Monitoring web migrations: A checklist for moving from one site to another

Whether it is a website rebranding, a consolidation of different web properties or an HTTP to HTTPs migration, when you are implementing a structural web change, it is critical to monitor the crawling, indexing, rankings, traffic and organic search conversions on both the old and new web locations. Careful tracking will enable you to fix any potential problem as they arise.
Besides establishing a relevant strategy to follow that include search engine optimization (SEO) best practices, here are the most important areas and steps to monitor during the web migration stages.  Be ready to identify any issues that could cause a negative impact, while also identifying opportunities.
Getting started
Start tracking your organic search visibility on the old and new web locations at least a couple of months before the migration takes place.  This will make it easier to identify any unexpected and inconsistent behavior when the change happens.

Old vs. new web crawling
Let’s start with the most fundamental aspects to

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Google, Getty Images enter a multi-year global licensing partnership

Late last week, Google parent Alphabet and Getty Images announced a sweeping partnership that effectively ends a long-standing copyright and antitrust dispute between Getty and Google, which was filed in early 2016.
The newly announced deal was characterized by Getty as “a multi-year global licensing partnership, enabling Google to use Getty Images’ content within its various products and services.” As part of that deal, Google will be using Getty images across many of its “products and services.”
Another change, according to The Verge, is that Google will make copyright attribution and disclaimers more prominent in image search results and will remove view links to stand-alone URLs for Getty photographs.
Getty’s complaint against Google alleged traffic and revenue losses to its customers’ sites because users could see (and potentially copy) images directly from Google Image Search results. Getty claimed that the ability to save and download images promoted copyright infringement and “piracy.” Getty is not the only party to have made

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Effective July 2018, Google’s Chrome browser will mark non-HTTPS sites as ‘not secure’

July is shaping up to be a big month for Google. Earlier this month, the company announced its Speed Update set to roll out in July, and today announced it will then also mark all sites that have not migrated to HTTPS as “not secure.”
This move will coincide with the release of Chrome 68 and will look like this in a user’s browser:
HTTPS warning in Chrome 68
Google has been pushing webmasters to make the change to non-secure web sites a for years now – including hinting at small rankings

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Google now wants larger images for AMP articles

Google has updated its article schema document for AMP articles to require larger images in your markup. Previously, the minimum requirement for your image sizes was 696 pixels wide and 300,000 pixels in total, but now it is 1,200 pixels wide and 800,000 pixels in total.
This is specific to the markup you use for your AMP articles so that they can appear in the Google search results top stories carousel. If you are currently serving content and getting traffic from that carousel, you may want to make sure your images meet these new requirements.
Here is a screen shot of the old requirements from the Articles schema developer document:

Here is a screen shot of the new requirements that are live now:

Hat tip to Aaron Bradley for spotting this.
The post Google now wants larger images for AMP articles appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Case study: On-page + off-page SEO working together = success

I encounter many people who believe the basic blocking and tackling of search engine optimization (SEO) execution is losing its value, but I find doing this basic hard work still works incredibly well.
In today’s post, I’m going to share a case study of a travel site whose business plan incorporates a straightforward approach to creating highly differentiated content on their site and then promoting that content effectively. They believe in building and marketing content with a high focus on the end user, and as you will see, the results are impressive.
Disclosure: The company discussed in this post, kimkim, is a client of my company.
Business overview
kimkim is an online travel company founded by a team of experienced entrepreneurs and engineers who played key roles at companies including TripAdvisor and EveryTrail. Their mission is to push the travel industry toward a more authentic and local experience while still maintaining high quality and consumer trust. This is achieved by partnering

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Bing explains how AI-powered intelligent answers can show users two points of view for the same query

In December last year, Bing introduced several AI-powered search features, one being intelligent answers. This week Mir Rosenberg from the Bing search team published more detail on how one type of intelligent answer format called multi-perspective answers works.
Bing multi-perspective answers provide two different and often opposing perspectives on a topic. “There are many questions where getting just one point of view is not sufficient, convenient or comprehensive,” Rosenberg wrote in the blog post. “We believe that your search engine should inform you when there are different viewpoints to answer a question you have, and it should help you save research time while expanding your knowledge with the rich content available on the Web.”
 
