Good morning, welcome to a new decade of search,

We hope you had a rejuvenating holiday and are excited to dive into 2020. I started in search in 2005, so is it a stretch to say I’m entering my third decade of search? Whether you’ve been in search marketing for one year, one decade, or more (Danny Sullivan published “A Webmaster’s Guide to Search Engines” back in 1996!), thank you for reading and pushing us to bring you the freshest news, analysis and voices in the industry.

I heard from several paid search marketers over the holidays about the changes that have had the biggest impact on their campaigns this year. Topping the list of aggravations were close variants changes and poor Google customer support. On the plus side, smart bidding, new audiences and Bing search ads were among the shout outs.

For local marketers, there were so many changes in Google My Business to keep up with. Greg Sterling captured them along with local experts’ perspectives on what was most significant. For one, machine learning is now being used to auto-generate content such as Posts and reviews in carousels based on the query and the user’s context.

We’ve got more dives into the big PPC, SEO and voice search changes and trends here:

Read on for a Pro Tip on page load time and, once again, your daily dose of Search Shorts and reading suggestions.

Ginny Marvin

Pro Tip

Page load time is an important SEO indicator

“Time to first byte (TTFB) is the server response time from sending the request until the first byte of information is sent. It demonstrates how a website works from the perspective of a server (database connection, information processing and data caching system, as well as DNS server performance),” explains Max Cyrek of Cyrek Digital. “One way to improve TTFB when using shared hosting is to consider migrating to a VPS server with guaranteed resources such as memory or processor power, or a dedicated server. This ensures only you can influence the operation of a machine (or a virtual machine in the case of VPS). If something works slowly, the problems may be on your side, not necessarily the server.”

Learn more »


What’s a DAM and why should you care?

Digital Asset Management platforms, often called DAMs, are software programs that store, organize and enable the more efficient use of an organization’s entire library of digital assets. This new guide from MarTech Today answers the following questions — What features do DAMs provide? What’s driving the growth DAMs? Does your company need one? It also includes profiles of 18 leading vendors, capabilities comparisons, pricing information, and recommended steps for evaluating.

Read more »

Search Short

The holidays are over.

Google holiday updates? Over the holidays, both Christmas and New Years, we’ve had chatter about Google search algorithm updates. I suspect it was just the unusual traffic you get over the holidays and you should ignore the past two-weeks of analytics and start fresh this Monday.

5xx errors slow crawls. Google’s John Mueller reminds us that persistent 5xx server errors will result in Google slowing how it crawls your site.

John Mueller on holidays. He was out there, working and helping webmasters and SEOs both on New Years and Christmas. John is dedicated.

XML Sitemaps. XML Sitemaps are like energy drinks, you put all these URLs into a bowl, Google mixes it up and uses it as a way to speed up indexing, said John Mueller on Reddit.


Dive deep with an SMX workshop!

Tack an extra day of training onto your SMX West itinerary and attend one of six exclusive workshops on Friday, February 21 from 9:00am – 5:00pm. These expert-led workshops are the perfect way to drill down into a specific search marketing topic and round out an amazing few days of learning. You’ll walk away with actionable tactics you can implement immediately to drive results. Topics include Amazon Advertising, Paid Social Commerce, Advanced Local & Multi-Location SEO Strategies, Advanced SEO Training, Advanced Google Ads Training, and Hardcore Technical SEO Tactics & Techniques. Which will you choose?

Register now »

What we're reading

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

5 Strategies to Grow Your Digital Marketing Agency in 2020 – Wordstream

Actually Accurate Analytics – Whiteboard Friday – Moz

France Fines Google for Mistreating Search Advertisers – Wall Street Journal

Google Translate improves offline translation – Google Blog

Putting you in control: our work in privacy this year – Google Blog

Upcoming sunset of message extensions in in AdWords and Google Ads APIs and Google Ads scripts – Google Ads Developer Blog

Google Local Pack Finder Choose Area Feature Now Live – Search Engine Roundtable

Google to end ‘Double Irish, Dutch sandwich’ tax scheme – Reuters

Protect Your Restaurants Google Listing from Menu Provider Hijack – Online Ownership

TurboTax will not hide free tax filing tools from Google Search – 9to5Google

Voice AI 2020 Predictions from 46 Voice Industry Pros – Voicebot

White Extremism Faces a Subversive Foe Online: Google Ads – New York Times