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http://www.goldenspiralmarketing.com Golden Spiral Tue Aug 06 13:20:29 2019
Read Time: 12 Minutes SEO

Your B2B Guide to Important Google Updates

Google makes hundreds of changes every year to its search algorithm and collection of tools for SEO and PPC. It's nearly impossible to keep up with all of them. From time to time, a change is significant enough to warrant comment for B2B tech companies. This blog will be a living document with our most recent comments at the top. We encourage you to bookmark this page and visit from time to time to stay in tune with Google.

Golden Spiral is an official Google Partner.

August 5, 2019

Google Search Quality Rating Update

Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines


New Call-to-actionFor the first time since July 2018, Google updated their Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines which are what human "quality raters" use to evaluate websites and Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). The updates focus on vetting content, the creator's credibility, and user interruptions during the experience. The update was completed in May 2019 and went into effect over June and July.

What Changed?


Search evaluators represent the human element in the algorithm, offering feedback on search results and websites. The evaluators are focused on rating the relevance of search results. Their feedback is used to test improvements on the search engine’s algorithms.

The change

Google made some "minor" changes in the language around interstitial pages (ads) to avoid interrupting users ability to engage with the main content, vetting the credibility of the content creator(s), and their E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) criteria.

What Comes Next?

The biggest takeaway from these updates to this pre-existing program is that the directives from Google to the search evaluators focus on verifying that there are credibility references supporting key declarations, conclusions, and thought leadership. The other takeaways are:

  • Avoid using distracting ads and pop-ups on key informational pages
  • Ensure statements, claims, and declarations are substantiated with verified references, research, or credible first-hand data
  • Pursue and cultivate third-party locations and references to your content that will demonstrate you value content and support the domain authority of other industry resources

Further Reading

May 1, 2019

Indexing Bug

Over the weekend of April 5-7th, Google confirmed an indexing bug that affected many websites. John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst on the Google Search team commented on the issue, saying, “Sorry — We had a technical issue on our side for a while there — this should be resolved in the meantime, and the affected URLs reprocessed.”

Aside from stating that the indexing issues were a bug and should be reversed, Google declined to comment further on the technical cause of the issue. Google has since confirmed that the issue has been fixed. However, some sites are still seeing indexing issues, so we encourage you to monitor the situation over the coming weeks and make optimizations as needed.

UPDATE (5/1/19): Google has since confirmed that in addition to the indexing bug, Google Search Console is showing report inaccuracies for the majority of April. A Google representative has issued confirmation, stating, "Search Console experienced a data outage that ceased on April 26. The outage affected all reports except the Performance report. All missing data from April 9-25 was replaced with the data from April 26, when data began to be available again".

Further Reading

March 12, 2019

Ranking Update


Google has acknowledge the ranking update citing, “This was a noticeable update that we felt warranted confirming, in keeping with what we’ve said before," but hasn’t gone into detail regarding its purpose or key business categories it has affected. That being said, several significant surveys have been conducted to get some insight into what changed in the algorithm update. These surveys have shown decreases in visibility for many B2B, Health, and eCommerce sites, but overall, haven’t shown a single major trend.

Our Take

An evaluation of our clients in the B2B Technology space has shown a strong trend: nearly across the board, companies we evaluated dropped in visibility but overall site traffic increased. The reason for this is that many sites stopped ranking for irrelevant and unimportant keywords in search results, but actually rose in rankings for important brand and product-related keywords. As a result, the sites we evaluated saw majorly increased clickthrough rates and most saw a net increase in site traffic (despite the drop in impressions). Site engagement is largely up across the board as well, indicating that the update is better filtering relevant searchers to each site.

Further Reading:

December 18, 2018

Google Search Console


Google Search Console (GSC), formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools, is a platform used to monitor how Google views your website, and to therefore optimize its organic presence.

What Changed?

Google Search Console graduated from beta earlier this year and introduced a sleek and more efficient version of Google Webmaster Tools. With the graduation, Google launched the Manual Actions report and a “test live” capability to the newly launched URL Inspection Tool. The beta launch of GSC provided us more data with the Index Coverage report, Performance report, links report, and once again, the URL inspection tool.

Performance Report

The Performance report allows you to review your search analytics data with a variety of filters.

New Google Search Console performance report

Every single filter option also offers the ability to contrast two types of each filter with the “Compare” tab. The Search filter gives the option of Web, Image and Video. The “Compare” tab is a handy tool to contrast two types of traffic, whether that be Web vs. Image, Image vs. Video, etc.

New Google Search Console update

The Date Range filter now offers 16 months of data as opposed to 90 days. There are preset time periods as well as the option to set a custom range. Use the “Compare” tab to contrast two sets of date ranges.

New Google Search Console update

The “New” option next to the Search and Date Range filters gives you the ability to add five additional filters: Query, Page, Country, Device and Search Appearance. All these filters can be layered on top of one another. Different combinations of filters further limit and specify your results.

