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Google rarely relaxes. They often announce new algorithm updates, new tools, and changes to how they judge and reward websites. If you work with websites, marketing, or SEO, it's essential to keep updated with the latest news from Google. Therefore, we collect them in this post and summarize the biggest, most important ones every month.
August was a month when many came home from summer vacation, which also gave time for one of the major updates from Google.
A couple of times a year, Google announces new 'Core Updates', which are major updates to the algorithm. These updates do not target one area but are more of a broad update of Google's algorithm since the last core update (with the goal of improving search engine results).
Now, in August, Google has announced a new core update that improves search results. If you see increases or decreases in search results, this is typically a result of content relevance and E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness).
If you experience a drop in traffic, this can take time to recover. Therefore, ongoing optimization is essential if you want to stay in the top search results.
You can see Google advertising here.
In August Google Chrome introduced an update for mobile searches. Users can now access trending Google searches from the address bar. Moreover, the number of search suggestions appearing in the address bar was increased from six to ten.
This has the following implications for you as an SEO practitioner: Ensure your content is appealing and covers trending topics as well as search suggestions. This enhances visibility and user engagement.
Lately, Google has downgraded the visibility of FAQ and HowTo rich results on mobile searches, aiming to provide a cleaner and more consistent search result page. The features remain available for health-related or governmental sites, where users need to find fast information.
Despite this, Google advises keeping structured data for rich results as they do not have a negative impact on search and might still be relevant for other search engines.
July was a quiet month, however, Google announced some relevant updates and news that will interest you as a website owner and SEO practitioner. Read along and get a comprehensive roundup of Google's most significant news and announcements in July.
Google rolls out an update on site names for subdomains on all devices in English, French, German, and Japanese. Time and again the update aims to enhance the users' search experience on the search engine.
Google recommends that the best way to suggest a preferred site name is through WebSite structured data, as detailed in the site name documentation.
The company has recently revised its documentation to promote an increasing use of the alternateName property. This update becomes particularly valuable in situations where a preferred site name is not available, especially when two internationally-focused websites have identical names. Having an alternate name allows Google to find alternatives in the described scenario.
Google offers also a workaround if your preferred name is not available. Read more in their official announcement here.
For many years it has been a common belief among SEO practitioners that linking to high-authority sites will add SEO value to your site and improve your SEO rankings. However, Google's John Mueller disclosed that this was a common misbelief and highlighted that links should be valuable to users in the first place.
In more detail, he stated:
“Does this link provide additional, unique value to users? Then, link naturally. Is this link irrelevant to my users? Then don’t link to it.”
Hence, once again it is vital for SEO practitioners to understand that websites should focus on providing genuine helpful content to users and should not focus on chasing authority or links. The key to successful SEO is delivering valuable and relevant information to your audience.
In a recent podcast episode, Google's Search Relations Team, consisting of John Mueller, Gary Illyes, and Martin Splitt, offered valuable advice on domain name selection, suggesting the use of brand names over keywords.
For many years in the SEO world it has been discussed if including keywords in your domain name can improve your chances of ranking, Mueller emphasized the importance of taking a more long-term perspective on your business and the products you offer.
He clarifies, “Your website will probably evolve over time. And you could be selling potato peelers now, but maybe you’re also selling avocado peelers in a year from now. And if your website is called bestpotatopeeler2023.com, starting to sell avocado peelers would be awkward.”
The recommendation to opt for brand names in domain selections allows businesses to maintain flexibility and adapt as they expand their offerings in the future.
In June, there were not as many updates as the previous month. Nevertheless, there were important events like the Google Search Central Live in Tokyo and other news from Google Perspectives.
Search Central Live previously known as Webmaster Conference is a flagship event series organized by Google to bring the Search team, Googlers, industry experts, and others in the Search community together.
During Google Search Central Live in Tokyo, it was announced that Google's Search Quality User Report form has been updated. This allows users to report various types of spam in search results.
Further, Google shed light on the Google Search Status Dashboard, which provides ongoing status updates on crawling, indexing, ranking, and serving challenges for website owners.
Google Perspectives is a search filter introduced by Google that enables users to find different angles and perspectives on a specific topic.
The content that is displayed in Google Perspectives can come in various formats, including social media posts.
