Backlink Breaker - Search Quality Evaluator Updates, New Mobile Results, and Dynamic Content Indexing
I was wrong about GOT. I formally, and sincerely apologize to everyone. This is why I should stick to SEO commentary and stay out of cultural discussions.
Last week, Google updated the guidelines for Search Quality Raters (the last update was in 2018). Google uses humans to evaluate websites and result pages, and collects the data to inform the search algorithm. Search Quality Raters use this guideline document to structure the feedback provided to Google, so its content provides valuable insight behind Google rankings. The few changes that were made since last year focused on interstitials and ad takeovers, showing that Google may start cracking down on these intrusive practices. There was also an update to the author expertise section, indicating that quality and reputation of content creators and publishers is important to Google.
Google mobile results received a redesign this week, with changes to both organic and paid listings. Brand favicons were introduced to organic results, and both the site name and breadcrumb links changed to black, while pushing to the top of the organic listing cards (before they were green and at the bottom). To get a brand favicon published you need to add a link tag with favicon syntax. Paid text results were also updated with the black ad label, matching organic updates.
In an interesting story from Google’s March 2019 core update, Cars.com enjoyed a massive increase in organic search visibility. These results occurred primarily at the expense of a shady competitor, CarGurus.com, which was penalized for some black-hat tactics. In case you needed a reminder, the short term benefits of black-hat SEO never pay off.
Yoast can’t stop shipping new features. Yoast 11.2 lets you customize schema output, which is fantastic, given some of the earlier feedback on restricted capabilities of the boilerplate schema. Great feature for an increasing need for structured data in SEO.
If you’re thinking about AMP or currently running AMP pages, this signed exchange walkthrough is incredible. Gives you everything you need to get AMP pages displaying yourdomain.com vs google.com/amp/s.
BRAND. The primary source behind the worst, most cringe-worthy meetings of my career. But, if I’m not acting like a fool, brand is actually really important and SEO plays a huge role in brand development and growth, you just need to arm yourself with real data and tactics so you don’t get sucked into those “what animal represents our brand personality” meetings. To that end, MagnaGlobal and Twitter did a study about brands and cultural relevance, and they found that 25% of product purchase decisions are led by cultural relevance for a brand. It’s an interesting report, with a lot of good takeaways, and it shows that attaching your brand to cultural shifts is valuable. Be prepared to rethink brand“culture” too, it’s not just the classics (religion, food, language) but music, arts, social trends, politics and philanthropy.