We hope you are in good health. Here are some of the major SEO news updates of the week that you need to know:

Search Related News and Updates from Major Search Engine

Google Warns of Quirk in Certain Hreflang Implementations and Updates Official Documentation

Google made an important update to its hreflang documentation,  highlighting a quirk in how certain websites are implementing it. This quirk can potentially result in unintended consequences when Google processes these websites. Hreflang is a crucial element for multilingual and multinational websites as it helps search engines understand which language or country-specific version of a webpage to display to users. However, Google’s warning suggests that some websites may not be using hreflang correctly, leading to incorrect indexing or confusion for search engines. By updating its official documentation, Google aims to educate webmasters and developers on the proper implementation of hreflang to ensure accurate and effective search engine optimization.

Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan Says You Can Recover From Helpful Content Damage With Next Core Update 

Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan said on X that website owners can recover from any damage caused by the previous core update with the upcoming core update. This is good news for those who may have experienced a drop in their website’s ranking or traffic due to the previous update. Sullivan reassures website owners that if they make the necessary improvements and provide helpful content, they have the opportunity to regain their previous rankings and even surpass them. This highlights the importance of regularly updating and optimizing websites to align with Google’s algorithm updates and user preferences.

Google Ends Covid-Era Home Activity Rich Results

Google made a significant change by removing the Covid-era structured data for  Home Activities rich results. This structured data was instrumental in allowing online events to be easily discovered through search. Since  August 2020, this feature has been helping individuals find and participate in various virtual activities from the comfort of their homes. However, Google has now removed this functionality, as mentioned in the search documentation changelog. This decision may impact the visibility and accessibility of online events, highlighting the need for event organizers to explore alternative methods of promoting their virtual gatherings.

Google Updates Structured Data to Boost Merchant Sales 

Google made a significant update to its structured data guidelines,  specifically regarding the inclusion of a sitewide return policy within the Organization’s structured data. This change is great news for online merchants, as it eliminates the need for redundant return policy information on each individual product listing. By implementing this sitewide return policy, online merchants can save time and effort while also ensuring a more streamlined and efficient user experience. Additionally, this update can potentially lead to an increase in website traffic and sales as customers are more likely to trust and make purchases from online merchants with clear and comprehensive return policies.

Google’s Gary Illyes Reminds Websites To Use Robots.txt To Block Action URLs

Google’s Gary Illyes advised website owners to use the robots.txt file to block crawlers from accessing “add to cart” URLs. This recommendation aims to prevent wasted server resources and improve website performance. By blocking these specific URLs from being crawled, website owners can ensure that their server’s resources are utilized efficiently and not wasted on unnecessary bot activity. This can lead to faster website loading times and a better user experience overall. Implementing this suggestion from Gary Illyes can be beneficial for e-commerce websites, as it helps optimize their server resources and improve their site’s performance.

Google’s Search Liaison Statement About CTR and HCU 

In a series of tweets, Google’s SearchLiaison addressed a question regarding the connection between click-through rates (CTR) and Helpful Content Updates (HCU). The question raised the concern that if CTR and HCU were the only factors that determined rankings, then no new site would ever be able to rank. After all, how could a new site gain visibility if it requires clicks and helpful content updates to rank in the first place? In response, Google clarified that they consider a variety of ranking signals, including aggregated and anonymized interaction data. This means that CTR and HCU are important factors but not the sole determinants of rankings. Google’s ranking algorithm takes into account a range of signals to ensure fair and accurate search results.

Google John Mueller Responds to a Question About Desktop SEO

In response to a question about desktop SEO, Google’s John Mueller emphasized the importance of having a responsive website in today’s digital landscape. He expressed his surprise at the idea of not making a responsive site,  acknowledging that there may be instances where existing websites have not been updated for a long time and need to be maintained. However, for new websites, it is crucial to prioritize responsiveness. While Google primarily focuses on the mobile version for web search indexing due to mobile indexing, it is important to note that there are other search engines, crawlers, and requestors that still rely on desktop user agents for indexing and serving content. Therefore, it is necessary to consider both mobile and desktop user experiences in order to optimize  SEO efforts effectively.

Google’s John Mueller Answers a Question About Whether 10 Pages Impact Sitewide Rankings

During a discussion on Reddit, Google’s John Mueller addressed a question regarding the impact of 10 pages on sitewide rankings. Mueller mentioned that the issues that people often raise in relation to core updates are usually sitewide and not limited to just a small subset of pages. He also noted that the last core update occurred in March/April, so any changes observed from May onwards would be unrelated to that update. Additionally, based on the information provided, it is difficult to determine whether improvements or fixes are required for those 20k pages or if the interests, expectations, and relevance of the site have simply evolved.

Google Tests QR Codes on the Google Business Profile Listings Within Google Maps

Google is continuously innovating and testing new features to enhance user experience, and one of its recent experiments involves the use of  QR codes within Google Maps. Specifically, Google is testing the integration of QR codes on the Google Business Profile Listings within the Maps platform. This new feature aims to provide users with a convenient way to access information about a business directly from their mobile devices. By scanning the QR code on a business profile,  users can quickly access important details such as contact information and reviews and even make reservations or appointments. This feature has the potential to streamline the user experience and make it easier for individuals to interact with businesses listed on Google Maps. 

Social Media Related News and Updates from Major Search Engine

YouTube Rolls Out “Thumbnail Test & Compare” FeatureTo All Channels

YouTube introduced the “Thumbnail Test & Compare” feature to all channels, providing content creators with the opportunity to optimize their video thumbnails. This new feature enables users to upload and experiment with up to three different thumbnails for each video,  allowing them to assess which option performs best. By providing multiple thumbnail options, YouTube aims to help creators enhance their video’s appeal and increase the chances of attracting viewers. During the testing phase, YouTube will randomly display the various thumbnail options to a portion of the video’s audience, ensuring a fair comparison. This feature empowers creators to make informed decisions and ultimately improve the visibility and engagement of their content on the platform.

PPC Related News and Updates from Major Search Engine

Google Ads Announces New Optional Verification to Verify the Affiliation of the Advertiser/Individual with the Organization

In June 2024, Google plans to enhance its advertiser verification program by introducing an optional verification process. This new feature aims to verify the affiliation of advertisers or individuals with the organization they claim to represent. The addition of this optional verification will provide an extra layer of transparency and credibility to the advertising ecosystem. It will help ensure that advertisers are indeed associated with the organizations they claim to be affiliated with, thereby fostering trust and accountability. It is important to note that failing to complete this new verification process will not result in any negative consequences for advertisers.


Navneet Kaushal is the Editor-in-Chief of PageTraffic Buzz. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet is also the CEO of SEO Services company PageTraffic which is one of the leading search marketing company in Asia.