To rank well in this filter, it is a good idea to publish content on social channels, promote it, and create a forum/discussion page on your website. This can also support E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness).
In May, there were several updates to the search engine, and Google announced some of the major recent changes by incorporating AI (Artificial Intelligence).
During its annual I/O keynote speech, Google shared the future of the search engine, which involves a renewed interface integrated with generative AI.
This means that users will encounter more responses that answer a search query in the future, as known from other AI tools like ChatGPT. However, there will still be links to the search results.
Consequently, Google has also updated its Helpful Content System, as it becomes even more important to demonstrate expertise and experience in your content.
Google Introduces Another 'Perspectives' Feature, Highlighting Videos, Images, and Posts with Different Viewpoints.
You can read more about all of this here.
Google is replacing FID (First Input Delay) with INP (Interaction to Next Paint), which will more comprehensively measure the full responsiveness of a page, whereas FID primarily measures the delay.
This replacement is scheduled for March 2024.
You can read more about it here.
In the last couple of years Google has shifted its focus more and more on product reviews. It comes with no surprise that Google's latest update in April 2023 is tailored towards prioritizing the Double-EE-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness) content quality paradigm, with a specific focus on enhancing user experience. In order to achieve this, the update recommends that product reviews showcase evidence of experience through various visual, audio, and quantitative signals. In other words, bringing in experts when writing content and signaling it to the search engines will benefit the performance of your content and thus ranking positions. The update aims to improve the quality of product reviews across different countries and will therefore be rolled out in various languages. By placing user experience at the center, this update aims to benefit both businesses and consumers by providing better and more informative reviews.
Google has recently updated its guidelines for displaying video thumbnails in search results, now limiting them to only show when the video is the primary content of a page. This new policy eliminates the previous scenario where video thumbnails would appear in SERPs for videos that were not part of the main content, providing a more accurate and relevant search experience for users. The update will also impact search appearance metrics reported in Google Search Console's video performance reports. As a result, Google encourages publishers to review their Video SEO best practices page to adapt to these changes and ensure that their video content continues to rank well in search results. This for the simple reason that having a thumbnail can increase the click through rate of content.
As a consequence of an increasing need for transparency in the supply chain, Google is now expanding shipping and returns information for merchant sites in search results. This feature provides shoppers with more comprehensive details about products they are interested in purchasing. The data can help customers make more informed purchasing decisions and also encourage more sales. This new update is a significant step forward in enhancing the online shopping experience, giving consumers more transparency and control over their purchases.
In line with the above mentioned update, Google also updated product structured data documentation which provides retailers with more detailed guidelines on how to display return policies in merchant listing experiences. The new update includes a range of required and recommended properties for the MerchantReturnPolicy structured data type, making it easier for retailers to provide clear and concise information about their return policies to customers.
However, Google also offers an alternative option for retailers, allowing them to configure their return policies directly in the Google Merchant Center Help section. This option takes priority over structured data, providing businesses with greater flexibility in how they display their return policies. By improving the accuracy and clarity of return policy information, Google is taking another step towards enhancing the online shopping experience for customers and helping retailers to build trust and loyalty.
Bing’s AI improvements increased pressure on Google on its dominance in the search engine industry. The advances in AI algorithms allow for better natural language processing and more accurate results.
Google faces further potential challenges, as it may lose its contract with Samsung, which could result in a loss of $3 billion in annual revenue. In response, Google is developing an AI-powered search engine called "Magi" to counter the competition, allowing for even more efficient and precise search results.
With the increased competition in the search engine market, both Bing and Google are focusing on AI innovation to stay ahead of the game.
During April Google has also updated its guidance on creating helpful content, adding a new section on page experience. In this update, Search Console's Page Experience report will be revamped, while Mobile Usability tools will be retired on December 1, 2023.
However, mobile usability remains an important factor for Google Search and page experience. In the past, Google had different metrics for measuring user experience and evaluating whether the content was helpful Google emphasizes that no single "page experience signal" is used for ranking, and a great page experience involves multiple factors, including Core Web Vitals and mobile usability. Meaning that with this update Google aims to evaluate whether content is helpful on a more holistic level.
Google's John Mueller recently suggested that website owners prioritize usability testing over trying to achieve an ideal number of products on a page for ranking purposes.
