure the different versions of the pages in different languages still say the same thing, but don’t worry about a word for word precise translation. Google can understand meaning and will handle it the way that’s best for users which is a win for everybody.
And lastly for our tip of the week is to build out your blog categories. Your blog categories can be a good source of Google search traffic if they’re named correctly and if they have good content in them, and a lot of WordPress themes will allow you to add extra images and descriptions to your blog categories to make the category page itself kind of stand out. So if you have a category all about a certain kind of tip or a certain kind of product, you should spend some time on that category page because that category page may rank well for that tip or for that product in the search results and when people land there, you want to make sure they have a good experience. Also, Google will look at the extra text you put on that page beyond just the blog listings and hopefully help it rank a little better in and of itself.
And that’s all we have for this week. You can find me on Twitter at mickmel or learn more at greenmellenmedia.com and you can find out more about the podcast including show notes and links as well as video tutorials and many other resources over at abrighterweb.com. If you’re in the Atlanta area, come check out our Meetup, held three times each month, and if you’re not in the Atlanta area we post recaps on the site soon after each Meetup. Either way you can learn more about that at abrighterweb.com/meetup. Thanks for listening.