What are the latest updates in the world of SEO? Discover the latest hot topics in my article.
ClickThrough’s SEO News Update
What are the latest updates in the world of SEO? In this SEO news update, I’ll be talking about what’s been happening in the month of March so far – from pausing Google algorithms during the COVID-19 outbreak, to new event schema properties for cancelled, postponed and virtual events.
1. Google Event Schema for Virtual, Postponed and Cancelled Events
With so many events being cancelled, postponed or moved to an online-format amid the global outbreak of COVID-19, it’s no surprise that Google have announced new properties for event schema. Google have stated that they want to “show users the latest, most accurate information about their events in this fast-changing environment” by adding new, optional properties for the schema.org eventStatus property (Google Webmaster Central Blog).
The eventStatus property sets the status of the event (cancelled, postponed or rescheduled), allowing Google to show users the status of the event instead of dropping the event from the event search experience altogether.
Here’s how the new properties work:
- If the event is cancelled – set the eventStatus property to EventCancelled and keep the original date in the startDate of the event.
- If the event has been postponed (with no new date yet) – keep the original date in the startDate of the event until you have the new date and update the eventStatus to EventPostponed. It’s important to keep the original startDate until you know the new date. Once you have the new date, change the eventStatus to EventRescheduled and update the startDate and endDate.
- If the event has been rescheduled for a new date – update the startDate and endDate with the new date. You can also mark the eventStatus field as EventRescheduled and add the previousStartDate.
- If the event has moved to online-only – update the eventStatus field to show the change with EventMovedOnline.
Have these new properties for event schema made it easier to manage your business events during the Coronavirus outbreak? Tweet us at @clickthrough.
2. 60% Prefer Google Algorithm Updates to be Paused During COVID-19 Outbreak
On March 16th 2020, Barry Schwartz (@rustybrick) posted a Twitter poll asking the SEO community whether Google should pause algorithm updates. Within 24 hours, there were over 1,100 results, with almost 60% of users stating they would prefer for Google to stop pushing out algorithm updates during the current climate.
Despite this majority, John Mueller (@JohnMu), Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, responded by saying that “not just the votes, but the actual replies are interesting to read in this Twitter thread, but personally, I think we should keep things as normal as possible.”
Do you agree? Check out the forum on Twitter to find out more!
3. Are More Granular Levels of Speed to Become a Google Ranking Factor?
In a webmaster hangout at the beginning of last week, John Mueller stated that when speed became a Google ranking factor several years ago, it was definitely a case of differentiating between normal speed sites and really slow sites. Although this used to be the case, Mueller immediately followed up by saying he “could imagine that over time, especially with mobile sites, we might find a more granular approach” (Google Webmasters).
Do you think more granular levels of speed should become a Google ranking factor? Tweet us your thoughts at @clickthrough.
4. Google Stops Displaying Almost All Top Right Featured Snippets
It has come to the attention of the online SEO community that Google has virtually stopped showing featured snippets in the top right position of the search results page (SERoundTable). There are currently some exceptions for broad queries, but for the most part, they’ve disappeared. Back in January 2020, Google stated they would do this due to deduplicating the featured snippets:
According to Mordy Oberstein from RankRanger, no featured snippets have been picked up since the 17th of March:
What does this mean for your business? Do you prefer seeing the format in the ‘main’ results column?
If you want to find out more on the latest updates in the world of SEO, get in touch today. You can also tweet me @tommy_iv.