Good morning, how much do you trust Amazon reviews? 

Recent reports claim that a majority of Amazon reviews for specific categories are fake, and now Consumer Reports has released the results of its own investigation that claims “review hijacking” — when a seller of one product is able to associate positive reviews from another, unrelated product with their own — has become widespread. According to Consumer Reports, a noticeable percentage of review hijacking originates in China, or with Chinese sellers. 

“Fake review generation and other review-fraud tactics are a kind of blackhat SEO for Amazon, which helps those products gain search visibility and consumer credibility,” writes Search Engine Land Contributing Editor Greg Sterling, “As Amazon has become the leading destination for product search, the incentives to cheat have only grown for black hat sellers.” 

Yelp, a company built on crowdsourced user reviews, is rolling out new features aimed at helping it offer better recommendations and personalized search results. Soon, users will be able to select preferences and favorites, starting with their dietary and lifestyle options. The app will prompt a series of questions for users, asking, for example, if they may be gluten-free or vegetarian, or if they have lifestyle characteristics, like being a pet owner or homeowner, that might affect what content they should receive. Yelp will then use the responses to fine-tune search results for the user going forward. 

Get ready, there are some changes coming to the Google Search Console API. It will no longer support the “Is Install,” “Is App Universal” and “Is Opened” APIs and the Sitemaps API will no longer populate the indexing status of submitted sitemap files in the “Indexed” field. Google said it is still committed to the Search Console API and is working on updating it to the new Search Console. For now, Google recommends app developers transition to Google’s Firebase platform for the reporting that is no longer available in the Search Console API. 

Keep reading to see why data cleanliness and accuracy is a top priority for brands at the local level, and what Google says about sponsored content and structured data. 

Amy Gesenhues,
Senior Reporter

Pro Tip

Data cleanliness and accuracy at the local level must be a priority for brands

“Brands can reduce friction in location discovery and the pathway from search to store with local pages,” explains Brian Smith of Rio SEO. “Once listings are optimized, you can focus your efforts on providing and measuring the effectiveness of value-add experiences such as BOPUS (buy online, pick up in-store), integrating local inventory levels with online search, facilitating local bookings or reservations, etc. Mobile-responsive local pages with integrated reviews, schema, local or brand events and promotions, and other hyperlocal content help consumers take action. A dynamic locator further reduces friction by guiding consumers to their closest location and can also help brands showcase specialty offerings, dealer locations, service areas and more.”

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Best Practices in AI and Sentiment Analysis

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Search Shorts

Sponsored content, structured data & XML sitemaps.

Sponsored content. Google said you can have sponsored content on your site. Just make sure you nofollow the external links on that content.

Multiple structured data. Using multiple types of structured data on a page is fine, said Google on Twitter.

XML sitemaps important. XML sitemaps are still the second most important source for Google to discover URLs for indexing said Gary Illyes on Twitter.

What we're reading

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

Google My Business Adds New Service Options For Some Types Of Businesses – Search Engine Roundtable

Google Warns Against Blocking ‘Cookies’ Entirely, Triggering Criticism – Wall Street Journal

Kindness as Currency: How Good Deeds Can Benefit Your Local Business – Moz

Making Your Wait a Little More Great: New Loading Indicators in AMP – The AMP Blog

Should You Be Using Microsoft Advertising? – Seer Interactive

WordPress 5.3, Block Lab, and Members Block Permission add-on – Yoast


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