Brodie's Blog

Catching up with Gary Illyes from Google — April 14, 2018

Catching up with Gary Illyes from Google

Optimising Team with Gary Illyes from Google

I follow Gary Illyes on Twitter, so I was very happy to see this update alerting his followers that he was coming to Melbourne. It’s not every day that a very prominent member from Google comes to Australia, and I couldn’t miss the opportunity to have a chat with him in-person in a relaxed setting.

Myself, Daniel, and Trishan from Optimising went to show face at the meetup last night in South Melbourne at the Honey Bar and Restaurant. There was a bigger turn out than many would have expected, which mean’t a more structured approach to the meetup was needed so everyone would get a chance to ask their own questions.

I had 3 questions prepared which had been on my mind for a while and figured they might be appropriate. The first question related to Google Search Console (GSC) in response to an article I had read where an SEO was able to essentially force an index on an external site by embedding an outbound link on their own by using the ‘fetch as Google’ tool.

The purpose of this particular tactic related to the consistency of the NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) on directory sites.

Note: Gary actually said that this wasn’t a ranking factor – although we’ll save that point for future discussions.

In theory, if for instance your business has a citation on a directory site (like Yellow Pages) and the details are inconsistent with what is on your own website, then this can cause some Local SEO issues.

The question regarding GSC’s ability to index someone else’s site was however shut down by Gary, by providing obvious reasoning that being able to impact someone else’s site is not a capability of the tool and would potentially allow you to damage someone else’s site – which makes total sense.

fetch as google myth

The second question I had related to a more topical subject in the SEO space. Regarding Google’s update on March 26th about the official roll out of Mobile-First Indexing, I wanted to get clarification on any potential issues of hiding content on Mobile for User Experience (UX) reasons.

Gary’s answer was that if your site is considered to be ‘responsive’, then you have nothing to be worried about. If a portion of your content is hidden on Mobile, this is completely fine and their systems are smart enough to be able to figure that out. This was an answer that I found especially helpful.

My time was running thin with Gary and I wanted to fit in one last question. The final question I had was about what Google recommends with respect to Structured Data for a site. In the past, I’ve mostly used different types of LocalBusiness markup, and sometimes Website and Organisation markup.

Gary’s recommendation here was to use whatever makes sense for the site, although keep in mind Page Speed issues which could be caused if implemented incorrectly (or from going overboard). Gary recommended I check out Google’s documentation (I believe this is what he was referring to) for a full breakdown.

Overall, I’m very happy I made the effort to go along to the meetup and say hello to one of my favourite Googlers. Thanks for your time in answering my questions, Gary!

Received an ‘Unused Google+ page’ email? Don’t panic! — March 18, 2018

Received an ‘Unused Google+ page’ email? Don’t panic!

I’ve come across quite a few panicked business owners in the Google My Business forums regarding this message that is slowly being sent out to Google+ page owners:


It looks like the Google+ page for [business name] has not been used in a while. To simplify your Google My Business listing, we will be removing this additional page from our system in 30 days.

This change won’t affect your Google My Business listing – you can still be found on Google Search and Maps. You can download a copy of your old content before it’s deleted by visiting this page. Alternatively, you can post or comment on someone else’s post within 30 days to keep your Google+ page active.

Thank you,
Your Google My Business team
Please note, this email address is not monitored.

First of all, this email from Google is completely legitimate. The email is hosted on Google’s domain – which means it’s not spam.

Although a lot of the worry I’m seeing is completely unnecessary. Let’s get a few things straight:

  • a Google+ page and your Google My Business (GMB) listing are two separate entities. If your Google+ page is deleted, this does not affect your GMB listing

  • all reviews you’ve accumulated on your business through Google relate to your GMB listing, not your Google+ page. So if your Google+ page is deleted, your reviews that you’ve worked hard to get will still be available on GMB

  • Google has sent out this notice to users of Google+ pages that don’t get used regularly (the page may have been created automatically once upon a time), so they want to clear up any profiles that have no purpose

  • Google+ is a social network that gets used very infrequently, and I suspect this is a step in the direction of Google phasing out the platform

  • again – don’t freak out: you can easily hang on to your Google+ page if you still use it. All you need to do is post or comment on someone else’s post within 30 days

Final Thoughts

I’m not surprised that Google has decided to move in this direction. A lot of the functionality that was exclusively available through Google+ is now available through GMB.

