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Barry Schwartz – Search Engine Land News On Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Fri, 22 Feb 2019 20:10:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.9 Google Search Console adds Products to enhancements reporting section /google-search-console-adds-products-to-enhancements-reporting-section-312882 Fri, 22 Feb 2019 17:00:20 +0000 /?p=312882 An exciting new feature has quietly launched in Google Search Console for sites with products.

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Google Search Console has quietly added a new section to the enhancements section of the tool set named “Products.” This section helps you see how well your product markup is performing in Google’s search results. Products joins other enhancement categories including job postings, recipes, Q&A markup, AMP, mobile usability and others.

What it looks like. Here is a screen shot from Google Search Console showing some reporting data within the products section. It shows errors, valid markup that has warnings and then valid URLs in total.

Here is a screen shot from @AntNetworkN who notified us of this:

How do I see this? Well, you need to have products on your web site and preferably, you need to add product markup to your products to show up in Google Search Console. This can be used on either a product page that describes a single product or on a shopping aggregator page that lists a single product, along with information about different sellers offering that product, according to Google.

Why it matters. This brings over more features to the new Google Search Console to help e-commerce sites manage their product markup. With this report, these types of sites can quickly figure out what issues they have with their product markup and fix them. Google walks the webmaster through fixing, validating and submitting the new markup to Google through Google Search Console.

Postscript: Google has later published this blog post describing this new feature and two additional features around getting product data into Google:

(1) Search Console: As described above, there is this new report.

(2) Merchant Center: Product data feeds uploaded to Google Merchant Center will now be eligible for display in results on surfaces like Search and Google Images.

(3) Manufacturer Center: This now supports description, variants, and rich content, such as high-quality images and videos that can show on the product’s knowledge panel.

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Google doc rekindles myth that click-through rate affects rankings /google-doc-rekindles-myth-that-click-through-rate-affects-rankings-312802 Fri, 22 Feb 2019 02:04:26 +0000 /?p=312802 Despite repeatedly saying they do not use click data for search ranking purposes, a fresh document triggers confusion around the topic again.

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The debate around whether Google uses click data, CTR,  for core ranking will not die. No matter how many times Google will outright say they do not use it, another debate will spark up in the community. Just a few weeks ago, Google said that CTR for ranking is made up, but Moz SEO Britney Muller on Thursday pointed to a new Google document that implies otherwise.

The document. The Google doc says “when you click a link in Google Search, Google considers your click when ranking that search result in future queries.” This implies that Google does indeed use click data for core rankings.

Here is Muller highlighting this on Twitter:

But no. This is citing a 2009 blog post around how Google uses personalization. Google can, when you are logged in to your Google account, adjust the rankings of your search results for you only based on your most recent click data. Google wrote “For example, since I always search for [recipes] and often click on results from epicurious.com, Google might rank epicurious.com higher on the results page the next time I look for recipes. Other times, when I’m looking for news about Cornell University’s sports teams, I search for [big red]. Because I frequently click on www.cornellbigred.com, Google might show me this result first, instead of the Big Red soda company or others.”

On record. Google has said numerous times over the past decade that it does not use CTR for core rankings. Meaning, Google doesn’t use click data in their ranking algorithm for ranking their search results, outside of personalized results. Google said so as recently as a few weeks ago when Gary Illyes said, “Dwell time, CTR, whatever Fishkin’s new theory is, those are generally made up crap. Search is much more simple than people think.”

More than 10 years ago, Google’s Matt Cutts said, “bounce rates would be not only spammable but noisy.”

The point is, Google has said countless times, in writing, at conferences, that CTR is not used in their ranking algorithm.

What about the new doc? It is confusing, Google did write “when you click a link in Google Search, Google considers your click when ranking that search result in future queries.” They should clarify that it is used for personalized search. It is unclear who wrote that, it could have been someone not from the Google search team and someone who works on Google Cloud, where the document was posted.

Why it matters. Truth is, it doesn’t matter. It just confuses the SEO community and Google should make sure their messaging around CTR and behavioral signals are clear. At the same time, we doubt SEOs will go ahead and hire armies of people to click on their search results in Google to try to influence the page’s ranking in search. The last search engine that used click data for ranking was named DirectHit and they are no longer in business.

