A busy season for most, November was a month where the search landscape once again experienced change. Throughout November, we saw another Core Algorithm update roll out…a rebrand of Google My Business take place with new additional features… and, Search Console even had a makeover! So, take a look for yourself and discover what’s been happening in the world of search in November 2021.
November 2021 Core Update Rolled Out
As of the 17th of November, Google surprised us all yet again with a Core algorithm update right before Black Friday and Cyber Monday (not another one!) As usual, there was quite a bit of chatter online before it had even begun rolling out.
The first topic of conversation was about how Google had previously said that they would try and limit updates before holidays (this update was right before Thanksgiving). So, naturally, people weren’t too thrilled about the timing of this one.
Google’s Danny Sullivan clarified that limiting updates before holidays hasn’t been said in a long, long time:
Barry, we had an update last year later in the season. Years and years ago, there was this thing about trying not to do updates around this time. I don’t think we’ve said anything like that recently, like you suggest. And also, it’s really not what most need to worry about…— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) November 17, 2021
Danny also stepped in to try and reassure those who were concerned:
The reality is core updates make no huge change for most. People shouldn’t be panicking; maybe more tweets reassuring people would be more helpful than the virtual red alert. Guidance about core updates hasn’t changed. Been doing best practices out there for ages, should be good.— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) November 17, 2021
As Danny says, as much as we moan about algorithm updates, they usually aren’t anything to panic about if you are following best practice guidelines with your website.
Confirmed – Bolded Text Can Help Your SEO
Yes, really. In November Google’s John Mueller confirmed that bold text can help Google to better interpret the meaning of the content on page:
“So usually we do try to understand what the content is about on a web page, and we look at different things to try to figure out what is actually being emphasized here, and that includes things like headings on a page.
But it also includes things like what is actually bolded or emphasized within the text on the page. So, to some extent that does have a little bit of extra value there, in that it’s a clear sign that actually you think this page or this paragraph is about this topic here.
And usually that aligns with what we think the page is about anyway, so it doesn’t change that much.”
Essentially, Google’s crawlers look for italicised or bolded content to better understand what’s important on page. Therefore, it’s good practice to consider this when writing content for your website, and also helps to remind us of the importance of topicality and entities in addition to keywords. Context building for Google is more important than ever!
Google Search Console Gets a Redesign
From late November, Google rolled out a fresh new look and feel for Search Console.
But this change goes deeper than a simple redesign, and is in fact part of a broader “journey”, according to Google. The goal with these smaller design changes is to enhance accessibility and the user experience.
Shared under its Twitter handle, Google Search Console is expected to change over the coming months:
Over the next few months you’ll see small changes in the product with a goal to improve accessibility and user experience in general.
We’re starting a journey to refresh the look and feel of Search Console. Over the next few months you’ll see small changes in the product with a goal to improve accessibility and user experience in general. We hope you like it! ? pic.twitter.com/Seq0CUGxpP— Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) November 22, 2021
So far, it looks like Google has refreshed the Search Console interface. Whilst the design has been refreshed, the core functionality has not been changed.
So, keep an eye out for the changes coming Search Console’s way – see if it makes UX any better for you when using it.
Google My Business is Now Google Business Profile
In November it was announced that Google would be renaming Google My Business ‘Google Business Profile’. The reason? To keep things simple apparently!
In addition to the name change, Google is now encouraging users to manage single listings directly in Search or Maps via the web interface or mobile app as opposed to the Google My Business console. This console will be renamed: ‘Business Profile Manager.’ and the aim for this in the future will be to support businesses with multiple locations.
Key new features include:
- Claiming & Verification of Google Business Profile in Search and Maps.
- Call History overview (US & Canada only for now) – showing how many calls are picked up by the company as opposed to missed.
- Messaging can be done from Search and now read receipts can be controlled in Search and Maps.
So, no drastic changes really – especially if you manage multiple business locations. However, as always, this serves as a great reminder to make sure your business profile is up-to-date – from opening hours to contact details. Plus – keep on top of those reviews!
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