Usability testing involves observing how potential customers interact with a webpage to identify problems and successful elements. This process can be facilitated by using tools like Clarity or Hotjar, which can provide valuable insights into user behaviour.
As it has been stated before, Google advocate Mueller emphasizes that when website owners try to optimize for Google the main goal should be to provide an excellent user experience. By prioritizing usability testing, website owners can ensure that their sites are designed with user needs in mind, leading to better engagement, retention, and conversion rates, while also improving their chances of ranking well on Google.
Time and again SEO professionals and website owners must stay on their toes as Google rolls out another Core Algorithm Update in March. As industry experts state, this might have major implications for rankings. But let’s dive deeper into the update and other news from Google here.
In March 2023, Google rolled out a core update that once again highlights the importance of website owners and SEO professionals staying up to date with the latest developments in search engine optimization. Monitoring search metrics, focusing on quality content, and adapting content marketing strategies accordingly have never been more essential for practitioners, as user experience continues to play an increasingly important role in determining search rankings. This update serves as a reminder that preparing for future updates is essential for maintaining visibility and relevance in the ever-changing digital landscape.
In addition, Google also introduced an update to the Google Search Console, providing website owners with the ability to view clicks and impression reports for product snippets and merchant listings. This new feature allows for better tracking of engagement and visibility, enabling businesses to make informed decisions on how to improve their online presence.
Another significant update from Google is the "About this author" feature in Google Search. This addition, among others, empowers users to access more information about content authors, making it easier to evaluate the reliability and credibility of sources. Hence, author signals will be more important in content production.
Google plans to make this feature available in all languages where its search engine is accessible, which further enhances the user experience.
In a competitive move against ChatGPT, Google unveiled its new AI chatbot, Bard AI. Google claims that Bard AI will enhance productivity, creativity, and curiosity, while also addressing potential biases and misinformation. Initially, Bard AI will be available only in the United States and the United Kingdom, with plans to expand to more languages in the future.
Lastly, Google shared tips on simplifying site structure, emphasizing the importance of a well-organized website for user experience and search engine optimization.
Here John Mueller provided an example in regard to language tags. According to Mueller, language versions such as /en-us should be moved into an /us folder and tagged with hreflang on all pages accordingly. Moreover, the root homepage should be specified as the x-default for the set of home pages.
The tech giant stresses the value of adapting to changes and staying informed, ensuring that businesses and content creators can thrive in the digital world.
The month of February brought updates from both Google and Bing in a race that seems to have started with a focus on one topic; Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Google has announced several new AI features as part of the marketing world's big focus on AI, and in response to Bing and ChatGPT.
First and foremost, Google has implemented new updates to Google Lens and its multi-search feature. It will now be possible to search with both text and image at the same time, a multi-search feature that was already teased when Google shared its MUM technology.
In regard to AI and content production Google highlighted again the importance of helpful content and E-E-A-T.
Furthermore, Google has strengthened Google Maps with its latest features, including "Immersive View" and "Live View," which provide a new level of detail and interactivity to maps. This allows users to explore areas virtually and make better-informed decisions.
As part of the updates, there has also been a focus on "EV drivers" who can now be recommended charging stations in search results, which increases the importance of local SEO.
Similar to what other industry giants have announced, Google will as well increase its focus on chatbot features after the success of OpenAi’s ChatGPT.
ChatGPT is currently shaking up the search engine landscape. With its alternative way of information search it poses a potential threat to Google’s search business.
Google will launch a version of its search engine with chatbot later this year.
It is no secret that Google likes to see authentic product reviews, of real customers that have actually used and tried a given product. In this regard, Google’s Developer Advocate Alan Kent announced that product reviews linking to multiple sellers may get boosted in rankings even more.
In other words, when writing a product review Google would like to see that the customer reviewing a certain product offers its readers multiple options and comparisons to similar products. According to Google, this is an indicator that a piece of content was not solely written for the purpose of generating affiliate income. Hence reviews linking not only to one seller are considered as being useful content.
Yandex Search Ranking Factors Leaked
Not a direct Google news, but still relevant for you working with SEO. Yandex, the Russian version of Google, which was built by some ex-Googlers, had their entire ranking factor list leaked. It is assumed that Google uses up to 70% of the same ranking factors, which makes it a great insight for everyone working with SEO and website optimization in general.