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Coveted featured snippet space is more exclusive than you think, study shows /coveted-featured-snippet-space-is-more-exclusive-than-you-think-study-shows-312728 Thu, 21 Feb 2019 15:36:23 +0000 /?p=312728 A new study on featured snippets in Google shows you how competitive this search real estate can be.

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A new and very interesting study from RankRanger shows that when a site gains a featured snippet, you can rest assured that, on average, you will only share that featured snippet with one other competitor.

What it means. Let’s say you see one of your web pages come up in the Google featured snippets. That is great news, but now you are worried that Google won’t keep your page there and it is driving a lot of traffic that you don’t want to lose. This study shows that, on average, you will only share that featured snippet with one competing URL. And even when your URL is not shown, it is very likely that your URL will once again show up for that featured within a 30 and 90 day period. More specifically, over a 90-day period it will swap out on average 6.7 times but only between 2.4 unique URLs.

See for yourself. This chart below shows the change in behavior within a 30 and 90 day period between the unique number of URLs (the light blue bar) and the number of times within those time periods the URL will change (the dark bar):

One URL will show up more often. When you share the featured snippet with a competitor, there is most likely what they are calling a “dominant URL.” The dominant URL shows up 77 percent of the time over the 30-day period, while the alternate URL shows up only 23 percent of the time. So you do want to be the dominant URL here, but how you control that is unknown.

Why it matters. Features snippets have become more and more important for marketers and SEOs to focus on. They show up at the top of the search results, they are the voice responses for Google Assistant and they give off an impression of status for the website. Understanding how often Google changes the featured snippets can help you understand how easy or hard it is to gain a new featured snippet for a web site.

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Google Search Console sending alerts for big ranking, traffic drops /google-search-console-sending-alerts-for-big-ranking-traffic-drops-312700 Thu, 21 Feb 2019 14:12:30 +0000 /?p=312700 Google is sending out a new type of alert from Google Search Console.

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Google is now sending alerts and notifications from Google Search Console when it detects a “substantial drop” in clicks to your website from the Google search results compared to previous weeks data. Google is basically looking at week-over-week data in the Performance report and if the data is substantially off, Google can send a notification to verified property owners in Search Console of the change.

The notification. Vance Moore III shared a screenshot of the notification on Twitter, it reads “Search Console analyzed your performance report and found that your site had a substantial drop in clicks last week compared to the previous weeks. This drop is likely due to a drop in clicks for the query “X”.”

How it works. It appears Google will compare your site clicks and query clicks as reported in the Google Search Console’s performance report. If it sees huge fluctuations, Google may send the notification to those that have verified access to that property in Search Console. In the case above, Google saw a 48% drop in weekly clicks from Google search to the web site and thus the email alert went out.

Why would you see drops in clicks. The most obvious reason you would see a drop in clicks or impressions from Google search is that your web page that ranked in a certain position in Google no longer ranks in that position. Or maybe there was a spike in specific news-related searches that stopped trending the week after? The news related trend, there is not much you can do about. But if your rankings dropped, maybe there is a technical issue with the page that caused it to drop. That is where you do some SEO audit work to try to remedy the issue.

Why it matters. Some site owners do not look at their analytics or Search Console performance reports often enough. These alerts can help site owners realize changes in their site’s performance in Google search sooner, rather than later. It can help them find issues and address them before the issue significantly impacts their business.

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Google may use different ranking weights for YMYL-type queries /google-may-use-different-ranking-weights-for-ymyl-type-queries-312525 Tue, 19 Feb 2019 18:00:37 +0000 /?p=312525 The ranking algorithm changes for different types of queries done on search, the company confirms in its new report on how it fights disinformation.

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Google has confirmed that for YMYL, your money, your life, queries they will give more weight in their ranking algorithm to factors around expertise, authoritativeness, or trustworthiness – also known as EAT in the industry.

Google made the confirmation after it published a new 30-page white paper (PDF) explaining how they fight disinformation across Google search, Google News, Google Ads, YouTube and their other products. This at last proves a long-debated belief that Google changes the weights of its ranking signals for different query sectors.

