With March feeling like an eternity ago and the world being gripped with the Coronavirus pandemic, that didn’t stop the boffins at Google working their magic.

Here’s all the latest from the world of SEO and Google from March 2020.

google SEO news - march 2020

4th March – Should I use a sitemap?

John Mueller took part in a YouTube Q & A and asked “If I don’t have a sitemap, Will Google find all of my pages?”

Daniel Waisberg who was on hand to answer stated that if your site is small and all of your pages well linked then Googlebot should be able to easily find all of your content.

It was also mentioned that a sitemap does not come with any guarantees and that not every page in a sitemap will be indexed.

It is however a good idea to have a sitemap if:

  • Your website changes often
  • Your website has a large amount of pages
  • Your website has isolated/orphaned pages
  • Your website is relatively new

Here’s the video:

5th March – Confirmed: 70% of websites now moved to mobile-first indexing

On 5th March, Google confirmed that around 70% of websites that they index have now been indexed in the mobile-first index.

The other 30% or so of websites are scheduled to be completed by September 2020.

11th March – Paid backlinks no longer work?

John Mueller, who has been busy throughout March, was asked the following question:
“Are backlinks important in ranking factors? Because nowadays 80 to 90% of websites are buying backlinks which I think is very unethical. But these websites are also ranking on the first page. Why?”

As mentioned many times before Mueller confirmed that backlinks are one of many ranking factors but also added

“This is something where we also see that a lot of sites do things that arent really necessary for their website and web search.
They’ll go off and buy a ton of links and then we ignore all of those links.

So just because you’re seeing people doing something that looks kind of weird doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re actually profiting from that in a sense that there are lots of reasons why sites can rank in the search results.

12th March – Quality content is still king

John Mueller was asked a question regarding what “quality” content actually is.

In simple terms Mueller stated that you, the website owner, has a better understanding of what quality content is than the Google algorithm does.

Instead of trying to work back how Google’s algorithms might be working, I would recommend trying to figure out what your users are actually thinking and doing things like user studies, inviting a bunch of people to your office or virtually to show them something new that you’re providing on your website and ask them really hard questions where sometimes the answer might be we don’t like your website or we were confused by your website or we don’t like the color of your logo or something.”

16th March – Response to COVID-19

Google released a number of updates from the middle of March aimed at assisting businesses affected by COVID-19.

New schema was created for events. An ‘eventstatus’ property has bene created that allows you to show cancelled, rescheduled or postponed events.

The 21st March saw google launch a dedicated COVID-19 website which provides education resources, symptoms, treatments, prevention methods and ability to donate to relief efforts.

There wasnt a huge Google algorithm update for march 2020 which amny people seem to be searching for. The lsit above is a list of all the key google updates march 2020.