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Google Recommends You Include Your Canonical URLs In Your Sitemap File

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Google Abstract

Google’s Gary Illyes said on LinkedIn this morning that you should “include the URLs that you would want to see as canonical in your sitemaps.” This is not necessarily new advice, Google has said this numerous times, but Gary had a reason to repeat this advice for some reason.

Gary added, “It’s normal to have some duplicate content on your site, but you want to give search engines as many hints as you can about which version should be canonical (I.e. shown in search results). Sitemaps is one of those hints. Not as strong as rel-canonical and definitely not even near redirects, but it can be useful still.”

So, the strongest signal is the redirect, then rel-canonical, and then sitemap file? There are probably signals in the mix, like your internal links, external links, and more.

I mean, it is logical to have your canonical URL in your sitemap. That just seems logical. But I guess Gary is seeing a lot of folks not doing this?

In 2016, John Mueller said we recommend just submitting a sitemap for the URLs that you want to have indexed, not for all variations and in 2018, he said URLs in sitemap files are used to determine the canonical URL.

So if you are serving non-canonical URLs in your sitemap file, try not to?

Forum discussion at LinkedIn.

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Unconfirmed Google Update Impacting Product Reviews Sites On January 26th

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Google Product Reviews Update

On Thursday, January 26th, there were some signs of a possible Google search ranking algorithm update. The signals and chatter I was tracking, honestly, were not at super high levels. However, now that I see Glenn Gabe shared some really shocking charts of sites previously impacted by Google updates but now seeing a big swing. This is not necessarily a product reviews update but rather sites in the product reviews space that are seeing massive swings on the 26th.

Let me first share Glenn’s charts, which he posted on Twitter and said, “Heads-up, run a product reviews site? Google pushed something on 1/26 that, once again, impacted some product review sites HEAVILY. These are sites I’ve documented before with crazy surges/drops, even outside of Product Reviews Updates. Let’s see if this sticks. I hope it does.”

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Here is that tweet:

Starting on the 25th, I began to see limited chatter kick into gear at WebmasterWorld. The chatter there was not specific to the product reviews update but it could have been related to it. Here are some quotes from there:

My site has been climbing rankings all week and yet today the traffic has been dismal (UK). Do I smell an update?

My ranks, as I said, have been getting better after being in decline steadily since this time last year. I haven’t done anything to improve. Could this mean that google are indeed looking at different ranking signals, not just links? I could have gained a link or two that has turned it around I suppose but no evidence so far.

After great improvement over the month of January, got a big bang down since January 24 onwards. Changes again?

Definitely, something is wrong with Google. My traffic is going down without any reason. Are there any delays with Analytics?

I don’t know what’s going on, but my website has been in free fall for a week now. And it’s the usual picture again, old news articles or meaningless keyword spam ranks in my area on the top places. It’s really no fun anymore …

Google Tracking Tools

Here are what the tracking tool are showing:

Mozcast:

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Semrush:

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Cognitive SEO:

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Advanced Web Rankings:

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RankRanger:

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Accuranker:

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SERPmetrics:

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Algoroo:

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So the tools are not lighting up but this update may have been something tweaked with the product reviews update, or a new update impacting product review sites or limited to those segments of websites?

Have any of you seen any big changes around January 26th?

Forum discussion at Twitter.



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Jeff Ferguson On Starting His Own Digital Marketing Agency

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Jeff Ferguson

In part one, we go through Jeff Ferguson’s long history in search marketing. Here, in part two, we pick up with him starting his own agency. Jeff explained how he was working at this arbitrage company, and they were not profitable for a decade, and then overnight, he helped them become profitable, and they were making a ton of money. But they didn’t do it right, and eventually, they took a major hit. So he was offered a package to leave but picked up doing consulting during that time. He ran his agency for ten years before merging with Amplitude Digital.

He loves agency life and doing his own thing. He is at a point in life where doing his own thing and owning his agency is where he wants to be. He does write a lot of content; he shares a lot of advice on Twitter and Facebook.

You can learn more about Jeff Ferguson at Amplitude Digital and follow him on Twitter @CountXero.


You can subscribe to our YouTube channel by clicking here so you don’t miss the next vlog where I interviews. I do have a nice lineup of interviews scheduled with SEOs and SEMS, many of which you don’t want to miss – and I promise to continue to make these vlogs better over time. If you want to be interviewed, please fill out this form with your details.

Forum discussion at YouTube.



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Google Pier 57 Display Wall

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Display Wall At Google Pier 57

Here is one of the many walls at the new Google Pier 57 location. You can see they set up a display wall that houses a Google surfboard, Google letters, Android figurine, and much more.

I spotted this on Instagram.

This post is part of our daily Search Photo of the Day column, where we find fun and interesting photos related to the search industry and share them with our readers.



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