This Week In SEO 70
AMP Stealing Traffic, Local Pack Ads, & More!
Is Google AMP Stealing Your Mobile Traffic??!
Sorry-not-sorry about that click-baity headline.
There was an interesting article published recently from a publisher looking at how his site was presented using Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). Here’s the main argument:
[…] I was surprised to find out that instead of redirecting users to an optimized version hosted on my server, Google was actually serving a snapshot of the page from their own cache. To make things worse, Google was injecting a large toolbar at the top of the snapshot encouraging users to get back to Google search results…
The post generated a lot of interesting discussions on Hacker News. This comment by some guy named Cyrus Shepard was probably the most noteworthy:
In essence, this means that what was once a publisher-owned page is now shared property: between the Google and the publisher. By controlling the top navigation, Google more easily controls the content the visitor sees, keeps visitors on Google longer, provides greater opportunity to track visitors, and perhaps most importantly has the opportunity to earn more ad revenue.
Now imagine if this was a requirement for ALL pages served in Google search results. You publish a page and it appears in Google, but when the user clicks on it Google has pasted a new navigation on the top of your page. This is exactly what is happening with AMP.
But then Malte Ubl (the tech lead of Google’s AMP project) shows up in the comments to weigh in.
I personally find it very important to respond, because “stealing traffic” is literally the opposite of what AMP is for. The original idea behind AMP was to allow content to be distributed to platforms (such as Google, Twitter and Pinterest) in a way that retains branding and monetization control for the publisher. AMP traffic is the publisher’s traffic. Period.
We’re looking at ways to make the source link more discoverable and will update once that is done. AMP is super flexible in terms of how a publisher can direct traffic to their site. Typical ways to get to a publisher’s homepage (like clicking the logo) should just work and are in no way restricted. Also, make sure to check out amp-sidebar (https://ampbyexample.com/components/amp-sidebar/) for adding a menu to your AMP pages.
Google Local-Pack: All Ads
Oh no they didn’t!
As many know, Google has been testing their new ad product, Home Service Ads, in the SF Bay area. Last June Google announced at SMX that the future “3 Pack” would include one “sponsored” listing.
Make that all three! We manage the local GMB listing plus AdWords account for a locksmith in Oceanside, CA. Google reached out to him in August to join the program that will be expanded to the greater San Diego market (and others across the US) in November. The program is powered at this point by AdWords Express only.
According to this post in the Local Search Forum, Google is rolling out some good-for-adwords-bad-for-SEO features, like turning the local-pack into the ad-pack:
Perhaps this is related to the “advanced verification” Google announced for plumber/locksmith businesses we mentioned last week (bottom of post). Definitely something to keep an eye on…
Website Trust Factors
Your website’s trust signals are incredibly important in ranking well. We think it’s so important that it is one of the foundations of our link building service.
This post is mostly full of “no duh” advice, but it’s stuff that gets frequently overlooked and can make a really big difference in ranking well.
Check it out and make sure you are not making any of these errors, such as:
We realize that in 2016 that a lot of businesses are virtual and might not have an address, but does that raise an eyebrow when a customer is going to make a purchase? All I know is this: we ran a heatmap on about 50 local business websites last year and the “address” portion of the contact us page was the 4th most viewed portion of the website. People definitely still care about an address and phone number, for one reason or another.
Technical SEO Checklist
Speaking of “no duh,” this post is chock full of very helpful things to check your site for–not focused on trust–but on shoring up your technical SEO:
Robots.txt is a file on your site that tells web robots (such as Google’s crawler) where and how to crawl your site. They visit this file everytime they visit your site. It’s pretty easy to accidentally block important things, especially if you’ve had developers working or have just pushed a site from development to live. We see it all the time. Robots.txt has to be pretty much perfectly implemented.
I don’t know how many sites I’ve worked on trying to figure out if it’s a new Google penalty, or a manual action… nope. Robots.txt blocking spiders. True Story.
Knowledge Panels in Site Audits
Bill Slawski is a smart dude.
His recent slide deck from Pubcon focuses on the knowledge graph, and how rich the search results pages have become.
Look through this slide show. For real.
Also, the page has some pretty good resources I recommend checking out:
Adding Markup vocabulary on your site can result in a knowledge panel showing links to social profiles for a business, as described here:
Rapid-Fire SEO Insights
This week, domain-related news.
Google has partnered with new gTLD rockstars, donuts, to launch Nomulus.
What is Nomulus?
a new open source cloud-based registry platform that, in addition to powering Google’s own new TLDs (including their dotbrand extension – .google – and their generic TLDs like .app), is available to other registry operators as well.
According to this data (which looks at newly-funded-startups), .com is still the dominant TLD, but is down 5% from last quarter due to the slow but steady rise of the new gTLDs (with .tech being the most popular gTLD
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