Yoast SEO news webinar – June 28, 2022


Why you should watch this replay

The world of SEO is constantly evolving, and keeping up with all of these changes can be quite difficult. But no worries, we’ve got your back! Our Head of SEO, Jono Alderson will keep you up-to-date on the latest SEO news in our monthly SEO news webinar. Joining Jono in this month’s webinar is a very special guest – Barry Adams. He is an award-winning SEO consultant, specializing in technical and editorial SEO for news publishers. We’ll discuss a lot about News SEO and Barry will share his expertise in this topic. Rewatch it in the video above or read a short recap of the topics below.

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Recap and resources

Google news

  • 2:49 – Google News is getting a redesign
    With the new design, Google News is putting more emphasis on local news and customized news feed. Before this, it can be a bit of a hassle to find the news you actively want to read, news from your favorite publication, or news from your local area. The new design has helped to make this much easier. You can now find a local news box at the top right of the Google News home page. There is a new filter button to add multiple locations to your local news section as well.
  • 4:31 – Web Stories plagiarism
    There’s a huge problem with plagiarism in Web Stories. For instance, when a big news outlet publishes a web story, other people can just grab the images and the headline and create a web story out of that. They can even rank with this plagiarised content and benefit from it. But this is not an easy issue to fix. Google isn’t great at deduplicating content when it comes to ranking in the first place. Barry also suspects that checking for plagiarism in the Web Stories format is very resource-intensive and possibly time-consuming.
  • 7:30 – Author markup best practices added to Google documentation
    Google recently updated a bunch of guidelines around best practices for describing the author of an article using structured data. Basically, you should:
    – Include all authors in the markup
    – Specify multiple authors when applicable
    – Use the additional fields that are available to you
    – Only specify the author’s name in the ‘author.name’ property
    – Use the appropriate author type

    The new guidelines and instructions can be found here.
  • 9:05 – Simpler classification in GSC
    Google is simplifying the way to classify pages, items, and issues in Search Console reports. Users have told Google that they are confused by the “warning” status when it’s applied to a URL or item. They don’t know if a warning means that the page or item can or can’t appear on Google. To make this a bit clearer, Google is changing the report format. For the top-level item, there are only two groups now. Pages or items with critical issues are labeled invalid; pages or items without critical issues are labeled valid. It’s a little bit tricky to find out the actual improvement. But at the same time, this will remove any ambiguity about what is working, what is not working in terms of content on your website and how it’s performing in the Google index.

Microsoft news

  • 11:05 – Bing launched Buy Direct, a new retail marketplace
    Microsoft is testing out a new retail marketplace in the U.S on Bing. Some people might say this is Microsoft’s own version of Google shopping, but it’s actually slightly different in interesting ways. You can do things like search for products, read reviews, and compare products on Buy Direct. What’s different about Bing’s approach is that it’s more tailored toward user preferences. So, you can specify that you like cats but not dogs, and then more of your search results will be orientated toward that preference. Or you can exclude products from a topic or a country.

WordPress news

  • 14:07 – WordPress 6.1 and long-term road map
    WordPress 6.1 is set to have a new “browse mode” that will allow site editors to zoom in and out while working. Next to that, working with patterns will receive a lot of attention. WordPress 6.1 is promised to bring better support for pattern usage in custom post types, block types, and a more intuitive experience with locking patterns and managing saved patterns.

    In terms of the long-term roadmap, collaborative editing and multilingual support are two major features that WordPress will develop. These two features are hugely needed for WordPress as they are the fundamental requirements for the modern web. Collaborative editing is set to be introduced in 2023. After that comes multilingual support, which is set for either 2024 or 2025.

Social media news

  • 15:50 – Facebook is changing its feed to be more like TikTok
    The rapid growth and adoption of TikTok have forced other social media players to make adjustments to compete. Facebook is saying they’re going to open up their newsfeed to more popular content from more sources instead of prioritizing posts from accounts people follow. They’ll also do some structural changes by bringing back Facebook and Messenger in the same app.
  • 17:53 – Twitter no longer uses rel=”nofollow”
    That means profiles, tweets, and other pages on Twitter may now contain followed link. But Barry believes that a link on Twitter won’t benefit your website’s SEO at all. Google is quite good at picking up ranking signals, and links from a social media platform like Twitter might not send strong signals.

Tech/other news

  • 19:32 – Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Google and others agree to new EU rules
    The big players have got together and agreed on a new set of EU legislative rules. These rules will encourage them to take more responsibility for their content, deal with fake news and reduce abuse. Essentially, they have to make a greater effort to halt the spread of fake news and propaganda. There are around 44 specific guidelines. All of these are centered around things like more transparency for political advertising, easier ways to report spam or abuse, and penalizing sites.
  • 21:47 – Kobuchar/Grassley big tech antitrust bill
    There’s a new bipartisan bill in Congress aimed at big tech companies like Google, Apple and Amazon. They’ve become monopolies in their respective industries, making it very difficult for other players to enter, compete and innovate in the market. More importantly, they have a tendency to use their monopolistic power to favor their own products or services over those of third parties. Read the complete story here.
  • 24:24 – Declining daily searches for DuckDuckGo
    DuckDuckGo is a popular search engine from a privacy perspective. The number of daily searches for DuckDuckGo has been declining since the beginning of 2022. In June 2022, it racks up 93.8 million searches, which is down from 106 million searches in January.

