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This weeks Searchdrop looks at some of the key factors to consider when working with news coverage in search, Google’s tightening of their FAQ markup guidelines and the impact of excessive pagination of your search performance.

Google outline best practices for news coverage with search

Google recently released an update to their guidelines around news coverage. The first aspect that stands out is the particular focus on AMP, so if you’re running a site that wants to leverage the ‘Top Stories’ featured snippet in the SERPS and you aren’t utilising AMP, which is a page build as per AMP guidelines to be super fast and provide an identical experience to HTML pages, then you should be AMP’ing your site.

A couple of key considerations when adding AMP to your site:

  • Your user experience and content (content parity) should be identical to your HTML page. The AMP project provide 100’s of different AMP elements to support your developers in implementing AMP
  • A Rel=”alternate” tag will need to be added to both AMP and HTML versions of your pages to ensure Google understands that there is meant to be two versions of the same page

AMP pages also receive a small boost in mobile performance, so definitely worth the effort.

The three key areas publishers need to consider when adhering to the updated guidelines are:

  • Article schema – most blogs will have some form of article schema in place, either as part of the structure of the article or via a plugin. Ensuring you’re utilising everything available for article schema you’ll be best placed to leverage enhanced search results and visibility.
  • Markup your live event – covering a live event can enhance your search results with the ‘live’ badge. The markup required is BroadcastEvent Schema. Google suggests utilising the Indexing API when working with live content due to the time sensitive nature of the coverage, this API ensures that Google is notified when new content is available.
  • Update Cache and use AMP elements – Google is suggesting that you work to keep the AMP cache up to date when working with live news, this can be done by forcing updates to the cache from your site, this will require developer support – further information here. Finally using AMP live news related elements (such as <amp-live-list> will ensure your markup is fully supportive to indexing in the correct way for live news.

Read the full article here

Google tightens it's FAQ markup guidelines

ASSISTED. recently performed some research into the key factors that make the perfect financial services landing page. In this research we found that including frequently asked questions content was an integral part of making the page useful and targeting longer tail phrases and questions.

Google has recently updated its structured data content guidelines and in particular, tightened its guidelines around FAQ schema. The update pertains to the repetition of FAQ schema on the same question.

The exact quote is:

If you have FAQ content that is repetitive on your site (meaning, the same question and answer appear on multiple pages on your site), mark up only one instance of that FAQ for your entire site.

So when adding FAQ schema, just markup one instance of the question.

Read more on this here

Excessive pagination can impact your SEO

Pagination is something that’s been in a period of fluctuation in terms of its SEO value, with Google removing rel=”next/previous” from it’s algorithm early last year and coupling that with deep pagination being harmful to SEO – particularly if SEO hasn’t been part of your processes forever, but you’ve been writing for a long time.

With a working example directly from an ASSISTED. client, we actually found that paginated pages were cannibalising the root category of this client. We simply extended the number of products available in the category to remove our pagination and already baked in was our lazy loading on imagery. This quickly fixed the issue.

Things that should be done when considering your pagination:

  • Ensure your pagination isn’t too deep
  • Consider whether pagination is needed at all. Can you have topic > sub topic structures which better support a users journey through your sites information?
  • Is your historic content still adding value? Could it be re-purposed or removed?
  • Do you have any particularly popular ‘older’ articles you could update to ‘2020’ and leverage some new search volume / users?

So if your traffic is dipping slowly, review your content and associated pagination. It could be that you’ve got all this valuable content, it’s just not in a useful structure.

Read the full study here