Good morning, will Google really hand over its algorithm?

It would seem unlikely, but there’s a new twist in a case over “search bias” in Google shopping results that has dragged on for seven years. Comparison shopping engine Foundem accuses Google of demoting it in search results in favor of its own Shopping results. Now, a judge has said Google can either hand over documents about its search ranking algorithms for examination by Foundem expert witness and Berlin-based SEO consultant Phillipp Kloeckner, or withdraw them as evidence. So will Google expose its secrets or potentially weaken its defense instead?

Many businesses are seeing conversion rate fluctuations during this time. We’ve heard some advertisers say they’ve started using Google Ads’ seasonality adjustments to account for drastic conversion rate changes in their campaigns. The problem is that’s not how the tool is designed to work. Seasonality adjustments are designed for short time periods — ideally from one to seven days. 

“Seasonality” in this case is somewhat of a misnomer, and just as you wouldn’t use a seasonality adjustment to inform your bidding models for the entire duration of the holiday shopping season, you shouldn’t use it to help manage the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on your conversion rates — unless, of course, you’re going to run a three-day sale, for example. Then have at it.

Today at 4 p.m. EST, Barry Schwartz will host our next Live with Search Engine Land. He’ll chat with search consultant Marie Haynes, Olga Andrienko of SEMRush, Mordy Oberstein of Rank Ranger and Peter Meyers from Moz about algorithm volatility and shifting search behavior since the global coronavirus pandemic broke out. Watch the livestream here starting at 4 p.m. EST. 

Keep reading for an update on featured snippets and much more.

Ginny Marvin

Pro Tip

Some Featured Snippets may not appear as the top organic result

“Featured Snippets that don’t appear in the top organic position are of a specific type” explains SEO consultant Brodie Clark after he did some research after a Google update to see how far-reaching the changes were in search results. “They have similar features to Knowledge Panels and trigger for a very small subset of queries. Looking at data for millions of queries across various segments, I was able to find some commonalities among the new Google Featured Snippets.”

Learn more »


Your 5 biggest Google Ads challenges & how to solve them

Paid search is more competitive than ever. Search marketers need to be proactive and learn how to get the best out of the right tools to stay on top of their PPC ‘A-game’ (A for automation). Adthena created this guide to address the top challenges and offer solutions that will help you get better results and make your life easier.

Learn more »

Mindful Moment

This is a difficult time for us all. We are sharing a mindfulness exercise daily to help those interested to take a moment to decompress and regain focus. If you have a tip or exercise to share with the community, please email me at [email protected]

This week, we have suggestions from Tara Martello, a meditation and mindfulness coach based in Philadelphia. Today’s exercise: Place one hand on top of your head and one hand on your heart or belly. Focus on the sensation of touch to help you get back into your body.

Search Shorts

Accessibility as a Google ranking factor?

Accessibility. Will Google ever use accessibility as part of its ranking factors? John Mueller of Google said, I won’t say never, but I’m not aware of any immediate plans.

Delivery & takeout labels. Google Maps is now labeling some restaurants with delivery and takeout options in the map interface.

Special Announcement schema. Google is sharing more details on the SpecialAnnouncement schema we wrote about last week. You can see more here.


Stay up-to-speed on modern marketing

How will your martech stack and processes be impacted by COVID-19? How can you deliver a personalized user experience without betraying privacy? Get the answers to these and more crucial questions April 21-23 at Discover MarTech!

See the agenda! »

What we're reading

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

5 Ways to Keep Your Content Strategy Flexible – Go Fish Digital

Captive Audiences? How to Pivot your Content Strategy during a Crisis – iPullRank

COVID-19: Consumer trends and insights for Europe – Microsoft Advertising

Google Logo Says Thank You Coronavirus Helpers – Search Engine Roundtable

Internal Linking: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Strategy – SEM Rush

Introducing a new way for sites to highlight COVID-19 announcements on Google Search – 

Official Google Webmaster Central Blog

Microsoft Edge is now 2nd most popular desktop browser, beats Firefox – Bleeping Computer

Temporarily rolling back SameSite Cookie Changes – Chromium Blog

Tips for Keyword Optimizing the Most Critical Parts of Your Website – Jaan Kanellis

Top E-Commerce SEO Challenges & How to Solve Them – Botify