Search News of February 2023 | Major SEO Updates

February was an exciting month for Search as Microsoft launched an AI-powered version of Bing search engine and Google launched its version of chatbot BARD

Amit Tiwari on March 5, 2023 at 07:00 PM 

Major SEO News of February 2023

February 1, 2023
Microsoft Bing Takes XML Sitemap’s Lastmod Attribute Seriously for Crawling

Bing has announced that it will now take the lastmod attribute of XML sitemaps more seriously for crawling. Most plugins, tools, and CMSs attach the lastmod attribute to the sitemaps, indicating when the URL was last updated. Bing’s own survey revealed that 18% of websites fail to set the lastmod value correctly. 

However, Bing will rely more on this value, which, they think, can improve the crawling process. Google does not attach much importance to lastmod. They previously stated that they do not look at the lastmod value, and now they only give it importance when a website sets the value at the time of updating the page.

February 1, 2023
Google Search Console Video Indexing Report to Show Video Impressions

Google Search Console has announced that it will now show video impressions in its video indexing report. Remarkably, Google has said that if a page appears twice in search results, the video view of that page will be counted twice. If you are not familiar with the video indexing report of Google Search Console or if you have forgotten about it, watch our video for more information.

February 6, 2023
Google’s Chatbot BARD is Launched

On February 6, Google announced the launch of its chatbot BARD, based on LaMDA. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, shared this information through a blog post. BARD differs from ChatGPT by combining the power, intelligence, and creativity of large language models with the breadth of the world’s knowledge. From where does BARD get this knowledge? It is Google’s knowledge vault. To learn more about Google’s knowledge vault, watch our video. Currently, BARD is only available to private beta testers, and Google will launch it for the public soon.

February 7, 2023
Microsoft’s AI-Powered Bing Search Engine is Launched

Microsoft launched the AI-powered version of its Bing search engine on February 7, which allows users to switch between search results and chat directly from the search results page. 

February 8, 2023
Google Launches Multisearch “Near Me” Feature Globally

Google launched its multisearch “near me” feature globally on mobile devices. This feature can be accessed through the Google Lens application on both Android and iPhone devices. To use this feature, simply take a photo with Google Lens and type in “near me.” Google will then provide information about stores, shops, and other locations nearby where the desired item can be found.

February 10, 2023
Google Announces Lighthouse 10th Version with a Big Scoring Method Change

On February 10th, Google announced the 10th version of Lighthouse, its open-source automated tool for improving the quality of web pages. This version includes a significant change to its scoring method. Google has removed the Time to Interactive (TTI) metric and added its points to the Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) metric. Previously, TTI scored 10%, and CLS scored 15%. Now, TTI is no longer scored, and CLS has a total weight of 25%.

February 14, 2023
Google Launches Privacy Sandbox Beta Program for Android Developers

Google announced the Privacy Sandbox beta program for Android developers. This feature allows developers to show ads without tracking users’ online activities. Google previously announced that it would soon stop supporting third-party cookies, but the problem with becoming privacy-compliant is that Google’s entire business relies on third-party cookie tracking through Google Analytics. Therefore, Google has announced FLEDGE, TOPICS, and now Privacy Sandbox as potential solutions. The Privacy Sandbox will track your internet activities on your phone, but won’t send the tracking data outside your phone to Google or the developer. They will only get insights based on the tracked information. It’s important to note that this feature will only work on Android, not Apple devices.

February 15, 2023
Google Publishes New Best Practice Guide for Links and Backlinks

Google published a new best practice guide for links and backlinks. This guide informs website owners what not to do to avoid penalties. 

The guide includes some older practices, such as the requirement for links to have an “a href” tag. Google cannot crawl links without this tag, and the guide also emphasizes the importance of ideal anchor text. 

The guide also states that when a link is added to an image, the image’s alt text becomes the anchor text for that link. Google advises against using anchor texts like “click here” or “find more” for internal links. It is recommended to keep anchor texts to the point and accurate.

February 16, 2023
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki Resigned | Neal Mohan Will Be The New CEO of YouTube

On February 16th, Susan Wojcicki, the current CEO of YouTube, resigned. Wojcicki had been working for Google for 25 years and leading YouTube for nine years. 

Although this news is not directly related to SEO or search, the personal style and taste of CEOs of large companies are often reflected in their company’s products and features. Wojcicki played a significant role in YouTube’s dominance in the video market and content creation world. It will be interesting to see what new features and functions Neal Mohan, the new CEO, will bring to YouTube.

February 19, 2023
Facebook Launches Blue Tick Verification Program

On February 19th, Facebook, or rather, Meta announced that they will be launching a blue tick verification program, much like Twitter. For a monthly fee of $12, users in Australia and New Zealand can avail of this feature, and eventually, it will be rolled out globally. 

While the purpose of Twitter’s blue tick may not be clear, Facebook’s blue tick program offers verified users direct access to customer support. If you have ever run an ad on Facebook or Instagram, you know the value of real support. This move by Meta seems to be a clever business strategy – build a big company, create a need for support, and charge for it.

February 22, 2023
Google’s February Product Review Update

Google rolled out an update to its product review system. While Google has not provided any specific information about the update, you can check out our previous videos to understand the changes. The update aims to enhance the user experience of product reviews on Google.

February 22, 2023
Google Search Console’s Property Management Features

Google Search Console announced new features for property management. Verified and delegated owners can now be easily identified, and there is an option to remove delegated owners if necessary. 

Users can also change delegated owners’ access levels, view current owners’ verification tokens, and even access ownership history. These new features aim to streamline the property management process and make it more efficient for website owners.

Focus Of The Month: So, February 2023 was a great month for the Search Industry. We saw the 2 biggest search engines in the world preparing to change the way search works with the use of AI and large language models.

It will be interesting to see how much impact Bing will make with its (open)AI-powered chatbot.