Tag: google discover

How Will the New Google Core Update Influence Your Website Ranking?

On December 3rd, 2020 Google’s new algorithm update rolled out, a global core update that is released every few months by the tech giant. Although the strongest impact has been seen on the 4th of December, it might take 1 to 2 weeks for the update to fully take effect.

Here, at GA Agency, we are also keeping an eye on the update and monitoring its impact on our clients’ rankings. As we learn more, we will write about our main findings in our blog and keep you posted. Here to follow the initial findings…

As of now, the most impacted websites are within the US, while other countries have only reported small changes.

On the 4th of December, a score of 9.4 out of 10 on SEMRush’s volatility scale was registered, an extremely high score indicating high chances of fluctuation in websites’ rankings.

The December 2020 core update is defined by us at GA Agency as substantial, with an even bigger impact expected than the May 2020 one. The biggest changes compared to the May results have been in Google’s Top 3 and Top 10 results, as can be seen from the graph below:

(retrieved from RankRanger)

By regularly updating its algorithm, Google aims at improving users’ search experience by ensuring that high-quality content is provided. With the new Google core update, the SERP ranking of websites has been reconsidered based on the E–A-T aspects, namely expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. This might consequently cause a drop or rise in your ranking position.


You can read more about how the new Google core update compares to Google’s May 2020 core update in our previous blog post.   


What Has the Impact Been Like so Far?

Google decided to release the new core update right after the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend, but right before the Christmas holidays. This choice might negatively impact certain businesses, which have been penalized by the update and have seen their Google SEO ranking drop. The main industries affected by the update so far are those of health and medicine (which saw an important drop in their rankings), music, law and government, jobs and education as well as real estate and finance. 

You can find an overview of each category’s SEMRush’s volatility score in the table below:

(retrieved from SearchEngineLand)

Examples of websites that saw significant growth and were favored by the updates are zoominfo.com and linkedin.com. On the other hand, pages penalized by Google’s core update are urbandictionary.com and aliexpress.com.

We are monitoring the situation and will keep sharing more information about what has changed in our blog. Keep following us to read more about this Google December 2020 Algorithm change. 




Google is Testing mini “Thumbnails” in the Search Results

 What are Thumbnail images?

They are small preview images, either in GIF or PNG format, which show the content of the home page or of another page of a website as very small images: images that, we will see, have great potential in increasing conversions to the website of origin.

The dimensions of these images vary depending on the platform: for example, to create a thumbnail for the desktop version of Google Image Search, a size of 175 pixels is recommended. 

Amazon uses different thumbnail sizes depending on the field of application: 200 pixels for the homepage, while the image preview on the category pages is of 150 pixels.

The size of desktop thumbnails on YouTube is 210×118 pixels on the homepage, while for the suggestions that appear on the playing video,168 x 94 pixels thumbnails are used.

What are the Advantages of Using Thumbnails?

The main advantages related to the use of this image format are summarized below:

File dimensions and loading times are reduced: thanks to the small size, the preview allows to present users an overview of the website content without increasing the page loading time, fundamental for good user experience on mobile.

·    Comprehension: the images are by nature more immediate and comprehensible compared to text contents. Thanks to the use of thumbnails users can understand better and navigate faster around a website. 

·  Interactivity: thumbnails invite users to interact with the website, typically by clicking on the preview, therefore increasing the conversion rate of the website.

Where are Thumbnails Displayed?

Usually, thumbnails are generated automatically by search engines and by the image managing and elaboration software.

Google uses miniatures in image research (Google Images) to present users a higher amount of images at the same time. By clicking on one of the preview images, it is possible to get more information and get redirected to the website of origin.

However, since a few weeks ago, Google is testing the use of thumbnails in other search contexts, so not only in the image search but also in the results of organic searches (SERP) and the drop-down menu in Google Suggest.

The miniature images used by Google are square cropped versions of the main image of articles. Not all websites show a preview in the SERP, as it can be noticed in the following image.

It is very difficult to explain the reason why Google does not show some previews in the organic search results. An explanation confirmed by some tests indicates how discriminant for the preview is that the image is included in the structural data of the website or in the meta tag Open Graph Protocol.

According to the Search Engine Journal, the Thumbnail format seems to be working well on Google News. It is possible that this type of search result will soon become mainstream if the tests conducted by Google will confirm the level of appreciation by users.

The Impact of Thumbnail Images on Your Business

Enabling this format allows to improve user experience as before clicking one can preview the contents. Also, as can be seen in the example below, if a webpage without thumbnail is put next to competitors with thumbnail, the user may click on the page with one. 


Thus, it would be beneficial to check if your website has correctly implemented the Graph Protocol and/ or the JSON-LD Schema.org Structured Data, to be prepared and make the most of the potential of this format.

Are you looking for a way to optimize your contents to help boost the success of your business in Google organic search? Contact us now, or check out our SEO Consulting service page. 

Google Discover Update: Are Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness Ranking Factors?

Google has recently released an update saying: “We have updated our publisher’s support content related to Discover, including guidance around article titles, enabling large high-quality images, and having timely, engaging content”. One of the most interesting areas of the update is the section added on E-A-T for the YMYL topics. Historically, Google has said E-A-T is not a ranking factor but appears to be now. First, let’s start with untangling Discover, E-A-T and YMYL acronyms. 

What is Google Discover?

Google Discover is a way to explore new information and content relevant to a user’s interests that is based on historical Web & App browsing activity. 

What is E-A-T?

E-A-T stands for Expertise – Authoritativeness – Trustworthiness. This is Google’s terminology, introduced in 2018, for a set of website quality standards to be applied by quality testers when evaluating websites. Google Updates are also used to bake aspects of E-A-T into Google’s search algorithm.

Surely, any website could benefit from a certain amount of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. However, there are some industries and topics in particular for which Google devotes special attention in the Quality Rater Guidelines, like the “YMYL topics”.

What are YMYL topics? 

“YMYL is how Google describes search queries in the “Your Money or Your Life” category. Google applies heightened quality standards to these keywords because false information could have disastrous consequences for a user’s health, finances, happiness, or safety.”

The Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines pay distinctive attention to YMYL topics like Health, Finance, News, or Science. For this type of content is important to always understand “the true purpose of the page”. Thus, E-A-T can be probably considered a ranking factor for websites with such content, as low-quality content and an untrustworthy looking page will likely lead to the site being downgraded.

The page content must demonstrate expertise.

The Quality Rater Guidelines make it clear that Google pays close attention to sensitive YMYL topics when evaluating the search results.

Returning to Discover Update, the new section in the help document argues:

“Our automated systems surface content in Discover from sites that have many individual pages that demonstrate expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T). Those looking to improve E-A-T can consider some of the same questions we encourage site owners to consider for Search. While Search and Discover are different, the overall principles for E-A-T as it applies to content within them are similar.”

In 2019, Google said they don’t have an E-A-T score. In early 2020, Google said its systems don’t look for E-A-T but later in 2020, and now with Discover Update, Google said it hopes its system does align with E-A-T…

So the original question on whether “Is E-A-T a ranking factor or not? And how it influences the search result”, is still valid and now also for Discover.

What does this mean for your business? 

If your business is in the YMYL category, in order to rank higher on target keywords, do consider the E-A-T and Quality Rater Guidelines. Content will continue to be the lifeblood of SEO, at all levels, including Discover. As such, it’s important to create content that’s interesting and useful (E-A-T).

Are you interested to learn how we can help your business improve E-A-T and Google Rankings?

Read our SEO Consulting and Content Marketing service pages here and Contact Us to arrange a free initial consultation. 


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