And welcome back to the JEMStones podcast. I’m your host, Matt Lewis joined again by Kimmy and Julian. How’s it going guys?
Hey there. Good. How are you doing?
Good. Good. We got a lot of Google news to talk about today. First up something that we’ve felt on a few of our clients, was the December core update is still rolling out, kind of started last week and we just felt some effects, on the 10th, which was yesterday as we record this. Julian, I know you saw some of that for your clients. what did you see? What are you thinking? What are your thoughts?
You know, we always talk about all the ranking fluctuations from these core updates and everything in between, and, we had some updates come through and then the fluctuation and the volatility slowed down on December 4th. Two quick clients I can think of right off the bat that was really clearly hit on December 4th. What was interesting is when they were hit, they were hit hard, they had big drops, and these were sites that were well aligned, good quality content, no problems. I Reviewed it, and thought, well, I know this is algorithmic, I’m just going to have to pause for a minute and let it roll out a little bit more. And as of let me check as of today, actually, and yesterday, most of those clients have shot right back up to even be slightly higher than they were when they dropped from that update. So the December 4th, wasn’t good for some of our clients, but it was one of those cases where nothing needed to be done to solve the problem because there wasn’t a problem. And that’s kind of the frustration with getting your website downgraded during an algorithm fluctuation. You just have to let it ride out for a while before you can make any changes that need to be made if you are negatively affected by the update.
Yeah. And that’s true for positively affected too. When you see a giant spike, you know, you tend to want to let that settle before you do any kind of reporting. yeah, we always tell clients, rankings are constantly changing and it’s something that if you check every day, you’ll start losing your hair. So ,this is point in case of that. Now, we did hear from Google that passage indexing would be live by the end of the year. It does look likeJohn Mueller did say that this, that it seems unlikely that passage indexing would be part of a core update, in a webmaster hangout recently. So ,it doesn’t look like this update was necessarily Passage indexing. So that’s something that we’re going to keep an eye on.
Would you like to explain that slightly, or just roughly or a little bit?
Why don’t you jump in and explain it? Don’t make me do all the talking,
What we are referring to where is it’s able to identify continents subjects on a page,
Correct, Yeah, there’ll be indexing based more on content.
Okay. I definitely have noticed that not on a particular date or rollout, but whether the pages go up and ranking or down in ranking that’s an interesting point. I’ve seen some pages jump up in rankings and some drop, and it’s only a couple of keywords and I’ll go ahead and say, all right, what happened on this page? Why has that keyword dropped from first page down to fourth? And I realized that page doesn’t cover the subject, doesn’t align for that keyword and no longer ranks, but then I’ve also seen the opposite, where it’s been very good at pulling a section off that as well, optimized further down the page. So, I really do think that that’s already on its way or rolling out and probably going to, or we’re going to see the fluctuations of Google being out of really rank a piece of content on a page already.
Yeah. And we did see some, it does look like the question and answer carousel is starting to combine multiple sites. So, that might be related to that. Kimmy, I know you saw this as well. What are your thoughts on that?
Yeah. I did see that. I just think that, I personally think it’s great. I think it’s a great opportunity to have, I guess more opportunities to get our clients into those carousels and in those kind of first answer positions. I also think it’s great because it’s giving the user a little bit more opportunity to explore some different answers, explore some different options and really kind of make up their own opinion. Whereas, when you’re just kind of putting into one snippet, it’s kind of like, not that you can’t do some more research yourself, but it just gives you a little bit more out front.
Yeah, absolutely. Go ahead, Julian.
And as, as most updates and search result browser, or kind of displayed results, it’s going to mess up reported ranking. So for example, you will have position one that position one could be underneath the information, a result, or you can say that the information or result was position one. So, it could get kind of crazy when we report that your position seven, because three of the results are in one carousel and there an answer result. So, A lot of tools, they take a little bit for them to update and for us to gather how things are reporting. So as those results change in the search, it’s going to make things a little crazy. And sometimes we’ll be like, “why did this jump? Why did this Tank, or drop when nothing has changed, or nothing has gotten better or worse? Just the search result has changed in the reporting tool is reporting in a different way. So that can really make things a little bit confusing, but it’s just up to us to correctly define and report to our clients w hat exactly is happening
Checking SERPs is always important. Speaking of importance, we saw the Google local reviews are testing a new label, Kimmy, this is something that you saw.
Yeah. You know, it’s not a huge change, it’s just that what we’re seeing is that they’re actually tagging new reviews with a little label that says “new” right on it. You were always able to see kind of when the review was posted, but this makes it a little bit easier for the user who is wondering, how is the business? How is the service? And they don’t want to know how was the service last year? They want to know how was the service yesterday or recently. So, I think that’s just kind of an interesting way to capture the user’s attention a little bit more easily and help them to kind of really pinpoint which reviews are going to be helpful for them.
And I personally, I just like looking at the last couple of reviews, just like Kimmy was talking about. The new little snippet there that highlights it. But then I also like looking at a couple of the worst reviews they’d have, that’s always a little bit entertaining. I never take it too much to heart, unless they’re one in the same, and the newest two are the worst two . So that’s always a bit of concern.
