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 Goes All Mobile

This week, Google announced that they are moving the entire web over to mobile first indexing. Here’s the explanation directly from their announcement:

It’s been a few years now that Google started working on mobile-first indexing – Google’s crawling of the web using a smartphone Googlebot. From our analysis, most sites shown in search results are good to go for mobile-first indexing, and 70% of those shown in our search results have already shifted over. To simplify, we’ll be switching to mobile-first indexing for all websites starting September 2020. In the meantime, we’ll continue moving sites to mobile-first indexing when our systems recognize that they’re ready.

They recommend responsive design as the best way to ensure mobile-first indexing is a cinch.

Studio Takeaway: What does this mean for online businesses? Well, according to Google, nearly 70% of the websites they’re crawling are “good to go,” so it may not mean much for you. However, if you have a feeling that you’re not on responsive platform, this is your final warning. Don’t get left behind.

COVID-19 Impacting Search Marketing Industry in Many Ways

The spread of COVID-19 has been headline news for about a month and we in the search marketing industry are starting to see some impact to our day to day. Search Engine Journal published an article about the many ways COVID-19 has impacted the lives of search industry pros.

In particular, they commented on how the Coronavirus is impacting SEO Consulting.

Ranking number one means nothing if there are no sales and that’s what happened in the 2008 recession, sales collapsed across a wide range of industries.

This affected search marketing because clients dropped off because they could no longer afford to pay for consulting.

Some industries managed to keep earning. Yet I recall that many had to discount fees to hang on to long term clients whose earnings fell due to the recession.

Studio Takeaway: Ummm…maybe this is the case. There’s definitely a correlation between market recessions and marketing services being put on hold. If you’re not bringing in money, it’s hard to justify those extra services that help prop up your business. There’s also corollary here: online shopping is going to increase. Assuming that package and mail delivery is going to continue, ecommerce businesses should see a modest bump, especially for those that specialize in home and consumer goods. If people weren’t already shopping for essentials online, they’ll be more inclined to do so now.

Google’s John Mueller Says They Don’t Favor Shopify’s SEO Over Other Platforms

John Mueller has come out saying they don’t favor certain CMSs or web platforms over others. Each is judged on their own technical merit.

He goes on to say the following:

“I don’t think mass adoption changes much, but if something’s important, we’ll want to show it where relevant in search. With a reasonable technical foundation, there’s nothing that really needs to be done for that. Making a good foundation is easier nowadays, but not a given :)”

Studio Takeaway: This one is near and dear to my heart. Studio, who’s parent company is Volusion, has dealt with these Shopify/Google SEO voodoo claims for some time. People always tend to think that Google is playing games with the web and back-channeling favoritism for certain platforms. Now we know that’s not the case.

Google Updates FAQ Schema Guidelines

This week, Google updated their developer guidelines to their FAQ schema rich results markup.

Along with a litany of other guidelines, they added the following:

“If you have FAQ content that is repetitive on your site (meaning, the same question and answer appear on multiple pages on your site), mark up only one instance of that FAQ for your entire site.”

Studio Takeaway: As more and more marketers are learning the benefits of using the FAQ schema, it’s natural that some will abuse it. Our goal is to always be relevant and above board with how we utilize Google features. Simple rule is “don’t be spammy.”

Other Interesting Links