The Featured Snippet: July 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 July 2019 issue of The Featured Snippet: 

  • Robots Exclusions: Changes & A New Internet Standard 
  • Unconfirmed Google Algorithm Update “Maverick” (July 18, 2019) 
  • Google Offers Advice for Future “Broad Core” Algorithm Updates
  • Google Implements New Featured Snippet Algorithm for Timeliness
  • “Swipe to Visit” Launches in Google Images
  • Google Publishes JavaScript SEO Basics Guide 
  • Google Launches New #AskGoogleWebmasters Series 
  • Google Launches Updated Google News Desktop Design

Robots Exclusions: Changes & A New Internet Standard 

Last month marked the 25th birthday of the Robots Exclusion Protocol (a tool to help tell search engine bots what not to crawl on sites), and Google celebrated by declaring it is working to make it an official Internet standard. Google also announced several technical changes to the Robots Exclusion Protocol. One of these changes is no longer supporting code that involves unsupported and unpublished rules (such as noindex within robots.txt) starting on September 1, 2019.The full list of changes can be found on Google’s documentation on robot.txt specifications

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Unconfirmed Google Algorithm Update “Maverick” (July 18, 2019)

From July 11th to July 18th, many webmasters noted fluctuations in their ranking and incoming organic traffic. These fluctuations point to a change in the Google algorithm. Several days of SERP volatility, most notably on July 18th, speak to a major shift in the algorithm. While Google did not confirm this update, SEOs have named it the “Maverick” update due to the fact that it was released at the same time as the new Top Gun trailer. 

Despite announcing that they would begin to announce core algorithm updates, Google has not confirmed this algorithm update. Likely, this means that the July update or “Maverick” was a smaller, routine update that Google did not think would impact a wide range of sites. Google has stated that it does not confirm smaller core updates

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Google Offers Advice for Future “Broad Core” Algorithm Updates

Google provided some advice on sites that have been impacted by “broad core” algorithm updates. Previously, Google stated that there is “no fix” to sites that are impacted by core algorithm updates and that sites should simply be “ensuring you’re offering the best content you can.” However, this article expands on this statement by giving advice on what to look at if sites have been impacted: 

  • Focus on content: Google reiterated its statement on creating quality content and stated that a starting point when evaluating content is to revisit what advice they’ve offered in the past about quality sites. 
  • Questions to ask yourself about content: Google also provided a long list of questions to ask yourself about your content regarding three topics: (1) content and quality, (2) expertise, and (3) presentation and production. The full list of questions can be found on the official Google blog post
  • Get to know E-A-T, Quality Raters Guidelines: Google also advised that it’s important to understand E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, and trust) and the search quality raters guidelines, a 164-page set of guidelines used to help human ‘quality raters’ evaluate online content and provide feedback to Google.

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Google Implements New Featured Snippet Algorithm for Timeliness 

Google launched an update to its search algorithm up help keep featured snippets timely, fresh, and relevant to queries that demand it. In its official blog post, Google outlines a few examples of how the new featured snippet algorithm works: 

When searching for upcoming holidays: 

When searching for an upcoming TV premiere: 

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“Swipe to Visit” Launches in Google Images

Google launched the “swipe to visit” feature that was announced at this year’s Google I/O conference. The new image search feature allows users to preview an AMP-enabled website header when selecting an image within image search.  The user can then swipe up to visit and load the entire webpage. 

Here’s the new “Swipe to Visit” feature at work:

Google Publishes JavaScript SEO Basics Guide

Google continued its initiative to help SEOs better understand how search and JavaScript work by publishing a new basics guide. The new section aims to help give beginners insights on how Googlebot processes JavaScript on websites. Some of the tips the article covers include: 

  • Describing your page with unique titles and snippets 
  • Writing compatible code 
  • Using meaningful HTTP status codes
  • Using meta robots tags 
  • Fixing images and lazy-loaded content

The full SEO and JavaScript basics guide can be found in Google’s documentation on understanding the JavaScript SEO basics.

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Google Launches New #AskGoogleWebmasters Series

On July 11, the Google Webmasters team announced a new #AskGoogleWebmasters YouTube series via Twitter. This new video series will focus on answering popular questions webmasters and SEOs have regarding Google search and Google’s suite of SEO tools (Google Search Console, Google Analytics, etc). These new videos will be uploaded to the Google Webmasters YouTube channel and will be hosted by John Mueller (@JohnMu).

Here’s a look at the first three videos of the #AskGoogleWebmasters series:

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Google Launches Updated Google News Desktop Design

Google has officially rolled out a new layout for the Google News platform. Google News, a filter within the search engine that can be found when you click on the “news” results, lists popular and up-to-date news stories posted from news publishers. The previous desktop design provided multiple links to several sources per article. Now, the platform showcases a single, relevant article and includes a “People Also Search” feature.

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