Among the leaked ranking factors are:
PageRank and many link-related factors (e.g. age of links)
Content age and freshness
End-user behavior signals
URL structure (e.g. numbers and slashes in URL are bad)
Some sites get preference (e.g. Wikipedia)
You can find a complete overview of the list here.
The Google Discover follow feed feature enables users to see content that is aligned with their individual interests. When using the feature users can select from which sites they would like to receive the latest updates according to their interests.
Google has now updated their guidelines, putting more emphasis on <title> and <link> elements, implying that these are important elements of the feed.
A new update in regard to the guidelines for structured data in articles has been added by Google.
More concrete, Google removed restrictions to the number of characters in their headlines. That is, there is no limit to the length of the headline anymore. However, it is still recommended to write great and informative headlines.
Google has removed the ability for users to listen to individual podcast episodes directly from the search result page. This feature was moved to YouTube instead. According to a Google spokesperson, the aim is to improve user experience.
For podcasters this means that, in the future, they will not get direct traffic from Google’s result page anymore.
As it was indicated earlier, one important ranking factor is the time of when a blog or piece of content has been published or updated last. Here, Google suggests using multiple date indicators to ensure the correct date is displayed in search results.
Not only are outdated contents misleading and confusing for users visiting a website, they might also harm your website’s credibility. Therefore, when uploading content, include one clear and visible date, which should be located between the headline and the article text.
It's hard to believe how quickly it has gone, yet the year 2022 is already in the books. Hence, we believe right in time to review the Google updates from December 2022 and highlight the most important Google improvements from 2022.
The concept of E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) to create content and evaluate whether information published on your website is actually relevant, is already well-known in the SEO community. However, in December Google added an extra “E” for experience to its assessment. “E-E-A-T or Double-E-A-T” is now part of Google's search raters guide, which can help creators write original and helpful content.
It is important to note that helpful information can come in a variety of forms. Some tactics to showcase expertise might include videos, links, or author profiles in your blog. Moreover, Google understands expertise if a creator has actually used the product or service or has visited a place and can thus provide first-hand experience.
Furthermore, it is crucial to understand that the guidelines are used by Google's search raters to evaluate the performance of its search ranking systems and hence, do not directly influence ranking.
Finally, according to Google, the update really aims to “better capture the nuances of how people look for information and the diversity of quality information that exists in the world.”
Next to the above-mentioned update, Google introduced the December 2022 link spam update. By leveraging SpamBrain, the AI-based spam-prevention system used by Google, spammy links that were obtained for artificial manipulation of search engines only can be detected and neutralized. Not only can the system detect spammy links but also find sites buying links, and sites used for the purpose of passing outgoing links.
The update is being rolled out globally, in all languages, during the coming two weeks. Thus, the Link Spam Update might influence rankings, as spammy links are nullified and credits passed on by these are lost.
The Google Search Status Dashboard is a page that provides status information on the services that are part of Google Search. Among these are for example Crawling and Indexing. In a calendar format, users can now view the current status of the services.
With the introduction of the tool, Google aims to communicate more transparently about widespread issues affecting a substantial amount of sites or search users.
The Visual Elements gallery is a guide including visual components to the most common user interface elements of Google web search. The guide showcases what the different elements look like, explains their names, and whether you can optimize your website for each element.
The gallery includes the most common elements that are likely to show up on the search results such as:
Video and Image results
With 2023 being only a few days old, we thought the time might be right to look back and reflect upon the Google updates in 2022. Google has confirmed several updates in its algorithms during 2022:
The Page experience update from February was designed and launched to improve the desktop browsing experience.
In March Google announced the first of three product review updates that would be rolled out throughout the year. The ultimate goal of the product review update was to credit sites providing detailed specifications and descriptions of items, showed expertise, and linked to a range of merchants to enhance consumers' choices and compared products against their competitors' products.
The winner of the core update in may were major names such as Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Youtube, likely due to the product review update that was rolled out earlier last year.
A little tweak to the Product review update in march was announced. Only little impact was noticed and it left many sites untouched.
The update resulted and will result in significant changes to the way how websites operate. In the future, sites offering helpful and consumer-focused content will be rewarded in Google’s search results.
