SEOIntel Weekly News Round-up (4th week of April, 2024)

With the month almost ending, the March 2024 Core update is still ongoing. Now on it's 8th week, will it reach the 2-month mark? Read this week’s notable SEO news.
Marie Aquino
April 26, 2024

We’re on the fourth week of April, and with the month almost ending, the March Core update is still ongoing. The roll-out is now on its 8th week, will it reach the 2-month mark?

The March 2024 Core Update is now being touted as the biggest Google core update and it seems like, also the longest. Ranking volatility still remains and most have reported that their rankings only get worse and worse as the roll-out progresses. Will we be able to see a bounce back once it is finished? We can only just wait for its completion, hopefully in the coming week.

Here are this week’s notable SEO news.

Anatomy Of A Search Result

In the last episode of the “How Search Works” series, Gary Illyes talked about the anatomy of the search results or basically, the components that make up the search results. 

Google can return many different kinds of search results – primarily text results or historically called 10 blue links or blue links. These results have evolved over the years but the basic elements remain the same.

Each result consists of at least one title link, which is the most prominent part of the search results. Title links are generated based on the content of the page. In most cases, the title link is identical to the title element of the HTML on the page – something that site owners have direct control of. It may also be the headings on the page, which is also something that site owners have control of. In some cases when the content of the page is unavailable, it may be generated using external sources like anchor texts. T

The snippet (description) is another part of the search result, also called as the description. This also comes from the content of the page. If the content is unavailable then the result may not have a snippet or description at all. In general, the snippet is chosen from what the users would see when they land of the page but if there is not enough text on the page, it might be picked from other invisible test users such as the alt attribute of the image on the page (if there is), and the description element.

Since the text of a snippet only comes from the content of the page, you also have direct control of it. You also have control in not showing a snippet at all for a particular page using the no snippet robots meta tag. You can also control how long it is with the max snippet robots meta tag. If you do not want a particular text appearing as a snippet, you can use the data no snippet html attribute on certain html elements.

The other prominent features of a search result are the attribution features such as the favicon of your site, the site name, and the visible URL including the breadcrumbs. You can influence each of these in various ways such as changing your URLs might change the breadcrumb, changing structured data might update your site’s name, and uploading a new favicon to your site will update the favicon in the results.

In the snippet itself, sometimes you can see a byline date which is an estimation by Google for when the page was updated or published. Below the snippet, you can sometimes see site links – two or more links from the same domain or its alternate version clustered together to help users reach pages that are relevant to the result.

Those are the basic anatomy of the search results as explained by the video. The whole How Search Works video series is more for beginners. If you are in SEO, you already know about the content and know that there is more to how search works and might not be too happy with it as it lacks depth. Nevertheless, it’s a good starter guide for those wondering how search engines, in particular, Google works.

Check out the episode below –

The Google Search Team Tests Gemini For Social Posts

In the Search Off The Record Podcast released this week, the Google Search team composed of Garly Illyes, Lizzi Sassman, and John Mueller tests using Gemini for creating social media posts. It was quite a hilarious episode filled with owls, Harry Potter references, and with some SEO tidbits provided as the team verified the accuracy of the posts generated. Here are some notable parts of the podcast:

Gary on metadesciptions

Gary: I think focusing on meta descriptions is, I would say, overrated. And when we were doing SEO work on then every now and then, Lizzi would send me a change list to change some meta descriptions, and I was just rolling my eyes. Sure, whatever. I didn’t even read them, most of them. True story. I don’t particularly care about meta descriptions or care for them.

John on links

John: It’s just not something I use from day to day, you know? But I mean, search engines don’t need a lot of links to discover where you have your content hidden away as an owl. They just need one. They just need one.

John on SEO is dead

John: Well, I mean, SEO is kind of constantly changing. Different things happening. AI.

John and Gary on Generative AI

John: So I thought it was fun. I think it’s always fun to try out new tools. What kind of surprised me is how predictable the LLMs were. It’s like bringing up things that are already out there a lot, which to me makes me kind of wonder, well, is it like even adding any new value on the one hand, almost like philosophical question. And then the other philosophical question is, has everything been said about SEO and why are we even publishing something new? Hmm.

Gary: I think they are pretty good for… not all of them, but some of these LLMs are really good at inspiring writing, and I tend to use it for ideas, but not to generate this block of text for me so I can copy/paste it in the doc. But what do you think would be the five top things that people might ask about this or stuff like that? And then usually it’s not correct, but it makes my brain think about those things and then as a result, I might come up with something new that I should include in the doc or blog post.

Check out the particular episode below: