04 Sep SEO News Round Up: August 2020
– 4th September 2020 –
SEO News in August
WHAT HAPPENED IN THE WORLD OF SEO IN AUGUST?
A calmer month than July, but still a busy one, find out the top SEO updates in our August round up! For regular updates on the world of digital marketing and our company you can sign up to your Monthly Newsletter.
Google Glitch Mistaken for Algorithm Update
On 10th August, rankings on Google results were showing more volatility than usual, with seventh page rankings suddenly jumping to page one. Voices rose on Twitter questioning whether Google had released an algorithm update. Later, Google stated the presumed update had actually been a glitch. This has since been resolved.
We’re quite relieved to hear this was just a glitch. With everything going on in the world right now, a Search Algorithm Update would be quite a challenge, especially if your site is one frequently affected by algorithm updates. With the last update released in May, there is a chance we will see another update published soon. But if Google holds it for now I’m sure many websites will be thankful.
A Meta Description’s Purpose
How do meta data descriptions help SEO? A common questions, and a good one. Googler Martin Splitt was asked about the importance of a meta description and his answer is one worth remembering.
As we know, meta descriptions do not directly affect rankings in search results. Their impact on search results were believed to be minimal, though we know duplicate meta descriptions should be avoided. Best practice is to write each page a unique meta description. Our understanding has always been that the meta description’s value is steeped in its ability to influence the CTR for a keyword or landing page. Splitt builds on this by stating the meta description is used by Googlebot to get a summary of the page’s content. This then helps it to determine the page’s relevance for search terms.
This still doesn’t make the meta description a direct ranking factor. John Mueller follows Splitt’s comments and adds that meta descriptions can be swapped out if deemed irrelevant, with Google replacing them with its own creation. So, whilst meta descriptions provide an opportunity for you to summarise the contents on the page, Google doesn’t rely on that information to rank your page.
This is a useful statement to receive from Google; it shows you shouldn’t underestimate the value of a good meta description. If they aren’t something you’ve focused on to this point, we recommend putting some time aside to make sure your meta descriptions are up to scratch.
15% Pass Rate for Web Core Vitals
A study in August shows that, within a selection of websites tested, less than 15% made the pass mark for Web Core vitals. According to the report only 12% of mobile websites and 13% of desktop websites passed. Whilst this is not a problem now, it will be when the Page Experience Update goes live.
Web Core Vitals look at 3 core elements: Large Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID) and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). These look at the load time, responsiveness and stability of a landing page. Core Web Vitals has benchmarks for each element, allowing you to know what your targets should be. These targets are:
- Large Contentful Paint: Content should be loaded in 2.5 seconds or under
- First Input Delay: pages should respond to user engagement within 100 milliseconds
- Cumulative Layout Shift: CLS should be maintained at 0.1 or under
It looks like websites are more successful at meeting individual benchmarks, but fall short of the overall pass mark. Fortunately, this update won’t be live until next year at the earliest, so there’s plenty of time for changes to be implemented and pass marks to be improved.
In Beta: Search Console Insights
After months of secrecy, Google announced a new tool that is in beta: Google Search Console Insights. The tool has been specifically created to fulfil the needs of Content Creators and Publishers. The intention behind this is for the tool to provide more information around content engagement. With Search Console Insights website can have a better understanding of how users are accessing their content and which pieces they like best. In essence, this is how Google sees Insights being of value:
“It can help you (creator/ publisher) answer questions about your site’s content, such as:
- What are your best performing pieces of content?
- How are your new pieces of content performing?
- How do people discover your content across the web?
- What are your site’s top and trending queries on Google Search?
- What other sites and articles link to your site’s content and did you get any new links?”
Microsoft Advertising Editor Update
This month, Microsoft announced a large update to their Advertising Editor platform, helping them stay competitive with Google’s Ads Editor. The updates included Al-powered recommendations and campaign-level audience targeting.
Global users will now have a lightbulb icon in their interface recommending new keywords, highlighting fixes, and suggesting bid optimisations. The new feature will ensure advertisers maximises their potential traffic.
The second new feature enables campaign-level audience targeting within the Editor programme, saving time, and maximising efficiency when working across numerous campaigns. It is worth noting that advertisers however are still unable to simultaneously target associations at the ad group and campaign level.
I don’t know anyone that will ever say no to more data. Access to this tool is limited for now, with some websites receving emails announcing early access to this tool in beta – including a couple of our clients! We look forward to investigating this tool more in the future to deduce its usefulness.
Did we miss anything?
If there was anything else that happened in August that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us @upriseUPSEM, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.