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SEO Updates for March 2022

March written in scrabble bricks

SEO News Updates for March 2022

With the weather warming up, we’re starting to see more spring cleaning! Our SEO news updates for March are showing it’s out with the old, in with the new, with some much-needed reorganisation along the way too. If you’d like to keep up to date on all the changes happening in the world of digital marketing, follow Uprise Up on Twitter: @upriseUPSEM.

 

Google’s Retiring the URL Parameter Tool

On the 28th March, Google announced it is going to be retiring its URL parameters tool in April. This tool basically allowed you to block Google from indexing specific URLs on your website.

However, they have stated that currently only ‘1% of the parameter configurations currently specified in the URL parameters tool are useful for crawling’, and that Google has become more advanced in deciding which parameters are actually useful on a site. It is this perceived lack of value for both Google and Search Console users that will see us saying goodbye to the parameters tool in the next month.

This removal shouldn’t affect websites negatively and there isn’t anything you need to do in preparation. Moving forwards, Google’s crawlers will learn how to automatically deal with URL parameters, so you won’t need to specify the function of URL parameters on your site.

 

Google Search Rolling out more Visual Search Interface on Mobile

Google is trialling a new mobile search interface using images to provide a richer visual representation in SERPs for select mobile search content (try searching ‘hand tattoos’ or ‘game room design’ on your mobile).

It will be really interesting to see the impact this has on click through rates and site traffic levels as Google is yet to specify if the layout of this new grid means there will now be two position one results, or whether one result will still retain the position one ranking. Either way, this new visual layout is definitely something to look out for, as there may possibly be a more even split between the two top ranking positions.

Structured Data Report Update

Towards the end of the month, Google updated Search Console to add more context to its (as you can see in the before and after image below). This update won’t affect the number of errors received, but the error title will provide more details, allowing you to identify where the errors are straight off the bat, saving you time and speeding up the process of locating and fixing your site’s structured data.

This will be impacting:

  • All Search Console rich result status reports
  • Search Console URL inspection tool
  • Rich Results Test

This means all open issues that refer to nested properties will automatically be closed, and you’ll see new open issues with the additional context on the missing information. It’s also important to note that this update will not affect the number or how errors are detected, it will only enhance how they are reported.

Further Rollout of Product Review Update

As of March 23rd, Google began to rollout the third version of its search ranking algorithm update targeting product review related content. This update comes after the major update in April 2021 that focussed on the promotion of high-quality reviews and the subsequent December 2021 update.

This most recent update is focussed on providing users with in-depth, authentic content reviews that distinguish themselves from the other standard templated information users commonly come across.

Google are considering factors such as actual product use, unique information not provided by the manufacturer, informal competitor comparisons and in-depth details (such as pros and cons). This will make it easier for Google to get top quality purchasing advice for its consumers and will give a boost to creators who ensure optimal reviews.

If you offer product review content on your website, it’s definitely worth taking note of these ongoing product review updates. For advice on publishing high quality reviews, check out Google’s Guidelines.

 

Did we miss any SEO news updates for March?

If there was anything else that happened in March that you think was noteworthy, or if you’ve got some thoughts you’d like to share on current SEO developments, we’d love to hear from you!

Feel free to tweet us at upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected] , or simply send us a message through our contact page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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    SEO Updates for February 2022

    February proved to be an insightful month, with a lot of activity going on. If you would like regular updates from Uprise Up on the world of digital marketing, follow us on Twitter.

     

    Core Web Vitals rolled out to desktop

    Arguably, the main news highlight of February for SEO was the roll out of the page experience update to desktop search results. On 22nd Feb Google took to Twitter to reveal the update was rolling out.

    Google tweet reading “the page experience update is now slowly rolling out for desktop. It will complete by the end of March 2022. Learn more about the update”

    When initially announced, the page experience update was a much anticipated update to the search algorithm. It sought to introduce new ranking factors to the algorithm, factors site owners now need to be aware of when optimising their sites.

