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July SEO Updates – What Happened to Bing Discover?

July 2019 SEO Updates

SEO Blog -july seo updates

Welcome to the July SEO updates post, we’ll get you updated with the latest news in the SEO industry throughout the month.

You can check out our index for news labeled New! to find out what happened throughout the week or just go through our slide shows for a quick bite of what’s happening this week.

  1. Algorithm Updates
  2. Google Announcements
  3. SERP Updates
  4. Local SEO and Google Maps Update
  5. Other Interesting News

Algorithm Updates

23/07/2019 – Update Maverick

All SERP tracking tools are showing movements during 11, 12, 16 and 18th July which more likely than not, indicates that Google is tweaking something with their algorithms.

However, Google didn’t budge when asked for details. Very unlike how they pre-announced the June core update.

Webmasters reported that it seems that things have calmed down. If there’s something we can learn from Maverick, don’t wait for Google’s announcement.

Google announcements

01/07/2019 – Google officializing Robots Exclusion Protocol and discontinuing support for unofficial directives starting September 1st

Google will be spearheading to make Robots Exclusion Protocol a web standard

Google tweeted a series of tweets about the Robots Exclusion Protocol, also called Robots.txt, via their Google Webmasters account leading up to the announcement of their effort to officialize the protocol.

The effort was carried out by Google with Martijn Koster (the original author of the protocol), webmasters, and other search engines.

Following the announcement, Google also

1. Published a blog post discussing REP now (Read it here)

2. Updated their official developer’s document on REP (Read it here)

3. Released their robots.txt parser as open source (Read it here)

Google will drop support for unofficial Robots Exclusion Protocol directives starting September 1st

Google followed up with another blog post about unsupported rules in robots.txt here.

If you’ve been using your robots.txt to specify noindex, nofollow, or crawl-delay directive (which are all unofficial directives), you’ll have to find another way to make it work before September 1st, or things might look ugly.

That is especially true for those who are using noindex to hide away low-quality content from the search engine index. When September 1st comes, you might find a bunch of contents you intended to hide away from the SERP, being crawled and indexed, thus showing up at the result page instead.

If you’re currently using the noindex directive in your Robots.txt, Google suggested a couple of alternatives:

1. Noindex in robots meta tags

2. 404 and 410 HTTP status codes

3. Password protection

4. Disallow in robots.txt

5. Search Console Remove URL tool

This will only be affecting those who are trying to use noindex in their robots.txt file. So before you panic, be reminded that this will not be a problem if you’re using it in your HTML.

Frédéric Dubut from Bing also chimed in and tweeted that Bing never supported any of those unofficial directives, so now is definitely the right time to fix this if you weren’t aware of this issue before.

Now that the Robots Exclusion Protocol will be standardized, we’re positive that gray area practices such as these will be ironed out and webmasters will have an easier time controlling crawling behavior.

10/07/2019 – Google My Business Listings get suspended after adding Short Names?

A number of SEOs have reported that their Google My Business listings were suspended after adding a short name to their profile.

Introduced in April, Short Names was a way of allowing businesses to create custom URLs for their Google My Business listings.

Now suspicions were raised that adding Short Names might be causing legitimate business listings to get suspended and removed from SERPs.

Not all businesses are getting suspended for adding short names, but it is a common theme among a series of seemingly random suspensions.

Google hasn’t confirmed if there’s a bug related to Google My Business short names, nor has it acknowledged that it’s even aware of this issue.

So far, all this evidence is anecdotal, and the consensus is that removing short names fixes the problem. Hence if you’ve recently had a Google My Business listing suspended after adding a short name, your best course of action is to remove it.

11/07/2019 – John Mueller answers to use slash or not to use slash after URL

Someone recently tweeted John Mueller asking about slashes after URLs.

John answered saying that it is best to be consistent with your URL structure and either choose to use slashes after the URL or not to use slashes after the URL.

If possible, do not use both formats at the same time.

15/07/2019 – Removal of Google AdSense Mobile Apps

On July 15th, 2019, Google announced that they will be removing the Google AdSense mobile apps (Android and iOS) from the application store by the end of 2019.

So… what’s next?

Google AdSense will be focusing all their resources on the mobile web interface. After 2019, you will need to open your browser in order to use Google AdSense. Do you think this is a good move?

Read the article on Google’s Blog here

25/07/2019 – Search result page not rendering fully? Google: working on it

A lot of people has been complaining about Google search results not showing completely. It basically looks like your browser just stopped loading and leave half of the page blank.

SERP bug

(source)

That can’t be a great user experience.

Luckily Google is aware of the issue and reported that the bug is fixed earlier today. Are you still seeing the cut off search result page or everything’s all good again? We’d love to know!

