Barry Schwartz – Search Engine Land News On Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Mon, 21 Jun 2021 14:13:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.6.1 Video: John Shehata, the Global Vice President at Condé Nast on Search /video-john-shehata-the-global-vice-president-at-conde-nast-on-search-349791 Mon, 21 Jun 2021 12:32:50 +0000 /?p=349791 This interview covers the early days of SEO, Google News and Discover SEO, AMP, career development and more.

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I had the opportunity to speak with John Shehata, the Global Vice President of Audience Development Strategy & CRM at Condé Nast. Below is just under 40 minutes of video content of the two of us geeking out on SEO and related topics. John Shehata goes way back in the SEO space, so the amount of depth and knowledge he has in this space makes for a great conversation.

We spoke about:

  • The early days of SEO, with a focus on Google News SEO and some general SEO
  • Tips on ranking well in Google News and Google Discover
  • His Newzdash product and how it can help publishers
  • Google AMP and will publishers keep it
  • How to advance your career in search marketing

Here are the four parts of the interview in order:

If you’re a search professional interested in appearing on Barry’s vlog, you can fill out this form on Search Engine Roundtable; he’s currently looking to do interviews in the NY/NJ tri-state area. You can also subscribe to his YouTube channel by clicking here.

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Google limits FAQ rich results to a maximum of two per snippet /google-limits-faq-rich-results-to-a-maximum-of-two-per-snippet-349739 Fri, 18 Jun 2021 16:01:41 +0000 /?p=349739 You will now see fewer FAQ drop downs in the Google search results.

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Google has confirmed that it made a change to show a maximum of two FAQ rich results per search result snippet in its search results. Previously, Google would show several FAQ rich results but over the past couple of days, SEOs began to notice Google limiting them to two.

What are rich result FAQs. Web pages that have a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) that contain a list of questions and answers pertaining to a particular topic can markup the questions and answers with FAQ structured data. Google may then show those FAQs in the search results snippets as illustrated below:

FAQs with more than two results

Limited to two. Now, Danny Sullivan from Google confirmed with me on Twitter saying “Yes, we made a change recently that limits these to two maximum.” Here is what this looks like now:

FAQ snippets now limited to a max of two FAQs

More details. This change started to rollout yesterday, Mark Barrera first noticed it and many since then confirmed seeing the limit. However, it does not yet seem fully rolled out globally yet because many are still seeing more than two displayed, espesially outside of the US.

Google added FAQ rich results back in 2019 and a year later tightened some of the restrictions on how it should be used.

Why we care. This means that your snippets that contain FAQ rich results may not be as long as previously. So your snippet real estate may be a bit smaller and take up less of the search results, leaving more room for others to show up higher on the search results page. At the same time, it may mean that if competitors were above you, you can show up higher on the page.

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Google tests article carousel for some author knowledge panels /google-tests-article-carousel-for-some-author-knowledge-panels-349678 Wed, 16 Jun 2021 15:13:02 +0000 /?p=349678 A new beta feature that highlights articles from journalists.

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Google has started to test showing an article carousel beneath the knowledge panels for some authors and journalist searches, Google announced today. This is a limited beta, only works on a limited number of U.S. mobile search for some English-language journalists.

What it looks like. Here is a GIF Google shared of this feature in action:

What is it. Google will showcase some of the recent articles this author or journalist published directly within the person’s knowledge panel. Google said they are doing this to “help people learn more about an individual journalist or author by more prominently highlighting their recent work.”

Expanding soon. Google said for now this is a limited test but the company is “looking to expand the feature over time to more journalists, devices and languages” over time. Google said it might not end up looking like this, the company said it is “going to be testing out different ways of organizing the content to ensure we optimize for the best experience.”

Publishers or corrections. If you see issues with this, Google said you can submit feedback by clicking the “Feedback” button in the bottom right corner of the articles carousel. For publishers or content creators that want to see this happen for their journalists and writers, they “can help make their content more accessible and enhance their appearance in Google Search results by adding structured metadata to their article pages, including the journalist or author’s name, and bio pages for their journalists describing their expertise,” Google said.

Why we care. This is a new way for publishers to get more traction and traffic to their stories and articles. If people are searching for your more well-known journalists, showcasing their recent articles on your website might drive more traffic to your site.

