Notes from the SEO Underground

February 26th, 2019 by Charlie Smith   |   Posted in SEM / SEO / PPC, SEO News

“SEO Underground” is your first and fastest stop to find out about breaking news and recent algorithm updates that affect your firm’s online visibility.

February may be the shortest month of the year, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been super busy in the SEO space. Google and other major players have rolled out updates and provided new information about ranking systems.

Google Valentine’s Day Algorithm Update

Google makes algorithm tweaks every day. However, some are more noticeable than others. It’s being reported that there was a SERP volatility spike on Feb. 13th and 14th. If your law firm noticed any significant changes to your keyword rankings and organic traffic around that time, it could be due to the update. Corrections that further tweak and improve the changes typically take place a week to two weeks after an algorithm update.

Since this update is fresh out of the oven, there is little consensus on what factors have been affected and what steps to take as a result. However, our advice is to follow Google’s guidelines for a Google friendly site.

Responding to Reviews: Google Maps

Google announced recently that business owners with verified Google My Business listings are now able to respond to reviews directly in Google Maps. That’s good news for anyone who’s tired of having to go through Google My Business or the mobile app. This is a nice tweak for desktop users and makes the review response process faster and more streamlined.

And heads up — whether the review is positive or negative, your firm should always respond! Responding shows that you appreciate your customers’ feedback, employ excellent communications skills and value your online reputation. Believe it or not, responding can also help your SEO. Google is on record as stating that you should be responding to reviews:

“Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business’s local ranking.” 

Here’s how to reply to reviews in Google Maps:

  1. Go to Google Maps.
  2. Enter your business name. Click Search or press Enter.
  3. Click Reviews or scroll down to the Reviews section.
  4. Click Reply on the Google My Business app or the GMB website.

Want to learn more about the importance of online reviews? Check out our article: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Online Reviews

Moz Domain Authority Update

Earlier this month, Moz announced that they will be updating their Domain Authority (DA) algorithm on March 5, 2019. Here’s what you need to know about the update:

  1. Moz is using an updated model which incorporates link counts, spam score, and more complex features such as quality of links and quality of traffic, along with additional factors. Links from private blog networks and link sellers will be devalued, and the Spam Score filter will take into account link spam.
  2. These updates are intended to bring the Domain Authority metric in line relative to the updates that Google makes.
  3. Similar to when Google makes substantial algorithm updates, there will likely be fluctuations. So, if your DA was a 40, and now it’s a 20, don’t panic. Domain Authority is a useful metric, but it’s just one of many factors to take into account. Your first step should be to see how your DA changed relative to your competitors.

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