February 2020 was a busy month for SEO as both Google and Bing saw updates to search and their products. This includes an unconfirmed Google algorithm update, GSC getting review snippet reports, and Bing now has a new look (and features).
There was a Google Update, and then there wasn’t
On February 7th and 8th, the SEO Community was buzzing with talk about an unconfirmed and unannounced Google Update. Several sites, like MozCast were reporting a highly volatile timeframe for about 5 days – which almost never happens for that length of time. SEOs were reporting massive shifts in rankings, both positive and negative. Google did not confirm any sort of update and instead stated “We do updates all the time.”
Then things calmed down and, in many cases, went back to the previous levels of traffic. The SEO Community still hasn’t identified what type of sites or factors were targeted and still hasn’t given this update an unofficial name like “Medic”.
GSC Adds Native Support for Review Snippets
Google Search Console added some much-needed native reports for review snippets. Review snippets are the most commonly used schema on sites and are highly sought after as they add a rating directly to your listing in Google Search. Eligible types of content for review snippets can be just about anything: products, books, movies, recipes, and even articles.
These reports provide a convenient way to view how many review snippets your site has, what pages have them, and even allow you to troubleshoot any snippets with issues.
John Mueller Confirms URL Length is not a Ranking Factor
Google’s John Mueller confirmed via Twitter that URL length is not a ranking factor. This isn’t a surprise as it’s inline with what they’ve said about the length of other elements like titles and headings.
However, this shouldn’t be interpreted as “we’re now free to add as many keywords to URLs as possible.” We still recommend making URLs as short and clear as reasonable possible as that can hep provide useful information to visitors. That said, if a longer URL is needed to provide a better directory structure for your site, you now don’t have to worry about a negative impact on rankings because of it.
Bing gets a Refresh
Microsoft is giving Bing an overhaul, updating its UI and adding new features to Bing Webmaster Tools, including new reports for backlinks, search performance, and sitemaps. While Google dominates when it comes to search, Bing still is a fantastic way to generate traffic for your site and shouldn’t be overlooked. This new look and features will help you determine where your site stands on Bing and how it can be improved.