Google rolling out new May 2020 core update
Google has announced a new May 2020 core update that is the second core update of the year. Over the years, Google usually releases a new core update every few months which is why it makes sense that an update will be rolling out this month, considering the first one of 2020 was back in January.
Google released the following statement from its Google Search Liaison Twitter account:
“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’ve covered before.”
If your website is hit by this latest core update then, unfortunately, there isn’t a list of fixes that Google publishes alongside every update (but they do offer a list of questions to consider if your site does get impacted). It is important that whether you’re an SEO or site owner, you are paying close attention to these core algorithm updates as it could affect your site’s rankings. It is recommended that you monitor your analytics and search rankings to see if your website experiences any changes, if your site does get affected then you’ll be able to pinpoint the cause.
Google Search Console is now supporting SpecialAnnouncement schema
Google Search Console now supports SpecialAnnouncement schema markup in both its performance and enhancement reports as well as supporting the new markup in Google’s Rich Results Test tool. The new report for SpecialAnnouncements shows users any warnings, errors, and valid pages that are eligible for markup. Also, the performance report now shows impressions, clicks, and CTR results for the pages where the markup has been implemented. These new tools will help make it easier to monitor pages where SpecialAnnouncement markup has been implemented and track their performance, so it’s recommended to take advantage of these tools especially if it’s in relation to public health.
Google announces its opening up free product listings on Google Shopping
Google has announced it will be opening up Google Shopping to free organic product listings rather than solely paid listings. This program, which will be a permanent change, had to be accelerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic as many retailers that operate as brick and mortar stores are now having to follow an e-commerce strategy.
This new program will include some changes to the distribution of ads and free listings, product feeds, and a new PayPal integration. For paid shopping ads, these will now appear at the top and bottom of the page on the Google Shopping tab similar to the main search results. For the product feed, all free product listings will be powered by product data feeds via Google Merchant Centre. The new PayPal integration comes from a new partnership between Google and PayPal that will allow users to use their PayPal accounts to link to Google Merchant Centre, which will provide details of the seller more quickly and securely. The new PayPal integration should have now taken full effect in the US by the end of April but Google plans to expand globally by the end of the year.
Shopify has launched a Post-COVID POS
Shopify has recently launched a new POS that is ready for the post-COVID retail environment, designed to be able to serve customers online, in-store, or curbside. One of the options available for this POS platform is that it allows customers who are closeby to pick a “curbside pickup” option, which means they can still order without even leaving their car and putting themselves at risk. Also from a business perspective, the POS from Shopify gives full insight into business sales by providing information such as daily sales, average order value, etc.
Yelp has rolled out omnichannel tools for SMBs
Yelp has introduced some new and enhanced features to its platform to help businesses cope better in a virtual environment. Some of the newest Yelp features include a new “Curbside pickup” option, allowing local businesses to offer customers an additional option to collect their items. Another feature includes new icons that will appear next to businesses that offer their services online, whether that’s classes, consultations, or tutorials as well as including this as a filter on the platform. Also, an improved COVID banner has been introduced that any business can use to display on their business page to get any important information across to their customers. These new updates from Yelp aim to help local businesses move into omnichannel fulfilment, preparing them for a post-COVID world.
Some other features include the following:
- Yelp Collections will display lists of relevant businesses that are currently open
- Yelp Connect will allow businesses to communicate clear updates to customers
- Business Highlights will feature new COVID-friendly categories, for example, curbside pickup, gift cards, and online remote services, etc.
- An improved Yelp for Business offers a better UI and offers more data for local business owners.