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The Featured Snippet: May 2020

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 2020 issue of The Featured Snippet: 

  • May 2020 Core Algorithm Update (May 4, 2020) 
  • Google Introduces Core Web Vitals 
  • Page Experience to be Google Ranking Factor in 2021
  • New Google Rising Retail Categories Tool 
  • Google Search Console Updates 
    • Core Web Vitals
    • API Updates
    • SpecialAnnoucement Structured Data Reports
  • Search of the Record: New Podcast from Google Search Team

May 2020 Core Algorithm Update (May 4, 2020)

On May 4, 2020, Google rolled out its second broad core algorithm update of 2020 called the May 2020 Core Update—the first was the January 2020 Core Update. Here is the official announcement from Google: 

The May 2020 Core Update rolled out over several weeks and finished on May 18, 2020. Here is the official announcement from Google: 

As a reminder, core updates are bigger and more significant than other daily changes Google implements. These core updates tend to produce wider gains and losses for sites and are designed to ensure that Google is providing the best content for its users.

If you were affected by the May 2020 Core Update, Google recommends following these guidelines on core updates, or you can check out Performics’ blog post on the core updates with advice if you have been affected by a broad core algorithm update


Google Introduces Core Web Vitals 

To better help web developers and site owners optimize for quality and user experience, Google announced new Core Web Vitals. Google describes these Core Web Vitals as an “initiative to provide unified guidance for quality signals that, we believe, are essential to delivering a great user experience on the web.” The Core Web Vitals include: 

  • Largest Contentful Paint measures perceived load speed and marks the point in the page load timeline when the page’s main content has likely loaded.
  • First Input Delay measures responsiveness and quantifies the experience users feel when trying to first interact with the page.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift measures visual stability and quantifies the amount of unexpected layout shift of visible page content.


Page Experience to be Google Ranking Factor in 2021

Google announced that page experience will be a Google ranking factor in 2021. Google will be combining its new Core Web Vitals with other page experience signals. These page speed signals are listed in the below figure: 

In addition to this announcement, Google also changed the eligibility for Top Stories, which currently emphasizes AMP results. To account for a better page experience according to Google, AMP will no longer be necessary for stories to be featured in Top Stories on mobile—it will be open for any pages.


New Google Rising Retail Categories Tool 

Following evolving searcher and retail behavior surrounding COVID-19, Google released a brand new tool that explores trends in search pertaining to retail categories. This tool was announced in the Think with Google blog. This new tool aims to help retailers and marketers alike. The tool provides details on “fast-growing, product-related categories in Google Search, the locations where they’re growing, and the queries associated with them” in the US, Australia, Brazil, France, and the UK. 

Check out the tool Rising Retail Categories tool on the Think with Google website


Google Search Console Updates

Core Web Vitals

In addition to the announcement that Core Web Vitals now act as ranking signals, Google Search Console replaced the original Speed Report in the tool with a new Core Vitals Report. This report includes information regarding user experience by outlining the following metrics: Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay, and Cumulative Layout Shift. 

Tracking these changes will help webmasters improve page load speed alongside overall user experience. Check out the official search console Core Web Vitals help page for more information.

API Updates

Back in 2018, Google Webmasters announced that Google Search Console would eventually discontinue support of JSON-RPC and global HTTP batch endpoints. Years after this initial announcement, the official Google Webmasters announced that this change would be made soon. Many SEOs and marketers use this API for various tracking purposes and internal dashboards. It will be important to update these implementations to avoid disruption of reporting or services. 

SpecialAnnoucement Structured Data Reports

Following the release of SpecialAnnouncement schema earlier this year, GSC added two SpecialAnouncement Enhancement reports to the tool. 

  • SpecialAnnouncement Enhancement Report: This report allows webmasters to check for any issues or errors in their code as well as validate these fixes once they have completed, triggering a recrawl of the pages.
  • SpecialAnnouncement Performance Report: Users can now filter clicks and impressions under the search appearance tab to track the performance of this newly added schema.

In addition to these new reports, SpecialAnnouncement schema has also been added to the Rich Results Testing Tool


Search Off the Record: New Podcast from Google Search Team

The Google Search team announced that they will be hosting a podcast called Search Off the Record. This podcast features three prominent Google Search team members (John Mueller, Martin Splitt, and Gary Illyes) and will cover topics such as decision-making behind launches, feature prioritization in Search Console, and the projects Google Search teams are working on. Here is the official announcement from Google: 

You can check out the trailer here and the first episode right here