Search Updates May 2021

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In our monthly search update blog, we outline the main updates and changes within the search engine landscape for May, whether they’re minor or major. This month, Google has made some algorithm updates alongside an interesting LGBTQ themed update from Yelp ahead of Pride Month. Read on to find out more.  

Google Adds Links To Featured Snippets Leading Back To Google Search Results 

Google has begun adding links to featured snippets that, when clicked, send you back to a brand-new set of results. Previously, Google began testing showing  links in featured snippets to third-party sites– which may be more of an issue. But, here, Google is adapting the content from your site by linking to websites other than that of the originator of the featured snippet. This is yet another example of Google doing everything they can to keep you in Google search and not on other websites.

Google Announces Multitask Unified Model – MUM 

This month Google announced MUM: A new AI milestone for understanding information. This is not live yet, but Google wanted to share a bit of public information about it.  

Regarding MUM, the search engine has said that this is part of the “new technology Google is exploring internally to better understand language & make it easier to get helpful responses to complex Search needs.”  

Google has said that is it built like BERT, or on a transformer architecture, but it is 1000 times more powerful. Not only does MUM understand language, but it also generates it.  

Google said MUM is “trained across 75 different languages and many different tasks at once, allowing it to develop a more comprehensive understanding of information and world knowledge than previous models. And MUM is multimodal, so it understands information across text and images and, in the future, can expand to more modalities like video and audio.” 

MUM is here to help when there isn’t a simple enough answer. It is well-known that language can be a big barrier in search. For example, answers that are culturally relevant may be restricted by language barriers, such as English, or where an answer doesn’t translate straight-forwardly to other languages.   

Google Page Experience Update Will Come to Desktop as well as Mobile 

Google’s Page Experience update will launch in mid-June but only in mobile search, with a desktop launch to follow at a later date. Last week, Google announced for the first time that it’s update will apply to both mobile and desktop results. This sparked questions from the community that asked if the update would happen for mobile and desktop at the same time.  

Martin Splitt, who works at Google, has stated  

“At the beginning we will definitely roll out for mobile first and then eventually desktop will  join the mix as well.”   

Jeffrey Jose, who also works at Google confirmed this update, who announced the news in his Google I/O talk this month over Twitter: 

“While we’re launching page experience on mobile soon, we believe page experience is critical no matter the surface the user is browsing the web. This is why we’re working hard on bringing page experience ranking to desktop.” 

YouTube to Start Showing Ads On Non-monetised Videos 

From June 1st, YouTube’s terms of service will update, and the biggest change will include its ‘Right to Monetize’. This means the platform will begin running ads on some non-monetised videos. Even if you’re not part of the YouTube Partner Program (YPP), YouTube still reserves the right to run ads on your videos.  

The program is scheduled to roll out globally beginning in June, which is a revolutionary change for YouTube and will have a big impact on the smaller creators that are used to not having ad’s running on their videos. 

Yelp Adds the LGBTQ-owned Attribute and Rainbow-coloured Map Pins for Pride Month  

Ahead of Pride Month in June, Yelp has added LGBTQ coloured map pins. Businesses on Yelp can now use the LGBTQ-owned attribute to distinguish themselves to potential customers, the company announced  Monday. In addition, businesses that self-identify as both LGBTQ-owned and “Open to All” will be highlighted with a rainbow-colored map pin on Yelp during Pride Month (the month of June).  

Image: https://blog.yelp.com/2021/05/yelp-makes-it-easy-to-support-lgbtq-owned-businesses  

Going into June, we are interested to see how the gradual rollout of the page-experience update will begin and how it’ll affect businesses. Stay tuned for next month’s search round-up, where we’ll report back on the essential updates that continue to shape the search engine landscape.  

Do you want to remain competitive in search? Get in touch to speak to one of our SEO experts today.  

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