Hello everyone! We're back with the "What's New in SEO" July edition, where I bring you your monthly dose of search engine news. Checkout our June and Spring recap in case you missed them. Heatwaves might feel like a time to slow down, but that's just not the case in the world of search.
This month, I'll bring you some insights from the one and only MozCon that took place the 11-13th of July in Seattle and brought together SEOs for a true summer camp-styled 3 days.
MozCon was an incredible experience. It was my first time attending and I'm honoured that I had the opportunity to be speaking there! The three-day conference had a jam-packed agenda full of incredible content catered to Digital Marketers and SEOs of all levels out there. Three insights that blew my mind were:
- There are now over 8 billion searches a month on Google lens. Crystal Carter shared with us how to optimise for Image search by understanding how machine learning looks at and analyses images and visuals. (Crystal's slides)
- In 2019, £17.1 billion was lost because of inaccessible websites. 1 in 8 people in America live with a disability. By creating websites that aren't accessible, we stop people from fully and independently participating in our society. Miracle Inameti-Archibong highlighted what this issue means to us on a human level as well as to our businesses. She also provided tips and tools to help us improve accessibility with things like alt text generation. (Miracle's slides)
- "Sometimes all it takes to make a big impact is to show up at the right time" said Dr. Pete Meyers in his talk on helping us understand the messy middle. User journeys aren't as straightforward as traditional marketing funnels like to represent it. There's more to understanding the exploration/evaluation loop, such as understanding how complex your user's journey is and mapping keywords and queries to the right stages. (Dr Pete's slides)
You can read all the daily recaps from the Moz Blog.
Search Engine Toolkit
Google released it's own "What's New in SEO' ranking algorithm page. This page only shows confirmed updates, and while it is a super useful resource to check on, make sure to continue to follow Google updates from the likes of Search Egine Roundtable - Google updates or Marie Haynes' - Algo changes page to make sure you don't miss anything. Plus, if you need monthly updates, you can always come back to the Yext blog for your latest "What's New in SEO" section each month.
Universal analytics is going away on the 1st of July, 2023. This means businesses will need to migrate their analytics to GA4. In the light of this, Google Search Console now integrates with GA4, which means you can view this data within Google Search Console insights.
Google Search Console has rolled out a new Video Indexing Report. You can now audit your video indexation issues within this report and request reindexing to help optimise your video content on Google.
Businesses can now access keyword data for their Google location listings via the Google Business Performance API. At Yext, we've already built this into our product offering, so you can see improved analytics for your business listings.
Google released its own "How Your Content Can Rank Higher on Google Search" video as part of their "Google for Creators" series. They included 4 steps in this tutorial, including: creating useful and information-rich content, not copying content from other sites, including popular searches from your audience in your titles and content, and focusing on value. This introductory video is only 4 minutes long and is supposed to give a basic starting point.
Google product carousel displays 'appears on these lists' to feature review site content that's relevant to the products. Originally Brian Freiesleben posted this on twitter and Barry Swartz was also able to replicate these results. According to Barry, "looking at those product review listings, it doesn't seem like that content is super high quality — the type of content you'd expect to see out of the product reviews update." It will be interesting to see how this changes with upcoming algorithm updates.
On July 27th Google announced a new update to English-language product reviews pages. It's expected to be completed in 2-3 weeks. This is the fourth in a series of updates targeting low-quality reviews. The first update was released in April 2021, the second one was in December and the third update was this past March. Lily Ray published a brilliant article back in April on how the product updates have been impacting the SERPs. One of the interesting points Lily makes in the article is around the impact not only on product review sites, but also eCommerce. As a result of Google re-classifying certain query intents for a number of queries, many eCommerce sites have seen a huge increase in their visibility as a result of the product review updates**.**
Food for Thought
Google is delaying its plan to phase out third-party cookies on Chrome browser. This plan will change how ads are targeted on websites. Originally, Google planned to phase out cookies by the end of 2023. Anthony Chavez, a vice president at Google, wrote; "We now intend to begin phasing out third-party cookies in Chrome in the second half of 2024." This is due to needing more time to evaluate and test new Privacy Sandbox technologies. Considering the impact this will have on the ad industry, the delay doesn't seem to be that surprising and gives more time for platforms and advertisers to review their plans.
You.com raised another $25 million to take on Google. This time, the noble plan to break the search engine monopoly is coming from former Salesforce scientists Richard Socher and Bryan McCann. You.com is a search engine that seems to be mainly popular with developers due to its customisable open source technology. It's an ad-free, private search engine with the tagline 'The search engine You control'. This July, the company announced the launch of YouCode, especially for the developer community to seamlessly search time-saving apps like GitHub, StackOverflow, W3schools and more and use it's AI to auto-generate code from more than 20 of the most commonly used developer tools.
After a month of paid leave, Blake Lemoine was fired from Google on the 23rd of July. A Google spokesperson said that Blake "chose to persistently violate clear employment and data security policies that include the need to safeguard product information." The NYT wrote, "Besides taking his concerns to the media, Mr. Lemoine said in June that he handed over documents to a U.S. senator, whom he hasn't identified, claiming that they provided evidence that Google and its technology engaged in religious discrimination." I haven't found more from Google commenting on these claims, but it raises interesting questions about the data and the biases within the algorithms that power Google technology.
That's all for our July Recap! To keep up to date in the meantime, there are some great newsletters listed below that you can sign up for: