Join Fusion’s technical SEO team as we round up last month’s major industry updates.
Search Console Insights Report Now In Beta
Following months of testing, Google has officially announced the release of its Google Search Console Insights report.
Google describes the Insights report as “a new experience tailored for content creators and publishers”, designed to help increase understanding of how users discover and engage with site content.
The report provides a combination of data from Google Analytics and Google Search Console from the previous 28 days, roughly showing:
- An overview of all Page Views
- A breakdown of Page Views by channel
- Page Views & Avg. Page Duration for recently published & top performing content
- Top clicked keywords
- Top referral links
- Top social channels
At the time of writing Insights is in closed Beta, and is only accessible to users by invitation. However, if don’t think you’ve received an invitation you may still be able to access data for some sites – just head to this link link whilst logged in from your GSC account to see if you have access.
As with all Beta releases, it’s unclear when or whether the feature will receive a full rollout, although it’s likely that an open Beta will be released in the coming months.
New Dev Tools & Lighthouse Features Coming to Chrome 86
Google has provided an outline of the new Dev Tools and Lighthouse report features that will be available in Chrome 86, which is currently expected to be released on October 6th 2020.
The updated Dev Tools will contain a number of new debugging and auditing features, including:
- New Media panel: Updated to allow users to more efficiently view and debug video content
- Capture Node Screenshots: Available via a dropdown within the elements, allowing for nodes to be selected and captured
- Emulate Missing Local Fonts: Makes the browser act as if fonts are missing, providing greater insight into how fonts are fetched
Chrome 86 is also set to be released with a new version of the Lighthouse report. Alongside a bug fixes, Lighthouse 6.2 is also set to contain the below new capabilities:
- Avoid non-composited animations: Reports on animations that shift during load, reducing CLS
- Avoid long main thread tasks: Provides info on the longest main thread tasks
- Unsized image elements: Reporting on whether image elements have a set height and width
Google “Glitch” Causes Ranking Anomalies
Around the 10th of August many within the SEO community reported widespread and sudden ranking fluctuations, leading most to assume an algorithm update was in process.
This would have been an unwelcome and unexpected surprise, as in recent years Google has largely warned in advance of updates. Google have also specifically stated that they are unlikely to make any significant algorithm changes within 2020, whilst the industry deals with the fallout from COVID-19.
However, fluctuations were soon followed by reports of stabilization, and it soon became apparent that the changes were the result of what Google has referred to as a “glitch”.
In typical fashion, the statement from Google on the exact causes of the glitch was fairly oblique, simply stating that the changes were a result of an “indexing issue”.
Server Side Tagging Now Available in GTM
Google Tag Manager and Tag Manager 360 have been updated with a new server side tagging feature.
Server side tagging allows companies to host third party tags within a Google Cloud hosted server container, rather than directly on a website. This means that when a user visits a site with server side tagging in place, the tags will be loaded directly within the cloud rather than on a webpage.
Whilst primarily reported in PPC circles, the new feature should also open up benefits for those working in SEO. Third party tags are a common contributor to performance and site speed issues, and more often than not the solution to dealing with these issues isn’t entirely simple. However, if a client is using GTM to serve third party tags, the new feature provide offer SEO’s a relatively simple way to improve performance.
If you found this update useful, check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today.
by Joshua Carter