Daily Search Forum Recap: August 31, 2018

Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.
Search Engine Roundtable Stories:
Other Great Search Forum Threads:
It’s an option – you can leave a lot of things to search engines to figure out (and they have a lot of practice, but might not do it the way you want it), or you can pick an approach that you want for yourself.…, John Mueller on Twitter
If you’re seeing crawl errors, and they’re for URLs that you care about, then I’d recommend chasing them down to find the source. Some might be accidental blips on the internet, some might be real issues on your sit, John Mueller on Twitter
20 years ago today, our very first #GoogleDoodle took our homepage on a trip to the Nevada desert for the Burning Man festival. #tbt… https://t.co/W3N99RHFCP, Google on Twitter
In case you missed it: YouTube Desktop Web Release Notes [8/30], YouTube Help
Introducing YouTube Giving: New tools for charitable giving on YouTube, YouTube Help
New iPhones to be announced September 12 at 10:00 a.m., WebmasterWorld
We don’t use those at all – use them if you think they’re useful for your users, don’t assume they do anything for SEO. Making it easy to share & pass on information from a website is often a good thing!… https:/, John Mueller on Twitter
Tips on How to Update Local Business URLs, The Google Advertiser Community
Search Engine Land Stories:
Other Great Search Stories:
Industry & Business
Links & Promotion Building
Local & Maps
Mobile & Voice
Search Features
Other Search

Google Clarifies Internal Anchor Text and Ranking Effects by @martinibuster

Google explains that changes to internal linking can make dramatic changes to a site’s rankings, both positive and negative. In a Webmaster Hangout, Google’s John Mueller explained the best way to update internal linking.
Can Changing Internal Anchor Text Affect Rankings?
A web publisher asked if changing anchor text negatively affect a website.

“Does changing the text of older internal links to help users understand them have any downside? Can it hurt the rankings?”

John Mueller’s answer was unambiguous.

“No. That sounds perfect. If you’re updating anchor text internally to make it more easily understandable by users then usually that also helps search engines to better understand the context of those pages. So I would definitely go for that.
…if you’re just changing the text like the writing and you’re changing the anchor from one text name to something else, that’s perfectly fine. “

John Mueller’s advice illustrates a modern quality of how SEO is practiced today. It’s understood that Google looks at a site in terms of how a user would use it, how convenienced or inconvenienced the user would be and how well that user would understand the content on the page.
So it kind of follows that anchor text that helps a user understand what they are clicking through to will also be useful to Google for understanding what that linked page is about.
Will Updated Anchor Text Help Rankings?
John Mueller does not state that updating anchor text will help a site rank better. He only stated that the anchor text will help the search engine “better understand the context of those pages.”
In the old days, it was understood that the search engine would be influenced by the anchor text to rank the page according to that anchor text.
That was the understanding behind the use of H1 heading elements. Which might explain why the SEO community was a little surprised when in 2017 when John Mueller tweeted that publishers can use as many H1 heading elements as they wished.
John Mueller providing an unexpected response to a question about the use of the Heading Element.
Traditional SEO dictates that Heading elements are a ranking element. But Mueller is asserting that Google uses the data as a way to understand content.
The use of anchor text falls into this same category where SEO sees anchor text as a ranking factor where Google sees it as just another way to understand the context of a page of content. Those are two different ways of understanding the what internal anchor text is about.
Images Should be Avoided
The next insight John Mueller shared was that he discouraged the use of images when linking between pages. The main reason appears to be that image links do not help Google understand the context of what that page is relevant for.
To me, this is a rare disconnect within the “if it’s good for Users it’s good for Google” paradigm.Aphorisms are great but sometimes they are also limited. There may be situations where linking with an image is good for users but apparently it’s not always good for Google.
So it may be best not to take something like “if it’s good for Users it’s good for Google” as an absolute.
Here is what John Mueller stated:

“The one thing I would avoid doing is changing anchor text into an image. So if you have… a fancy font or something that you want to use on your pages and you change a link from being a text link to an image link and you don’t have any textual kind of connection with that image for that link then it’s really hard for us to understand what the anchor text is supposed to be.”

