Good morning, it can happen to anyone.

Yesterday, LinkedIn largely dropped out of Google search results for about a 10-hour period. We don’t have specific confirmation, but it largely appears to have been a problem on LinkedIn’s end. Whether it was a robots.txt or site removal tool oops, we can’t be sure, but it’s a great reminder that SEO SNAFUs can happen to even the biggest sites. 

No matter what the cause, it’s no fun to get dropped, trust us. You might remember, a couple of years ago Google dropped SEL from the index for half a day. It wasn’t our fault, but we learned a lot from it. And then there was the bug that caused de-indexing issues for numerous sites last April. Good news for LinkedIn, it’s back.

New personalized suggestions. We stumbled across a little-noticed feature in Google search yesterday in which the search engine will suggest a query based on your recent activity. Some of the suggestions are straight forward, but they can also be quite nuanced. Take this scenario that first caught our attention: 

  • Query 1: “google home” > 
  • Query 2: “noise cancelling headphones” > 
  • Google’s suggested query: “noise cancelling headphones with google assistant”

In this case, Google’s AI “intuited” Google Assistant might be the common thread in the two queries. That’s much more sophisticated than Related Searches and People Also Ask.

Smart speaker flop? There are millions of them in our homes, but smart speakers have “fallen flat as a channel,” writes Greg Sterling, comparing them to smart watches rather than smartphones. Innovation is needed if these devices are going to breakthrough for consumers — and marketers, says Greg. 

Rapid spending shifts. As we reported yesterday, the outlook for advertisers continues to shift quickly, making it challenging to get any sense of “the now” from trend reports even from mid-April. Indicators are many have begun spending again. 

Read on for a Pro Tip on 404s and more. And mark your calendars! SMX is going virtual June 23-24

Ginny Marvin

Pro Tip

How to find and fix 404 errors to win your traffic back

“There are many ways to find 404 errors: Google Search Console, crawlers, third-party tools. But none of them shows which external sources link to your website with the wrong URLs. These sources can be bringing you a sufficient amount of traffic, yet you have no idea they’re linking to 404 pages,” explains Kristina Azarenko of MarketingSyrup. “Here are 7 steps that will help you to quickly identify these low-hanging fruits and win your traffic back.”

  1. Go to any 404 page and check its title tag.
  2. Log in to Google Analytics and navigate to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. When you’re there, choose ‘Page Title’ as a Primary Dimension.
  3. Search for the 404 page’s title you found in the first step.
  4. Click on the found Title tag to explore all the URLs that return a 404 status code.
  5. Add a secondary dimension to see the Source and Medium of the visits.
  6. Export the list of the Pages and Sources.
  7. Fix the errors by fixing the initial link if you have control over it, or redirect the URL returning 404 to the one returning 200.

Learn more »


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Search Shorts

Google local update, security report and lightning talks.

Google local update. There may have also been an ongoing Google local search algorithm update since April 23rd. Google has not confirmed it yet but the local SEO community is buzzing about it.

Security issues report. There’s a new Google Search Console training video on the security issues report. You can watch it over here.

Google Monetized Policies. Google’s next lightning talk will be on monetized policies. You can watch it on May 13th on YouTube.


What's "next" in search marketing?

SMX Next! Log on June 23-24 for actionable SEO and SEM tactics that can drive more traffic, leads, and sales — and learn how emerging technology and advancements in search platforms are changing what it means to be a tactical and effective search marketer.

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What we're reading

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

How to Create Effective RSAs (Responsive Search Ads) in Google Ads – Adalysis

Diagnosing Traffic Drops During a Crisis: Was It You, Google, or the Whole World? – Moz

Google Continues To Survey Searchers On Search Results – Search Engine Roundtable

Optimizing for Conversions: 7 PPC Landing Page Best Practices – Portent

Parallel tracking: A better user experience – Microsoft Advertising

Report: Marketers See Google Search Ad Spend Slow as a Result of COVID-19 Pandemic – KoMarketing

Safeguard your advertising business with Google Ad Manager – Google Blog

Ad Spend During Coronavirus: Paid Traffic Trends – SEM Rush

The State of Nofollow, UGC, & Sponsored Link Attributes in 2020 [New Research] – Ahrefs

Travel Searches Are Surging: Time To Relaunch PPC – PPC Hero

Were you affected by a Google Update or Covid-19? Tips for making sense of your data – Marie Haynes Consulting