As Google continues to prepare for mobile-first indexing, we’ve also seen new features released to improve site speed and local search.

Let’s take a look at the key search updates in June:

Search updates

Google has increased the amount of data available by the Search Analytics API on the new version of Search Console. This now means that instead of being able to pull only three months of past data, we can pull 16 months, which makes it an even more useful tool to develop with.

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Google mobile-first index confusion

This month, Google has cleared up confusion in regards to mobile-first indexing. Posting on twitter, Google webmasters clarified seven concerns from the SEO industry:

  • Google will only have a site’s mobile URLs in its index when switched over; desktop users will now be served with a desktop URL, whilst still using the mobile URL to rank this content.
  • No crawl rate change.
  • A bug that 404s cached pages which have recently switched to mobile first indexing - this will not affect rankings.
  • Next month’s speed update is independent of mobile-first indexing and will apply to all sites.
  • Tabbed or hidden UI content will work fine on mobile.
  • Your desktop-only site will be moved even if it is not mobile ready.
  • An additional boost for sites that are mobile-friendly on mobile devices.

Google ranking factors

John Mueller from Google has confirmed in a webmaster hangout that factors such as ratings, reviews and survey data do not affect organic ranking factors.

They do however affect local search results, so it’s still important to make sure that your website uses them.

Keyword stuffing

Another confirmation from Google’s John Mueller in June is that, in his opinion, ‘keyword stuffing’ should not end in removal from the Google index.

The algorithm is clever enough to ignore this technique if there is enough value in a page otherwise, which may explain why a “keyword stuffed” page ends up performing well on a term.

For your site, there should be a focus on the creation of quality content to meet the other expectations Google has in order to rank highly.

Google Search Console

A new feature has been added to Search Console Beta which allows you to check URLs on your site and see how Google looks at a specific URL.

Look out for the ‘URL Inspection Tool’ as it will be rolling out soon. The tool will be able to tell you if there are any crawl issues, the canonical tag for that specific page and if the page was indexed successfully, as well as other interesting and helpful things.

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Google speed update

The new speed update set to come out in July has been said to work on a gradual scale in a recent Google hangout with John Mueller at the end of June. By making small updates to improve your site speed over time, this can help with the way your site ranks.

Local search updates

GMB agency dashboard

Google My Business has rolled out its newest addition, the Agency Dashboard.

This new update to GMB allows agencies to manage unlimited amounts of listings in one place.

New features include Location Groups which help to simplify managing lots of locations and place them in one group and you can now send and receive notifications to manage listings and be able to view the progress of requests.

Google Maps features

Google Maps is introducing new features such as a new Explore Tab, ‘Your Match’ and Group Planning to help streamline searches and make local search more personalised.

There has been confirmation that these updates are being rolled out now all over the world, so it is important to keep this in mind for international locations you may have too.

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