Google Search 2021 News Updates on Crawling, Indexing, Link Building
For billions of Internet users the world over, Google is the go-to tool when you run into a query. And in availing the answer to you, Google will fetch responses from the most qualified websites. But how does that work? According to Google, the process of delivering the answer to your query starts by discovering (crawling), understanding (indexing, and organizing the web content.
For website owners and publishers, the single most important aspect is discovery. That makes it, by extension, the most important piece of search engine optimization. That is, if your website cannot be discovered by Google’s crawling process, you will not show up in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
Today, the performance and speed of websites have become increasingly significant. And that’s because internet use has dominated. It is in that respect that we have seen a lot of dramatic changes to Google’s SEO recently, with special attention to search results. On the 21st of January, 2021, for instance, Google released a summary of what’s been happening to its search systems with regards to publishers, website owners, and SEOs.
In this latest release of Google’s search news updates, Google has made major updates that cover fundamental aspects of Search, namely crawling, indexing, and another relevant and important aspect of search results, namely, links. For these and more on search updates, read on to find out.
How does Google work?
In responding to any specific query, Googlebot carries out three basic steps, and in seconds, namely, crawling, indexing and ranking. But what happens in these steps?
- Crawling – refers to the process in which Google’s search systems look at pages on the web by following the available links to find related web pages. This represents the discovery phase in which Google conducts an internet-wide search for content.
- Indexing – this is when Google’s search systems try to contextualize content found on web pages. This represents the understanding phase in which Google will try to understand all about the content on particular web pages, store, and organize it ready for presentation in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
- Ranking – the search console carries out ranking when a user searches a query. What happens is that Google ranks all the relevant answers in its index and serves the ones most relevant to the search query.
Crawling – Google Search 2021 News Updates
Since its inception, Google has been doing regular tests and updates to enhance the user experience by showing more relevant results and to appropriately and fairly rank websites with regards to content quality. In 2003, for instance, the above steps used to take approximately a month to finish. So, you can imagine entering a search query and discovering the results a month later.
As already stated, crawling refers to the discovery process. Once a search query has been entered, Google uses its billions of robots (called spiders or crawlers) to search and forage content from websites. And while Google has been crawling website content for decades, they are always looking to enhance their databases to make it easier, better, and faster for search queries.
The Google search console
Formerly referred to as the Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) until its name change in 2015, the Google search console is a free tool that allows website owners, marketing professionals, application developers, designers, publishers, and business owners to access a great deal of information with regards to their websites and users who visit them. With the Google search console, you can use it to carry or find out important things like:
- The number of people visiting your site.
- How your site visitors are finding your site.
- Site visitors are accessing your site via desktop computer and mobile or tablet devices.
- The most popular content pages on your site.
- It can help you find and fix website errors.
- I can help you create and check the robots.txt file.
- Create and submit sitemaps.
As web crawlers scour the internet, they discover new content and as well update pages. Some content pages already exist and are indexed by Google databases. But with more queries, Googlebot periodically crawls web pages and as well discovers new pages from fresh links embedded in existing pages. Similarly, Googlebot can also discover new web pages when publishers or website owners submit sitemaps for the search console to crawl.
In finding a new page, Google goes through the following basic steps, namely:
- Reading sitemaps as submitted in the search console by publishers or site owners.
- Following links embedded in the already existing web pages.
- Giving manual responses to requests submitted in the search console.
But what are the latest crawling updates?
Google has crawled the web for decades now. Nonetheless, as a flagship search service, Google is always looking to make things faster for web users and easier for website owners. As mentioned above, the Google Search Console is a tool that enables publishers and website owners to access information with regards to how Google search interacts with their websites. And in the Google search console, Google recently launched two updates, namely:
- The Updated Crawl Stats Report.
The key role for this report going forward will be to give site owners important information on how Googlebot sees and crawls their sites. And by doing so, the report will cover several requests with reference to aspects such as:
- Site response code.
- Purpose of the crawl.
- Host level information with regards to site accessibility.
And while some of these aspects already exist in Google’s server access regulations, most site owners find it hard to understand their functionality. Therefore, in making the Crawl Stats Report more comprehensive, Google hopes that this updated version would make it seamless for all sites to acquire actionable insight into the functionality of Googlebot.
Alongside this report, Google has also launched a crawling guide that works best for large websites. Google understands that crawling large sites can be difficult. For that reason, they have compiled best practices to easily manage large websites, although this guide is not limited to owners of large websites.
