4 min read

November Search Updates

November has been another busy month for Digital Marketers, with retailers enjoying more online sales on Black Friday than ever before. It has also been a busy month for news and updates in SEO and PPC, so we’ve summarised all the main updates and changes so you’re always up to date.

Search Console Crawl Stats Report Update

Google has updated the Crawl Stats Report in Search Console so that it includes more granular reporting into how Google is crawling your website. The update allows users to use Search Console to quickly identify any crawling issues. The Crawl Stats Report can help you track changes in how your website is being tracked, which will give you a strong indication that there is an issue or if you have fixed an issue.   The New Crawl Stats Report features Include:
  • Total number of requests grouped by response code, crawled file type, crawl purpose, and Googlebot type.
  • Detailed information on host status
  • URL examples to show where in your site requests occurred
  • Comprehensive summary for properties with multiple hosts and support for domain properties

YouTube Adds Traffic Source Analytics And An Audio Library

Creators will now be able to see insights into where their traffic comes from thanks to an update to YouTube Analytics. Channel owners will be able to find the report in Youtube Studio under a new section in the Overview area titled “How viewers found this video” which will list out the different types of ways users landed on your videos.    Traffic sources included in the report are:
  • Notifications 
  • Subscription Feed
  • YouTube Recommendations 
    • YouTube Home
    • Up Next
  • Channel Pages
  • Other
  YouTube Studio is also getting its own audio library which includes a collection of thousands of free songs and sound effects for creators to use to improve the quality of their videos. This will allow users to easily add music to their videos whilst avoiding copyright strikes. YouTube Audio Library Screenshot  

YouTube Launches Audio Ads

YouTube is launching a new type of audio-based ad to reach the new wave of users who are consuming more audio centric-content. The main target is to reach users who are using the platform as a music and podcast player.   What is an audio ad? A YouTube audio ad has a VoiceOver delivering the message of the ads while a still image or a simple animation is shown on the screen. YouTube has found that audio ad campaigns have resulted in a significant lift in brand awareness. 

Audio campaigns are in the beta stage and are available for auction on Google Ads and Display & Video 360 on a CPM basis.   With a high percentage of users consuming music and with a high portion of them just leaving it playing in the background, an audio ad would not feel out of place and would be most suitable for those targeting music and podcast listeners.  

Google Updates The Remove Outdated Content Tool

The Remove Outdated Content tool in Google Search Console allows site owners to request removal of URLs that they do not own, and the new update adds a more intuitive user interface.   The capabilities of the tool have not been changed so you won’t lose any functionality. Only the interface has been improved to make the look and feel of the tool to be more consistent with the new Search Console interface. The tool is also better optimised for mobile devices, allowing you to carry out tasks on the go.   Remove content tool

Disavow Links Tool Moved To Search Console

A large number of spammy websites linking to your domain can lead to a big impact on your rankings. This is where the Disavow Links Tool can be put into use. The Disavow Links Tool indicates to Google that a link is spammy and shouldn’t be counted.   It has now been moved to Google Search Console and they have announced that the tool itself has received an upgrade. Google has  also updated their disavow support page to include more information and instructions to support users.   The improvements made to the tool were:
  • An improved interface
  • You can download a disavow file as a text file
  • Error reports for uploaded files are no longer limited to 10 errors
  Disavow Links Tool  

Google Tests Adding Multiple Contextual Links in featured Snippets

Google confirmed that they are testing a new way to display featured snippets, by adding multiple contextual links to the snippet. This means that the featured snippet would not just link to the publisher who created the content, but certain words would link to other publishers and websites.  Below is an example of what it looks like: New Featured Snippets   The aim of this feature is to provide searchers with more context, explaining words and terms they may not know.   However, this could be bad news for publishers as it will likely lead to a loss of clicks to their site. Although Google stated that this is a small experiment and it is still being tested. This feature may never fully launch, and even if it does, it may look and work completely differently.  

Request Indexing Tool Still Down

Google announced back in mid-October that the “Request Indexing” feature of the URL Inspection Tool will be temporarily unavailable as they make some infrastructure changes. However, as we enter December, this feature is still unavailable despite Google claiming that they expect it to be back up and running in the “coming weeks”.   There is still no new update from Google explaining the delay or when they expect it to be available again.   As of 8th of December 2020, There is still no new update from Google explaining the delay or when they expect it to be available again.  

Google Resolves Missing Manual Actions Issue

Around mid-November, many were reporting that manual actions were missing from their Google Search Console accounts. Google issues manual actions against a site when one of their human reviewers determine that the site is not compliant with their webmaster quality guidelines.   This issue meant that many who had a manual action against them suddenly saw a “no issues detected” message being shown instead. Google confirmed a few days later that the issue was resolved and that “everything should be back to normal” now.  

Page Experience Labels To Appear In Search

As part of Google’s Page Experience Update, (launching May 2021 when the Core Web Vitals will be a ranking factor) Google stated that they will also be testing a “visual indicator that highlights pages in search results that have great page experience”.   What Determines Page Experience? The Core Web Vitals signals to Google how optimised your website is to provide the users with the best page experience possible. The Core Web Vitals consists of existing ranking factors, such as mobile-friendliness, page speed and intrusiveness, which is then refined for speed and usability. If a website has a good Core Web Vitals score, the page is determined as offering a good user experience.   Visual indicators of Page Experience in the SERPs Google will test various ways to indicate the Page Experience of the site in a search result. These “visual indicators” may be in the form of AMP icons, slow labels, mobile-friendly labels and more. Testing of the different icons and labels will begin soon and if successful, they will be launching it in May 2021 with the Page Experience Update.

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