Three Big SEO Stories From August 2020 all Businesses Should Read

August saw more interesting insights into Bing’s search ranking factors and some updates to crucial systems, as well as a glitch in the system which caused a whole lot of chaos amongst Google’s search results.

Here are three of the biggest SEO stories from last month.

Search Console API Infrastructure Update

Google announced at the beginning of the month that they were upgrading the API for Google Search Console. The search engine giant stated that the API remains backward compatible and that they had no plans to change this or its scope and functionality. However, the update does include some changes which all businesses should be aware of.

There is a small change to the Google Cloud Platform dashboard, with the old API usage report decreasing and the new one increasing. You may also need to redo any ‘previously set API key restrictions’ as such previously set restrictions were likely changed with the update. Google also said they will be dropping support for the Webmasters discovery document at the end of this year.

Google Search Bug Affects Search Rankings

The second week of August witnessed a chaotic few hours when a glitch in Google’s indexing systems caused massive changes to search engine rankings.

The issue began on Monday, August 10, as members of the SEO community began seeing strange changes to Google search results. These progressively got worse over the next few hours, though Google had fixed the issue within eleven hours of it first being noticed.

Google confirmed it was a bug, saying: “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.”

That might sound like an overly simple explanation, but it does make perfect sense with some understanding of what SEO indexing systems actually do. They conduct a number of vital tasks such as rendering and converting fetched data, extracting links, meta and structured data, as well as extracting and computing certain signals and scheduling new crawls. Any glitches among these can have a serious knock-on effect on search results.

More Bing Search Ranking Factors Revealed

Ever since Bing published their Webmaster Guidelines a couple of months ago, more and more insight has been gained into their search ranking factors. It was revealed last month that Bing doesn’t want to index or show search results for low quality or manipulative content. Their search ranking factors also aim to identify empty pages, spam and junk content, as well as broken experiences and JavaScript-like errors that can disable the page.

Fabrice Canel, the Principal PM of Bing Webmaster Tools, spoke to via video conference, and said of the guidelines update: “It was time to modernize and refresh the global Bing Webmaster Guidelines, providing insights on how Bing discovers, crawls, indexes and ranks content.”

In the same interview, the Head of Evangelism Search at Microsoft, Christi Olson, added: “When Fabrice and I speak at industry events, we receive a lot of in-depth questions around the specifics of Bing’s Webmaster Guidelines and how elements from discovery to ranking have changed since we’ve refreshed Bing’s Webmaster Tools. We decided to refresh the entire guidelines to make them easier to understand while including the most recent updates on crawling, indexing, ranking and quality.”

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