SEO is always changing. Every year, Google releases hundreds of updates with both small and massive consequences for the search results – and for all of us in SEO.
In this article we’ll highlight some of the news from December that touched upon our favorite search engine.
Table of Contents
Local search gets a large update
Google has confirmed that local search results have gotten a big facelift. The update started at the end of November and was rolled out by December 8.
- Proximity is now one of the most important factors
- How the local map pack is displayed has been changed. From the classic with the map and three listings below to a more modern look with the listings side-by-side with the map.
- The update caused a lot of fluctuations in local search.
An update to product review best practices
Google is now trying to bring more authentic and high quality reviews to the top of the SERPs. Many of us have felt crestfallen to see original reviews being buried below sponsored content.
Back in April, Google released an update focused on product reviews. Now they are expanding with two new best practices that’ll help your reviews to the top of the search engine.
- Include visual evidence (images or video) that you’ve actually had this product and tested it out
- Include links to more than one seller
Still indexing issues?
Have you had trouble with having your content indexed?
You’re probably not alone. A lot of SEO agencies and professionals still report the same: that Google isn’t indexing at the same pace as they used to.
It’s important to note, however, that Google still denies there are any changes to operations. And their recommendations remain the same: Make your content more awesome, and it’ll be indexed.
Downtime can be your downfall
If your website experiences downtime lasting more than a day you risk losing your Google rankings. John Mueller has confirmed as much. This means that if you let your site be offline for a longer duration (for example while doing a redesign) or if you experience technical downtime, you should hurry to get your site up and running again.
After just a day of downtime, Google might start figuring that that’s the new permanent condition of the webpage. And if that happens, your site won’t be in contention for the attractive rankings on their SERPs. That means that what could’ve been a small issue now has lasting consequences.
Here’s how you use user generated content (UGC)
Google has released a nice little infographic showing how to integrate user-generated content on your domain. This could be anything from comments or reviews to forum posts or guest blogs.
The most important advice is:
- Everything found on your domain is your responsibility
- Write concrete community policies for behaviour, language and so on.
- Recruit moderators and continuously monitor new pieces of content
- Use CAPTCHA and other tools to filter spam.
A new Core Web Vitals metric?
Google is hard at work with updating Core Web Vitals with a new metric. This time it’s your domain’s responsiveness that’s being assessed.
Of course, Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics that approximates how user-friendly your page is.
One of those measurements is First Input Delay (FID). This metric shows how long a period a user has to wait to first interact with the website. But this metric has been criticized for not being precise enough or actually corresponding to what annoys users with unresponsive websites.
And that’s why it’s probably being replaced. You can get all the nerdy details here.
Year in Search
As usual, Google reveals what we’ve used their search engine for every year. Here they show the data for the most trending searches, what we’ve been looking for and much, much more.
New look for your news
News stores are now being showed in a different way. For Google the point is to increase the ratio of top stories and high quality content shown on several queries. We’re talking the queries with a high amount of actuality and where the topic might expand, contract or be changed on a daily basis.
It’ll end up looking like this:
TikTok beats Google for most popular domain
Google lost its position as the most popular domain in the world. At least according to a new report released by Cloudflare. Here they lay bare which websites in the world receive the most traffic.
And this year there’s been a bit of a surprise: TikTok took first place and shuffled Google down to the second.
The 10 most popular domains in 2021 were:
Read more articles
Year in Search 2021: What the globe searched for
Every year, Google releases their Year in Search. It’s a collection of data on what searches have been made on the world’s biggest search engine during the year. We’ve gathered it all right here for you. 2021 was a year of sports, which brought us events that were both sublime and tragic. Of course, covid …