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SEO Developments in August 2022

A plant with some post it nots stuck to the pot and a pen holding up a post it note with a message on it.

It has been an eventful summer for search, with lots of updates rolling out, and a fire that led to Google Search outages! Here’s the latest.

Product Review Search Ranking Updates.

Google began rolling out a product review search ranking update as of July 27th. Whilst there was speculation it may take 2-3 weeks to complete, Google quietly changed its update landing page to show that the update had finished rolling out on August 2nd.

Impact of the July 2022 product review update.

This particular update doesn’t appear to have made many changes to the ranking criteria. It’s most likely that Google has just been refreshing it and making small adjustments.

This update is part of a continuing series of product review updates. All aimed at promoting review content that goes above and beyond most of the more basic templated information we see online as a standard. If you are interested, you can check out the previous product review updates, which were released on:

  • April 8th  2021
  • December 1st  2021
  • March 23rd  2022
What is the purpose of these product review updates?

Google has said that the aim of these updates is not to punish sites that have reviews with thin content but to focus on rewarding sites that have detail-rich and genuinely useful product reviews.

If you offer product reviews on your website – it may be worth reviewing your rankings to see if you were impacted now that the update has fully rolled out.

What to do if product review rankings have dropped?

There is a lot of advice out there about how to evaluate and improve your site’s product reviews. Google has provided specific advice on how to write product reviews that are high quality, which you may find helpful to read if you have been negatively impacted by this update.

Introducing Pros and Cons to Structured Data.

A new update to structured data is now allowing additional information for snippets in editorial review pages.

What is structured data?

Structured data in SEO is a mark-up code which provides information about a page to help search engines better understand the content and display key elements in a more useful way in search results pages.

Users often find pros and cons in product reviews a very useful way to quickly gain clear and concise summaries of the products they are searching for. Therefore, we’re very excited to see the introduction of pros and cons Structured Data, which can be added to your Product Schema to enhance the search results for editorial product reviews.

 

 

At least two pro/con statements must be made for the information to pull through. This could mean either two pros, two cons, or one of each, and can be seen in the example above.

Currently, only editorial product review pages are eligible for the new pros and cons update. This means it is only available to sites that do not sell products themselves but focus on reviewing them, leaving merchant and customer product review sites out in the cold for the time being.

We would love to see this pros and cons update roll out further in the near future to extend to retail and commercial content, so that charities who sell products online will also be able to benefit from the likely increase in click-through rates this opportunity represents.

Available languages for this structured data update include: Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, and Turkish.

Google search quality rater guidelines update: What has changed

Google has updated its Quality Rater Guidelines,  with changes coming to both E-A-T and ‘Your Money’ or ‘Your Life’ (YMYL) content. One area of particular interest to us is the changes to YMYL content rating, due to its potential to impact charity content addressing health.

Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) Topics.

Topics that pose a ‘high risk of harm’ due to the potential to significantly impact health, safety, finances or welfare/well-being of individuals or society are known as YMYL content.

These can either be inherently dangerous topics or harmful due to the potential damage that misinformation and inaccuracies in the content could cause.

Google has removed it’s previous 7 categories of YMYL topics and is now encouraging quality raters to consider four types of harm this type of content could cause to the user, including:

  • Health or Safety
  • Financial Security
  • Society
  • “Other”

Google also announced that YMYL content assessments are done on a spectrum, including ‘not likely or unlikely YMYL topic’, ‘May be YMYL topic’ and ‘Clear YMYL topic’.

Here is a link to a useful table from Google which shows clear definitions and examples of what it considers to be YMYL content which you may find useful.

Due to the spectrum approach, not many topics will fall into the clear YMYL category. However, understanding YMYL content and how it is viewed by Google is important for the charity sector as many organisations function within the health or safety section. Such as cancer charities or dementia support. Content surrounding these topics has the potential to cause a negative impact on lives if it is inaccurate.

Google Search Outage.

Google search experienced a widespread outage over the course of the evening on August 9th, which is apparently linked to an electrical fire at a Google data centre in Iowa, United States.

 

Indexability issues, extreme ranking fluctuations and pages either dropping out of search or not being ranked at all were also noted at the same time as this outage issue.

It appears as though the main issue was resolved quickly, however, it is worth taking note of this event in case you did notice any distinct changes in your rankings, both positive or negative.

Did we miss any SEO news?

Have we missed any of your key SEO highlights from our round-up? Or do you have any burning questions about how to implement effective SEO for your organisation?

We’d love to hear from you!

Join the conversation and tweet us @upriseUPSEM, email us at hello@upriseup.co.uk, or simply send us a message through our contact page

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