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The Featured Snippet: October 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 October 2020 issue of The Featured Snippet: 

  • Google Search On Event Highlights
    • BERT Expanded 
    • Spelling Improvements 
    • Passage-based Indexing
    • Subtopics 
    • Key Moments Expanded
  • Google Indexing Issues Resolved
  • Web Stories Officially Launch on Google Discover 
  • Microsoft Bing Re-vamps Site Explorer Tool 
  • Google Launches Google Analytics 4 
  • Google Releases Long-form “How Search Works” Video
  • Bing Rebrands to Microsoft Bing 

Google Search On Event Highlights 

Google held an event called “Google Search On” which made several significant announcements about Google Search. Below are the highlights from Google Search On 2020:

BERT Expanded 

Google announced that BERT, which is a natural language processing model that was incorporated into Google’s algorithm in October 2019, has been expanded and is now used on almost every English query. This update ensures users are getting more relevant, higher quality search results. For more information on BERT, check out the October 2019 issue of The Featured Snippet

Spelling Improvements 

Google updated its spelling algorithm to improve their ability to understand misspelled words. Google announced that this update makes a “greater improvement to spelling than all of our improvements in the last five years.” The new spelling algorithm helps Google to understand the context of misspelled words to help users find the right results. An example is shown below: 

Passage-based Indexing

Google announced that it can now index parts of a page (a passage within the page’s content), as opposed to all the content on the page. In other words, if a site has long-form content with multiple subtopics buried deep within the page, Google can now find the answer to a query that may be within a deeper subtopic of a page. Previously, Google was not able to do this. Google also said that this update will affect 7% of search results—making this a significant update for Google Search. This update will go live later in 2020. An example of passage-based indexing is shown below: 


Google announced that it has applied “neural nets” to help understand subtopics around an interest, which will deliver greater diversity in search results for broad queries. For example, if a user searches for “home exercise equipment,” Google now has the ability to understand relevant subtopics like budget equipment, premium picks, or small space ideas. 

Key Moments Expanded

Google rolled out key moments for YouTube videos, which was covered in the September 2019 issue of The Featured Snippet. Google announced that they will be using AI to better detect key parts of videos to help users jump to moments they are searching for. By the end of the year, 10% of Google searches will use this technology.


Google Indexing Issues Resolved

Google confirmed that there were indexing issues regarding canonicalization and mobile-indexing starting around September 22 and 23, as covered in the September 2020 issue of The Featured Snippet. On October 19, Google announced its final update confirming that the mobile-indexing and canonical issues were effectively resolved. Below is the official announcement from Google: 


Web Stories Officially Launch on Google Discover 

Web Stories, formerly known as AMP stories, are full-screen, interactive visual storytelling formats. In October, Google officially announced that Web Stories have officially launched on Google Discover. This update makes Web Stories now accessible by the 800 million users of Google Discover per month. In addition to this Web Stories update, Google also updated its Web Stories best practices and Web Stories policies documentation


Microsoft Bing Re-vamps Site Explorer Tool

Bing announced a brand new version of the Site Explorer tool. This relaunch includes a fully redesigned tool that provides a wealth of information in one easy-to-use file explorer, allowing webmasters to explore indexation, broken links, and any crawl errors. The below screenshot shows the Site Explorer Tool in Bing Webmaster Tools:


Google Launches Google Analytics 4

Google rolled out the official release of Google Analytics 4. This new version of the analytics platform includes expanded insights, better integration with Google Ads, more data controls, AI-powered insights and more. This iteration of the platform hopes to prepare webmasters and marketers for a cookie-less world.


Google Releases Long-form “How Search Works” Video

Google released an hour-long video that outlines the ways that Search works. Outlining top Search challenges as well as how it is evolving and changing, the video features behind the scenes videos, interviews with top Google employees, and much more. You can check out this video on Google’s official YouTube channel.


Bing Rebrands to Microsoft Bing

Microsoft announced that the company had officially rebranded their search engine from Bing to Microsoft Bing. According to the announcement, this “reflects the continued integration of our search experiences across the Microsoft family.”