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The Featured Snippet: October 2021

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

In the October 2021 issue of The Featured Snippet: 

  • Google Launches Continuous Scroll on Mobile
  • Microsoft Bing, Yandex Launch Instantly Index Feature
  • Google Updates Quality Raters Guidelines 
  • Google Search Console Search Analytics API Gains Discover, News, and Regex
  • Google Introduces New Google Analytics 360
  • Podcast Knowledge Panels Launch in Google Search 
  • Google Updates Public-facing Testing Tools
  • Google Updates <TITLE> Tag & META Description Help Documents 
  • Google Introduces New Errors in Search Console’s Rich Result Report
  • How Google Handled Facebook Outage 

Google Launches Continuous Scroll on Mobile

On October 14, Google introduced continuous scrolling on mobile devices. Now, when you reach the bottom of a search results page on your phone, the next set of results will automatically load with relevant information. Continuous scrolling effectively eliminates “page 1” which could have an impact on URLs ranking lower in search results for certain keywords. Below is the official announcement from Google and a demonstration on how continuous scroll works: 

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Microsoft Bing, Yandex Launch Instantly Index Feature

IndexNow is a new protocol to help websites easily notify search engines whenever their website content is created, updated, or deleted. Using an API, once search engines are notified of updates they quickly crawl and reflect website changes in their index and search results. Many large websites such as eBay, LinkedIn, MSN, GitHub, Bizapedia and more, have adopted Microsoft Bing Webmaster URL submission API and are planning migration to IndexNow. If you publish content or products on these sites, your content will automatically receive the benefits of faster publishing.

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Google Updates Quality Raters Guidelines 

On October 19, Google announced that it had updated the Search Quality Rater’s Guidelines. This document is used by human raters to help determine the quality of a website. While these standards do not have a direct impact on rankings, they do help provide key insights into what Google deems a high-authority website by E-A-T standards (expertise, authority, trustworthiness).

Top changes in the 2021 update included:

  1. Further Definitions for Groups of People in the YMYL (your money, your life) section
    Now, the following groups are mentioned: race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender/gender identity, caste, gender expression, immigration status, sex/gnder, victims of a major violent event and their kin as well as “any other characteristic tha is associated with systemic discrimination or marginization.”
  2. Additional Clarification for Raters on Reputation Research and Information
    This section now mentioned “detailed, trustworthy, positive” reviews as well as instructions to delve deeper into YMYL content and the website’s reputation over other types of sites.
  3. Lowest Page Quality & Upsetting-Offensive Definitions updated
    This section now provides further clarification on how a site can be rated low. It also provides further examples of pages that may spread misinformation, spread hate and/or cause harm and a more concise definition of “Upsetting-Offensive” sites that would be considered low quality.

Below is the official announcement from Google: 

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Google Search Console Search Analytics API Gains Discover, News, and Regex

Google has added new support, data, and features to the Google Search Console Search Analytics API. The API now supports showing data for Google Discover, Google News, and it also supports Regex commands. All three features were already in the web interface. Google News performance reports were added in January 2021, Google Discover performance reports gained full data in February 2021, and Regex support was added in April 2021, but Google has now brought support to the API. Having access to these features streamlines and automates reporting. Below is the official announcement from Google: 

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Google Introduces New Google Analytics 360

This week, Google announced the rollout of Google Analytics 360, which builds on the foundation of Google Analytics 4 properties to address the measurement needs of large advertisers and agencies with more customizations, increased scale, and enterprise-level support. Analytics 360 has higher limits for up to 125 custom dimensions, 400 audiences and 50 conversion types to support larger enterprise-level information.

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Podcast Knowledge Panels Launch in Google Search 

In October, Google began rolling out knowledge panels for podcasts within the SERP. These new panels are located on the right side of the search results and contain information such as a description, images, host info, genre, and number of episodes. Google has yet to provide official documentation on where this data is pulled from, but many SEOs believe it is pulled from podcast RSS feeds.

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Google Updates Public-facing Testing Tools

As of Monday, October 11, the following fields will be available both on public testing and URL Inspection tools: page availability, HTTP headers, page screenshot, and paired AMP inspection. The URL Inspection Tool is a Search Console tool that currently powers AMP, Mobile Friendly, and Rich Results. Below is the official announcement from Google: 

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Google Introduces New Errors in Search Console’s Rich Result Report

Google shared that some sites can now see additional details on errors in the Search Console Rich Results status report. Rich results status report will only appear in Search Console if Google has data on the markup and if there are issues or warnings with the markup. The new errors introduced in this update include: invalid attribute string length, invalid attribute enum value, invalid object, type of conversion failed, and out of numeric range. Below is the official announcement from Google: 

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How Google Handled Facebook Outage 

The Facebook outage didn’t affect Google too much since it was only out for about 6 hours. According to Google, it takes a couple of days for an outage to result in Google dropping pages from its index due to the pages not being accessible. For longer outages when Google can’t reach a site for network/DNS reasons, it is seen like a 5xx HTTP server error, which means a reduction in crawling. Then the site continues to rank as it used to, and it’s a temporary state. If it becomes a persistent error (if it lasts more than 1-2 days), then they will start dropping those URLs from indexing. Below is a thread from Google regarding how Google handled the outage:

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