In this issue of the Search Marketing Roundup, we will share with you the most important search marketing news of July 2019, so you can keep up-to-date with the latest industry trends. Let's get started shall we?

Google confirms that GoogleBot will no longer obey a Robots.txt directive for no-indexing

Google has confirmed in July 2019 that in order to maintain a healthy ecosystem on the web, and preparing for potential future open source releases, that they are retiring all codes that handle unsupported rules. This includes the Noindex directive in the robots.txt file. Here is an example of what that code would look like: Noindex: /example-page-1/Noindex: /example-page-2/ Matt Cutts first commented on using Noindex directives within the robots.txt file to manage crawl efficiency back in 2008, so this has been a tactic used by SEOs for over a decade. Google tweeted on July 2nd 2019, "Today we’re saying goodbye to undocumented and unsupported rules in robots.txt. If you were relying on these rules, learn about your options in our blog post.” Google analysed the usage of robots.txt rules, specifically those which were never documented by Google, including crawl-delay, nofollow and noindex. They found that Googlebot rarely used them, and in fact they were hurting websites' presence in Google's search results in many cases. You can still control Google's crawling in the following five ways:

  1. 404 and 410 HTTP status codes
  2. Password protection
  3. Disallow in robots.txt
  4. Noindex in robots meta tags
  5. Search Console Remove URL tool

Ben Beckwith, Head of SEO at Semetrical, commented, "The noindex robots.txt rule was a great way for us to manage large multi-faceted websites. However, with these changes we recommend using the disallow rule as the best way to manage Google's crawl path. Everyone should review their robots.txt files to make sure their rules have been revised."

Study suggests Google organic search visits have decreased 8% in Q2 2019 versus previous year

A digital marketing report for Q2 2019 produced by Merkle shows that organic search visits have decreased 8% year-on-year for the same period. The organic visits from both Bing and Yahoo are also down, with declines of 26% and 11%. DuckDuckGo has seen a significant growth in organic visits overall, with a 49% increase year-on-year for Q2 2019.

Organic Search Visits 2019

Google's still managed to gain a 1% increase in organic search visit share during Q2 2019. Whilst total organic search visits decreased 6% year-on-year in Q2 2019.

Google's Maverick update in July 2019 is being discussed in the SEO community

There was a notable amount of volatility in the Google search results between July 11th and July 18th.

Google Maverick Update

John Mueller claimed that he didn't have any update news in response to the blogger chatter within the search community. However, he did mention that they "always do updates". A wide range of ranking tools were asked for their thoughts on Search Engine Land, and most couldn't pin point a specific niche or pattern in the ranking changes. The Google Maverick update seems to be "a bit stealthy and precise", according to Brett Tabke, the founder of Webmaster World.

Google has published a useful guide for making JavaScript content Google-friendly

Google outlined a number of simple tips for making JavaScript content Google crawler-friendly. These tips include:

  • JavaScript can be used to change the meta descriptions and titles so they are unique.
  • You can use lazy-loading to save bandwidth and improve performance by only loading images when users are about to see them.
  • Be careful of changing meta robots tags with JavaScript, as this often may not work as expected. Ensure that meta tag's values are not set to "noindex".
  • JavaScript can be used to implement HTTP status codes informing Googlebot if a page should be crawled or indexed.

Below is Google's diagram showing the three-step process for processing JavaScript content via crawling, rendering and processing.

Google JavaScript Guide

Please let us know if we have missed anything significant in this month's update. We'd really like to hear from you.