Google's Advice for Search Engine Optimizations and the Future
Written by Hailun (Marco) Feng
Though it is only the first half of this year, Google has given the community of search professionals more advice than they can chew. It is undoubtedly overwhelming to navigate through them all to find which will truly work for your business. And with this year's core algo update slowly rolling out, it is imperative to understand what Google recommends and has in its pocket for the future to be better prepared.
Is It Possible to Optimize for Google Discover?
Like Google News, Discover is a beast of its own and one for which most search marketers have little guidance. Fortunately, some search experts, after extensive testing, share that descriptive and enticing titles, higher readability, and freshness seem to have the biggest impacts. Publication time and topics matter too. It might be worthwhile pulling Discover data in the past 12 months and pairing it with publication dates and topics to identify patterns. For instance, the best publication time for MarcoFeng.com, a resource on travel, food, and crafts, is Wednesday, Tuesday, and Saturday.
How Much Plagiarism Is Allowed?
While a small percentage of internal duplication is allowed, Google recommends having no plagiarized content. Copying and pasting content or ideas from other websites without proper rewriting and citations will put you at risk of a Google penalty. For instance, on MarcoFeng.com, you will find similar copies for a venue recommended in multiple articles, but it won't be a problem as long as this isn't done extensively.
Break YMYL Content into a Separate Domain
In April 2021, John Mueller of Google advised breaking YMYL content into a separate site from the non-YMYL content. However, with such a mix of opposites, he says that it will be challenging for Google's algorithm to figure out how to deal with that website. So there is no clear guidance from Google on this topic. The best advice, for now, is to avoid YMYL content if you aren't a health site or find the angles to stay on-brand. In early 2020, this site removed all of its insurance and health-related content, resulting in a small uptick in organic traffic.
Google's New Travel Search Features
This year, Google announced many new search features across flights, hotels, and destinations of interest, which aim to help you get inspired and book with ease when the time is right. For instance, Google lets users set price tracking for flights of any date range within three to six months. Just toggle the "any dates" and wait for the email to come in with cheaper flights. Also, Google Maps added a new layer that you can toggle on to see areas with the most dining options, shopping, or sightseeing. Unfortunately, these changes will disrupt the SERPs, taking clicks from travel publishers. Therefore, avoiding navigational queries and focusing on informational queries is recommended to have a better chance of ranking well.
Apple Announced Its Own Search Engine!
You probably have heard the tech giant is now developing its search engine. Does that mean, in addition to Google, search marketers have to optimize for Apple too? Probably yes. This feature, called Spotlight, is integrated with the operating system, allowing users to swipe down from the middle of the screen to make the search bar appear and search directly from the homepage. It is ad-free and private and provides personal results for local and cloud-based files.
These are some of the highlights and for a comprehensive list of research forum recaps, check out this page on the Search Engine Roundtable.
Hailun (Marco) Feng