Holistic SEO and Google Updates - Backlink Breaker #32

Adam Tanguay
February 21, 2020

If you’re seeing serious changes in your site rankings, join the club. It’s been widely reported that a phantom Google update dramatically changed placements for a variety of sites across several industries. Google has neither confirmed or denied this change. What happened to that transparency they promised? Either way, this is just another example that illustrates why SEO is never, EVER, just set and forget

You need to develop a holistic approach to organic web strategy. Much like a product roadmap, successful SEO revolves around generating data-backed hypotheses, robust execution plans, feedback loops on launches, and continual testing and prodding of those assumptions. Thin, spineless SEO strategy (throw the blog post out and get some links!) result in volatile, shaky organic performance.  

The News

Google Search Console released a new version of the Change of Address tool. Updated features provide a redirect validation for top five URLs in a domain. This is a nice, useful feature to assist with a domain move. Thanks Google! 

TechTarget reported a 25% decline in Google traffic last November. With unpaid traffic accounting for over 90% of the company’s total traffic over Q4, the SEO traffic TechTarget generates is incredibly important for the overall business. This drop seems to be correlated directly with a November algorithm change, and the TechTarget team believes it was caused by a technical SEO issue on the site. This is another signal that organic traffic is key to business success, and once you launch successful SEO programs, the work is not done. You need to stay on top of Google’s changes and constantly evaluate the quality and efficacy of your web strategy. 

Yoast SEO 13.1 and WooCommerce SEO 12.6 just launched, boasting a ton of bug fixes, particularly with Schema.org implementation. Structured data can be very difficult to handle on other platforms or through custom development, so I appreciate Yoast’s dedication to rich content development. WooCommerce updates include similar Schema.org improvements, focusing around product related rich data (they also raised the price of the plugin).   

Ranking Factors

Google cares more about content than semantic structure. Semantic structure can be helpful for users, but don’t sacrifice content or UX to try and structure around SEO signals… Google doesn’t take it into account. Build sites that work best for your audience.