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Vol 9 - SEO Industry Trends & Team Updates

Welcome SEO Team!

Thank you to everyone who contributed articles for this month.

We would like to extend a warm welcome to our new "Y-Peers" (Ian's terrible pun not Cam's) who joined the SEO team this month!

  • Elan Ma
  • Katrina Sapienza
  • Sara Luchetti
  • Lindsey Robinson
  • Kassidy Kingdon
  • Kailyn Pyatt

Welcome aboard! Enjoy your first newsletter!

As always, if you see any articles that you'd like to contribute, please post them to Slack in the "SEO_Team_YP" channel and we'll add them in the newsletter for next month.

Also, If anyone has any photos that they would like featured in an upcoming newsletter please forward everything to Ian or Cam!

SEO Team Deadlines & Reminders

Dashboard Deadline: Weds. Oct 5

KPI Deadline: Weds. Oct 5

Report Deadline: Mon. Oct 17

Spam Filter Deadline: Thurs. Oct 27

National Team Birthdays

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Happy birthday to everyone who celebrated birthdays in September! Congratulations for having the same birth-month as Google
(Google is now 18, and can therefore get into bars in Quebec. I feel old.)

Let's get ready to celebrate more birthdays in October!

Celebrated in SEPTEMBER

Amy Tom - September 9

Jigmit "Birthday Jig" Gwari - September 13

Justin "Senior Manager" Lowe - September 20

Upcomming in OCTOBER

Debbie Wang - October 6th

Ryan Chiu - October 17th

Tom Hill - October 23rd

Michelle "Marmalady" McLennan- October 28th

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Article Summaries

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Making Sense of Google's Updates in Local Search

Article contributed by: Amy Tom

Google's been dramatically changing the landscape of local search, and it's time we delve into it.

The company is piloting out ads in the local 3-pack, making big changes to the GMB platform, and modifying the ways one can seek help from a representative for their GMB page.

As traffic shifts more heavily towards mobile, it makes sense that localization is becoming more important than ever in search. The evidence is plentiful that Google is updating their tools to adapt to that change.

Accordingly, we'll need to be diligent in monitoring our local performance. If Google continues to limit the level of detail we can apply to our GMB pages, we may need to re-evaluate our local strategy.

Five free Chrome extensions for SEO practitioners

Article contributed by: Rawandev Kaur

1. Nimbus Screenshot/Screencast

-While Ctrl-PrtScn & Snipping Tool are both handy and suffice for many people, Nimbus additionally allows you to make full-page screenshots and videos that you can share with clients. Could be very helpful for clients who are looking for additional insights.

2. Check My Links

-If you have a new website and are worried about links not transferring over, this is a very helpful tool. As you might guess, it scans all the links on a page and will highlight them either green or red whether they work or are broken, and provides a summary in the side of your screen.

3. Word Count

- A simple but very helpful. This add-in will tell you the word count of a given page. Handy for evaluating the needs for additional content.

4. Open Multiple URLs

-I don't actually believe this to be a tremendously helpful plug-in. We all have tabbed browsing. I disagree with the article here, but feel free to draw your own conclusions.

5. User-Agent Switcher for Chrome

-I downloaded this plug-in immediately after reading this article. Allows you to quickly view the page as it appears on any given device. Highly Recommend.


- A very comprehensive tool. This will show you the position of a site next to it's result in Google (handy for spot-checking rankings). As well as checking the internal & external factors for a website. Jigmit can provide more information about this great tool :)

Don’t get duped by duplicate content: 8 quick checks for every SEO

Article contributed by: Cameron Vader

Duplicate content can arise at any time, but with our websites transitioning to Mono, this is especially relevant.

If you're worried about a site having duplicate content, the article recommends checking the following items.

  2. Sneaky Scraper Sites
  3. Long Lost Subdomains
  4. The "Secret" Staging Environment
  5. Dynamically Generated Parameters
  6. Mirrored Subdirectories
  7. Syndicated Content
  8. Similar Content

Search Console can help assess many of these problems, and further issues can be resolved with canonical tags, 301 redirects, nofollow/noindex tags.

