I don't think I need to say that Google's August 2018 broad core update was a big deal. You can judge an update by the buzz it gets... and this update was thunderous. Of course, anyone and everyone
is grasping at straws trying to 'figure the update out'. How impactful was the update? Which sites did it hit? What kind of sites were affected? While I can't definitively explain the update (Can anyone?), I did some digging and came back with some small trinkets of algorithmic treasure. Here's what I found.
When it rains it pours, or in SEO terms, when Google showers us with changes to the SERP, it follows them up with even more adjustments! The June SERP's big-ticket momentum rolled right into July as the SERP continued to evolve at break-neck speed... a Speed Update that is. Not only did the search engine roll out its highly anticipated mobile speed update, but it made a splash with some serious SERP feature shifts and a series of tests to hotel Knowledge Panels that make all previous tests look like child's play!
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Have you felt it? Google's SERP features have bulked up and have moved from being a concern to sites ranking organically to being a competitive juggernaut that every SEO needs to constantly consider. Now, the search engine is going all-in with a new tactic: hybrid SERP features that combine elements from multiple features (so as to better hone in on a legion of different user intents). At the same time, it feels like Google is using its "traditional" features to offer a more powerful SERP feature punch these days.
Let's take a walk through the SERP as I've seen it and see what's perhaps going on.
Image Thumbnails, a mobile SERP favorite, are now present on far more SERPs than they had been just days ago. The proliferation of the thumbnails on the mobile SERP does not appear to be a simple across the board increase in the SERP feature. Rather, the data indicates that the uptick is heavily due to the feature now being relevant to local queries on mobile.
The recent past has been an adventurous snapshot in time on the Google SERP. There seems to have been a shift in how Google uses its SERP features on a variety of levels. Due to the dynamism of these adjustments, I don't think we as an industry have fully been able to define the current construct, both in terms of the actual changes that have been made, and in terms of the unifying elements that make them a part of Google's larger strategy. With that, I'd like to present one of the many missing pieces of this puzzle, a new bidding system for Google's Local Pack and Featured Snippets.
Here we go again! Google shakes up the SERP with an unexpected move that saw YouTube lose some significant organic visibility (among a slew of other implications that seem to keep piling up). Not only that, but June gave us more information on two major Google mover and shakers, the mobile-first index
and the Speed update. Oh, and there was another onslaught of SERP feature changes.
Learn how machine learning changes the rules of the game for ranking on page one of the Google SERP. As Google becomes better at understanding intent, Google's machine learning properties have a greater impact on ranking itself and how we go about the optimization process. Get insight on how to identify the way Google sees user intent. At the same time, you'll better understand the role of niche ranking factor studies, and how to go beyond them with query specific analysis.
In what was all but one fell swoop Google has largely done away with Video Thumbnails on the desktop SERP. In its place, the search engine is favoring a video carousel that has until this point been mainly relegated to mobile. Perfectly merging two worlds, the move over to the carousel not only offers a new look for the desktop
SERP, but brings a whole host of implications for both sites and YouTube creators. Let's have a look at what exactly is going on.
Not too shabby. At least, that's my sentiment when looking back on the moves Google made on the May 2018 SERP. After analyzing the changes made to the Google SERP over the course of the month, I'm left wondering where we are heading and what is Google pushing towards? Not that most of us are not always concerned about those two questions, but there were quite a few tests that seem uniquely "interesting." Add on a major change to meta-descriptions and the continued push towards a mobile-first world, and we have ourselves quite the month for this, the latest edition of the SERP News.
Two words can either make or break your day... Featured Snippets. For those that score them with consistency the SERP feature is a godsend, for those that don't... well that's another story entirely. In either case, combining the position zero boxes with yet another two-word term... machine learning... might send some of us into a tizzy. Yet, tizzies aside, that's precisely what I intend to do as I strongly believe that Google's machine learning properties are touching Featured Snippets in all new ways.
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