In July 2017, Google made internal improvements to its logging system to provide more accurate accounting for lower position results, says Steven Wyer. However, many webmasters immediately noticed a decrease in average site position. Thankfully, the discrepancy only affected Search Console reporting and not a site’s actual performance through search. Here, Steven Wyer takes a look at what happened and how page owners can ensure optimal search performance.
Q: Why did Google make changes to its logging system?
Steven Wyer: Google makes periodic changes to ensure that users, as well as site owners, have the best possible experience and results.
Q: Have there been any recent logging issues?
Steven Wyer: According to Google’s data anomaly page, there was a logging issue in March 2017 for data relating to image searches.
Q: How were businesses affected by the July 2017 logging system update?
Steven Wyer: Site owners utilizing the Google Search Console may see a decrease in average position but an increase in impressions.
Q: What are some ways a site owners can give themselves a better chance at ranking if they don’t understand all of the charts and features in the console data set?
Steven Wyer: One of the most important things is to ensure that each page’s title meta-tag is accurate and relevant to the page.
Q: How does content affect the page ranking?
Steven Wyer: Evidence suggests that today’s searchers want to be informed with specific and detailed information regarding a query. Longform content with usable information and relevant keywords is essential and one of the most heavily weighted factors in page position.
Q: What about images?
Steven Wyer: Images can utilize their alt text, description, and caption to strengthen page position.
Q: What is a URL slug?
Steven Wyer: That is the text that appears after “.com/” in a URL. Site owners can further optimize their page position by using relevant keywords in this spot.
Q: Is there an easy way to let Google know what pages the website includes?
Steven Wyer: Site owners can add a sitemap, which will help Google and other search engines index each page.
Q: Does server location make a difference?
Steven Wyer: It’s possible and some SEO professionals believe that server location may factor into local rankings.
Q: Why should websites be optimized for mobile viewing?
Steven Wyer: It’s no secret that smartphones and tablets have become the tool of choice for most searchers these days. It only makes sense that site optimized for mobile viewing, whether AMP or otherwise, would rank higher for mobile queries.
Q: Are there off-page factors that affect pagerank?
Steven Wyer: Pages linked back to a particular site can significantly affect that site’s strength in the eyes of the search engines. The number of linking domains pages along with the authority of each can either raise or lower pagerank.