Google received a lot of backlash this month as it began trialling displaying answers in the search results without any search results.
For a short while some queries with a very definite answer, i.e. what time is it in “San Francisco”? only displayed the answer to the question in the SERPs.
Google was reported as claiming the reason for this change was because for these particular types of queries searchers “rarely use full search results,” but if they want to see the full set of results they can access them through the ‘Show all results’ button.”
It sounds like a good idea and a move towards providing users with the information they actually want but Google decided to roll back the change after a lot of criticism from SEOs and others who have pointed out that the lack of organic search results is a slippery slope towards more paid results.
Google took notice of the feedback and after just a week of these zero organic result answers, spokesman Danny Sullivan announced on Twitter, “Update! We have enough data and feedback -- which is appreciated -- to conclude that the condensed view experiment should stop for now. The team will look at improving when and how it appears.”
Google has confirmed that there was a broad core algorithm update this month. Normally Google’s stance on updates is that they make several a day and tend to not confirm or deny specific changes, however the core algorithm updates are slightly different.
They stated on Twitter “Each day, Google usually releases one or more changes designed to improve our results. Some are focused around specific improvements. Some are broad changes. Last week, we released a broad core algorithm update. We do these routinely several times per year.”
These changes don’t tend to be geared towards penalising bad sites, but more promoting good sites. Google went on to say, “As with any update, some sites may note drops or gains. There’s nothing wrong with pages that may now perform less well. Instead, it’s that changes to our systems are benefiting pages that were previously under-rewarded.
There’s no “fix” for pages that may perform less well other than to remain focused on building great content. Over time, it may be that your content may rise relative to other pages.”
So, there’s nothing you can do to “fix” your site after this algorithm change, except continue to work towards one of Google’s few confirmed ranking signals of site “awesomeness”.
Google has confirmed that it will begin moving more sites over to the mobile-first index. The rollout is focused on sites that are already following best practice for mobile-first indexing, which seems to be in-line with Google’s goal to make this move as painless for webmasters as possible.
In a bid to make it even easier Google has also announced that they will be informing website owners through a notification in Google Search Console when their site has been moved to the mobile-first index. Thanks Google!