Yeah. I always love to see the worst reviews as well, because people can be pretty harsh. And sometimes you just, you wonder where and why they think these things and why they think that they’re important for other people to know about.
Well, and we’ve always said, I tell clients constantly to get reviews on Google, and respond to bad reviews on Google. It is incredibly helpful, not just to us as the consumer, but also to help with the algorithm. Speaking of Google, Google my business phone support has returned.
Yeah, I don’t know what else to say other than that’s great. I’m glad to see that The Google my business team has phone support again, it’s been a very long time. Almost a year, I guess, you know, since COVID started?
Pop some bottles for them, wahooo!
The Google my business, the Map listing, to a fault, they make the small updates to the system fields options way too often. Like too much, it’s crazy. And each time they update it, historical information will be lost or get stuck. You’ll miss out on updates, so you make one update and then the whole interface will change. So, it’s always a little bit of a struggle sometimes and I periodically get an account disapproved in the middle of changes because I know what should be there. And I’m trying to trigger updated Google my business accounts to give me all the options that are now available. So, usually I have to send an email or a ticket saying, “Hey, please approve this, I did nothing wrong”, but calling would be definitely the way to go in a pinch.
Yes, always frustrating, but always far more effective than the back-and-forth email.
All right. Well, I think that’s enough or what Google did right news, let’s talk a little bit about the request indexing tool, not being fixed prior to the biggest shopping season of the year. Julian, I know this is something that you and I have talked about extensively off the podcast. We’ve talked a little bit about on the podcast, the request indexing tool looks like it went out on October 14th this year, which was almost 60 days ago, and we still don’t have a working version of that. Julian, I know this is something that’s near and dear to you. What are your thoughts on that?
If it was working, I would be using it on an average, or not on average, but at least once a day. I make a lot of updates and a lot of those updates, either are very critical, and they need to be seen straight away or they’re fixes, big fixes that need to be taken into account. That could be as simple as adding some schema mark-up for adding in structured data, like in the search result or additional fields under the search, or it could be like, it could be as simple as a spelling mistake in a title tag or meta description that needs to be updated straight away. Now you have to wait two days, three days a week, and that can be quite frustrating. There are ways to speed it up, but it’s just not as effective as just submitting it, even though there at the end, instead of it being five minutes, it was like six hours to update, but it still would be updated in the same day. So, I very much miss that tool and I hope that prior to them interacting with the search community, that they don’t go with their gut feeling of why do you even need this? You shouldn’t need it. It’s a very valuable tool is one of my top used tools on a day-to-day basis.
Yeah, absolutely. I think we would all be using it a lot more, especially with things like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you’re trying to get that new promotion indexed, or you’re trying to get all of those new sales out for our clients, and without that tool, we are at the mercy of the crawl limit. So, we are hoping that that is back. I’m hoping by the end of the year, I’m definitely going to need it for Q1 next year. So, it’s going to be very important to see that come back. Speaking of things that are not there, Google is testing zero results on desktop again. Zero results are for simple queries, things like, 10 times 50. I don’t know about you guys, but I will occasionally use Google to do math that I should have learned in third grade and have forgotten. So, it’s a nice to see, or to be able to use it for that. However, having zero results can cause problems. Julian, I know this is something that you, wanted to talk about. What are your thoughts?
Sure. I’ve been seeing the zero position. Basically what they’re doing is they’re taking the website out of the search query. So, even if they pull the information from the website, the provider of that content is not getting any, any traffic, any coverage, any visibility, especially when they don’t even use their data, when they’re just giving out an answer without referencing a website, and it’s come up that it’s been noticed lately on desktop. It’s been on desktop for a while. Google then said, “Oh, it’s a mistake.” I don’t believe them really. I think it’s probably more of a test that they didn’t necessarily want to make. Open knowledge that they’re testing, basically taking sites out of the mix and producing their own content for those answers. So, yeah, it’s usually reserved for mobile devices, I do feel like that even if we see it removed again, it’s going to come back. I just don’t see Google moving away too far from zero results.
Yeah, I agree. I agree. So, last thing that I have on my list is, Google search has COVID-19 vaccine updates, mainly focused on the UK, which is where currently they’re deploying the vaccine. It looks like we’ll be getting it next week here in the U S, so that’s just something cool to keep an eye on. You guys have any thoughts on that or anything else that you want to talk about?
Nothing major, just that it’s nice to see that Google’s obviously trying to keep all of the up-to-date and accurate information right at hand there, especially with things changing a lot with the vaccine and where we can find it or where it will be available. I guess, for us currently, that’s not a thing, but like you said, hopefully soon. Other than that, no, it’s just, it’s nice to see that they’re keeping up to date with that.
I will be quitting my job and working for 24 hours before the vaccines are delivered to frontline workers so that I can be immune to COVID after that.
You’re not quitting, you and I both know that.
Work abroad. How about that?
I’m going to be a frontline marketer.
Frontline marketer! All right. Yeah. That’ll be a tough sell. Frontline digital marketer doesn’t really hit the ear the way I think you think it does, but
All right. Well, if that’s it for everybody, thanks for tuning in, and we will talk to you guys another time.
All right. See you later. Happy Hanukkah.