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January 2020 Google Webmaster Recap

author image Written by: Nicole McCormick           Categories - Digital Marketing

A Look Back on Everything Google Dropped in The Month of January

We’re only one month into 2020, but at the rate Google’s moving, you’d think we were more than halfway through. Between the January 2020 Core Update and the introduction of favicons to desktop search results, it’s been a pretty hectic month for Google. At this rate, one can only imagine what Google has in store for the rest of the decade. So, with that being said, let’s take a look back on all the big steps taken by Google this past month.

January 2020 Core Update

First up was a bit of a doozy. Google’s latest core update started rolling out January 13 and was expected to affect search results on a worldwide scale and boy did it not disappoint. Initial ranking fluctuations were reported as dramatic but steadied in the following days until the update finished rolling out four days later. Rank Ranger January Core Update Impact Chart Source: RankRanger

Desktop Search Results Makeover

If the core update wasn’t enough, Google also rolled out some pretty significant changes to desktop search results midway through the month. Among the changes included:

  • Swapping the old green ‘Ad’ label for a bolded black one
  • Shifting the URL above the headline text and styling it in black (paid)
  • Shifting the URL in organic results above the page name
  • Adding favicons next to URLs

These changes had already been implemented for mobile search months ago, but regardless, still caused a stir within the digital community. The main feedback provided was that the changes made it difficult to differentiate between paid ads and organic results. After receiving backlash regarding the new design, Google decided to go back to the drawing board and announced that it would continue to experiment with the favicon placement. https://twitter.com/searchliaison/status/1220768239212326912

Google Search Console Removals

By the end of the month, Google announced it was releasing a new Removals report in Google Search Console that would allow site owners to temporarily remove website pages from Google search results. The report would also allow site owners to track pages that had been removed due to third-party requests or filtered through the adult SafeSearch function.

Featured Snippets

Another change that came our way this month was the removal of snippets in search results for pages with content included in the Featured Snippets section. “If a web page listing is elevated into the featured snippet position, we no longer repeat the listing in the search results,” said Google’s Public Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, on Twitter. “This declutters the results & helps users locate relevant information more easily. Featured snippets count as one of the ten web page listings we show.”

What’s Next for February?

If you thought Google would start slowing down in February, you’d be sadly mistaken. Between the results of the continued favicons experiment and the yet to be confirmed February Google Search Algorithm Ranking Update, it’s bound to be yet another busy month. But until then, we’ll just have to wait it out and see what happens.

Nicole McCormick

Nicole is a wordsmith wizard, passionate about the written word and an avid storyteller who uses creatively crafted prose to help bring your brand’s story to the next level. A former journalist with writing credits in both local and national news publications and a few newspaper awards under her belt, Nicole now enjoys telling your stories and finding new and creative ways to create valuable content that resonates with audiences in the digital landscape.

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