January 2021 News Roundup📰: What’s New In SEO & Affiliate Marketing

Welcome to the first News roundup of the year 2021 🎉 In this issue, Google is back to the top spots 🤷‍♀️ 

So in my January news roundup, you’ll read about:

  • Google algorithm update on Jan 7-8 😒
  • Features Snippets manipulation by Google 🤬
  • Will Australia lose Google? 🌏
  • What is User intent and why it’s important 🤼
  • Three case studies about December Core Update 🕵️‍♀️
  • HARO backlink decay 🧓👴
  • Trailing slash at the end of a URL 🍬
  • OwnTheYard.com annual report 📜

Let’s dive in 🐋

Google Search Ranking Algorithm Update Signals – January 7th & 8th 2021

👉👉👉 https://www.seroundtable.com/google-search-ranking-update-signals-30726.html 

Aggrhh 😡 I decided to include this piece in my roundup because of my 🦄 Website. It successfully survived the December 2020 Core Update and the traffic actually grew after The Update rolled out… but then, the traffic plunged during the Jan 7-8 update 😭 the number of sessions dropped by 25% and I am really not sure why 😟

Everybody is occupied with analyzing December 2020 Core Update so there is very little info about what happened at the beginning of January 2021. My current feeling is that Google over-optimized some of the SERPs in December and the January update corrected it.

If your traffic also dropped on these days, know that you are not alone 😫

Meanwhile, Google keeps working on other ways to reduce the organic traffic ✂ 😫

Google Continues Injecting Links Into Featured Snippets

👉👉👉 https://www.seroundtable.com/google-continues-featured-snippets-supplemental-links-30788.html

Another annoying feature implemented by Google: Apparently, it sometimes injects third-party links into Featured Snippets 😱 It means that in your snippet, the snippet you crafted with your own hands and sweat, you may see links pointing to some other websites, not yours 😡

Google Search Results for meerkat lion king 2019 voice
Image credit: seroundtable.com

Apparently, it’s not the first time Google does it; this was initially spotted in November 2020. Now, Google has decided to continue this unfair practice 😡

No secret that content producers do not like how Google manipulates search results and their fight sometimes even goes to the country level. The biggest example is Australia where the lawmakers are currently considering introducing bills that help the news media with the battle. 

Well, Google has a harsh response to it! 😬

Google Threatens To Shut Down Search In Australia

👉👉👉 https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/22/tech/google-threatens-australia-search-news-intl-hnk/index.html

Australian publishers have been tussling with Google for years about how the search giant presents their content. They want Google to pay for the news content they produce.

While it’s already the case for some publishers, apparently, it’s not enough. Australian Senate wants to expand that to “allow certain media outlets to bargain either individually or collectively with [..] Google” (and Facebook as well).

If the new proposal becomes law, “Google says it will shut down its search engine in Australia” (the emphasis is mine) 😐

Will it truly happen? 🤔 Many Australian SEO masters doubt it. Google is doing extremely well on the Australian market and it won’t want to lose it.

Ok, enough about Google! Let’s talk about their search algorithm and the updates 😆

The Great Search Intent Analysis of 2020: Top SEOs on User Intent + Big Data Case Study on Intent Changes

👉👉👉 https://surferseo.com/blog/search-intent-case-study/

This is an awesome analytical piece from the developers of a popular SEO tool Surfer SEO.

They explain what the search intent is and present a collection of opinions of the best SEO masters (including Matt Diggity) about why meeting the search intent is so important 👩‍🏫

It’s quite simple:

User Intent is a ranking enabler. Without meeting it, no other ranking factor applies or makes sense.

After explaining the basics, the article presents a case study about how search intent has changed over time ⏳ It talks about the two biggest updates of 2020: May Update and December Update. 

Image credit: surferseo.com

December 2020 Core Update inexplicably hit many websites, and the article authors try to understand the reasons behind it. The findings give us a glimpse of hope that the lost traffic may get restored in the future 🙏

In the conclusion, you will find six actionable tips about the search intent where tip #3 was the most surprising for me 😮

This article is a must-read so do not miss it! 🧐

Now, let’s look at some other real-life cases 🔬

Google’s December 2020 Broad Core Algorithm Update Part 2: Three Case Studies That Underscore The Complexity and Nuance of Broad Core Updates

👉👉👉 https://www.gsqi.com/marketing-blog/december-2020-google-core-algorithm-update-part-two-case-studies/ 

This article presents three case studies that show three interesting lessons about broad core updates.

I love case studies because they are not some theoretical discussions but solid real-life examples that may overlap with my own situation. They are also often read as detective stories 🕵️‍♀️

The cases often repeat the same remedies and approaches but this only makes me pay more attention to these fixes.

So if you like long-read investigations, this post is for you!

Now, let’s talk about building whitehat backlinks 🔗

HARO Backlink Decay

👉👉👉 https://linksourcery.com/blog/haro-backlink-decay-case-study/ 

In case you do not know, HARO stands for Help A RepOrter and is another way to build whitehat backlinks.

It is more labor-intense compared to other approaches but as a result, you can get dofollow white hat links from domains with high DR (50 and higher) 🤪

The article takes a deep dive into what happens with these links over time. How do they age? Are they being switched from dofollow to nofollow?

If you are doing HARO or thinking of doing it, it might be a useful read since the authors claim that “ it might save you money and effort as well.” 🧐

BTW, when you add your backlinks to an article, do you add a trailing slash or not? Is it important at all? 🤔

Should You Have a Trailing Slash at the End of URLs?

👉👉👉 https://ahrefs.com/blog/trailing-slash/ 

I never gave much thought to the trailing slash in URLs until I bought an SEO course by Glen Allsopp about 1.5 years ago. Only after going through the course, I realized that trailing slashes are important for SEO 😬

So I was happy to see this post by Ahrefs that explains all the basics behind the trailing slash 👍 No need to buy an expensive course 😁

Ahrefs Trailing Slash Demo
Image credit: ahrefs.com

And last but not least is the annual report about a public niche website built by Spenser from NichePursuits 📜

How Much Money Did OwnTheYard.com Make In 2020? Annual Report And Plans Moving Forward

👉👉👉 https://www.nichepursuits.com/owntheyard-2020-review/ 

Regardless of whether you have been following Niche Site project 4 by Spencer Haws or not, the annual report is not to miss!

Spencer created this niche website two years ago and oh my, has it grown since then 🤯

It looks like a very successful website; however, it did get a fair share of obstacles. 

For example, it was hit by unnatural link manual penalty 😦😧😱 Spencer shares more details about it so go and check the rest!

Did you enjoy my News Roundup? Let me know what you think in the comments!

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