The Featured Snippet: September 2019

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. See below for the latest version of The Featured Snippet.

In the September 2019 issue of The Featured Snippet: 

  • September 2019 Core Update (September 24, 2019)
  • Google Makes Updates to Nofollow Tags
  • Google Adds META Robots Support for Featured Snippets
  • Google Updates Algorithm to Favor Original Reporting
  • Google Search Console Gets Fresher Data
  • Goodbye to the Old Google Search Console
  • Google Releases Schema Updates:
    • VideoObject Schema Update
    • Movie Schema
  • Google Launches Search News YouTube Series

September 2019 Core Update (September 24, 2019) 

Google released another core algorithm update on September 24, 2019—its third of the year. Google announced its first core algorithm update, the March 2019 Core Update, on March 12, 2019 and its second core algorithm update, the June 2019 Core Update, on June 3, 2019. This algorithm update is being called the September 2019 Core Update. Google took to Twitter to preannounce the algorithm update: 

Early analysis of the September 2019 Core Update indicates that this update is not as strong as the June 2019 Core Update and has had a stronger impact on Your Money, Your Life (YMYL) categories of websites. 

If you have been affected or think you have been affected by the September 2019 Core Update, make sure you take a look at Google’s advice on core algorithm updates


Google Makes Updates to Nofollow Tags

Google announced three big updates/announcements on the <rel=”nofollow> link attribute:

  • Google announced two ways to specify nofollow directives: <rel=”sponsored> and <rel=”ugc”>.

<rel=”sponsored”> : links for advertisements, paid placements, or sponsorships.

<rel=”ugc”>: links for any user-generated content.

  • Google announced that the nofollow link attribute will be used as a “hint” and not a directive. This means that Google may use nofollow links for ranking purposes. Prior to this announcement, Google would see nofollow link attributes and ignore the link (not follow it, not use it for ranking, etc.). Google will continue to not follow the link for crawling and indexing purposes for the time being.
  • After March 1, 2020, Google will expand the nofollow link attribute to also be a “hint” for crawling and indexing purposes.

This article from Moz does a fantastic job of outlining exactly what happened and what’s changing. This chart within the article outlines everything you need to know:


Google Adds META Robots Support for Featured Snippets

Google announced three new META robots that can be used to control what is shown within featured snippets

  1. “Nosnippet”: This already exists but is an option if you don’t want a featured snippet shown for the page
  2. “Max snippet: [number]”: Specifies the text length of the snippet
  3. “Max-video-preview: [number]”: Specifies the maximum text-length of a snippet for the page.
  4. “Max-image-preview: [setting]”: Specifies the maximum size of image preview to be shown for images on this page, using either “none,” “standard,” or “large”

These can be implemented now and will become effective mid-to-late October 2019. 

Google Updates Algorithm to Favor Original Reporting

Google has worked in the past few months (no specific date on this rollout) to give higher priority to original reporting in SERPs. This means Google will attempt to give higher ranking to the original reports within Google Search, Google News, and Google Discover. This is a big update for publications that put in a lot of resources to put out original new stories/reports. 


Google Search Console Gets Fresher Data, Export by Date

Google announced two big updates to Google Search Console: fresher data and an export by date function. Google Search Console will now show data as recent as one day—a huge improvement compared to the previous few days. Google also added a “dates” section within the Performance Report that allows you to export data by specified days within a certain time period. 


Goodbye to the Old Google Search Console 

On September 9, 2019, Google officially said goodbye to the old Search Console platform in favor of the more up-to-date tool. Over the past year, Google has been working to migrate all of the GSC tools over to the new, more user-friendly version of the platform. While there is no one-to-one replacement for all the legacy offerings from the old platform (such as the remove URLs tool, crawl stats report, and the robots.txt testing tool), these reports and tools can still be found in GSC under “legacy tools and reports” in the left hand navigation while Google works to make these available in the new tool. It should be noted, however, that Google has stated that users should not expect that all these tools will be ported over or available in the future.


Google Releases Schema Updates

VideoObject Schema Update

Starting on September 17, 2019, video content creators are now able to mark up their videos to improve their search listing by offering insights into key moments within their video content. Ideal for videos, such as how to instructions, long speeches, or documentaries, this mark-up will include timestamps within the search listing outlining the different key moments or chapters within the content, allowing a user to navigate to a specific portion of their video.

In addition to making it easier for users to navigate within video content, these highlighted moments will be eligible to surface specifically in search. By ranking specific key moments, Google is able to provide a much better match for user intent. Additionally, this markup presents an opportunity for video content creators to increase their organic footprint.

Movie Schema

On September 5, 2019, Google announced the release of movie schema. This schema allows a site to mark-up specific information about a movie on their page. The required fields include the title and image, but there is an opportunity to expand further to include the date created, director, aggregate rating, and a nested review. Webmasters are able to markup a single page with this movie markup or designate multiple films in a list as separate entities. 


Google Launches Search News YouTube Series

On September 26, 2019, the Google Webmasters Youtube channel released the premiere episode of the new Google Search News web series. In this series, John Mueller will cover the top search topics. Slated to appear every few weeks, this video series is designed especially for webmasters, publishers, and SEO. The first video covered the following topics:

  • Recent Updates to Google Search Console
  • Change in the Webmaster Office Hours Setup
  • Updates and Expansion of nofollow Link Directives
  • Making Rich Results More Helpful
  • New META Tags
  • Webmaster Conferences World Wide

You can check out the full video right here on the Google Webmasters YouTube Channel.