In our SEO News Roundup this month we take a look at the many Google updates on Core Web Vitals, Google Ads, Structured Data and much, much more.
In our SEO News Roundup this month we take a look at the many Google updates on Core Web Vitals, Google Ads and Structured Data, new recommendations for Robots.Txt and Bing upgrades and say hello to a brand-new search engine named ‘Brave’.
Core Web Vitals will have a softer impact initially
Core Web Vitals has been updated but, Google's Danny Sullivan has said that there won’t be a large impact overnight. In a similar vein to mobile friendliness, he said that while using it more heavily initially doesn’t make much sense, over time it may become more valuable.
Microsoft Bing rolls out 5 upgrades to search results
These upgrades have launched in the US only for the first few weeks but will be rolled out elsewhere thereafter and include:
- Intuitive highlighting - SERPs will adapt to intuitively highlight content that searchers are engaging with. Bing extracts information and displays it inline without leaving the results page.
- Integrated visual search - Users will have the option to instantly conduct a visual search to find similar-looking items. Bing has integrated the visual search button into results, which allows users to conduct an image-based query with just a click.
- Expandable Carousels - Bing is upgrading its carousels with a feature that displays additional info when users hover on the results.
- An infographic like SERPs - An upgrade that will have more "style and substance", combining text and imagery.
- Local search upgrades - Applying the above updates but to local search as well. For example, doing a generic search will link you to more specific information from multiple sources - if you searched for Paris, you would be linked to resources like "things to do in Paris" and so on.
The latest search engine; Brave
The creators of an open-source web browser are now launching a privacy-focused search engine that will offer options for ad-supported and organic results. Named Brave, the offering is being advertised as “the first private alternative to Google Search and Google Chrome on both mobile and desktop.” Private alternatives to Google do currently exist but importantly, they don't offer both a search engine and browser on mobile and desktop.
Google adds structured data for practice problems, math solver and Search Console reports
Following testing, these features are now live with Google explaining the new releases as “interactive features [that] test your knowledge of high school math, chemistry and physics topics directly on Search.”
- Practice problem structured data: Type ‘Chemical bond practice questions’ into Google and see multiple-choice questions delivered for the users to answer. This feature can be added with the new structured data and a quiz property for each practice problem you want to be featured in Google results.
- Math problem structured data: Users can enter an equation within Google and an explanation can be provided by official math solvers. Google explained: “math solver page provides a tool to help users input their math equations and find explanations for how to solve a math problem".
- A new rich results status report in Google Search Console: These will help with the new practice problem and math problem structured data to help solve any issues. Google explained that this will “show all errors, warnings, and valid items for pages with structured data.”
In 2020, zero-click searches made in Google hit close to 65%
A worldwide study by SimilarWeb found that 64.82% of google searches, desktop, and mobile combined, resulted in people not clicking through to another web property. This data was taken from around 5.1 trillion Google searches between January 2020 – December 2020.
A few things to note from the findings are that zero-click searches are much higher on mobile, which came in at 77.22%. The overall findings could mean users find answers to their queries straight away from the results page, such as featured snippets. The cause of the increase could be down to COVID as more people are forced onto their mobile devices, however, the increase of zero-clicks is predicted to continue over the coming years.
Google: link quality over link quantity
John Mueller confirmed that it’s not about the number of links that a site has, more so the quality of the links. John reiterates this on his Twitter page when answering questions on backlinks.
"I would think more about quality rather than quantity." John also adds that "counting links is somewhat futile in any case."
One person asked whether making 5k links themselves to their site would be detrimental to their site. John answered: “On the one hand, Google doesn't count links. On the other hand, making links to your site yourself is against the webmaster guidelines. So overall, just making 5000 links yourself sounds like a bad idea.”
Google: When de-indexing pages from search use noindex, not Robots.txt
In March, an SEO on Twitter was asking John Mueller why the blocked by robots rule he had on pages that he didn’t want to be indexed, were still getting indexed by Google.
He made two points here, the first most obvious one is that if the page is ranking for queries that you care about then instead of de-indexing them it would be better to improve the pages. The other main point he made is when de-indexing pages it is better to noindex them than blocking them by robots. This is because noindex rules appear to have more power on how a page is indexed I.e. index and noindex on the same page will still result in the page not being indexed.
Google Ads mobile app adds custom and performance insights notifications
From the 4th of March, users can now set up custom notifications for the metrics that matter to their business the most. The notifications from the app are specifically designed to alert you when there's a significant performance change as well as to explain why that would be. There is also the possibility of Google providing recommendations in these notifications as well.