I have been at Search Central Live on 24 of October this year – and it was a great experience to be there at the Google Office.
In this post, I recap all of what I learned in the 6 presentations, What’s New in Search and the Q&A. Or at least all that I still remember. There are still more insights on my LinkedIn and of course I talk about the event and my personal experiences in my Newsletter (in German).
First of all Disclaimer
The event was in person and not recorded. We were allowed to take pictures, but not film anything. Everything you read in this article is out of my memories and some blurry notes I took. So don’t take anything as citation here – I am not a journalist and my memories is just human.
Don’t claim that a Google said something based on my article – as said this are my interpretations of the event, my insights and my takeaways.
But let’s dive into the presentations:
- #1 Google Shopping by Matthias Wiesmann (Google)
- #2 SEO for Luxury Sites by Maria Amelie (Community)
- #3 What’s new in Search? by John Mueller
- #4 Google SafeSearch by Chrisitan von Essen und Pierre Inezerillo (Google)
- #5 Web Migration Horror Stories by Aleyda Solis (Community)
- #6 Structured Data by Ryan Levering (Google)
- #7 Life after Cookies by Andrey Lippattsev (Google)
- #8 Q&A by John Mueller & Martin Splitt (Google)
#1 Google Shopping by Matthias Wiesmann (Google)
Not the topic I am most interested in, so I will keep it short. The main Takeaways are:
- Use schema.org for data transfer and not just feed (more possibilities with schema.org data for Google)
- 64-83 % of consumers do not engage with unfamiliar merchants → you need signals of trust, like you should have in general for Google
#2 SEO for Luxury Sites by Maria Amelie (Community)
Maria had a really nice Talk about something that is giving us SEOs sleepless nights: How to do SEO if you are not allowed to but text on the Website?
SEO is all about Content – that’s what they say. But what are you doing if your client is a luxury brand and bans all content from their website? The trend for websites in Luxury fashion is exactly this: all pictures, no text.
The product is in the focus – even though you hardly ever can buy luxury products online. The websites are Brand websites.
So what do you concentrate on with your SEO campaign for luxury brands?
- Using every bit of Content you can get: Title, Meta, Header, Alt Texts, URLs, Schema – and Use them wisely as it is all you have
- Digital PR: And we are not talking here about some Guest posts. Digital PR goes way further with these brands. Like Contacting Celebrities and intending that they wear something of your brand – The press will get a picture, pick it up, and you will get more than just links for sure.
- The same as for Digital PR goes for the Blog. I am generally no big fan of using a Blog just to thick a SEO Box. And in these cases the Blog is more a place where the brand can tell stories, like special awareness campaigns.
- Trend Analysis: The day will come when your boss asks – Louis Vuitton is doing this on their website, why are we not doing it like this? So stay up to date on all the changes around you. And take a look at China – The highest luxury buyers of all.
It was a really insightful talk. If you want some more:
#3 What’s new in Search? by John Mueller
Of course, there needs to be some Updates on a Search Central Live Event. But do be honest, there was nothing that we didn’t know so far. It was still nice to have a recap of everything going on. And I love the first Slide of John Mueller: “SEO is not going away” – that’s what we all needed to hear.
You have now even more Possibilities to Export your Data from Search Console with the Bulk Data Export. All you need to know about how and what you find on the webmaster answers from Google.
“FAQs” & “How do” are gone from Search – That’s what happens if we SPAM a tool on Google – Google just takes away our toy. In the Q&A someone asked if FAQs will come back some day: at the moment it doesnt look so. But who knows, it might come back for specific FAQ pages, but not to add additional content to a webpage and spam it.
My opinion to what you should do? Stop spamming, but don’t delete your FAQs. If you made FAQs that are actually useful for the user, they still should be useful, although they are not shown in search. In the end, we always should have used FAQs to add additional value without trying to trick google.
Indented Results gone – Didn’t know what indented results are? Me neither, but I am sure you have seen them, although you didn’t know their name. It is when 2 of your pages are ranking, one beneath the other, to give the User more choice and to give you a bigger space on the SERPs.
My opinion? Finally, I don’t need to argue with clients that are happy that two pages are ranking about why Keyword Cannibalization is never a good idea. That’s by the way, the same some other SEOs think about this old Feature.
Site names coming – You can read more about Site names on the Google developers blog.
Vehicle Listing coming – If you sell cars, this might be great for you.
Quality is important – which is actually nothing new and if you didn’t know you might have noticed the last two updates of Google in a bad way: the Helpful Content Update of September and the Spam Update of October.
John Mueller also gave some tips to prepare for future updates. It sounds very easy: Don’t panic, be prepared.
2 concrete steps you can do:
- Use a flexible CMS – at least the structured data changes should be easy
- Don’t take content shortcuts – and read the quality rater guidelines.
And last but not least, there is a new Core Web Vital coming as of March 2024. It is called interaction to next point (INP) and helps to determine if you upset the user by making your website unsupportable slow when he tries to do something.
But they warned us again to not overfocus on Core Web Vitals. Just because you have the best Core Web Vitals doesn’t guaranty you any rankings. It is just one of a million ranking factors. Seems to be a SEO Expert problem to overfocus on something, dont forget what happend when we overfocuesd on FAQs.
#4 Google SafeSearch by Chrisitan von Essen und Pierre Inezerillo (Google)
The internet is full of information, and not all of what we could find is safe for everyone. Just think of children, sensitive people, or imagine you search for something that gets some really disgusting results that you never wanted to see. Know the phrase “I can’t unsee that”? – Yeah, that’s what we don’t want.
