Good morning, have you seen the latest search feature Google is testing? 

Google confirmed it is testing a new feature that highlights content within a website based on the clicked search result. Here’s how it works: Google takes the searcher from the search results page to the third-party site, then anchors them to the exact location on the site that includes the relevant content — and highlights the content. 

This is not an entirely new test for Google. The company ran a similar test on mobile through AMP cache — but is now experimenting on desktop and Chrome browsers. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s because Google is only testing the feature on 5% of Google searchers, according to a tweet by Google Chromium Engineer David Bokan. 

Should this feature get a broader rollout, SEOs will need to be aware of searchers potentially missing ads or CTAs on a webpage by being taken to a specific point on the page — and make adjustments so that their ads and CTAs are still visible, advises Search Engine Land editor Barry Schwartz. 

Local search expert, and founder of the local SEO firm Sterling Sky, Inc., Joy Hawkins talked to Barry Schwartz on camera for part of his new vlog series featuring high-profile SEOs. Joy and Barry talked about her decision to start her own agency, and how scary it was for her in the beginning — and the choice to buy Local Search Forum. 

“We try to make it quality,” said Joy about the Local Search Forum, “There’s a lot of moderation that goes into it.” 

Joy, who met up with Barry during the MozCon event in July, was about to go on stage to present her panel on local ranking factors, and what she discovered after running a test on businesses that had lost 98% of their Google reviews as a result of review gating. Joy said that in every single case, nothing had happened to the business’ rankings after the reviews were removed for violations. 

What she found out, after doing a little digging and speaking to Google, was that reviews that are removed for gating violations do not get deleted — only hidden — which means all the ranking benefits attached to those reviews are still at play. Not a good look for Google. 

There’s more below, including a Soapbox from Joy on the confusion Google is causing by not enforcing its own schema guidelines for third-party review sites. 

Amy Gesenhues,
Senior Editor


Google’s inconsistency with third-party reviews is a confusing user experience

When I first started in this industry in 2006, there were a multitude of sites upon which small businesses could ask customers to review them. Over a decade later, we find that there are very few that are actively generating user-generated content from consumers. This makes it even more problematic when a business receives a negative review. It also becomes very confusing to consumers and marketers when you factor in Google not enforcing their own schema guidelines for third-party review sites.

As a marketer, I want there to be more competition in the review space. I also wish it was easier to show small businesses the benefits of getting reviews on third-party sites. In my opinion, I think Google would be better off removing “reviews from the web” at this point due to the lack of consistency in their guidelines being enforced and the confusing experience it gives users.

– Joy Hawkins, owner and founder of Sterling Sky


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Search Shorts

Google ranking factors, penalties and redirects.

Website traffic not a ranking factor. Google’s official webmaster channel on Twitter said web site traffic is not a ranking factor in search.

Google can pass penalties. Google’s John Mueller said a manual action can pass from one domain to another even without a redirect being in place.

307 redirects. Google said “In general, 307 is what Chrome shows when a HTTPS site with HSTS is accessed as HTTP — it’s not actually a redirect, it just skips the HTTP version directly. Most sites use 301 redirects to inform of HSTS, so Googlebot would see that.

What we're reading

We've curated our picks from across the web so you can retire your feed reader

How Google May Do Query Rewriting by Looking at a Searcher’s Prior Queries – Go Fish Digital

Lead Volume vs. Lead Quality By RuthBurrReedy – Moz

Moving To A New Domain To Escape A Google Penalty? That Might Not Work Says Google. – Search Engine Roundtable

Report: Google has dropped to number three for smart speaker shipments – Android Authority

Restricting Payments account usage across manager account hierarchies – Google Ads Developer Blog

What to Do When your Campaign is Limited by Budget – Seer Interactive


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