Written by Aaron Rains January 31st 2024

Danny Sullivan advises on quality for a specific site

Brandon Saltamacchia tweeted asking for help because his articles are not appearing in the search results. Here is one of them. You don’t often see Google giving specific advice on improving quality. Danny’s response was quite helpful.

Danny’s points were:

  1. It’s not obvious that there is original content. (My note: This is the first thing mentioned in Google’s helpful content guidance, “Does the content provide original information, reporting, research, or analysis?”
  2. It’s not clear that they’ve actually used the product (they have, but it’s not clear to the reader as the content demonstrating the experience is hidden within a video carousel.)
  3. Some of the devices they are recommending don’t exist! It might be unsatisfying for a reader.
  4. The last updated date keeps changing, even though the page wasn’t updated. (Note: This was something Google specifically called out recently in their helpful content documentation .)
  5. Some of the information on the page is dated.

help full page content data

He pointed out that none of those things were direct ranking factors, but Google’s systems are designed to reward reliable helpful content meant for people, and the more content aligns with that goal, the more likely it is to be successful.​

SERP changes of note

Cindy Krum noticed interesting personalization where the search results showed her an icon next to pages she had visited previously.

Changing serps

More people are seeing places where Google is encouraging users to add a note.

google places

​Results from the web? These look like some of the groups of helpful content websites we have been seeing pop up in SGE like features.

sge features

You can no longer see the cache of a page from the SERPs. You can still see one by going to https://google.com/search?q=cache:yoursite.com.

Brodie Clark noticed a new snippet that allows users to copy a coupon code from the search results.

Google may add a frowning or smiley face emoji to the filters you can use when searching reviews.

Google smiley faces

Shalom Goodman noticed a new type of website carousel in SGE. I’ve been seeing this type of result in Assistant as well, and others have seen similar results within the regular search results.

The websites recommended always fit the bill of helpful content. They usually are either websites known for their topic, authoritative sites in general, or something that demonstrates experience (like a YouTube video perhaps.)

carousel in sge



More SEO info and tips

Colan Nielsen from Sterling Sky tested to see if adding a custom service to your GBP improved rankings. It turns out that there may be some benefit.

Colan also noticed that emojis added to your custom services get pulled into your justifications.

gbp improved ranking

Ahrefs did an experiment where they added a summarize button at the top of an article for a user to generate an AI summary. Some people clicked on it, but not many. They didn’t notice any improvement in search traffic.

Here’s a link building tip by Jamie I.F. Do a reverse image search for your unique images. You can then reach out to people who are using those images without permission and ask if they can link to you.

In the latest Search off the Record podcast, Gary Illyes said that HTML structure doesn’t matter that much when it comes to rankings. He added more context on LinkedIn.

html structure matters in ranking