SEO News Round Up: October 2020

– 10th November 2020 –


What happened in the world of SEO in October?


October was a slow burner for SEO, with some understated, but important updates revealed! For regular updates on the world of digital marketing and our company you can sign up to our Monthly Newsletter.


Passage Indexing is coming to search

Google announced another change to search: passage indexing. This has emerged from the need to provide users with the correct answers to long-tailed keywords. In their blog discussing AI and Search, Google revealed they could now index individual passages in a webpage.

I don’t fully trust this, as following their initial announcement Google took to Twitter and contradicted their initial claims. On Twitter, they claimed that this change would not allow individual passages to be indexed independently of a landing page. Instead, individual passages will be considered as a ranking factor.

Either way, the structure of your content just became much more important – if you weren’t already prioritising it, you will be now.

Passage Indexing is the ongoing influence of AI. AI has progressed more and more over the years; not only has it become more integral in how we interact with, it’s also impacted the types of results we’re shown. The biggest change in recent years was the release of BERT, an algorithm that uses machine learning to understand the language people use in search. Last year BERT affected about 10% of searches, now it’s estimated to be over 90%.

Language nuance and content structure are going to be even more important over the next year. There’s going to be no room for any old tricks such as targeting misspellings or targeting every single keyword with its own page. Finesse will be needed and the rewards will be worth it.




Hum to Search

Speaking of machine learning, did you see the latest music update to Google search? If you’re like me, you’re very good at remembering tunes. Lyrics and song names, not so much. For those moments when a tune is stuck in your head and you just can’t say where it’s from, Google has a solution.

Now you can hum a tune to Google and it’ll be able to show you a list of potential songs. This feature is available both on iOS and Android via the Google app; on iOS in English and in 20 different languages on Android. Language options are expected to expand on both in the future.

How does it work?

Google assures us we don’t need to have a musical voice for this feature to work. When you hum into the app the tune is translated into a numerical sequence. This sequence is then compared to other number sequences/ songs until potential matches are identified and listed.

Whilst this update won’t affect search, it’ll be a saviour for many.




Pause Request Indexing

Halfway through October Google released a Tweet announcing the disabling of the Request Indexing attribute of the URL Inspection Tool. This was done to allow infrastructure work to commence without causing any issues. With no enabling data revealed, this has continued into November, with Request Indexing still flagged today as temporarily unavailable.

Request Indexing?

If you’re unfamiliar with this feature, it can be found within Google Search Console’s URL Inspection Tool. It allows you to submit a URL to be crawled by Google. This means that the next time your site is crawled by the search engine, any pages you submit will definitely be included.

What does this mean?

It means that, for now if you have any pages you want to make sure are crawled, your power is limited. With Request Indexing disabled we’re subject to the whims of Googlebot when it visits your site. If the page you want crawled is a core page, then you’re probably okay. If it’s an older page that is situated deep within your navigation, you may want to do some internal linking and make that page clearly accessible.




Bing Takes Website Exploration to the Next Level

Bing’s webtools have seen further development in October, with Site Explorer.

What is Site Explorer?

In the words of Bing, this tool shows you how ‘Microsoft Bing sees your site’. Through this file system tool you can see the status for all the URLs on your site in search. Whether the page has a no index tag, broken links, or is blocked in the robots.txt, you can find out in Site Explorer. You can then use this information to mend, modify and improve your website.


Bing Site Explorer



The Benefit of Site Explorer?

The navigation has been simplified by categorising the different areas of the site into subfolders, where all information is available courtesy of recent crawls. There’s so much information that Bing are deeming the tool the one stop for all SEO health.

Have we tried this tool yet? No. But it is something to be aware of and a tool we look forward to investigating further in the future.




Bye Bye Data-Vocabulary (Final Date Confirmed)

Data-vocabulary is out. First announced on 21 January 2020, the structured data format data-vocabulary is being deprecated. This means it will no longer be acknowledged by Google. This is to allow the focus to be on a single structured data format;

Courtesy of the chaos caused by Covid-19 the deprecation of data-vocabulary was postponed in April 2020, with a final deadline to be confirmed at a later date. This final date has finally been announced and it is 21 January 2021.

To ease us into the removal of data-vocabulary, inclusion of the structured data on your site will begin to be flagged as warnings in GSC. This will help you identify which pages need to be updated in the next few months.

We’ve known about this pending deprecation for some time now, now is the time to get your structured data in order.




Did we miss anything?

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


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