Good morning, are you feeling a bit of optimism? 

Rational or not, sentiment has started shifting in the past week, or even the past few days. Many marketers are feeling more optimistic about things, at least compared to where things stood at the end of March. Large travel advertisers are even coming back on Google and Bing. I spoke with and heard from more than a dozen advertisers and agencies yesterday about what they’re seeing in terms of advertising. While there are still challenges and concerns, most have now adjusted for a current state of new normal, however long it may last. What they had to say was illuminating. 

My question now is, what is the outlook for third and fourth quarters? And, are businesses planning for A, B and C scenarios depending on how consumers respond to reopenings and if there’s a resurgence of new COVID-19 case?

One measure of what the new normal looks like for our own business and our community is how marketers feel about in-person events. We’ve launched a survey to gauge this and will be publishing the data here and on Search Engine Land every two weeks. Take the short survey now. 

Indications of the transformational shifts for retail and local businesses can be seen in updates from Shopify and Yelp this week. Shopify’s updated POS system takes an omnichannel view, tying together online and offline customer experiences, including enabling merchants to support BOPIS. Yelp’s updates highlight virtual services and surface takeout and curbside pickup options.

Lastly, if you’re using the new SpecialAnnouncement markup on your site, you’ll now be able to see performance data on that with new reports in Google Search Console

Read on for a Pro Tip from Frederick Vallaeys. He’s got a new script that can highlight local performance anomalies, which are likely to increase as localities start to lift restrictions in varying ways.

Ginny Marvin

Pro Tip

A script that detects anomalies at a local level

Finding out when KPIs behave in unexpected ways in a particular location is the premise for this Geo Anomaly Detector script from Frederick Vallaeys of Optmyzr. “Most advertisers already pay close attention to geographic targeting, geo bid adjustments, and performance at a regional level. But this is usually done under the assumption that each geographic region will exhibit reasonably consistent behavior over time.”

“But now with coronavirus, there are two unexpected new factors in play that impact geographic performance: How local governments restrict what businesses can do; and how consumer behavior changes in response to the virus.”

“This script uses several weeks of historical data to calculate the average performance for each combination of day of week and location where ads serve. It then compares this average (the ‘normal’) to yesterday’s performance. When the difference exceeds a user-defined threshold, it sends an email alert.”

Get the script »


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Search Shorts

Google’s core update chatter.

Confirmed Google core update rolling out. Google has pushed out a core update, as we mentioned in our newsletter yesterday. This one seems to be big, but the data and chatter is still early. We’ll keep you all updated as we track this update.

Emojis unprofessional. Google’s John Mueller said he finds emojis in the search result snippets unprofessional.

Snippets out of sync. Did you know that Google’s main snippets and the ‘people also ask’ snippets may not be the same – and might even be out of sync?


Take our survey

For most marketers, attending in-person events is a key component to their professional development. But COVID-19 has significantly impacted the ability to travel, at least for now. How are you thinking about and planning your fourth quarter event schedule?

Take the survey »

What we're reading

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

6 Best Practices For Effective Landing Pages – PPC Hero

April 2020 Winners and Losers – Searchmetrics

Creating accessible sites with AMP – The AMP Blog

Google is like a poster in the newsagent’s window for publishers, tech giant says | Australian media – The Guardian

Google Snippets & People Also Ask Snippets Not Always Updated In Sync – Search Engine  Roundtable

Is Your Google My Business Listing Getting Filtered? – Sterling Sky Inc

New Data Reveals PPC Ad Campaigns Are Rebounding – WordStream

New Version of SEO Toolbar – SEO Book