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4th October
24th October – Small update
25th October – Big update, BERT, more on this further down this report.

If you were hit by a Core algorithm update – as seen last month in our SEO Report for September –  and rankings have changed it is not down to your links but other signals on your website. This good news as these are the signals you can control, like the quality of content.

HTML Sitemaps

Google have said that there isn’t any benefit to having a HTML sitemap for SEO. They use your XML sitemap but will not use a HTML sitemap.
I’m not 100% this is correct so I have started an experiment to test an aspect of this and will report back in next months SEO report.

H1 tags

There has been a lot of talk online about H1 tags, how many to use and are they used by Google as a ranking factor recently.
Google have gone on record that they no longer use H1 tags as a ranking factor, however, I would still use them as Google have a habit of changing their minds.
They also said that they don’t mind how many H1 tags you have on a page and will not affect your SEO on the page.

M dot websites

We mention this in previous SEO reports but Google have mentioned it again this month.
If you are creating a brand new website do not use M. URLs.
Example being


No, I’m not telling you to munch on something. If you are a regular reader of my SEO report you will already know about EAT and how Google uses it to identify the “Experness” of the content on your page. EAT stands for:
This month someone asked Google if there was a EAT score, Google replied No.
Google doesn’t need a EAT score as they have plenty of other algorithm scoring systems already in place to help them rank your websites page.

Is Bing getting Lazy?

Back at the start of the year Bing announced that they are no longer crawling new URLs and instead you need to submit them instead.
Now it looks like they might be going one step further by asking you to submit the content so they don’t even have to crawl the URL you have given them.
It is currently on trial but this all seems mad to me.


Links to your website do not expire for SEO link juice. However, they do become less “powerful” over time so it is important to keep topping up your links.

If you change the destination of an internal link, the target URL, then the value of that link will most likely change too.
This makes common SEO sense.
Still nice to hear from Google how valuable internal links are to a website.


This month (around 25th October) we saw the release of the BERT algorithm update which affected 10% of all Google searches and is one of the biggest algorithm updates Google have ever done.
BERT is very similar to RankBrain in that it trys to understand more about search queries and website content in a more human like way.
From what I understand it doesn’t look like you can optimise for BERT just like RankBrain, so just keep creating that great content!

Recent Study

Growth Badger did a survey recently about Google, Social Media platforms and search in general, here are some of the nuggets I thought were interesting:

  • The niche that is most reliant on Google is Health and Medical, with 87.85% of its traffic coming from search.
  • The niche that is least reliant on Google is Crypto, with 45.74% of its traffic coming from search.
  • Facebook delivers 65.36% of all social media traffic: more visits per month than all other social networks combined.
  • Instagram drives very little traffic: under 1% overall across all niches. Even fashion and beauty brands that were launched by Instagram influencers (e.g. Kylie Cosmetics) receive less than 5% of their monthly visits from Instagram — while search brings in about 10 times as many.
  • The niche that is most reliant on Facebook is Business and Marketing, which gets 13.52% of its traffic from the network.
  • Facebook is the most important social network for every niche except two: Design and Development (for which the top network is YouTube) and Crypto (for which it is Twitter).
  • Google drives 8 times more traffic than all social media networks combined.
  • Search is the single largest traffic source for every niche, and in most industries it drives the majority of the web traffic.
  • The average top blog gets 66.47% of its traffic from search, of which 99.77% is organic and only 0.23% is paid.
  • Reddit drives over 3 times as much traffic to blogs as YouTube.

If you would like to see the whole study here is a link to their site.