SEO News Round Up: January 2021
What happened in the world of SEO in January?
With competition between search engines growing, new ranking factors being introduced and new tools becoming available, 2021 is going to be a busy year for SEO! For regular updates on the world of digital marketing and our campaign you can sign up to our Monthly Newsletter.
Coverage Data got an Update on GSC
The Search Console coverage report has always provided valued insight into the errors on a site. However, it isn’t perfect. It would seem Google have taken feedback on the report into consideration, and made some changes.
Of these, my favourite change without a doubt is: ‘Removal of the generic “crawl anomaly” issue type – all crawls errors should now be mapped to an issue with a finer resolution’. I don’t find “crawl anomaly” to be a particularly revealing error, so to know more detail will be on offer from now on is reassuring.
A new ‘warning’ has also been introduced: Indexed without content. From now on, this will identify pages on a site that are empty or where Google was unable to read the content. Again, a useful insight to have.
There are still some issues to be addressed, but the changes are a notable improvement.
New Report: Google News Performance
Similar to Discover, data on how your site’s articles perform in Google News can now be found in a bespoke report on the Search Console dashboard.
Google News, for those out of the loop, is separate to Google Search. Accessed via an app or news.google.com, it serves users with a curated feed of news content based on the publishers and topics they are interested in. Therefore, news publishers can rejoice, for they’ll now have access to even more data around the performance of their content and the preferences of their audience.
Google introduced Subtopics as a ranking factor in November
If anyone was able to attend Google’s On Search Event last October, one topic that was discussed was Subtopics. In January, Danny Sullivan confirmed via Twitter that Subtopics had gone live as a ranking factor mid-November.
What are Subtopics?
In the words of Google, Subtopics are ‘neural nets to understand subtopics around an interest, which helps deliver a greater diversity of content when you search for something broad’.
This means that for some of the search terms, Google is showing a range of search results that are focused on the topics related to the original query (Subtopics). This won’t affect all searches, but will focus on broader terms where there is more subtopics variety.
What does this mean?
It’ll be interesting to see how this affects SEO in the long-term. From a strategic perspective, SEOs should cater to this update and start shifting focus from individual keywords and more onto a broader topic focus. Some SEOs already do this, others will be starting to.
Google wants to diversify their search results by offering users a wider range of content that differs from each other, aiming to cater to the different needs of users. This likely means broader keywords are going to come much more competitive. Long-tailed variations are going to become more important as intent is scrutinised even further. It also means there’s a growing, pressing need for unique content that will make your site stand out. Understanding your topic, and any subtopics, in detail will be crucial.
100 Million Searches a Day for DuckDuckGo
DuckDuckGo has hit a new record in January as it finally reached the milestone of attaining 100 million searches in a single day. The search engine was on track to achieve an average of 90 million searches a day for the whole month. Compared to January 2020, this is a 73% improvement year on year. This shows that DuckDuckGo’s prominence is continuing to grow and they pose a growing threat to Google’s position.
They continue to thrive on mobile as well, as they became the second used search engine on mobile in the U.S. As DuckDuckGo boasts of its privacy features, the growth spurt signals an incoming shift to private platforms.
Chrome 88 includes Core Web Vitals metrics
The recently launched Chrome 88 is proving valuable to developers and SEOs as it includes elements that enable you to see the Core Web Vitals metrics along with pre-existing ranking signals. A useful amendment for those preparing for the upcoming Page Experience update.
One element they’ve actioned is to provide the Web Vitals, LCP, FID and CLS, with their own reporting lane in the dev tools. This has also been given more space for more detailed reporting.
Additionally, Chrome 88 now supports a CSS property called aspect-ratio. This allows you to define ratios for certain elements, which can contribute to an improved Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) score.
Some useful additions we look forward to utilising.
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@example.com, or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.
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