SEO News Round Up: May 2020
What happened in the world of SEO in May?
May started with a bang and has produced some great updates in the world of SEO. Read more to find out what our highlights are in SEO news this month.
Google update: May 2020
It happened! 4 months after the January update Google took to Twitter to announce the roll out of another algorithm update. Dubbed the May 2020 Core Update, it took 2 weeks to fully roll out. Many in the SEO community claim it’s the biggest update search has seen in a while.
As usual, Google haven’t specified exactly what the update was targeting. Whilst core updates are intended to have a broad focus, content has been a key focus for Google and SEO in the last couple years. Recent Core Updates have focused on rewarding content regularly reviewed and updated, so it isn’t shocking to suggest that content is again the focus on the May 2020 Core Update.
What impact did we see?
Following the started release of the update we’ve seen a mixed impact to our clients, with some losing rankings and others gaining. There was a lot of volatility and fluctuations in rankings during the roll out process, but most of the change appeared to be off page 1 search results. Search results ranking on page 2 and onwards typically experience higher levels of volatility, so this wasn’t too concerning to us.
What should we do?
In their Twitter announcement Google link to their updates guidelines. There, they state that the updates aren’t about harming the performance of your content, but about rewarding good content that wasn’t getting the recognition, or rankings, it deserved in organic search.
That being said, if you have seen some keywords dropping it’s still not good to drastically change your SEO strategy in light of a Google Update; particularly if your website has a history of yoyoing in rankings from update to update. It’s very likely that any ranking changes you see in the first few days may level out. Wait until rankings have had some time to stabilise before taking any precautionary actions. Review your site, identify the weaknesses (whether that be technical or content) and feed those into your current strategy.
Keep SEO and coding simple
Search Developer Martin Splitt joined an indexing and crawling session at Search Engine Land, where he discussed how some websites can overcomplicate their coding to overcome non-existent issues.
Internal Linking via JS
We considered ourselves warned: clever, over-engineered shortcuts aren’t great, and can actually hurt our SEO more than help.
Google suggests customised searches for users
A new search feature update is being rolled out on Google. When a user does a search on Google will begin to use that search history data to suggest customised search results to you.
This new feature does appear to be a restricted update at the moment; you have to be logged into your Google account to have access. Google is also only able to use search history data from your current search session. This means customised search suggestions won’t be influenced by your search activity from a month ago. However, it’s another step towards encouraging users to consider the language they use in search, following on from Google’s update to search results that don’t adequately answer a search query. We look forward to seeing how these features influence search habits.
New Search Console Reports
Another month, another update to Google Search Console reports. This month 2 new reports have been made available on the tool. The Speed report has also had an update.
SpecialAnnouncement Enhancement Report
One of the reports released is for SpecialAnnouncement Schema markup. This is a follow up action from the release of the markup last month. SpecialAnnouncement markup was released to help local businesses and communities make Covid-19 announcements via Google Search. Creation of the report will help these businesses see any implementation errors or issues with the markup.
Guided Recipe Enhancement Report
Additionally, Google has released a new report for Guided Recipe markup. This is a form of Recipe schema, designed to help your recipes be found and used on Google Assistant and by voice search technology. This is a good step in the right direction, as previously you had to wait for webpages to re-crawl a page before you could see any updates via Google Assistant. This report should speed up the validation process.
You can also check your Guided Recipe markup via the Rich Results Test Tool. To use this tool you just need to add the markup to your page. Then you can submit the URL on the tool and it will test the page to see if it is valid for rich snippets (a search result with enhanced features) in search results. The tool will offer suggestions for improvement or show you any errors with your implementation.
Web Vitals replaces Speed Report
Google has swapped out the old Speed Report. Now, we have the Core Web Vitals report, located within the Enhancement reports section. Core Web Vitals is a Chrome Extension Google announced earlier in the month
The metrics Google uses for measurement has changed from the original speed report, which suggests Google is using certain speed metrics to judge the performance of a website. These metrics are: LCD, FID and CLS. All 3 give an indicate of how good the user experience (UX) will be on that page.
- LCD (Largest Contentful Paint): measures loading performance by marking the point when the main content on the page has likely loaded.
- FID (First Input Delay): measures when interactivity is working, as it tells you when a user first tries to interact with the page and the time when the page responds to that interaction.
- CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift): measures visual stability. The more content doesn’t shift around unexpectedly the better the UX.
URLs that don’t have enough data for these metrics are excluded from the report, so it won’t necessarily provide a 100% insight. But, it appears that ensuring your webpages perform well for all 3 metrics will be vital by name and nature if you want Google to deem you site as high performance.
Bing says Yes (or No)
Bing has also been busy developing new search features. There latest update means Bing can now answer your search queries with a simple yes or no. Bing then backs up their answer by citing different websites.
This is just part of Bing’s development strategy to utilise AI in their search algorithms. Their algorithm is able to understand and cross-reference the language of multiple sources and deduce a yes/no answer, even if the sources used and reviewed by Bing do not explicitly state that.
For SEO, it’ll be worth monitoring search queries where this is likely to affect the search results. With Bing providing clear, concise answers within the SERPs, there’s potential for the CTRs of these queries to be impacted by this update. As Search Engine Land also comments, we should also monitor impressions and visibility change.
Bing’s Yes/No summary feature is live in the US and looking to roll out in other search markets soon.
Page Experience Evaluation Changes Incoming
Google have announced changes are coming to how they measure the performance of a page. Called the Page Experience Update, Google will be updating their ranking factors to take page experience metrics, such as the ones in Core Web Vitals, into consideration more.
This planned update is a big step towards ensuring website’s produce pages that users like, and is something we’ll be exploring in much more depth next month.
Did we miss anything?
If there was anything else that happened in May 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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