Spring is the season of cleaning up the old and bringing in the new. So too with Google. At the annual Google I/O developer conference several interesting updates in relation to search were revealed, although not many were a surprise. In this article, we will go over a few of these subjects that are the most interesting and relevant in relation to SEO. Want to see the whole I/O 2019 Conference? You can find it here:

Googlebot gets smarter

First off, the Googlebot. This is the crawler that visits your webpages, reads and renders them for indexation. Important for SEO of course, as you want your website to be well indexed, well understood and well ranked on Google. However, it is possible that the crawling of a webpage can be blocked or only partially completed due to the implementation of complex technical elements that the Googlebot cannot read. Factors such as the implementation of JavaScript on a webpage have been contested as having a negative effect on the crawler, for instance.

With the new update from Google however, it is clear that the aim is for the Googlebot to become smarter and more efficient. The crawler now runs on the latest Chromium 74 rendering engine and Google reassures users that this rendering engine will be frequently updated to support the latest web platform features. The difference between the old and the new engine is promising: more than 1.000 new features are now supported, which includes newer JavaScript features. This means that websites running a modern version of JavaScript (correctly) should have fewer critical indexing issues. In any case, the best strategy is still the simplest one: If the nature of your website does not ask for much reactivity, the best option is to have a static site with some simple JavaScript for features which require interactivity.

Augmented Reality & Podcast Search Results

Not only the Googlebot is becoming smarter, the Google search results get an upgrade too. Google’s focus on Artificial Intelligence is one to stay, as Augmented Reality technology is being integrated in the search results through a meta-data application. Practically speaking, this means that a user will be able to view the searched for object in 3D and directly place it in your own surroundings with AR via your mobile camera. The possibility of seeing and simulating for example your dream car or any other purchasable object you want to buy online in the real world opens a new means of convincing buyers of the product’s use and value. Logically, these new search results will also be more of a profit to companies with tangible products (clothes, cars,…), instead of companies offering services or intangible products (software for example).

Augmented
Example of a search result with augmented reality implementation.

The topic of speech in relation to search results gets some attention too. Not only has the Google Assistant been updated to respond quicker than we can type a search term in Google, the podcasts open another new avenue of indexing opportunity. Google has announced that podcasts are now able to be directly listened to via the search results and that these podcasts will naturally surface in the search results according to the search intent of the user and the content the podcast provides. This might not be a medium fit for every company, but it is certainly worth taking into consideration if you want to spice up your content.

New Speed Report for Google Search Console

Last but certainly not least, Google announced that a new Google Search Console Speed Report will be released in the future. This is good news, as the loading speed of your website is an important factor for both ranking and conversion. If you are not convinced of this yet, take a look at our article on the impact of pagespeed on business results.

The new Report is based on crUX data and seems to have a similar lay-out as the previous Reports released in the new Search Console, consisting of several different categorizations webpages can be sorted into. For the Speed Report these 3 categorizations are: slow, average, fast, mirroring the PageSpeed Insight tool’s categorizations. Of course, this Report will be more exact and user-friendly than the tool, having all reports in one place and also having historical data on when improvements where made and how problems evolve over time.

update speed report google search console 2019
The new Speed Report in Google Search Console

Google does not stand still and neither do we. With updates on both technical and content-oriented aspects, using new technologies to provide new opportunities for visibility and conversion, it is more important than ever to be well-informed of the changes Google makes and to take advantage of them. Think of how your customers will perceive your presence online, how you can show them your values and your solutions to their problems via the different avenues Google provides. As Jeff Dean states at the end of the conference: it is not about just finding answers anymore; it is about getting things done and “building a more helpful Google for everyone”.

Interested in how we can help you with this? Take a look on our website or get in contact to experience how we can improve your SEO performances.

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