Google’s March 2019 Core Update

On March 12th this year, Google released an update to its algorithms which had a significant impact on sites across the web. Many, but not all, of the sites that saw improvements or losses had previously been impacted by the August 1st 2018 (Medic) updates.

Whilst some of the sites that saw huge changes were medical related, the effects of the updates were not limited to medical sites. It seems the changes impacted many websites considered to be Your Money Your Life (YMYL) sites, but weren’t restricted to these.

Why does it matter?

In the past, Google has stated “there is no ‘fix’ for pages that may perform less well other than to remain focused on building great content.” Over time, it may be that your content could rise relative to other pages.

If your rankings have changed recently, it may have been related to this broad core ranking update and not necessarily related to a technical change you made on your website. Our recommendation is to continue working towards best practice across all elements of SEO.

1. Google Hasn’t used rel=next/prev for a while

Google’s John Mueller confirmed on Twitter that Google stopped using the rel=next/prev mark up it launched back in 2011. The interesting part is, they have not used it for the past few years and didn’t tell us.

Twitter image

According to Google, their reason for stopping the use of the tag was because they saw sites approach pagination differently since it stopped supporting it, so the company feels that people are building great websites without the markup.

Google now recommends making sure that content is put onto a single page and avoid breaking it up into multiple pages for the same piece of content. They mentioned on Twitter that studies show that “Users love single-page content, aim for that when possible, but multi-part is also fine for Google search. Know and do what’s best for your users!”

2. Google brings search to podcasts through automatic transcription

Google’s Podcast app is increasing its discoverability by automatically transcribing shows, allowing users to search for particular episodes without having to remember the name of the podcast or the episode titles.

Transcripts have begun popping up as metadata within some podcast episodes’ website sources (not within the app itself). Android Police breaks down how the transcripts can be found. They continue to say that whilst the entire show was transcribed, it did contain errors, mistaking writer Corbin Davenport’s name as “Corbin Dabbing port”.

Why should you care?

Discoverability has been a challenge for podcast creators for some time. For marketers looking to launch a branded podcast (or those already producing one), increasing discoverability can help attract new audiences and make it easier for a former listener to find you again. That could make the format even more viable as part of a content marketing strategy.

For marketers that sponsor podcasts, this might mean that your ads get more listeners, without having to buy airtime on more episodes.

3. Bing upgrades text-to-speech expands intelligent answers and improves visual search

Intelligent Answers

Bing’s Intelligent Answers are now smarter because they are able to leverage deep learning models. Bing stated that they can now answer “harder questions than ever before” by being able to utilise advancements in GP technology.

Bing stated: “Instead of the relatively simple answer to ‘what is the capital of Bangladesh?’, Bing can now provide answers to much more complex questions, such as ‘what are the different types of lighting for a living room?’, quicker than before.”

More Human-like speech

When the Bing search app responds to you using voice, that voice sounds more human-like than ever. Bing said they “can speak answers to your queries back to you with a voice that’s nearly indistinguishable from a human’s.” Bing is able to do this through their AI human-like intonation and clear articulations of words.

You can hear it in action on the Bing Blog.

Visual Search

Bing has made improvements to its visual search capabilities as well. Bing said they made “huge strides in efficiency and coverage” around the feature.

The example given by Bing is “if you can see an image on an accent light you like, Bing can show visually-similar decor and even show purchase options at different price points if the item is available online. To save you time, visual search also automatically detects and places clickable hotspots over important objects you may want to search for next.”