The Search Summary: March 2021 hero image
The Search Summary: March 2021 hero image

Last month we published the first Search Summary post – a monthly recurring post detailing significant happenings within the search engine world.

This month we cover new schema markup, free hotel listings on Google, additional resources to help you improve your video visibility and visual updates to Bing.

Let’s get into it!

New Markup for Educational Websites

Whilst this markup is super niche in that not many websites will use this data (especially on the commercial side), it’s not often new markup is published so from that aspect it’s pretty exciting! 

Practice Problems

The new markup allows educational sites to better help their students find learning material online much easier. The SERP layout changes to include a sidebar relating to the subject matter and containing Examples, Worksheets, Practice questions, calculators and more. Implementing is similar to FAQ markup in that there are questions and answers; however, the successful markup allows for multiple choice answers along with an interactive quiz directly on the search results page:

More information along with details on how to implement this markup is available via Google Search Central.

Math Solvers

This one is even more niche and only available to official math solvers. Whilst Google itself can already complete mathematical equations (typically bringing up a calculator when typing something like “35 * 21”), this markup aims to help users input their math equations and find explanations on how to solve math problems.

As always, Google has provided official developer documentation on Google Search Central.

New Resources for Video

Online video consumption is HUGE and consistently growing, with wider access to technology across the globe, improved web technology and faster internet speeds across devices, Google has been and will continue to put a large focus here for years to come. As such, they have released additional resources into the wild this month to help webmasters increase the reach of their videos.

“Video SEO” Video

To help surface more video across the web in their search results, Google has created a video for “Video Best Practices” which covers everything from how Google indexes videos, how to feature them in SERPs, using VideoObject markup and more, aiming to help users better rank their videos in search results. The full video is available below:

Top Tip Not producing videos for your website? At this stage, it’s highly likely your competitors haven’t started their video journey either, so if you aren’t producing videos for your website to help your users, now is the time to strategise and get some content out there!

Video Best Practices Guide

Along with the video content shared above, Google has also updated their already very well documented Video best practices guide available on Google Search Central. It’s quite similar to their Image best practices guide and is an excellent reference to review before publishing any video content.

updated google video best practices guide
Updated Video Best Practices Guide Screenshot

Free Hotel Listings

This isn’t exactly a new feature, but it has traditionally been a paid affair, with hotels and travel companies having to pay to appear in Google Travel. Now, as of early March, Google has made it free for relevant companies to appear in the hotel booking section of Google Travel, opening up additional exposure to these businesses and hopefully, increasing their bookings. It’s a nice gesture given the tough time the travel industry has had over the last year.

Bing Interaction & Visual Updates

Many people discount Bing given its smaller market share and it being much later to the party than Google, however, they continue to experiment with out of the box ideas that are really good for users and enjoyable to experience. Earlier this month, Bing announced a bunch of changes that are super useful – let’s take a look!

Interactive Search Results

Recipes

If you like to cook and find a lot of your recipes online, you’ll notice a trend over recent years where recipe websites have fattened up their blog posts to aim for higher engagement, longer time on site and increased advertising. Whilst this may work for the publishers, it can be extremely frustrating for users having to scroll past long bits of fluffy text and ads just to find the recipe. To combat this, Bing will now attempt to extract key information from the article and bring it straight to the SERP.

bing recipe interactive search
New Recipe Interactive Search Feature in Bing Screenshot 

Visual Search

You can now search images within images, so if you find a photo and notice a nice piece of furniture in the background and want to learn more about it, or perhaps where to purchase it, Bing will allow you to select that item and search for it specifically. Neat!

bing visual interactive search
New Visual Interactive Search Feature in Bing Screenshot

Top TipDO NOT DISMISS BING! Even though market share is significantly lower, it can still be a strong channel for a wide range of industries and is worth monitoring + using frequently to identify new opportunities.

Improved Carousel

This one is very similar to a feature that has been available on Google for quite some time. However, Bing has gone the extra mile and added additional information like IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes ratings for movies with Goodreads ratings being pulled for items like books.

bing improved carousel
New Improved Carousel Search Feature in Bing Screenshot

Infographics

This is probably one of the most impressive, where searching for broad topics generates a useful Infographic on the right-hand page. Clicking on items within the infographic then navigates to pages with more information. Here’s an example of a search for the “great white shark”:

Search for “Great White Shark” via Bing

That’s all the search news for this month. Be sure to check back in for April’s update to keep on top of all the latest changes and opportunities in the world of search! And, to fully capitalise on those opportunities and set your website up for success, get in touch with Yoghurt Digital. We have a team of SEO experts ready to help you stay ahead of the game on all the new developments in search.

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