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On October 25, Google’s official company blog read that an update based on neural network technologies and thus on artificial intelligence went online: BERT. It should affect around 10% of all English-language searches. Google calls it the biggest update in the last five years – and a big step forward in the history of Internet search engines.

Since this publication, website operators and marketing experts have been dealing with a topic around the world: Does BERT influence search engine optimization? We took a closer look at the topic for you.

What is the Google BERT update?

BERT stands for “Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers”, a technology developed by Google in the field of deep learning. It was published as an open-source in the past years. Basically, Google has revised its algorithm so that the update tries to better understand human language with all its complexity – the processing of natural language (NLP = Natural Language Processing). It is designed to improve machine recognition of natural language. Words are now considered in connection with other words from the search query so that Google can better understand the context of the search query.

So far, Google has looked at each word individually, one after the other, now it is checked at which position the word is located and in what relationship the word is to other words, e.g. through prepositions.  The search engine is to learn to recognize word meanings within a sentence – including all the nuances that arise from the context.

With machine learning to more suitable search results

Including the context improves the quality of search results in two ways: on the one hand, the queries are processed more precisely and on the other hand, websites can also be evaluated more comprehensively.

Users do not always put their search queries in the form of pure keywords. In most cases, we use more than a single search term and more and more often also “naturally” formulated questions – or at least the versions of them reduced to the most important keywords. Words such as “for” or “without” may appear, which have so far had little influence on the search results. However, if they are used to build a relationship between the keywords used, many search results previously displayed as possible can be excluded.

In addition, context processing makes it easier to find keywords that have different meanings in different contexts. If the search engine learns to recognize these ambiguities and to infer the desired interpretation from the context, it can process search queries with a high degree of complexity all the more reliably.

BERT Update and SEO

Voice Search, in particular, will benefit from a refinement of language understanding by search engines. Search queries that we do not write, but speak, are much more likely to have naturally formulated questions and so-called long-tail keywords than is the case with “classic” typed search queries. And these long-tail keywords are characterized by the fact that they do not consist of a single word, but of a certain combination of terms. The relation of the individual keywords to each other determines which search results match the query – and thanks to BERT, the search engine learns to determine these relations as precisely as possible.

How can websites be optimized for BERT?

From an SEO perspective, there are no concrete conclusions that could be drawn for your own website. Ultimately, the update aims to understand more complex search queries and to provide informative search results. From this, it can be concluded that SEOs must continue to focus on the fact that the content is informative and offers added value for the searcher. If you can put yourself in your readers’ shoes and find out which questions are likely to lead to the search for the content of a website, you can both take up these questions in the text and give suitable answers.

The update is a further step towards creating the content for the user and not for the algorithm

Since BERT is able to process natural language, web texts do not have to be particularly structured, content-wise or stylistically revised in order to be able to be evaluated. A text that is comprehensible to readers is all that BERT needs for its ranking. The only factor that website operators should focus on in order to accommodate BERT a little is the intention of search engine users. However, this approach is neither new nor specifically tailored to BERT: it is basically the same strategy that is used to optimize Voice Search. In addition, the maintenance of a keyword density matched to the previous SEO conditions should not (yet) be neglected. BERT is currently not a replacement for the previous mechanisms, but an addition. The keyword frequency, therefore, continues to have a major impact on the ranking of a website.

If you want to keep your website up to date, you don’t have to do any special BERT SEO. Adequate keyword density and the use of long-tail keywords suitable for voice search will also be the focus in the foreseeable future in addition to further SEO measures.

How does the update affect rankings & which search queries does it affect?

The update affects both the organic search results and the featured snippets, but only to a limited extent. According to Google, BERT would be used in every tenth search query from Google.com. The rollout for other countries will gradually take place, still undefined. However, the featured snippets are already based on the BERT update in all 25 languages. The rankings will change in the sense of the BERT update, especially for search queries where the context has so far been left out or misinterpreted.

This primarily affects long-tail search queries and less those search queries that only consist of a small phrase. Google’s example of this is, for example, the search query “2019 brazil traveler to the USA needs a visa”. So far, Google has also shown search results that explain how US citizens can travel to Brazil, but the context of the search query means exactly the opposite. This is exactly what BERT can now interpret and play out other results.


How important do you think the update is?

The update is the biggest algorithm change in recent years. Since Google strives to make the search results as informative and tailored to the search query, it is essential that Google learns a contextual understanding. Search requests are getting longer, there are already around ? in the long-tail area. This means that search queries are increasingly adapting to the form of linguistic questions and no longer consist of just a few keywords. Users want to get an even more precise answer with specific search queries.

An evaluation of the search query without understanding the context would only result in unsatisfactory SERPs. This is why this update is important for Google as well as for users since they can expect even more coherent search results.

