Most of the news emerging from the world of SEO during June was focused on Google, with the impact of their May Core Update still being felt by businesses all over the world. Here we take a look at some of the biggest SEO stories to hit the news during the past month.
Unconfirmed Google Algorithm Update
Even though Google has not confirmed any additional update to their algorithm update from May, it appears that they have rolled back at least a few signals as some of the websites most affected by the May Core Update are starting to experience significant ranking improvements.
It is generally known that Google roll out multiple updates to their algorithms that are not officially announced, so it was generally accepted that the May update would receive a tweak or two in the following months.
Google Confirm Devaluing of Guest Post Links
While guest posting for links has been on the decline as a useful SEO tactic for years, it was only this past June that Google themselves officially declared it as a company policy. Google’s Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller, stated via social media that the company has been devaluing what he described as unnatural links in guest posts for several years.
The purpose of devaluing guest post linking was not to punish guest posts themselves, but rather the inclusion of these unnatural links. Mueller also said that Google’s algorithms can easily identify such guest posts, and he encouraged websites to keep using them as a method for reaching a broader audience.
One of Mueller’s posts on the subject said: “If all that work is for ignored links, why not just do something useful instead?”
While confirmation of this issue is new, the devaluing of guest post links has been happening for years and is part of Google’s drive to reward original and useful content.
Free and Organic Product Listings
Google announced at the end of June that they will be extending their free product listings changes on Google’s Shopping tab and main Search results. Product listings in Search knowledge panels will soon be included across the Google inventory.
The product knowledge panels appear when a user searches for a specific product, with the product listings that appear usually paid for by sponsors. Google’s President of Commerce, Bill Ready, said: “We wanted to make sure that as consumers make a dramatic shift to e-commerce that we are doing everything we can to make it easy for consumers to find all the best products from all the best sellers.”
This means that all the product listings that appear in product knowledge panels as a result of users using specific keywords will be free and organic, replacing the sponsored ads that currently appear.
The new free and organic product listings will first go live in the United States on mobile, before a desktop rollout follows. The rest of the world can expect it by the end of the year.
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