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Google page experience update rolls out just as core update finishes; Wednesday’s daily brief /google-page-experience-update-rolls-out-just-as-core-update-finishes-wednesdays-daily-brief-349658 Wed, 16 Jun 2021 14:00:00 +0000 /?p=349658 Plus, Google Search Console Insights report is now open to all

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Search Engine Land’s daily brief features daily insights, news, tips, and essential bits of wisdom for today’s search marketer. If you would like to read this before the rest of the internet does, sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox daily.

Good morning, Marketers, what an amazing day of content from SMX Advanced yesterday. I am really looking forward to today’s speaker lineup. If you haven’t registered yet, there’s still time to watch Day 2 live and get the Day 1 presentations on-demand.

Google has started to roll out the page experience update, they said slowly, today. This update is going to be a slow one, rolling out through the end of August. Thursday, Google will stop using AMP for top stories eligibility and will start using those core web vitals in the page experience factors.

In the news, Google has launched Search Console Insights, a reporting tool designed to help publishers better understand their content performance. However, it is worth looking at for any site (not just news), since now it is open for any verified site in Search Console. You can learn more about that below.

Finally, the Google June 2021 core update finished rolling out on June 12, it was a ten-day rollout. Google confirmed the rollout finished on June 12 but the company did not tell us until June 15. I hope you and your clients did well with this update. Just remember, there is another rollout happening next month, so it is not over yet.

Barry Schwartz,
SMX speaker

Google June 2021 core update done rolling out

The Google June 2021 core update that began rolling out on June 2 has finished rolling out on June 12, the company just announced on Twitter. Google said “the June 2021 Core Update rollout is complete as of June 12, 2021.”

We did see a lot of ranking fluctuations on June 11 and June 12, it is hard to know if it was 100% attributed to the core update rollout but it is possible.

Why we care. Now that the rollout is complete, you can safely check your rankings to see how you were impacted by this core update. The rollout happened between June 2 and June 12, a ten day period.

Keep in mind, Google is going to roll out another core update next month in July and that update may reverse the gains or losses you experienced from this June core update.
Learn more over here.

The page experience update is now rolling out

So while the June core update finished a couple of days ago, now the page experience update has started to roll out. Google said the rollout is happening very slowly and will take place through the end of August 2021.

Starting Thursday, June 17, Google will start using the page experience signals for eligibility into the top stories carousel and section. A reminder, do not expect massive or even medium size changes to your rankings from this update, it should not be a big one.

Why we care. Most of you have been waiting for this update to rollout for now over a year. It is now rolling out. Again, do not expect big ranking changes from this rollout and do not confuse it with ranking changes due to the core update we had in June and the core update we are expecting in July.

Learn more over here.

Google Search Console Insights are now open to all

After a year of testing the new Google Search Console Insights, Google has opened this reporting tool to all those with verified Search Console access. It is important to associate or link your Search Console profile with your Google Analytics profile to gain the most amount of information in these reports. 

Search Console Insights is designed specifically for content creators and publishers and “can help them understand how audiences discover their site’s content and what resonates with their audiences,” according to Google. The Search Console Insights reporting is powered by data from both Google Search Console and Google Analytics.

Why we care. What more could you want? More data, more views, more ways to see and understand your content performance is awesome. Having certain Google Analytics data in Search Console is super convenient and also helps you see your data in new ways. So check it out and maybe you will gain some new insights into how your content is performing, giving you new content and marketing ideas for your business.
Learn more over here.

More Google ranking shifts over this past weekend

More Google Search ranking tremors. Over the weekend, I saw another large spike of tremors and ranking fluctuations in Google Search. It might be the tailend of the June 2021 core update or maybe it was some other ranking algorithm(s) that Google pushed out before the weekend – I don’t know.

Site command queries. We all know not to pay too much attention to site commands in Google Search but when you add a query to it, it works super well – well most of the time. One thing I noticed over the years is that when a site is hit by a Google update, like a core update, sometimes it makes the site query results look off and Gary Illyes from Google confirmed that updates can impact rankings within site queries as well. I feel a bit validated.

Page experience update drop. I feel like a broken record, but I keep seeing SEOs panicked about the page experience update and their core web vital scores. Stop it, stop worrying, Google keeps saying you won’t see a sudden drop in rankings from this page experience update.


People also ask slower. Did you know that to change, add, remove the people also ask search results can take much longer than dealing with normal search result snippets in Google Search?

