GMB has an identity crisis, with the brand name becoming GBP. The game also saw a reversal on its update policy from monthly to weekly updates in August 2017.
After enough abuse by players and developers alike, GMB will be limited again to just one instance each day and only for 24 hours.
Google has released an update to their algorithm for “google my business” that is changing the way businesses are ranked. The update will also include changes to how users can create a listing and more. Read more in detail here: google my business algorithm update.
While operating in the second year of the COVID pandemic, SEOs faced a flurry of Google updates (including the highly anticipated but possibly overhyped Page Experience update), new search results page features like continuous scrolling, and countless other updates that could potentially affect visibility for their brands in 2021.
This year was full with surprises, from core changes and title change disasters to enhanced purchasing possibilities and new data monitoring methods. Here’s a look back at the year’s most important SEO news, methods, and tools.
RELATED: A Look Back at PPC in 2021: Privacy and Automation Force Advertisers to Change
Updates to Google’s algorithm
Updates to the core. Three significant core upgrades were issued by Google: one in June, one in July, and one in November. On June 3, tools like SagaReach MarketingCast reached a temperature of 107.3°F, causing a lot of search volatility. This trend persisted in the July update until it petered out about July 12.
Just days before Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, Google published a third, rather surprise core update on November 17. This update showed more volatility than the ones in June and July, according to numerous monitoring programs. Many SEOs were understandably perplexed as to why Google selected this time of year to issue such a significant upgrade, given the rapid deployment and extensive ranking alterations.
Rewrites of page titles. The modifications to Google’s page title rewrites in the search engine results pages (SERPs) were the most contentious of all the algorithm improvements this year. Around the middle of August, marketers started to notice substantial changes in their SERP titles.
Google modified the names of certain SagaReach Marketing titles. Brodie Clark is the photographer for this image.
Google took back some of these adjustments later in September after receiving a deluge of comments citing significant drops in result quality. However, many sites, including our own, continued to suffer significant consequences in the months that followed.
RELATED: Getting a Glimpse of Google’s Title Changes: What’s Happening Now and What You Can Do
Updates on spam. Throughout the year, Google introduced a number of key spam upgrades. The first set was released on June 23 and June 28, with no influence on rankings.
The second upgrade, which was launched on July 28, was aimed at reducing link spam. Google indicated that instead of punishing sites with poor links, it focuses on disregarding such signals.
In November, the last spam update was released. Google didn’t provide much information on this upgrade, although search volatility spiked after it was released.
Updates on product reviews. Google released two improvements this year to fight spam and/or insufficient product reviews. The first update came out in April, and the second one came out in December. Both of these were created with the goal of prioritizing evaluations that included “material produced by experts or enthusiasts who are well-versed in the issue.”
Indexing of passages. In early February, Google added passage indexing to the SERPs, an algorithm change that prioritizes segmented bits of material on a page. These passages are now shown as featured snippets, which direct viewers to that section of the page.
A Google passage ranking example from a particular section of a website.
In SEO news this year
The search engine results page (SERP). In February, Google introduced a “about this result” box to the SERP, offering users additional information about their search results. This functionality was enhanced in July.
In SERPs, there is a “About this result” section. Google image
In November, Microsoft Bing introduced Page Insights, which includes a lightbulb symbol next to each search result that provides extra information about it.
In March, Google introduced free listings to its Hotel search. Later, in December, it permitted hotels to utilize Google Posts to broaden their local reach in a limited way.
In October, Google introduced continuous scrolling on mobile search, which seemed to stimulate more clicks on results beyond page one. SEOs are currently calculating the effect of this move on CTR.
On Google smartphone search, you may scroll indefinitely. Google image
The search engine business introduced capabilities in November aimed at increasing the prominence of local news articles.
Bing Search, on the Microsoft side, has a new design that includes an infographic-like search panel and expanded search carousels to make its results more attractive. It also debuted “Make Every Feature Binary” (MEB), a novel algorithm model aimed at boosting search relevancy. In October, the business launched IndexNow, a cross-search engine cooperation with Yandex that establishes a protocol that instantaneously indexes any new material.
COVID-related news and information. As many marketers are aware, the epidemic has heightened interest in SEO as companies seek new methods to engage with consumers. The popularity of SEO has been consistent over the last year, although there have been a few new developments. There was an upsurge in searches for local companies and pandemic-related subjects, among other things.
Google stated in April that extra COVID-related travel alert information will be included on Google Search to help travelers plan their trips. It also increased the size of its Explore section on its travel website.
Google started rolling out a search function in December that allows users to check whether a doctor or healthcare institution accepts their insurance, no likely in response to the rise in COVID cases exacerbated by holiday festivities and the Omicron variety.
