Good morning, this week started off with a bang. 

Nothing like kicking off the week with the rollout of a core search algorithm update. Google pre-announced the January 2020 Core Update yesterday morning. It started rolling out later in the day, so keep an eye on your analytics and rankings for changes. We will have early findings later in the week.

In other SERP news, Google is bringing the black “Ad” label and favicons for organic results to desktop results. The redesign took hold on mobile results several months ago. The change could have an impact on clickthrough rates for both ads and organic results. If you haven’t looked at your favicon in awhile, now’s a good time.

Responsive search ads (RSAs) are now available globally via all Microsoft Advertising interfaces: the web UI, Editor and API. Microsoft has a number of recommendations for RSAs, including running at least one RSA per ad group, with a maximum of five ads per group. One really big change with RSAs compared to ETAs (apart from the the fact that they are automated multi-variate ads) is the way in which both Google and Microsoft suggest advertisers evaluate their impact. Rather than looking at an RSA’s individual CTR or CVR, the engines recommend looking at the overall lift at the ad group level. And when drilling into individual asset performance, Microsoft suggests looking at impressions and updating those with the lowest impression volume. 

Keep reading for a Soapbox laws around reputation management and more.

Ginny Marvin


Reputation management needs a legal overhaul

Silicon Valley lobbyists continue to hold sway in Washington and in state legislatures, keeping laws very friendly towards the large internet companies, resulting in them largely non-liable for helping individuals and organizations remove false and defamatory information online. 

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act was enacted in 1996 specifically to save internet companies on costs, while the U.S. legislature knew it would result in collateral damage for small companies and individuals. Arguably, it is time for Section 230 immunity to be changed, but there has been little movement to do anything that would substantially help people in 2020.

While you might believe that our European counterparts have it better due to their “right to be forgotten” laws, this online “wild west” free-for-all that is maintained in the U.S. negatively impacts anyone in the EU that does business with America because their right to be forgotten is limited to searches conducted within their countries. People in the U.S. can still see content in search that is no longer relevant or false about them.

– Chris Smith is president of Argent Media


The State of Retail Media in 2020

Consumers everywhere now favor online marketplaces, not Google, when beginning a product search. Amazon recently overtook its rival when it comes to where shoppers start their customer journey. With so much change afoot, what exactly is the state of retail media in 2020? Join this live webinar with Crealytics CEO Andreas Reiffen and Third Door Media’s Editor-in-Chief Ginny Marvin as they discuss how leading retail brands can survive – and thrive – in the era of online marketplaces.

RSVP today »

Search Shorts

Cache, tags, https links and India.

Remove tag/search pages. Google’s John Mueller on whether removing tag or search pages will help you rank better: I think that would be pretty rare, though ultimately it’s up to you to decide how & with which content you want your site represented in search. Probably those (tag/search) pages aren’t primarily what you want to rank for.

HTTPS links. John Mueller from Google said, “We treat links on http the same as links on https sites.”

Google cache indexed. Google has now blocked its cache from being in the Google index.

Gary Illyes in India. Gary Illyes from Google will be in India, if you want to meet him on 27th of February in Gurgaon, India.


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What we're reading

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

20/20 Vision: Rules Regulating Low Value Content Intensify – Search Metrics

7 Alternative Search Engines (Tried & Tested) – Ahrefs

A Deep Dive Into Advanced Pivot Tables for PPC – PPC Hero

Alphabet’s Controversial Chief Legal Officer, David Drummond, Leaves Company – Forbes

Google Quietly Expands in New York in Wake of Amazon’s Stumble – Bloomberg

Google SafeSearch and SEO: How To Test If Your Site Is Being Filtered And How To Predict Future Filtering Using The Vision API – GSQI

Google Screened Ads Testing Photos – Search Engine Roundtable

Inside Google’s Quest for Millions of Medical Records – Wall Street Journal

Save time with Responsive Search Ads – Microsoft Advertising

What is Google Discover, and how can you increase your chances of being featured? – Econsultancy