The latest news in SEO and WordPress: November 2020

Another great edition of our monthly SEO news webinar has come and gone. In the November 2020 edition, we opened up broadcasting for everyone — not just members of the Yoast SEO academy. Joost de Valk and Jono Alderson once again discussed a lot of news regarding SEO, Google, WordPress and Yoast itself. In this post, we’ll give a small recount of the topics discussed.

(Re)watch the SEO news webinar?

We’ve made the full November 2020 SEO news webinar available on YouTube for you to enjoy. Watch it if you have 45 minutes to spare, it is well worth your time. Also, don’t forget to join us for our next webinar on December 15, 2020.

Google news

To start off, have you seen the movie Google released some time ago? It’s called Trillions of questions, no easy answers. It’s a really good overview of how search works and why it is harder than we think to run a good search engine. It shows some of the problems they’re trying to solve. The movie offers a fascinating insight into a world that you might not get otherwise. Recommend viewing!

Page experience update rolling out in May 2020

We’ve talked about the new Page experience update and the Core Web Vitals quite a bit on this site, but a couple of weeks ago, Google formally announced the launch of this happening in May 2021. Google is going to keep a keen eye on the performance of your site — both in terms of site speed as well as user experience. It’s not going to be a huge ranking factor, but it does signal that you should work on the experience you offer your visitors. So if you’re not already paying attention to your site speed with the kinds of metrics Google provides in their Lighthouse and PageSpeed Insights tools now is the time to start working.

Google’s new Search Central

Google recently moved/revamped their search documentation and finally fitted it into a proper site structure. This is very cool and we are happy that Google finely came around to making the docs easier to find and use. In the past, there were so many places you had to look to find what you needed and now everything is there where you expect it to be. Now, it’s all available in one place. Awesome.

Google Web Stories WordPress plugin updated

These past few months, Web Stories have become a hot topic for Google. The release of the official Web Stories plugin for WordPress — and subsequent updates –, plus the addition of stories to Google Discover, made it clear that they are in it for the long haul. Web stories offer a completely new, yet familiar way of communicating with content. Google is very active and it wouldn’t be far-fetched to think that these stories will serve as input for something new.

How-to rich results now available on desktop

On mobile, rich results for how-to content have been around for quite some time. Over the past couple of months, Google has been testing various implementations on desktop as well. Now, it looks like they have rolled out as they are appearing all the time. Keep in mind, it’s really easy to build how-to content that’s eligible for these kinds of rich results — simply use the free How-to content block in Yoast SEO.

An example of a how-to result on desktop

Google: XML sitemaps are a minimal baseline for any serious site

Google’s John Mueller came out and said that having an XML sitemap is important for any serious site. Of course, we’ve been saying this for years and it’s one of the reasons why we — together with Google — worked so hard to get XML sitemaps into WordPress core. So many content management systems lack this option, so it’s awesome to know that WordPress can provide XML sitemaps out of the box.

Six months without a core algorithm update

There are some people nervously keeping an eye on every sign of a tremor in the search results. But, Google updates are unpredictable — they happen all the time and most of the time you don’t have to worry about them. Even when it’s been six months without a major core algorithm update there’s no need for you to get stressed about a possible update being around the corner. Chasing the algorithm is a bad tactic, so focus on building a great site.

Claim your Google My Business account to prevent it from being hijacked

There’s been an uptick in the number of local businesses that saw their Google My Business being hijacked by third parties. So many business have not yet claimed their My Business profile and that leaves these companies open to being hijacked. If you have a business and you have not used Google My Business before, please do so. Not only is it good to protect your profile, but it is an essential part of local SEO as well. While you’re at it, make it awesome!

WordPress news: jQuery updates and PHP 8.0

In the world of WordPress, there are a couple of important things to share. First, in WordPress 5.6, jQuery will be upgraded to a more recent version. jQuery is one of the core JavaScript libraries that underpins a lot of how WordPress works in the admin. That’s awesome, of course, but it could lead to breakage on your site. Not every plugin or theme will handle this move well, so you need to thoroughly test WordPress 5.6 on a staging environment before you update your real site.

The second thing is the upcoming release of PHP 8.0. This is a major update that’s going to make everything more secure, efficient and faster. There’s still a lot of work to do before WordPress can fully support PHP 8.0 and we are doing our bit. Omar Reiss, the CTO here at Yoast, together with a couple of our colleagues, did a lot of research that culminated in the 2020 WordPress and PHP 8.0 compatibility report. All these insights made it easier for the WordPress team to announce how they are going to work towards supporting PHP 8.0

What’s new at Yoast?

Never a dull moment at Yoast HQ! This month, we’ve launched an awesome Zapier integration in Yoast SEO 15.3. By connecting Yoast SEO to the Zapier automation platform you can now determine what happens after you publish a post. Automatic publication to Facebook or Twitter? You got it. It’s flexible and powerful.

Here’s another biggy: we’ve combined Yoast SEO Premium and Yoast SEO academy. Now, you get access to all our premium SEO and WordPress courses if you buy Yoast SEO Premium. The price of the plugin hasn’t changed, so for one low price of $89 you get access to an incredible SEO tool and the knowledge you need to do SEO well. Of course, this deal will be even sweeter later this week when Black Friday comes knocking.

Last but not least, we built an entire digital story on one of our favorite subjects: open source. This is exactly the type of publishing that you can do right now on WordPress without having to do years and years of development work. Go read our open source digital story!

That’s the SEO news in November 2020

You’ve reached the end of the recap of the November 2020 edition of the SEO news webinar. This is just a sampling of the topics Jono and Joost discussed and you should really check out the rest on YouTube. We hope you enjoyed it. If you want to read more, check out the SEO News from December!

You can also catch up on the SEO news of the past months here:

Coming up next!

2 Responses to The latest news in SEO and WordPress: November 2020

  1. Manu Ragav
    Manu Ragav  • 3 years ago

    Thank you very much for this Webinar my Friend Really Enjoyed it and Waiting for December’s Webiner

    • Camille Cunningham
      Camille Cunningham  • 3 years ago

      That’s great to hear, Manu! We’ll see you there!