That’s exactly what SafeSearch is for. SafeSearch already exists for years, but Google just introduced a new User Control feature which is “Blur”. That’s the default option now for everyone who hasn’t changed their SafeSearch settings.
But of course that’s not what we SEOs are interested about. Unless it is our Content or our client that’s filtered out. Christian and Pierre knew that.
So the important part of their talk was: How to find out if you are filtered? What to do if your content is filtered out? Ah and they showed us how to mark your Website to be filtered out – just in case you have a website that shows some special videos to watch under the blanked.
How to know if your filtered?
- Go to Google
- type in “site:yourdomain.com” (and please replace yourdomain.com with your actual domain)
- Change the SafeSearch Setting (you can find on Google how to do that)
- and try again the site search.
- See more? Yeah, you’re filtered out.
If Google gets it wrong
Request a manual review: goo.gle/safesearch-review
If Google should filter your content
Add <meta name=”rating” content = “adult”>
If you have a “Are you over 18?” on entering your website
Unfortunately, the Googlebot doesn’t have an age… So he is under 18. Just don’t block him out if you want to rank. Check at goo.gle/verify-googlebot
And if you want to know even more about that topic: Search policies
#5 Web Migration Horror Stories by Aleyda Solis (Community)
Let’s start with another Community talk. The Talk of Aleyda. You might know her if you are long another in this World of SEO because she has a really famous newsletter SEOFomo. It is different from my SEO Newsletter as she gives you every Sunday a ton of links to deep dive – and I just give you one link like you might know.
Aleyda did ask here community what topics they are most afraid of as a SEO and categorized them into 4 main areas:
- Google SGE (KI in search)
- Google Updates
- Fucking up by overlooking important configuration
- Lack of SEO when Migrating
The nice thing about here talk was she did try to take away our fears of every one of this point by explaining what we can actually do against it. But first a picture.
How not to be afraid of Google SGE?
Prepare yourself, have a look at how SGE changes your search queries, and prepare to understand what the user wants. I know we don’t have access to SGE here in Europe and Switzerland because of intensive restriction policies against google. But there are a lot of examples out there how the search will look like. Here, the fear is just uncertainty.
How to be not afraid of Google Updates?
She recommends becoming the best answer for the whole customer journey for the user. That’s of course easier said than done, but she gives some recommendation (you’ll see in her post later).
How to not overlook important configuration?
Imagine you made everything perfect but forgot to check the robots.txt and there is a noindex tag on the side. Sounds like it can’t happen, but there are a lot of little things that we could forget. She recommends having a Quality framework in place – not only do not forget important configuration, but also to find them if they are in place and to have a way of fixing them fast, without asking development for some hours next year.
How to get SEO in the migration Process?
We all know it. There are many people working on a web migration – but they just forgot to tell the SEO Expert. Last minute, they remember and tell him: Could you have a look, so we can thick the SEO Box?
That’s the start of a real horror story that might last months…
The problem here is not that everyone forgot us – it is your fault, we didn’t educate them on the importance and the risks if you just forget SEO in a web migration process.
If you want to shock decision makers, she gave us a cool resource: use The Migration Archive from MJ Cachón to show them real fuck-ups.
Want to know more? She wrote also a blogpost about the web migration horror stories.
There were a lot of usefull slides in the presentation and everything went so fast that I couldnt even take picutres. If I somehow get hands on the presentation I will link it here for sure.
#6 Structured Data by Ryan Levering (Google)
To be honest, I don’t remember that much from this talk. And what I wrote down is really to the point.
- FAQs: Over aggressive used – turned down
- How to: Not that useful – turned down
- Profile Pages – get even more important
And that’s literary it. It seems like I am just not that into structured data…
#7 Life after Cookies by Andrey Lippattsev (Google)
This talk started with a QR Code. So for you here with a link: goo.gle/cookiecountdown
And in this Link you get actually all the information you need (that’s what Andrey said).
That’s it. That and some main points:
- You should test what happens before the Golive of a Chrome without third party cookies
- Don’t assume you know what cookies your website has. Just test.
- Chrome dev tools shows if there are issues
- And yeah, more QR Codes:
#8 Q&A by John Mueller & Martin Splitt (Google)
John Mueller is not using TikTok – I know this information doesn’t help you at all. But it was a nice detail and brings us to the first Question I still remember.
Is Search dead and will TikTok be the new Google of the next generations? It might be if Google is not adapting and sticks to what it was 10 years ago. But let’s be serious, that never happens – you really think the millions of Updates all SEOs are afraid of from Google are just because they think it is fun watching SEOs getting crazy?
Should you implement every schema.org even though Google does not support them so far? Someone thought by implementing them before Google implements, it might give them a heads start. The only logical answer to that is: Don’t waste your time.
Will the FAQs come back? It seems like many people are really sad about the latest toy google took away. It definitely was because of all the spamming. But Google assured that they actually think it is useful – you should still have FAQs. Not for Google, but for the User who might have questions. And maybe some day in the future it will come back for pages that are specific to FAQs. But who knows, first the spamming needs to stop.
Will Google Ads adapt to Cookieless Chrome automatically? The message was clear: Just because it is Google, don’t assume that everything will work fine. Test and find a solution, you still have some time until the cookieless dream comes true.
You still dont know enough?
There are a lot of recaps and insights out there from the event. If you search in Linkedin with the #SCLZurich you find all the posts there.
If you speak german you should really get into my newsletter. Thats were I share the stories that really should stay at Search Central Live.