Good morning, are you seeing rankings fluctuate?

It’s not just you. As we noted yesterday, there has been a lot of chatter about a Google search update of some type occurring over the past several days. Google hasn’t commented, but Barry Schwartz says this unconfirmed search ranking update feels big. He’s dug into what the various rank checking tools are showing — spoiler alert, all indicate fairly substantial rank fluctuations. 

Yelp has launched new Showcase ads that can include video to promote specials and store visits attribution for national and multi-location brands. These new products are part of a recent rollout of new tools and offerings for advertisers that may help set it apart from Google and GMB. 

Microsoft Advertising has rolled out IF functions out globally. That means you can start using the conditional formatting to tailor ads based on the user’s device or audience segment — or import the IF functions you’re already using in your Google expanded text ads.

What’s in a name? For SEO, just about everything. Warner Bros. decided to tighten up and frontload the main character’s name in one of its movie titles after a disappointing opening weekend — in large part, for better performance in search. The studio will likely find that it’s not quite so easy to get the search results it wants for the newly named Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey.

Keep reading for a Soapbox and your daily Search Shorts — congrats to the Brainlabs and Hanapin teams — and more.  

Ginny Marvin,


Writing better content means revisiting the basics

Search a query related to your field. Take an hour and really mine that first SERP for what it contains and what each part means. What is Google telling you by presenting this particular piece of content as the answer box? Why is that information in the knowledge panel? How is that People Also Ask question topically or semantically related to what I asked? What are the factors common to the content in positions one and two and six and nine and so on? How can my website compete with all of them?

Keep a few things in mind when attempting to answer these questions. If Google has ranked something in position zero, it is likely for good reason, and it may not be the written words of the content alone. Maybe that result is formatted in just the right way, as a how-to or a type of encyclopedia of similar topics. Perhaps the content intersperses written words with optimized infographics and videos.

You know those ten results on page one have something useful for searchers. Your job is to do it better. Also, remember that you can capitalize on some of your older content by updating it and optimizing it to be better than what’s on the SERPs now. Make this a habit, and keep up with it, to build your web pages’ EAT score and stay competitive.

Kristopher Jones is the founder and CEO of LSEO


How to Choose the Right SEO Vendor

When selecting an SEO vendor, it’s important to look under the hood and see what a company is really doing when optimizing a website and how they can support your company. This white paper from Boostability takes a deep dive into two specific things you need to know about and look for when choosing an SEO vendor.

Read more »

Search Shorts

Google local algorithm update?

Jan 31st Google local update.  There also may have been a Google local search ranking update on January 31, 2020, but Google has not confirmed this either.

Indexing vs ranking.  Google’s John Mueller said on Twitter, “we index a lot of pages that rarely show up in search results.”

Testing, testing, testing.  Google is always testing, repeats Danny Sullivan of Google on Twitter. He said, “this is more in line with the we’re always testing lots of things.”

Hanapin acquired. Last week it was SEO agency Distilled. This week it’s US-based paid search and social agency Hanapin, UK-based Brainlabs announced yesterday it has put some of its recent private equity investment toward acquiring US-based agency Hanapin


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What we're reading

We've curated our picks from across the web so you can retire your feed reader

Beyond exact keyword matching: optimize your text naturally – Yoast

Crawl Budget – what is it and how to optimise for it – On Page Rocks

Get a list of pages on your site with links from other sites – Majestic Blog

Google Assistant continues smart speaker growth in 2020 – 9to5Google

Google HR head Eileen Naughton to step down – Fortune

Google My Business Stay Verified Emails Are Real – Search Engine Roundtable

Here’s How to Block App Placements from Google Smart Shopping – Metric Theory

How to Structure Your Account for Smart Bidding Success – Seer Interactive

Revisiting The Importance of Quality Indexation For Large-Scale Sites: Hunting High Indexation and Low Search Value By Directory [Case Study] – GSQI

Search Console Explorer Sheet [Google Sheet] – Hannah Rampton

The Power of “Is”: A Featured Snippet Case Study – Moz