You never know what’s going to happen when it comes to SEO, but 2021 stands out. Compared to 2020, we had more than 6 confirmed Google Updates and even more unconfirmed updates. Google also made some refinements to rankings and to how the SERPs (search engine result pages) work.
This post was updated December 30, 2021 because even more Google Updates occurred after it was first published!
The latter caused consternation among SEOs and a flurry of tweets showing examples of crappy web titles in the Google SERPs snippets. Below is an example where Google got it wrong even for its own web site.
Fortunately Google adjusted the system in September and it has been performing better.
Google 2021 Updates
So much happened in 2021, I found myself losing track. Accordingly, I created this post as a reference for myself and others.
The HTML title tag is a HTML element that defines the title of a web page. HTML document titles are used in a number of ways, including by the search engines such as Google.
Title tags are significant for SEO because:
They are used as a ranking signal by search engines
They appear in the search engine result pages as the clickable headline of a search listing (commonly called snippets).
Title tags are different than, and should not be confused with the H1 tag which also sometimes is referred to as the title of a page.
Unlike a H1 tag, you won’t find the title tag appearing anywhere on the web page. Like HTML meta tags, the title tag is part of a collection of tags that convey information about the page rather than containing the text that is visible is on the web page.
If you are a SEO you know of Screaming Frog, a tool used to analysis a website by crawling each page on the site as a search spider would. Screaming Frog just released version 10, a major enhancement that just may make it my new favorite toy.
Embracing the Concept of Indexable
One of my biggest beefs with Screaming Frog has been that it didn’t have the concept of indexability. Let me illustrate what I mean by this with an example.
When you crawl a website with Screaming Frog, it organizes the results into tabs that align with on page elements important for SEO. The titles tab lists the URLs and the title tags found on the page which then can be filtered for potential SEO issues such as duplicate title tags.
It’s frustrating to see a list of pages with duplicate titles only to investigate and find out they have been addressed with the canonical tag. If only Screaming Frog understood the concept of indexability and showed me only duplicate titles that have not been addressed. Other crawlers such as Deep Crawl and OnCrawl do this, why not Screaming Frog?
In version 10 Screaming Frog has addressed this shortcoming. In most of the tabs you’ll find two new fields, Indexability and Indexability Status. The first field is set by the crawl to either “Indexable” or “Non-Indexable”, the second field will tell you why Screaming Frog considers the page Non-Indexable. For example the status field could be set to “Canonicalised” (Screaming Frog is a British company, hence the “s” instead of “z”) indicating that the page is not indexable because there is a pointer to a “canonical” (or representative) page of a group of pages.
Ever worked with a lead management marketing system? There are many out there, for a monthly fee, you get a website complete with a choice of landing pages, auto-responders (often prewritten for you) and a contact management system. They work well with online advertising; where your banner, PPC ads drive traffic directly to your pre-built landing pages, generating leads for you.
So what about setting up your own domain and pointing it to your marketing system? Not a problem, for $10 or so, you buy a domain and then forward it to your marketing system URL.
This won’t cause any SEO problems for my new domain, right? Well, “it depends”.
Little did I know that when I wrote those words in 2011 I would get a flood of questions about Domains, SEO and redirects! This expanded post will help answer them!
Recently an email from a top media site was shared with me:
“…we would really rather not edit the links in our author bios to “follows” from “nofollow.” With the number of contributed articles (and articles, period) that we publish every day, we are leaking SEO authority with every “follow” link we allow.”
At the time I saw this email I was surprised, I had thought that the notion that outbound linking “leaks” link juice from a site had died a deserved death many years ago.
To understand the reasoning behind this, it’s helpful to understand that each site is assigned a certain amount of SEO authority that flows from the home page through first the links on the home page and then through out the rest of the site. So does make some logical sense that you are losing SEO authority when you link out to external site.
However most SEOs believe this is a myth.
What is an outbound link?
An outbound link is a link that links outside of your domain to an external site. When a visitor clicks on an outbound link, they will leave your site, this is why some websites open external links in a new browser window. Conversely inbound links (often referred to as backlinks) are incoming links from other sites to yours.
You know the performance of your site matters. But everytime you venture into site speed optimization you feel like you stumbled into a land of foreign geek speak.
Unfortunately site speed is a complex topic and technical (“Configure Entity Tags” anyone?). Some changes can require a web developer to implement the changes. With this post you’ll understand better where performance problems can crop up so you can have a better conversation with your developer. We’ll also cover the low hanging fruit that you can tackle on your own as well as the tools you’ll need to get started.