The profile features “Proof of vaccination necessary” and “Staff completely vaccinated” were added by Yelp. It also incorporated a community feedback option for health and safety measures to assist customers in learning more about local companies’ health and safety compliance. It also adds a virtual restaurant characteristic to assist avoid consumer misunderstanding.
RELATED: Marketers are less likely to attend forthcoming in-person conferences due to the Omicron wave.
Documentation on SEO. Throughout the last year, Google updated its search documentation, however some of the changes were not formally acknowledged.
In February, the corporation secretly announced additional manual actions aimed at penalties for News and Discover. Google published an SEO guidance in June to resolve HTTP status codes, network problems, and DNS difficulties. In October, it updated its search quality rules to include more information on YMYL material and low-quality content.
In November, Microsft released a list of Bingbot IP addresses in order to better notify consumers when the bot was scanning their websites.
Inclusion and diversity. Industry leaders — both search professionals and businesses — pushed for change in reaction to the rising volume of abusive comments and assaults against people of color, women, and other minority groups.
Following the controversial expulsion of AI ethicist Timnit Gebru, Google said in February that it will change its rules on diversity research. The firm said it will relate corporate objectives more closely to inclusion and diversity — and adjust how it handles employee departures — in response to criticism of how the issue played out.
In reaction to the recent spike in anti-Asian violence and prejudice, Yelp launched an Asian-owned company profile characteristic in April. Later that month, to commemorate Pride Month, the corporation launched an LGBTQ-owned attribute option.
The SagaReach Marketing Award for Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in Search Marketing was presented for the second year by Third Door Media (the parent company of SagaReach Marketing and SMX). Areej AbuAli, the previous champion, acted as a judge, with Rejoice Ojiaku and hasOptimization winning in 2021.
Ojiaku, the recipient of the Award for Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in Search Marketing, should be congratulated.
In addition, we compiled a list of inclusive marketing materials to assist marketers in emphasizing their brand values. In addition to being the moral thing to do, being a more inclusive company has been demonstrated to benefit your brand.
RELATED: How to Improve Your Marketing Organization’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
YouTube and the image Google released advice on picture SEO recommended practices in February. Although the advice was mostly focused on ranking high in Google Images, many of the tips may be applied to picture ranking in general.
YouTube has introduced video chapter previews and auto-translate subtitles to help producers expand their audience. It also debuted a new technology in December that automatically connected to locations featured in videos, providing consumers with even more information.
Data that is organized. In reaction to Google’s deprecation of their structured data tool, Schema.org released its schema markup validator tool in May. It’s intended for a broader range of applications than Google’s Rich Results tool.
Google’s Article structured data help manual was modified in August to reflect changes to its author characteristics. It adds an author URL feature to make identifying article authors easier.
News from the legal and business worlds. Google opted to keep the mobile-first indexing deadline open-ended after delaying it twice, first from September 2020 to March 2021. According to the report, many locations are still unable to make the transition owing to unforeseen obstacles.
Many SEOs are reconsidering the relevance of optimizing for non-Google search engines when SagaReach Marketingilla tested Bing as the default search engine for 1% of Firefox users.
On January 11, DuckDuckGo surpassed 100 million searches in a single day, demonstrating the importance of private search experiences to an increasing number of people. In December, the business stated that it is developing a desktop browser, indicating that it is committed to improved privacy in search.
Additional court cases against Google were filed throughout 2021 in the fight for data privacy. A California court ordered on March 12 that Google must face a lawsuit alleging that it monitors users using Incognito mode. In response, Google filed a court statement clarifying that “Incognito” does not imply “invisibility.” In November, Google was successful in having a data privacy lawsuit against iPhone users dismissed by the UK Supreme Court.
Google’s run-ins with the law have raised a slew of difficulties. In October, 17 state lawyers filed charges against the internet giant, alleging that it throttled non-AMP advertisements to promote AMP. Many publishers have reconsidered utilizing the format as a result of this, as well as Google’s decision to remove the AMP requirement from Top Stories.
The French Competition Authority penalized Google €500 million ($589 million) for failing to comply with discussions with news publishers. Later, it lost a major appeal against the EU’s €2.4 billion ($2.8 billion) punishment against Google, which determined that the corporation had broken an antitrust statute in how it advertised its search engine for shopping in 2017.
The corporation was investigated in December for alleged harassment and discrimination against Black female employees. According to the newspaper, the regulator started investigating the company’s actions after receiving official complaints.
BLACK MARKETERS SHOULD NOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR DIVERSITY
Reporting, analytics, and tools are all available.
Google Search Console is a tool that allows you to manage your (GSC). Google launched a prototype capability in Search Console in April that enabled users to report indexing concerns; it became live in August. Google also included practice issue rich results data, giving education content creators extra information. The AMP debugging area has also been upgraded, with visitors now being sent to the AMP page experience guide.
