This week: News about the latest Panda update, Google pilots a live coverage carousel, and there are new guidelines for reviews markup.
Here’s what happened this week in SEO.
Google Pilots Live Coverage Carousel with Real-Time Indexing
Here’s some good news if you’re running a website that covers breaking news or live events: you can now opt into including your content in Google’s live coverage carousel.
Here’s what Google has to say about the new program: “With the Search live coverage carousel, users can find content about live sports, elections, and breaking news as soon it’s available on your site. Breaking content can include live blogs, full-length articles, videos and more.”
When you notify Google about breaking content, it will be indexed and surface to the top of the SERPs more quickly than with a standard crawl.
There are conditions, though.
If you want to be included in the live coverage carousel, your content must meet the following requirements:
- The content must be published with accelerated mobile pages (AMP)
- AMP pages must include structured markup
- Your article or video must be published to Google using an Atom XML feed
If you’d like to be a part of the live coverage program, notify Google by clicking here.
Google Updates Reviews Markup Guidelines
If you’re running a local business that relies on online reviews to attract new customers, then you’ll want to pay attention to Google’s new guidelines for reviews markup.
As you know, Schema.org markup allows you to post reviews about your place of business so that Google can properly parse them.
But the Big G has guidelines about the types of reviews you can use. Those guidelines have recently been updated.
For starters, you can’t include reviews that you’ve cribbed from another source. So, if somebody gives your place of business an amazing review on another site, you can’t just copy and paste the review into your own markup.
Also, you should have both positive and negative reviews on your site. So much for social proof.
Here are the other guidelines:
- Reviews cannot be template sentences built from data or automated metrics. For example, the following is not acceptable: “Based on X number of responses, on average people experienced X with this business.”
- Reviews for multiple-location businesses such as retail chains or franchises can only be submitted for the specific business location for which they were written. In other words, reviews for multiple-location businesses cannot be syndicated or applied to all business locations of the same company.
- Aggregators or content providers must have no commercial agreements paid or otherwise with businesses to provide reviews.
- Do not include reviews that are duplicate or similar reviews across many businesses or from different sources.
- Only include reviews that have been directly produced by your site, not reviews from third- party sites or syndicated reviews.
Google Structured Data Testing Tool Now Supports Schema v3.1
If you’re a fan of using all the latest bells and whistles when it comes to SEO, you’ll be happy to know that the Google structured data testing tool now supports Schema v3.1 markup.
This week on Google+, Brad Brewer posted a screenshot of a site he’s working on that uses the latest version of the markup.
“Webmasters can now validate schema.org 3.1 markup using the Google Structured Data Testing Tool,” he wrote.
Google Intrusive Interstitial Mobile Penalty Only Affects Pages, Not Sites
We reported last week that in the new year Google will start issuing penalties to sites that display “intrusive interstitials.”
That news was greatly exaggerated.
The reality is that the penalty will only affect individual pages, not entire sites.
This past week, somebody on Twitter asked Google’s Gary Illyes the following question: “Does the upcoming interstitial ads penalty apply at page level or is it site wide?”
Illyes replied that “the algorithm affects individual pages, not whole sites.”
Still, who wants a page penalized?
Google: Panda Rollout Continues
This week on a Google+ hangout, somebody asked John Mueller if the latest version of Google Panda ever rolled out.
He essentially said that it’s rolling out now and that it will be a gradual process. He also said that you’re not likely to see much Google dancing as a result of the latest version of Panda.
Here are his exact words: “[T]his is something that has been rolling out gradually and that that is updating over time as well. So that’s not something where you would see any kind of a distinct jumps or are changes in the way your website showing in the rankings. That’s something that’s kind of gradually flowing out over the search results. So less of something where you would see individual bounces or changes that you could kind of flag as Panda 4.3, 4.31 or whatever they would they would be counted as.”