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January 2024 SEO Industry Updates

  • Industry News
  • By multiple authors
  • 5 minutes read

After an eventful end to 2023, the new year started with some interesting announcements from Google and the world of search.

Google announced details about new ways to search in 2024

The what

Google announced details about two new ways to search in 2024 . The first is a new search feature available on Android phones called, Circle to Search.

People with Android phones can now select images, text, or videos on their screens and easily learn more about these elements by bringing them into organic search. This feature was released on January 31st and is available for people using the Pixel 8, the Pixel 8 Pro, and the new Samsung Galaxy S24 series.

Google also announced the rollout of “point your camera” for search. With this new feature, users of the Google app for Android or iOS, can use the lens camera icon and ask a question using the image they have selected.

The why

For more than two decades, Google has continued to redefine the way we search online.

While there is a lot of speculation about the release of a new AI-powered search experience from Google, it’s clear Google will continue to diversify the way users can search.

For everyone:

  • Users of the Pixel 8, the Pixel 8 Pro, and the new Samsung Galaxy S24 series can start to experiment with the new Circle to Search Feature
  • Android & iOS users can test out Google’s new point your camera for search functionality

For Conductor customers:

  • Use the Conductor Chrome Extension or ContentKing to ensure images on your site are properly optimized and contain image alt attributes.
  • Keep up with the latest updates on the world of search with the Conductor blog.

Google clarifies that the content of a page is the primary source of snippets

The what

Google recently updated its documentation on how you can control your snippets in search results . There was previously some ambiguity around how Google sourced information for snippets due to their previous documentation that implied snippets were pulled primarily from meta descriptions.

Google’s documentation now states, “Google primarily uses the content on the page to automatically determine the appropriate snippet. We may also use descriptive information in the meta description element when it describes the page better than other parts of the content.”

The why

We now have validation from Google that the content of a page is what folks should look to optimize when attempting to rank for a featured snippet in the SERPs.

We now have clear guidance from Google that the content on a page is a more critical factor than the meta description when it comes to earning a snippet. However, creating high-quality and unique meta descriptions is still valuable for your pages. Meta descriptions are sometimes pulled in and displayed for social snippets.

For everyone:

  • Review your content that is currently ranking for a snippet to understand where Google is currently rewarding your content to serve as a blueprint for ranking for additional snippets in the future.
  • Keep up with the latest documentation updated from Google by keeping up with their documentation updates .

For Conductor customers:

  • Use Result Types and Explorer to identify keywords that are currency earning a snippet in the SERPs.
  • Consider creating a keyword group for your tracked keywords that have earned a snippet to monitor these terms.

All quiet on the Google Update front?

The what

2023 was a busy year for Google. Between nine confirmed updates and four core updates, folks in the SEO industry had a lot to keep up with. 2024 got off to a quiet start with no confirmed updates in January, but plenty of people are speculating the quiet won't last long.

Many industry experts, including Lily Ray, have expressed concerns and frustrations about the increase of spammy results in the SERP . This issue is among a few that have caused folks to question Google’s search quality.

The why

Near the end of 2023, Google confirmed we should expect “lots of ranking updates coming” . Ranking updates often come with periods of high SERP volatility that can leave websites scrambling to understand what changed with Google’s algorithm and why they’re experiencing significant declines in organic performance.

Change is one thing we can always count on in SEO. Algorithm updates from Google can send SEOs scrambling to protect rankings or optimize content to align with new Google guidelines. Staying on top of the latest updates and changes can help you get back on track if your performance is negatively impacted following a major release.

For everyone:

  • Stay abreast of industry updates and changes by following Conductor on our various social channels and keeping up with the latest from the Conductor Blog.

For Conductor customers:

  • Public Event Annotations are now live in your account! Stay informed about impactful updates, like Google algorithm updates or industry changes, with annotations automatically applied to your reports.
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