Since last April, the Google search engine has experienced many problems with de-indexing or miss-indexing content. In a new post on his blog for webmasters, some explanations are provided on these recent concerns, with the promise of better communication in the future …

As we know, Google has recently experienced ( especially in April and May this year ) several indexing problems, which have created many issues updating the index of the search engine. Some observers also identified new difficulties a few days ago.

In short, these worries became frequent, and Google felt it was time to provide some information about it. This is what he just did on his blog for webmasters via a post signed by Vincent Courson.

Some explanations of the different indexing incidents

The article explains that the Mountain View company uses many data centers around the world and that these data centers are synchronized continuously to return, as often as possible, the same information and have the most similar index on each one of them, depending on the variation and changes web pages crawled at a time T. However, a problem occurred on April 5 (a Friday more), during synchronization of data centers which has badly done, which generated a bug causing the loss of part of the search engine index. A backup (backup) index could be reinstalled in a few days until a system update on April 11th.

On top of that, because of the bug on the synchronization of the index on the data centers, it is the Search Console which started to send data sometimes incoherent, so finally logical: the primary data is erroneous, the reports of the Search Console followed the same path. Backtracking on an index saved in advance did not facilitate data management. The Search Console bugs were processed once indexing bugs were fixed, days after the start of the phenomenon. The corrections started on April 15, ended on the 28th of the same month.

To make good weight, and a priori unrelated to the previous concerns, it is the Google News tool which then experienced problems of indexing and unwanted redirects.

Following these repeated worries, Google tried to communicate to explain what had happened on Twitter in Search Console and its online help.

Decisions made to better communicate in the future

In short, all these incidents led Google to put in place actions due to their ” post-mortem culture ” to prevent this type of phenomenon from happening again. Decisions have been made for better communication on this subject with webmasters, namely:

  • Explore ways to more quickly share information in the Search Console itself about detected bugs, and ensure that this information serves as the primary point of reference for webmasters to check for problems, in case they suspect failures.
  • Promptly display warnings on the Search Console Data Anomalies page (if the disruption is visible in long-term Search Console data).
  • Keep tweeting as quickly as possible to promptly reassure webmasters that engineers working on the engine are aware and that the problem is on their side.

Recently, a new problem has allowed Google to experiment with these new communication initiatives and strategies. On May 22, during the processing of some URLs, the ” duplicate management system ran out of memory after a planned upgrade of the infrastructure, which resulted in stopping the processing of all URLs. Incoming “this is what exactly happened then as Vincent Courson explains on the blog:

  • We noticed the problem (around 5:30 am, California time, May 22);
  • We tweeted about the current worry (around 6:40 am, California time, May 22);
  • We tweeted about solving the problem (around 10 pm, California time, May 22nd);
  • We evaluated updating the “Data Anomalies” page in the Search Console Help Center but decided not to do so because we had not detected a long-term impact. A term for the majority of Search Console data;
  • The confusion that this problem has created for many of us has confirmed our earlier findings that we need a way to more clearly indicate in the Search Console itself that there may be a disruption of one of our systems impacting webmasters. Such a solution might take longer to implement. We will communicate on this subject in the future, as we have more news;
  • Last week we also had another indexing problem. Like last May 22, we tweeted to let people know that there was a problem that we were working on it and when it was resolved.

The conclusion of the story and the moral of the song? Stay connected on Google’s various communication channels for everything from SEO and technical (indexing, etc.):

With all this, you should be more aware in the future of various problems occurring on the Google search engine in the future …

But do not forget: the best way to stay abreast of SEO and search engine news is to read News every week! 🙂

After a few months of testing, Google is finally launching a new graphical interface of its search bar which includes a new menu that uses icons.

Most of those who do research on Google know how the search menu is graphically speaking, but few, perhaps, remember that Google had icons next to search filters since 2010 on desktop and from 2011 on mobile devices.

google old search bar

Google launches a new search menu with icons

Then in 2011 Google removed the icons from the desktop version, making many changes to the top bar over the years, many of which can be found in the user interface archives.

Today, instead, after a few months of testing it seems that Google has started to launch the new search bar by going to use the icons. Instead of just using text to show the various search categories or use vertical categories for news, videos, images, maps, purchases, and so on, Google has begun to show icons that also represent those categories.

google new search bar 2019

Google launches a new search menu with icons

As you can see in the screenshot from Chrome on Mac made by the authors of Searchengineland.com the new menu is already visible on numerous browsers and operating systems, both inbound and outbound from Google, so much so that they were able to view the menu in every single test they have done.

Certainly, we are always in a roll-out phase, even if Google has confirmed to Search Engine Land the new menu is available for users today.

During the weekend numerous reports were recorded by readers who are seeing the new Google search bar and for some time we are able to see it constantly on all browsers.

The news, perhaps not very interesting for many, is instead important because it changes the user interface of one of the most used websites in the world.

