Rise and shine, it’s time to get your structured data in order.

If you’re not already using Schema.org markup on your pages, now’s a great time to transition over to it because, beginning on April 6, data-vocabulary.org structured data markup will be ineligible for Google rich results. For those still using data-vocabulary markup, check your Google Search Console for warning messages, which will become error messages after April 6. And, if you’re looking to gain a more comprehensive understanding of structured data and the types of schema you should use for best results, make sure to attend Leveraging Schema and Structured Data for Maximum Effect at SMX West in San Jose on February 19, led by Abby Hamilton, SEO associate manager at Merkle Inc., and Cata Milos, principal program manager for Microsoft. Register today.

Limited call insights, no call recording… Google My Business listing managers may be aware of the platform’s slim call data offerings. Call tracking intelligence company CallRail is stepping in with its analytics integration to enable marketers with more data through the use of separate numbers for GMB and organic search, as well as what Kevin Mann, CallRail’s co-founder and chief product officer, refers to as “person-level data,” such as customer names, numbers, recordings, how many times a prospect calls before converting and more. There’s no way to add this integration in bulk for multi-location brands and you’ll have to set up your main contact number through CallRail, but it may be a solution worth exploring for businesses that rely on calls as their primary source of leads and sales.

Despite Google’s best efforts, local business spam is going to continue in 2020 — keep on reading for Reputation.com Director of Product Adam Dorfman’s Soapbox on why, as well as your daily Search Shorts and to find out what we’ve been reading.

George Nguyen,
Associate Editor


Some will game the system so focus on what you can control in 2020

Here is a dirty secret about local businesses: it’s easy for them to spam Google listings through tactics such as creating fake listings, keyword stuffing legitimate GMB listings, and paying for fake reviews – both positive ones for themselves and negative ones for their competitors. Google will continue to try to stop them in 2020, but Google will fail.

There are just too many bad players flying under the radar for Google to stop them. In addition, these businesses really don’t have anything to lose by spamming Google. The most egregious offenders are typically indie mom-and-pop operations with zero visibility. What’s the worst that can happen to them if Google cracks down on them? Getting black-listed by Google matters little if you don’t get much traffic in the first place. Reputable businesses really have no option here but to continue to publish accurate, credible location information and compelling content while spammers eventually trip themselves up by committing sloppy errors such as publishing confusing location information. Customers will vote with their search behavior.

Adam Dorfman is director of product at Reputation.com.



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Search Shorts

Domain names are important.

Domain names. Danny Sullivan from Google said on Twitter: Domain names are the most important part of URLs; these haven’t been removed, because we agree this is important to show.

Google’s Martin Luther King doodle. Did you see the Google Martin Luther King, Jr. doodle? It was illustrated by Atlanta-based guest artist Dr. Fahamu Pecou.

OKRs. It is common for Google to use OKRs to track goals, said Google’s John Mueller.


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What we're reading

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

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai says there is ‘no question’ that AI needs to be regulated – The Verge

Favicon SEO – SEO Book

Google Hiding Like Reviews With More Link – A Bug or Test? – Search Engine Roundtable

Google Jumpstarts 2020 with Selection and Filtering Algorithm Update – Searchmetrics

How to Rank in Google’s New Popular Products – Practical Ecommerce

Huawei partners with TomTom for Google Maps alternative – TechRadar

IBM files Supreme Court brief backing Google vs. Oracle in Java suit – Business Insider

The True Value of Top Publisher Links – Moz