SEO Tips and Update May 27th 2020

Algorithm Updates

The latest on the May core update

We do not have much to add on the May core update. If you haven’t seen it yet, we outlined several theories in our article on Google’s May update.

I do feel that this update was primarily about how Google determines which answers are relevant to a searcher’s question. Also, I feel that in some cases, if elements of trust and authoritativeness are present, Google is allowing some “lesser authoritative” sites to rank in the top ten if they can clearly demonstrate that they have real-life expertise on the subject.

Barry Schwartz did a report on a possible tweak to the update around May 21. We did have several clients with further increases in Google organic traffic on this day, but not enough for us to be confident that something significant changed at this time.

Google Announcements

The Google Webmasters have a new podcast on the way: Search Off the Record

John Mueller, Martin Splitt, and Gary Illyes are teaming up for a new podcast series that’ll discuss behind the scenes insight at Google. It aims to not be another source of documentation but instead will give you some background knowledge regarding some ideas — and the thought process of leading up to them before they’re announced.

If you’re eager to hear about “little bits and pieces” from their daily work, interesting finds they’ve encountered on Twitter or at an event, check out this podcast and enjoy the laughs along the way

Find the full trailer and subscribe to Search Off the Record →

Google SERP Changes

A new HowTo appears in the SERPs

It seems that Google is testing new How-to rich results. The feature, that is currently only available for mobile devices, makes good use of How-to Schema to display how-to information. However, as some Twitter users pointed out, not every query seems to qualify for this feature just yet.

Haven’t seen this format for HowTo’s before.. waiting for @rustybrick to tell me it’s old. cc: @type_SEO@glenngabe@brodieseo and it’s on desktop, not really sure when they enabled it for desktop. #SEO

Google Expands Review Attributes to More Categories

Mike Blumenthal noticed that the selectable attributes in reviews has expanded to more categories in Google My Business. This allows reviewers to click or tap on attributes for a business that help GMB determine the “sentiment” around a review outside of the limited words most reviewers leave. Mike did some additional research over the weekend and explained in the Last Week in Local podcast that Google reviews averaged about 140 characters with spaces – that’s not really enough words to give google a strong idea of reviewer satisfaction or dissatisfaction.

Google has started asking for attributes when leaving a review, and showing them with the reviews. This is helpful for providing more information with those rating-only reviews. Here’s the full breakdown from @mblumenthal on the @GatherUp blog:

Featured Snippets Study: Results From 3,500+ Internet Users– Jonathan Gorham
May 20, 2020

This new study from EngineScout and Jonathan Gorham surveyed over 3,500 people in order to try and compare the click-through rates for featured snippets and regular search listings, as well as try and determine the reasons why someone may or may not click on a featured snippet. So if you were wondering if chasing a featured snippet was still worth it now that a page can only be found in either the featured snippet or within the regular search listings, then you’ll definitely want to read this to get the full insights.

Case Study: Does Webpage Schema (About & Mentions) Improve Rankings?– Dixon Jones
May 21, 2020

Google has openly stated that structured data does not impact rankings, but has also commented that it is useful for helping crawlers better understand a page (and the entities associated with it) and could also encourage better clickthrough rates among users. With this, it’s clear that structured data is important, but just how much influence can it have? This recent experiment asked more specifically, is WebPage schema worth the effort to implement?