What Google said. On page 13 of the white paper, Google wrote “For these “YMYL” pages, we assume that users expect us to operate with our strictest standards of trustworthiness and safety. As such, where our algorithms detect that a user’s query relates to a “YMYL” topic, we will give more weight in our ranking systems to factors like our understanding of the authoritativeness, expertise, or trustworthiness of the pages we present in response.”

What it means. Here Google is confirming that they will adjust the weights of their ranking algorithms based on the type of query. We assumed they did this for various industries including the adult industry, pharmaceutical industry, health industry and many others.

In addition, Google will increase the expertise, authoritativeness, or trustworthiness – i.e. EAT – signals in order to provide search results that comply with the “strictest standards of trustworthiness and safety.”

How is EAT determined? “Google’s algorithms identify signals about pages that correlate with trustworthiness and authoritativeness,” Google commented on page 12. “The best known of these signals is PageRank, which uses links on the web to understand authoritativeness.” It isn’t just PageRank of course.

Mueller chimes in. In a webmaster hangout Tuesday morning, Google’s John Mueller answered a question on this at the 12:25 minute mark into the video. “Google just explained in a whitepaper released a few days ago that it uses PageRank (via links across the web) to evaluate authoritativeness and trustworthiness *algorithmically*. Can we assume that expertise (E) is primarily evaluated via content quality (algorithmically)? Can you elaborate on this at all?” asked Glenn Gabe.

John responded that he doesn’t “have any insight” into this document, that he saw it when it was published just like the rest of us. He did say we shouldn’t focus much on the PageRank comment, he said “it’s a fairly long paper and there are lots of different topics in there and PageRank is more or less a side comment there. So I wouldn’t say everything is just PageRank.”

Here is the video:

Why it matters. Again, this document confirms that Google can and does adjust the weights they use for various signals in their ranking algorithm based on the type of query. Understanding this proves that SEO work done on one type of site that achieves success, can’t just be replicated on another type of site in a different industry and be assumed to achieve success.

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Bug with Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool showing ad scores and more data /bug-with-ad-preview-and-diagnosis-tool-showing-ad-scores-and-more-data-312387 Fri, 15 Feb 2019 19:04:57 +0000 /?p=312387 The Google ad diagnosis tool is currently down after showing data it should not have been showing. Google is investigating the issue.

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It looks like the Google Ad Preview and Diagnosis tool accessible over here has a bug where some people are able to see data for specific ads, apparently from the Google auction process. For those experiencing the issue, the tool shows the ad and then shows the formats available, the ad score, the bid ECPM, Fmt ECPM, the number of rejections and potentially more — for all of the ads (regardless of advertiser) on the simulated search results page.

Screenshot. We have received multiple screenshots from readers but @SulekshVS shared a screenshot publicly on Twitter:

Tool is currently down. Now when I try to access the tool, the tool returns a sorry message saying “We’re sorry…”. Here is a screenshot of that message:

The data. I am not exactly sure what all the data points mean in this layout but I know it should not be shown there. You can all speculate or take educated guesses on what the data means.

Google is aware. Google did respond about the concern on Twitter saying they will investigate the issue:

Why should you care? The bug impacts the usability of this tool and advertisers may be justifiably concerned when data about their campaigns is shown somewhere it shouldn’t be displayed.

Update from Google. Google fixed the issue Friday and posted this tweet:

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Product card buttons pop up on desktop search /google-launches-product-card-buttons-on-desktop-search-312347 Fri, 15 Feb 2019 17:03:59 +0000 /?p=312347 Google Shopping product panel adds for "details", "reviews" and "stores" options.

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Google has added buttons to the card-style product listing ad on the right rail of the desktop web search results interface. When you click on these buttons — for “details”, “reviews” and “stores” — more details are overlaid on top of the search results. The features are similar to what Google uses on mobile search, but the interface is new and different for desktop search.

Product buttons. The buttons show up when Google shows you a Google shopping card or panel on the right side of the desktop search results. You can trigger it, for example, by searching for [iphone xr] or performing similar queries.