New Google Search Console interface


Index Coverage Report

The Index Coverage Report assigns pages to one of four statuses. Error, Valid with Warnings, Valid, and Excluded. This section is mainly used to monitor what pages haven’t been indexed and why.

Google Search Console Index Coverage


Sitemaps Report

The Sitemaps report allows you to submit Sitemaps and view which ones were processed or any errors in processing. Submitting a valid sitemap helps Google discover the right content on your site.

Google Search Console Sitemaps


Links Report

The Links Report allows you to view data on links pointing to and within your site. This section can be used to identify what sites you link to the most, identify the most popular anchor text within your site, etc.

New Google Search Console update

URL Inspection Tool

The URL Inspection Tool allows you to view crawling, indexing and serving information from the Google Index for any URL of your site. This section can be used to inspect an indexed URL, request indexing of a URL, and to inspect a live URL. The latter option is brand new and tests whether a page on your site is able to be indexed.

Google Search Console URL Inspection

Common Uses of GSC

Identify highest-traffic pages

Performance → “Pages” tab → adjust date range and/or other filters → select “Total Clicks”

Identify highest-traffic queries

Performance → “Queries” tab → adjust date range → select “Total Clicks”

Identify highest-CTR queries

Performance → “Queries” tab → select “Average CTR” → adjust date range and/or other filters

Identify average CTR

Performance → “Queries” tab → select “Average CTR” → Performance → adjust date range → Total Impressions → Status → Performance → adjust date range → select “Average Position” (at this point, “Total Impressions,” “Average CTR,” and “Average Position” should all be selected)

Identify ranking increases/decreases

Performance → “Queries” tab → adjust data range → “Compare” tab → select time periods → Apply

Compare site’s search performance across desktop, mobile and tablet

Performance → “Devices” tab → Select “Total Clicks,” “Total Impressions,” “Average CTR,” and “Average Position” → Compare

Identify which pages haven’t been indexed and why

Index Coverage → Details box will identify the errors causing indexing issues → click any Error type to see the affected URLs

Identify mobile usability issues

Mobile Usability → select “Error” → Details box will identify which Errors are causing mobile usability issues → double click the Error type to see affected URLs

Monitor backlinks and backlink activity

Links → Top Linked Pages report → see “Total External Links” and/or select “Incoming Links”

Identify what sites you link to the most

Links → “Top Linking Sites” → select “More”

Identify most popular anchor text

Links → “Top Linking Text” → select “More”

Identify how many total internal links your site has

Links → “Top Linked Pages” → select “More” → “Total Internal Links”

Further Reading

  1. https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/google-search-console 
  2. https://searchengineland.com/new-google-image-search-desktop-design-is-now-rolling-out-306025
  3. https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2018/09/the-new-search-console-is-graduating.html




September 27, 2018

Google Image Search Update

Mobile Design / Desktop Design


In March 2018, Google released an image display update for mobile devices. This update aimed to provide more context on the image search results page, generating more efficient and useful visual discovery. The mobile design update consisted of many parts:

  • your website’s URL and caption are now added below
  • green bubble filters added to the top of the results, containing relevant search terms

On September 24, at Google’s 20th Anniversary event, they announced adding the changes to desktop design, but that Creator and Credit metadata support were additionally planned to launch. The Creator and Credit metadata is only visible on mobile design, and there are no current insights as to when this update will subsequently be featured on desktop.


This update was rolled out on Thursday, September 27th.

What Changed?

This update added a caption and the website’s domain URL underneath photos in Google image search, as well as bubble filters to the top of search results on desktop. The bubble filters on both mobile and desktop design were changed from the color green to the color white. Lastly, the Creator and Credit metadata support was only added to the mobile design and involves a text box listing the Creator and the Credit due.

Desktop Design Update:

Google Image Search Update

Mobile Design Update:

   Google Image Search Update


This update will mainly affect websites whose images are buried deep within their pages. Google announced the overall authority of the website will affect its rankings on image search, as well as where the image is placed on the page; Google suggested aiming for the top-center.

Action Items

The addition of captions underneath image thumbnails acts as a further reminder to label title tags for images accurately and descriptively. The bubble filters could even act as a tool in determining what relative words should be included in the image titles for maximum discoverability.

Further Reading

  1. https://blog.google/products/search/get-more-useful-information-captions-google-images/
  2. https://yoast.com/googles-medic-update/
  3. https://blog.google/products/search/image-rights-metadata-google-images/
  4. https://searchengineland.com/new-google-image-search-desktop-design-is-now-rolling-out-306025
  5. https://www.seroundtable.com/google-images-algorithm-update-26422.html



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Chris Turner

Chris Turner

Digital Strategy Director Chris Turner, Golden Spiral’s Digital Strategy Director, manages and monitors the strategy for our clients’ digital efforts related to pay-per-click (PPC), social media marketing, and digital optimization (SEO & content).