25/07/2019 – Upgrade of Google Ads Editor

Google Ads users, listen up!

Google has upgraded its Google Ads Editor from V1.0 to V1.1. Lots of changes have been made in this update. Google Ads Editor has added, updated and deprecated a few features.

The full list and brief description is as below:

New:

  • Dark Mode– Users now have the option to select another UI, the Dark Mode, which is suitable for night time.
  • IP exclusions, full support for IP exclusion criteria enabled– Users can now download, upload changes, add, delete, edit, copy, paste, export, and import IP addresses. You can also exclude IP addresses from seeing the ads.
  • Image picker to choose images for various image fields– Users don’t need to continuously upload the same image anymore. Instead, they can select it from this new feature.
  • Exact search– Users now get more related and specific search results. The filter is enabled by default.
  • Checkboxes in accounts manager– There are now checkboxes next to accounts in Accounts Manager, making it clear that users can use several accounts together.
  •  

    Updated:

  • “Include Display Network” for Shopping campaigns is editable– Users can now edit this setting. Previously, this was disabled.
  • Universal App campaigns renamed-Universal App campaign type has been renamed to “App – Installs” and Universal App ads are renamed “App ads for installs.”
  •  

    Deprecated:

  • Destination URL– Destination URL will be replaced with “Final URL“.
  • Dynamic Search Ads-Note that Regular Dynamic Search has been deprecated and it is different from the expanded DSA. Users cannot create new DSAs but they can remove existing ones and edit their status and labels.
  • Responsive ads (previously known as DRA)– Users can’t create new responsive ads. Users can remove existing ones and edit their status and labels. The “Export as responsive ads” action has been removed. Responsive ads shouldn’t to be confused with asset-based responsive display ads.

    SERP Updates

    02/07/2019 – Google testing sticky preview box in image search

    An SEO tweeted about a sticky preview box in image search.

    Which we successfully replicated with our own search term.

    Gif of image search sticky preview box

    That definitely makes it easier to navigate the image SERP. What about you? Let us know if you’re being served the sticky preview box or nah.

    11/07/2019 – Google showing more related search boxes in Image Search

    “Related search box” in image results is not really something new, but now more people are seeing it appearing more often with a frequency of one in every 15 to 20 images as you scroll through the image results in Google images.

    While there’s no data on how often these boxes are clicked, but undeniably this may be a sign for us to pay attention to image optimization.

    Learn more about how to use SEOPressor to optimize your image.

    15/07/2019 – “People Also Search For” Below Featured Snippet

    Twitter user @sergey_alakov shared a picture of a featured snippet and underneath it, there is “people also search for” which is rather new. We have never seen it on the SERP before, and we don’t see it now too.

    See the picture for yourself; are you able to replicate it? Here’s the tweet from @sergey_alakov:

    Are you able to see this on your SERP?

    We think this feature will actually enhance the user experience, allowing the users to navigate and explore easily (on Google). What do you think of this feature?

    15/07/2019 – Swipe to visit, exclusively for AMP pages on Image Search

    If you’ve been following AMP, you’ll know that AMP pages are often time given quite some edge in Google’s SERP.

    And they’re getting more powerful with this new SERP features on Google Image.

    When users click on an image result, they will be shown a preview of the website’s header, which is only available via AMP. Now when the user swipes up on the preview, they’ll be brought to the web page immediately.

    A neat trick to bring in more visits.

    01/08/2019 – What You Should Know About Google’s “Core Updates”

    A few days ago, Danny Sullivan of Google wrote a post on Google Webmaster Central Blog. The topic is “What webmasters should know about Google’s “core updates””.

    In that post, Danny Sullivan has shared a lot of information about the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). First of all, it is stated that Google releases one or more changes each day to improve the search results.

    Next, Google aims to confirm SERP updates that are more noticable and updates where they feel webmasters are able to take actions.

    Google confirms broad core updates because sites may notice drops or gains. Google knows that webmasters will look for ways to fix it. Google does not want webmasters to change the wrong thing and has indicated that sometimes, there is nothing to fix.

    So… if your page is not performing well in a core update, do not worry. Your page has not violated Google webmaster guideline. But, Google just thinks that there are other pages that do better, hence the changes.

    An example given in the post is:
    One way to think of how a core update operates is to imagine you made a list of the top 100 movies in 2015. A few years later in 2019, you refresh the list. It’s going to naturally change. Some new and wonderful movies that never existed before will now be candidates for inclusion. You might also reassess some films and realize they deserved a higher place on the list than they had before.