    Compared to the roll out for mobile last summer the process this time round was much quicker, with the update fully rolled out by 3rd March; just 10 days after it started. With an increased speed in roll out, perhaps Google anticipated less of an impact this time round? With the majority of searches being conducted on mobile devices, this is plausible (though B2B sites may disagree!).

    The next few weeks will give an indication of any potential impact, but similar to the mobile update last August, we recommend checking out how your site is performing for Core Web Vitals; Google have a page quality auditing tool just for this, and speaking to your dev team where changes are required.

     

    Pay attention to People Also Ask for your Brand searches

    We know that People Also Ask (PAA) is a great feature to be aware of and utilise when looking to increase your visibility within search results. This month Search Engine Land published an interesting article highlighting the value PAA can provide brands, with branded searches.

     

    What is PAA?

    PAA is a feature commonly shown in search results. It contains a selection of questions related to a user’s current search that Google thinks the user will find helpful. The feature can also grow, increasing in size every time a question is engaged with. This means the feature can take up more space within the search results, pushing other organic results further down the page and below the fold.

     

    Why should you pay attention to the PAA?

    Brand reputation. The PAA can give you an idea of what users are searching around your brand. As the article points out, when people search for your brand, they are either searching directly for you, or for information about you. You want as much control over that information as you can get. FAQ content is an asset for these types of queries. It can help you answer relevant questions succinctly.

     

    As well as direct questions about the brand, the PAA also includes questions related to the brand – ones focused on the industry or topic the brand is associated with. Targeting these is a more long-term focus as it would require more of a strategic focus, considering the type of content Google wants to show and developing that for example.

     

    The PAA is a feature that’s been around for a few years now, it’s one everyone’s aware of and lightly tries to target to some degree for non-brand terms. There’s definite value in extending this to make sure your brand is coming across positively to their target audience when searched for.

     

    SEMRush buys Kompyte

    Industry-wise, SEMRush took a big business step and bought their first marketing tool that wasn’t specifically geared towards SEM. At the end of the month the company announced they’d bought Kompyte, a company that offers competitor analysis tools that look across different channels, enables product development and supports sales acquisition.

    This purchase will enable SEMRush to expand its offerings and begin targeting a wider audience. The acquisition of Kompyte will also support their current tools, enabling them to improve their trends feature within SEMRush.

     

    Did we miss anything?

    If there was anything else that happened in February that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.

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      SEO Highlights for January

      Calendar showing January 2022

      After a busy year on search, we’re looking forward to another year of flurry and activity in 2022. January kicked off our SEO highlights nicely, with some interesting new features dropping on Google search. If you would like regular updates from Uprise Up on the world of digital marketing, follow us on Twitter.

       

      New Robots Meta Tag: indexifembedded

      Google have revealed the introduction of a new robots meta tag. The tag in question? Indexifembedded (index if embedded). The tag should be used to tell Google when you want content to be indexable if it’s embedded on a different page using an iFrame, even when the original page has a noindex tag in place (blocking it from being indexed by Google).

      This tag is supported only by Google for now, but we’re sure if it proves valuable other search engines will catch on and adopt it.

      The intention behind this new tag is to make it even easier for websites to have control over which parts of their content is indexed. However, we’re unclear as to when this tag would be used or required. And from checking out Twitter, we can see we’re not the only ones questioning this. There’s call for Google to provide case use for this new tag. So hopefully we’ll hear more soon.

       

      People Search Next: the new mobile feature

      Mobile search results in the US are getting a new feature that will be shown alongside other assets such as People Also Ask and People Also Search For. Confirmed by Google with Search Engine Land, People Search Next is used to show users what previous users have gone on to search following a particular query.

      As it’s US based at the moment it’s not a feature we can test our ourselves yet on UK search results. This feature seems fairly similar to other additions Google have been adding to the search results. Like predictive text, it will provide a guiding influence on how users interact with search. Whilst it shows practical value, I’d like to know how much it’ll affect the space within search results, whether it is pushing traditional organic results further down, impacting their impressions and clicks. This might be something to be aware of when the update is rolled out more internationally.

