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The Featured Snippet: September 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 September 2020 issue of The Featured Snippet: 

  • Googlebot to Become More Efficient 
  • Google Confirms Indexing Issues
  • Bing Introduces Search Updates with AI 
  • Google Organic Product Listings to Roll Out Globally
  • Bing Webmaster Tool Updates 
    • Robots.txt Tester Launches 
    • Dropped Support for Geo-Targeting Tool 
    • URL Inspection Tool Out of Beta 
  • Ahrefs Updates
    • Ahrefs Webmaster Tools 
    • New Link Opportunities  
  • Google My Business Announces New Performance Metrics

Googlebot to Become More Efficient 

Google announced that Googlebot will soon be able to start crawling some websites over HTTP/2, which is the next major revision of HTTP/1.1. Essentially, this update allows Googlebot to be more efficient with crawling in terms of server resource usage. Googlebot will begin crawling some websites over HTTP/2 in November 2020. Here is the official announcement from Google: 


Google Confirms Indexing Issues

Google confirmed that there were indexing issues regarding canonicalization and mobile-indexing starting around September 22 and 23. As of 10/2, Google is currently working to resolve this issue, and there is no action necessary from site owners to help solve the indexing problem. Google will confirm when the issue has been resolved. Here is the official announcement from Google: 


Bing Introduces Search Updates with AI 

Bing announced “next wave” improvements to its index with the use of AI. Some of its improvements include smarter autosuggest, more diverse questions in “People also ask,” intelligent answers now in 100+ languages, and semantic highlighting in captions. Below is the official announcement from Bing: 


Google Organic Product Listings to Roll Out Globally

Google announced in April 2020 that Shopping search results will now be unpaid organic listings, which was covered in the April 2020 issue of The Featured Snippet. Initially, this change was applied in the US only; however, this will officially roll out globally in mid-October. Here is the official announcement from Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai: 

Bing Webmaster Tools Updates

Robots.txt Tester Officially Launches 

Bing officially launched its robots.txt tester within Bing Webmaster Tools. Robots.txt is a file that tells search engine crawlers what it can and can’t crawl on the website. The new tool in Bing Webmaster Tools allows site owners to analyze how Bing processes their robos.txt files. 

Dropped Support for Geo-Targeting Tool

Bing announced on Twitter that it has dropped support for its Geo-Targeting Tool in Bing Webmaster Tools. This feature allowed site owners to target content to specific countries. Bing also announced that hreflang is a weak international SEO signal and pointed to this documentation for help when targeting countries and languages within Bing. 

URL Inspection Tool Out of Beta

Bing officially moved its URL inspection tool out of beta. This tool allows site owners to check specific URL information like index details, markup details, SEO best practice details, and Bing rendering details. 


Ahrefs Updates 

Ahrefs Webmaster Tools  

Ahrefs released Ahrefs Webmaster Tools to complement the data provided by Google Search Console. This tool is free with limited access to anyone who owns a website. Ahrefs Webmaster Tools users have will have access to the following:

  • Advice on how to fix over 100 SEO issues that hurt search performance
  • Backlink data
  • Keywords that bring site traffic


New Link Opportunities   

Ahrefs launched a new tool within Site Audit called Link Opportunities. This tool provides users with access to information about the 10 best keywords that bring traffic to your site to use as anchor text and link suggestions. Links will not be suggested if they already exist on your site. The data within this tool can be filtered by parameters set by users. Here is the announcement from Ahrefs: 

Google My Business Announces New Performance Metrics  

Google announced new business performance reporting on Google My Business Insights. The reports are currently only available on Search, but Google plans to release them for Maps as well. The data is available for a six-month time frame with interaction metrics updated daily. To view your historic data over time, Google My Business Insights metrics can be downloaded via the API.