October’s top SEO stories included Google’s rollout of continuous scrolling on mobile search in the US and changes to Google’s advertising and monetization policies to reduce climate change denial content. There was also an update to Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines, with changes including an expansion of the YMYL (“Your Money, Your Life”) content categorization, definition of “lowest quality content” and more.
In other Google news, the “summer of updates” appears to be continuing into the fall, with unconfirmed algorithm updates being reported frequently throughout the month. In addition to these potential rankings updates, Google has been busy rolling out a number of new features and testing others, including persistent search, search refinement bubbles in the autocomplete dropdown, a Local 5-pack (instead of the typical 3-pack), and query-based Google Suggest footers. John Mueller shared some insights and clarifications around a variety of topics including the new MUM algorithm, using CSS to hide links, how Google responds to a site move, and more.
And for some seasonal fun, check out this roundup of Google Halloween search trends for 2021 🎃
October’s Top Stories
Google to prohibit advertising and monetization of climate change denier content: in early October, Google announced a policy change around content “which contradicts well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change”. Effective Dec 6, 2021, climate change deniers will be banned from advertising or monetizing content on the Google network, including Youtube, Google-served ads and publisher content. Google will use a combination of human reviewers and automated systems to enforce the new policy.
Google adds continuous scroll to mobile SERPs: in mid-October, Google announced that they were bringing continuous scrolling to mobile search (leading to a lot of SEO jokes about how everyone now ranks on page 1, as well as some questions, including how this change impacts metrics like GSC impressions data, what the change means for advertisers, and speculation that it will potentially improve the content discovery process for searchers).
Google updates Quality Rater Guidelines: on October 19th, Google published an overview of its updated Quality Rater Guidelines, making a number of updates and revisions. The top five changes include definitions of YMYL content and “upsetting-offensive”, significant changes to the “lowest page quality” section, and how to research reputation information for content creators and websites, as well as general consistency and clarity edits.
Read on for our roundup of what else is new in search this month:
Industry News and Updates
- Google Search ends support for Internet Explorer 11
- Google announces the new Analytics 360 (built on GA4)
- Google rolls out new eco-friendly search filters
- Google publishes new help documents on controlling titles and descriptions in search
- Google Explains Rendering and Impact on SEO
- Google Rolling Out New Knowledge Panel Design With Buttons At Top
- Podcast knowledge panels go live in Google Search
- Google May Be Rolling Out Things To Consider, Refine This Search & Broaden This Search
- Google Changes Review Structured Data Requirements
- Google removes 12 structured data fields from the help documents
- Bing Checks XML Sitemap File Daily
- Core Web Vitals: SEOs aren’t sold the work was worth it
- Google makes it easier to remove images of kids from the search results
- Google MUM Algorithm Can Do More than Rank Websites
- Mueller: Using CSS to Hide Internal Links
- Why Search Console and Analytics Differ in Discover Reporting
- Mueller: Big Sites and Website Authority
- How Google Responds to a Site Move
- Google testing:
- Unconfirmed Google algorithm updates:
- Oct 2-3: Huge Google Search Ranking Algorithm Update
- Oct 6-7: Possible Google Search Ranking Update
- Oct 9: Weekend Algorithm Update
- Oct 15: Was There A Google Search Update This Week? Mixed Signals Maybe Triggered From UI Changes?
- Oct 15-18: Possible Google Search Algorithm Ranking Update
- Oct 26: Google Search Ranking Algorithm Update
- SEMRush: Google Search Algorithm Updates Are More Extreme This Year