- Google started crawling with HTTP/2
The second update in the search console is the HTTP/2 crawl tool, which represents the updated version of the usual protocol used to access web pages. The improvements aren’t that major, but they relate to browsers and how Google can improve its normal crawling.
With these improvements, Google has dispatched this information to all website owners that they are already crawling web pages with the HTTP/2. Moreover, they plan to include more changes if all goes according to plan. But in the meantime, website owners and publishers can make the following changes to help improve crawling on their websites.
- Embed internal links in your website that redirects to other pages.
- Check the coverage of your web pages in the search console.
- Manually submit website sitemaps to the search console.
- Ensure your URL is simple, readable, and meaningful for all pages.
- Periodically submit crawl requests for individual pages.
- Ensure Googlebot crawlers can access and crawl your pages.
- Provide external links that redirect to other known websites.
Indexing – Google Search 2021 News Updates
How much do you know about website indexation?
As mentioned above, indexing is the process of contextualizing and storing web page content before Google can appropriately display search results. The Google search engine begins the process of indexation once you publish new content online. Indexing occurs after crawling. After web crawlers scour web pages, Google tries to understand what these pages are about. In this understanding phase, Google catalogues images and videos, analyze page content, and stores these data in its web index referred to as Caffeine. By doing so, Google pays special consideration to specific words, tags, and attributes, and this process is referred to as indexing.
In this year’s January release of Google search news, there are two major updates for indexing, namely:
- The return of the indexing request feature
The Google search console has seen a return of the indexing request tool in the URL. This means that, unlike in the past years, marketers, publishers, and website owners can manually submit indexing for individual pages if they run into an issue or if they deem it useful for the course.
Overall, Google stated that these systems aren’t necessary as long as site owners can provide good internal linking as well as appropriate site functions. Furthermore, Google stated that if a site can fulfil the two aspects above, then Google search systems should be able to automatically crawl and index their web page content.
- The Search Console’s indexing coverage report has been updated
The latest indexing improvement in the search console is there has been a significant update made to the index coverage report. And as such, Google hopes to enable website owners and publishers to be able informed on matters that affect on-site indexing content. And by doing so, Google has eliminated the generic crawl anomaly errors and replaced them with the more specific issue types.
As a site owner, not all content you publish online is guaranteed to catch the attention of the search engine. That’s why it is vital to take care of a few key aspects to make that possible. Google can index all websites, but the following components must be present:
- Easy navigation to your website’s homepage.
- Content must be aligned to the search engine’s popular searches.
- Internal links that redirect to other known pages.
- Use of appropriate metatags that allow easy indexation.
Meanwhile, website owners and publishers can make the following changes to help improve content indexing on their websites:
- Pay attention to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
- Publish useful content for your site visitors, and use more text content and fewer images whenever possible.
- Use appropriate headings that carry the subject matter as contained in the web page.
- Write short and meaningful meta descriptions.
- Prevent Googlebot from linking to pages that duplicate to other web pages.
If, after making all the necessary changes and your site is not appearing on Google yet, it is vital to bear in mind that more often than not, Google takes between two to four weeks to crawl and index web pages. And while that is the average time frame, the entire process takes into consideration several factors that include but are not limited to:
- The usefulness of your site’s content.
- Your website loading speed.
- The popularity of your website.
Nevertheless, Googlebot is an automated feature and, therefore, will likely find your web pages without necessarily having to do any manual input on your part. However, it is recommended that you add your site to Google’s search console in order to speed up the process.
Ranking (Google’s search results ranking)
If a user enters a query into Google’s search bar, the search engine will refer to its enormous index and attempt to discover the most relevant response to the user from the index database. Once these data have been fetched from the database, the search results are thereafter ranked from most relevant to least relevant with regards to the query.
But how does Google rank web pages?
To determine which web page or website ranks first in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), Google uses its search ranking algorithm (that we shall talk about later) to establish the most appropriate content page based on relevance. The search ranking algorithm takes into account more than 200 factors that include but not limited to:
- User experience.
- Device/user’s location.
- Content relevance to the query.
Regardless, Google has subsequently stated that website owners and publishers alike can do the following to improve their sites’ ranking:
- Improve site loading times.
- Make websites mobile-friendly.
- Create great content that’s useful to users.
- Enhance the user experience on your website.
Link building – Google Search 2021 News Updates
By definition, link building refers to the process of acquiring links (hyperlinks) from other known websites to your own. As such, hyperlinks make web page navigation seamless. Besides, search engines use links as a tool to crawl web pages.
