The New Year and the new decade have brought some big changes to search-land. From Google’s January 2020 Core Update to developments in featured snippets, here’s all the latest SEO news from the specialists at Solve.
Google’s January 2020 Core Update
On January 13th, Google announced they were rolling out a core algorithm update, aptly named ‘January 2020 Core Update’. As with all core updates, this change had the potential to affect all searches worldwide. And it was a biggy. Many major SEO data companies reported changes in search rankings, for the better and the worse.
Google states that core updates like this one ensure, “we’re delivering on our mission to present relevant and authoritative content to searchers”. And they reiterated their guidance on how core algorithm updates can influence rankings – comparing the SERP to a list of top 100 movies:
“…imagine you made a list of the top 100 movies in 2015. A few years later in 2019, you refresh the list. It’s going to naturally change. Some new and wonderful movies that never existed before will now be candidates for inclusion. You might also reassess some films and realize they deserved a higher place on the list than they had before.”
They go on to advise that content that drops in ranking following an update, isn’t necessarily bad. There’s just “more deserving” content now available, and to make way for that, your content can get pushed further down the list.
So if your ranking has dropped following this update, what should you do? Well, there might not be anything wrong to fix, but there may be ways to improve your content and fight your way back to pole position.
Analyse the content that’s pipped you to the top. What do they do that you don’t? How could your content be improved? Learn from the top content, and add to your post/page, develop it, and make it even better. And don’t forget to check out our article on How to Write a Top-ranking Blog Post to see if there’s anything you’ve missed. By keeping your content evergreen and as comprehensive as possible, you’ll stay competitive in the SERP over the long term.
Later today, we are releasing a broad core algorithm update, as we do several times per year. It is called the January 2020 Core Update. Our guidance about such updates remains as we’ve covered before. Please see this blog post for more about that:https://t.co/e5ZQUA3RC6
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) January 13, 2020
Google Confirms No More Featured Snippet Duplication
Up to this month, it was possible for your content to be on the SERP as a featured snippet, or position ‘0’ spot, and again in the list of results below. Last week, Google confirmed that this will no longer be the case. If your content is effective enough to appear as the featured snipped (like our keyphrase research and why invest in SEO articles below), then it will not appear again in the rest of the search results. Google states this is to declutter the SERP and help users locate relevant information more easily.
Favicons Now Live on Desktop Search
Back in May, we reported that Google was introducing favicons to the SERP on mobile search.
What’s a favicon I hear you say? Favicon is short for ‘favouriate icon’, and it’s usually a little logo or image. You find them most commonly to the left of the URL in your browser.
Google started adding these favicons to listings on mobile search, along with adding ‘Ad’ in bold, black letting beside adverts in the middle of last year. They’re now rolling this out on desktop searches too. It might seem like a minor point, but the SERP is hugely competitive and not having a favicon beside your listing looks seriously unprofessional. Favicons are also a great way to grab the attention of searchers, particularly if you work in a creative industry. So make sure you have yours set!
Image Search Tips from Google
This month, Google released a handy little video about how to optimise images for search. Google’s John Mueller suggests before any optimisation, you need to think about the intent of searchers – who would like to find these images and why? Don’t optimise images just for the sake of it.
He then gives these helpful tips to get your images ranking better:
- Use high quality images
- Write interesting captions
- Place images on your page in a relevant and easily visible way
- Use descriptive pages title and alt text
- Make sure file names are as descriptive as possible too
- Ensure your image loads quickly
The full video is below if you want to learn more, and you can find out more about user intent in our previous post about SEO in 2020.