May’s top SEO stories included a shakeup in Core Web Vitals metrics, with the new INP metric soon to replace FID as one of the “big three” primary metrics.
Google has also changed their longstanding guidance on cross-domain canonicals for syndication, and completed their mobile-first indexation switchover after 6.5+ years in progress. We’re also seeing more confirmation of last month’s post-algorithm speculations around reductions in the amount of FAQ snippets and local map packs in the SERPs.
In other search news, there will be some changes coming to the Helpful Content system to help it discover “hidden gems” in blogs and forums. Google has also been busy rolling out a number of new features and testing others, such as ‘related topics’ and ‘perspectives’ filters in Google SERPs and additional image information, while Bing is testing anchor text hyperlinks within Answers. John Mueller shared some insights and clarifications around a few topics, including the SEO impact (or lack thereof) of SSL certificates, invalid schema markup and nuances in using nofollow attributes. We’re also seeing an increase in updates around AI topics, from SGE and Bard to Bing, Tiktok and OpenAI.
May’s Top Stories
Google announces change in CWV Metrics: Google has announced a change coming to Core Web Vitals, with a new metric, Interaction to Next Paint (INP) set to replace the current FID metric (First Input Delay). This change will take effect in March 2024, but they will start showing this metric in reports later this year so there will be opportunity to prepare.
Google changes guidance on cross-domain canonicals for syndicated content: after many years of recommending the use of a canonical tag on syndicated content across multiple domains, Google has updated their guidance in May 2023. Now they recommend blocking syndicated content from being accessed by crawlers altogether to prevent duplication and keyword cannibalization. Note that the guidance for syndicated news (to appear in Google News results) has not changed.
Google reducing some SERP feature appearances: after some initial speculation in the wake of the March 2023 algorithm update, it seems that we are receiving some additional evidence of reductions in certain SERP features. This includes showing fewer local packs in SERPs as well as Google unofficially confirming that there has been a drop in the number of FAQ snippets displayed.
Mobile-first indexation rollout complete: six and a half years since it began, a last flurry of sites moving over to mobile-first indexing signaled that the rollout of mobile-first indexation is now officially complete. Any site that has not been moved over will continue to have desktop first indexing indefinitely. This will primarily apply to sites which, according to John Mueller, “don’t work with mobile user-agents at all.”
Read on for our roundup of what else is new in search this month:
Industry News and Updates
- May 1st & 2nd Google Search Ranking Algorithm Update – Unconfirmed
- Google Early May Search Algorithm Unconfirmed Update Heating Up
- Google Search Algorithm Ranking Volatility Around May 17th (Unconfirmed)
- Google Search Algorithm Ranking Volatility May 22 & 23 – Not Confirmed
- Google to update the helpful content system algorithm in ‘coming months’
General News and Updates
- Google: SSL Certificate Does Not Boost SEO
- Google To Remove Inactive Accounts
- Google’s John Mueller Reminds Of Nuance In Nofollow Attributes
- Google no longer requires video descriptions as part of structured data
- Google: Avoid Using “Coming Back Soon” Pages For Site Migrations
- Google: We Use A Mix Of Factors To Determine Content That Demonstrates E-E-A-T
- Google Search Treats .AI ccTLD As gTLD (Domains)
- Google: Allow GoogleBot To Bypass Age Gate On Adult Content
- Brave Search Cuts Ties With Bing & Goes Independent
- Google: Invalid Schema Markup Doesn’t Hurt You
SERP Tests and Updates
- Google Documents Supported Languages For Translated Search Results
- Google Maps With Addresses In Multiple Languages
- Google Business Profiles Expanding Language Assistance Selection
- Google: Merchant Center Next to replace Merchant Center
- How Google Business Profile pre-defined services can impact local SEO
- Google rolling out related topics filter on desktop search results
- Google Search Perspectives Rolling Out
- Google Helpful Content System To Find Hidden Gems In Blogs & Forums In Future Update
- New Google perspectives, about this image and AI-generated image labels
- Google Knowledge Local Panel “Often Searched Together” Section