Weekly SEO news: 8 October 2019
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Here are the latest website promotion and Internet marketing tips for you.

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Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. How to react to ranking drops

Google has released quite a few ranking algorithm updates during the past few weeks. Have your rankings dropped? This article will help you to recover your rankings.

Keep calm and use SEOprofiler

Normal fluctuations are not the same as ranking drops

The lower search results usually fluctuate much more than the top search results. If your website is new in the top 5 results, you can expect more fluctuation than websites that have been listed in the top 5 results for a longer time.

You can also expect higher fluctuation if the keywords are related to a hot topic. If Google shows results that are marked with "two hours ago", or "one day ago" then it's likely that the keyword is related to such a hot topic.

If your website was ranked in the same positions for several weeks before the rankings dropped, you should take a closer look at the changes.

1. Analyze the situation

You can only react to the changes, if you find out what actually happened. Here are some questions that can help you to identify the problem:

  • On which search engine has the ranking change occurred?
  • Has the change happened in a particular region?
  • Which pages have been affected by the change?
  • Has the ranking change influenced your conversions and your website traffic?
  • Did the same happen a year ago? This might be a seasonal issue.

After identifying the affected pages, you can proceed to the details:

  • Which keywords caused the traffic change?
  • Which competitors gained rankings for these keywords?

The Ranking Monitor in SEOprofiler has the answers to these questions. The Ranking Monitor shows the ranking changes of your own web pages, and the ranking changes of your competitors.

Here's an example:

You might find out that the ranking changes happened to short category-level keywords (for example, the keyword "shoes"). You also find out that the pages and websites that gained rankings had informational character. The pages and websites that lost rankings were shopping sites.

Things like that happen quite often. Google's algorithms might have re-evaluated the intent behind a query group. In this example, Google decided that people who search for "shoes" are interested in getting information, not in buying.

2. Act with care

Do not arbitrarily change your SEO tactics. Find the reason for the problem and then react wisely.

If your competitors now have better rankings than your site, analyze the pages of your competitors to find out why they rank better than your pages. The Top 10 Optimizer tool in SEOprofiler can help you to do that.

If all of your pages dropped, there might be a technical problem on your website that is the reason for the ranking drop. The website audit tool in SEOprofiler identifies things that can have a negative influence on your rankings.

Recover your rankings

2. Internet marketing news of the week

John Mueller Google: HTML sitemaps are not useful for SEO (but they can be for users)
"Google’s John Mueller said on Reddit that HTML sitemaps aren’t useful for SEO. Websites should be crawlable anyway. If visitors and search engines cannot find all pages of your website through the regular navigational links on your website, you should improve the internal links on your site."

Google: some links can become less important over time

"Google's John Mueller said in a webmaster hangout on YouTube that some links can become less important over time. The reason for that is that the linking web pages can become less important."

GoogleGoogle announces new user agents for Googlebot

"Googlebot uses a Chrome-based browser to render webpages, as we announced at Google I/O earlier this year. As part of this, in December 2019 we'll update Googlebot's user agent strings to reflect the new browser version, and periodically update the version numbers to match Chrome updates in Googlebot."

Google: we don't penalize websites that don't show a postal address

Google's John Mueller asked on Twitter why so many websites do not list their postal address. Although he finds this weird, Google does not penalize websites that do now show a postal address. In Europe, commercial websites must have a page that shows the full address.

+++ SEARCH +++ ENGINE +++ NEWS +++ TICKER +++

  • Google: if we persistently can't index a page, it's generally not worth spending as much time on crawling it.
  • Google wants you to "learn how search works". Testing some colorful dots which opens an overlay with a link.
  • Google's John Mueller: let links come naturally.
  • We spent a day shadowing Google interns. Here's what it's really like.
  • No more mixed messages about HTTPS in Google Chrome.
  • Google’s new universal search results.
  • Google: turn browsers into buyers with user-generated images in product reviews.

3. Previous articles