Watch the Webmaster Hangout Video here: Changing Internal Links Hurt Rankings?
Screenshot by Author, Modified by Author

12 Great Link Building Tools That Are Essential to Your Success by @_kevinrowe

Link building strategies certainly have changed over the years.
So have the SEO tools we use.
Since the old automated link building tools that automatically placed comments like KontentMachine or GSA’s Search Engine Ranker, modern tools have moved to a manual research and outreach platforms.
Tools that I and many of my link building colleagues use today look more like ones used for public relations (PR) rather than link building,
In fact, some of my favorite tools are for PR.
However, there are still some tools specific to link building that aren’t going anywhere.
This list has both PR tools that can be used for link building, as well as link building specific tools.
The tools available can be listed in three areas:
Link Research Tools.
Prospecting & Outreach Tools.
Reporting Tools.
Link Research Tools
I consider research not the process of finding sites but the process of determining what type of sites you should be approaching.
This means you should be establishing quality criteria, categories of sites, authority metrics, and others.
Below are the two tools with the largest database of links and robust reporting.
I’ve included both of these sites as I constantly see each having data that the other doesn’t.
You may find some links to you our your competitors’ sites in Majestic that aren’t listed in Ahrefs, and vice versa.
These tools can be used together to build a comprehensive list of sites to analyze.
As with many SEO tools, the pricing has packages and depends if you pay for the year or monthly.
Pricing: $79.99/month with 1 user
Payment options: Monthly or receive discount for annual

I can play around in Majestic for days, just swimming through the amount of links.
Here are some recommendations on how to use it and what reports should influence your link building.
Topics: This data can be used to identify the types of sites you should be generating links from. Consider running this report on the link profiles for top ranking sites, then finding sites that fit into similar categories.
Referring Domains: Use this to evaluate:
The number of unique domains you should be focusing on building for your site.
The trust/citation flow distribution (count of domains by trust/citation flow).

Pricing: $99/month with only 1 user
Payment options: Monthly or receive discount for annual

In contrast to Majestic, Ahrefs has some reports that are much easier to run inside the tool.
It certainly costs more, but if you want more data, then Ahrefs is the right choice.
Here are reports to use in Ahrefs over Majestic:
Pages > Best by links: Two useful applications of this report are:
Identify competitors’ most linked content to influence your content strategies.
Identify type of sites that link to content you will produce.

Pages > Best by link growth: This is a “trend” report that provides content that is generating links over the last 30 days. Find content here that is receiving a rapid number of links and create content that is more robust.
Prospecting & Outreach Tools
Finding highly relevant sites, that will link to your content, is the most excruciating part of link building.
You can create a large list of sites and bulk outreach to save time, but when you’re evaluating your link building success on:
Link gained per hours.
The quality of those links.
Then it’s best to handle prospecting manually or in a semi-automated approach.
The tools I’ve listed below can be used for the most popular link building strategies.
Broken Link Builder by Citation Labs
Pricing: Starts at $67/month
Strategies: Broken link building
Application: Prospecting
This tool is worth noting in the prospecting list as it can reduce the time it takes to find broken links.
Inside the Opportunities report, you will have a list of broken links along with the sites that are pointing to those links.
Check out my SEJ article on broken link building for tactical advice on using this data.

Pricing: $99-$1,500+/month
Strategies: Blogger outreach, influencer outreach, online PR
Application: Prospecting, outreach
Pitchbox is certainly one of the pricier tools on the market when compared to email tools like MailChimp, but the integrated prospecting is helpful to reduce the time to qualify sites.
If it wasn’t for a few key features, it would truly be a glorified email system:
Prospecting sites list builder
SEO metrics integrated right into the opportunities report

Pricing: $99-$499+/month
Strategies: Blogger outreach, influencer outreach
Application: Prospecting
What a great tool for building lists of blogs, influencers, and authors!
Out of all the prospecting tools on the list, BuzzSumo has the best filtering options.
You can use the tool for a lot of purposes, but for link building, these are two effective use cases:
Identifying authors: The content research and influencers sections provides lists of authors/influencers that is searchable by keywords in the content they shared or produced. One fantastic use-case for this is to search through the “most shared” report and find influencers that received more than 2,000 shares of their content then outreach to them to share yours. This can yield a lot of natural links.
Identifying sharers/backlinkers: The second use-case goes a layer deeper than the first, finding those that have shared the content. Pull a list of shares or backlinking websites by content then create similar, but better content.