Once again Google goes to prefer the user experience,  trying in every way to make browsing within its search engine as easy as possible, making it easier for users to find, quickly, everything they are looking for, doing research divided into categories…

Will the new look have an impact on search marketers or Search Engine Optimization?

As we have said before, this change will probably not have a great impact, at least for now, even if studying the new Google search menu in detail can certainly help to understand how Google itself scours the web by macro categories and how this helps its users to do research.

Then whether or not it will have an impact on SEO and organic research we will see it over time, when users will have taken the hand with this new way of doing research, also because, unfortunately, it will have given only a new look to the search results page of Google, even if we, sincerely, think that there is much more behind the new restyling than a simple graphics and aesthetic modification.

[via searchengineland.com ]


Ahrefs website has recently published a comparative study of SEO results between sites built under Wix and WordPress. Not surprisingly, WordPress crushes Wix flat. But isn’t the study skewed from the start? …


Ahrefs website has recently published an interesting study that compares the Google visibility of sites made on WordPress compared to those built under Wix. Indeed, Wix drags for years a bad reputation (not to say worse) in terms of SEO, while WordPress has a rather diametrically opposite image.

Does this study reverse or change the facts? well, not at all. Ahrefs has analyzed 6.4 million domain names and has taken into account, for each of them, a certain number of KPIs (DR or Domain Rating, indicator “home”, links, traffic estimated, etc.) and compared them, detecting the CMS at the origin of their birth.

The overall results are quite clear: 46.1% of WordPress websites received significant monthly SEO traffic, compared to only 1.4% of Wix

Comparison of SEO traffic received by WordPress and Wix sites. Source: Ahrefs

Other comparisons:

  • The average DR for WordPress sites is almost 3 times higher than for Wix sites;
  • The average number of “dofollow” reference domains is more than 22 times higher for WordPress sites;
  • The average monthly organic traffic is about 49 times higher for WordPress sites.

Comparison of SEO traffic received by WordPress and Wix sites. Source: Ahrefs


The study analyzes a number of other elements. In a general way, WordPress crushes Wix flat in most of them. At the same time, it seems difficult to compare the two platforms because they do not have the same purpose: Wix is ​​rather a CMS for beginners, intended for people with very little knowledge on building a Website and even fewer skills about SEO. These sites will, therefore, most of the time, not at all optimized by default and their visibility will be logically very low. Wix is ​​a platform for beginners to learn, not to perform with a high goal of visibility.

While WordPress is most often (but not always, of course) used today by people (who sometimes come from elsewhere in Wix and want to go further) who have more knowledge and who will take more time to improve their pages, often with more SEO knowledge. The result will be, for the most part, better in terms of SEO.

Basically, Wix often starts and WordPress to transform the test. To compare what is not necessarily comparable will always give this type of result …

Search Engine Land unveils its periodic table of SEO. Credits: Search Engine Land.
Search Engine Land publishes the new 2019 version of its periodic table of SEO.

Created for the first time in 2011, Search Engine Land’s periodic table of SEO is now being revamped. Previous versions focused on elements called “success factors”. This year, the specialized media has reviewed its ranking.

29 elements classified into 6 groups

The periodic table of the SEO 2019 integrates as well ”  fundamental elements, as those most toxic for an SEO strategy, indicates Search Engine Land, but also those representing sectors still emerging. With this infographic, we offer both long-time SEOs and industry newcomers insights into what’s important to succeed in SEO. ”

The elements of the table are classified according to 6 distinct groups:

  • content: which includes its quality, targeted keywords, and various formats (images, videos, etc.);
  • architecture: with great importance for the crawl, mobile optimization, speed of the site;
  • HTML: pay attention to titles, meta-descriptions, AMP pages …
  • trust: to be an authority in your field, to promote commitment and to pamper your reputation;
  • links: offer quality links, get backlinks and optimize your anchors;
  • users: value the locality of your visitors, work the user experience, etc.

In the right part of the table, Search Engine Land also classifies toxic elements to good SEO (cloaking, hiding keywords, stolen content or too intrusive) and emerging verticals.

Indices of improvement for each element
Each element is finally accompanied by a number ranging from -3 to +3, allowing them to be classified according to their degree of importance in SEO. The negative elements will thus seriously damage your strategy, while the positives will improve it.

Only emerging elements have no signs of improvement. Among them, we find voice control, the ever-increasing importance of images in the SERPs, video, and SEO for local businesses.

To get the SEO periodic table, you will need to enter your email address at the bottom of this page.

Google rolls out from today’s Monday, a core update of the Google search. Google Search Liaison announced the update with the sober name “June 2019 Core Update” yesterday on Twitter. It is likely to take several days for the impact of the update to be felt everywhere. What changes the Core Update will bring in details, Google has not announced.

