If you’re an SEO or site owner, 2021 has put you through the wringer. Not only has there been a long list of fairly major algorithm updates, but we’ve also been warned that more are coming. A lot more.
Many of us have just regained our balance from the November 2021 Spam Update, and already it’s on to the next one. On Wednesday, Google gave site owners a few hours’ notice of an impending core algorithm update, the November 2021 Core Update. Google’s previous core update was the two-part June and July Core Algorithm Update, so, granted, it has been a while, and this timing checks out. But with all the updates that have happened in between, it feels like we’ve barely been given a minute to breathe.
What’s more, we are about to be deep in the holiday season, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday – two of the biggest shopping events of the year – just days away. Assuming this update will take the usual two weeks to roll out, Google’s algorithms will be shaking up search engine results pages (SERPs) during this busy online period. And this is relatively unusual, especially since Google usually tries to make the holiday period a little easier on us.
That said, we’re in this now, so there’s no point getting too despondent about it. Instead, we can take another look at Google’s guidelines on how to deal with broad core algorithm updates if you’ve been negatively hit.
Also, it’s important to bear in mind that this update is designed to improve Google overall, so it won’t target anything specific. However, it will affect SERPs as a whole, so it’s unlikely that you won’t experience any changes at all.
In fact, SEOs are feeling it right now. Anecdotal evidence, forum discussions and comment threads suggest the update is not smooth sailing for most. There are already countless complaints and claims of objectively “bad” pages and websites ranking over “good” ones. But it’s important to remember that as the update steadies over the next few days, these changes could revert. Next week should provide a clearer picture of what we’re dealing with – and its true magnitude.
More SEO News You Can Use
Bolded Paragraph Text Can Boost Your SEO: It’s rare these days to learn something new about SEO. Every site owner knows just how many ranking signals have been analyzed from every possible angle – often debunked again and again, but consistently causing chatter. So we were surprised to learn something new from John Mueller during the latest Search Central office-hours hangout: bolded text in a paragraph definitively helps SEO. That’s right: it’s more than a stylistic choice (even though you’ve probably been implementing it as such). Mueller explained that bolded and italicized text adds “extra value” to a page. Google’s crawlers actively seek these out in an effort to understand what’s important and get to the gist of the content fast. While Google is capable of figuring this out without this extra help, bolded text still sends stronger signals to Google, making the crawling process more efficient.
Google Releases Practical Interactive SEO Checklist for Every Digital Professional: Google is giving you what you need to start 2022 off strong. The company released a fun, interactive checklist that does a great job of explaining the SEO basics of getting a site to rank, no matter who you are. Titled “How to get your website on Google Search,” the checklist provides a different set of tips depending on whether you’re a business owner or marketer, a developer or an SEO professional, giving a holistic overview of the entire SEO puzzle in an incredibly user-friendly way. The end result is something anyone who wants to claim a piece of internet real estate can learn from. Even if you’re an expert, it won’t hurt to play around! Just be sure to set aside a few hours – you could easily find yourself in a rabbit hole of useful information to help you start the new year off on the right side of the Google gods.
Googlebot Crawling Has Seemingly Slowed: SEOs these days are agreeing on one thing: Googlebot isn’t crawling as much as it used to. Data from several tools and sources are indicating a significant decrease in crawl activity over the past few weeks. An SEO expert, for one, tweeted an image showing the significance. Analytics and Search Console screenshots have also been shared, doubling down on what anecdotal evidence and chatter among SEOs suggest. So, Google’s slowing has drastically slowed down – that much is evident. But the question is: why? Roger Monntti at Search Engine Journal (SEJ) doesn’t have the definitive answer, but he does list several possibilities in a must-read blog post. Nothing is confirmed, but right now, speculation is rife. Of course, the decline in indexing isn’t something that will affect all websites. But it does point to the possibility that Google’s indexing process is undergoing a change, so we’ll be keeping an eye on this story.
Ahrefs’ Data-Driven Blog Gives Us More Insights Into Title Tag Rewrites: We’re still not over Google’s title tag update – and, as a result, titles in general. With the threat of Google (incorrectly) changing titles, getting this element right is more important than ever. You know this, we know this and Ahrefs knows this, which is why they published a data-driven blog all about title tags. What can an analysis of a million pages top-10 pages (okay, 953,276) tell us about title tags? As it turns out, a lot. The study found that Google rewrites title tags 33.4 percent of the time, which is a far cry from the 13 percent it claimed. Also, when replacing a title tag, Google uses the H1 50.76 percent of the time, while the H2 tag, comparatively, only gets chosen 2.02 percent of the time. But we’re left with 45.91 percent of cases that are unaccounted for, and this is likely where we end up with title rewrite horror stories like this. Ultimately, the blog gives us a better idea of how prevalent the title tag update is and how much it impacts SERPs. So be sure to give it a read during your coffee break.
The New and Improved PageSpeed Insights Is Here: A couple of weeks ago, we reported on a new version of PageSpeed Insights (PSI) being in the works, but no release date had at that point been announced. We thought we’d still have months to wait, but the new PSI is here! On Tuesday, Google’s Addy Osmani tweeted the release along with a video. This version of PSI introduces a “more intuitive” user interface (UI) in the form of a clear visual separation between lab and field data and a separate subsection for Core Web Vitals assessment results. In addition, extra details and insights will be included on reports. This update comes at an excellent time, what with the Page Experience Update coming to desktop in early 2022. Now is the perfect opportunity to get familiar with PSI and see how the new features can help you optimize your site and improve your page experience ranking signals even more.
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