Tom Williams brings you the latest in search engine optimisation news, including Google’s Search Console invite to more beta testers, ranking and algorithm update chatter, and a look at which ‘How To’ searches are the most prominent.

Search Console Open To Further Testers

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There have been numerous tweets and mentions spread across the internet regarding Google’s latest notification – an invitation to beta testers for them to take a shot at the new beta Search Console.

Here’s what Google had to say:

We’re giving you early access to this new feature because we really want to see if the new experience fills your needs.

John Mueller tweeted about this invitation, encouraging testers to submit their feedback to the Google team.

This will give Google important information for them to run with in their efforts to improve user experience and overall performance.

Ranking & Algorithm Update Rumours

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That’s right – there’s more chatter circulating around another update to Google’s search algorithm and ranking.

On 6 September, Barry Schwartz wrote:

In the past 24 to 48 hours I have been noticing an uptick in SEO and webmaster chatter around a possible Google search algorithm and ranking update. It is not clear if it is related to specific algorithm changes or maybe to changes to how things rank due to user interface changes, but there are webmasters asking what is going on.

This could be a new rollout or even a reversion. However, without Google confirming or denying, it is left up to webmasters to try and decipher the goings on for now.

Edit Your Business Details In Search

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On 6 September, Google declared a new launch – in search, you can now make changes to your business’ details without the hassle of going through Google My Business first.

A representative from Google commented:

We’ve created a simple, easy-to-access business dashboard right in Google Search. Just find your business on Google Search, and you can complete and enhance your listing, share photos and posts related to your business, and see how many views you’re getting.

There’s a number of features available within this update. Business mavericks can work towards increasing their customer engagement and promoting their business with the sharing of photos.

They will also be notified when users upload photos of their business, and be able to gain insight into their listing’s performance.

Mobile Search Results Get AMP-Based Snippets

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Google has given AMP links the ability to appear in featured snippets.

If you search something on your mobile device, you get an AMP page as result 0. If you type in the exact same search term on desktop, you get a non-AMP page as result 0, simply because the page shown in mobile hasn’t been switched to AMP.

This almost suggests that AMP pages are more relevant to the search term, even though AMP still isn’t a ranking factor.

How To…

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If you’re a webmaster looking to leverage “How To” searches to your advantage, this is your lucky day.

Google has introduced a new website that provides visual representations of this data, which has, according to the Google Trends team, been categorised further as per geographical demographics.

For instance – users residing in hotter countries will search for things like: “how to fix my freezer”, whereas Europeans are more likely to search about fixing lightbulbs.

Here is a statistic from Google:

Searches that begin with “how to” are on the rise, growing by 140% in the last 13 years. Among those searches, people looking for help with “how to fix” things are especially popular.

Farewell To Preferred Site Names

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Google has dropped its “Preferred Site Name” option from their developer documents.

For anyone who tries to access the “Preferred Site Name” data markups in Google, they will come across a 404, however the cached version can still be reached for the time being.

Barry Schwartz writes:

You were able to use structured data markup on your official website to indicate the preferred name you want Google Search to display in Search results. But they removed the documentation, so does that mean Google will no longer support this markup?

Apparently Barry Schwartz has asked John Mueller about this matter, but is yet to receive a response. Will this just be an error, or something the search engine giant has ceased to support entirely?

More SEO News and Advice

Read last week’s SEO News Roundup: SEO Advice For Item Page Updates and Repeat Events

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About the author:

Tom joined ClickThrough in 2011. Since then, he has developed an expertise in the technical side of search engine optimisation. He’s Google Analytics-qualified, and in his current role as digital and technical Executive, carries out monthly SEO activities and provides technical consultancy for several of the company’s largest accounts.