Google’s Page Experience update is still in the process of rolling out, and things are already flip-flopping. Give us a minute to catch our breath! In an announcement, Google said Safe Browsing is being removed from the Page Experience Report in Google Search Console. The company also updated its widely-shared “Search signals for page experience” graphic – you’ve definitely seen this one around – to illustrate the removal of Safe Browsing. This means Safe Browsing is no longer one of the criteria to benefit from a ranking boost when the Page Experience update goes live. Along with the Core Web Vitals, mobile-friendly, no intrusive interstitials and HTTPS remain as ranking factors.
So, why the sudden decision to do away with Safe Browsing?
Google said that Safe Browsing warnings could be surfaced when a site falls victim to third-party hijacking, meaning that, as a ranking signal, Safe Browsing could in certain instances fall out of a site owner’s control. While SEOs will still be notified of Safe Browsing issues in Search Console, it will be outside of the Page Experience report (and outside of the Page Experience update). In addition to Safe Browsing being retired from Page Experience, Google is also removing the Ad Experience widget from the Search Console report.
Here’s a round-up of everything that’s changed and what it means:
With Safe Browsing out of the picture, that’s one less factor to worry about in optimizing your site for the Page Experience Update. But don’t kick up your feet just yet, because there’s still work to be done before the end of August. If you’re scrambling to tie up loose ends, consider consulting a reliable Page Experience guide to work on the metrics that matter.
Microsoft Bing Introduces MEB, a Neural Network Trained on Three Years of Bing Search Results: The acronym stands for “Make Every feature Binary” (what, “MEFB” didn’t have a good enough ring to it?), and it’s been introduced as a way to “massively improve” search relevance. The company announced on Wednesday that it created MEB to complement Transformer-based deep learning models. MEB is currently running on all Bing searches globally and, according to Microsoft, it has already resulted in some impressive improvements. Among these is a 2 percent increase in click-through rate (CTR) on the top, above-the-fold search results, and a 1 percent reduction in users’ manually needing to reformulate queries for better search results. Additionally, MEB has reduced the need for users to click to the next page of search results by 1.5 percent, meaning they found what they were looking for in the initial set of results. It’s always nice to get a reminder that the SEO world is more than just Google, and amazing advancements are being made in many places.
New Technology Means We Can Expect More Google Algorithm Updates: Not to be outdone by Bing, Google has also announced its own technology enabling it to easily and quickly develop and deploy new ranking algorithms. That’s great for Google – but not so much for us. With seven algorithm updates having launched in the past couple of months alone, SEOs have felt the effects of being on the receiving end of an unending onslaught. However, Google’s ability to now research and develop new algorithms at a faster rate means this could be the foreseeable future for SEO. The nitty-gritty of how Google has made these advancements is fairly complex but unpacked in a Google AI blog. Roger Montti also does an excellent job of explaining things in an article for Search Engine Journal (SEJ) that’s worth a read. The bottom line for SEO is that faster and more frequent algorithm updates will likely become the norm. And that’s going to take some getting used to.
Google Has Published a Comprehensive FAQ Resource on Core Web Vitals and Page Experience: In preparation for the Page Experience update wrapping up later this month, Google has compiled a handy list of FAQs on how Core Web Vitals work. As usual, where information directly from Google is involved, we’ll take anything we can get. Some questions addressed in the resource are whether a site can meet the recommended Core Web Vitals thresholds without AMP, what the benefits of passing all three metrics are and why a website could be 100 percent mobile-friendly but still have low Core Web Vitals scores. If these are questions you’ve found yourself pondering, be sure to check out the document and find out what Google has to say. After all, you still have a few weeks to iron out any kinks before the update is live.
Here’s How To Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly With WordPress: Having a mobile-friendly website is a vital aspect of SEO – in fact, over half of all web traffic now comes from mobile devices. But making your site mobile-friendly doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, if your site runs on WordPress, it can be downright easy! From JetPack to Smush, WordPress has several plugins that make SEO for mobile devices a pain-free endeavor – you just have to know what they are. In a viral blog for SEJ, SEO expert Jon Clark lists the eight WordPress plugins that make optimizing for mobile as easy as one, two, three. Clark goes into great detail on each plugin, looking at how it works, what it does and which features make it excellent for mobile. The article also provides tips on how to install these plugins. And, judging from the tens of thousands of people who have read it, the information is welcome.
John Mueller Says Google My Business (GMB) Is Vital for Local Search: In recent years, local search has become a crucial part of SEO, specifically for brick-and-mortar businesses. In a recent Search Central office-hours hangout, a viewer asked Google’s John Mueller about the difference between a regular informational query and a local search. Mueller took this question as an opportunity to stress the importance of a GMB profile in optimizing for local search. The way Mueller explains it, when you have a strong GMB profile, half the battle of ranking for local searches is already won – you automatically have a location specified for “near me” searches, which are considerably increasing in volume. So, if you’ve been putting off claiming your GMB profile, let this serve as a reminder that you’re missing out on valuable business.
Editor’s Note: “SEO News You Can Use” is a weekly blog post posted every Monday morning only on SEOblog.com, rounding up all the top SEO news from around the world. Our goal is to make SEOblog.com a one-stop-shop for everyone looking for SEO news, education and for hiring an SEO expert with our comprehensive SEO agency directory.
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