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Peak Ace on Air Episode #28: Welcome 2021! A December recap

Happy new year! Peak Ace on Air is back and oh boy, are we excited for a whole host of new and exciting episodes. Next week, we’ll welcome James Brockbank from Digitaloft to tell us all about international content marketing campaigns and how to make them successful.

Plus, in February, our own Paul Dagert will reappear on our show and talk about the highly anticipated (or feared?) iOS update.

So make sure to subscribe to our channels in order not to miss these episodes!

But before we can fully welcome the new year, let’s take one last final look back at 2020 (shudder) and what happened in organic search in December. Guess what? It was a lot.

Ultimate guide to page experience by Onely

The technical SEO house Onely put together a massive guide to page experience, covering what it is and why it’s important, the signs, how you can audit it, list of various resources and a lot more. A recommended read for everyone are interested in taking page experience to the next level.

Front-end performance checklist 2021 by Smashing Magazine

Vitaly Friedman from Smashing Magazine has created his annual front-end performance check list. A great resource, it’s long, but it’s well structured and also downloadable as a PDF. It gives a simple introduction to the topic (or as simple as it can be), so it’s not only for front-end experts.

10 important 2021 SEO trends you need to know

“Trends, are you serious?” you might say, and we hear you. But we wouldn’t mention this SEO trend report from Search Engine Journal if we didn’t think it was worth your valuable time!  It’s an interesting read and full of important and thought-provoking perspectives from 42 SEO experts.

Updates from Google: Google News, Search Console API, Index Coverage Data, Google Podcast

As always, Google pushed a lot of updates in December. The biggest of course being the core algorithm update, but as we already did an episode about it, we won’t go into detail about it here. Instead, we want to talk about few other, smaller, changes in the Google ecosystem.

First, the new Google News performance report. Google launched it to allow publishers to better understand user behaviour on the Google apps as well as on news.google.com. Through the report, publishers can learn how many times their articles appear on Google News, which articles performed well, and how user behaviour varies by country.

Secondly, we touch on the updates to the Search Console API such as fresh data and news filters, domain property support in the Sitemaps API and guidelines on how to migrate the Discovery doc.

The improvements to the Index Coverage Data are also welcome, as they reflect some requests made by the community. For example, the generic “crawl anomaly” issue type is depreciated, meaning now all issues should really have a clearer definition. There will also be changes to how indexed pages that are blocked by robots.txt are reported, among others, improvements to soft 404 reporting and the addition of a new issue called “indexed without content”.

Also, in the Search Console under “Settings” you can find some interesting new information about crawling, e.g. what is crawled , the frequency of the crawl etc.

And, as everybody seems to have a podcast these days, of course so does Google! If you haven’t tuned in to the Search Off the Record podcast yet, it’s well worth a listen – really in-depth information straight from the source.

Google Core Update from Q-Square Interactive

Okay, so, we lied: we will talk about the Google Core Update. But only because Glenn Gabe from GSQi did us all a huge favour by writing not one but two blog posts about it. He covers various cases regarding the complexity of the update and what he thinks are the reasons for the loss and recovery in visibility due to the update. It’s a long read, but worth digging into.

“Inferred Links Will Replace the Link Graph” by Rand Fishkin

Rand Fishkin wrote an article stating that inferred links (mentions), would have more power than normal links in the future. A rather bold statement, based on the notion that normal links tend to be more biased than mentions, as links are, to him, most likely created for a financial benefit. So to him mentions are more “trustworthy”.

This does sound a bit interesting, and definitely a bit one-sided. Not all links around the web are made with a financial goal in mind, even if they are about product-related pages. Not all links are paid.

Also, another point we we think he’s missing is the fact that Google best understands the English language, thus the best in recognising mentions in English. For other languages, these might not bring any SEO-related benefits.

And, as we know, “real” links should have more impact on SEO than a mention anyway. So we don’t think that mentions, or inferred links as he calls them, will replace links anytime soon. However, he does make some excellent points so we recommend checking out the article anyway.

Google passage indexing’s difference from featured snippets (Search Engine Roundtable)

Although Google’s passage indexing update is not even live yet, it’s already a hot topic in search circles. And no wonder – it will be a big change for the industry if Google will be able to understand page content well enough to raise single passages of content to the SERPs instead of just ranking the whole page.

People have interpreted this to mean that the SERPs will look different. But, according to the discussions Barry from SE Journal had with a representative from Google, it’s not true. The passage indexing won’t cause snippets to become longer as it’s more about understanding what the page is about.

It means that if your page has more long-form content, Google can more easily digest it and find bits from the page that might fit a search query, even if the page content as a whole might not.

The implications of this update will be interesting to see, when it’s finally released!

And that’s a final, final wrap of 2020! Let’s never speak of it again.

Looking to the future: we’re excited about the upcoming SEO Day Denmark, which takes place (virtually) on the 4th of February. Bastian will present some hot new technical SEO findings from the Peak Ace test labs. And for all those who can’t make it to watch the session live, Bastian may just provide a recap – watch this space.

Also, if you or someone you know is looking for a new challenge in 2021, you’re in luck – we are hiring! We have a crop of open positions, from paid social to PPC, content marketing, analytics and project management in German, English and other languages. Interested? We’d love to hear from you.

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