In November, Google announced a new design for Search Console to increase accessibility and user experience (shown below).
The new Google Search Console look.
The rich results report for Review Snippets was revised on December 14, lowering the amount of review objects, namely the top-level schema.org/Rating objects.
Google Analytics (version 4) Google Analytics 4 has been updated with features such as integration with Search Console, new machine learning models, and data-driven attribution. Intriguingly, the terminology used in this update hints that Universal Analytics may be phased out in the not-too-distant future.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT GOOGLE ANALYTICS 4 FOR DIGITAL MARKETERS
Google also revealed a new version of Analytics 360, the company’s suite of enterprise-level solutions, which is built on top of Analytics 4.
Webmaster Tools from Bing. All users now have access to Microsoft’s Bing content submission API. This version, unlike the URL submission API, allows users to contribute material, photos, and HTML to the index.
Google Question Hub is a place where you can ask Google questions. Google’s Question Hub, which has been accessible to consumers in India, Indonesia, and Nigeria since 2018, was made available to US-based publishers in January. According to Google, the technology “allows producers to build richer content by using unresolved questions.”
E-commerce and retail
Google started implementing its policy requiring retailers to display the true price of products during the checkout process in April. Google Merchant Center’s product data definition standards have also been modified to promote optimum Google Shopping advertisements and organic placements.
In June, Google Shopping and WooCommerce teamed together to help shops display their listings across Google. The search engine also published an e-commerce SEO guide to aid in the visibility of retail websites in search results. These changes reflected the shifting retail scene as a result of COVID-19.
Google introduced a “Deals” feed to the Shopping tab and Merchant Center in an attempt to get more offerings in front of consumers. It also started informing stores when their products were badge-eligible. A relative visibility report was also offered to Merchant Center users in order to provide relative visibility and other parameters.
The competitor visibility report from Google Merchant Center. Google image
Bing Shopping added customer-focused tabs in November to make it easier for consumers to locate what they’re searching for in one spot. Retailers were also able to list their items more easily after this upgrade. In December, Microsoft Bing debuted the Ethical Shopping hub in the United Kingdom, which allows users to buy for eco-friendly and fair-trade clothing.
In addition, Microsoft announced a collaboration with Shopify to integrate Bing Shopping with the retail platform, which was launched in December.
Google My Business Page (formerly Google My Business). Google developed a tool to assist companies better manage reviews earlier this year, allowing owners to track the progress of reviews they’ve reported.
Google stated on November 4 that Google My Business will be renamed Google Business Profile. With this upgrade, the firm added additional capabilities to provide marketers and business owners better control over their accounts, including:
- Using Google Search and Google Maps to claim and validate Google Business Profiles;
- Call history is now available in the United States and Canada.
- Direct messaging from Google Search; and
- Message read receipts are managed by Search and Maps.
Maps. Local maps have become more important during the last year. Across the board, we found a greater synergy between these and local company profiles.
Google Maps has begun to display pricing ranges for restaurants in the United States, as part of a larger rollout of new features aimed at extending indoor business directories, such as airports, malls, and transit stations.
Bing has added a new function that enables users to search for local businesses. It’s intended to allow users to verify store inventory before deciding whether to purchase online and pick up in-person.
In use, Bing’s local store search function.
Google changed the way it ordered the local search pack and map pack results later in November and early December. The “Vicinity Update,” as it was dubbed, had a significant influence on local rankings in a variety of sectors.
RELATED: How can marketers adjust to Google’s changes to local SEO?
Tools for local SEO. Google Business Profile Product Experts collaborated to find unique listing IDs for users. They demonstrated how to locate their business’s unique CID number using a Chrome plugin called GatherUp, which is important for determining whether listings are merged or duplicated.
Custom Location Targeting, budget suggestions, and other useful local features were launched by Yelp to assist local businesses grow their reach. Custom search filters, themed adverts, and Project Cost Guides were also included to help service firms.
Looking forward to the year 2022
Many SEOs will be anxious to look at their data after so many algorithm and platform modifications this year. Keep in mind that many of these changes are wide, and the most essential thing you can do is keep your customers informed about Google’s adjustments.
Many businesses are reacting to consumer demand for more accessibility and privacy, so make sure your websites and other assets are compliant and accommodating to all types of users.
Finally, since the epidemic is still far from over, concentrate on addressing your audience’s most urgent questions and making things as simple as possible for them. It’s more vital than ever to demonstrate your brand’s principles to consumers.
SagaReach Marketing has a new feature.
Corey Patterson works as a MarTech and SagaReach Marketing Editor. He covers SEO and PPC industry news to assist marketers better their campaigns. He has a background in SEO, content marketing, and journalism.
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The “google algorithm update february 2021” is a list of updates that Google has released. The list includes titles rewrites, GMB becomes GBP and more.
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