Bullseye Buzz: Google Always Has News You Must Use
Every week there is important information by and about Google that can, and in many instances should require adjustments to your digital marketing strategy. It’s just too important to your bottom line to overlook. And if you or your team lacks the bandwidth to monitor these important SEO updates, seriously consider hiring a digital marketing agency. Here are just a few changes made recently and why they matter.
Yeah, it's not a great practice (confuses users), and we mostly treat them as 404s anyway (they're soft-404s), so there's no upside. It's not critically broken/bad, but additional complexity for no good reason – make a better 404 page instead.— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) January 8, 2019
Google Offers Site-Migration Tips
Google’s Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller, hosts podcasts, is active on Twitter, and can frequently be found in Google Hangouts offering up important tips, dispelling rumors, and breaking news about Google. This week he spoke in-depth about website migration.
Site migration can be devastating to your SEO rankings. His tips help minimize these disruptions.
First and foremost, Mueller recommends tracking all URLs of the current website before starting the migration. Use those URLs as a list to assure that they receive a 301 redirect during the change to the new site to ensure they aren’t overlooked and end up serving a 404 Error Response Code.
He also spoke about utilizing either software or manually accounting for all internal linking. And if internal links from the old site aren’t being used on the new site, make sure those links are removed so that they don’t serve errors.
It’s very normal to see a dip in ranking when migrating a website. Google needs time to find, review and determine the rank of each page. Once that’s been done, sites typically return to their former place on SERPs. John Mueller’s tips help speed up that process. If SEO is important to your business, follow John Mueller on Twitter.
Google Takes a Bite out of Cookies
As most are aware, Apple, Facebook, and other digital organizations have either taken bold steps forward (Apple) or pushed back on major changes (Facebook) in how 3rd party cookies track users. In a blog post by Google Director of Product, Management for Ads Privacy and Trust, David Temkin, assurances were made that Google will not track users once cookies are phased out.
“Today, we’re making explicit that once third-party cookies are phased out, we will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products.”
While it’s been lucrative for Google and brands to track users via 3rd party cookies to serve them highly relevant ads, public and private sector groups assert it’s a privacy issue, and Google agrees.
Your first-person data from your own website, CRM database, social media channels, and other direct connections with existing and potential customers will need to play a much higher role. These changes are likely coming before the end of the year, so the time to prepare is now. Are you and your brand ready?
Anchor Text: Helping Google Determine Meaning
John Mueller also took time this week to talk about the use of anchor text on pages used for internal links, outbound links, and links to your website from 3rd parties. He dispelled some rumors and provided recommendations for the practice to assist with Google finding your web pages.
Regarding LSI Keywords (Latent Semantic Indexing), Mueller says SEOs do not need to worry about it. “That’s something you can completely ignore,” says Mueller.
On the subject of internal linking and anchor text, the way you’re hopefully already using anchor text to drive people to other pages on the site is probably okay, providing you’re explaining what is being linked to. Since the content is often being promoted to drive viewers deeper into the website, most internal anchor text links already provide indicators of what the subject is. For outbound links, the same premise holds true. Giving context to what is being linked to is the most important element.
Anchor text linking to your website from 3rd party is generally out of your control.
When asked about whether the content on the page is enough context for understanding, Mueller offered:
“A little bit. But not so much in that random words on a page will impact how linked pages are handled. We take that into account with regards to understanding the context of the pages that you have there. Usually, the anchor text is the most important part there.”
The bottom line: Anchor text helps Google determine what the links represent the same way it helps users understand what they’re clicking on.