Pricing: $97-$297+/month
Strategies: Blogger outreach, influencer outreach, directories, blog rolls, resource linking
Application: Prospecting

If you’re a technical link builder then Ontolo might be your tool of choice.
It certainly doesn’t have the user-friendly setup of BuzzSumo, but its robust features make up for it.
Pricing: $3/site or $2/side bulk
Strategies: Local citations
Application: Prospecting, outreach, citation submissions
Citation building is important for local SEO and should be considered a link building project.
One of the tools with the best value for submitting and managing citations is BrightLocal.
There are two components to BrightLocal: citation monitoring and citation building.

Link Assistant
Pricing: $124-$299/year
Strategies: Blogger outreach, influencer outreach, directories, blog rolls, resource linking
Application: Prospecting, outreach
Part of the SEO Power Suite, this deceivingly simple tool has some surprises packed into the prospecting functionality.
I’m not going to talk to the older tactics that Link Assistant can be used for (e.g. forum linking), but the guest posting, giveaways, and links pages (resource pages) can yield a large, unfiltered list for you to dig through.
As you filter through the list of sites on any of the prospecting lists, you can create a custom email for each site.

Muck Rack
Pricing: Starting at $2,000/year
Strategies: Influencer outreach, online PR
Application: Prospecting, outreach
In contrast to the other tools, link building is a byproduct of your campaign using Muck Rack.
Here you can find journalists for major or niche publications.
Don’t expect to use standard link building tactics to win placements here, as it’s a true online PR play.
Link building is moving toward influencer outreach and online PR, so PR tools should be on this list.

Reporting Tools
Although many of the tools in the previous section have reporting functionality built in, I’ve found them all to lack enough custom reporting or the ability to associate links to ranking performance.
Google Sheets
Pricing: Starting at free
Strategies: Influencer outreach, online PR, citations, directories, et al.
You may not expect to see this widely-accessible tool on a list for link building, but the ability to fully customize your reports means it can be used for almost any reporting.

To start, a simple report you can create is a link acquisition and quality report.
Include the following columns on the sheet:
General fields

Link details
Placement URL (page of link)
Anchor text
Page title
Destination URL (what page on your site the link points to)

Linking domain metrics
Domain Authority (Moz)
Page Authority (Moz)
Linking domains (Ahrefs linking domains pointing to the page where your link lives)
Total links (Ahrefs links pointing to the page where your link lives)
Spam score (Moz)

Agency Analytics
Pricing: $49-$499/month
Strategies: Influencer outreach, online PR, citations, directories, et al.
Agency Analytics automatically populates the dashboard with data from Moz and Majestic and connects that data to critical performance metrics, like ranking and organic traffic.
Qualified traffic that converts to leads or sales is the purpose of our link building and SEO efforts so reporting needs to make a connection between them.

Pricing: $19/user per month
Strategies: Influencer outreach, online PR, citations, directories
This tool can be built out as a hybrid between Google Sheets and Agency Analytics, meaning it’s very customizable but can also automatically, and easily, aggregate data from multiple sources to create a meaningful report.

I’ve curated this list with the intent to have a tool for every reader, providing enterprise-level with affordable solutions and highly technical tools to the very simple.
But most of all, I hope you can find a tool here for the link building tactic that best fits your approach.
Furthermore, I want you to realize the diversity in the available tools and that you will need to select the right one for the job.
You don’t need to have a $1,000 monthly tool budget to be a link builder, but all of them will take time.
Image Credits
All screenshots taken by author.

25 Creative & Engaging Examples of About Us Pages by @alexanderkesler

Your About Us page is vital.
It’s often the first stop in any user’s journey through a website or blog.
It also shouldn’t be their last, because first impressions count online just as much as they do in the real world.
If your visitors aren’t impressed, you can expect them to leave without reading your awesome content or completing a conversion action (e.g., signing up for your newsletter, making a purchase).
What Makes a Solid ‘About Us’ Page?
Your About Us page should be:
Informative. It doesn’t always have to tell the whole story, but it should at least provide people with an idea of who and what you are.
Contain social proof, testimonials, and some personal information that viewers can relate to such as education, family, etc.
Useful and engaging.
Easy to navigate and accessible on any device.
That may all sound complicated, but it really isn’t.
The main purpose of your About Us page is to give visitors a glimpse into the identity of either a person or business.
As users discover your brand, they need to distinguish what sets you apart and makes you… you.
This often requires finding the right balance between compelling content and a design carefully planned to look the part.
Conveying your identity in a fun and approachable – but also reliable and informative – way is challenging.
If you know who you are and your goal for your site, the About Us page should come naturally.
However, if you’re looking for some inspiration, you can always check out these 25 examples of creative and engaging About Us pages.
These excellent examples will help you build a personal and engaging website journey.

ToyFight is an award-winning creative design agency.
You’ll find the About Page at the top of the menu under the Who section.
This page has a unique feel, thanks to the deconstructed action figures representing the founders, Leigh Whipday and Jonny Lander.
The great attention to detail and interactivity also reflect the company’s 16 years of experience.
To sum up, this page stands out by providing the perfect mix of fun and information.

Band is a multidisciplinary creative studio based in the Pacific Northwest.
Their About Us page stands out because they used handwritten type.
This adds a unique personal touch to the design.
The clean, simple look and feel are what make this page one of our top picks.

This might be the most distinctive website we’ve come across.
Anton & Irene is a design agency based in Manhattan.
Why are they a distinctive web presence?
Because their page takes parallax scrolling to the next level.
The snowy effects, bold colors, and quirky visuals create a truly captivating experience

Pierro Caron is a French artisan sculptor.
Want to know our favorite part about his page?
The honesty.
Here is a man with great respect for wood and handcrafted sculptures that “tell a story and testify to the richness of one of our most precious resources.”
His website is light, easy to read, and filled with inspiring quotes and photos of his labors of love.

Who doesn’t love a good bio?
Especially one that starts with “I was born in good ol’ Madison, Wisconsin. The son of a Librarian and a Researcher.”
It also goes on to tell you how he and his family survived Hurricane Andrew and how his sister was born that night.
Who is this guy?
Blake Suárez is an illustrator and designer with a fantastic sense of humor.
His quirkiness comes through thanks to his humorous tone and goofy picture.
The page, while minimalist in design, offers a glimpse into Suárez’s colorful personality and his impressive block of work.

If you were a “super awesome” video business, what medium would you choose to show people what you do?
Video, of course.
LessFilms is a video production company based in Florida with clients and team members all over the world.
On their about page, you’ll find a humorous 50-second video along with a short list of facts summarizing their love for tacos, travel, and karate – a theme which certainly permeates most of the content on the website.

DoomTree’s page starts off as a coming-of-age story about how “a mess of friends” built the record label that made them a household name in Minneapolis.
However, it’s really the audio and the visuals that got us hooked.
Why tell, when you can show, right?
Explore their About Us page to meet the crew, listen to their songs, and get the latest news.

On this website’s main page you will find everything lifestyle related – fashion, food, beauty, home decor and more.
But it’s the About section that introduces you to the team that makes this website an endless source of inspiration.
The page introduces founder Emily Schuman, as well as her blog, books, and fashion collection.
Want to stay in touch?
No problem – the page also features useful links to her social media pages, as well as her online shop.

NOWNESS is a video channel providing the best in global arts and culture.
Therefore, it’s only natural that their About Us page features a compilation of various videos they host.
The content’s diversity and the team’s curatorial expertise are another reason to keep you browsing.
To stay in line with their video-centric aesthetic, the text on their page is short and concise.
However, it still provides enough guidance for browsing the website and even contributing.
Access the awards section and see why NOWNESS is currently a powerhouse in online film and video.

