AMA with Google highlights: The core search algorithm update, mobile-first index status & more

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At SMX West last week, Michelle Robbins conducted an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session with Nathan Johns, a search quality analyst at Google. Johns touched on topics ranging from the core search algorithm update a week ago to the mobile-first index, the Google Search Console, Google’s zero results experiment and much more. Below are highlights from the AMA.

Core search algorithm update

Johns noted the core search algorithm update started to roll out on March 7. Most SEOs believed it started to roll out either on March 8 or 9. He reiterated that this core search algorithm update is designed to “reward under-rewarded sites,” and if your site saw a drop, just keep working on making your site better, it does not indicate a penalty.

The mobile-first index and speed update

With the mobile-first index, there is nothing new to add; it is still “chugging along,” Johns said, and overall, this is a big effort and a big change, so Google is taking its time with it. The speed update is coming in July, and thus, speed and mobile-friendliness are most important. Everyone should be working on that for their websites if they have not done so already.

Voice search

There were a number of presentations during SMX West addressing voice search and how site owners can prepare their content for surfacing in voice. Johns did not have specific information to share with respect to numbers or other data but did note:

  • Voice search is growing and getting better all the time. It is baked into new products all the time, and more and more people use it daily.
  • Voice search data in the Google Search Console reports is something that is on Google’s radar, but Johns has no idea if the reports will come to the search community or not.

Ranking signals

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