The State of the Union address is a yearly event where representatives from Google announce new features alongside important hints. This year’s speakers were John Mueller and Martin Splitt. It’s definitely worth a watch.
There were many Search Engine Optimisation tips and hints provided by Google’s speakers and you can find some of these below.
Google is focusing on images in search results.
A huge proportion of the address was focused on image-related topics as they’re important to Google. Images convey context instantly rather than text which takes longer to process. They use this contextual strength in search results to allow searchers to “intentionally navigate to the content”. In order to get these images to rank, you’ll need to optimise the text and metadata around the image as it helps Google understand the contextual relevance.
Never rely on Google to automatically detect what is in your images.
Google doesn’t crawl images in CSS files.
By calling images within a CSS <div> tag, they will not get indexed. If you’re looking for your images to rank in search results then you will need to embed them into your page using the HTML tag that contains an alt attribute.
Their goal is 100% mobile first.
It is already common knowledge that more than 50% of the sites in Google’s index are mobile-first, however, Google has now confirmed this too. Therefore, if you’ve been pushing aside the plan to get your website mobile-optimised, you’re missing out.
Mobile is now a priority to succeed organically so there is no time to wait around.
You can now use Google’s Indexing API to request crawls for job postings and live streams.
You can submit URLs directly to Google for indexing on some time-sensitive content such as live streams and job postings. This is done via Google’s Indexing API. However, the content needs to be marked with the appropriate structured data to qualify for this.
Search Console will now report page speeds.
You can sign up for the trial program to now get page speed reports directly in Google Search Console. The site speed may be a developer’s responsibility but it is one of Google‘s ranking factors so merchants need to understand the impact of this.
Googlebot now runs on modern Chromium.
Googlebot previously used a version of Chrome that was outdated. This meant that it could not process many of the things that our Chrome browsers could. With this update, Googlebot has apparently acquired over 1,000 new capabilities and Google say that is will always run the modern version of Chromium.
In SEO, this is really big news and it may lead to some changes in technical best practices as we learn more about Googlebot’s new crawling abilities.
Google search is planning to expand into 3D and AR.
AR will launch in web search later in May with 3D models appearing in Google’s Knowledge Graph. You will be able to see selected things in search results as 3D models and then view them in your environment. You can partner with Google to do this with product models, just like seeing furniture in your own home via apps such as Ikea. Reportedly, brands such as Wayfair and Samsung are already working on this new search feature.
There are other important takeaways from the address and you can also find these bullet-pointed below:
- Google’s index contains over 130 trillion pages.
- There will be 3 new forms of structured data.
- Google wants hrefs in HTML links.
- Googlebot’s user’s agent will now be changing.
- Google representatives reiterated that it actually respects robots.txt disallows.
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