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Hey folks, welcome to another Smattering of SEO news! Once again it’s a very Google centric week, which I guess speaks to Google’s dominance of the space in general. This week saw new quality guidelines and new local ranking signals dropping around the same time, making our heads spin right round, baby, right round, like a record baby. Right round, round, round. Enjoy the news!

Google News

  • Google Updates Quality Rating Guidelines – It feels like it was just yesterday when Google made massive changes to its quality rating guidelines, but they’ve gone and done so again,
    this time with some pretty big changes. Things such as supplementary content, user experience, and maintenance were removed entirely, while extra emphasis was put on mobile, local, page quality, and E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness). The list of changes is extensive, but thankfully the link above detailed them all quite well, so it’s worth following that link and reading all of it.


  • Google Details New Local Ranking Signals – Google has updated their local ranking improvement document with some interesting new tidbits. The most interesting of these is the idea of “prominence,” or how your local results rankings can be affected by more traditional SEO signals such as links, articles, and the link. It appears that now your local rankings will be in part a result of your organic rankings, which makes sense in a ton of ways.
  • Local Business Reviews Get A Few Changes – Google has apparently changed the way user reviews are left for businesses in their local results, apparently trying to skirt around popup blockers by having a modal popup right within the search results. They’re also not requiring businesses to have a Google+ page any longer in order to receive reviews, which in my mind is the more important of the changes made recently.

People Who Aren’t Google Talking About Google News

  • Google Is No Longer A Search Engine, According To The EU – The EU has adopted new legislation defining what a search engine is, and according to it, Google (and others such as Bing) is no longer a search engine. Because Google doesn’t index the entirety of the web, or as the legislation defines it, “allows users to perform searches of in principle all websites,” it’s not technically a search engine. Apparently nothing exists at the moment that falls within the definition found in the legislation. Funny that.


  • Study: 28% Of URL Takedown Requests Aren’t Valid – According to a study out of Columbia University, in which they looked at over 108 million DCMA takedown requests, they found that 28.4% were of questionable validity. These included requests for sites that had previously shut down, along with requests that didn’t specify the copyrighted material being infringed upon. The high amount of questionable results, the study surmises, is part in parcel due to automated DCMA notices, which can usually be easily appealed.


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