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Good morning, Marketers, let’s catch you up a bit on some of the latest rumblings around the unconfirmed Google search ranking updates. Yes, I know. Google is always updating but sometimes those updates are larger and more widespread than others.
It has been a while since we had a core update — the last one was the December core update — and we are now five months later and no new official core update has been announced by Google. We did have the product reviews update that finished rolling out April 22nd and we are awaiting the upcoming page experience update.
That being said, there were some unconfirmed updates since April 22nd including rumbling around April 23rd and 24th and April 30th and May 1st. There is some suspicion that these updates were tweaks to the product reviews update that was released in April, but Google has not confirmed that. It does appear that those two updates were significant and many in the SEO industry noticed ranking changes on those two time frames — some specifically around recoveries for the product reviews update.
Google (bird) algorithm watcher
Google Local Service Ads bug changes your bid mode
Google has a bug with its Local Service Ads program where it may change your bid mode from “Maximize Leads” to “Max Per Lead.” Google is aware of this bug and said they are working on a fix.
If you are using Local Service Ads, you will want to check your bid modes to ensure they are set properly and that this bug didn’t lead to them being changed without your knowledge.
Len, an advertiser, said this “issue has impacted 100% of the law firms I work with.” David Kyle, another advertiser, said, “I had all of mine set to Max Per Lead already, and set them to the max bid that was allowed at the time. These bids were also dropped to the minimum.” This does not sound good, and if this impacted your client’s spend or budgets, reach out to Google for a remedy.
Google’s advice on optimizing images with SEO in mind
With all this concern over making your pages faster these days, many are not thinking about what happens to your image search traffic if you just change your images. Many are changing their images from .png or .jpg formats to .svg for performance reasons. But that is a brand new image, and if your site gets traffic from Google Image Search, that traffic can disappear with those changes. Google Image Search is super slow when it comes to processing redirects and finding new or updated images =- so be careful when making these changes.
Google’s John Mueller posted a thread of advice on Twitter on how to optimize your images while keeping in mind image search traffic. The advice starts with trying not to change your file names and just optimize the image under the current format. There is a lot more advice on how to optimize your images and communicate any changes to Google in the most efficient manner.
The hypothetical search engine named Steve and its ranking factors
Hypothetical search engine. Yesterday, Google published its hilarious Search Off the Record podcast and they talked about what ranking factors they would use in their hypothetical search engine named Steve. I think they dropped a lot of hints around the page experience update not being that significant of a weighted ranking update. Listen for yourself here.
Scroll to text Search Console reporting. It looks like Google is removing the scroll-to-text fragments in the Google Search Console performance data reports, so you can no longer see if people are clicking on scroll-to-text featured snippets, images and so on.
Google Analytics does not hurt your rankings. Google’s John Mueller often is asked if Google uses Google Analytics data as a ranking signal, the answer has always been no. But now he was asked if using Google Analytics would harm your site because of the page experience update. The answer there is also no but not because it is a Google service he said.