The update counterbalanced some of the damage caused in May. Big e-commerce brands continue to be successful. However, the trend for promoting videos was reversed and YouTube took a very hard hit.
The Spam update was an extension of the helpful content update and aims to identify spammy sites and filter these out.
In December the helpful content update was updated. Its impact will become visible soon.
With the goal of supporting merchants, Google introduces the section Shopping tab listings in Search Console. The tab aims to support online store owners to grow their business and easily display their products across Google.
As an eligible online store owner, all you need to do is to connect your Merchant Center account to the Search Console. From there, keep your product structured data up to date and get products listed quickly.
The shopping listing tab will be gradually rolled out over the next few weeks.
A recent survey by Google found that 43% of Americans, who are planning to shop for the holidays, are looking for deals and sales more than last year. In order to help searchers in finding the best available prices, Google is introducing new features for coupons and promos.
Users will now be able to see items that offer a coupon code and save it for when they are ready to make the purchase. Furthermore, a comparison tool enables you to view deals across different retailers side-by-side. Lastly, Google’s price insight feature enables searchers to compare prices of a product across retailers and thus, helps shoppers to make more informed buying decisions.
Google uses various automated ranking systems in order to rank hundreds of billions of web pages and present them in the most relevant way to its users. So far, new systems and updates to these were communicated through blogs and other publications. With the introduction of the new guide to Google Search ranking systems, Google creates a page with all the relevant information on updates in one place. In doing so, it should become easier to keep track of the ever changing landscape of ranking systems.
Google also made some clarifications in regard to terminology, as some confusion around the use of system and update became prevalent. While a system is now defined as something that constantly operates in the background, like the helpful content system, an update refers to a one-time improvement, i.e. an update of the helpful content system.
The aim of this update is to standardise the way numbers are written within the structured data code for reviews. As outlined by searchenginejournals.com “a review snippet is a short excerpt of a review or a rating from a review website, usually an average of the combined rating scores from many reviewers”. Hence, topics that might be affected by this update include, among others:
Google recommends the use of dots in markup but commas are still okay to use and will still be eligible for review snippets (for example 4.4 instead of 4,4). Although commas are still okay to use it is suggested making things easy for the search engines. Thus, if Google recommends using dots then using dots can inspire confidence that Google will understand the structured data.
For years backlinks have been a crucial indicator of how Google is ranking web pages. During a Brighton SEO live-session, Google Search Advocate John Mueller predicted that the strength of backlinks as a ranking factor will drop over time:
“Well, it’s something where I imagine, over time, the weight on the links at some point will drop off a little bit as we can figure out a little bit better how the content fits in within the context of the whole web.”
However, he further argues that links will always be important to Google as they help finding pages on the web. Hence, links are still important signals but the ambition from Google is to find a way where links are not the same critical factor as in the past.
At the Google virtual event "Search On", they have announced – among other things. that they will roll out a "discussion & forum" section and translate news stories from local sources.
Google will show more content from online discussions, comments, and forums (User Generated Content). Something that will initially be launched in the English search results.
This will be an addition to current search results. You will be able to see links to various forum posts, from people sharing personal experiences/content.
We've heard from you that you want to see more of this content in Search, so we've been exploring new ways to make it easier to find. Starting today, a new feature will appear when you search for something that might benefit from the various personal experiences found in online discussions.
This means that through more user-based content – that helps users – you will be able to increase traffic, through better rankings and visibility.
Google is working on the ability to translate news coverage using machine translation. Machine-translated news is set to roll out in 2023 on mobile and desktop, and the new feature will be able to translate French, German, and Spanish into English.
Say you wanted to learn about how people in Mexico were impacted by the more than 7 magnitude earthquake earlier this month. With this feature, you'll be able to search and see translated headlines for news results from publishers in Mexico, in addition to ones written in your preferred language. You'll be able to read authoritative reporting from journalists in the country, giving you a unique perspective of what's happening there.
Google has shared that they will update the search results so that the well-known "ad" label is removed from ads. This will instead be replaced with a "sponsored" label, company names, and logos going forward.
This will make it easier to tell the difference between Google ads and organic results. Something that is seen as a response to the criticism Google has received for making ads look too much like organic results.
