Take a look through all the important technical SEO news and updates from April 2019, including from the world of web development and Google.
Kristofer Baxter revealed more details about the script during his talk at the conference, which you can view below:
Google Introduces Signed Exchanges for AMPs
Writing in the Webmaster Central Blog, Google revealed on 16 April that it was rolling out support in Google Search’s AMP web results to link to signed exchanges.
Enabled by the IETF web packaging specification, signed exchanges enable the publisher’s domain to be displayed when content is instantly loaded via Google Search.
Google states that the new function is only available in Google Chrome for the moment, but that expansion will likely feature in the upcoming version of Microsoft Edge.
Android App Filters Added to Performance Report
Tweeting on 8 April, Google Webmasters announced that those with an Android app associated with their website can now get performance data in Google Search Console.
Using the filter, webmasters can see:
Discover Report Added to Google Search Console
On 10 April, Google revealed via its Webmasters Blog that the Discover report was being added to Google Search Console for sites that have “accumulated meaningful visibility in Discover”.
The new report allows publishers to view and analyse a variety of elements, including:
- How often a site is showing in Discover, and what traffic is originating from it.
- How content is performing compared to traditional search results.
- What types of content is performing well in the feed.
Since its launch in 2017, Discover has boasted a userbase of 800 million people per month and can be viewed from the Google.com mobile homepage, or by swiping right from the home screen on Google Pixel phones.
Google My Business Surveys Issued by Google
Sean Butcher reported on 25 April that Google was sending out surveys to local businesses, inquiring about whether they would consider paying for some features within Google My Business.
The survey also enquired about what pricing options businesses would prefer, which included a monthly subscription package, ranging from $20 to $75.
It also asked businesses which future features could be considered useful, including ad-less profiles, the addition of a “book” button, and the ability to add a “featured review” to a profile.
Customer Testimonials Highlighted in Google posts
Google My Business announced on 18 April that local businesses can now showcase positive reviews in some countries.
Although it was not mentioned which countries had received the new functionality, Google said that posts were automatically suggested based on recently submitted four or five-star reviews.
Businesses will also have testimonials suggested to them upon sign-in to My Google Business, which can then be reviewed and edited before publication.
Short Names and URLs Added to Google My Business Listings
Writing on his blog on 16 April, Mike Blumenthal, a local guide for Google, reported that Google My Business is rolling out short names and URLs to business listings.
The new features are designed to make listings more accessible to customers, and so that businesses can showcase listings on calling cards, posters, brochures, and other marketing material.
The format for the short URLs is as follows:
A minimum of five characters is required for a business name, and when users navigate to the short URL, they will be taken to the company listing in Google Maps.
Google states that the short name should “represent your business name, brand, location or other description.”
Custom Search Mobile Layout Updated
On 22 April Google announced that it had updated the layout for mobile users using Custom Search.
The changes include more distinct refinements, an increased size for thumbnails, and simpler pagination.
Google states that refinements have also been made for Desktop Search:
Rich Answers Coming to Google Assistant on Android Devices
Writing in The Keyword, Google has announced that it is bringing a fresh batch of changes to Google Assistant to provide “better visual responses and more complete information at a glance.”
The update includes a new interface for categories like events, and users will get access to tools such as the tip calculator.
Google also states that the assistant might also provide users with full search results as well as existing ads that are live within Search.
More Images Showing in Google Web Results
It has been reported that more images are appearing in Google Search web results.
According to SEOClarity, images appearing in the top 10 positions increased from a 24% occurrence to a 34% occurrence.
Search Engine Land reported that data from both Moz and RankRanger showed a similar increase.
Google resolves indexing issues
After six days of dilemma, Google announced on 11 April that it had fixed a bug that was inadvertently de-indexing pages from search results. If you saw a sudden loss of traffic at the beginning of April, it could well be due to the above issue.
According to Search Engine Land, both Coverage and Enhancement reports were impacted in the Search Engine Console until 29 April.
Only 4% of US Businesses Found to be Voice Search Ready
A study of 73,000 businesses found that only 4% were voice search ready. The study, published by Uberall, found that wedding services, art galleries, and consumer protection organisations were the least likely to have optimised for Voice Search.
Instagram Account Launched for Google Developers
Towards the end of April, Google Developers launched its own Instagram account to “shine a spotlight on communities around the world and make new friends at events like Google I/O, The Android Dev Summit, Flutter Live, and more.