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Episode Overview: The number of Google algorithm updates reached a new high in 2019, along with their transparency in communication to keep the industry informed on the most recent changes. Join host Ben and Searchmetrics’ CEO Jordan as they review Google’s communication strategies and share what information they expect Google to provide in future announcements.

Summary:

  • Google leadership kept the industry well informed with thorough algorithm descriptions and impact details.
  • Jordan expects Google to expand its communication channels to Search Console and other programmatic ways to communicate algorithm updates.
  • Although Google has done an excellent job of communicating details, they’re lacking in creating a connection with their audience and providing clear implementation examples for SEOs to model after.

GUESTS & RESOURCES:

Ben:                 Welcome to SEO Predictions Week on the Voices of Search podcast. I’m your host Benjamin Shapiro. This week we’re going to publish an episode every day covering our bold SEO predictions for 2020. Before we get started I want to remind you that this podcast is brought to you by the marketing team at Searchmetrics. Searchmetrics is an SEO and content-marketing platform that helps enterprise skill businesses monitor their online presence and make data-driven decisions. To support you, our loyal podcast listeners, they are offering a complimentary trial of their services and software. That’s right. You can try the Searchmetrics research cloud suite, and the content experience tool to optimize all of your content risk free, no credit card required, by going to searchmetrics.com/trial. That’s searchmetrics.com/trial.

Ben:                 Okay. Joining us for SEO Predictions Week is Jordan Koene who is the lead SEO strategist and the CEO of Searchmetrics Inc. Today, Jordan and I are going to talk about his third prediction for 2020, which is we’re going to see a continued increase in communication from Google on the changes to their algorithm. Okay, here’s the third installment of SEO Predictions Week with Jordan Koene, lead SEO strategist and CEO of Searchmetrics Inc. Jordan, happy hump day.

Jordan:             Hey Ben. Yeah, happy hump day to you too. Let’s dive in.

Ben:                 We’re halfway through the week. We’ve got our third prediction come up, and this one isn’t actually what’s going to impact business results. It’s not going to be a refactoring of content, where people are going to see your content, it’s how you’re going to understand what the heck Google is doing.

Jordan:             Yeah.

Ben:                 In 2019, we saw Google do a better job with telling people that changes were coming, trying to describe what they were. With some rare exceptions they still snuck a couple past us, but we think that there’s going to be an increase of communication. Talk to me about why you think Google is taking this step, and what do you think they’re going to do to increase communication with the SEO community.

Jordan:             Full stop, a lot of credit needs to be given to Google here. Danny Sullivan has been doing a great job about sharing insights with the community. I commend and applaud what they’re doing. I believe that the webmaster team and spam teams at Google are trying their hardest to ensure that people understand what’s going on. Right? By being as transparent as they can people can do a better job of applying the guidelines and policies that Google has set forth. What we saw in 2019 is just in many instances a full warning that algorithm changes were coming, clarification in terms what might be impacted or what might change, details in terms of the nature of these changes to the algorithm. Ultimately, I think it’s something that we can expect as long as the team stays in place that is at Google, that we’ll see more of this communication, and we’ll continue to see more transparency.

Jordan:             Ultimately, I hope that that not only transfers in terms of direct communication through mediums like Twitter and other channels, but even more importantly even through search console and more in a programmatic way so that it can reach a much larger audience than just the SEO.

Ben:                 I think you bring an important point here in that Google is not only describing what some of the changes are, right, there are communications in a community outreach aspect which Google is using, not only their blog, but other formats, Twitter, other things, to communicate with the SEO community. There’s an increase in the tool set that they’re creating. Let’s break that up into two. What would like to see in terms of communication from Google this year that they’re not already doing?

Jordan:             There are a few things that I’d like to see in addition to what they’re doing. I personally would like to see a much stronger set of details behind how an algorithm change is going to be connected to certain guidelines and policies that they’ve set forth. Google has done a good job of creating very clear guidelines and policies, but what they often fail to do is connect with you. From time to time it happens. I’m not saying that they never do it, but really connecting things to, “Hey, we’re focused on low quality, bad content.” I think even to some degree they need to be little more open about examples, even if they can white label some of these examples, would really solidify both the rule regulation, the execution of that, the actual implementation of that rule or regulation through this algorithm change, and then the knowledge that they’re providing so that search managers and SEOs can understand how to implement this.

