09 Apr SEO News Round Up: March 2020
– 9th April 2020 –
What happened in SEO in March?
Every month the SEO team is asked about the latest updates in organic search at our company meeting. So we’ve put all our favourite stories in one place. Read more to find out what we deemed to be the highlights in SEO news in March. You can also sign up our monthly newsletter to get the latest company news and insights.
Coronavirus changes in Search
There has been a lot of change this month, both off and online, as a result of covid-19. Google has released a number of updates to support companies during these chaotic and downright unpredictable times.
Schema.org 7.0 published
Version 7.0 is published by Schema.org this month. This update contains new data types designed to support businesses during the pandemic. One of the new properties included in this update is SpecialAnnouncement, which allows companies to easily make announcements and link it to a particular event or topic, such as Covid-19.
Other updates include new properties for Event markup. As we know covid-19 has caused a large number of events and conferences to be either cancelled or postponed. The launch of this new property has made announcing these updates online an easier process. As more and more people have moved to a more digital set up, some events have adapted and moved from a physical event to being hosted online instead. Updates to event markup have enabled businesses to make attendees aware of this change and ensure people don’t miss out on opportunities.
Google My Business
Google has been sending out emails advising businesses to update their Google My Business listings to inform clients of any changes to their ways of operating. This might include different opening hours or a restriction on services offered; it’s a valuable way of keeping your site visitors in the loop.
Nofollow gets a new policy
As of 1st March, a new policy has been launched for nofollow links. Rather than being deemed a directive, Google will now be treating the nofollow attribute as a hint only for crawling and indexing. This is how all link attributes are being treated.
What is a nofollow link?
When Website A embeds a link pointing to Website B, the link will either have a follow or nofollow attribute. Nofollow was designed to stop search engines passing on any of Website A’s trust to Website B. On the other hand, the follow attribute allows search engines to pass on some of Website A’s trust to Website B. This passing of authority can then impact the performance of Website B in search (depending how trusted Website A is to begin with).
Is this update good?
We believe so! Before 1st March 2020, a nofollow meant websites could choose to pass on none of their trust to the website they linked to. This helped them conserve their own trust and authority.
A link from a high authority website is a trust signal to Google. But if the link is marked as nofollow, that signal is not there. By amending the nofollow to no longer be a directive, websites with backlinks from high authority sites, such as Wikipedia, suddenly have the potential to gain more value out of these links.
Google is also much better at recognising spammy websites by itself, so there is an unlikely chance that this will impact your SEO in a negative way.
FAQ Schema guidelines get an update
Google have updated their content policies for FAQ markup. If you look under the ‘Content Guidelines’ section of the developer page, you can find a new bullet point has been added. This addition states that is you repeat FAQ content across the site (say, for example, the same FAQs appear in the footer of all pages), websites should only mark up one instance of this content with FAQ Schema.
The repercussions of not following this new guidelines are unclear, but generally it’s best to do what Google wants. So, we recommend checking your website conforms to this policy update!
Want to avoid violation, so it’s important that websites are updated to conform to new policies.
Mobile First Indexing
Google have confirmed that Mobile First Indexing will be fully rolled out by September, which is exciting to hear. Last month they said it would be soon; now we have a deadline. All our clients have Mobile First Indexing enabled, but if your site doesn’t, now is a good time to check if your site is optimised for mobile. This will help to prevent any negative impact to your performance once the site moves over.