Backlink Breaker - New Structured Data, Evergreen Googlebot, 3D/AR in Search

Google I/O has been bringing the heat with all these new announcements.

The News

Google announced support for FAQ and How-To structured data. How-To is designed for step by step tasks, so this is a great opportunity for blog posts and how-to content from company blogs and content marketing projects. According to Google, this can also show up on Google Assistant to provide a voice-guided experience through your content. Whoa. FAQ is setup for a list of frequently asked questions and answers on a specific topic. Another great opportunity for FAQs pages on company websites. As with most structured data, this announcement leads to a deeper question: do you want to give up greater visibility for less clicks? In my opinion, visibility is still just as valuable as a click. A searcher is still interacting with you brand, and if the content is really good, studies show they are still likely to click through. The power of search is not always about direct visit to your site, but interaction with your content.  

Googlebot is now evergreen, meaning it will remain updated to the current version of Chromium (the open source browser that Chrome is built on). Google’s crawling capabilities will grow step-by-step with web browser technology, saving some time on technical SEO workarounds modern sites face. There will always be limitations, particularly around JavaScript, and you still need to follow SEO best-practices when building web pages, but the gap between modern browsing and crawling is now much smaller.

Google also announced support for 3D objects and AR in search. Basically, searchers can now view 3D objects in search results or AR overlays projected into their environments. Pretty cool, but not super practical for everyone. If you have 3D and AR objects in your toolbox, this opens up some nice new distribution opportunities. If you’re looking for new creative tests, and you have the budget/capabilities, it could be time test an SEO 3D/AR content strategy.

Google News gets more information with a focus on updates to the Top Stories section with additional information about topics, timelines, and related podcasts. This means more content opportunities and referral chances from Google News.  

Google also reminded us that encoding XML sitemaps still matters. Thanks bud!

The Interactive Advertising Bureau’s report on internet advertising showed that search is still the leading advertising format, representing 45% of digital revenue in 2018. However, this is down from previous years, (it was 46% in 2017) with video making up the most ground. Another notable factoid from the report - digital revenue topped $100 billion for the first time last year, hitting $107.5 billion in 2018. I guess we’re in the right industry, yea?

YES. YES. My love/hate relationship with Google Search Console continues. There are 3 new reports in Google Search console, all around structured data.

  1. Unparsable structured data - Shows structured data syntax errors

  2. Sitelinks searchbox - Shows performance data and errors around sitelinks searchbox markup

  3. Logo enhancement - Shows logo markup performance and errors.  

A recent BrightLocal survey found that customers trust your website more than Google my Business. The recent hot local search trend is to focus on GMB. GMB is still important, but this is a good reminder that your website is still really, really important in local search.

P.S. Found an awesome, simple guide to search operators. Search operators are always super useful for diagnosing indexing and technical issues, and they’re really helpful in client communication because they represent real, live data on Google.  

Adam Tanguay