Below are some examples of Bing multi-perspective answers cards as displayed on desktop. (On mobile, the cards are shown vertically.)

How Bing multi-perspective answers work
Intelligent Answers were unveiled at a Microsoft AI event in December where the company outlined several ways in which artificial intelligence is being infused

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Google adds new SEO Audit category to Chrome’s Lighthouse extension

Webmasters, web developers and SEOs are getting a new feature in the widely used website auditing tool Lighthouse. Google announced today the addition of an “SEO Audits” category to the Chrome extension. You can access the new audit category via the “Options” button in the extension.
By no means a replacement for a comprehensive SEO audit, the new feature does provide feedback on basic/fundamental SEO best practices, returning a report that checks for:

Descriptive anchor text.
Titles, description.
If the page can be crawled by Google.
HTTP status code.
Valid hreflang and rel=canonical tags.
UX — legible font sizes, plugins.
… and makes recommendations for additional reports.

From a sample report I ran against Starbucks.com:
SEO Audit Report from Lighthouse Extension
According to the post, they’ll be adding more features to the SEO audit, and they are actively soliciting user feedback in the Github project and webmaster forum.
The post Google adds new SEO Audit category to Chrome’s Lighthouse extension appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Who wins? Google & Bing’s ‘Super Bowl ad’ search results are quite different

Searches for “Super Bowl ads” are about to heat up as we head into Sunday. People turning to Google and Bing for information about the official Super Bowl Lii commercials will find very different treatments of the results on each of the engines.
Here’s a look at how those results compare. Going in alphabetical order, we’ll start with Bing.
Bing’s carousel of Super Bowl ads
Whether people are searching Bing on desktop or mobile, they’ll see a carousel at the top of the results featuring Super Bowl Lii commercials.
Clicking on any of the thumbails in the carousel brings up the search results for the specific ad including a video player to watch the commercial. The carousel remains at the top of the page so users can easily navigate to more of the commercials.

Below the carousel is a list of related searches and news results about the query “Super Bowl Ads”.
Here’s how the results look on mobile:
Bing is not serving any paid

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Google’s Page Speed Update does not impact indexing

Google’s Page Speed Update won’t impact how Google indexes your mobile or desktop content; it will only affect how the mobile pages are ranked in the Google mobile search results. To be clear, indexing and ranking are two separate things, as Google explains clearly in the How Search Works portal.
We are covering this again because there appears to be some confusion around the Page Speed Update and whether it will impact indexing. Both John Mueller and Gary Illyes of Google chimed in to explain that this specific algorithm will have no impact on indexing.
Here are those tweets:

The mobile speed update affects only ranking in mobile search results; it’s independent of the indexing.
— John ☆.o(≧▽≦)o.☆ (@JohnMu) January 31, 2018

Why would indexing be related to speed? (I’m kinda confused how this was connected, wonder if we need to update something on our side to make it clearer)
— John ☆.o(≧▽≦)o.☆ (@JohnMu) January 31, 2018

Slow pages can get into the index.

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What to get right before launching a global business

Taking your brand to an international stage is exciting. You reach untapped audiences and expose your brand, product and services to a global market!
But with every great opportunity come challenges, and a global presence means time and resources must be dedicated to understanding new buying habits, laws, and, of course, online behaviors.
Today, search results are more and more personalized, and they vary by country, even if browsers, devices and search terms remain the same. With the search engines constantly changing and evolving, what happens when you add the international component to your website?
Before you kick off a global campaign, it’s important to develop a marketing strategy with a local audience in mind. Consider the following four points on how to best engage your target audience, bridge cultural differences and successfully promote your brand globally.
Become familiar with regional laws & regulations
When you market to a global audience, your brand should be aware of all regional regulations on specific

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