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

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Google My Business performance report adding driving direction requests and website visits /google-my-business-performance-report-adding-driving-direction-requests-and-website-visits-349666 Wed, 16 Jun 2021 12:28:13 +0000 /?p=349666 This is slowly rolling out, you might not see it show up yet in your Google My Business account.

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Google is slowly rolling out new metrics in your Google My Business performance reports, the new insights report. These new metrics include driving direction requests and website visits, which are currently in the old insights report. Colan Nielsen spotted the change yesterday and sent me screenshots since I do not yet see them yet in my business account.

What’s new. Again, while the old Insights report had these metrics, they are now coming to the new version of this report, which Google is calling the performance report. The driving directions metric in the performance report is slightly different in that it may show fewer requests because of Google’s new efforts to combat things like “multi-tapping, direction request cancellation, and spam.”

What it looks like. Here are the screenshots Colan Nielsen sent us:

Performance Report Directions
Performance Report Directions
Performance Report Website Clicks
Performance Report Website Clicks

More details. The Google help document defines these metrics as follows.

  • Website clicks: We plan to add the number of clicks to your website from your Business Profile to the “Interactions” section of the Performance page. Website clicks in Performance reporting on Search won’t include clicks on the website from Google My Business websites. This means the number of clicks shown in the “Interactions” section might differ from the numbers on the Insights page or Performance reporting.
  • Direction requests: Direction requests to the business will move to the “Interactions” section of the Performance page. This removes Direction requests from the “Customer actions” chart on the Insights page.

Why we care. Learning more about how your local customers discover your business (or your client’s businesses) is key to knowing what marketing strategies work and do not work. Having more data, and data shown in new ways, can help you make more informed marketing decisions.

Again, you may not see the report yet, but you can try to access it in Google My Business, under Insights, in the new performance report.

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Google page experience update now slowly rolling out /google-page-experience-update-now-slowly-rolling-out-349649 Tue, 15 Jun 2021 19:45:49 +0000 /?p=349649 Top stories will stop using AMP as an eligibility factor starting Thursday.

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Google is now rolling out the page experience update, Google said the rollout is happening very slowly and will take place through the end of August 2021.

The announcement. Google said on Twitter “the page experience update is now slowly rolling out (Top Stories will begin using this new signal by Thursday). It will be complete by the end of August 2021.”

Top stories. Starting Thursday, June 17, Google will start using the page experience signals for eligibility into the top stories carousel and section.

Don’t expect huge ranking changes. As a reminder, you should not expect huge ranking changes in Google Search for this release. This will be a slow rollout and Google originally said do not expect drastic changes. “While this update is designed to highlight pages that offer great user experiences, page experience remains one of many factors our systems take into account… Given this, sites generally should not expect drastic changes,” said Google.

Delayed. The original launch was delayed to now, but is now rolling out. Here is the general timeline for this rollout:


While SEO is indeed an art, it is also a science. Learn about the elements of a successful SEO strategy in Search Engine Land’s SEO Periodic Table.

Click here to download!


Mid-June rollout. So what is rolling out now with the page experience update?

  • The ranking change will begin gradually rolling out.
  • AMP badge will begin to go away
  • Possible page experience badge will continue to be tested but Google has not finalized plans for this badge.
  • Top Stories carousel feature on Google Search will be updated to include all news content, as long as it meets the Google News content policies and guidelines. AMP is no longer required here to rank in certain top stories. Google also clarified that this is “irrespective of its Core Web Vitals score or page experience status.” This change will begin in mid-June as well and finish by the end of August.
  • AMP also not required for the Google News app nor news.google.com.
  • I suspect HTTPS, mobile-friendly, safe browsing and no intrusive interstitials will be part of the mid-June rollout, as Google already has these are ranking signals prior to the page experience announcement.

End of August rollout. Google said it will finish and complete the full rollout of the page experience update ranking change by the end of August. This will include all the core web vital metrics, such as LCPFID, and CLS (as well as Chrome’s recent fix to CLS), as well as the ones listed below.

Reminder, this is what is in the new page experience update includes and this will begin rolling out in mid-June and complete rolling out by the end of August. It will not be live in May 2021 as previously announced.

Do not confuse with core updates. Do not confuse the page experience update, that uses core web vitals as a signal, with core updates. They are unrelated and do not influence each other. In fact, the June 2021 core update just finished rolling out on June 12. The core updates are felt more in terms of ranking fluctuations by sites in Google Search than would this page experience update.

