It’s time again for the connective3 SEO news roundup. The start of the year has been a little quiet, but we still have some notable news updates throughout March.
Google Desktop Page Experience Update Complete
Google has confirmed that the new desktop page experience update has finished rolling out. This was a very fast update, taking only 9 days between 22nd February and 3rd March, compared with the nearly 3 months it took for the mobile page experience update to finish.
The new update will measure a desktop sites page experience as a ranking factor, taking the following into account:
- Core Web Vitals (LCP + CLS + FID)
- HTTPS Security
- Absence of intrusive interstitials.
Unconfirmed Google Update
It was reported in March that Google released another unconfirmed search algorithm update.
This unconfirmed update seems to be unrelated to the page experience update rollout, and a separate unconfirmed update on February 24th. From here, things remained pretty stable with no major spikes or volatility shifts.
This was first highlighted back on March the 4th, with SEOroundtables’ Barry Schwartz reporting signs of SERP volatility after a relatively stable period.
Short Form Video in SERPS
During an episode of the Search Off The Record podcast, it was revealed that Google is currently experimenting with showing more short-form videos within search results.
The podcast, featuring Google Product Manager, Danielle Marshak, and Google Search Relations members, Gary Illyes and Lizzi Sassman, discussed the topic of short-form videos and their potential benefits within search results.
Danielle Marshak said: “You can get a lot of information in a short period of time, and you can also get a lot of different views and perspectives…
So, we think this kind of content could be useful for a lot of different types of search queries, and we’ve been experimenting with how to show it to users more often.”
The discussion then turned to where short-form video, which Google defines as video content lasting 5 minutes or less, would surface in search results.
Marshak highlighted recipe search results as an example, where short-form video content may surface and be of great use to the end-user:
“So let’s say, again, you’re searching for some new ideas to make banana bread. And right now, you might see traditional recipes, you might see longer videos, but you could also see short videos, which could just give you a different style or perspective.”
The SEO team here at connective3 will be keeping a close eye on this, as it could have an impact on client strategies going forward.
Google Sunsetting Universal Analytics In 2023
Google has announced that it will be discontinuing universal analytics, which was the default version of Google Analytics before the release of Google Analytics 4.
From July 1st, 2023, Universal Analytics will stop recording new data, with Analytics 360 getting an extra 3 months before it’s discontinuation on October 1st, 2023.
This is due to Universal Analytics being unable to deliver cross platform data across both websites and apps, something that GA4 had been designed to do.
This will make Google Analytics 4 the go to platform for Google insights.
Yoast SEO WordPress Bug Generating Duplicate Sitemaps
On March 21st it was reported that popular WordPress SEO plugin, Yoast SEO, is generating duplicate sitemaps.
This bug was reported by twitter user @_brendamalone, who tweeted Yoast about the issue and if there were any fixes.
Yoast features a handy automatic sitemap feature which generates different sitemaps for different content types, such as pages, posts, and images.
However, rather than creating a single sitemap, for example ‘page-sitemap.xml’, it is publishing duplicate versions of the sitemap, such as:
Yoast has confirmed that they are working on a fix for the bug, and have recommended that users redirect the ‘1’ version of the sitemap to the original.
It has also been reported that this bug is also affecting the following plugins:
- Rank Math SEO Plugin
- SEOPress WordPress SEO Plugin
- AllineOneSEO WordPress SEO Plugin
Spring Google Search Ranking Algorithm Update
Industry chatter in late March indicated that Google may have released another unannounced search algorithm update between March 18th and March 20th.
This update is unconfirmed by Google, however, users were reporting significant SERP fluctuations and changes in rankings over the weekend.
Google’s Danny Sullivan could not confirm if any new updates had been released by Google when asked over Twitter.
We will be monitoring the situation here at C3 to see if any of our clients have experienced any fluctuations.
That wraps up this months SEO news highlights for March, lets see what April has in store for us.
Thanks for reading as always.