SEO News Roundup: Google Confirms It Does Not Manually Control Traffic Patterns

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Tom Williams breaks down all the latest news from the world of SEO, including protocols on how to treat closely related product pages, changes to recipes in the SERPs and more.

Traffic Patterns Not Manually Controlled by Google

Google has confirmed in a recent Google Webmasters Office Hours that it does not have any manual involvement in the fluctuation of traffic in the SERPs. Labelled as traffic restriction or traffic throttling, it is a common query raised by webmasters, with some questioning if Google limits the amount of users sent to a site. Google’s John Mueller said:

We don’t know how many people are searching for topics you have content for on your website, and we want to send everyone who searching for something where your website is really the best result, to your website, because that’s what they are trying to do. So it wouldn’t make sense for us to artificially limit the number of visitors that we would send to your website.

As confirmed by John Mueller, searching patterns are the likely cause of unexpected fluctuations in traffic.

How to Handle Closely Related Product Pages

Google has revealed the best way to deal with multiple product pages for closely related items – an issue faced by many e-Commerce site owners. The query arose in a Google Webmaster Office Hours, where the search engine provided clarity on how best to handle the issue. Google explained:

One thing you can do is make sure that the main page that is chosen for the canonical from your point of view actually has a listing of all of the different variants as well. So that’s something you may need to double check how you have your page set up and maybe tweak it a bit so that all the variants are listed as well.

If content is created that is not similar to other product pages, then it won’t be recognised as duplicate and the aforementioned measures won’t have to be implemented.

Changes to Recipes in Mobile SERPs

Google is now showing an updated version for recipe results in mobile SERPs. The change, which arrived before the New Year, allows users to view a selection of recipes in a deeper view, and then filter their query via the buttons that sit underneath the search bar. The higher quality images and tailored content appears to allow users to filter content much more easily to help them find exactly what it is they want.

Personalisation Does Affect Positioning in Search Analytics

It was confirmed this week that personalisation factors can affect ranking positions in Search Console. Unless queries are searched for incognito or without being signed into a Google Account, personalised results that are served to the user will register as a ranking position within Search Console. Though an average is taken, figures can be affected by this, with personalisation having the ability to affect positioning by more than one page.

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