Links from the show:
- Fetching content from other websites does not add value
- Google says to nofollow all guest post links
- Long term noindex will lead to nofollow on links
- Google is testing a “more results” mobile search interface
- The Google Assistant SDK adds more languages and a few other features
- Google is again showing third-party reviews in local results
- Google Maps doesn’t allow negative reviews from current or former employees
There are some great ways to easily add content to your website. It’s fairly simple to automatically pull in the latest news from various sources, but is it a good idea to do it?
Before we get into that though, I’m Mickey Mellen, and this is A Brighter Web episode number 32, brought to you by all of us at GreenMellen. Our goal with this podcast is give you quick weekly insights for news, products, and ideas, so we can all make the web a brighter place to be. These might be actual web tips talking about strategy, search engines, WordPress plugins and UX, or maybe productivity ideas to help you get more done and free up your time to do great things.
We also want to thank our sponsor, GoWP. GoWP provides white label WordPress support for agencies and web professionals. Use code ABW for a 15% discount on any monthly WordPress maintenance and support plan.
Today we’ll talk more about fetching content from other websites, nofollow in guest post links, new tools in the Google Assistant SDK, and more. Let’s dig in.
Google always pushes the idea of adding value to your users, and republishing content that can be found elsewhere typically doesn’t add value. Search Engine Roundtable has a great article about this. They use the example of articles from the AP posted on literally hundreds of websites. I’m sure you’ve seen this before. The key is that when 500 sites post the same article, only one site will rank at the top for it. It’s worth spending the time to generate unique quality content, and your efforts will go much further.
Google says to nofollow all guest post links. File this under the stuff we pretty much already knew. If someone writes a guest blog on your site, you should nofollow almost all the links. Google’s John Mueller says, quote, “I would almost go so far to say well, even those kinds of guests posts where you contribute significantly to the site, maybe it just makes sense to just have those links as nofollow, and have it such that you kind of profit from the people who actually go to your site, because they think you wrote something fantastic, and they’re really interested in hearing more from you.”
So again, guest posting is something people have done a bit unscrupulously over the past few years, and Google’s really cracking down on that, and your safest bet is just to nofollow all those guest post links. So people can still follow them, but they don’t get the credit for them that maybe the reason they’re posting on your site in the first place.
Relating to this, a long term noindex will lead to nofollow on links. It’s something I never really thought about before, but it kind of makes sense. So to be clear, noindexing a page says to Google, “Google, don’t save this page to your index, don’t have it come up in search results. You can still check it out and see what happens, but don’t save it in your index.”
Nofollow is something you put on specific links saying, “Hey Google, see this link here? Don’t count that against what’s going on in the site. Don’t have the link actually count to benefit the site that’s receiving it.”
So what John Mueller is saying here, quote, “So it’s kind of tricky with noindex, which I think is something that is somewhat of a misconception in general within the SEO community, in that we noindex and follow is still the case that we see the noindex. Say in the first step, we say okay, you know what, you don’t want this page shown in the search results. We’ll still keep it in our index, we just won’t show it, and then we can follow those links. But if we see the noindex there for longer than we think this page really doesn’t want to be in the search, we’ll remove it completely, and then we won’t follow the links anyhow. So noindex, nofollowers, essentially the same kind of thing. There’s really no big difference in the long runs.”
So what he’s saying is if you’re going to no index a page, assume all the links will be no followed as well. If Google’s not going to see the page, they’re eventually no longer going to care about those links either.
Google’s testing a “more results” mobile search interface. They’ve tested it before, but Google’s again testing a more results link in mobile search results. Rather than clicking on next page, you just click more results, and keep on going. They’re also testing suggested refinement options, where they give you a single tap to refine your search for things such as narrowing down product lines or colors. They’re both still in testing, and may or may not roll out to wider audience, but it’s good to see Google continuing to tweak that kind of thing.
The Google Assistant software development kit adds more languages and a few other features. So Google’s added a couple neat new features to the Google Assistant SDK. Along with a bunch of new languages, the SDK now includes more customized settings, including changing the device’s language, location, and nickname, and enabling personalized results. If you’re a developer, these are great tweaks. For the rest of us, this just means that developers can do more with Google Assistant, which will likely surface in the form of many third party smart speakers coming out this next year.
Google is again showing third party reviews in the search results. So Google got into trouble about seven years ago for scraping third party reviews from sites likes TripAdvisor and Yelp without permission. They removed those reviews after they got in trouble, but now they have a new system where publishers can actually opt in to have the reviews included on Google’s site. So you may see reviews from some third party sites show up in the local results, alongside the Google reviews.
We’ve long said that you should be getting reviews on more than just Google, and this is another reason why. It’s thought that Google looks at those other reviews when ranking you, and now they’re actually going to be showing them on Google to some extent as well, so it’s worth trying to get reviews wherever you can, in a legitimate way.
To take that a bit further, Google Maps has now changed the review guidelines with a new conflict of interest section that clarifies that reviews must be honest and unbiased, including not allowing, quote, “Posting negative content about a current or former employment experience,” or posting negative reviews about, quote, “a competitor to manipulate the rankings.”
While people can and probably will continue to do these kind of shady things, this at least gives you an avenue with Google to dispute those reviews, and possibly get them removed. Something that’s typically impossible to do. If you try to get a negative review removed from Yelp or Google, you’ll find it’s very difficult. But if you can point to a specific terms of service issue with that review, you may have a little more luck with it.
And lastly, for our tip of the week. Save some offline movies from Netflix. We traveled a good bit over the holidays, and if you travel, you’ll probably find that your home internet is much faster than anywhere you visit. We were in a couple hotels, and on the airline, and airports, at my folks house, and stuff, and none of them had anywhere close to the speed we had at home. So it was very convenient that we preloaded Netflix movies on our kids laptops.
So we got our kids Chromebooks for Christmas, and they preloaded a bunch of stuff through Netflix through the Android app, which now you can load Android Apps on most new Chromebooks. So I loaded the Netflix app on their Chromebook, and they were able to download offline a bunch of movies and have them on the plane to wherever we went. Convenient way to do it. It’s a great new feature from Netflix. You can do it with other services to some degree as well, and I encourage you to check that out, particularly before you travel.
And that’s all we have for this week. You can find me on Twitter at mickmel M-I-C-K-M-E-L, or learn lots 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 twice each month. 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.