Weekly SEO recap: Let’s disambiguate!

This week we had a few interesting things happening, from a potential update to some new features and an important change in Google Suggest. Let’s dive in!

Joost's weekly SEO Recap

Google adds disambiguation to Suggest

In a very interesting move this week, Google added disambiguation results to their suggest box, basically forcing you to choose for a specific topic when you’re searching. A search for [mercury] for instance shows this:

Google disambiguation results for Mercury

The 3 disambiguation results are marked with a long dash. Clicking on either 3 shows a knowledge graph panel on the right hand side, and, interestingly, none of the 3 results has Wikipedia as the number 1 result.

The disambiguation page for Mercury on Wikipedia has different options, so Google is at least not using that as its only source. A search for [ocampo] has 3 options, all of which do have a Wikipedia result as #1:

Disambiguation result for Ocampo

One more example, a search for [yahudi], delivers this:

yahudi disambiguation result

Whether you’re looking for the Jewish people or a film… Quite the difference of course in results. This makes it easier for Google to determine what it is you’re searching for, but it also makes it clear that you should optimize enough for Google to understand not just your keyword, but to understand your topic, which SearchEngineLand had a nice post about as well. This has profound implications for how you write articles, and for how you do keyword research.

Google to prefer HTTPS versions of URLs

Google has been giving a slight ranking boost to HTTPS URLs for a while now, at least, so they tell us. But now they’re going even further. When there is a working HTTPS version of your site, regardless of whether you link to it or not, Google will prefer the HTTPS URLs.

Google search update on the 16th?

Barry reported an update on the 16th, that sounded more to me like something had gone wrong somewhere. This sort of stuff happens all the time, and it seems in the comments that people were bouncing back after a few days. To me it’s always interesting to see when stuff goes wrong so badly.

Why having multiple XML Sitemaps can be useful

In an article on the SEM Post, they’re discussing whether you should have multiple or one single XML sitemap and what’d be the benefit of both. The most important thing John Mueller from Google says, in my opinion, is this:

I like to split up the sitemap file because in the Search Console you can look at the index stats by sitemap file and that sometimes makes it a little bit easier to understand what types of pages are currently being indexed and what pages aren’t being indexed.

That’s the exact reason why our Yoast SEO plugin has an XML Sitemap feature that creates a single index with XML sitemaps per post type. This makes it a lot more interesting to look at the XML sitemaps section of Google Search Console.

That’s it, see you next week!

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PS If you find disambiguation a nasty word, you’re not alone. I must have mistyped that about a dozen times while writing this post :)