13 Aug SEO News Round Up: July 2020
– 13th August 2020 –
What happened in the world of SEO in July?
Goodbye Structured Data Testing Tool, Hello Rich Results
After 3 years in development Google have announced the Rich Results testing tool is out of Beta. Unfortunately, this means our beloved Structured Data Testing Tool is soon to be deprecated and out of action. I’m not the only one saddened by this, many other SEOs have voiced their discontent with this news.
Addmittedly, the difference between the 2 tools is minimal; both are used to measure the validity of any structured data markup on a given page. You can also submit specific code snippets to see if it’s valid ahead of implementation. However, whilst the Structured Data tool looks at the markup, Rich Results tells you if the markup is eligible to target a rich snippet (enhanced organic search result).
Both are useful, but as a self-professed creature of habit I do prefer the Structured Data testing tool. It got me through my early bumblings with Schema and has been a real asset to my work. You will be missed.
Google Discover Guidelines Updated
You can’t create content to target Google discover! Something our team has known for a while, but Google’s thread on Google Discover has been updated to explicitly state “there is no way to create content that explicitly targets Discover’s interest matching”. Whilst there is no new information to be gathered here, it’s nice to have it confirmed in writing.
Why can’t you?
Discover functions differently to normal search. Whilst search will show your results that are related to what you’ve searched, Google Discover shows you articles based on what it believes your interests are. The content it matches you with can change daily, making Discover a very unpredictable form of search. Whilst it’s good for a flash flood of clicks, it shouldn’t be relied on for a consistent flow of traffic.
Free Product Listings in Search
First, they said Google’s Shopping Tab would consist of primarily free listings in the US. Now, free listings will be served on the main search results page. Again, this change is currently available in the US only. The aim is to “help users choose the products and sellers that will serve them best”.
What could this mean for me?
If you don’t have any product listings on search already, this change will increase your visibility in search results, giving you a better ability to target prospective clients. A valuable lifeline if your business has been impacted by the pandemic.
If you already have product listings on Google search, then you’re about to face more competition for that precious space. Our advice? Make sure your product pages are optimised. Now would be a good time to review the content on these pages and give them an update. We work with a number of eCommerce sites, so if you want a helping hand, give us a shout!
Schema.org V9 Released
Another update revealed is to Schema.org, who released version 9 this month. The update saw the refinement of many Schema types already live, as well as the development of some new Schema types. In particular, development around product markup. ProductGroup type has been added, which will allow you to link variants of a product together (think different colours or sizes). For shops with a more niche product line, this will help link product options together, as well as single them out more. We look forward to trying this out!
Google’s Anti-Competitive Behaviour with Video
This month Google’s approach to video search results came under scrutinization, with reports suggesting YouTube search results were being favoured above competitor sites in Search. The original report was published by the Wall Street Journal and showed that searches used in the data were for videos first published on other sites, such as Twitch and Dailymotion, ahead of being published on YouTube.
This suggestion of favouritism does suggest your video strategy should incorporate YouTube. Uploading and optimising the video there ahead of embedding it on your website may be the best course of action for now. Promoting its availability on other channels for users that access it via YouTube also seems like a cautionary step to take.
How We All Help Google Improve Search Results
Insight has been offered into how Google improve their search algorithms. And, unsurprisingly, you (the user) help out a lot. This help is provided through rating and feedback. At least 10,000 people work as ‘Search Quality Raters’ to judge the relevance and trustworthiness of search results, which Google deems to be “ultimately human judgements”.
Results gathered from this feedback does not directly impact rankings, but it’s a point of reference. One that can influence how Google adapt their search algorithms. So still pretty important.
What does this tell us?
Google have been placing the user at the centre for a while now. Whilst the upcoming Page Experience Update is a good deadline for considering User Experience of your website, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that it already is a factor in rankings. And something websites can’t afford to ignore.
Did we miss anything?
If there was anything else that happened in July that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at 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.