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The Featured Snippet: December 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 December 2021 issue of The Featured Snippet: 

  • December 2021 Product Review Update (December 1, 2021)
  • November 2021 Local Search Update (November 30, 2021)
  • Google Launches New Top Stories Design on Desktop
  • Google Launches New Search Bar Autocomplete Design
  • Google Search Console Errors (December 2021)
  • Google Analytics 4 & Google Search Console Can Now Be Linked
  • DuckDuckGo to Launch a Desktop Browser
  • Local SEO
    • Google Launches New Map & Local Interface
    • Google Posts Open for Hotels
    • Google Local Search Update Winners & Losers 

December 2021 Product Review Update (December 1, 2021)

In early December, Google released a new search algorithm update named the “December 2021 products reviews” update. This is the second time Google is pushing out a products reviews update this year; the first one rolled out in April 2021 (covered in the April 2021 issue of The Featured Snippet). The update is meant to reward product reviews that share in-depth information. The official announcement from Google is below:

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November 2021 Local Search Update (November 30, 2021)

Between November 30 and December 8, Google confirmed that it ran a local search ranking update. According to Google, the purpose of the update was to rebalance “various factors we consider in generating local search results.” The update may have impacted local rankings in the Google Maps and local pack results and could potentially impact overall traffic. The official announcement from Google is below:

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Google Launches New Top Stories Design on Desktop

Google rolled out a new design globally for the Top Stories section in the desktop version of its search results. The new design matches the look of the mobile Top Stories section that launched two years ago. The updated design is shown below: 

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Google Launches New Search Bar Autocomplete Design 

Google has launched a new search bar autocomplete design that comes with additional predictions that could be related to your search. Some of those search predictions include people also ask, people also search for, and any other content that would be relevant to your search. Google is currently testing another type of autocomplete labeled “edge to edge.” The edge to edge version includes a feature where the search box at the top would blend into the other parts of the search results page. The update search bar is shown below: 

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Google Search Console Errors (December 2021)

There were a few errors coming from GSC in December. The first one was an internal issue that caused Google to send out Search Console notifications regarding redirect errors. Google later confirmed that it was a bug that caused these notifications to go out and that they weren’t due to any website issues.  

The second error was the Google Search Console Outage. A large number of people reported this outage, and when trying to access GSC they instead received 429 error codes. Google confirmed five days later that the issue was fully resolved. 

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Google Analytics 4 & Google Search Console Can Now Be Linked

Google is now offering the ability to connect Google Analytics 4 and Google Search Console properties. This joint data view will allow users to compare search traffic data and find correlations along the user’s journey. The official announcement from Google is below: 

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DuckDuckGo to Launch a Desktop Browser

DuckDuckGo will be launching a desktop app similar to their mobile app. The desktop browser promotes online privacy across search, email, and more. An official launch date has not been released. Images of the new browser are below:

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Local SEO

Google Launches New Map & Local Interface 

On December 9, Google confirmed that there will be design changes to the local map pack within search results. This new design features the map and locations side by side on desktop rather than stacking the map on top of business location information. The new design is shown below:

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Google Posts Open for Hotels

In mid-December, Google announced that hotels are now able to use the Google Posts feature in a limited capacity. While Google is not allowing hotels to post promotions or deals, the feature can now be used to provide information pertaining to the hotel such as events, COVID-19 protocols, and/or updates like renovations or new amenities. 

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November 2021 Local Search Update Winners & Losers 

The November 2021 local search update was coined the “Vicinity Update” due to Google making the smaller and less established businesses that are closer to the user rank better than those businesses that are bigger and further away. A handful of industries felt this impact more than others and some of those include lawyers, home services, insurance and more. 

The winners from this update are businesses that don’t have keywords in their name but have strong competitors that do, and secondary locations for prominent businesses. 

The losers from this update are businesses that ranked really far from their office and businesses with keywords in the business name. 

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