April 2021: SEO Rewind

What happened in SEO in April 2021? Product Reviews Google Update, Screaming Frog released a new version with crawl comparison, there is a new tool for keyword grouping and much more.

April 2021: SEO Rewind

Product Reviews Update

On April 8th, Google updated its ranking algorithm when it comes to ranking product reviews. The update currently affects only content in English.

If you work with reviews, read the accompanying article carefully:

What creators should know about Google’s product reviews update

This can be crucial for affiliate sites.

If this update is relevant to your site, check out this in-depth analysis by Glenn Gabe, where he goes into great detail with examples and FAQ:

Google’s Product Reviews Update – Analysis and findings
Analysis and findings from Google’s Product Reviews Update, which was a major algorithm update impacting many affiliate marketers and review sites.

Screaming Frog 15.0 with crawl comparison

Screaming Frog released a new version with several major improvements. The most important is the ability to compare crawl and detect changes.

That’s a very welcomed addition!

Screaming Frog SEO Spider Update – Version 15.0
We are delighted to launch Screaming Frog SEO Spider version 15.0, codenamed internally as ‘disparity’.This is a release we are really excited about, as it focuses on a major feature we’ve wanted

New tool: KeywordInsights.ai

Suganthan Mohanadasan and Andy Chadwick from Snippet Digital launched a beta of their new tool that helps SEOs with grouping keywords into clusters and quickly assessing user intent.

If you like testing new tools, you can join the waiting list here.

Based on my - so far very limited - testing, I can say that it provides surprisingly good results, and I’m excited to give it a closer look.

To get a sneak peek at what you can do with data from KeywordInsights, check out Andy’s video here:

Google Search Console Updates

A lot of new improvements in Google Search Console - with the most visible one being the new Page Experience Report:

Page Experience Report in GSC - https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2021/04/more-details-page-experience
Page Experience Report in GSC
This report combines the existing Core Web Vitals report with other components of the page experience signals, such as HTTPS security, absence of intrusive interstitials, safe browsing status, and mobile friendliness.

This is a nice addition before the upcoming page experience update. Page experience update was initially announced to come in May but has been postponed a little bit - Google now claims that a gradual rollout will start in mid-June.

Page Experience report - Search Console Help
The Page Experience report provides a summary of the user experience of visitors to your site. Google evaluates page experience metrics for individual URLs on your site and will use them as a ran

Other Google Search Console updates are less obvious:

  • You can filter pages in the Performance report by Page Experience
  • Google updated the algorithm for counting image impressions in Search results - you might see a drop in the number of image impressions.
Google Search Console Performance Report Image Metrics Algorithm Updated
On April 6th, Google said it made an update to “the algorithm for counting image impressions in Search results.” This might lead to a “Small drop” in the image impressions you see reported in the Goog
  • But the most helpful update is that you can finally use regular expressions in filters 🙌
Filters with regular expressions in GSC - https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2021/04/performance-report-data-filtering
Filters with regular expressions in GSC

Btw., for those who struggle with regular expressions, JR Oakes created a Google sheet that you can copy and use to create a regular expression that will match a list of URLs or a list of queries 👍

Recordings from TechSEO Boost 2021

Recordings from the TechSEO Boost 2021 are available and cover these topics:

  • The Future Is The Past: Tagging And Tracking Through The Server (Simo Ahava, Co-founder, Simmer)
  • Panel: Python #FTW
  • Rendering Strategies: Measuring the Devil’s Details in Core Web Vitals (Jamie Indigo, Technical SEO Consultant, DeepCrawl)
  • SEO Testing (Brian Ta, Product Manager, Coinbase)
  • Panel: Evangelizing Technical SEO for Greater Understanding, Adoption, & Impact
  • Cultivating a Product Mindset for Success (Upasna Guatam, Product Manager, Platform & Commerce, CNN)
Technical SEO Conference Session Recordings | TechSEO Boost 2021
Check out the session recordings from TechSEO “Mini” Boost 2021. Watch the videos and up your technical SEO game.

BuzzSumo’s Headline Study

Great microcopy is critical for successful SEO. That’s why I think you shouldn’t miss the recent study conducted by BuzzSome, where they analyzed 100M headlines.

They focused on Facebook and Twitter headlines, but you can use the learnings not only for social media, but for article headlines, SEO titles, video titles etc.

100m Posts Analyzed: What You Need To Write The Best Headlines
What constitutes a “good” headline? We’ve analyzed 100m posts and spoken to six marketing experts to answer just that.

They did a very similar analysis in 2017, and it's fascinating to compare the results.

Google Updated the CLS metric

Google introduced updates to the way the Cumulative Layout Shift metric is calculated.

How will this affect my page's CLS score?
Since this update caps the CLS of a page, no page will have a worse score as a result of this change. And based on our analysis, 55% of origins will not see a change in CLS at all at the 75th percentile.

For more details, head over to the accompanying article:

Evolving the CLS metric
Plans for improving the CLS metric to be more fair to long-lived pages.

Speaking of CLS, there is a new tool that you can use to check your score:

Cumulative Layout Shift Debugger (CLS) - webvitals.dev
Check and visualize the Cumulative Layout Shift of any website. Free of charge. Maintained by ex-Google engineer Fili.

New and Updated Guidelines

Google published an article that covers best practices for cookie consent bars. It focuses on performance, impact on the core web vitals, and UX.

Best practices for cookie notices
Learn about how cookie notices affect performance, performance measurement, and UX.

Also, Google updated the Discover feed documentation making it more clear which pages qualify for being included in the feed:

2 Handy Videos About the YouTube Algorithm

The Creator Insider channel published two new videos on the YouTube algorithm - How Search and Discovery Works on YouTube and What Determines How Many Impressions Your Video Gets?

I recommend checking these out: