SEO News Round Up: December 2020

– 7th January 2020 –

 

What happened in the world of SEO in December?

There were a few SEO gifts from Google in December; some were welcome, some less so. For regular updates on the world of digital marketing and our company you can sign up to our Monthly Newsletter.

 

December 2020 Core Update – Fully Rolled Out

As we mentioned in our November Round Up, December started with a bang in the form of a Search Algorithm Update. December started with a bang in the form of a Search Algorithm Update. At this point, there is still no clear indication of what this update was targeting, suggesting it was yet another broad update intending to help the search engine better understand the search queries it is asked, and the page it indexes.

SEJ published a thoughtful article, where they asked 5 industry experts to share their thoughts on the focus of the update. The answers were varied, but highlighted the notion that the update may not necessarily be tied to obvious ranking factors, but to calculations behind the scenes seeking to mature the algorithms in place.

The impact was widespread, with most industries seeing some form of impact. SEMRush, using their tracking sensor, showed high levels of volatility across the board, particularly on the 4th December, one day after the update roll out was announced.

 

SEMRush Tracking Sensor SERP Volatility Graph

Whilst all sectors saw some form of impact, some of the ones that were hit hardest were shopping, health, real estate and law & government. All industries that typically see fluctuation during an update roll out.

Distribution of losing domains by categories - December 2020 Search Algorithm Update

 

Request Indexing is Back!

It’s been a minute, but Google took to Twitter to announce the Request Indexing Tool was back up and running on Search Console. Following weeks of uncertainty, the tool coming back online is welcome news. A Useful tool to have access to, you can submit a request to Google to crawl and index a page within the URL inspection tool.

 

Structured Data Testing Tool

Since Google announced the deprecation of the Structured Data Testing Tool back in July 2020, the future of this tool has been challenged and debated. With so many of us favouring the tool over the Rich Results, its loss would be felt throughout the SEO community. Google revealed that following the feedback of countless others the tool would no longer be deprecated. Instead, it will be moved to a different domain to better serve the Schema.org community.

The focus of the tool will also remain unchanged. To check the syntax of a piece of Structured Data, use the Structured Data Testing Tool. Where you want to check the validity of a page for rich results, you use the Google Rich Results Tool.

 

Updates to Search Console’s API

Search Console’s API is being updated to help improve performance and allow those that make their own calls to the API receive better data. Upcoming changes include:

  • Addition of fresh data & news filter in the Search Console API
  • Domain property support in the Sitemap APIs
  • Guidelines on how to migrate the Discovery Doc (as Google no longer supports the Webmasters Discovery Document)

 

Whilst it’s not a tool I’m too familiar with, the API tool is a useful one. It allows for more customised interaction with the data Google has. It can also help to overcome any limitations presented by viewing data on the GSC interface. Search Console has a lot to offer, the API can help you utilise your access.

 

The Role of Location in Search Results

Location is now integral to search results. This shift has been ongoing for the past few years and in December Google took to their blog to discuss just how search results can change depending on the location of the user. This is information everyone should take into consideration when optimising their websites for target keywords, as these keywords may show localised search results. Local search benefits the user, but not always the website. When targeting keywords making sure you understand the SERPs is crucial to understanding the type of visibility and traffic you can gain from that keyword – and similar ones!

Google also revealed the factors they take into consideration when determining the location of the user! These are:

  • The IP address of the device being used
  • Viewing your past activity (though this is based on your user settings)
  • Location permission (when this has been enabled)

So, ultimately, they use the IP address and the other factors when available. If you want to learn more, this information is presented in a fun little video, which I recommend giving a watch.

 

Did we miss anything?

If there was anything else that happened in December that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at upriseUPSEM, email us at hello@upriseup.co.uk, or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.

 

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