By routinely checking for duplicate content we can ensure our websites are setup to for success as so many of them go through the transition to Mono!

How will changes to Google’s Keyword Planner affect your Keyword Research in 2017?

Article contributed by: Shannon Cross

Google has made many adjustments to Keyword Planner recently. Apparently looking to maximize their revenues. We are now seeing keywords with groupings for the search volumes, and rather than a specific monthly search volume, low-spending accounts will only see a range, ballparking the search volume for your terms.

We are currently adapting our process to this news.

For more information, please reach out to your respective team lead!

Penguin is Now Part of (Google's) Core Algorithm

Article contributed by: Ian MacLeod

Matt Cutt's announced late last week that Penguin 4.0 is now live and officially a part of the core Google Search Engine Algorithm. Penguin 4.0 now updates it's related rankings and signal factors in real time and thus will be the last official "announced update" to the Penguin Platform.

The algorithm will now allow Google to immediately adjust ranks based on signal factors affecting websites related to incoming links (backlinks) and other spam factors as they are caught or related to Penguin. Web pages that have been detected will be immediately penalized and those that are corrected will not have to wait for the next update to see their rankings return. Once caught & penalized by the latest filter, an entire website would have had to wait weeks, months or potentially years to be let out of Penguin's net.

With the new and final update, the real time parsing of Penguin will catch spammy sites in real time but also allow savvy SEO's an opportunity to correct their mistakes and save their sites in real time as well. Cutt's also announced that Penguin is now much more "granular" and will evaluate spam signals from specific pages as opposed to the entire site.

If you would like more information on the latest update click on this link to the Google Webmaster Central Blog or read a summary article from Search Engine Land through the link below!



Google Is Grouping Keyword Volumes - What Does This Mean for SEO?

Article contributed by: Debbie Wang

Sam Nemzer from Moz released an investigative study earlier this month on the grouping of keyword volumes in the Keyword Planner Tool. Sam decided to try and measure variations in semantic keywords to try and see if he could simulate similar keyword search volume results when he compared initials/abbreviations, plurals, verb stems, punctuation variations & typos.

He found some significant variants in both the search volume data and ranking data produced by the keyword planner indicating that while Google is trying to bundle keywords with similar meanings into categories we are still not getting exact match figures from our analytics & ranking tools.

At the end of the article Sam outlines that rank tracking companies such as STAT are looking into ways of splitting keyword volumes between constituent keywords, which could lead to semi-accurate data in the future.

What this study does show is that there is still a benefit to targeting individual keywords and their semantic alternatives on our sites. Just because Google is grouping keywords with similar meanings together does not mean that we should to. Keyword variety continues to be the best strategy for optimization. Try and find new ways to incorporate different variations in your keywords to ensure that you reach as many users as possible. Everyone searches in their own unique way and we should try and optimize sites to take advantage of that fact, instead of relying on Google to do all of the work for us.

Google Partners Academy on Air: Cross Device Conversions

Video contributed by: Ian MacLeod

Kristine Mehan led the latest Google Partner's Academy on air this past week on the topic of Cross Device Conversions. As I am sure most of you are aware, a CDC is a conversion that starts on one screen and is finished on an additional screen at a later time. Google has improved it's ability to assign credit for cross device conversions as users have increased the number of devices that they use on a daily basis.

Now, Google can use aggregate anonymous data, retargeting pixels and user data to assign credit for conversions that start on a phone, tablet, or desktop device and finish on a separate device. It's like an assisted conversion on steroids!

Watch the video below to learn more about the benefits of tracking our users across their various devices and the insights that can be gained from an ROI perspective.

Happy tracking!

Google Partners Academy on Air: Cross Device Conversions (27.09.2016)

Thanks Everyone for Your Contributions! See You Next Month!