       

      Recipe Markup now requires specific times

      Google has made a few announcements or changes regarding Structured Data this month. But one that interests us is the change to Recipe Markup (Schema). For each of the core markups you can use in Search, Google has accompanying documentation websites can use as a guide. In their documentation for Recipe Schema, all references to timings have been updated from ranges to specific times.

      On their updates documentation, Google state on 18th January:

      “Removed guidance about specifying a range for the cookTime, prepTime, and totalTime properties in the Recipe documentation. Currently, the only supported method is an exact time; time ranges aren’t supported. If you’re currently specifying a time range and you’d like Google to better understand your time values, we recommend updating that value in your structured data to a single value (for example, “cookTime”: “PT30M”).”

      This is worth noting because Recipe Schema can have a big impact on how Recipe content performs in the Search Results. Pages with this Schema in place can target enhanced search results; whether they just pull through aggregate ratings to their traditional search result, or double up and appear in the Recipe Carousel at the top of search results pages. You need Recipe Schema to do that. Therefore, always worth making sure your Recipe Schema is up to scratch and accurate. It’s a competitive world for Recipe Queries; you want to make sure you can compete!

       

      Yoast SEO launches on Shopify

      Calling all eCommerce sites! Your time is here, for Yoast SEO have revealed they are on Shopify. Already available for WordPress sites as a plugin (in fact, it’s the most popular app used on WordPress for SEO), the Shopify app is designed to make optimisation of your site easier and quicker.

      There is a cost for Yoast SEO on Shopify, whereas WordPress sites can use a free version if preferred (albeit with restricted features). At $29 a month, the cost isn’t too high and Yoast SEO presents an exciting prospect for those on Shopify. It’s an app to be considered.

       

      Did we miss anything?

      If there was anything else that happened in January that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.

       

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        Facebook to remove targeting options around ‘sensitive causes’ – how will this impact non-profits?

        A laptop with the user looking at Facebook

        As you might be aware, Meta have announced that certain targeting options available on Facebook Ads around ‘sensitive causes’ have been removed as of 19 January 2022. Any activity which is currently using them can do so until March 17 2022, however any new or re-enabled campaigns post-January 19th will not be able to use this targeting.

         

        The targeting options being removed includes those referencing causes, organisations, or public figures that relate to health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation. This also includes those interested in cause-related events such as: ‘World Alzheimer’s Month’ and ‘Cancer Awareness’.

         

        Meta says it is removing them because they “want to better match people’s evolving expectations of how advertisers may reach them on our platform and address feedback from civil rights experts, policymakers and other stakeholders on the importance of preventing advertisers from abusing the targeting options we make available.”

         

        To most advertisers this seems like a reasonable move. However, it is my view that this recent string of changes is incredibly damaging to non-profits who (in Meta’s own words) use Facebook and Instagram to “connect people to charitable causes they care about”. The removal of these targeting options makes it much harder to reach new users who would benefit from their support and would champion new campaigns. Off the back of social advertising being hit so heavily by the iOS 14.5 update, I know this will mean more non-profits questioning their Facebook activity going into 2022.

         

        I’m hoping that Meta considers the impact on non-profits. I’m not asking for a Google Ad Grant type scheme for Facebook (although I’m sure we’ll all agree that would be great!) but perhaps some way that Meta can allow exceptions for charities. A programme or certification scheme which means that those who qualify can use targeting like this to enable them to continue their great work.

         

        It would be great to hear your thoughts, what changes you’re now making and the impact these will have. And ultimately if you think a certification type scheme for non-profits would be a good move?

         

        Over the next month we will be working with our clients on ways to utilise the Facebook Ads platform’s other targeting options and tools to mitigate the damage. If you’re interested in discussing a potential approach for you and your organisation please don’t hesitate to reach out.

         

        Link to Meta’s announcement: https://www.facebook.com/business/news/removing-certain-ad-targeting-options-and-expanding-our-ad-controls

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