Authors: Robyn Riley, Nicole Moore, Carolyn Wilborn, Niki Morock
In our May 2022 SEO News Recap, dive into the latest news and updates from ROI’s SEO experts on search engine optimization, including updates to Google Search Console, news from Google I/O 2022, tips for Google product reviews, and more.
Google I/O 2022 Recap
Google’s annual developer conference, Google I/O, took place on May 11 and May 12, 2022. As usual, the company announced a number of new products, product enhancements, and other changes. Here’s a quick recap of some of the major search announcements from the event:
- Google’s recently announced Multisearch feature is being enhanced soon, allowing searchers to look for local results “near me.”
- You’ll soon be able to learn more about a website when using the Google App with an “About This Result” overlay.
- Google Lens is also being expanded, with the goal of a user being able to pan the camera across an area (such as a shelf in a store) to see relevant information overlaid on the image
- The company is also working to improve their ability to understand skin tone; now, users can filter makeup queries in Google Images by skin tone. In the “coming months,” Google plans to introduce a way for businesses to label their imagery for skin tone, hair color, and hair texture.
- Google Assistant is being improved for more natural conversation.
- In late April, Google expanded its policy to allow individuals to remove personally identifiable information from Search. Soon, the company will release a tool to allow this to be done more easily.
Read a transcript of Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s keynote at Google I/O 2022: Advancing knowledge and computing, and view the full program at the Google I/O 2022 website. Google also released a blog on all announcements, 100 things we announced at I/O.
Google Search Console to Release New Video Page Indexing Report
Google Search Console will soon include a video indexing report! In this new section of GSC, you’ll see the video pages Google finds on your site along with crawling and indexing information about each. To make sure your videos are easily found and indexed, be sure to read Google’s video best practices. Key elements include:
- Structured Data Markup (schema.org)
- Making sure video pages aren’t blocked by robots.txt or noindex tags
- Having only one video per page
- Wrapping the video in the most appropriate HTML tag
- Submitting a video sitemap
- Specifying a thumbnail image (minimum 60×30 pixels)
- Using a valid video file type (MPEG, MP4, MOV, WebM, etc.)
Google: Cross-Linking Language/Country Versions Won’t Lead to a Negative Ranking Impact
ROI considers internal linking to be an SEO best practice and Google’s John Mueller recently solidified this recommendation via Twitter. An SEO asked if there were any negative impacts from cross-linking country/language sites with or without hreflang tags. John said:
“I can’t think of any reason why cross-linking your language/country versions of pages would have a negative impact. It just makes everything much easier, for users, and for search engines.”
If you have multiple country or language sites, feel free to link between them.
Gaps in Search Console Data
A number of data gaps in Google Search Console were reported in late April and early May; all issues have been resolved as of this writing. Typically, these types of bugs are fixed quickly – as was the disappearing Average Position metric – and in some cases, it’s simply a delay in data being processed. According to Google’s John Mueller, a gap in the data in one of your GSC reports isn’t a signal of a problem on your site; rather, it’s missing data that should be backfilled once available, if possible.
Google Search Console Notices for Removing Intrusive Interstitials
GSC now sends email notifications for webmasters who have intrusive interstitials on their site. What is an intrusive interstitial? Google says:
“Intrusive interstitials and dialogs are page elements that obstruct users’ view of the content, usually for promotional purposes. Interstitials are overlays on the whole page and dialogs are overlays only on a part of the page, sometimes also obfuscating the underlying content.”
As internet users, we see these “pop-ups” on many sites. How they’re implemented can determine if it’s hard for Google and other search engines (and users) to understand and interact with your site, however. Intrusive interstitials do impact your overall page experience signals and can impact your rankings, so if you’ve seen a drop in performance after implementation, consider adjusting the functionality of your interstitial or removing it from your site.
Google Search Console May Stop Collecting Data After Inactivity by Site Owner
Google’s John Mueller confirmed that even if your GSC account is verified, if “the data’s not being useful (nobody’s using it),” Google may stop collecting data in your profile.
If you haven’t logged into GSC in a while, be sure to take a peek and make sure you still have new data coming in! John did not specify a timeframe for how often it needs checking, so Search Engine Roundtable recommends every month or so to be safe.
Making Collapsed Content Accessible With hidden=until-found
Accordions are commonly used to hide content in collapsed sections to fit more on a page. However, this can make content inaccessible when using a find-in-page search.
Consider adding this HTML attribute: hidden=until-found to the container for your hidden content to make it possible for browsers to search text in the hidden region. Most importantly, adding this attribute allows hidden content to be accessible by search engines.
Google on Product Reviews Update: Content Should Add New Information to Body of Knowledge
Google Product Reviews Updates can affect organic and affiliate performance. Google has emphasized that the focus is on the quality of content and whether it contributes new information to the overall body of knowledge of a product. Reviews that simply repeat specs or manufacturer’s description don’t give readers insight into a product, and Google shook up how content ranks with the March Product Review Update.
Google Adds New Help Document for Valid Page Metadata
Google regularly updates its developer documentation to make its guidelines clearer. This month, Google added a page explaining that “using valid page metadata ensures that Google can process the HTML markup of your pages.”
This help page includes a list of elements that are valid to use inside the <head> as well as a list of invalid elements. These lists are important because Google will ignore any element – even if it’s valid – that appears after an invalid element.
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- Google Blog, The Keyword. Go beyond the search box: Introducing multisearch.
- Google Blog, The Keyword. New options for removing your personally identifiable information from Search.
- Google Blog, The Keyword. Google I/O 2022: Advancing knowledge and computing.
- Google I/O. Google I/O 2022 Events Page.
- Google Blog, The Keyword. 100 things we announced at I/O.
- Search Engine Land. Google Search Console to release new video page indexing report.
- Google Search Central Blog. Video best practices.
- Search Engine Roundtable. Google: Cross Linking Language/Country Versions Won’t Lead To A Negative Ranking Impact.
- Search Engine Roundtable. Google Search Console May Stop Collecting Data After Inactivity By Site Owner.
- Search Engine Roundtable. Google Search Console Performance Report Average Position Metric Goes Missing (It’s Now Fixed).
- Twitter. Tweet from @JohnMu.
- Search Engine Land. Google Search Console notices for removing intrusive interstitials.
- Google Chrome Developers Blog. Making collapsed content accessible with hidden=until-found.
- Search Engine Roundtable. Google On Product Reviews Update: Content Should Add New Information To Body Of Knowledge.
- Google Search Central Blog. Use valid page metadata.