Why we care. Most of you have been waiting for this update to rollout for now over a year. It is now rolling out. Again, do not expect big ranking changes from this rollout and do not confuse it with ranking changes due to the core update we had in June and the core update we are expecting in July.

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Google June 2021 core update finished rolling out June 12th /google-june-2021-core-update-finished-rolling-out-june-12th-349632 Tue, 15 Jun 2021 15:55:42 +0000 /?p=349632 This was a ten day rollout, and it might be a good time to check to see how you were impacted by this update.

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The Google June 2021 core update that began rolling out on June 2nd has finished rolling out on June 12th, the company just announced on Twitter.

The announcement. Google said “The June 2021 Core Update rollout is complete as of June 12, 2021.”

Less than two weeks. This rollout took less than two weeks to fully roll out, whereas most Google core updates take about a full two weeks to roll out.

June 12. We did see a lot of ranking fluctuations on June 11 and June 12, it is hard to know if it was 100% attributed to the core update rollout but it is possible. I reported on the chatter around the June 11 and 12 buzz around a Google update over here.

More on the June 2021 core update. You can read our more detailed report on this update named Google’s June 2021 core update was slow to roll out; here is what the data providers saw.


While SEO is indeed an art, it is also a science. Learn about the elements of a successful SEO strategy in Search Engine Land’s SEO Periodic Table.

Click here to download!


Why we care. Now that the rollout is complete, you can safely check your rankings to see how you were impacted by this core update. The rollout happened between June 2 and June 12, a ten day period.

Keep in mind, Google is going to roll out another core update next month in July and that update may reverse the gains or losses you experienced from this June core update.

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Google Search Console Insights is now available to all /now-available-to-all-google-search-console-insights-349615 Tue, 15 Jun 2021 12:19:23 +0000 /?p=349615 A year after launching the limited beta, you can now access this new set of reports.

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Google has launched the Google Search Console Insights reports to all those with Search Console verified profiles. You can access the Search Console Insights reports at search.google.com/search-console/insights.

What is Search Console Insights. Search Console Insights is designed specifically for content creators and publishers and “can help them understand how audiences discover their site’s content and what resonates with their audiences,” according to Google. The Search Console Insights reporting is powered by data from both Google Search Console and Google Analytics.

When did it first launch. Google launched a beta of this last year and then opened limited access to some content creators to debug it and give Google feedback on the reports. Back then, Google said, “it’s a way to provide content creators with the data they need to make informed decisions and improve their content.”

What it looks like. Here is a screenshot of some of the reports:

What does it answer? The reports in Search Console Insights aim to answer these questions:

  1. What are your best-performing pieces of content?
  2. How are your new pieces of content performing?
  3. How do people discover your content across the web?
  4. What do people search for on Google before they visit your content?
  5. Which article refers users to your website and content?

How to access it. Google gives you a few ways to access the reports:

  • Select Search Console Insights from the top of Search Console’s Overview page.
  • Use this link to access it directly.
  • In the iOS Google App, select Search Console Insights in the account menu (tap your profile picture). This is coming soon and will also come soon to the Android app.

Missing data. If you are missing data, that means your Search Console property is not properly linked to your Google Analytics property. Google recommends associating (linking) your Google Analytics property with your relevant Search Console property to get the full experience and the best insights about your content. Please note that for now, Search Console Insights only supports Google Analytics Universal Analytics properties (their ID starts with a “UA-“), but the company is working to support Google Analytics 4.

Why we care. More data, more views, more ways to see and understand your content performance is awesome. Having certain Google Analytics data in Search Console can offer a big convenience and also help you see your data in new ways.

So check it out and maybe you will gain some new insights into how your content is performing, giving you new content and marketing ideas for your business.

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Google demotes libelous content in search through its predatory sites algorithms /google-demotes-slanderous-content-in-search-through-its-predatory-sites-algorithms-349449 Thu, 10 Jun 2021 17:08:45 +0000 /?p=349449 Google will continue to try to surface high quality, relevant content while downgrading sites that attempt to exploit peoples' reputations.

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“In response to Times articles, the search giant is changing its algorithm, part of a major shift in how Google polices harmful content,” the New York Times said in its article “Google Seeks to Break Vicious Cycle of Online Slander,” published on Thursday.