    It was suggested that if webmasters really want to do something after experiencing the changes, they should focus on providing the best content. It is what Google’s algorithms seek to reward.

    To self-assess whether you’re offering quality content, Google has provided updated advice with a set of questions to ask yourself about your content. You can find them on the post: What webmasters should know about Google’s “core updates”

    Last but not least, Google said that the core updates may also affect Google Discover.

    I believe that the post has clarified many things. So remember webmasters, always provide the best content you can.

    Local SEO and Google Maps Update

    16/07/2019 – Missing GMB listings and Short Names

    Earlier, on 10th July 2019, we reported that there were a few people facing missing GMB listings after adding shortnames.

    A few days later, Google told @segineland that the missing business listing is not related to shortnames but it is a technical issue instead.

    Google My Business Listings issue was finally fixed on the 16th June 2019. However, some has said that the issue was not fixed. Were your GMB listings and reviews affected? View thread here.

    16/07/2019 – Google testing “share” feature on Search Result

    @rustybrick shared on Twitter that Google may be testing a “share” and other features on search result. Google’s @dannysullivan later confirmed that it is a test.

    What’s your take on this? With this buttons on the search engine result page, we think it allows user to take action much quicker and simpler.

    Other Interesting News

    05/07/2019 – Better autocomplete for CSS properties on Chrome Developer Tools

    If you’re an avid user of the Chrome Developer Tools, there’s good news! Addy Osmani from the Chrome team announced that Chrome can now easier recognize the incomplete CSS properties that you’re typing. Handy if you can’t recall the full syntax for stuff like gradient, transforms, filters and more.

    09/07/2019 – What happened to Bing Discover?

    Bing Discover

    Recently the SEO community has been buzzing about how Google seems to have removed Bing’s entire Discover section from Google search results index.

    This was discovered when Edd Wilson tweeted about it on July 4, and several sites have picked it up.

    The thing with Bing Discover is that prior to this incident, it has been getting millions of organic traffic from Google search.

    So either Google decided this was a bad search experience and dropped the pages or something else is going on. Find out what’s going on and more news in our slides above.

    07/07/2019 – Updates on Bing Discover’s unfortunate dissapearance

    Search Engine Land’s Barry Schwartz reported his findings on Bing Discover’s dissapeanrance from Google’s SERP, and it all boils down to one sentence in Google’s webmaster guideline,

    “Use the robots.txt file on your web server to manage your crawling budget by preventing crawling of infinite spaces such as search result pages.”

    Bing Discover IS a search result, and Google does not want search results in their search result. Welp, isn’t that a mouthful.

    Barry’s not sure what prompted Google to drop Bing Discover all of a sudden, probably they just caught on, or they think enough is enough.

    Google declined to comment on this subject, guess that’ll be another mistery.

    26/07/2019 – #AskGoogleWebmasters: Is Linking Out Good for SEO?

    On 25th July 2019, Google launched a video series called #AskGoogleWebmasters. The video series is led by Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller.

    We think that this is a pretty good initiative. Searching for a video on YouTube is much a simpler task as compared to scrolling through Google Webmasters’ Twitter feed.

    The first video was released on 26th July 2019 and it’s about whether outbound link helps or hurt SEO.

    First #AskGoogleWebmasters YouTube video

    John Mueller did not specifically answer the question. But here’s what he said:

    “Linking to other website is a great way to provide value to your users.”

    We all know that Google’s priority is to always provide great user experience and values to users, so what do you think? Does it help SEO?

    There are some links to watch out as mentioned in the video. They are arranged links, advertisements and linking in comments. For these kinds of link, it is advised to use rel=”nofollow”

    Ultimately, what webmasters should do is to link out naturally and provide values to their users.

    We’re looking forward to more videos by Google Webmasters. If you would like to have your questions answered by John Mueller, remember to include #AskGoogleWebmasters in your tweet!

    30/07/2019- Google Quality Raters Guidelines has been moved

    [For information] For those of you who had trouble searching for Google Quality Raters Guidelines the past few days, here’s why.

    Google has decided to move them to another URL. If you type in the old URL now, you should be redirected to the new URL.

    Google’s Danny Sullivan confirmed it…

    Here’s the new URL in case you want to take a look at the updated version: Search Quality Rating Guidelines.

    30/07/2019- Bing is working on their Webmaster Guidelines

    Frédéric Dubut, Bing’s Web Ranking & Quality Program Manager, asked the public for recommendations on improving their Webmasters Guidelines.

    It seems like Bing are trying really hard to improve. Here is their current Webmasters Guideline: Bing webmaster help & how-to

    If you have any thoughts on it, share them to Frédéric Dubut on Twitter : @CoperniX

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