The big stories in September saw a focus on some items that are still in the works: an upcoming Search redesign integrating the MUM algorithm was announced at Google’s Search On event, and Google is apparently working on deals to allow them to index TikTok and Instagram content. Meanwhile, a new update to Lighthouse 8.4 helps improve reports and offers new audits, and the automotive industry saw some ruffled feathers this month with the addition of new data in car related SERPs.
In other Google news, there may have been some unconfirmed algorithm updates throughout the month, and the page experience update is now fully rolled out. September also saw some clarifications on topics including the impact of intrusive interstitials, the “200+ ranking factors” figure, and extra content on category pages. John Mueller shared some insights around how to tell if Core Web Vitals has affected your rankings, how to handle content behind a captcha, the new content-visibility CSS, and passage ranking. We also saw more Microsoft news this month, with the announcement of Microsoft Start (Bing’s answer to Google Discover), the Bing Content Submission API being made available to all, and news that Mozilla is testing Bing as the default search engine for 1% of its users.
September’s Top Stories
Google announces Search redesign using MUM algorithm: at Google’s Search On event, MUM was a key topic; and among other items, Google announced several changes to the SERPs which they are planning as they begin to integrate MUM. Some SERP features will eventually be leveraging MUM, including “things to know”, “refine this search” and “broaden this search” (also known as “topic zoom”), and visual exploration. MUM will also be used to show related topics within a video and “point-and-ask” search using Google Lens. They also announced a few additional changes to search results including “about this result”s enhancements and shoppable search.
Google working on deals to index TikTok and Instagram content: this one is really just a headline, but a noteworthy one nonetheless – apparently negotiations are underway for Google to be able to index Instagram and TikTok videos, similar to the deal they made with Twitter for indexing tweets. If these deals go through, we might start seeing a whole lot of SEOs writing articles about “optimizing your TikTok for search”…!
Google showing new automotive industry data in SERPs: in mid September, Google rolled out some active pricing forms for new cars in the US directly on SERPs, creating a feature similar to Google Flights. This set off some active discussions in the auto retail SEO space around the idea that Google was scraping this data from sites which had been gathering and displaying this data in order to drive traffic, given that it is data which can be laborious to collect. In response, Google stated that they had licensed this data and did not pull it from websites or schema.
Updates to Lighthouse 8.4: Google rolled out Lighthouse 8.4 this month, bringing a number of changes. Highlights include new audits: one for detecting lazy loading images to help improve Last Contentful Paint (LCP) scores for Core Web Vitals, and one for detecting when a site is missing a mobile viewport tag in the <head>.
Read on for our roundup of what else is new in search this month:
Industry News and Updates
- Possible Algorithm Updates
- Google page experience update is now rolled out
- Google: Intrusive Interstitials Don’t Impact Indexing But Can Impact Ranking
- Mozilla tests Bing as the default search engine for 1% of users
- Why Does Google Replace Page Titles?
- Google: It’s Not Terrible To Have Related Links Dynamically Change All The Time
- Google: Extra Content Not Always Needed For Category Pages
- Google: 200+ Ranking Signals Figure Is Misleading
- How to Know Core Web Vitals Affects Your Search Rankings
- E-commerce SEO guide: New documentation from Google
- Mueller: Google Can’t See Content Behind Captchas
- Bing Content Submission API Now Available To All
- Microsoft Start – The Bing Version Of Google Discover
- Mueller: Google: content-visibility CSS Won’t Impact Google Search
- Google’s John Mueller Explains Passage Ranking In More Detail