After many injunctions from his community, Google is now more proactive and takes the time to announce the launch of a major update of the algorithm. The firm has split a tweet this Sunday to formalize the release of this “Core Update” of June 2019. There is nothing special to expect from this update. Google simply notifies site owners and SEO specialists but does not reveal the content or state of mind of this update.

What you need to know about the Google Core SEO Update

Core updates are run several times a year on Google Search. The latest update in March had a big impact on search results and triggered activity in the SEO scene.

In the past, Google has made its core updates without announcement. Even a confirmation of an update following was rarely. Google Search Liaison hung up on the announcement a tweet dated October 11, 2018, in which Google informed about the general nature of updates. The interesting part of this thread says, “Sometimes we make major changes in our core algorithm. We inform them because the actionable advice is that there is nothing special to ‘fix’. But, we do not want web site operators to mistakenly try to change things that are not a problem … ”

Without a transparent breakdown of the changes, webmasters will for the time being just be watching their traffic to see if they’re positively or negatively affected by the June 2019 core update.

Google’s official guideline is that website owners should not do anything. This lack of transparency and control over their own performance is unsatisfactory for many webmasters, the SEO finger is relaxed. Search Engine Journal has compiled, why it is still a good piece of advice, first to wait. Because Google says that there is nothing to fix this core update. The update takes seven to ten days to make itself felt everywhere. Until then, all conclusions about the effects are premature. If you want to find out why a page is no longer well placed in the search results, you should not focus on what might need repairing. It would be more helpful to wonder why the site is not so relevant from Google’s point of view. And why competing sites that have improved in rankings appear to be considered more relevant.

Google wants to be more proactive

Google’s algorithm updates, while very regular, are very often a source of anxiety for SEO experts. These Core Updates affect how Google will rank pages in its search results. At each of these updates, professionals anticipate changes in their traffic, positive for some, and negative for others.

After many injunctions from his community, Google is now more proactive and takes the time to announce the launch of a major update of the algorithm. The firm has split a tweet this Sunday to formalize the release of this “Core Update” of June 2019. There is nothing special to expect from this update: Google simply notifies site owners and SEO specialists but does not reveal the content or state of mind of this update.

The firm recalls the operation of its algorithm and updates

On the occasion of the launch of this update, Google wanted to remember a few things: […] As with any update, some sites may notice traffic decreases or gains.

If some pages are less efficient today, it’s not because they do something wrong, it’s because changes to our systems now benefit previously under-rewarded pages. There is no alternative for less powerful pages than to stay focused on creating quality content.  ”

SEO specialists are therefore warned. Disturbances in the SERPs are expected this Monday, but they will have to investigate to understand these fluctuations.

A few days after being set up, the favicons in the mobile SERP have been abused variously. Google has removed the offending icons with a default pictogram.

Last week, Google introduced a new mobile SERP displaying favicons to the left of the URL at the beginning of the results map.

It did not take long for some sites to try to manipulate this new feature with favicons that had nothing to do with the content of the site in question, bypassing the official recommendations of the search engine, namely:

  • The favicon file and the home page must be crawlable by Google. In other words, you can not prevent the engine robot from accessing it.
  • The favicon should visually represent the brand of your website, to help users quickly identify it when browsing search results.
  • The size of the favicon must be a multiple of a square of 48 pixels (for example 48 x 48 pixels, 96 x 96 pixels, 144 x 144 pixels, etc.). SVG files do not have a specific size. Any valid favicon format is accepted. Google will resize your image to 16×16 pixels for use in search results. Therefore, be sure to submit an image suitable for this resolution.
  • The favicon URL must be stable. Do not modify the URL frequently.
  • Google does not display favicons that are deemed inappropriate, including any porn symbol or hateful symbol (such as swastikas). If this type of image is discovered in a favicon, Google will replace it with a default icon.

It is this last point that has been detected by the site Search Engine Roundtable: several sites have already been penalized and their favicon replaced by the default pictogram (a planet). Here are two examples:

A site that has posted "Ad" favicon
A site that has posted “Ad” on a natural result. Source: Search Engine Roundtable
same site with the favicon replaced with the default picto favicon in mobile serp
The same site with the favicon replaced with the default picto, following the engine check. Source: Search Engine Roundtable
A site using a swastika as a favicon in mobile serp
A site using a swastika as a favicon. Source: Search Engine Roundtable
same site with the favicon replaced with the default picto favicon in mobile serp
The same site with the favicon replaced with the default picto, following the engine check. Source: Search Engine Roundtable

It is unfortunate that every time a feature is offered by Google, it is so distorted and diverted in the hours that unscrupulous webmasters. We had already known Authorship tags, finally abandoned before the mass of spam they had generated. It seems that the same phenomenon happens with favicons. Human nature is thus made … 🙁 Hope that the penalties will be stronger than a simple picto replacement to prevent this feature also disappear in a few months …