In the realm of SEO, link building plays a vital role with regards to driving organic traffic to your site through search engines. Website owners who make a strong combination of on-page SEO, great content, and an excellent user experience, link building can be a sure shot at increasing lead capture.
Firstly, Google uses links to discover new web pages and to better contextualize their web content. And while Google makes use of numerous different factors in displaying its search results, links are and will continue to play an integral part in Google search results.
And while site owners use varied techniques to acquire links, Google’s guidelines prohibit certain practices with regards to links. One of those prohibitions includes buying links. Most technical SEOs have no clue on what to do in order to acquire links. For that reason, Google has acknowledged that they often get questions asked about what websites can do to attract hyperlinks. In response, they reiterated that in as much as it is difficult to create excellent content, it is by far the best way to reach a broader audience and, who knows, maybe attract a link or two.
- Creation of backlinks
A backlink, by definition, refers to a subsidiary hyperlink that redirects to your site from a secondary website. That said, website owners should prioritize creating backlinks from large and well-known corporation websites or famous franchises that enjoy big audiences. As you generate more site visitors, Google will compile searches and use them to conduct web page rankings. That way, you are more inclined to benefit as Google’s search engine will pay attention to your web page content.
- Make site listings in online directories
Whether it is a review site or a free/premium online directory, making listings in such forums gives your site a better chance of reaching a wider audience base, which can, in turn, accrue a link or two. Besides, most online directories enjoy a strong domain authority on search engines. And if your list your site with them, there is the likelihood your web pages would rank higher for related keywords.
So, what have we learned so far from these updates?
From the crawling, indexing, and search ranking discussion above, you will realize that regularly uploading content on your website isn’t a guarantee that your content will get search engine attention. And this is where most publishers and website owners go off the rails.
Note that any effort to optimize your website without inherent knowledge as to how search engines work is reminiscent of publishing great work of literature without learning the fundamentals of writing.
Google strives to showcase better results every day. And by doing so, its search systems crawl and index web pages prior to showcasing them on the search engine results page. With regards to the updates, Google periodically releases updates on key search tools and features that make crawling and indexing of web pages faster and seamless. And the updated tools and features serve to help website owners get a grasp as to what the best practices are to have their sites’ content displayed on the search engine results page.
Other recent search ranking updates from Google
- Location-based ranking of mobile results
You have probably noticed a lot of dramatic updates and changes to Google SEO recently, especially with regards to location-based search results ranking of mobile results.
While this was simply a random test being done by Google from the start of the 2015 fiscal year, a rollout of this feature became a reality within no time. From 2016 onwards, Google began ranking category maps – the same way Yelp does. The good news that came with this feature is that chain stores or multi-locational clients could benefit from it.
- Crawling and indexing of location-adaptive pages
More recently, Google carried out significant improvements to the Googlebot. In doing so, Googlebot systems have been enabled to crawl and index location-adaptive pages for SEOs. This update, more than anything else, is great news, especially for franchises and businesses that cater to international audiences or those that are based in multiple countries. What this means is that such businesses can access Googlebot information without necessarily having to make changes to their parent company website.
And how do location-adaptive pages work?
Also referred to as geotargeted sites, location-adaptive pages are designed to adapt automatically to a web user’s specific geographical location. As such, these pages can alter content based on a user’s language and location settings. This feature can prevent search engines from outside a specific geographical location from crawling and indexing a website. By doing so, it can be set to act as a virtual barrier to users visiting specific sites outside such locations.
And how is this feature important? Location-adaptive pages are vital to businesses that are aiming to have a global reach or those looking to enhance an overall customer experience on an international scale.
- Core search ranking algorithm update
Google rolled out its latest core search ranking algorithm update on the 4th of May 2020. This update, because of its timing, came to be referred to as the “May 2020 Core Update.”
Google CEO Danny Sullivan confirmed the update via Google’s official page on Twitter. And here is what he had to say with regards to that rollout.
“Later today, we are releasing a broad core algorithm update, as we do several times per year. It is called the ‘May 2020 Core Update.’ Our guidance about such updates remains as we have covered before. For more information, please visit our official page for the blog post.”
And as a flagship search engine, Google has shown to be always a step ahead of everyone else in the industry with regards to SEO. This feature update is not isolated to May 2020 as Google carries out this sort of thing once or twice per year to improve its search results. And by doing so, Google rolled out its broad search engine algorithm to make web page evaluation easier, faster, and better.
So, what’s Google’s broad search engine algorithm?
The broad search engine algorithm is a collection of rules meant to guide the evaluation of web pages or websites in comparison to other sites. The purpose of this algorithm is to filter a website’s content relevance, list it and rank that content with reference to a user’s query.
How Google search ranking algorithms work
Google’s search systems use more than 200 different factors to rank websites. For every query, web pages that rank higher on the search engine results page are considered relevant. The ranking algorithm consists of a set of complex factors. Generally, the algorithm uses intricate inter-connected aspects to establish the websites that closely relate to specific query keywords from users. And whereas no one knows what all these hundreds of factors are, webmasters have thrown in their insight into what some of them might be. And they include but are not limited to:
- A website’s loading speed.
- A site’s mobile-friendliness.
- Users’ average time spent on a website.
- The quality of outbound and inbound links.
- The website design and structure.
- The number of backlinks.
So, why are Google’s tests, advancements, and search feature updates important?
Google, as a flagship search engine that many people look up to, has been testing new interfaces and updating features to improve the way it showcases search results. They state that their main goal is to provide the most relevant and query-specific responses to users. But why are these tests and feature updates so important?
- Piloting and evaluation
Google search, and Search, specifically, has been changing quite often. That’s in part because of the competitive environment and as well because Google will always want to match its competitors and even perform better in-service delivery. That’s why for every knowledge and innovation out there, Google is always almost certainly expected to be the flag bearer.
To achieve such status, Google does regular test events and the subsequent evaluations beforehand to ensure everything goes according to plan upon rollout of said feature improvements.
- Quality assurance
For any product, quality control is often accompanied by test events. On the part of Google, advancements and feature updates are made in its search results to ensure all queries receive the best and most relevant feedback.
But what can website owners, internet marketers, and publishes do in the face of these regular Google search feature updates?
For site owners looking to get the most out of such updates as the core search ranking algorithm update, location-based ranking of mobile websites, crawling and indexing of location-adaptive pages, and much more, certain website components must be taken care of. For that and more, read on to find explore what the said group of personalities should do to take advantage of Google’s SEO.
- Create websites or web pages with good domain names
This is often overlooked by site owners. But did you know that the most important entry point to a website is its domain name? with that in mind, you can take advantage of the following tips in creating a great domain name for your SEO.
- Make it simple (avoid ambiguous words).
- Make sure to allocate it a proper extension (.com is more recommended).
- Create an SEO-friendly URL.
- Choose a unique domain name by first and foremost conducting research.
- Create an engaging and user-friendly web interface
First impressions can do wonders for your site. A positive first impression is a great head start for the achievement of desired results. In that spirit, you can create an engaging user interface by doing the following:
- Use appropriate typography on your site to welcome more visitors.
- Use sufficient call-to-action buttons.
- Make your contact details easily visible on your site.
- Conform to what your target audience demands.
- Create an excellent content management system
Content management systems are software that runs digital content on a website. They are usually designed with templates and thus don’t require intricate skills to run. Such content management systems include, but are not limited to:
- Uninstall unnecessary plugins from your content management platform.
The presence of too many unwanted plugins on your website does more harm than good. Most plugins on WordPress websites, for instance, add junk to your database, which subsequently slows down query execution. Moreover, it stiffens your backup, thus increasing your website’s loading time and as well overwhelm your server resources.
That said, you must consider uninstalling or temporarily deactivating plugins that you no longer need or don’t use. Another best alternative is to seek other third-party services to take care of that function as opposed to hosting such plugins on your website.
- Avoid the use of excess external HTTP links
Most website plugins or themes are designed to access multiple external files from other related websites. And while most of these files are optimized for speed, it is not recommended to host them on your website. The use of such scripts gathers more junk files on your website’s content management system, thus increasing the loading time of web pages on your site.
- Optimize your website for search engine optimization
When designing or redesigning your website, there are several essential factors to put into consideration. As a site owner, you must master the SEO tools that resonate with what you intend to offer your audience. Aside from popular keyword generators, you can use the Google keyword planner, for instance, to generate the most relevant keywords to your brand or niche.
Furthermore, strike an excellent balance between short-chain and long-chain keywords so that your site gets a clear shot at Google’s ranking. The biggest tip with regards to keywords is to stick with those that have a higher frequency in Search and have a lower competition. If you get that right, then chances are your blog posts would be compelling and highly noticeable.