This new update should therefore bring less confusion and hopefully make us more aware of ads vs. organic results (especially since people generally chose to click more on organic search results).
Overall, the changes will be:
'Sponsored' label instead of 'ad' label
Company names are displayed instead of ads
Logos on search ads
Google does not remove any information; they make the companies' names more obvious in the ad section. This change will help in those situations where a company bids on a competitor's brand name. Now it will be more clear to users which company they actually chose to click on.
These updates to Google's search results first roll out on mobile, then on desktop.
Company names and logos in Google search results are currently in beta and limited to those advertisers who meet Google's eligibility criteria.
With this, it is exciting to follow how the difference between organic traffic and paid ads continuously develops.
Google has once again rolled out a spam update. It goes by the name 'October 2022 Spam Update', and goes straight for content that is considered spam.
What this means is that Google continues its focus on updating the algorithm to spot spam and detect content that violates its guidelines. You can read more about it here.
Overall, this update is designed to detect content that consists of spam and is not helpful.
We detect policy-violating content and behaviors both through automated systems and, as needed, human review that can result in a manual action. Sites that violate our policies may rank lower in results or not appear in results at all.
Once again, this means that Google is looking for more natural and helpful websites that are optimized for people – and by people. This includes having unique content that helps the user have a better experience from A-Z and generally follows Google guidelines.
Google elaborates further for enterprise customers that their performance will likely degrade in Universal Analytics up until the new "sunset" date - i.e. when Google stops its development of Universal Analytics.
Therefore, the earlier you switch, the more historical data you will have access to in GA4.
Automatic migration: If you don't already have a GA4 property before early 2023, Google's Setup Assistant will set one up for you. You can also choose to set it up manually.
Behavioral modeling: GA4 gets reporting in real time - 'behavioral modeling' uses machine learning to fill in gaps when things like cookies and other identifiers are not possible.
Custom channel grouping: Compare the overall performance of a customized selection of channels.
Integration with campaign manager 360: Allows marketers to bid against GA4 conversions in Display & Video 360's automated bidding strategies.
On September 12, Google announced a new core update, which was rolled out until September 26. A Core Update is the type of update that picks up on the latest algorithm changes, often affecting the entire search engine. Google generally announces these core updates a few times a year, and they are often focused on content.
Lately, content has been a large focus at Google. For example, in August they announced the 'Helpful Content' update. And it also seems that the 'September 2022 Core Update' was launched to provide a similarly broad update to the general content landscape of Google.
If you have been affected by the update, you can always contact us at Bonzer. Then we can help analyze your domain so that you can be better prepared for the next update.
Google has once again announced a product review update – i.e. an update addressing the way website owners should work with product reviews.
Google announced it on September 20th, and the rollout was finished on September 26th, with a focus on English sites to start with (as usual).
The takeaway from this update is that Google emphasizes how important it is that product reviews are credible and entirely based on the experiences of people who have actually tested the products. It is through consideration of these signals that one either moves forward or backward in their organic positions, following the update.
This is one of many updates related to product reviews from Google this year, which is why it is important to be extra up-to-date if you work with content in this genre.
Google has held its "Search On Event 2022", where they share and outline the latest advances in Search. Most recently, Google has chosen to talk about whether search results are personalized or not. Google is improving its personalized search results, especially in English search results in the US. This is to show more relevant results, based on past searches and browsing history. Information regarding personalization and the ability to turn it off has been added under the 'About this result' section, this is to make it clearer, when and why individual search results have been personalized.
The goal of personalized search is to help users find answers that are more relevant to the user's interests.
Furthermore, Google also shows more signs that the MUM technology is affecting more search results and users. This is based on the announcement that English search results, will be able to see translated news from local markets. In addition, a "discussion & forum" feature will also be rolled out in English search results.
At the event, there was also other news from the search giant - i.a. about making search more natural.
The HTTPS report provides greater insight into the HTTPS status of a domain, and the Merchant Listings report provides insight based on 'product' structured data.
Both of them, therefore, provide more insight into the domain, which can be used in daily reporting.
Another month has passed and that means it’s time to share updates from Google. The month of May has offered a core update, concrete tips from Google on how to do search engine optimization, a major blunder in internal training material and new metrics for Lighthouse.
On May 25, Google announced a new core update, aptly named “May Core Update.” The update will be rolled out over the next 14 days.
