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.
Google Announces They Will Delay Full Rollout of Mobile First Indexing Until 2021
This week, Google announced the delay in fully rolling out mobile-first indexing to all websites until March 2021. They were originally slated to make the change in September of 2020, but given the current economic, political, and health climate, they figured that website owners may have bigger fish to fry, than having a mobile friendly website.
Here’s how they put it:
“We realize that in these uncertain times, it’s not always easy to focus on work as otherwise, so we’ve decided to extend the timeframe to the end of March 2021. At that time, we’re planning on switching our indexing over to mobile-first indexing.“
Right now, Google has already instituted mobile-first indexing for all new sites and has rolled it out to a large swath of websites across the web.
For those looking to get ready, you can follow Google’s mobile-first developer guidelines here.
Studio Takeaway: This is thoughtful of Google though ti really doesn’t matter for the large chunk of websites on the web that have already been switched to mobile-first indexing. We’ve seen notices in Google Search Console as far back as 2018 saying that client sites have been switched to mobile-first indexing.
Bing Announces WordPress Plugin that Automatically Indexes Content
Now, you can get those expertly-written WordPress blog posts right into Bing’s index when you click the “Publish” button. Bing has announced it’s URL Submissions Plugin which allows webmasters to “to get their content easily, automatically and immediately indexed by Bing as soon as their content is published.”
The clean UI and easy integration allows webmasters to do the following:
- The ability to toggle the automatic submission feature on and off.
- Manually submit a URL to Bing Index.
- View list of recent URL submissions from the plugin.
- Retry any failed submissions from the recent submissions list.
- Download recent URL submissions for analysis.
Studio Takeaway: This is cool! I really love seeing Bing rolling out really useful tools for website owners to quickly and easily leverage their search platform. This coincides with the announcement that WordPress 5.5 will automatically utilize Google sitemap integration.
More Google Updates Chatter, John Mueller Chimes In
This week, SERoundtable reported on murmurings for a Google Algorithm update around July 23 – 24th. This insight is backed up by various algorithm tracking tools showing fluctuations yesterday and today as well as chatter on the various SEO forums.
We haven’t noticed anything drastic today, but it’s noteworthy that John Mueller was asked about search ranking algorithm updates this week in a Google Webmaster Hangouts session.
The question was:
“Would you confirm if Google is making any changes into the search results Because I’m seeing ranking loss and big fluctuations in existing rankings for my Australia based website.”
What could have been a simple yes or no answer turned into a discussion about how SEOs can come to terms with the fact that Google is always updating their algorithms.
Mueller reiterated that fact:
“We make changes all the time. So from that point of view I can pretty much confirm that we have made changes in the search results.”
He neglected to confirm or deny an algorithm update and went on to say this about constantly worrying about upcoming algorithm changes:
“I don’t think that’s really useful, in that sense, because… if you’re making changes all the time why am I seeing changes now? But rather that’s something where I would generally recommend… obviously recognizing these kinds of situations is a good first step. But also letting it settle down, seeing what happens in the end, checking in with other webmasters… to see what kind of changes maybe they’re seeing as well.”
You can watch his response below.
Google – in fact – has a name for their constant barrage of micro updates to their algorithm: quotidian updates.
Quotidian Google updates are updates that happen so often and mainly go so unnoticed that they’re considered mundane.
In 2018 alone, Google processed 3,620 live algorithm launches and 17,523 Live traffic experiments, totaling more than 20,000 algorithm updates that year, or around 58 per day.
Studio Takeaway: While I do think SEOs need to chill out about smaller updates, it’s really hard to ignore a Google algorithm change that drastically changes your traffic in either a positive or negative direction.
Other Interesting Links
- Google’s John Muller discusses how to properly handle big site change: https://www.reddit.com/r/bigseo/comments/hw3q8t/how_to_safely_transfer_sites_without_losing/fyyg2xh/
- Google Search Console adds capability to analyze traffic from News tab: https://twitter.com/googlewmc/status/1285559587576467456
- Google having issues ranking original publisher content above republications in search: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/does-google-have-a-problem-ranking-original-publishers/375085/
- Google Starts Offering Local Services Upgraded Business Profiles: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/upgraded-google-my-business-profiles/375351/
- Apple Updates Search Factors That Power Siri and Spotlight Suggestions on iOS Devices: https://www.seroundtable.com/apple-search-ranking-factors-29821.html
- Twitter Carousel is Back in Google Search Results: https://www.seroundtable.com/twitter-carousel-back-google-search-29802.html