The ‘social network’ component can now been seen in GMB through the introduction of Google Posts, and perhaps Google Q&A’s (which still have a long way to go). Here’s my recommendation for how this could be improved.

Another component that is currently rolling out to all GMB listings is the ability to add a description, which was available a couple of years ago before Google dropped it’s Google+ support, now they’ve added it again via GMB…

All in all – I’m happy to see Google move in this direction to remove a lot of the clutter 🙂

Here’s a screenshot of the email that was sent:

Unused Google+ page email warning

Publications in 2017 — October 24, 2017

Publications in 2017

Brodie Clark SEO Publication in 2017

Safe to say I’ve been fairly busy this year moving cities and jobs, although it’s been a good motivator to make the most of my time. I did however manage to get featured in 6 well-known industry publications which was a goal I set for myself at the start of the year. There’s still a bunch that I want to make it onto, although I’ll save that for 2018’s efforts.

Facebook Insights for Actionable Outcomes — August 27, 2017

Facebook Insights for Actionable Outcomes

Loving the new Facebook insights that have just rolled out for my group.

Here’s what I’ll be doing with each report pictured:

1. Track new membership performance trends over a 60 day period.

2. Determine peak interaction days/times to know when to post.

3. Assess user-generated content popularity based on visibility and engagement. This will guide topical discussion points and promotional material.

4. Identify top contributors and provide incentives each month based on contribution. E.g. Congratulations to Joe Bloggs for being our top contributor, we’re going to send you some free stuff…

5. Keep track of member locations.

SEO Case Study for Great Ideas in Nutrition — April 15, 2017
Why I Dislike Instagram for Personal Usage — March 26, 2016

Why I Dislike Instagram for Personal Usage

Let me first give you a bit of background. The story starts 198 weeks ago, according to Instagram. This was the first photo I’d ever uploaded, and I thought it was pretty great at the time. 5 likes, not a bad result for a first post huh?

Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 2.12.56 pm

All was well in the land of Instagram.

Why I don’t use Instagram as a Social Network

A considerable amount of time has passed (almost 4 years) between now and the Instagram user I once was. This blog post is completely opinion-based. I am fully aware of the benefits of Instagram from a business standpoint and know it can be extremely effective if done correctly.

My top 3 reasons for disliking Instagram…

Follow me and I will follow you back 🙂

Ever had this said to you before? Or even worse, you’ve had this said to you, you’ve gone ahead and followed the person, and they haven’t followed you back? This sort of behaviour is what really grinds my gears. Along with the whole ‘followers to following’ ratio, who gets to decide what a ‘good’ ratio is and why should I care? I’ll leave this one here because I’m starting to get worked up…

Why does my photo need to look perfect?

This is something that’s often criticised throughout Instagram. Everything needs to look perfect and show your best side. As far as I’m concerned, this leads to being fake. If you’re reading this, I want you to stop and think of how long, on average, it takes you to upload a photo to Instagram. This includes taking the ‘perfect’ photo (2 minutes), applying the most suitable filter (30 seconds), creating the ‘perfect’ caption (2 minutes) and determining the most relevant hashtags (30 seconds). This is 5 minutes down the drain, and I bet it sometimes takes even longer.

How do kids get so many Instagram followers?

This point comes to mind from something I experienced at the 2016 Australian Open of Tennis. Here I was, watching 2 of Australia’s top tennis players, fighting it out for a position in the semi-finals. I look below me to the row in front where a family of 4 sits in awe of the game. Although not everyone was watching, the youngest daughter was glued to her iPhone. What was she doing you ask? She was browsing through the Instagram discovery tool. She was selecting a photo of someone she most likely has no connection with, liking their photo, pressing the back button and repeating. This process went on for at least 10 minutes. Within this time, there were multiple incredible rallies.

Well if not Instagram, then what?

If you’re in agreement with any points mentioned, and want to make the transition to a more genuine form of social media, I highly recommend Snapchat. Why? Because of the following:

  1. No one gives a damn about how many followers/friends you have. This information isn’t publicly available, so there is no popularity contest.
  2. Photos and Videos look like shit, so everyones on the same level. If you don’t understand this point, then maybe stick to Instagram.
  3. In my mind, when someone selects my Snapchat story to watch, this is considered a ‘like’. After all, everyone I have on Snapchat are my friends anyway, so why not?

The best thing about Social Media is staying in contact with friends and having fun… let’s not let this get out of hand.