Millions of people use MailChimp every day to create, send, and track email newsletters.
That’s the clever part behind MailChimp’s About Page.
It’s a great example of how to use such a page as a sort of pre-sales platform.
It’s simple, fun and effective, quite colorful, and displays a welcoming mix of diverseness.

Tate’s About Us states that their mission is to “increase the public’s enjoyment of British art […] and international modern and contemporary art.”
So said, so done.
How come?
Because this page eases the journey for any reader seeking to take them up on their mission.
Scroll down to find out who they are, how to stay in touch and everything in between.

Yellow Leaf Hammocks is trying to save the world one hammock at a time.
Their goal is to break the cycle of extreme poverty by empowering local artisans in Thailand to earn a stable income.
The brand’s About Page is filled with uplifting stories of impeccable craftsmanship and tight-knit communities.
As a result, it’s just as inspiring as their devotion to sustainable change.

You had me at “hello.”
Well, that’s exactly how the About Us section of Eight Hour Day starts – a welcoming greeting.
For that reason, it also made us browse for more.
Because as much as you love good design and inspiring illustrations, you also want to meet the people that curate all the content for you.
Furthermore, it’s equally rewarding when you realize that they are just as eager to start a visual dialogue with you.
Nathan Strandberg and Katie Kirk are doing what makes them happy, and this is obvious throughout their page.

You know you’re about to hop on a journey when a website’s About Us page tells you to “Just go.”
This is a website for travelers, so the layout is perfect for those eager to explore.
As you scroll down, you discover what Lonely Planet stands for, and their visual aid offers a preview of their services.
The perks?
You see everything in one go and decide for yourself what you take on your journey.
Will it be their apps, their printed guides, or their website?
In any case, every resource becomes an inexhaustible well of travel inspiration.
So, are you ready to go?

Gummisig is a freelance web designer who likes to talk about himself in the third person.
He also makes great use of over-sized text to bring attention to his work in a humorous manner.
Perhaps what’s striking about this page is that it introduces Gummisig’s portfolio, but also reflects his free spirit and commitment.
And while he mentions the household names he worked for in the past, he remains approachable and open to new collaborations.
Scroll down to discover his preferred action items.
Hint: he wants to know your secrets!
Perhaps the most striking feature behind this page is that it acts as a preface to the designer’s portfolio, mirroring his free spirit and a remarkable passion for design.
While he proudly states the companies he has worked for (IKEA is just one of the bigger names to pop up) he does so in a manner that is not boastful.

Amnesty International is more than an NGO.
It is a global movement of more than 7 million people that are campaigning for a better world, where human rights are central.
It is no wonder that the pronoun we is prevalent throughout their page.
Filled with quotes, videos, and testimonials, their page makes you believe that you can hope for a better world. And they have the facts to prove it, too.
If you scroll down, you can access all their accomplishments on the road toward better social change.
After you understand their global footprint, you should also imagine – imagine the possibility of a world where human rights are at the center of discussion.
Good enough reason to stay in touch, no?

The top part of the Chattanooga Renaissance Fund page aims to attract entrepreneurs into the Chattanooga area of Tennessee.
By describing its history and the companies that already invested there, such as Amazon or Volkswagen, to name a few.
Which begs the question: what prompted these companies to move there?
Find out by reading more about the fund’s members and how they contributed to its growth.
This is especially reassuring because they are also here to help you.
Whether you’re a startup, investor, or third party, the page has a dedicated section for all its users.
All you have to do is prove that you want to turn ideas into existence.

This website started off as a photography blog founded by Garance Doré.
Eventually, it became a place for inspiration with a growing team that’s eager to question everything.
Whether it is style, femininity, or modern dilemmas, no topic remains off limits.
Ready to contribute to the discussion? By all means, you are most welcome.
The team reads all your comments and is ready to turn your thoughts into their command.
Not sure where to start?
Scroll down to see their work in videos and use the pictures at the bottom to access their Instagram page.

