How’s it going, internet? New year, new news, so let’s jump into some updates.
1. Bad news for data-vocabulary.org fans
Structured data schemas such as schema.org and data-vocabulary.org were adopted by search engines to define a standardised mark-up for search features. Due to the popularity of schema.org, Google has decided to drop support for the runner up, data-vocabulary.org.
This is scheduled to happen on April 6, 2020.
Starting now, Search Console is reporting pages that use data-vocabulary.org schema, so you have plenty of time to switch over. Read the full update here: https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2020/01/data-vocabulary.html
2. Heading tags and SEO clarification – John Mueller
A recent Webmaster Hangout with Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller offered some clarification on a contentious subject, heading tags. It might surprise some of you that we’re still talking about heading tags in 2020, as we know the significance of headings to our rankings is negligible.
However, SEO is not all about ranking power!
John Mueller states headings should be used for SEO, and explains how keywords are usually put in heading elements out of habit, as it used to be key to getting ranked in the early 2000s.
Search engines are all about organising information, and therefore good SEO is primarily about publishing good, well-structured content. Hierarchical headings describe the content that follows, which helps Google to find the queries that should lead to the page.
As always, Google is moving away from easily-manipulated page features as ranking factors, and is instead rewarding relevant, well-presented, well-organised web content in the SERPs.
SEJ covered the Hangout fully: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/heading-tags-for-seo/341817/
3. The actual applications of voice search
Search Engine Watch (SEW) recently published an article covering three trends to take advantage of in 2020, and shed some light on some new voice search stats.
The issue for many is that they’re not clear on how they benefit from being found on a voice search device, as most interactions with these devices are superficial. However, SEW reports that 75% of people who own a smart speaker perform a search for a local business on a weekly basis, and 53% of them do it every day.
The trends article is here: https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2020/01/27/three-digital-marketing-trends-2020/
And the source of the data is here: https://quoracreative.com/article/voice-search-statistics-trends
4. Package tracking SERPs feature
Early access is being rolled out for a new SERPs feature, which displays the status of your package directly in the results, shortcutting the need to visit the shipping company’s website to get the information. It might look something like this:
It’s available in all countries, to those companies who sign up to the Early Adopters Program. We’re intrigued how this will impact the search results, and how its success will be reported back to the shipping companies via Search Console.
If any of this news has got you thinking about your own website, get in touch today to speak with one of our SEO Consultants!