Summer fun is over, but Google news never stops. Here is a digest of what happened in the world of Google and beyond in the last two weeks. You will learn about quite a few new tools and features, as well as the end of a couple of old ones. Let's go!
GOOGLE SEARCH NEWS
"Evolving Nofollow" - Nofollow Link Attribute Will be Seen a ‘hint’
On September 10th Google announced, "two new link attributes that provide webmasters with additional ways to identify to Google Search the nature of particular links." They explained the new attributes, as well as the current nofollow as:
rel="sponsored": Use the sponsored attribute to identify links on your site that were created as part of advertisements, sponsorships or other compensation agreements.
rel="ugc": UGC stands for User Generated Content, and the ugc attribute value is recommended for links within user generated content, such as comments and forum posts.
rel="nofollow": Use this attribute for cases where you want to link to a page but don’t want to imply any type of endorsement, including passing along ranking credit to another page.
Google said all of the link attributes are treated as hints regarding which links to consider or exclude within Search. "We’ll use these hints – along with other signals – as a way to better understand how to appropriately analyze and use links within our systems."
For Crawling and Indexing Purposes, Nofollow will Become a "Hint" as of March 1, 2020
Currently, the link attributes sponsored, UGC and nofollow work as hints for Google to incorporate for ranking purposes, but it is on March 1st of next year that nofollow will become a hint for crawling and indexing.
To say the search community was confused and/or irritated with this news is an understatement; here are just a few of the comments and questions we saw on Twitter.
— Jon Henshaw (@henshaw) September 10, 2019
This whole thing is pretty confusing so far. If nofollow is a suggestion, does this mean Google will start counting some nofollowed links towards PageRank?
— Marie Haynes (@Marie_Haynes) September 10, 2019
1) The two new attributes are voluntary choices for those who find it useful to be more granular. It's a *choice* and we don't need to put "teeth" into a choice. Use them. Don't. It's a choice.
2) Nofollow, as we explicitly said, continues to work for sponsored links. pic.twitter.com/q6YpTeE86y
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) September 10, 2019
Can you provide a few examples of content or types of sites that would require rel=“ugc”? For instance Profile links, Forums links, Reviews, 3rd party publishing, All Web 2.0? Clarification would be helpful as UGC could be very broad or very specific.
— Kevin Fleming (@K_Fleming1904) September 10, 2019
Comments could be seen as UGC. Forum links, as well. I mean, pretty much any place where you allow third-party users to add links to your content, that's user-generated content.
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) September 10, 2019
There are two things today. First, we can now use nofollow links for ranking purposes. That's the important thing here. In making this change, we also maybe we can give people more granularity in link attributes as a choice. That's a minor thing and no, not hundreds of hours.
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) September 10, 2019
"At the same time, you can bet this will result in more work for your SEO agency."
This isn't true. You can choose to not do anything, just continue doing whatever you were doing until now. That decision will have no impact on you or your clients if that's what you want. https://t.co/ArIeCies3z
— Gary "鯨理" Illyes (@methode) September 11, 2019
We are sure there will be plenty of upcoming articles, tests, and guides on these new attributes. Until then, we suggest you carefully read the article from Google, and check out Danny's thread from last night.
Possible Google Algorithm Updates
Speculation about two ranking algorithm updates in a row roamed the community in the last two weeks. The first update reportedly rolled out on August 29th. SEMrush sensor, as well as some other tools, spotted increased volatility on that day. The next wave of SERP changes happened on September 4th and 5th, as evidenced by numerous users on Webmaster World forum. Google, as always, has not confirmed anything yet.
SEMrush Sensor data for the last 30 days
Quality Rater Guidelines Update
A major update for Google's Quality Rater Guidelines rolled out at the beginning of September. Marie Haynes was among the first experts who noticed it:
THE QUALITY RATERS' GUIDELINES HAVE UPDATED!
After a quick read-through, there is some really good stuff in there that has changed - relating to trust. Looks like I will be writing this weekend. Stay tuned! https://t.co/UhCIBjvclk
— Marie Haynes (@Marie_Haynes) September 6, 2019
As Marie noticed, many of these changes are related to YMYL and E-A-T – these two concepts are believed to be of the highest importance to the search engine. For those still unfamiliar with them, YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) content is any content that may affect your health, well-being, or safety. E-A-T stands for "Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness."
Content quality requirements for YMYL sites are particularly strict; also, these sites must indicate who created the content – either it is their own or third-party authors. From now on, the professional reputation of YMYL content authors must be taken into account by quality raters. You can find more information about guidelines updates in this awesome change log published by Search Engine Land.