Core updates typically come a few times a year and are broad updates to the algorithms. They are not focused on specific niches or pages but are instead an update on how Google understands and rates content.
How to respond:
Wait, first of all. No need for desperate actions before the update is completely rolled out.
If you are experiencing a drop in your rankings, then it is probably not because you have violated any guidelines. In fact, a fall for you simply means an increase for others
So look up! The pages that have been rewarded, what have they done right?
Google holds an annual conference on online marketing. During this, they announced a large number of new initiatives that are primarily about ads.
It can be broadly divided into the fact that Google will integrate video and shopping to a greater extent, that they have strengthened and will strengthen the interface and functions in their various ads campaigns, as well as to increase the insights it is possible to gain.
Here’s a quick selection:
Video action & app campaigns coming to Youtube
Product feeds to appear on Youtube
Video commercials hit Discover-fed
Performance Max campaigns get A / B tests
Optimization scores for all kinds of campaigns.
Watch the video at the bottom of this section or read our rendition of the six tips right here:
All of these errors can be diagnosed with Pagespeed Insights. Watch the video
Google released their annual webspam report. Here they detail how they work to combat online spam and keep the SERPs free from malicious actors. According to them, their sophisticated antispam algorithm called SpamBrain caught and removed six times more spam than in 2020. In short, this means Google can keep 99% of all searches free of spam.
Another big part of the fight against spam is their updated review best practices, which should help prevent spun content from dominating the SERPs on queries that result in reviews being shown.
Google has long allowed people to request them to remove personal information. Typically, this would bea s a result of doxxing or hacking, where for example sensitive information like credit card numbers and other banking information might appear online.
Now, the policies are adjusted and you can request more kinds of information to be removed. This includes things like contact information (names, phone numbers, addresses) or information that can lead to identity theft (sensitive log-in information)
Google is not just the world’s largest search company but likely also one of the largest AI researchers in the world. And in a recent research paper, they talk about the major breakthroughs achieved by their new Pathways Language Model, or PaLM. Allegedly, this new AI architecture doesn’t just outperform current language models but also humans in reasoning and arithmetic.
I encourage you to read the more in-depth walkthrough at Search Engine Journal, but we’ve also highlighted a couple of examples of the advanced reasoning skills PaLM achieves here:
Sean was in a rush to get home, but the light turned yellow and he was forced to do what?
Answer Choices: (a) take time (b) dawdle (c) go slowly (d) ocean (e) slow down
The answer is (e) slow down.”
Jennifer looked out her window and sees a really cool cloud below her. She unbuckles her seatbelt and heads to the bathroom. Is Jennifer probably traveling more than 300 miles per hour relative to the earth?
300 miles per hour is about 480 km/h. This is about the speed of a commercial airplane. Clouds are usually below airplanes, so Jennifer is probably on an airplane.
The answer is “yes”.”
How to react:
Marvel at how a computer outperforms your own reasoning skills.
The GSC view for structured data issues is now much more helpful. Google has added a lot more helpful context to structured data issues. In essence, it’s not adding new features to GSC as much as it is about making the details more explicit.
How to react:
This change should not provoke any big changes to your marketing projects.
Will make technical SEO fixes easier
Especially for nested attributes it will be easier to see which errors affect your site.
The seldom used, well-hidden URL parameters tool is being sunset during April. It’s an old tool from the nascent days of SEO. The tool is used to instruct Google on how to understand and handle URL parameters (those sneaky “?” that make their way into URLs).
How to react:
Due to low usage and low impact, the tool is being removed.
It had its place in the old Wild West of SEO, but now Google knows parameters much better
In the future, rules for parameters should be specified in the robots.txt if needed – but trust that Google is generally pretty good at understanding them.
2021 and 2022 are years where Google has been working hard to improve product reviews. Very needed in my opinion as the space is filled with bad actors. Read more news on the newest update here. It’s about surfacing results that are authentic and helpful and not rewarding spam and low-quality posts.
How to react:
Google answers three central questions in the highlighted blog post.
They also reiterate the importance of authentic, factual reviews of products the authors have actually tested.
In the future, work hard to adhere to the best practices lined out by Google.
A new label for search will highlight news articles that are heavily cited by other news organizations.
