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November 2019 SEO News Updates – Google ranking factor “speed” made easy

By vivian on November 23, 2019

November 2019 SEO News Updates – Google ranking factor “speed” made easy

The start of November is all about speed. If you haven’t, check out the new speed report on your site’s search console page.

Google’s Webmaster Conference Mountain View: Product Summit 2019 (gwcps) also happened, and we will have a post coming up real soon, so stay tuned and enjoy this week’s SEO news update.

  1. Google Announcements
  2. SERP Updates
  3. Local SEO and Google Maps Update
  4. Other Interesting News

Google Announcments

4/11/2019 – Google officially launched the Search Console Speed Report.

Google has repeatedly stressed the importance of speed and the Speed Report last shown at Google I/O 2019 is finally going live to all Search Console users.

Drawing data from the Chrome User Experience Report, the speed report will automatically group URLs into “Fast”, “Moderate”, and “Slow” buckets.

Though launched, the report is still classified as “experimental” and webmasters are welcome to submit feedback to help make the tool better.

Here are a few prominent SEOs in the industry sharing their opinion and excitement on this new report.

14/11/2019 – Google said the Median Time for GoogleBot to render is 5 seconds.

Martin Splitt from Google announced the Chrome Dev Summit 2019 that the median time for GoogleBot to render is 5 seconds.

Even the 90 percentile is done in minutes, he said adding that you now don’t have to worry about week-long delays for rendering after GoogleBot crawls your page.

15/11/2019 – How Mixed Content affects HTTPS.

All of us know the importance of HTTPS, right? Pretty sure most of you here have moved to HTTPS as well and upon moving, we’d expect to see a gray lock beside the URL.

Gray Lock beside URL

However, there are cases where webmasters do not see it. Why? It means that there’s mixed content.

Mixed content is when an HTTPS page includes an HTTP content; images, videos, and scripts are loaded over an insecure HTTP connection. Google is changing the way it handles mixed content. Google mentioned that upcoming change may break the page for users and Googlebot.

To make things right, all you need to do is move all your site resources to HTTPS. If you’re unsure which resources is it, you may use Chrome’s Developer Tools to find out more.

Chrome's Developers Tool to check for Mixed Content

Ending this with a quote from Google: “No need to be insecure if your website is secure! #happyemoji”.

Read full guide here: What is Mixed Content?

SERP Updates

7/11/2019 – Instant answer for holiday searches.

Valentin Pletzer tweeted a new feature on Google, instead of returning a series of results or a featured snippet, Google can now provide instant answer for holiday searches – as reported by Barry Schwartz.

We tried to duplicate it, and indeed, it’s showing an expandable Google native listing of the holidays according to the area you searched for.

And this is how holiday queries will return when you search for it a few months back for comparison. (credit to Barry)

Holiday SERP 2

12/11/2019 – Google Tests Removing a Site’s Normal Snippet When Featured in Snippet

Kieron Hughes on Twitter said that he noticed Google has been testing with the SERP results where they have been removing a site’s normal snippet when Google displays that URL for the featured snippet.

What does this mean?

If you already have a URL in the featured snippet at the top of the page, it would make sense not to repeat it again in the core 10 web results.

Without a second listing on the page, this may mean an impact on click-through rate and traffic. Google has also previously tested this in 2017.

15/11/2019 – New Search Appearance in the Seach Console Performance Report

There’s a new stat in Google Search Console! However, it’s only for those who have products and uses product rich results on Google Search.

Website owners are now able to get data for impressions and clicks of their rich result. Ultimately, it helps webmasters to understand and optimize the performance of their website results on Google Search. The metrics can be further segmented by device, geography, and queries.

If your website is elligible to appear on Product search results, you’ll see a new Search Appearance type called “Product results”.

Product results on GSC

If you don’t see it, refer to Google’s markup guide for products: Product. It teaches you how to mark up your product information so Google can display rich results.

Local SEO and Google Maps Update

7/11/2019 – Big movements on Google My Business Local Listing”

Barry Schwartz noticed chatter on both Twitter and the Local Search Forum, and after his post, there’s also a flood of comments reporting the same thing to their listing.

Rosie Murphy from BrightLocal also chimed in to provide more details.

According to their tool, Local RankFlux, there is volatility across all industries.

Google My Business Volatility

No official updates from Google so far.

Other Interesting News

5/11/2019 – Bing Introduces spam penalty for “inorganic site structure”

Frédéric Dubut of Bing announces a new spam penalty against “inorganic site structure”.

Those affected include: PBN and link networks, doorways and duplicate content, subdomain or subfolder leasing, and spammy web hosts and hacked sites.

Which are all common techniques used by black hat SEO to gain authority and “link juice”. Bing also published a helpful post outlining how these practices usually works.

Those who believe they are unfairly penalized can file a reconsideration request via Bing Webmaster Support.

5/11/2019 – Developers docs update alert: JavaScript SEO basics guide and troubleshooting guide

Martin Splitt from Google tweeted that he and Lizzi Harvey have worked on extending the JS guides to include web components.

Here’s the link to the documents



6/11/2019 – Martin Splitt: “We’re not using such metrics.”

There’s a big number of SEOs out there, including yours humbly, who believes that user behavior like dwell time, bounce rate and exit rate can affect your page rankings.

Though Googlers’ usual stance on this issue is negative.

The friendly Googler Martin Splitt most well known for his JavaScript SEO series (and can usually be spotted with his fabulous pastel coloured hairstyle) chimed in on this matter.

He was asked “Does Google (Search Algorithm) use UX (such as dwelling time/time on page, etc.) as a ranking factor? If so, how Google get the data? Does it use Google Analytics data or something else?”

The answer? “We’re not using such metrics.”

Do you think otherwise? Let us know, we’re curious.

Updated: 3 December 2022


About Vivian

Vivian is an anthropologist lost in the world of digital marketing. She has an interest in learning about the science of marketing and the creativity that businesses use to transform themselves into purple cows.

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