With what we’re referring to as the “predatory sites algorithm,” the company is looking to make “ranking improvements to improve our protections against these types of exploitative sites,” a Google spokesperson told us, adding that, “We’ll also look to expand to broader protections beyond known victims.”

Libelous sites. The New York Times did specify some examples of the types of sites that Google is trying to deprecate in the results for name queries: “The company plans to change its search algorithm to prevent websites, which operate under domains like BadGirlReport.date and PredatorsAlert.us, from appearing in the list of results when someone searches for a person’s name,” wrote Kashmir Hill and Daisuke Wakabayashi.

Google’s algorithms continue to evolve. Google told us it has already deployed changes to its algorithms but it plans to continue to make changes to catch exploitative sites.

“We’ve had a policy in place for these sites for a number of years and a demotion signal based on valid page removals under this policy,” a spokesperson told us, “While this worked well in most cases to offer recourse to victims of this abusive content, the Times reporting highlighted some limitations of that approach, especially as it related to the unprecedented and relentless harassment they highlighted.” You can read more on these policies on the Google blog.

Google told us that the company has “already made improvements to our existing demotion signals, and then we’re also expanding protections to address issues that affect what we think of as ‘known victims.'” This aims to target queries and websites that are specific to people who have requested removals from sites with predatory practices. Google said it “will automatically apply ranking protections that seek to prevent content from similar low quality sites appearing for name searches.”

Google’s broad approach. Google is not tackling this on a one-by-one basis, playing whack-a-mole when new sites pop up. Instead, it looks for ways to make broad algorithmic improvements. The search engine’s ability to address these types of issues has improved over the years, which may enable it to take a more nuanced approach to address specific types of queries — in this case, name queries.

Is it working? You can see Google’s efforts on reputation attack sites that do not rank as well as they did in the past. Chris Silver Smith, who has worked in the reputation management sector for years, shared examples of sites like Ripoff Report, Pissed Consumer and Complaints Board having less visibility in Google Search.

More to come. Google will continue to improve these algorithms and you should see fewer exploitative or predatory websites surfacing in Google Search results for name queries. But, like anything in search, some sites will find methods around the current algorithms and Google will have to address those workarounds with new and improved preventative search algorithms.

Why we care. If you are in the online reputation management space, these algorithms may aid you in helping your clients with their reputation issues in Google Search. If you are in the business of posting exploitative or predatory content on the web, this will hopefully hurt your business model going forward.

Google has shown us over the years that it continues to try to surface quality content by improving its search algorithms. This is just documenting one specific area in which Google is applying this approach.

Postscript. Pandu Nayak from Google Google later today wrote a blog post on this news saying “one area we’d like to shed more light on is how we balance maximizing access to information with the responsibility to protect people from online harassment.”

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Google released Google Ads API version 8.0 /google-released-google-ads-api-version-8-0-349446 Wed, 09 Jun 2021 22:10:05 +0000 /?p=349446 This is an upgrade from version 7.0 which was released on April 28, 2021, six-weeks ago.

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Google has released version 8.0 of the Google Ads API, announcing the key highlights of what is new in version 8.0. The previous version, version 7.0 was released about six-weeks ago on April 28th.

What is new. Google added dozens of features and released numerous changes in version 8.0, the exhaustive list is located in the release notes. But here are the highlighted changes from Google:

What is the Google Ads API. The Google Ads API lets you programmatically interface with your Google Ads accounts so that you can automatically bring in reporting to your own stack, and/or build in procedures to automate your ad creation, change your bids or bidding strategies and more.

The API enables developers to interact directly with the Google Ads platform. Some features include…

  • Automated account management
  • Custom reporting
  • Ad management based on inventory
  • Manage Smart Bidding strategies

Migration notes. When you upgrade, sometimes not everything is backwards compatible. Google said “periodically, you will upgrade from an older major version of Google Ads API to a newer major version. It could be because a version is sunsetting, or it could be because you want to use a new feature.” Google recommends that you upgrade to the newest version when going through the migration process, and not upgrade to an older version. Here are things to know when migrating from version 7.0 to 8.0:

Video. Here is a video from Google highlighting the larger changes with this release.

Why we care. If you, your customers or toolset providers are using the Google Ads API, you can now explore more features within the API to get more done and in a more efficient way. Check out the full release notes to see what additional features you can utilize or nudge your tool provider to use to make your daily work-life as a search marketer easier.

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