The Featured Snippet: May 2019

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 May 2019 issue of The Featured Snippet:

  • Google I/O Announcements
    • Google Releases Updated GoogleBot
    • New Schema Updates: FAQ, QA, HowTo
    • Image Search Improvements
    • Podcasts Can Now Be Indexed in SERPs
    • New GSC Site Speed Report
  • Google Rolls Out Big Mobile SERP Changes
  • Google Updates Quality Raters Guidelines
  • Google Announces All New Sites Will Be Mobile-First Indexed
  • Google Rolls Out Augmented Reality in SERPs
  • Bing Open Sources its Algorithm
  • Bing Turns 10 Years Old

Google I/O Announcements

Google held its annual developer’s conference in Mountain View and shared big announcements that affect the SEO industry. Here are the highlights from Google I/O 2019:

Google Releases Evergreen Googlebot

Google announced that Googlebot is now evergreen, which means it will continuously update with the latest version of Chrome and will now be able to support more features of modern websites. This update will make it easier for developers to ensure their websites are working with Googlebot to be crawled, ranked, and indexed.

New Schema Announcements

Google revealed three new schema types are available to be implemented on websites: FAQPage markup, QAPage markup, and HowTo markup.

Big Announcements for Image Search

Google announced several updates coming to Google image search. Here are some of the highlights:

  • High-resolution image opt-in program (coming soon): This program will allow websites with large, high-quality images to opt-in to share their content in image search. Eligible websites will be able to opt-in to this program via Google Search Console and add a specific structured data markup to their images to be displayed.
  • Images in Google Discover: Google Discover can be a large source of traffic for websites, and Google emphasized optimizing for the feed during the Google Search: State of the Union. As it pertains to images, Google explains that large images can shine and attract attention within the Google Discover feed.
  • Swipe up to navigate (coming soon): Swipe up to navigate is a new interaction that allows users to navigate to AMP pages within Google Images. When a user clicks on a website’s images, users can swipe up to instantly navigate to that website.
  • 3D models in search: This feature allows users to see products in 3D directly in search results. Users can find the product, pull the model out of search results, and view using augmented reality.

Podcast Indexation

Google will now start indexing podcasts and could soon be returning audio clips in search results.

New GSC Site Speed Report

Google announced an entirely new Google Search Console site speed report that is currently in BETA. Here’s a quick look at the new report:


Google Rolls Out Big Mobile SERP Changes

Google announced a big change in how it displays its mobile results including adding favicons for organic search listings and black “Ad” labels. Below is Google’s official announcement on Twitter and a look at the new mobile SERP results, which have officially rolled out:


Google Updates Search Quality Evaluator’s Guidelines

Google released its latest iteration of the Search Quality Evaluator’s Guidelines—a 164-page set of guidelines used to help human “quality raters” evaluate online content and provide feedback to Google. Here are some key changes to the Search Quality Evaluator’s Guidelines:

Change in how website content is graded

Content is now more thoroughly graded on a page-by-page and query-by-query basis rather than relying entirely on the site’s authority.

Loosened restrictions on what are considered “experts” in content

Restrictions on what qualifies as an expert in all content outside of the “your money, your life” (YMYL) category has been loosened. Now, content authors can show their expertise by writing content that demonstrates their level of expertise. For example, a DIY blogger does not need a bio proving they’ve taken home design or woodworking classes. Instead, the quality of the how-to and informational content speaks for itself.

Updated information on interstitial ads

Language around interstitials (like app download pop-ups) is stricter this time around which likely means these will continue to be demoted.


Google Announces All New Sites Will Be Mobile-First Indexed

Google announced that starting on July 1, 2019, all new websites that have not been indexed by Google will be using the mobile-first index. Older websites that are not yet ready for this index will remain in the desktop-first index for the time being while Google continues to monitor these sites. Below is the official announcement from Google:


Google Rolls Out Augmented Reality in SERPs

Google released a new feature in SERPs that will utilize the Google Lens and augmented reality (AR). This feature allows searchers to use their cameras to view and interact with 3D models in real time. Below shows the feature in action:

Many retailers, such as Wayfair and Amazon, are already using this feature and allowing customers to view products like furniture and décor in their homes in real time.

You can also check out the announcement at Google I/O at 29:00 mark in the video below:


Bing Open Sources its Algorithm

Bing announced that it had uploaded its open-source algorithm to the GitHub project. The algorithm known as Space Partition Tree And Graph (SPTAG) allows for searching through billions of pieces of information in milliseconds. The algorithm is designed to help search engines deliver more relevant results faster.

Releasing valuable algorithms and data like SPTAG will allow developers to create their own search engines or submit improvements to the already-advanced algorithm. The below video shows an explanation of vector search and why Bing is open-sourcing it:


Bing Turns 10 Years Old

Bing hit its 10-year anniversary on May 28. Released four years after Microsoft’s first foray into search, MSN Search, Bing has risen to become one of the most-used search engines in the world and has been on the forefront of many SEO tools and features. Bing was the first, for example, to release a disavow tool for spam-ridden links as well as releasing contextual news spotlights in user’s search results.