This week’s #searchdrop looks at potential indexing issues in Bing, how Google identifies individual passages, and the recent announcement of highlighted deals in Google Shopping.
In previous weeks we reported in our Search Drop blog posts about the indexing issues that Google was facing over a few weeks which meant that business owners frustratingly were unable to get their pages indexed and displayed correctly by this search engine.
Barry Schwartz from Search Engine Roundtable is reporting that Microsoft Bing is facing similar indexing issues and many users cannot find their website in the search results. According to information provided by Microsoft and Cloudflare the issue lay on the Microsoft side and was related purely to the Cloudflare hosted websites which reported blocked IP addresses from Microsoft. This said, WebCrawler tried and failed to access and crawl the webpages and due to that Bing de-indexed some websites.
On the 27th of October Fabrice Canel posted a Tweet with the following statement:
“For Cloudflare, some sites reported that a small percentage of Bing crawler was not DNS resolving appropriately and we were crawling outside of usual IPs for a few days. We fixed that yesterday.”
If your website was de-indexed by Bing due to this issue, technically you won’t need to do anything and Bing should crawl your website again without any problems. Some readers of Search Engine Roundtable already confirmed in comments that the issue does not exist anymore, which hopefully means that if your site was affected it’s now back to normal.
Following on from Google’s BERT update announcement last week (covered in Search Drop 35), Google’s public Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan has gone into more detail surrounding how the search engine is going to identify individual passages of a web page.
Set to come out in 2021, the update will roll out along with a new spelling algorithm, a feature that identifies sections of video content, and subtopics of broad search terms.
Moving away from evaluating a whole page to decide whether it’s relevant for a particular search query, Google will now begin to understand the different topics and sections within a singular page. A feature that will affect 7% of global search queries will use artificial intelligence technology and 3D search functionality to allow Google to better understand and identify the key passages to a user’s query.
With many SEOs questioning how different this feature will be from featured snippets, Sullivan took to Twitter to explain that it will show barely any difference in appearance but the improved ranking technology behind it will better ensure that users find the needle-in-a-haystack information that they’re looking for faster:
As Google continues to learn and understand more about high-quality content, the significance of backlinks decreases. If a page has a multitude of high-quality backlinks leading to it but Google views it as a page with poor information, the influence of the proxy of backlinks may decrease. This has not been suggested by Google itself but the theory does fall in line with their aims of delivering the information you need, not the information that’s been linked to the most times.
Passage ranking may also mean that your website begins ranking a lot higher for some keywords than it currently does. If Google begins pushing out more ‘featured snippet’ like results, this allows for the pages beneath it to pushed further up the rankings.
To get ahead of the game, begin to learn and understand what Google looks for within the content that it pushes out to its users. By analysing the ‘People Also Asked’ feature as well as the copy within featured snippets, you will very quickly become familiar with the aspects Google desires when answering a long tail search query.
You can also use tools such as Answer The Public to gain an insight into what users are asking surrounding a certain topic. You can then take these questions and make sure they are clearly answered within your content and therefore increase your chances of scoring a place at the top of the SERPs.
To find out more about this topic, check out this Search Engine Journal article.
As part of a host of other updates, including improved reporting and insights for promoted products in Google Shopping, Google has announced they’ll now be highlighting the best deals on products in a bid to increase exposure for retailers and ensure that users are getting the best deal on their products.
It’s an update currently available to all US retailers (with the change likely to occur a little later on for other markets) and these promotions will be automatically applied to all eligible retailers. Along with this, Google have made strides in making the whole process a lot easier and quicker, with approval times for new promotions being within hours, instead of days.
Furthering the attempt to increase exposure for retailers, Google will also now show these promotions in more places, such as:
Google will also be adding an ‘on sale’ filter to the listings in shopping, making the process of grabbing a bargain that much easier! All of these new features will be available to all retailers (currently in the US only) regardless of whether they advertise with Google.
Here are some examples of the new promotions and reporting options:
For more detail of how to set this up, see Googles help page here.