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The Featured Snippet: November 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 November 2019 issue of The Featured Snippet: 

  • Google “Confirmed” Algorithm Update (November 8, 2019) 
  • Google Confirmed Nov. 2019 Local Search Update
  • Google Holds its First Webmaster Conference Product Summit 
  • Google Search Console Updates 
    • New GSC Training Series
    • New Product Rich Results Filter
  • Google Holds Chrome Dev Summit
    • Chrome to Call Out Sites for Slow Speed
    • Chrome Mixed Content Reminder 
  • WSJ Investigates “How Google Interferes With Its Search Algorithms and Changes Your Results”

Google “Confirmed” Algorithm Update (November 8, 2019)

A lot of chatter picked up in the SEO community about an algorithm update occuring in early November, however, there was no pre-announcement by Google, as they did for the June 2019 Core Update and the September 2019 Core Update this year. SEOs reached out to Google on Twitter, and they somewhat confirmed an algorithm update. Here’s what Google had to say on Twitter: 

Google stated that they had “actually several updates, just as we have several updates in any given week on a regular basis.” Google went on to explain that some of these regular updates can be more noticeable than others, and that’s likely why some SEOs may be seeing swings in metrics. 

Google also went on to explain that there is no “fix” for sites with any of these regular algorithm updates. They reiterated for sites to “keep focused on great content” as they’ve advised in the past about core algorithm  updates


Google Confirmed Nov. 2019 Local Search Update

Google officially confirmed a local algorithm update in early November that they’ve named the Nov. 2019 Local Search Update, similar to the naming convention they’ve used for core updates. The update is centered around implementing neural matching as part of the local search results, which means Google is better able to understand how words are related to concepts. With the use of neural matching, Google can now better understand user intent in terms of local search. Here’s what Google had to say on Twitter: 

Google said that the Nov. 2019 Local Search Update does not require any type of changes, and those looking to succeed should continue to follow advice from this Google support doc.


Google Holds its First Webmaster Conference Product Summit 

Google held its first ever Webmaster Conference Product Summit at Googleplex early this month. The conference focused on (1) facilitating dialogue between the webmaster/SEO community and Search product teams and (2) providing an opportunity for SEOs to give feedback and learn about how the product team thinks about Search. Google touched on subjects, such as content duplication, Googlebot crawling and rendering, synonym search, and much, much more. For full notes on the conference, Jackie Chu posted her detailed conference notes on everything that happened. 


Google Search Console Updates

New Google Search Console Training Web Series for Beginners

On November 13, Google announced that it would release a video series focused on using Google Search Console to optimize search appearance and increase organic traffic. This includes everything from properly setting up GSC accounts to more advanced techniques, such as fixing reported issues and monitoring website traffic. The first video in the series provides an Introduction to Google Search Console and its capabilities

New Product Rich Results Reporting

Google Search Console now provides more information about product rich results surfacing in Search. The new product rich results appears under the search appearance within the Performance Report in Google Search Console. This data will help brands and websites understand how their product pages are performing in Search as well as learn more about how expanded search results and data, such as prices and deals that may impact their listing performance.


Google Holds Chrome Dev Summit

Google held its annual Chrome Dev Summit this month and offered remote access to all sessions for anyone who was interested. All videos from the summit can be found on the Google Chrome Developers Youtube page.

Chrome to Add Slow Badge to Slow-Loading Websites

One of the biggest announcements to come from the Chrome Developers Summit was the introduction of speed badges within Google Chrome. These badges are designed to reward faster, high-speed websites, according to Google’s official announcement. Sites that have historically slow load times will likely load with a slow badge while faster sites will display a green-loading bar. Chrome is in the process of developing and testing these changes. Sites that display the slow badge could likely see an increase in abandonment rates from users. Here’s a look at what these badges will look like: 

Google Reminds Webmasters to Fix Mixed Content Issues

The Google Webmasters team announced that webmasters should be looking into resolving any mixed content issues with their site. Mixed content refers to sites that may have an SSL certificate, but load or contain assets that are not secure. This could include code loaded from vendors as well as non-secure image or video links. All content on a website should be secure and live under a secure (or https://) URL. Webmasters can locate insecure resources by using Chrome’s Dev Tools or by running the insecure content report in Screaming Frog. Starting in December 2019, Chrome will begin to block mixed content by default. Here’s the reminder from Google on Twitter: 


WSJ Investigates “How Google Interferes With Its Search Algorithms and Changes Your Results”

The Wall Street Journal released an in-depth article outlining ways that Google allegedly changes and manipulates its search results. Among the charges, the WSJ claimed that Google manipulates results in favor of bigger brands. The consensus among the SEO industry  found the article’s claims and methodology to be flawed, claiming the article was “conspiratorial” and showcased a “lack of understanding on how search works.” Additionally, multiple sources interviewed feel they were misquoted and misinterpreted.

Read the full story from the Wall Street Journal as well as the rebuttal posted on Search Engine Land.