Intense closing of the year for Google: its recap in December 21 Search News

Reading time : 4 minutes

The month of December 2021 was quite intense for the SEO and there were various announcements and interventions from Mountain View: thanks to the usual appointment with Google Search News on Youtube we can find out what the various Google teams were dedicated to in the final phase of 2021 and what innovations were introduced in the search system (and not only)so we make the point and do not lose track of these movements that often influence our SEO work.

December 2021 Google Search News, how the search engine changes

To tell the recent developments in the world of Google Search is as tradition John Mueller, which in this episode focuses on issues such as updating the documentation on the site Search Central, the latest interventions on Google ranking algorithms, the Log4j vulnerability and the possibilities to pause a site on Search, the Web Almanac 2021 of HTTP Archive, as well as updates on the Google Search Console and on the Mobile-first indexing.

Mueller presenta le novità del dicembre 21 di Google

Google Search Central’s birthday

The first topic on the agenda is the first birthday of the Google Search Central site, the new place where Google decided to bring together all the research documentation for site owners, covering all topics, from quality guidelines to details on the implementation of structured data, including suggestions for e-commerce and management of Javascript-based websites.

Recently, the Google SEO team also started collaborating on this project, which, as Mueller explains, “is isolated from the Search teams and also rely on our documentation to learn the SEO”, and which produced interventions to improve the content, the titles, descriptions and internal links to “make our pages easier to find”, as well as the new interactive checklist that helps to quickly find the content relevant to the specific situation of a browser.

Therefore, says the Search Advocate, not only “SEO is not a bad word, but also Google needs to do SEO”.

Goggle’s algorithmic updates

Moving more specifically to the Search system, Google recently introduced and announced two major updates to the ranking algorithms.

First, there was the November 2021 Core Update, a classic “base core update” that can affect the core systems and lead to changes in performance in Search and also in Discover.

Then, the December Product Reviews Update started, an update that aims to better promote high quality product reviews, written respecting a series of best practices and specific indications.

Both updates arrived after mid-November, although it is difficult to estimate the right timing for interventions of this kind, which are felt for a long time on SERP and placements; according to Mueller, what you need to know is that the goal of Google is “highlight your fantastic content as prominently as possible, as soon as possible”.

In addition, updates of this kind lead to long-term changes in the search, so “tend not to be affected by rapid changes of websites”: for this, the advice to follow in case of negative impact from the updates is to stop for a moment, “take a step back, inquire about updates, wait to see how they actually affect the website and then consider if there is anything to improve or change”.

The Log4j vulnerability and the tips to pause the sites

In December, then, it occurred one of the most serious security flaws of the last 10 years, a huge security problem that affected many online services and websites, caused by Log4j, a popular component that is used in countless Java-based systems.

Because of the nature of security problems (and not only of this specific case), it is essential to solve them as quickly as possible or isolate them so that they can not be exploited by malicious, says Mueller, who explains how many owners and webmasters decided to pause their sites to avoid damage while the problem was being solved.

The advice, already in spring 2020, on how to pause a website without SEO risks, is therefore useful: the first recommendation is to keep a static copy of the website online using the same Urls. A static copy allows you to disable the server side without affecting the content shown, and this allows users to still find most of the information and helps search engines to keep the site in their directories – although this will not work for all sites, hits the search advocate.

The yearly Web Almanac according to HTTP Archive

Changing our topic (and tone of news), in this episode of Google Search News John Mueller also cites the new edition of the Web Almanac 2021 made by the HTTP Archive project, which analyzed a large part of the Internet to determine the current state of affairs.

In particular, the chapter dedicated to SEO “is more than 35 pages long and has been written by a number of great people in the SEO community”, and offers a fascinating look at the state of the sites regarding SEO, with some funny curiosities. For example, reveals the Googler, “did you know that home pages use more H2 headers than H1 titles?”.

Minor updates from the Google world

The latest chapter of Google’s video game is dedicated to a series of minor updates from the Mountain View galaxy.

In particular, Google Search Console has recently launched a new graphic design, which looks really stylish and modern.

In addition, Mueller admits that there has been a problem with some alerts related to redirection errors in the Search Console and, therefore, if our site has received such alert it is appropriate to a prior check with the URL Inspection tool before proceeding with any corrections.

Finally, there is also news on the mobile-first index, which is still ongoing: after several date shifts to complete the Index switch from desktop to mobile, and due to various problems on “a small number of sites”, Google has decided not to communicate a final date for the process and to continue working on this front by informing the sites “as needed”.