Yoast news

  • 25:35 – Yoast SEO 19.1, Yoast SEO Premium 18.7 and WooCommerce SEO 14.9
    We’ve had a few releases since our last webinar. We’ve made a few improvements and adjustments to our content analyses. For instance, the analyses should give you the correct assessment and suggestions when you use a focus keyphrase with hyphen. In Yoast SEO Premium 18.7, we’ve introduced a bunch of crawl settings that you can turn off to remove unnecessary stuff added by WordPress. Lastly, we’ve included a highly-requested feature in WooCommerce SEO 14.9 – the ability to add global identifiers for product variations. Check out our release post for detailed information!

Understand ‘Google News’ with Barry Adams

  • 28:30 – What we mean by optimizing for Google News
    Google News can be a confusing term because Google actually has a few properties that serve news articles. Google has a sub-domain ‘news.google.com’. It also has a tab called ‘news’ in the SERP. But these two are not the main traffic driver for news publishers. Actually, news publishers receive the majority of Google’s traffic from the ‘top stories’ box right on the search result page. It is estimated that 10-12% of search results have this ‘top stories’ box. So, when we talk about ‘Google News’, we primarily talk about the top stories box. The focus on optimizing for Google news in this entire ecosystem is similar to what you would do in classic SEO – build high-quality signals and create highly relevant content. What’s different is the attention to speed. You need to pay attention to the speed of your website, optimize your website’s crawlability and publish content fast. This is because articles in top stories usually have a short life span of one or two days.
  • 35:24 – Discussion about Google News
    Jono and Barry discuss a few things about the Google news ecosystem like the relationship between news publishers and Google.

Questions asked during the webinar

How do I improve my chances to appear in Google Local News?
If you’re a local news publishing website, you need to be identifiable as such. Ideally, you want to be associated with a fairly tightly graphic area code. Google tends to know where people are. It also tends to know where you – as a publisher, are focusing your content on. Google does this by looking at your on-page optimization like your headlines and navigation structure. So you need to optimize these elements on your website. It’s much more challenging if you want to target multiple locations with one website. If that’s the case, you may need to create separate versions of your website to adhere to the locations you want to target. That may require a separate homepage and separate content sections for each location. Next to that, you may have to be fairly explicit in your navigation structure, page title and locally-relevant content.

How do you even get your website to rank on Google Discover or Google News?
It’s not easy to rank on Google News. You need to be a news publisher and you have to take it seriously! You probably need a separate website with very little connection to other websites. Your site should have a very good technical setup. Content-wise, you need to consistently publish newsworthy content and you need to publish content every day. It’s good to publish from 5-10 articles per day, or even 10-20 if you can manage. Having popular or renowned journalists write content on your website is also beneficial. After about 2 years, then you have a decent chance of ranking on Google News. Again, it’s not easy at all.

For Google Discover, it’s a bit easier for your content to appear and rank there. You don’t necessarily have to be a news publisher. But you do need to produce useful, topical, in-depth content and a technically sound website.

How impactful is the author markup? Do you have an example of Google or other search engines using the data around authors, and does that improve visibility?
The author markup is an optional thing. It’s hard to quantify how useful it is because there is no actual output. Regardless, you should definitely include it in your articles. This is to help Google understand that a real human writes the article and the person has journalistic experience.

We don’t exactly have an example. Although, Barry has seen news websites that don’t use any schema markup ranking on Google News. But these sites have been around for a long time. They rely on many other ranking factors to rank. If you’re a smaller publisher (which is most of us), make sure to include the author markup and make it as complete as possible.

Is Google reading the caption on social media posts?
It might be. For instance, an Instagram post is just a page on the internet and Instagram is just a domain. And Google is actually allowed to crawl Instagram. But generally speaking, content on social media platforms is more about getting your brand out there, rather than for the direct ranking of your web pages.

What’s the best way to target more than one keyword on a page?
You can choose keywords that are similar enough or of a similar topic or sub-topic. You can have different sections about these sub-topics on your page. If the keywords you want to target are too diverse, or if there’s no topical overlap, then you might want to consider creating different pages.

Should you use keywords in your anchor text when link-building?
Yes, you can do that. Barry thinks anchor text link might still work. It can help your website rank better for the terms you have in the anchor text. But really, that shouldn’t be your concern. Barry gives an example of himself. If you search for ‘seo for google news’, his website tends to be the first or second result. But he doesn’t engage in any link-building activities at all. He just produces good content that people want to share and link to.

SEO News webinar series