How can you convince men to delve into skincare?
You bring their best friend on their side – a dog.
Meet Bulldog Skincare, the company that aims to make skincare options dedicated to men readily available.
To have you sold, their About Us page greets you with the adorable mug of a bulldog.
This quickly becomes your guide to finding the products that will help you look and feel your best.
As you scroll down, you are growing familiar with the products and are slowly but surely befriending the brand itself and its values.
Their skincare is made from a mix of natural and carefully-selected man-made ingredients.
It’s also vegan and certified by Cruelty Free International.
Their page is so good, it’s no wonder they have a ‘Shop Now’ button every step of the way.
Don’t mind if I do.

Navigating through Couro Azul’s About Us page is like a journey through the unknown.
The kind of journey that keeps you scrolling down for more.
The company makes leather upholstery for cars and trains, and its history and trajectory are equally fascinating.
In addition to the visual delight, the page is also interactive and engaging.
So that you can understand what the company values from a first browse: 100 percent in-house products.
Their certificate for ecologic distinction attests to their commitment to environmental best practices.

The entire Girlboss website underwent a complete makeover just a few months ago. Now it’s more inspiring than ever.
Sophia Amoruso’s brand aims to redefine success for millennial women.
Girlboss empowers them by providing the tools and connections they need to own their futures.
Furthermore, every bit of content you’ll find on this site oozes with passion, humor, and resourcefulness.
These key traits are sewn into the fabric of Amoruso’s success.

If you want people to understand your company’s values, then put them in bold black and white print – just like Purple, Rock, Scissors did.
Their entire website is a technological marvel.
With its quaint background animation, concise content, and creative visuals, this page is definitely an eye-catcher.
There’s also an openness about it that will unfailingly draw you in.

It’s not often that you see an About page that puts so much emphasis on its “meet the team” section.
Each member is portrayed with a short description and an almost full-body shot, complete with their social media accounts.
Boasting big, bold elements and sharp colors, this page excels at making a great first impression.

There are many things we love about this website, but for brevity’s sake we’ll narrow it down to two.
First, their main page is highly interactive.
The simple act of pushing a key or moving the mouse reveals a key piece of info about the brand. Because of that, it feels like watching a modern silent movie.
The second thing is the way 6tematik introduces us to its team. Each member is portrayed by a minimalist caricature that is defined by one obvious trait. Some have long pink hair, others a bushy beard or big glasses.
These traits add a touch of personality to each member’s portrait, without giving too much away.

Made by artists for artists, Bigcartel is an online platform that makes it easy to build and manage an online store.
The simple yet impactful mission statement and the candid employee photographs make this About page refreshingly different.
Each photo in the gallery is unique and personal.
As a result, you won’t find any staged or boring ID-badge-type photos – just a wonderful display of diversity.
More Resources:
Image Credits
All screenshots taken by author, July 2018

Search Buzz Video Recap: Google Search Console Reporting Change, Link Sources, Google Design Tests & Trump Against Google

This week, I covered why there were some huge dips in the performance and search analytics reports in Google Search Console – Google stopped counting the anonymous queries in the sum data. Google says the link source alone is’t enough to make the link bad. Google is testing a sticky round search box design for search. Google initially changed the search settings page and then brought it back – it must have been a bug. Google Search Console does have a download latest links button. Google launched a structured data code lab. Google first converts PDFs to HTML to index them. Google can process canonical tags in JavaScript. Google said reviewing old content and making sure it is still valid is good, but doesn’t warrant you updating the date of the article. Google confirmed that redirecting all your internal URLs to your home page is a bad idea. Google is testing grouping two results from the same site in one search snippet. Google has released version 4.2 of the Google My Business API. Google Ads now lets you edit ads in the Overview Page cards. Google Assistant now supports multilingual conversations. Google’s John Mueller caught someone trying to make a PBN on Reddit. President Trump thinks Google is rigged against him and warns Google something will be done. That was this past week in search at the Search Engine Roundtable.
Make sure to subscribe to our video feed or subscribe directly on iTunes to be notified of these updates and download the video in the background. Here is the YouTube version of the feed:
[embedded content] For the original iTunes version, click here.
Search Topics of Discussion:
Please do subscribe via iTunes or on your favorite RSS reader. Don’t forget to comment below with the right answer and good luck!

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