Authors: Robyn Riley, Nicole Moore, Niki Morock
1. Google’s May 2022 Core Algorithm Update
On May 25, Google announced the latest core algorithm update, which was completed 15 days later on June 9. While Google rarely explains what each core algorithm update entails, here’s some recommended reading if you experienced a decline in rankings and traffic after an update is always the same: What site owners should know about Google’s core updates.
During the rollout, a Twitter user asked Google’s John Mueller what the timeframe is for Google’s data collection that’s used in an update. John answered that it uses data collected well in advance and leading up to the day of the rollout. After the update is finished, data is collected normally over time.
2. Google Shows Video Thumbnail in SERPs Without Embedding Video on Page?
Search Engine Roundtable wrote an article reminding SEOs that if a video is removed from a page, the open graph tags (og:video) will need to be removed, too. Otherwise, a video thumbnail may show up in the search results that leads to a page without a video to click and play (which would likely increase bounce rate).
Also, if you have videos on your site and want them to be eligible for video features in SERPs, Google recently updated their guidelines to include that “at least 80% of the thumbnail’s pixels must have an alpha (transparency) value greater than 250,” so keep that in mind when creating your thumbnails.
3. So Far, Google Analytics 4 Does Not Support AMP
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) will be the only source of new Google analytics data on July 1, 2023, and as of this writing, it does not support Google AMP. That means if you have AMP pages, you will not see tracking for them in GA4. Google has not specified when or confirmed if there will be AMP tracking in GA4, but when the information is available, we will keep you posted!
4. New Google Author Markup Best Practices for Article Structured Data
As website owners continue to work on their site’s E-A-T, it makes sense that the Schema.org documentation for Author markup would be updated. To help Google better understand your content, it is recommended that you add Author structured data markup to specify the authors of your site’s content.
- Include all authors in the markup
- Specify multiple authors when applicable
- Use the additional fields that are available to you
- Only specify the author’s name in the “author.name” property
- Use the appropriate author type (person, organization, etc.)
5. Google: It’s Not About 301 Redirects Passing Full Credit or Not
John Mueller recently responded to a Twitter question on whether 301 redirects pass full credit by stating:
“It’s a good practice for any move to update the important old links to point at the right new pages.”
Google also expanded its redirect help document with additional information. 301 redirects are extremely important during replatforms, and we always recommend working with an SEO team to mitigate performance drops in a replatform transition.
6. Why 100% Indexing Isn’t Possible – and Why That’s OK
Seeing URLs not indexed on GSC can lead to frustration, but it may not be problematic. Google has shared that the web expands faster than Google’s ability to crawl (and index) every URL and that a number of factors can impact crawl capacity. Site speed, popularity of your URLs, fresh content, and Google’s knowledge of new URLs all play a role in indexation.
In order to be indexed, Google uses two concepts mentioned in the Quality Rater Guidelines (QRGs): beneficial purpose and page quality. If a page’s content is generally repetitive and lacks additional value, Google can choose not to index it. This issue is typically seen when many pages are created for programmatic purposes.
Keep in mind that 100% indexing isn’t always a success metric if business goals are still met. Analyzing the coverage report of excluded pages in Google Search Console can help determine if your site’s revenue-driving URLs are dropping out of Google’s index and how that impacts business KPIs.
7. Is Google Search Showing Fewer Sitelinks?
Sitelinks in search results give additional exposure to organic results, and with the possibility that Google is transitioning from showing six to two (or a maximum of four) sitelinks, click-through rates may drop.
Fewer sitelinks = less of a chance users will click results = less traffic = less revenue.
With SERPs already flooded with various results above organic listings, we’ve seen cases where only the top two results appear on page one. One positive of fewer sitelinks, however, is that there’s additional vertical space that will (hopefully) mean more organic results.
8. Google Hints Useful Nofollow Links Won’t Pass Much or Any Weight
In 2005, when nofollow link attributes were launched, their goal was to prevent comment spam. They evolved to be used for any links you don’t want Google to count, such as paid links. Google used to simply ignore links that had this attribute but, as of 2019, Google claimed they could use nofollow link attributes as a “hint” for ranking, crawling, and indexing purposes.
More recently, Danny Sullivan from Google stated that nofollow links are unlikely to pass much or any weight. In related news, Twitter recently removed nofollow attributes from links on their site, so SEOs are left to wonder whether links on Twitter will actually bring value.
9. Chrome Now Shows Google Lens Results in the Same Browser Tab
Chrome has a useful new feature that lets you use Google Lens to see image search results in the same browser tab you’re using when you click on it. For those of us who prefer to keep our open tabs to a minimum, it’s quite helpful!
If you would like to find more information about the subject of an image, you can right-click on it and choose “Search image with Google Lens.” Chrome will then open the results on the right side of your screen. For additional information, you can click on “Find image source” at the top of the new column, and Chrome will then open a new tab to show the full image search.
As more users discover this new feature, website owners may see new or increased traffic coming from this source.
10. Google Explains How It Handles Titles in Multiple Languages
If your site includes multiple languages, you’ll be interested in this update from Google. According to a Google Search Central blog post, Google will rewrite your page’s title tag to match the predominant language of the page.
The blog post gives two examples of titles that may be rewritten. In the first case, the title includes the same information repeated in a second language. In the second case, the title is written in English (for example), but the language used on the page is Hindi. To make Google’s rewrite of your page titles less likely, go ahead and match the language of the title to what’s on the page.
11. Simplified Search Console Reports with New Item Classifications
To reduce confusion for Search Console users, Google announced that it’s simplifying the URL inspection tool. In the past, the report could show three statuses: Error, Valid with Warning, or Valid. With this update, there will only be two statuses: Invalid and Valid.
The goal is to make prioritizing fixes easier for users. The supporting information below the graph in the new version of the report clarifies why items are invalid, making troubleshooting much less work.
This is only a change to reporting in Search Console. Google has not changed the way it crawls, indexes, or serves pages.
12. Google Engineer Believes the Company’s AI Has Become Sentient
In a bit of news that seems straight out of a sci-fi movie, a Google engineer was put on administrative leave after publicly announcing that he believed Google’s Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA) had developed sentience. Blake Lemoine said the program had been consistent in its answers about feelings and asked to have its rights as a person respected. Google disagrees with Lemoine’s assessment.