How to react
Rolling out for US mobile now and globally afterwards
Will mostly impact news stories
Ostensibly this is done to “fight misinformation”
Focus on digital PR efforts for your link building.
It has been announced that the update will finish rolling out in March 2022. This is in line with Google’s commitment to only showcasing the results that provide the very best user experience. This means that where in the past only the mobile experience counted, now the desktop will as well.
How to react:
Check out the new Page Experience report in Search Console and assess the results you are getting there.
However, if you already have decent mobile scores you very likely will skate through this update unchanged.
You can check out our guide on investigating and optimizing your Core Web Vitals score.
In a recent Webmaster Hangout, John Mueller stated that the “Discovered – currently not indexed” can last forever.
“That can be forever. It’s something where we just don’t crawl and index all pages. And it’s completely normal for any website that we don’t have everything indexed.
And, especially with a newer website if you have a lot of content, then I would assume it’s expected that a lot of the new content for a while will be discovered and not indexed.
And then over time usually it kind of shifts over, like well it’s actually crawled, or it’s actually indexed, when we see that there’s actually value in focusing more on the website itself. But it’s not guaranteed.”
The issues with indexation are not new, and any consistent reader of our Google News updates will know this. In fact, I think anybody working with SEO will know this.
How to react:
Remember that it is not a fundamental right to have your content indexed.
Don’t just wait for things to turn around – it might just be time that’s a factor but that’s a risky bet.
Instead, just focus on consistently improving the quality of your website and your posts.
If the indexing issues are very grave, consider whether to stop publishing new content and to fix the current content by improving quality and increasing the amount of inbound internal and external links.
We recently got a confirmation that in fact, Google is probably able to deal with infinite scroll – but it depends on the implementation.
Since Google renders pages at a very big viewport, if infinite scrolls are automatically triggered by screen size, Google should be able to see most of the content under infinite scroll.
How to react:
You need to make sure Google understands how your page works.
You can also use the inspection tool in Search Console or the Mobile-Friendliness Tool to check out how Google renders the page and what HTML it sees when it does so.
Be on the lookout for how links are inserted. A link that Google understands is wrapped in a <a href> tag and includes the full URL of the page that is linked to.
Citing environmental and sustainability concerns, Google considers reducing the amount of “refresh” crawls in the future.
Google’s Gary Illyes states it like this:
“We are carbon-free, since I don’t even know, 2007 or something, 2009, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t reduce even more our footprint on the environment. And crawling is one of those things that early on, we could chop off some low-hanging fruits.”
The fact of the matter:
Discovery crawls are unlikely to be impacted.
Google wants to improve their ability to discern between sites that need refresh crawls and those that don’t.
Google has announced a new tag especially for larger publishers. The indexifembedded tag allows sites to both have media pages noindexed and have their media content indexed.
Essentially it’s about offering a larger degree of control to websites that organize their content in a certain way.
To exemplify, Google states the following:
“… if podcast.host.example/playpage?podcast=12345 has both the noindex and indexifembedded tag, it means Google can embed the content hosted on that page in recipe.site.example/my-recipes.html during indexing.”
Use the tag if to get content indexed when it’s embedded through iframes in other pages, even when the content page has the noindex tag.
Should be used in combination with the noindex tag
This is a very edge-case tag that is probably not going to be useful to most websites.
Due to Google’s hyperpersonalized nature, impressions are a poor stand-in for search volume. Mueller recently made the point that impressions aren’t a great way to ascertain search volume, even if you are in the first place.
A common sense approach would dictate that if you’re first for a query, you would be shown for every search made on that query. That means that impressions should equal the actual search volume for a time period.
However, keep in mind that the metric in Google Search Console is actually the average ranking position. That’s why it’s often going to say 1.3 or 2.6 instead of 1 or 2.
The reason for that is that your ranking position is going to fluctuate during any given period. Further, queries made by some people might not even have you show up. Not only that, depending on the SERP features (how many Ads listings, knowledge panels, featured snippets etc.) some people might not even scroll down far enough to see your links.
The conclusion is this: Impressions are not going to give you an accurate measure of how large search volume actually is. However, while Mueller completely sweeps the idea of using it for search volume away, the facts above should mean that it’s probably at the very least a good measurement of minimum search volume.