Good morning, how much do you trust user reviews?

“There’s no review website that doesn’t have fake reviews,” said Curtis Boyd of review fraud prevention company, adding that “The problem is everywhere and there are varying levels of sophistication.” Boyd said that, while the fake review problem is much worse than most people know, Yelp and TripAdvisor are generally better at minimizing it. Google’s Local Guide program has been infiltrated by review farms and the issue is also rampant on Amazon, especially in categories such as Bluetooth-enabled products, home fitness and kitchen products. What may (perhaps not) be surprising is that some business owners can get addicted once they start buying fake reviews.

Google’s Question Hub, a tool for identifying content gaps, is now being tested on COVID-related search queries originating in the U.S. First launched in India, Indonesia and Nigeria last year, the Question Hub is a way for searchers to let Google know when they haven’t been able to find the content they’re looking for. Publishers in the U.S. pilot can access the questions via Google Search Console and use it to inform their content strategy. It’ll be interesting to see how publishers take advantage of this feature if and when it receives a wider rollout.

Should Google be pausing algorithm updates to make things less stressful for SEOs? That depends on how you’re ranking right now, our own Barry Schwartz joked with Google’s Daniel Waisberg. All joking aside, our panel of experts, as well as members of Google and Bing’s search teams, say that if updates can provide more relevant results and help combat misinformation, then it’s just as important as ever that search engines continue updating their algorithms.

Mark your calendar for this Friday, 2 p.m. EST: Live with Search Engine Land is back! This week, we’ll be focusing on content marketing: the new challenges we’re facing as the pandemic sways user behavior, what brands should be communicating at this point, how engagement has changed and more. If you’ve got questions, send them to me ahead of time ([email protected]) or feel free to post them as you tune in live.

Keep on reading for a Pro Tip about getting over creative content creation blocks, as well as your daily Search Shorts and more.

Ginny Marvin,

Pro Tip

Overcoming creative creation obstacles

“If your client has limited resources to create new videos or images, then maybe a channel’s tools can help,” explains Kristin Palmer of Clix Marketing.

Google: I’ve found that some clients have video available but they’re just too long. If you’ve run into the same problem, you could enlist in the Bumper Machine Beta and have Google’s Bumper Machine create six-second bumper ads from existing longer videos. The videos can be downloaded for use on other channels.”

Facebook/Instagram: Use video or slideshow creation tools. You can send the preview link to your client for approval before launching.”

Pinterest: Contact your rep to have their internal creative team provide either 2 free pins or 1 free video for new clients. One revision is included.”

Learn more »


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Search Shorts

Microsoft Advertising disallows third-party government service ads.

Third-party government services ads. Microsoft Advertising is now disallowing third-party government services from advertising on its network. Google did this recently as well. 

Filtering out automated queries. Did you know that Google filters out the automated queries as best as they can from Google Search Console performance reports?  John Mueller of Google said so.

Earth day Doodle. Check out the Earth Day Google Doodle from yesterday, it was super nice.


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What we're reading

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

5 Tips To Get More Links and Media Coverage From Your Conten, Koozai

Complete Guide to the Fundamentals of Google’s E-A-T, BruceClay

COVID-19 insights & trends – April 21 edition, Microsoft Advertising

Dalgona coffee whips up global interest, Google Blog

Explore new sites, relive old hikes for National Park Week, Google Blog

Google makes ‘Hey Google’ sensitivity setting official, 9to5Google

Google Testing New How To Recipe Results, Search Engine Roundtable

How Google SERP Layouts Affect Searching Behavior, Moz

Tech titans dominate U.S. stock market after surge, Reuters

Testing Automated Bidding with Google’s Maximize Conversions, Portent

Why Bother with a Site Migration?, Searchmetrics