Good morning, is Microsoft pulling a fast one on us?

Microsoft’s Office 365 ProPlus will forcibly switch users’ default search engine to Bing through a new Chrome extension that comes bundled with the software. The extension enables Chrome search to access SharePoint sites, OneDrive content, Teams and Yammer conversations, but it’s hard not to think of it as overstepping or as a thinly veiled attempt to promote Bing — after all, Microsoft could just ask users to switch over. 

Data publishers rejoice! Google Dataset Search is out of beta and it can make your data available to a wider audience. First launched in 2018, the specialty search engine surfaces information about datasets from thousands of repositories. The graduation from beta comes with new features, such as mobile-friendly support, filtering options based on download format and whether the data is free or paid. If you want your data to be discoverable within this tool, make sure to mark it up with dataset schema.

Google dropped another announcement on Friday: it is not done experimenting with the design of its desktop search results page. Early last week the company rolled out favicons and black “Ad” labels, mirroring the look of its mobile search results page. Google said that “early tests for desktop were positive,” but even so, it will continue making tweaks over the coming weeks. “Some might not see favicons while some might see them in different placements,” the announcement reads, so prepare yourselves for a barrage of SERP screenshots.

Oftentimes, SEOs and web developers are pulled in different directions and answer to different people. As a consequence, SEO teams get left out of the conversation, which can result in having to perform damage control after site changes instead of focusing on your campaigns. There are, however, ways to get developers on your side. Jenny Jiang, SEO developer for Autodesk, shared with us a few ways she’s bridged the gap between the two teams by accommodating for the way her developer counterparts work, advocating for open communication before new projects are launched and demonstrating the SEO team’s value to the company. 

After you check out her interview, consider registering for SMX West in San Jose from February 19–20, where Jiang will discuss even more ways to nurture a productive environment in which SEOs and developers can both thrive.

Ready for more? Keep on reading for a Pro Tip on why upgrading content may be more powerful than creating new content, as well as your daily Search Shorts and more.

George Nguyen,
Associate Editor

Pro Tip

The benefits of content upgrades

“Creating new content is not always needed when you have a body of good content that can be made to work harder and deliver quick results with some refreshing,” explains Chris Gregory of DAGMAR Marketing. “Upgrading existing content provides a better user experience. Users read your content for information, but if yours is out of date, it’s not useful anymore. Ensuring your content is current and accurate is the single best thing you can do for your readers’ experience.”

“It also maintains URL authority because every time you create a new page on your site, the new URL has zero authority. The URLs of older content have existing authority from any links they’ve acquired, and just from being aged.”

“One of the biggest benefits of checking your data is to see what types of search queries are resulting in impressions and clicks. Sometimes you’ll see a good keyword with a very low click-through rate. Simply editing content to include that keyword or its variations helps the content rank better and gain higher click-through rates.”

Learn more »


A Guide to Outsourcing SEO

Search Engine Optimization, when done correctly with the right tools and the right people, can be an enormous benefit to your business and product offerings. This white paper from Boostability explores why Outsourcing to an SEO-specific vendor is a great option for many who want to offer SEO

Get it now »

Search Shorts

Reciprocal linking; is it okay?

Google mocks spammy content. Gary Illyes from Google posts a sarcastic GIF on Twitter and writes: “Everyone’s reaction when low quality and spammy content is not indexed anymore.”

Reciprocal links. Google’s John Mueller said: “Reciprocal links aren’t necessarily bad.” But then goes on to explain you need to be careful. 

Messing with hackers. Did you know John Mueller from Google messed with a hacker? He wrote: “Someone once hacked a site of mine, and it started getting traffic for their hacked content. I locked it down and swapped out their affiliate links against mine.”


Want a free ticket to SMX?

Become a Search Engine Land MVP, refer your friends, and you could win a cool MVP prize pack, including a Search Engine Land t-shirt, sweatshirt — even a FREE ticket to SMX!

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What we're reading

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

Amazon, Facebook spent record sums on lobbying in 2019 as tech industry ramped up Washington presence – Washington Post

An Introduction to Google Discovery Ads – Hallam

Boom or Bust? The Google Winners & Losers of 2019 – Search Metrics

Content Hubs 101: A Guide to SEO Content Strategy – Seer Interactive

Creating a greener 2020 one tree at a time – Microsoft Advertising

Indexwatch: The UK’s Top 100 SEO Losers of 2019 – SISTRIX

Microsoft to force Chrome default search to Bing using Office 365 installer – The Verge

The January 2020 Core Update Data Results – RankRanger

This SEO Writing Tactic Never Works – SuccessWorks

[Updated] The Guide To Setting Up A Google Ads Account – PPC Hero