SEO Monthly Roundup February 2020

March 13th, 2020 in SEO 5 minute read

In comparison to previous months, February was arguably quieter than usual in the world of SEO, but there was still plenty of news to keep us interested. In this months SEO monthly roundup, we’ve put together the highlights to keep you in the loop.

Google advises against repetitive use of FAQ structured data markup

Google has updated its guidelines for the use of FAQ structured data adding tips about repetitive content. They’ve added the following into their developer document for FAQ structured data:

“If you have FAQ content that is repetitive on your site (meaning, the same question and answer appear on multiple pages on your site), mark up only one instance of that FAQ for your entire site.”

The following was shared on Twitter by Kenichi Suzuki who initially spotted the change: 

Google has presumably added this new information to try and prevent sites from taking up too many places in SERPs. 

In the example, you can see the way the same questions about Tokyo have been marked up on different pages. This now goes against Google’s guidelines. Now, you should aim to markup those questions once, ideally on a single dedicated page. You can read the full document here.

Google’s John Mueller offers advice on use of Hreflang

Have you been stuck on where to start with Hreflang? You wouldn’t be the first! Luckily, Google’s John Mueller has offered advice on where you can start on a recent discussion on Reddit. See his full statement below:

“You definitely shouldn’t block / disallow these in robots.txt — if they’re disallowed from crawling, we wouldn’t be able to canonicalize them at all, or see any of the metadata on them.

It’s easy to dig into endless pits of complexity with hreflang. “Let’s create all languages! Let’s make pages for all countries! What if someone in Japan wants to read it in Swahili? Let’s make even more pages!” My guess is most of these “pages created because you can” get very little traffic, add very little value, and they add a significant overhead (crawling, indexing, canonicalization, ranking, maintenance, hreflang, structured data, etc.).

My recommendation would be first to limit the number of pages you create to those that are absolutely critical & valuable — maybe that already cuts the pages you’re thinking about. Think big here; if you’re talking about individual pages within a medium-sized site, it’s probably a non-issue. On the other hand, if you’re considering copying your whole site into 20 languages x 10 countries, that’s something else.

Past that, for hreflang, I’d focus first on pages where you’re seeing wrong-language traffic — often these are pages that get a lot of global, branded queries, where it’s hard to determine which language content they want. A search for “google” can match a lot of language pages, hreflang can help to differentiate. On the other hand, a search for “search engine” is pretty clear & matches pages where you write about “search engine” already, so pages like that don’t need as much help being language-targeted. That said, sometimes the balance between “save effort by thinking” and “just do it everywhere” is not that straightforward to determine :).”

If you want to read more of the conversation, then check out the full discussion on Reddit.

Google Search Console

How can you showcase your events on Google Events?

Google has released information over on their Webmasters forum, detailing how you can promote your events on Google Events. 

Google’s event markup allows people to discover your event when they use search terms like “concerts near me” or “marketing events in Leeds”. They can also discover your event if they search for a specific venue or pub. The events may appear in the venue’s Knowledge Panel to help people find events at that venue. Below is an example of the events Knowledge Panel from Leeds First Direct Arena:

So, how do you get your events on Google? There are three ways you can go about it:

  • If you use a CMS platform like WordPress and don’t have access to your HTML, you can check with them to see if there’s a plugin that allows you to add structured data to your site. You could also use the Data Highlighter to inform Google about your event. This means you don’t have to edit the HTML on your site. 
  • If you feel comfortable editing HTML you can use structured data so the page directly integrates with Google. Make sure you also edit the HTML of the events pages. 
  • Are you using a third-party platform to promote your events (ticket sites or social media)? You’ll need to double-check with the website to see if they’re already part of the event search tool on Google. If they are then you can post your events freely on their site. If they’re not, it’d be worth asking them to participate, to ensure your event reaches a wider audience. 

Google confirms links are disavowed immediately but taken into account as URLs are recrawled

Many SEOers turn to Twitter to get answers to pressing questions from Google mogul John Mueller. He recently answered a question about disavowing links which you can see below:

He answered a similar question around a year ago which you can see below:

So what exactly does this mean? Essentially, in both tweets, John is saying the same thing. You’re free to disavow links today but Google won’t actually process the disavowed link until the site/URL is recrawled, which can take a while. So, unfortunately if the site isn’t recrawled often it’s just going to take a bit of patience. 

Do you need help with your website?

If you’re unsure what any of these changes mean for your website or need help implementing Hreflang, then do not fear. We’re an SEO agency dedicated to keeping you ahead of the game. Email to speak to our team.

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