What it looks like. Here is a screenshot of the panel with the new buttons placed above the images:

Here is a full-size screenshot that you can click on to enlarge:

Click triggers overlay. Clicking on those buttons, i.e. “details”, “reviews” and “stores” will trigger an overlay to pop up over the search results. Here is a screenshot of what shows after you click on stores:

Why it matters. Now searchers have a new way to find products within web search for Google Shopping results. These changes may have an impact on your sales, so keep an eye on your analytics to see if you notice any changes to your revenue from Google.

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Google drops mobile app properties from GSC, reminds site owners to remove G+ integrations /google-drops-mobile-app-properties-from-gsc-reminds-site-owners-to-remove-g-integrations-312342 Fri, 15 Feb 2019 16:34:24 +0000 /?p=312342 Google giveth, and Google taketh away -- or moveth. And the search giant is emailing Search Console users about these upcoming changes.

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This week, Google sent out notifications to webmasters, SEOs and developers through Google Search Console telling them that mobile app properties and Google+ web integrations will no longer be supported.

Mobile app properties. In 2015, Google added the ability to include your mobile apps, specifically Android apps, in Google Search Console. Starting in 2017, Google began moving that functionality from Google Search Console to Firebase. And, as expected, several GSC features are shutting down in March, and one of those features is mobile app property support.

Google sent an email to those who have app properties in Search Console that they will no longer be supported in late March.

The mobile app email notification. The email says “You are the owner of one or more mobile app properties in Search Console. At the end of March, 2019, Search Console will end support for app properties.”

Here is a copy of the email I received:

Google+ web integrations. Google+ is closing down soon, at least the consumer version of it, and, with that, the Google+ social sharing buttons will stop working. Google sent notifications to publishers that have Google+ buttons or any web integrations with Google+, telling that they should remove those integrations by March 7, 2019.

The Google+ notification email. Here is a copy of the email that says “Google has announced that Google+ for consumers will be sunset. As part of the sunset, all Google+ web integrations will stop serving on March 7, 2019. This has the potential to affect website layouts and/or functionality if no action is taken by website owners.”

Why it matters. If you have any mobile app data within Google Search Console, you will want to export as much of it as you can before it gets shut down. In addition, you may want to consider integrating your apps with Google’s Firebase platform to get more functionality and data than you were able to get within Google Search Console.

In addition, if you are using Google+ on your web sites, you will want to remove those dependencies by March 7.

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SearchCap: EU link tax, Google service area businesses & match types /searchcap-eu-link-tax-google-service-area-businesses-match-types-312248 Thu, 14 Feb 2019 21:00:01 +0000 /?p=312248 Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. From Search Engine Land: Update your match types and account structure to improve performance, here’s howFeb 14, 2019 by Amanda Farley The relationship between search terms matter and so does your choice between the funnel […]

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Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

From Search Engine Land:

Recent Headlines From Marketing Land, Our Sister Site Dedicated To Internet Marketing:

  • Optimizely lets marketers create ideas and access experiment data through new Slack integration
    Feb 14, 2019 by Barry Levine

    The testing platform’s new link with the popular collaboration tool aims to bring Optimizely’s capabilities into users’ daily workflows.

  • Google rolls out ‘interpreter mode’ for Home and smart displays
    Feb 14, 2019 by Greg Sterling

    Users invoke the feature in one of several ways and it keeps going until you verbally turn it off.

  • Brightcove to buy video ad tech platform Ooyala for $15 million
    Feb 14, 2019 by Amy Gesenhues

    Brightcove CEO says the deal will immediately grow the company’s global workforce and accelerate its ability to deliver deeper support for customers.

  • Identity management investment can pay off, here’s how
    Feb 14, 2019 by Marc Rossen

    Marketers must examine how people-based IDs differ and how quality impacts identity through activation. Learn how to evaluate your program.

  • 5 hurdles RCS messaging has to overcome for universal adoption
    Feb 14, 2019 by Henry Cazalet

    What’s the hold up with using RCS to send rich media messages and host group chats across all mobile devices and networks right out of the box? Well, a lot actually.

  • Skimlinks launches automated affiliate links for AMP
    Feb 13, 2019 by Barry Levine

    The UK-based firm says this is the first such automated solution for affiliate links on AMP pages.

