Last week, Google’s Search and Maps services were severely disrupted by an outage on August 8. The outage, which lasted a little over 10 minutes, was caused by an electrical fire in Google’s data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
The fire started when an explosion occurred at a substation near the data center at approximately 11:59 pm CST. Three electricians working at the substation suffered severe burns in the explosion and have been hospitalized.
“We are aware of an electrical incident that took place today at Google’s data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, injuring three people on site who are now being treated. The health and safety of all workers is our absolute top priority, and we are working closely with partners and local authorities to thoroughly investigate the situation and provide assistance as needed,” said a Google spokesperson.
Users reported indexing complications, pages disappearing from the index and low quality or outdated search results, among others.
Although some areas reported continued troubles throughout the day on August 10, the issue appears to have mostly been resolved.
Gmail, Maps and Images search all had a temporary outage last Monday, according to Google users worldwide. However, Google has confirmed that the disruption was caused by a software update problem and had nothing to do with the events in Iowa.
Search Engine Journal reported that numerous users experienced disruptions in rankings, some of whom believed it to be the result of a ranking update. However, one issue not mentioned by most media channels was that many people were also experiencing indexing complications.
Google apologized and stated that a software upgrade was the cause of the unintended downtime.
“We’re aware of a software update issue that occurred late this afternoon Pacific Time and briefly affected availability of Google Search and Maps, and we apologize for the inconvenience. We worked to quickly address the issue and our services are now back online,” said a Google spokesperson.
Google Business Profile Content Policy Now Defines Duplicate Content as Spam: Google now defines duplicate images, posts, videos and logos as spam in its new Business Profile Posts Content Policy. While your listing won’t be suspended if you have duplicate images, videos, posts, and logos on your Google Business Profile, your post may be declined or deleted from Google Search and Google Maps. In the section of its Business Profile Posts Content Policy where it advises users to avoid spam, Google added the following line to the list of content that is no longer permitted: “Duplicate photos, posts, videos, and logos.” According to Search Engine Journal, it seems Google is encouraging users to only post unique content, including images, videos and text and be more selective when using their logo.
Google Reviews Pages Now Accepts Pros and Cons Structured Data: Google recently announced that it now accepts new structured data for editorial review webpages’ pros and cons. This feature is limited to product review pages, including affiliate sites; merchants and customer product review webpages do not qualify for these search enhancements. A new section was added to the structured data help doc on August 5, 2022. According to Google, you can use the Rich Results tool to verify that your structured data is correct and that Google can interpret it. Additionally, Google will give user-supplied pros and cons structured data preference over data that Google previously extracted automatically. To avoid Google making assumptions, SEO Roundtable suggests that it is most likely beneficial for you to indicate what benefits and drawbacks you want to present in Google Search. However, it’s important to note that Google will discern whether or not it will display this rich results markup for your snippets when you markup your pros and cons. You will also be required to provide at least two pros and cons; however, those who choose not to use the data may still be considered, provided Google can read or comprehend it. Google’s product structured data help doc states, “If you do not provide structured data, Google may try to automatically identify pros and cons listed on the web page. Google will prioritize supplied structured data provided by you over automatically extracted data.”, added Google. This feature is currently available in Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish and Turkish. It’s a good idea to take any steps you can to maximize search traffic and increase the number of people who click through from Google Search to your website. Increasing the number of components and rich results in your search snippet is just one of them. Visit Search Engine Journal’s article for tips on how to implement this markup.
Google Introduces Featured Snippets Enhancements: On August 11, Google announced several updates to Google Search. Google has improved its content Advisories, About This result and Featured Snippets to improve the quality of results and make it simpler to determine the results’ caliber. The information that Google displays as callouts in these featured snippets will now be evaluated using MUM (Multitask Unified Model) to see whether it is generally accepted. MUM was initially introduced in May 2021 and can allegedly “understand the notion of consensus.”, said Google Although these callouts are not necessarily fact, MUM will help improve the overall quality of snippet callouts by processing and assessing content in various languages to answer complex search queries. Google also highlighted an additional development regarding snippets and “false premise” inquiries. Misinformation will now be removed, and Google will only show featured snippets that can include accurate and authentic information. In fact, snippets containing inaccurate or inauthentic content have already seen a 40 percent drop, according to Google. Google originally introduced content advisories in Google Search in April 2020. This feature aimed to let users know when certain search results were somewhat inaccurate. This could either be due to the fact that these results are recent or there isn’t enough information available yet on that particular topic. It’s important to note that although Google provides the advisory, users are still able to see the results. Google first added the “About This Result” feature in February 2021. This feature allows users to get extra information about a snippet, like why it’s ranked, before clicking on it. The information displayed in the “about this result” section of Google is also being expanded to include things like how well known a source is, online business testimonials or testimonials vouching for the credibility of a source, whether another entity controls a corporation and even times when there isn’t much information available.
Is Google Search Showing Fewer Review Rich Results?: SEO Roundtable recently released data based on SEMRush and RankRanger reports proving that Google may be showing more FAQ rich results and fewer People Also Ask rich results. It seems there are significant oscillations in some rich results’ and the frequency that they appear in searches, according to Semrush and RankRanger. In fact, the frequency of these results showing up has increased by an extra five percent after the return of the People Also Ask in the previous week or so. The number of FAQs rich search results, however, has since decreased by roughly seven percent, according to RankRanger. In addition, a recent article by SEO Roundtable suggests that when you filter by the shopping vertical, Google may display fewer reviews in the search result snippets and fewer review-rich results. There was a five percentage point decrease in the number of review snippets for this category, which appeared to occur immediately after Google issued the Google Product Reviews update.
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