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The Industry Mourns The Loss Of Bill Slawski

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It pains me to write this – Bill Slawski, a man who has literally helped transform the SEO industry into what it is today, has passed away on Tuesday, May 17th. I’ve personally known Bill for two decades, starting when I first got into SEO and learning from Bill in the old Cre8asite Forums.

Bill Slawski is someone I would coin the mentor to the SEO community. He knew SEO better than most, he understood how search engines work inside and out and he understood how to build sites that work for users and search engines. But no, he didn’t keep that knowledge to himself and look to cash in through easy money. Instead, he mentored me, he mentored you – the search community. From his writing on patents and SEO on SEO By The Sea to speaking at countless events, to hosting webinars and helping people on social. He was never shy when it came to correcting SEO myths and theories or to correct subtle inaccuracies on social. Heck, I referenced Bill’s work on this site countless times. He was literally the man you could go to in order to validate anything on search and SEO.

That man, our SEO mentor, our educator, our instructor, our Bill is no longer with us. It is hard to think of an SEO industry without Bill Slawski. But he has left us with a huge amount of published knowledge on the internet, on social and on video. He has taught us all to be better SEOs, to dig deeper into the truth, to truly understand how search operates and to do it for the betterment of our colleagues and the search industry.

Bill was one of the few people to have two nominations for the say something nice about an SEO campaign I ran years ago, you can read that entry here. As you may remember, in December 2020, Bill had a stroke and he was recovering, he was super active during his recovery in the industry and continued to help the industry throughout. That lead to an outpouring of stories people shared online of how Bill has helped them over the years – take a moment to read some of those stories.

Bill – you have no idea how much you’ve impacted this industry. You will be deeply missed not just by those you’ve directly helped, but all the SEOs you helped indirectly through your knowledge.

We will miss you – may you rest in peace.

Here is some, not all, but some of the industry reaction to Bill’s passing:

There is just so much more on social about how much this man meant to us all.

We will miss you Bill!

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Source: www.seroundtable.com

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Microsoft Bing Says The lastmod Tag In XML Sitemap File Is Critical

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Microsoft Bing posted a new blog post saying “for XML sitemaps, one of the most critical tags you can include in your sitemap is the “lastmod” tag.” And it will become even more critical as Bing is reworking its crawl scheduling stack to rely more on this lastmod field.

Yes, by June, the way Bing decides what to crawl will be more dependent on the lastmod tag. Fabrice Canel from Microsoft wrote, “we are revamping our crawl scheduling stack to better utilize the information provided by the “lastmod” tag in sitemaps.” This is being done so it can “enhance” the “crawl efficiency by reducing unnecessary crawling of unchanged content and prioritizing recently updated content.”

“We have already begun implementing these changes on a limited scale and plan to fully roll them out by June,” he added.

So making sure your lastmod date is accurate is now even more important. It should be the last time you modified the URL, not the time the URL was first published and not the time the XML sitemap file was generated. In fact, that is the biggest issue Bing found with the field, that it often just shows the date the XML sitemap file was generated and not the date the page of the URL was last modified.

Here are some data points Bing put together on XML sitemaps:

  • 58% of hosts have at least one XML sitemap.
  • 84% of these sitemaps have a lastmod attribute set.
  • 79% have lastmod values correct.
  • 18% have lastmod values not correctly set.
  • 3% has lastmod values for only some of the URLs.
  • 16% of these sitemaps don’t have a lastmod attribute set.
  • 42% of hosts don’t have one XML sitemap

Oh, Bing still wants you to use the IndexNow protocol for the most efficient crawl solution but if you don’t – make sure your lastmod date is accurate.

In terms of Google, in 2015 Google said they don’t really use the lastmod date but then changed that in 2020 they said they do. The current Google documentation says, “Google uses the lastmod value if it’s consistently and verifiably (for example by comparing to the last modification of the page) accurate.”

Forum discussion at Twitter.



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Google Search Console Video Indexing Report Adds Impressions & Sitemap Filters

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Google has updated the video indexing report within Google Search Console to add impression data and a way to filter the report by your available sitemaps.

As a reminder, the video indexing report went fully live in August 2022 after Google started to slowly roll out the video index report within Google Search Console earlier in 2022.

Google added two new features to the report; impression data and a sitemap filter. Here is a GIF of these two features:

Video Indexing Google Report Upgrade

You can now overlay the impressions your indexed videos saw directly in this report. Google said, “the impressions are aggregated by page which means that if the same page appears multiple times in a single search result page (or a single Discover session), then we consider each appearance as an impression.”

Here is what it looks like:

click for full size

Google added, “The Search performance report groups video search appearances by property, not by URL, which means that if multiple pages show in a search results, we’ll count only one impression. As a result, the Search performance report can show lower impression counts than the Video page indexing report.”

The sitemap filter is a nice addition also, so you can see what videos you submitted via your sitemaps compared to what Google really indexed. Google said, “To help you focus on the video pages that matter most to you, you can now filter the Video indexing report to show only video pages that are present in a selected sitemap. The filter applies to all the report features: the chart, chart totals, issue list, and exports.”

Here is a screenshot of that:

click for full size

You also see a section in the sitemaps location for discovered videos:

Again, if Google sees videos on your site, Google will display the new “Video indexing report” on the left navigation bar in the coverage section of Google Search Console. The report shows the status of video indexing on your site. It helps you answer the following questions:

  • In how many pages has Google identified a video?
  • Which videos were indexed successfully?
  • What are the issues preventing videos from being indexed?

Forum discussion at Twitter.



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Helpful Content & Link Spam Update Done, SEO, Search Console & More

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