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’s June 23rd Algorithm Update Seems to Have Targeted .gov Sites
On June 23rd, the SEO community noted a big fluctuation in search traffic, enough that many are claiming Google was making a major update to their algorithm. While a lot of folks said it looked like a rollback of the May 5th update, new data suggests that this updates had a big impact on .gov sites.
People are now calling it the Google Federal Update and it seems to have had the biggest impact on official governmental sites and health sites. Check out this screenshot from Lily Ray:
The list includes (among others):
Other folks in the SEO world are echoing the same thing.
Studio Takeaway: What does this mean? Why would Google push out an algorithm that helps .gov and official sites rank better? Part of this is probably quality control and ensuring that official information is being prioritized over propaganda and misinformation. In part, I believe that this is Google avoiding situations that companies like Facebook and Instagram are in for allowing the sharing incorrect information and hate speech.
Google and Bing Team Up to Talk SEO
In the first episode of SEO Mythbusting, Season 2, Google’s Martin Splitt (Developer Advocate, Google) and Sandhya Guntreddy (Principal Program Manager, Microsoft) discuss some of the more rudimentary SEO questions and concerns.
What’s cool about this video is that they Google is actively incorporating insight from their biggest competitor, Bing. Here are the topics addressed:
- If I have a lot of backlinks, will I rank higher? (0:00)
- How to rank at the top of search engines? (1:43)
- I run search ads, will I get ranked higher? (6:09)
- Is the SEO community getting more technical? (6:35)
- Blockers, Robots.txt, Bingbot and Googlebot (7:15)
- Integration of Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools (9:58)
- Third-party tool scores and query intent vs user intent (12:53)
SEOs Are Getting More Work During COVID-19
According to survey and anecdotal data collected by Google, SEOs are generally seeing an increase in work during COVID-19.
Apparently, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analysts are continually monitoring Twitter and other SEO forums to keep tabs on the community, what they’re taking about and (occasionally) answer questions. During COVID-19 Gary Illyes noticed that some SEOs went quiet while others became more active.
He conducted several polls to determine how the SEO industry might have changed due to COVID-19. Here are the results:
As you can see, the results are a little confounding. Essentially, it’s saying that SEOs haven’t changed their process at all, they’re just simply receiving more work.
Studio Takeaway: From our perspective, things have definitely returned to a somewhat normal workload after the crunch of March and April. It seems like the trend is that more businesses are pursuing an online capability and so are turning to SEOs to help them get their business out there.
Other Interesting Links
- Google web.dev conference sheds light on “Cumulative Layout Shift” metric as part of Google’s new Page Experience Update rolling out in 2021: https://www.seroundtable.com/google-cls-measures-lifecycle-page-29710.html
- Google updates their “How Search Works” document: https://www.seroundtable.com/google-updates-how-google-search-works-29690.html
- Google’s John Mueller gets blowback for claiming top sites don’t use an SEO plugin: https://www.seroundtable.com/google-top-ranking-sites-seo-plugins-29696.html