Google made a major change to mobile search results this week, which effectively redefines what it means to rank on page one. We learned more about Google’s algorithm update last month and what exactly it was targeting. Google My Business now lets users include even more information to attract customers.
John Mueller from Google published a new Q&A video about how to deal with sitemaps for large sites. Google Search Console added new filters to help site owners isolate specific data in their reports. Search Console has also been sending email notifications about issues with accelerated mobile pages (AMPs). Lastly, in paid search news, Google AdWords has a new tool for estimating the reach of YouTube ads.
More details about each of these top stories are included in this week’s SEO & SEM news roundup.
Google Redesigns Mobile Search Results
Google has introduced infinite scrolling to mobile search results pages. That means users will no longer have to click from page one, to page two, to page three, and so on. Results will continue to load on the same page.
Where there used to be page numbers at the bottom of SERPs there is now a “more results” button. Tapping on the button will trigger more search results to load without having to visit a new page. At first, Google said this was just a test, but only a few days later it was confirmed to be a permanent change.
Now it’s difficult to determine the difference between ranking on page one versus page two because, well, there are essentially no pages anymore. Will this be beneficial to pages that used to rank on page 2, 3, or 4? It’s too early to tell but we’ll be keeping a close eye on it.
New Details About Google’s Algorithm Update Last Month
Google rolled out a “broad core” algorithm update last month, which is a type of update that only happens a few times a year. The company was not specific about what changes were implemented, which led many to speculate the algorithm update targeted low-quality pages. This week we learned that was not the case.
Google’s John Mueller has confirmed the March 7th algorithm update did not target low-quality pages. It actually has more to do with content relevance. Most of Google’s algorithm updates are focused on relevance, Mueller said.
So if your site’s rankings were affected by last month’s update, then it’s not an indication that there’s a problem with the quality of your content. Mueller’s advice is not to focus on improving content quality, but to figure out how to make it more relevant to those who are searching for it.
Add Menus of Service Offerings to Google My Business Pages
Google My Business now lets users add menus of service offerings to their pages. This feature is now available to all service-oriented businesses. Menus are very simply organized with just a name, description, and price for each item. Individual items can be grouped into different sections. This feature is accessible under the “Info” tab in the Google My Business dashboard.
Google’s John Mueller Explains How to Handle Sitemaps for Large Sites
In Google’s latest Q&A video, John Mueller explains how site owners can submit a sitemap with more than 50,000 URLs. Sitemaps are limited to 50,000 URLs per file, so what should large site do to get around this limitation?
Mueller explains that multiple sitemap files can be created for a single website. Those sitemaps can then be combined into one sitemap index file, which is kind of like a sitemap file for sitemaps. Another option is to create multiple sitemaps and submit them individually, whether or not they’re contained in a sitemap index file.
New Filters in Google Search Console Reports
Google Search Console will now let site owners filter performance reports by ‘Search Appearance.’ Search Appearance includes the various ways a search snippet is displayed. With these filters, you can isolate the performance of specific content types. So, for example, the report can display just the performance of AMP articles, or compare AMP articles versus non-rich AMP results, and so on.
Different search appearance types include:
- Rich results
- AMP non-rich results
- AMP article
- Job listing
- Job details
Google Search Console is Sending Notifications About AMP Issues
Google Search Console has been sending e-mail notifications regarding issues detected on AMP pages. Specifically, Google is notifying webmasters about issues related to social media on AMP pages. The notification reads:
”An evaluation of your site has revealed issues with some of your AMP pages. This issue will not affect your appearance on search, but with just a few changes, you could improve the user experience on these pages.”
The email notification then goes on to identify specific issues and recommended fixes, which will be unique to each user. There’s nothing to worry about when it comes to search rankings. As you can see, Google states in the notification that the issues will not affect how pages show up in search results. With that said, it’s important to keep in mind that user experience can be an indirect ranking factor. Google always stresses the importance of keeping visitors happy, so fixing known issues is always a good idea.
Google AdWords Launches a New Tool for YouTube Ads
Google AdWords has introduced a new tool that will help advertisers estimate the reach and frequency of YouTube ads. The new tool, called Reach Planner, will provide reach estimates across all devices, for all audiences and video formats.
Reach Planner also offers a feature called ‘product mixes,’ which will provide advertisers with insight into how different video formats work together. The tool will suggest the right mix of YouTube ad products based on an advertiser’s marketing objective, ad preferences, and budget.
Wrapping it Up
The key takeaways from this week’s SEO & SEM news updates are:
- Google has removed pagination from mobile search results.
- Last month’s broad core algorithm update was focused on content relevance, not quality.
- Google My Business pages can now include service menus.
- Google’s John Mueller recommends that large sites create multiple sitemap files.
- Google Search Console performance reports can now be filtered by search appearance.
- Google is sending notifications about issues related to social media integration on AMP pages.
- Google AdWords’ new Reach Planner can estimate the reach and frequency of YouTube ads.