Google rankings, quality and relevancy; Wednesday’s daily brief

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Good morning, Marketers, with all these ranking algorithm changes, I thought it would be fun to chat a bit about them.

As you might already know, we had the June 2021 core update roll out between June 2 and June 12, then the page experience update started to roll out on June 15. That one will continue to roll out through the end of August. We are also expecting another core update next month, the July 2021 core update. Even over the weekend we saw a bit of a ranking tremor, which I doubt was related to the page experience update.

Why are core updates so much more impactful than the page experience update? Well, core updates are about quality and relevance whereas page experience is more about how the site is built, and it doesn’t look to see if the site may be relevant or the best to answer the query — it just measures the technical makeup of the site, but not the content.

So when it comes to wanting to really do well in Google Search, organically that is, you want to make sure that your site is of the highest quality and that your content is better than everyone else’s. How fast or smooth your site loads is important, but it is not even close to as important to Google’s relevancy and quality algorithms.

Barry Schwartz,
Director of Quality Management

We are now seeing the Top Stories carousel on Google mobile search results show non-AMP content. Google did tell us this would happen last Thursday, but it did not seem to show up until Monday afternoon. Now that the page experience is live, Google no longer requires AMP for the Top Stories news section. You just need to make sure your pages do well in terms of page experience scores, but AMP is not a requirement.

Why we care. This change enables more publishers to be able to show up in the Top Stories carousel section on mobile. That means more competition for your traffic and your keywords. But it also means that you can optimize your non-AMP pages to do well in the mobile Top Stories section and outrank your competitors that may have decided to use AMP. It also means that if you dislike using AMP and maintaining AMP pages, you can do away with them and have your normal mobile pages rank in the Top Stories section.

Read more here.

Google may suspend merchant sites that show invalid product availability

Google Merchant Center has a new policy named “Inaccurate availability” that is caused “due to inconsistent availability between the landing page and checkout pages on your website,” the company said. This policy replaces the existing “Delivery issues” policy violation and goes into effect on September 1, 2021.

Google explained that a Google Merchant Center account can receive a warning or a suspension when “one or more of your products show as unavailable for purchase at checkout even though they’re displayed as being in stock on your landing pages.” If you are showing users that a product is in stock on the product landing page but when they click to add it to the cart and it becomes unavailable, that can lead to violating this policy.

“It’s a bad customer experience if product availability changes from “in stock” on the landing page to “out of stock” or “unavailable” after the product has been added to a cart, and customers will be less likely to try and purchase from your store in the future,” Google said.

Read more here.

I had the opportunity to speak with John Shehata, the global vice president of audience development strategy & CRM at Condé Nast. Below is just under 40 minutes of video content of the two of us geeking out on SEO and related topics. John Shehata goes way back in the SEO space, so the amount of depth and knowledge he has makes for a great conversation.

We spoke about the early days of SEO, tips on ranking in Google News and Discover, a bit about his Newzdash software, some about Google AMP and how to advance your career in SEO.

Watch here.

Quality, quality and robots

Google Ads missing quality score metrics. Ginny Marvin from Google said there are two possible reasons why Google Ads may not show quality score metrics on your campaigns: The keywords don’t have enough exact match impressions and the keywords need recent exact match impressions to maintain a quality score and may turn back to null when there isn’t enough recent traffic.

Robots and structured data help docs updated. Google has made several changes to the robots.txt help document and various structured data help documents over the past few days. You can see the full list of changes documented on June 18th over here.

Quality changes take time. John Mueller of Google said it can take several months for Google to reprocess quality changes made to a site, so keep that in mind with core updates.

We’ve curated our picks from across the web so you can retire your feed reader.


About The Author

Barry Schwartz a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry’s personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here.

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