All things Google – New updates for May 2019

So it looks like Google may have done an algorithm update around the 9th of May. Not only that but it looks as though Google has a made a few important changes too.

GoogleBot has been updated meaning it will automatically be updated with every new version of Chrome that comes out. GoogleBot had been stuck making a web rendering service based on Chrome 41 for some time but has now been catapulted to Chrome 74 and will be keeping up from now on.

This wasn’t a mistake by Google as GoogleBot was deliberately held back to allow it to index web pages we are compatible with older versions of Chrome. This was not always welcome with SEO’s as it disservices website built on more modern frameworks. But with the update to Chrome 74 Google now claims that GoogleBot supports over 1,000 new features. These include:

  • ES6 and newer JavaScript features
  • IntersectionObserver for lazy-loading
  • Web Components v1 APIs

But as I said GoogleBot isn’t the only thing that has been updated.

A year ago Google announced FAQand How-To markups but did not implement it- until now. What this means is that rich data markups can now be added to How-To pages and post and FAQ’s, essentially meaning that the steps of your “How to love your kitty” blog post will now come up in search along with your title.

Here are the developer docs on how to add the markup to your pages and it seems that you don’t even need your own website do this. For video creators, Google has created a “How to Video template” where video created can upload a simple CSV with title, text and timestamps for their Youtube videos and Google will handle the rest. Giving you a simple way to transform your existing how-to video into interactive, step by step tutorials that can now be completely managed by the Google Assistant, Smart Displays and Android phones.

This is the same case for the FAQ markup meaning your frequently asked questions and answers can be seen with search results. As well as questions on your Google My Business page has now been integrated with Google Assistant meaning you can get the assistant to ask and post the question for you.

This change has not really been praised by SEO’s and I for one am not a fan of the change. (Which is really saying something as I usually am the first to praise Google). But this change is making a lot of hard work ignorable. The reason that so many SEO’s are unhappy is because of this – If you are ranking in positions further down but still on the first page then adding this markup may help you to move you up the listings however if you are already in position one and sitting pretty adding this markup may hinder you, because now searchers can get all the answers and steps without clicking through to your site, losing your traffic.

Of course, this is all conjecture and it may just work for your site but I would suggest testing it out for before rushing in, see if it affects your click-through rate and traffic before deciding to use it site wide.

For a while now, John Mueller and Gary Illyes from Google have been telling SEO’s to pay more attention to image search. And now we know why.

Not just the 3D images but Google announced support for higher resolution images and also swipe up from an image to an AMP story from image search.

In theory, will be able to add higher resolution images to Google using a special markup. Google has said it will be an opt-in the only feature, which leads to the question if you don’t opt in what traffic are you missing.

Not just high res but Google has announced that they will be launching 3D images in search. Meaning you will be about to use AR to place images into the world through your phone camera.

Another featured that Google promised was bringing podcast directly to the search result pages. Well, that is now live for a few countries. Meaning if you are currently using Google Podcasts to share your podcasts then you may already be benefiting from this new update. Not only are podcasts now ranking alongside other content but you can now play and listen to them from within search as well.

This feature doesn’t only search for the title or metadata of the podcasts but also can search for the audio – as Google transcribes them — directly within the podcast show itself. This is all guided with the addition of – you guessed it a new markup. Google says, “You can enable your podcast to appear in Google Search results and Google Podcasts, along with individual episode descriptions and an embedded player for each. This feature is available through the Google Search App for Android (requires v6.5 or higher of the Google Search App), Google Podcasts app, Chrome for Android , Google Home, and Google Assistant.

So with all these changes SEO may have just become a little more complicated for the novice, but don’t worry your old techniques will still work you just may need to set aside a little more time to add in a few markups as well.  

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