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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.

June 2021 Core Update Finishes Rolling Out After 10 Days

06/16/2021

SEOs rejoice! After only just 10 days, Google’s June 2021 Core Update has completed its rollout, potentially setting a record for the quickest core update rollout ever. For context, typically, most core updates take a minimum of two weeks to finish being implemented. 

According to Search Engine Round Table, Google began rolling out the most recent core update on June 2nd, and it was completed by June 12th.

The news was only just confirmed yesterday by Google’s public search liaison, Danny Sullivan, on Twitter. The late announcement comes as a bit of a surprise, but Google is known to find ways to keep us on our toes. 

READ MORE: SEOs React To Google’s June Core Update

The timing of this is interesting, as SEOs and search tools began picking up on significant ranking fluctuations on June 11 and June 12. At the time it was believed that this was caused by another small, unconfirmed update, but now, it seems more likely that the core update finishing its rollout had something to do with it.

READ MORE: Unconfirmed Google Update Sparks Wave Of Chatter In SEO Community  

Now that we have official confirmation that the June 2021 Core Update is done rolling out, we can rest easy and stay tuned for the next one!

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Core Update Did Not Include Second Product Review Update

06/10/2021

For those who have been wondering whether another Product Reviews Update was rolled into last week’s core update – the answer is a big fat no, according to Google.

The question came up on Twitter this week when SEO consultant Glenn Gabe asked Google’s public search liaison, Danny Sullivan, whether Google launched another Product Reviews Update similar to the one rolled out back in April.

READ MORE: Google Rolls Out New Product Reviews Update

“Do you know if there was a refresh of the Product Reviews Update (maybe when the June broad core update rolled out)?” asked Gabe. “I’m seeing sites impacted by the PRU w/a lot of movement during the June core update. Or is this just from the June core update? Thx for any info!”

Sullivan stated that any changes related to product reviews were “almost certainly” caused by the Core Update, not another product review update.

So, even though the product review update took longer than expected to fully roll out, it did, in fact, eventually complete its rollout back in April.

Sullivan’s confirmation makes sense because, like any other website, product review sites are bound to be impacted by something as huge as a core update.

Alas, SEOs can sleep easy knowing there haven’t been any other surprise curve balls being thrown by Google – yet. Google always has a way of keeping us on our toes, though, so we’ll be keeping an eye out for any impending changes that could affect your rankings.

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