Ben:                 You’re so damn diplomatic. I’d like to see Google just come out and say that, “Hey, we’re making sure that YouTube ranks No. 1 in terms of search because that’s a business decision. We’re prioritizing Google products because we’re trying to monetize revenue for Google, and that’s why we’re making some of these changes.” Guess what? Google is a fricking business.

Jordan:             It is.

Ben:                 It is not a non-profit.

Jordan:             Agreed.

Ben:                 That’s just my little hang up. “Oh, hey, surprise.” All these algorithm changes happen to favoring YouTube. Hmm. I wonder why? On the flip side, Google is also releasing more tools. Last year we saw the site speeds. What was it? Web.dev?

Jordan:             Yeah.

Ben:                 It was Web.dev and an increased tool set for understanding how Google is evaluating site speed. What do you see them potentially launching this year? What would you like to see that they haven’t?

Jordan:             I want to see them maintain a lot of these assets. Right? I’ll often times do Google’s great like most companies at launching something. It’s out there, but then they never iterate on it. They never improve it. They never provide more guidance. I’d love to see them continue to add material and content to Web.dev. There are tons of great manuals, tons of great guidelines on how to make your website faster on there. Secondly, when it comes to search console, I really want to see them expand the data set that’s available in there as well as the frequency at which you can access that data. Those are things that we ingrained in them to do, but they haven’t done it in a long time.

Jordan:             I’m really proud of the improvements that we’ve seen in search console, but there’s so much more data that can be provided there and can help many of the webmasters and SEOs that are trying to make decisions.

Ben:                 I’d like to see them roll back the name. I’d like to see it be called Webmaster Tools again because I just can’t get Webmaster Tools out of my head.

Jordan:             You and me both. I think that might die in the line, but we can always try.

Ben:                 Oh, for sure. Sure, I’d like to kick an old school when it comes to SEO. That said, communication, something that Google, we feel, has done a better job on. We’re optimistic. We feel like they’re going to continue to improve their communication with the SEO community, not only in terms of announcements, and blog posts, and given the community an understanding of what the changes are and how they’re making them, but second that they’re also going to continue to iterate on the tool set that they built in 2019.

Jordan:             I just want to say one last thing, Ben. I just want to give a big shout out again to Danny Sullivan and John Mueller for the excellent work they’ve done this year in supporting the community. I know we said it at the top of the episode, but I think it goes without appreciation as they’ve been some of the two most vocal advocates for the space. I want to show our appreciation so that they continue doing more.

Ben:                 To Johnny and Dan, thanks so much for the work. If you happen to be listening to this, we’d appreciate you communicating with the SEO community, and we hope you guys keep it up. That wraps up this episode of the Voices of Search podcast. Thanks for listening to my conversation with Jordan Koene, CEO and lead SEO strategist at Searchmetrics Inc. We’d love to continue this conversation with you, so if you’re interested in the contacting Jordan, you can find a link to his LinkedIn profile in our show notes. You can contact him on Twitter where his handle is JTKoene, J-T-K-O-E-N-E.

Ben:                 If you have general marketing questions, if you’d like to talk to me about this show, if you’re interested in being a guest on the Voices of Search podcast, you can find my contact information in our show notes. You could send me a tweet @benjshap. We also created a Twitter handle for this podcast, which is @voicesofsearch. If you’re interested in learning more about how to use search data to boost your organic traffic online visibility, or to gain competitive insights, head over to Searchmetrics.com/freetrial for your complimentary trial of the Searchmetrics Suite and content experience platform.

Ben:                 If you liked this podcast and you want a regular stream of SEO and content marketing insights in your podcast feed, hit the subscribe button in your podcast app. Check back with us tomorrow when we talk about our fourth prediction for 2020, which is the death of backlinks. All right. That’s it for today. Until next time, remember, the answers are always in the data.

 

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