What's New on SERPs
As always, lots of new features and experiments are spotted on SERPs every day, here are some of them documented by the one and only Barry Schwartz:
1) Insights from Google My Business on Google maps:
2) URLs with capital letters:
3) Distance from the hotel to the main attractions in Local Pack:
— Gus Pelogia (@pelogia) September 5, 2019
Source: Twitter: Gus Pelogia
GOOGLE ADS NEWS
Seasonal Bid Adjustments in Google Ads
Google Ads has added manual seasonal bid adjustments to the Target CPA and Target ROAS smart strategies. Now, if you expect a change in the rate of conversions, you can set a new coefficient. This adjustment is recommended for short sales and promotions that are one to seven days long. At the end of this period, the settings will return to the normal bidding mode. This type of adjustment is currently only available for search and display campaigns.
Rules Update for Google Adsense Publishers
In the following weeks, Google is going to simplify the rules for publishers in Google Adsense. The usage policy will now be divided into Google Publisher Policies and Google Publisher Restrictions. The first will state what types of content cannot be monetized (illegal content or sexual content).
The restrictions for publishers will describe types of content that do not seem to violate Google’s rules but may not be suitable for all types of advertisers (for example, tobacco and alcohol). An important point was made by Amy Gesenhues at SEL, "It’s worth noting, Google isn’t launching any new content policies, only restructuring the framework around how they are presented."
GOOGLE TOOLS NEWS
Old Google Search Console Is No More
The old version of GSC is officially closed; the announcement was published on the Webmaster Central Blog on September 9th. "From now on, if you try to access the old homepage or dashboard you’ll be redirected to the relevant Search Console pages," says the statement. Some tools will still be available in the old interface. You can find the list of legacy tools and reports here.
Webmasters and SEOs around the world pay their tribute to old Search Console by posting tweets with #SCmemories hashtag. Here are some of them:
— Dawn Anderson (@dawnieando) September 9, 2019
— Baruch Labunski (@Baruch_Labunski) September 10, 2019
From resolving sitemap issues to using the full chart of all structured data on a site, the data has been useful. It's is always helpful to know how Google sees a site. And a big thanks for providing this free. #SCmemories https://t.co/ro1WCA4rvm
— Jeannie Hill (@essentialskill) September 9, 2019
Automatic DNS Check in GSC
With the advent of new domain proprietary features in the Google Search Console, domain verification was added using DNS records. But as it turned out, this type of verification often causes problems, since not all site owners know where and how to add a txt record in the domain’s DNS, and some simply do not have access to DNS records.
Therefore, now automatic DNS verification has appeared in GSC. Google has entered into an agreement with several of the most popular domain name registrars, which greatly simplifies domain verification. But if your registrar is not on this list, you will still have to add entries manually.
New Service Options in GMB
Google My Business has made it possible for certain types of businesses to select specific types of services. For example, plumbers may indicate what they repair (faucet, shower, toilet, etc.). In addition to plumbers, new categories are available to private teachers, translators, music schools, etc.
Hire by Google is Shutting Down
Google is planning to close its hiring service on September 1, 2020. The reasons for this decision are not disclosed. The project as a whole was called successful, but the company considers it necessary to focus on other products. At the moment, the subscription fee has been suspended, and the service can be extended for free until closing.
Source: Sunsetting Hire by Google
Desktop Version of YouTube Kids
YouTube launches the new web version of YouTube Kids with “safe” videos for children only. Previously, YouTube Kids existed only as a mobile application, but now it is a separate site. On the YouTube Kids website, as in the mobile application of the same name, the videos are distributed by recommended age, and there are no targeted ads. YouTube Kids also has its own design, large fonts, no comments, and likes.
New Movie Recommendation Service for Mobile Users
Google has launched a new feature for finding movies on mobile. Now, for requests such as “what to see,” users can click on the "Top picks for you" button to open a carousel with movies and TV shows. The carousel will be based on personal preferences, and swaying to the right or left can influence the recommendations. By clicking on a particular movie, you can see a list of sites where you can watch it. So far, new functionality is available only in the US.
This is all the search news we have for you, but stay tuned for our next digest in two weeks. And don't forget to sign up for Global Marketing Day – the world's first 24-hour online marketing conference. More than 50 top-level experts will share their knowledge with you, and it is completely free! Don't miss your chance to learn about new tactics, the most useful tools, and unique insights. Travel around the marketing world without leaving your home or office!