Google Launches Official Complaint Thread

#SEOForLunch issue #243 - Google opened up a thread to share feedback regarding its recent title tag change. We also cover GSC data issues & hiding descriptions via the new "data-no snippet" attribute

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Hi Lunch Buddies!

I hope everyone had a great weekend. I, unfortunately, caught a nasty bug that limited the work I was able to get done last week. However, a negative COVID-19 test and a few days of rest did the trick. By the weekend I was back to normal, caught up on some work, and even smoked up these amazing ribs for the family.

Naturally, this brings up the most important question of the day. Do you prefer ribs with or without sauce?

Finally, a happy belated 40th birthday to both Mike King and Aleyda Solis. Both of these individuals are amazing contributors to the SEO world. If you haven’t followed them on Twitter or their perspective sites/newsletters you absolutely should.

-Nick


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Official Search Engine Updates

Article:

Google Search Opens Complaint Thread For Title Changes

What's Important:
In last week’s #SEOForLunch we covered Google’s new title tag change update that’s been pissing off a lot of SEOs. Google has since responded and let the industry know that they hear us and opened a feedback thread for all to contribute to.


Nick's Take:
I still have a very unpopular opinion that this title change is still (likely) positive at scale. The examples that individuals have called out show that it’s not perfect and still needs to be fine-tuned. Will we potentially see an opt-out HTML snippet in the future?


Article:

Google's Title/Header Change Does Not Impact Rankings

What's Important:
Barry Schwartz captured a Twitter conversation where Google’s John Mueller simply responds “no” to this question/concern. John elaborates (in another tweet) that this title update is simply a “display change” within the SERP results.

Nick's Take:
I’ll take at face value that Google re-writing titles doesn’t impact rankings. However, as you’ll see further down in the email, this change doesn’t mean click-through-rates can’t be significantly impacted.


Video:

How To Hide Text In A Search Snippet

What's Important:
Have you ever seen your site’s search result contain a completely wrong description? John Mueller explains that Google might use your meta description but it may also use snippets of content from your site. Want to avoid them using specific content? Google recommends using the NoSnippet attribute.

Nick's Take:
John mentioned that they “recently” announced the NoSnippet attribute. I missed this one so it’s great that they made a video about it. I have yet to implement this attribute but can think of several instances where this will be very helpful.


Article:

Google Announced “Internal Problem” Causing GSC Data Issue

What's Important:
Many complained that they were seeing data loss in their Google Search Console performance reports. Google officially documented that this is a known issue and impacts data on August 23rd + 24th.

Nick's Take:
Data quality issues happen. However, Google acknowledging this makes it extremely helpful when speaking to it with clients or anyone who reads site performance reports including GSC data.


Top SEO Resources From Last Week

Googlespeak™ – How Google Limits Thought About Antitrust

Written by Cyrus Shepard, Zyppy

What are your thoughts on Google ranking their own content over non-Google content in the search results? Does this cause ethical or anti-competitive issues? Cyrus has a strong opinion which he outlines in this well-written post. What do you think?"


Google’s Title Rewrite Dropped Our CTR by Up to 37%!

Written by Kristen McCormick, WordStream

By now you’ve read at least 100 articles on Google’s title tag update. But who’s actually being negatively impacted? Kristen and the team over at WordStream documented a case study on a large CTR drop that they did to fix this.


Internal Linking for Mobile-First & Mobile-Only Indexing

Written by Tom Capper, Moz.com

We all know that Google has switched to a mobile-first index. While users can use both desktop and mobile versions have you checked that your mobile version mirrors your desktop version (or vice-versa?) If you have a discrepancy between the two and your mobile version is lacking then some “small” fixes might end up netting some significant SEO gains.


How to Crawl JavaScript Websites

Written by Patrick Hathaway, Sitebulb

This guide was recently updated by the Sitebulb team and I think it’s worth re-reading for those who saw the original version. Understanding and even mimicking how engines crawl JavaScript is very critical. This guide will explain what rendering is, how to detect JS, and how to audit (crawl) it appropriately with third-party tools.


How To SEO Test Topic Clusters

[#SEOForLunch Partner]

Topic clusters or single long-form content? Why leave it to chance, collect data and run an SEO test just like how Nick Swan outlines in this post.


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