SEO, in general, gives more bearing on whether your site gets promoted or not. As a site owner, you should strategize on SEO by implementing the following:
- Use keywords in the content titles.
- Ensure long-chain keywords appear in the meta descriptions.
- Accompany your content with images.
- Consistently publish quality content on your site
The webspace is awash with numerous site promotion deals with regards to the content offered. And while there may be other sites specializing in your line of operation, you are likely to get the nod over those if you focus on the provision of quality content.
To achieve publication of excellent content regularly isn’t an easy task, but fantastic content should be geared to the needs of your customers. Your content should be striking enough to allow individuals to crave for it and should as well help them improve their media posts and blogs.
- Make use of webmaster analytic tools
To assess the overall performance of your website, you can download some of the powerful analytic tools that offer you insight into the traffic and your site’s overall performance. With Google Analytics and the search console tools, you can track such details as:
- Crawling errors on your site as determined by search engines.
- The vital keywords that drive users to your site.
- Total web and page viewership.
- The regular visits to your site.
- Optimize your website landing page for speed
Your site’s homepage serves as the benchmark for your website speed. Therefore, optimize it to see to it that it loads faster. The website homepage is of significance as people looking for your site are likely to land on it more often. With that in mind, you can consider the following aspects as a way to optimize your landing page:
- Eliminate widgets and dormant plugins you no longer need on your site.
- Keep the posts on display on your site’s homepage at a minimum.
- Disable hotlinking on your website
Hotlinking is a form of bandwidth theft. How that happens is that a site owner may get interested in a beautiful image from another web page. And you might proceed to copy-paste the image URL from the foreign website to yours to enhance the aesthetic appeal of your website. While you might view it as a way to improve your website, it could have financial implications to your site as the URL links to foreign pages where the image originated.
- Use web maintenance tools
We see this all the time. It happens that after a website owner is done with creating a working website, they do nothing about it and risk the website going stale. For your site to earn greater attention from search engines, you must keep it maintained and posted. That said, you can take advantage of the following tips:
- Use the latest and trendy marketing tools.
- Strive to fix errors and site warnings using performance metrics.
- Periodically scan your website to keep malware at bay.
- Update all software.
- Monitor traffic data to understand who your audience is.
Moreover, you should ensure your site is updated regularly, from plugins to website content management tools. What is important is that every update is often accompanied by new features and functions that serve to fix bugs, among others.
- Use enticing content headlines
The power of a great headline is unfathomable. The headlines to your posts are the gateway to your content. Stale and uninspiring headlines are less likely to attract visitors to read your content. As a website owner, it is important to use compelling page and content titles in order to capture the reader’s attention.
- Split long posts into easily readable pages
Readers, as you would expect, tend to love long, in-depth, and comprehensive posts. Additionally, Google tends to rank long posts top on the search engine results page. Therefore, split longer posts into pages for easy loading, and at the same time, make it easy for your readers to follow your content.
For many internet users across the globe, Google stands out as the go-to tool for answers to any query. In doing so, Google strives to avail the most appropriate and relevant answer to users. But how does that happen? Upon submission of a query, Google will fetch responses from the most qualified websites. And according to Google, the process of delivering the answer to your query starts by discovering (crawling), understanding (indexing, and organizing the web content.
For website owners, marketers, and publishers, the most important aspect is the discovery of their websites. That makes it, by extension, the most important piece of search engine optimization. That is, if your website cannot be discovered by Google’s crawling process, you will not show up in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). And that means you are as good as non-existent on the internet.
It is for that reason that the performance and speed of websites have become increasingly significant. That’s because internet use has dominated. Therefore, it is no surprise that we have seen a lot of dramatic changes to Google’s SEO recently, with special attention to search results. In this latest release of Google’s search news updates, for instance, Google has made major updates that cover fundamental aspects of Search, namely crawling, indexing, and link building.
From the crawling, indexing, and search ranking discussions covered in this post, it is evident that regularly uploading content on your website isn’t a guarantee that your content will get search engine recognition. And this is where most publishers and website owners go off the rails. Note that any effort to optimize your website without inherent knowledge as to how search engines work is reminiscent of publishing great work of literature without learning the fundamentals of writing.
Either way, Google strives to showcase better and more specific results every day. And by doing so, its search systems crawl and index web pages prior to showcasing them. And regarding updates, Google periodically releases updates on key search tools and features that make crawling and indexing of web pages easier, faster, and better. These updates inadvertently cause panic among most website owners, but it is simply Google’s attempt to improve its search results.