  • Adjust unveils a new standard to combat fraudulent ad clicks
    Feb 13, 2019 by Barry Levine

    Called Click Validation Through Proof of Impression, it ties an ID in the ad impression to an ID in the ad click, and it is being adopted by a range of ad tech firms.

  • LinkedIn adds custom list sharing, Salesforce tie-in to Sales Navigator
    Feb 13, 2019 by Amy Gesenhues

    LinkedIn will now let sales reps share the lead and account lists they create with team members.

  • 2019 Martech Trends You Need To Know
    Feb 13, 2019 by Digital Marketing Depot

    Join the godfather of martech, Scott Brinker, for a live, exclusive look at the three overarching trends shaping marketing technology today and in the future: The maturing of martech platform ecosystems. The blending of software and services. The rise of citizen engineers. Learn how you can harness these trends to break free of classic trade-offs […]

Search News From Around The Web:

  • Does AMP Improve Rankings, Engagement, and Conversion?, Stone Temple
  • Google Auto Complete Suggestions Bubble Drop Down, Search Engine Roundtable
  • How to Maximize Revenue When Competing With Ecommerce Resellers, Metric Theory
  • Local Search Association Appoints Bill Dinan as President, Local Search Association
  • Love Is A Many-Splendored SERP: Valentine’s Day SEO Research 2019, Conductor
  • Upgrade Dynamic Search Ads in AdWords API and Google Ads API by March 6, 2019, Google Ads Developer Blog

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SearchCap: Google Assistant ads, Google Maps reply to reviews & waitlists /searchcap-google-assistant-ads-google-maps-reply-to-reviews-waitlists-312148 Wed, 13 Feb 2019 21:00:25 +0000 /?p=312148 Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

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Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

From Search Engine Land:

Recent Headlines From Marketing Land, Our Sister Site Dedicated To Internet Marketing:

  • Agencies, brands see big potential for OTT, cross-device measurement in 2019
    Feb 13, 2019 by Robin Kurzer

    IAS’s Digital Pulse Survey also found that though concern about ad fraud has dropped, it’s still at the forefront of marketers’ minds.

  • Reddit App Install ads are, here along with new 3rd party attribution options, more tracking capabilities
    Feb 13, 2019 by Amy Gesenhues

    The site is continuing to build out its performance-driven advertising options for marketers.

  • Adobe Experience Manager adds features to help marketers manage assets, optimize video
    Feb 13, 2019 by Amy Gesenhues

    The company also released new tools designed for IT and developers managing app development.

  • New-school paid social creative needs old-school teamwork to succeed
    Feb 13, 2019 by Susan Wenograd

    Agencies that get creative are going to continue to inch ahead of those that do not. Here’s how you can adjust your video strategy on social.

  • Marketers can now employ Watson in any cloud or location
    Feb 12, 2019 by Barry Levine

    IBM announces the availability of the powerful AI service for on-premises, private clouds, hybrid clouds or other environments beyond its own platform.

  • Sharpen your SEO & SEM skills. See the SMX Advanced agenda!
    Feb 12, 2019 by Marketing Land

    For nearly 15 years, SMX® Advanced has been the event expert search marketers attend to learn performance-enhancing tactics, make game-changing connections, and further their careers. Join them in Seattle June 3-5. The agenda is live and ready for you to explore! Register now & save up to $900! All Access Pass: Book now and save $450 […]

Search News From Around The Web:

  • Apple may have been paid $9.5B by Google in 2018 to stay default Safari search option, Apple Insider
  • Google Local Restaurant Packs Showing "Find a Table" Filter, Sergey Alakov
  • People Ask Their Most Pressing SEO Questions — Our Experts Answer, Moz
  • The Basics of Building an Intent-based Keyword List, Moz
  • Yoast SEO 9.6: Improving our code, Yoast
  • A guide to setting up your very own search intent projects, Moz
  • Google Image Search Adds Recently Viewed, Search Engine Roundtable
  • Google Search Ranking Algorithm Update Continues, Search Engine Roundtable
  • Investing $13 billion across the U.S. in 2019, Google Blog
  • User-Intent as the key to long-term SEO success., SISTRIX

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