Welcome to our latest SEO News Roundup

This month Google has made a couple of interesting announcements. Not least of which is an answer to the question on the tip of everyone’s tongue; do links expire?!

So, maybe not everyone’s tongue, but certainly any SEO minded person who has gone through the rigmarole of getting strong backlinks.

It would be nice to know if those links, as hard as we fought for them, were forever. So, are they?

You’ll have to read on for the answer, as we tackle the top three SEO stories of the month.

Should we call Google’s September update the ‘Larry Sanders Update’?

Having studied the impact of the September 24th update on various sites, it looks like this update had a big impact on rankings in health, finance, retail and travel.

Known collectively as Your Money or Your Life sites (YMYL) Google is becoming quite strict about websites in any sector where the advice offered has a significant impact on the person reading the content.

This means if you operate in these sectors (law is another one) you need to be very careful with your SEO.

What’s interesting about this recent YMYL update is that there seems to be a correlation between lost rankings and overuse of marketing speak in the copy of some pages.

If you operate in a sector that falls under YMYL you should make sure your website copy isn’t peppered with over salesy marketing copy about how utterly brilliant and amazing you are. In other words, this Halloween: Curb your Enthusiasm.

Google gets ready for French Regulatory changes

Google won’t be thrilled by developments over the Channel, as France continues with its implementation of the European Copyright Directive.

In an attempt to generate fees for media publishers whose content appears in search results, and on aggregate sites, the Copyright Directive states that Google must pay a licensing fee for any snippets of text or content it displays in its search results.

This has already played out in several other European countries, including Germany. Google’s reaction was the same then as it is now. They stopped showing any content and the inevitable result had online publishers begging for their snippets back as online traffic plummeted – fast.

Google has, unsurprisingly, again declined to pay these licensing fees and is instead preparing to change the way it will show content unless online publishers explicitly give it permission to display longer snippets and images using appropriate meta tags on their web pages. Those that don’t will invariably lose traffic to those that do.

Does the SEO value of links expire over time?

The answer is no. However, it isn’t a simple no. Whilst, Google’s John Mueller said that links do not expire, they can become less important.

What this means in practical terms is that the SEO power of the link is dependent on the prominence and strength of the individual page linking to you, not the website as a whole.

For example, The Guardian might link to your website in one article. This article is on their home page and receives tens of thousands of visitors. After a week or so it gets pushed back from the home page, after two months it gets archived. It’s still on the website, but it’s no longer getting anywhere near the traffic it was when it was first published. Google recognises this and the links from that article to you become less important.

On the flip side, let’s say the piece of content that the Guardian posts with links to your website stays relevant, and the article continues to get good traffic.

Whilst the links will become less relevant as the article gets pushed deeper into the website, because the article is still getting traffic the links will still have a higher SEO value that a link from a bygone article that only had traffic for a week.

This is why it pays to invest in evergreen content. By evergreen, we mean content that remains relevant to your audience for years to come.

When we devise podcasts as part of your SEO strategy, we come up with topic ideas that not only showcase your unique brand personality and expertise, but also stay relevant for a long time. This increases the chances of those juicy backlinks staying alive as people continue to link to your content.

Flash is finally dead, finally.

It’s been on the way out for a while now. After Apple stopped supporting it when they introduced the iPhone. This was the beginning of the end for Flash. To top it off, HTML5 is perfectly capable of playing the rich media content that Flash was designed for and has been since the mid-2000s.

What is Flash?

Flash was introduced in 1996 by Adobe as a way of producing richer content on the web and on computers. It was a very popular web publishing platform in the late 90s but as time went on, fewer and fewer browsers continued to support Flash.

Well, it looks like Google has decided its finally time to throw in the towel and will stop working with Flash for indexing.

This won’t affect most people, as Flash has been on the way out for a long time now. However, if your website is dependent on Flash you will need to update your website to use HTML5 and other newer forms of JavaScript.

Summary

Thanks for stopping by for the October 2019 SEO News Roundup. It’s definitely worth keeping our eyes on these updates as Google is constantly updating the way it works, from dealing with regulatory changes to how it deals with links.

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this month’s SEO News Roundup and found it insightful, or even invaluable. If you did, feel free to give us a share below. Otherwise, see you back here in January for some more SEO storytelling.