Here is a roundup and summary of the latest SEO stories that caught our attention during the month of August.
Massive Google Update Turns Out to Be a Bug
Earlier in the month, the SEO community started to stir as rumours of a large update to the Google search ranking algorithm began to circulate.
According to Search Engine Land, at around 5:30pm GMT on Monday 10th August, many SEOs began to notice massive movement in their Google search result rankings, and by 9:00pm GMT, the supposed update appeared to have rolled out more widely.
Many in the SEO community took to Twitter to express their concerns:
Terrible update. Entire page 1 results completely altered, showing irrelevant/poor results. This is some crazy **it
— Ben Rush (@bendrush) August 10, 2020
We dropped from #1 rank to #3, #5 and #6 for three of our top phrases. Some crazy weird sites popped into the #1 slot. Hopefully this one gets rolled back.
— LoveMyBubbles (@LoveMyBubbles) August 10, 2020
Lots of movement in the SERPs. Of course Google chooses to do a huge update on my wedding anniversary 😂
— Brock Murray (@SEOBrock) August 10, 2020
There appears to be a massive Google algo update happening now. I’m noticing huge changes in organic & local rankings, but organic appears to be impacted more. 1/x
— Dan Foland (@DanFoland) August 10, 2020
Despite these worries, suspicions grew that the ‘update’ was, in fact, a glitch, largely due to its size and how sporadic its results were.
These suspicions turned out to be warranted. At roughly 4am GMT on the 11th August, Google confirmed it was a glitch, and within the hour they stated that the issue had been fixed.
Google went on to explain that the bug was caused as a result of an issue with its indexing system and thanked the SEO community for their patience while they resolved the matter:
On Monday we detected an issue with our indexing systems that affected Google search results. Once the issue was identified, it was promptly fixed by our Site Reliability Engineers and by now it has been mitigated.
Thank you for your patience!
— Google Webmasters (@googlewmc) August 11, 2020
The issue lasted roughly 12 hours, and it now appears that search results are back to normal.
Links from Wikipedia Have No SEO Value According to Google
Google’s John Mueller took to Reddit this month to respond to a post in the SEO subreddit that begged the question: “How can one get a backlink from Wikipedia?”.
John was very clear in his response. He stated that dropping a link randomly on Wikipedia provides “zero value” concerning SEO and it will simply “do nothing for your site”.
He also went on to say that all you are doing is “creating extra work for the Wikipedia maintainers who will remove your link drops”, claiming it is purely a waste of time for both yourself and Wikipedia.
To lower spam on their site back in 2007, Wikipedia ‘nofollowed’ all external links, meaning that from that point on they carry very little, if any, authority in the eyes of Google.
John’s comments could be a cause of concern for SEOs who may use Wikipedia links to get their brands into Google’s Knowledge Panel.
Fortunately, Search Engine Journal created a handy guide for getting your brand in the Knowledge Graph without Wikipedia.
Search Engine Journal also recently posted an interesting blog looking at whether the SEO community blindly follow John’s advice.
The Gender Gap in SEO
MOZ released an interesting blogpost in August that outlined how significant the gender gap is in SEO.
By utilising data from their State of SEO 2020 survey, MOZ found that of the 652 SEOs who participated in the study, only 191 (29.3%) identified as women globally. In the UK, the gap is even wider, with only 24.7% of SEOs identifying as women. This means that men outnumber 3 to 1 in SEO roles in the United Kingdom.
Looking more specifically at the areas in which men and women specialise within SEO around the world, the research found that women are more likely to become experts in content and off-page SEO, with males being more likely to specialise in technical SEO.
Another interesting insight that this study provided was comparisons between how much contract and agency SEOs typically charge. Based on median values for hourly rates, monthly retainers and per-project, men charged more than women across the board. The blogpost explains that many of the females that they interviewed for the survey said they often undersell themselves and feel they need to be more assertive when negotiating prices.
Google Rolls Out Search Console Insights for Selected Users
This month, Google announced its Search Console Insights beta tool. It was made available to select users in private beta, providing content creators with “the data they need to make informed decisions and improve their content.”
Google also said that Search Engine Insights is “a new experience tailored for content creators and publishers and can help them understand how audiences discover their site’s content and what resonates with their audiences.” The new tool is fuelled by data gathered from Search Console and Google Analytics.
Search Engine Roundtable outlined the questions that Search Console Insights will be able to help publishers and content creators answer:
- What are your best performing pieces of content?
- How are your new pieces of content performing?
- How do people discover your content across the web?
- What are your site’s top and trending queries on Google Search?
- What other sites and articles link to your site’s content and did you get any new links?
Ultimately, this tool will provide content creators with a means of better understanding how their content performs, allowing them to make improvements and educated decisions in the future.
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