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By vivian on February 26, 2021
Hey there, SEO peep! Hope you are having an awesome week so far and welcome to another weekly SEO update post.
This week, we have some updates on the Google Passage Indexing and also a quick reminder for everyone about Google’s mobile-first indexing deadline that is coming soon in March.
Without further ado, here’s a quick roundup on what’s important:
Google’s revised mobile-first indexing deadline is coming up in the next several weeks. Google said it is going 100% into mobile-first indexing.
Previously, the search engine giant moved the deadline from September 2020 to March 2021 due to the pandemic. John Mueller from Google said today March 2021 is an approximate deadline.
John was asked if all sites will be moved over by April 1, 2021. John said on Twitter “That’s approximately the target. We don’t have a critical reason to reach any particular cut-off date, so it could be that the remaining sites are a bit spread out, some earlier, some a little bit later.”
So some may be moved over 100% prior to April 1, 2021, and some may lag behind and move over after April 1, 2021.
Either way, you’ve got to make sure you are ready for this mobile-first indexing, and here’s a list of mobile-first indexing best practices from Google themselves to check off.
So Passage Ranking, otherwise known as Passage Indexing has completed its roll out on February 15th. That is 5 days after it first went live on February 10th.
But currently, this still only live for queries in the US in English and will extend to more countries in English in the near future.
Just to remind everyone: Short passage ranking is Google’s method of algorithmically sifting through a long piece of content and being able to understand that a specific passage or set of passages is about query X, while another specific passage in the same document can be about query Y.
This helps Google rank the same piece of content but different passages within that content separately for different queries.
But so far, the impact of this update has been minimal looking at tools tracking the rank volatility.
However, some SEOs said this kind of makes sense cause you cannot see passage ranking in the search results, so we won’t be able to discern it from other result snippets.
Also, Barry Schwartz has confirmed with Danny Sullivan that the passage ranking results and the scroll-to-text results are two different matters.
On an extra note, this was released to help diluted content and with most ranking results usually being SEO-optimized content, this might be the case?
After all, Martin Splitt from Google did mention previously, “if you already have good, structured pages, then passage-based ranking will be the least interesting thing that has ever happened to you.”
Shorter is not necessarily better for SEO.
Google’s John Mueller recently replied a tweet that having a shorter domain name or a shorter URL is not going to benefit you in terms of your SEO and ranking in Google Search.
You can see the exact tweet here.
Google seems to be showing fewer featured snippets in the search results since February 19th, 2021, said Barry Schwarz.
He is seeing the trend shown across all three tools that track featured snippets.
Mozcast is showing a decline from 7.5% search results having featured snippets to 4.5%.
Meanwhile, RankRanger is showing a decline of snippet results from 9.5% to about 8.5%.
Lastly, SEMRush is showing a decline of 6.9% of search results having featured snippets to 5.1% of search results having featured snippets.
Glenn Gabe, an SEO consultant at G-Squared Interactive also notices this, tweeting that:
Google has made a change to its performance report around reporting on your Web Stories. This change may lead to seeing more impressions and clicks from Google Discover to your web stories.
Google said previously, if a viewer clicked into a Web Story on Discover, then continued from there into additional Web Stories, only the first Web Story was credited with an impression and click.
Starting on February 16, 2021 and onwards, any additional Web Stories that were reached from the first Web Story in Discover will also be credited with an impression and click in the Performance report for Discover.
So check your GSC now you might just be surprised with a surge of traffic from Google Discover and that concludes this week’s SEO updates. Happy Friday, have a great weekend everybody!
Updated: 22 April 2021
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