Tom Williams outlines the latest in SEO news and updates, including Google warning webmasters of event markup misuse, ongoing testing of snippet length, the use of Hreflang and mobile first indexing, and a Google Trends update.

Google Warns Webmasters – Don’t Use Misleading Event Markup

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Google has warned webmasters not to use event markup to mislead users, stating that it may result in a manual action against them.

Guidelines on event markup have recently been updated to clarify best practice following reports of misuse of the markup.

Coupon and voucher sites have been specifically called out on using event markup to emphasise their offers.

A spokesperson from Google stated:

Using Event markup to describe something that is not an event creates a bad user experience, by triggering a rich result for something that will happen at a particular time, despite no actual event being present.

Google Regularly Tests Longer Search Snippets

SEO Roundtable’s Barry Schwartz has recently seen an increase in reports from people finding longer snippets in the search results. Many reported that Google has been showing meta descriptions that are longer than the usual two lines.

Schwartz stated that Google has been testing longer search snippets for some time, potentially over the last ten years.

Google’s John Mueller confirmed this in a tweet, stating:

“We’re always working on search, there’s not really anything specific to say there. I don’t think we ever had a limit on description meta tag content length.”

Hreflang and Mobile First: What Are Your Options?

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Google has recently revealed the best way to use Hreflang tags in the run up to mobile first indexing.

John Mueller confirmed that best practice is to configure it as mobile site to mobile site, and desktop site to desktop site, treating your mobile sites and desktop site independently.

SEO specialist, Aleyda Solis posted a helpful chart on Twitter highlighted the best practice Hreflang configuration and the differences on mobile first index and desktop first index.

For sites that are responsive this change will have no impact.

Google Trends Updates Its Range Of Data

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Google Trends now shows trend data for image search, news search, Google Shopping, and YouTube search.

With new filters added to the Google Trends dashboard, it’s now easier to analyse more granular data on search trends beyond simply looking at general web search trends.

To use the new search functions simply type in the search term you would like to research, then filter by image search, news, Shopping or YouTube to drill down to the specific channel. From here you can view trending data over time as well as related topics and other related queries.

Whiteboard Friday – Designing A Page’s Content Flow

Whiteboard Friday Image

This week, Rand looks at how to improve the flow of your content while capitalising on the best possible page design.

Rand talks about the importance of page design and UX elements stating:

I think a lot of people in the SEO world are investing in things like content and solving searchers’ problems and getting to the bottom of searcher intent. But unfortunately, the page design and the flow of the elements, the UI elements, the content elements that sit in a page is discarded or left aside. That’s unfortunate because it can actually make a huge difference to your SEO.

More SEO News and Advice

Read last week’s SEO News Roundup: Parameter Handling For HTTPS Migration

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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.