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The Featured Snippet: July 2020

The Featured Snippet is the official SEO newsletter of Performics and is dedicated to keeping you update-to-date with the latest SEO industry news, trends, and events—all in an easy-to-read, summed-up format. See below for the latest version of The Featured Snippet:

In the July 2020 issue of The Featured Snippet: 

  • Google Moves Rich Results Testing Tool Out of Beta
  • Google Pushes Back Mobile-first Indexing Deadline 
  • Google Search Console Updates
    • Google News Filter
  • Google Announces New Guidelines for Google Discover
  • Bing Updates
    • Bing Launches New Webmaster Tools
    • Bing WordPress Plugin
  • Google Testing Subscription-Based Billing Model for Google My Business

Google Moves Rich Results Testing Tool Out of Beta

Google announced that its Rich Results Testing Tool, a structured data analysis tool, officially supports all rich results Google Search features and has been moved out of beta. With this announcement, Google also announced that it will deprecate the Structured Data Testing Tool—although there is no set date on when support for the tool will end. Here is the official announcement from Google: 

As Google moves on from the Structured Data Testing Tool, Google listed out the advantages of using the Rich Results Testing Tool: 

  • It shows which Search feature enhancements are valid for the markup you are providing
  • It handles dynamically loaded structured data markup more effectively
  • It renders both mobile and desktop versions of a result
  • It is fully aligned with Search Console reports

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Google Pushes Back Mobile-first Indexing Deadline

Google announced in March 2020 that its goal was to move all sites to mobile-first indexing (Google’s initiative to predominately use the mobile version of content for indexing and ranking)  by September 2020. However, with current uncertain times, Google decided to push this deadline to March 2021 to allow webmasters more time to prepare for the switch.

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Google Search Console Update

Google News Filter

Google announced that Google Search Console data can now be filtered by a “News” filter under the “search type” filters. This filter helps webmasters understand how content is performing with the News tab in Google Search results. Here is the official announcement from Google: 

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Google Announces New Guidelines for Google Discover

Google made significant changes to the help documentation surrounding Google Discover, offering more recommendations for optimizing for this feature. Google Discover is a feature on the Google Search homepage that provides users with content that aligns with their interest based on past search and app behavior. Along with a list of recommended optimizations, such as avoiding click-bait type titles and providing clear author information such as a by-line and bio, the updated documentation focuses on E-A-T or expertise, authoritativeness, and trust. For further information regarding Google Discover and how to rank within this feature, check out the official Google Discover help details.

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Bing Updates

Bing Launches New Webmaster Tools

Bing announced it has completed the migration of the old Bing Webmaster Tools to the new Bing Webmaster Tools. To go with this launch, Bing announced various new tools (outlined below) and an updated webmasters guidelines. 

New Bing Webmaster Tools: 

  • URL inspection is a beta feature that allows you to inspect the Bing indexed version of your URLs to detect potential indexing issues due to crawl errors or not following Bing Webmaster guidelines.
  • Site Scan is an on-demand site audit tool which crawls your site and checks for common technical SEO issues to improve your website performance at Bing and other search engines as well.
  • Robots.txt tester allows to check your robots.txt file using the same parser Bing uses in production and verify that your URLs are allowed or disallowed.

Visit your Bing Webmaster Tools dashboard to access the new Bing Webmaster Tools along with all new reports and tools. 

Bing WordPress Plugin

Bing launched a new WordPress plugin that will index content in search results immediately after being published. After installing the plugin and configuring the API key provided by the Bing Webmaster Portal, new pages and updates are detected and indexed automatically without any interaction from the site owner. Up to 10,000 URLs can be submitted per day and more can be submitted with a special request to the Bing Webmasters Team. Currently, the Bing URL Submissions plugin is only available for WordPress, however, Bing is making the code open source. This makes it possible for developers to leverage this feature with their own Content Management System. 

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Google Testing Subscription-Based Billing Model for Google My Business

Google is exploring offering a subscription-based billing model for Google My Business for $50/month. The program has not been officially announced by Google; however, the Google Guaranteed Business program was originally introduced through Google Ads to promote a higher level of trust between consumers and businesses. To qualify for the Google Guaranteed Business program, businesses will need to pass a background and licensing check on top of the $50/month subscription fee. For now, there is no evidence that paying for an upgraded listing will affect your rankings in search results, but it may affect the way that users interact with your Google My Business listing.

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