The Week in Search is a weekly column produced by the Studio team to keep marketing professionals and ecommerce merchants up to date on changes in the search industry, and provide valuable context on what it all means. If you have questions or think we missed something, email us directly.

Murmurs of a New Years Eve Search Algorithm Update

Not a whole lot of stuff going on at this time in the year, but Search Engine Roundtable is reporting murmurs of an algorithm update. This is mostly just chatter in the SEO forums connected to SERoundtable. It’s not necessarily backed up by the various metrics that SERP tracking tools provide. 

Studio Takeaway: We’re not seeing a bunch of fluctuations at the moment, but keep in mind if you’re a real rank rat.

John Mueller Dives Deep on Headings for SEO

John Mueller is even working over the holidays. In a recent webmasters office hours session, he went big on the SEO tactics related to Headings. 

First, he noted that headings do not have a huge impact on SEO as they’re not read the way a Title Tag might be. Instead, Google reads them as they’re naturally intended to be: context to what you’re about to read.

The traditional thought has been that your most important keywords should go in H1, next most important in the H2, and so on. Mueller points out that that model isn’t really applicable.

“…what we use these headings for is well we have this big chunk of text or we have this big image and there’s a heading above that, therefore maybe this heading applies to this chunk of text or to this image.”

“So it’s not so much like there are five keywords in these headings, therefore this page will rank for these keywords but more, here’s some more information about that piece of text or about that image on that page.”

“And that helps us to better understand how to kind of frame that piece of text, how to frame the images that you have within those blocks. And with that it’s a lot easier to find… the right queries that lead us to these pages.”

Studio Takeaway: With the update of BERT, you have to assume that Google is reading your web page the way a human being would. Human’s scan for context, meaning, and insight into a particular topic. Headings are a great way to add logical sections and context to your web page and should be used as such.

Search Engine Journal put together a big rundown of Heading and SEO here.

John Mueller Shares Insight into Podcast SEO

Do you have a podcast and want to know how to tell Google that you are an audio-focused medium? Simple, use text content. John Mueller recently chimed in on a Reddit thread about podcast SEO. Here’s his feedback:

Studio Takeaway: Again, BERT needs text content to crawl. Using tools like headings, body copy, links, transcripts and schema will all help Google understand what your site is about.

Other Interesting Links: