Barry Schwartz – Search Engine Land News On Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Fri, 30 Jul 2021 17:45:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.6.4 Did Google admit it uses click data for search? Not really.; Friday’s daily brief /did-google-admit-it-uses-click-data-for-search-not-really-fridays-daily-brief-350871 Fri, 30 Jul 2021 14:00:00 +0000 /?p=350871 And, you¡¯re no longer allowed more than one ClaimReview element per page.

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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, in one of our featured stories below, I covered how Google decides to rank different vertical search elements, such as the image carousel or news box, in the search results.

Gary Illyes explained about the process but also said that Google determines when to show images or videos or top stories boxes in the search results based on what it learns from searchers¡¯ actions. So, if a lot of people click on image results from the main search results page, it is a sign that Google may want to show an image carousel box on that page.

This click data is not used for individual search results (i.e., to rank page A over page B or to rank image X over image Y). Google is using the click data to see if people are going from the web results, to the image or video results and if they do that a lot, Google may decide to show an image or video carousel box in the search results. Got the difference? 

Barry Schwartz,
Click analysis consultant

How Google ranks features like news, videos, features snippets

Gary Illyes from Google explained in a recent podcast how Google Search ranks its vertical search results, i.e., news, images, videos, etc, within the core search results. Why does Google show an image carousel for a specific query in the fourth position and why does Google show videos for another query in the top position? 

Google uses a number of methods for this but Gary Illyes explained that each index or feature bids, like you would in an auction, for each position. So a video carousel can bid based on the weights Google assigned it, to be in position three or position four and Google¡¯s overall universal search system will figure out where to place it. Google also decides when to show a feature based on click data, which is super fascinating as well. This gets a bit technical, so we recommend you read more.

Read more here.

Display & Video 360 gets new frequency and reach metrics

Google is adding a dedicated data visualization in Display & Video 360 (DV360) to show reach gains for each campaign that spans across channels and has a frequency goal set at the campaign level, the company announced Thursday. In addition, DV360 will also calculate the added reach advertisers get for each Programmatic Guaranteed deal using DV360¡¯s frequency management solution.

Why we care. Having access to real-time reach gains can help advertisers gauge their campaign performance and manage their programmatic campaigns across channels. This new data visualization may also enable advertisers to save time that might otherwise be spent experimenting to test the impact of their frequency management strategies across various media types. And, the added reach data for Programmatic Guaranteed deals can help advertisers understand how those deals add to the incremental reach they get for their frequency management efforts. 

Read more here.

Google no longer allows multiple instances of fact check markup per page

Google has updated its technical guidelines for Fact Check structured data, saying that a page must only have one ClaimReview element and that multiple fact checks per page is no longer allowed.

The revised guidelines now say ¡°to be eligible for the single fact check rich result, a page must only have one ClaimReview element. If you add multiple ClaimReview elements per page, the page won¡¯t be eligible for the single fact check rich result.¡± Previously, the guidelines said ¡°a single page can host multiple ClaimReview elements, each for a separate claim.¡± But that is no longer the case, now you can only have one ClaimReview element per page, not more, to be eligible to show fact check rich results in Google Search.

Why we care. If your site does show fact check rich results in search and you are using multiple ClaimReview elements on a single page, you may want to remove all ClaimReview elements but one. Google¡¯s guidelines now only allow one per page and thus your rich results for Fact Check may stop showing if you are marking up more than one per page.

Quality threshold, nofollow vs sponsored and Google Ads script beta

Google quality threshold. Gary Illyes of Google explains that if you are on the edge of Google¡¯s quality threshold, you can see your pages pop in and out of the index and search results. You¡¯ll probably want to improve your quality if you see that.

Nofollow vs rel sponsored. When Google announced the new link spam update this week, there was been a lot of confusion around using rel=nofollow vs rel=sponsored. You do not, I repeat, do not, need to switch your nofollows to rel=sponsored according to Google.

Localized site signals. If you have an English site and then a localized French language site, Google generally will give the French site its own signals, apart from the English site, said Gary Illyes.

Google Ads scripts beta experience. Google Ads launched a beta version of the new Google Ads scripts experience. To see it, open your script and switch on the new scripts experience (Beta) toggle above the code. More details over here.

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

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Google now limits one ClaimReview element per page /google-now-limits-one-claimreview-element-per-page-350862 Thu, 29 Jul 2021 12:33:04 +0000 /?p=350862 Previously, Google's guidelines allowed for multiple Fact Checks per page but that has changed.

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Google has updated its technical guidelines for Fact Check structured data saying that a page must only have one ClaimReview element and that multiple fact checks per page is no longer allowed.

The revised guidelines. The revised guidelines now say “to be eligible for the single fact check rich result, a page must only have one ClaimReview element. If you add multiple ClaimReview elements per page, the page won’t be eligible for the single fact check rich result.”

Previously the guidelines said “a single page can host multiple ClaimReview elements, each for a separate claim.” But that is no longer the case, now you can only have one ClaimReview element per page, not more, to be eligible to show fact check rich result in Google Search.

Before screenshot. Here is a screenshot of the guidelines before this change was made:

After screenshot. Here is what the page looks like now:

Why we care. If your site does show fact check rich results in search and you are using multiple ClaimReview elements on a single page, you may want to remove all ClaimReview elements but one. Google’s guidelines now only allow one per page and thus your rich results for Fact Check may stop showing if you are showing more than one per page.

Make sure to review the guidelines for Fact Check rich results over here.

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Google’s universal search results bid for placement and may be influenced by clicks /googles-universal-search-results-bid-for-placement-and-may-be-influenced-by-clicks-350858 Thu, 29 Jul 2021 11:31:21 +0000 /?p=350858 In the Search Off The Record podcast, Gary Illyes of Google described how Google ranks news, images, videos and other indexes within the main search results.

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In the latest Search Off the Record podcast, Gary Illyes from Google spoke about how Google Universal Search works and more importantly, how Google decides which vertical search feature to rank in what position in the main search results.

Gary Illyes explained why sometimes featured snippets show up at the top, or maybe news articles, or images, videos and so forth. In short, each of these vertical indexes bids for its position within the main web results. And how does Google decide to show images versus news versus videos? Illyes said that Google sees what users click on and if, for a specific query, more users click on more images, Google knows users want to see the images carousel instead of a news carousel.

One caveat: This does not mean Google ranks specific and individual documents, images, web results, etc. based on click data. However, which universal element Google may show in the web results, can be influenced by clicks. So, Google does not use click data to rank a specific image or a specific video or a specific web page, but it can use click data to, for example, show the image carousel box here or there on the web results page.

Indexes bid for positions in the search results

In the podcast, Illyes said that Google assigns a score to every result it finds for rankings. Then it will distribute that score to every index. By index, he means not just the web index but also, images, videos, news, etc.

Illyes said then Google “will take all the results that came up from all the different indexes and try to mix them together,” into what we know as Universal Search. Each of these elements or indexes “are bidding for their desired positions” in the search results page. So, featured snippets bid for its position, images carousels bid for its position, videos and so forth.

Some elements can “also say that I don’t want second position, or third position, or fourth position, or so on. I only want the first position,” Gary explained. Google also has “preferred positions for some things like, for example, the video results,” he explained.

Some features, like related results, always tend to show at the bottom. So those features might specify that they want the bottom position.

John Mueller of Google then asked Illyes, “So it’s almost like all of these different indexes, or kind of content have their own search engine and basically, they’re saying, ‘my result is like super relevant, or kind of relevant.’ And then, there’s like a super search engine on top of all of these search engines that mixes them all together?” “Technically, yes,” Illyes responded.

Clicks influence the features that get shown in the search results

Then Illyes explained that Google learns which feature to show for which query based on what searchers click on and want to see.

“How do you recognize if we should show images or videos? Or that? Is it just like video search thing?” Mueller asked Illyes.

“We learn it,” Illyes responded, “So, like when you search for something, something that normally doesn’t have images or videos, and you tap the images tab on the result page. Then, you are essentially teaching Google that there was this random person who wanted images for this particular query. And if there are enough users doing that, then you are essentially teaching Google that, that query might deserve images, or videos or whatever.”

Just an editorial reminder that this is not how Google ranks individual results in the search results but how Google determines what features (i.e., image carousel vs. news carousel) to show in what position in the search results interface.

You can listen to the full podcast over here.

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The Google link spam update is rolling out; Wednesday’s daily brief /the-google-link-spam-update-is-rolling-out-wednesdays-daily-brief-350814 Wed, 28 Jul 2021 14:00:00 +0000 /?p=350814 And, the review stars are back in Google Search results.

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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, we have a new Google algorithm update to talk about again this week ¡ª the link spam update.

If you thought Google was done with all these algorithm updates, you thought wrong. Google launched yet another algorithm update aimed at ¡°nullifying¡± link spam. So if you or your clients were doing any spammy links and you see a drop in rankings over the next couple of weeks, it might be related to this new algorithm update.

I should note, Google used the word ¡°nullify¡± for a reason. Nullify does not necessarily mean ¡°penalize,¡± but instead, to ignore or simply not count. Google¡¯s efforts around link spam have been to ignore and not count spammy links since Penguin 4.0 was released in 2016. But ignoring a signal that may have helped you rank initially might feel like a penalty ¡ª keep that in mind.

So far, we are not seeing too many complaints about the link spam update but we will keep you posted.

Barry Schwartz,
Link spam reporter

Google passes on 2% ¡°Regulatory Operating Cost¡± for ads served in India and Italy

Beginning on October 1, 2021, Google will include a 2% ¡°Regulatory Operating Cost¡± surcharge to advertisers¡¯ invoices for ads served in India and Italy, according to an email sent to Google advertisers on Tuesday. The surcharge applies to ads purchased through Google Ads and for YouTube placements purchased on a reservation basis.

The company was already passing on digital service taxes for ads served in Austria, France, Spain, Turkey and the UK, and this is more of the same. Advertisers should be aware that these fees are charged in addition to their account budgets, so the surcharges won¡¯t be reflected in the cost per conversion metrics in their campaign reporting. Advertisers should take these factors into account when creating their budgets.

And, if you¡¯re thinking, ¡°Hey, regulators are levying these taxes on Google, not on advertisers!¡± well, you¡¯re not alone. Unfortunately, Google isn¡¯t alone either as Amazon and Apple are also doing something similar by passing on their taxes to third-party sellers and developers in some territories, meaning that passing on government-imposed taxes is quickly becoming a precedent.

Read more here.

Google has begun the two week process of rolling out a new algorithm update; the company is calling it the link spam update. Google said this update targets spammy links ¡°more broadly¡± and ¡°across multiple languages.¡± It is a global update that impacts all languages and seems to target links that are manipulative and not natural. 

As of Tuesday, I have yet to see many complaints from SEOs about this update. I should add that, over the weekend, I did notice an unconfirmed update that seemed to target more ¡°black hat¡± methods but again, that was the weekend, and Google said this update started on Monday, so the two are probably unrelated.

In any event, if you see a ranking drop in Google over the next couple of weeks, it might be related to some of your link building methods.

Read more here.

Google review stars back in the search results

Google seems to have resolved the bug that was preventing review snippets or stars from showing in the search results. We are now able to see the gold stars for many results in the Google Search.

The bug began creeping into the Google Search results interface on Wednesday, July 21st based on the reports that were sent to us. By the following day, the review stars were hard to find for any query you conducted in Google. Google confirmed the issue on Friday, July 23rd. Then, on Monday afternoon (July 26), the issue started to get resolved and now everyone seems to be able to see review stars again.

Why we care. Reviews not showing in the snippets can lead to a lower click through rate from the search results. Lower click through rates can lead to less traffic and less traffic can lead to fewer conversions.

Read more here.

Page speed, core web vitals and updated structured data guidelines

Old page speed signals. Google has come out with numerous page speed signals for search over the years. Does Google still use the old ones? John Mueller of Google said on Twitter ¡°we try to avoid unnecessary duplication in our code, so I would assume this replaces the previous speed ranking factors.¡±

priceRange local business schema. Google has updated the priceRange fields in the Local Business structured data documents to say that the priceRange fields must be less than 100 characters to be eligible for use in Search features.

FAQ content guidelines expandable areas. Google updated the FAQ schema content guidelines document to say the FAQs can be in expandable areas as well as visible on the page to be eligible for use in Google Search features.

Too much focus on core web vitals. Gary Illyes of Google somewhat mocked those SEOs that complain that their search rankings dropped even if their core web vitals scores improved. He said on Twitter ¡°I don’t know who needs to hear this but putting work in core web vitals doesn’t mean that the site can’t lose rankings over time.”

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

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Google review snippets bug seems resolved /google-review-snippets-bug-seems-resolved-350798 Tue, 27 Jul 2021 12:29:43 +0000 /?p=350798 Google seems to have fixed the bug where review snippets were not displaying in Google Search.

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Google seems to have resolved the bug it has with showing review snippets or stars in the search results. We are now able to see the gold yellow stars for many search results in the Google Search results.

Timeline. The bug began creeping into the Google Search results interface on Wednesday, July 21st based on the reports that were sent to us. By the following day, Thursday, July 22nd, the review starts were hard to find for any query you conducted in Google. Google confirmed the issue on Friday, July 23rd. Then yesterday afternoon, Monday, July 26th, the issue started to get resolved where now everyone seems to be able to see review stars in the Google Search results.

Reporting issues. Google also wrote on the?data anomalies page?that between July 19th and 23rd in the Google Search Console Performance reports for Google Search, “Due to an internal issue, you may see a drop in your Review snippet and Product rich results performance during this period. We regret any problems this may have caused on your site.” So make sure to annotate your own internal reports about this issue.

Why we care. Google was not showing review stars in the search results and that can lead to a lower click through rate from the search results. Lower click through rates can lead to less traffic and less traffic can lead to less conversions. But at the same time, your competitors likely did not show the review stars, so everyone was in the same boat.

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Google Search link spam update rolling out now /google-search-link-spam-update-rolling-out-now-350770 Mon, 26 Jul 2021 14:44:16 +0000 /?p=350770 A new spam algorithm is rolling out over the next two weeks aimed at fighting link spam more broadly.

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Google is rolling out the link spam update today and throughout the next two weeks. This link spam update targets spammy links “more broadly” and “across multiple languages,” Duy Nguyen, a Google search quality analyst, said.

The announcement. Google wrote “in our continued efforts to improve the quality of the search results, we’re launching a new link spam fighting change today ¡ª which we call the “link spam update.” This algorithm update, which will rollout across the next two weeks, is even more effective at identifying and nullifying link spam more broadly, across multiple languages. Sites taking part in link spam will see changes in Search as those links are re-assessed by our algorithms.”

Nullifying link spam. You can see the word Google used here was “nullifying,” which does not necessarily mean “penalize,” but instead, to ignore or simply not count. Google’s efforts around link spam have been to ignore and not count spammy links since Penguin 4.0 was released in 2016.

Might feel like a penalty. While Google may not penalize your site for these spammy links, if Google ignores or nullifies links that may have been helping a site rank well in Google Search, that might feel like a penalty. In short, if you see your rankings drop over the next two weeks and if it is a sharper drop, it might be related to this update.

Best practices on links. Google’s Duy Nguyen published a blog post about link spam and best practices that you can read here.

Why we care. Again, if you see ranking declines in Google over the next two weeks, it might be related to this new link spam update. Make sure your links are natural and in accordance with Google’s webmaster guidelines. Work on improving your site, so it can naturally attract new links over time.

As Google wrote, “Site owners should make sure that they are following the best practices on links, both incoming and outgoing. Focusing on producing high quality content and improving user experience always wins out compared to manipulating links. Promote awareness of your site using appropriately tagged links, and monetize it with properly tagged affiliate links.”

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Google fixing two search bugs; review snippets and soft 404 detection /google-fixing-two-search-bugs-review-snippets-and-soft-404-detection-350751 Fri, 23 Jul 2021 17:51:51 +0000 /?p=350751 These bugs lead to some pages being removed from the Google search results or the stars being removed from the Google search results.

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Google has confirmed it is fixing two search related bugs that impact what is shown and displayed in the Google search results. The issues are with review stars showing in the search results and how Google processes soft 404 documents. The two issues seem to be unrelated but are both being addressed and fixed by Google.

Soft 404 bug leading to de-indexing issues

A couple of weeks ago, we reported that Google changed how it detects soft 404 pages and that led to some pages being removed from the Google Search index. In short, Google said it now does soft 404 detection by device type, which caused some to see spikes in soft 404 errors but not clearly seeing if those pages were in the Google index or not.

Google has confirmed this morning both on Twitter and on YouTube that the company has pushed out a change to address the issue over the next few days. Google wrote “you may have noticed an increase in soft 404 error reports in Search Console the past few weeks.” “The team identified the classifier that was causing the issue and deactivated it while they fine-tune it,” the company added. That was written by Gary Illyes of Google.

John Mueller of Google said earlier this morning “we saw a bunch of these reports recently, in the past couple of weeks, and the team has been looking into that, and I think they turned one of classifiers off now based on some of the feedback that we got.” “So I would suspect that maybe this will catch up again and work out in the next couple of days and week or so.” John Mueller added.

So you should see improvements on this front in the upcoming days.

Review snippets and stars go missing

Over the past couple of days, Google Search has stopped showing, for the most part, review snippets, the stars that are placed under some of the search results that have review structured data. Danny Sullivan of Google confirmed this afternoon that this is indeed a bug and Google will hopefully fix it soon.

I asked Danny Sullivan about this on Twitter and he responded “yes, it looks like there is a bug. We¡¯re looking at it further and hope to correct soon.”

Here are screenshots that illustrate the before and after that I personally captured.

Review snippets from two days ago:

Review snippets from this morning:

As you can see, the stars are not showing up but Google is now aware and the issue should be resolved soon.

Why we care. All of these bugs can directly impact your traffic from Google Search. When Google resolves the bugs, it may lead to more traffic to your site from Google Search. In the first case, of the soft 404 bug, Google was not listing some pages in its search results that it will soon re-list after the bug is resolved. The second case, of the review stars, Google was/is not showing review stars in the search results that can lead to a lower click through rate from the search results.

Hopefully both will be fully resolved soon and you will see a positive impact in your traffic.

Postscript: On Monday, at about 5pm ET, the review stars have started to return.

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Google now shows why it ranked a specific search result /google-now-shows-why-it-ranked-a-specific-search-result-350659 Thu, 22 Jul 2021 17:00:00 +0000 /?p=350659 Google now list several of the factors it used to rank a result in the about this result section.

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Google can now list several of the factors or reasons why it ranked a specific search result in its search results listings, the company announced. This feature is an expansion to the about this result box that launched in February 2021.

Google Search can show the terms it matched on the web page and your query, including the terms that were related but not direct matches. Google also lists if links from other websites influenced the ranking, if the results had related images, if there were geographical reasons for the result ranking and more. In fact, Google said there are several factors this section can disclose when it comes to why Google ranked a specific page in its search results.

Google also lists search tips in this area to help you refine your query, if you find the result does not meet your desired outcome.

What it looks like. Here is a screenshot of what this looks like. As you can see in the “your search & this result” section, Google lists numerous bullet points for why it ranked this specific snippet. The “Source” section above is old and was launched in February, as mentioned above.

What factors does Google show? Google did not tell us all the factors it shows, but here are the ones I spotted while testing:

  • Search terms that appear in the result. In this case, Google will show you what terms were matched from the searcher’s query to the content and/or HTML on the web page that Google ranked. Matches are not just the visible content but also can be words in the HTML, like the title tag or other meta data.
  • Search terms related to your search. Not only will Google match based on your exact query but also terms “related” to that query. In the example above, the query was [shot] but Google expanded that to mean “vaccine.”
  • Other websites with your search terms link to this result. This is where sites that have these search terms on their pages and links, actually link to the result listed in the Google Search results. Clearly, links are still used by Google for ranking purposes.
  • This result has images related to your search. Google will also look at the images on the page to determine if those images, perhaps the file name of the image, are on that page and are related to your query.
  • This result is [Language]. Language is important and right now this is an English only feature, but when it expands, Google can show other languages. So if you search in Spanish, Google may be more likely to show you Spanish results. Or if you search in Spain, Google may show you Spanish results as well.
  • This result is relevant for searches in [region]. Google may use the searchers location, the site’s location and the query to determine if the searcher wants to find a web page that is more relevant to a specific region. In the example above, someone searching in Vermont to [get the shot] probably wants to get local vaccine websites in Vermont. Sometimes queries can be down to the city level and sometimes the region is not relevant. Google will show those details in this area.

Search tips. Google will also let searchers hover their cursor over the underlined words in this box to get search tips on how to better narrow their search results. In the screenshot below, you can see Google suggesting the search may want to add a minus sign to the word “running” in order to filter out those words in their search.

Google can offer a number of search tips that are specific to the query and the “about this result” box for that page.

Rolling out now. Google is now rolling this out in the U.S. for English results. By the time of publication, we expect it to be visible in 10% of the US-based queries, but by next week it should reach about 100% of queries in the US. Google said it will expand this to more countries and languages over time.

Google would not say how many searchers actually use this “about this result” feature but clearly, Google is investing in expanding its feature set. Google did say the “about this result” feature has been viewed hundreds of millions of times but would not share what percentage of users have used it.

Why we care. SEOs and marketers always wanted to know why Google ranked a specific site for a given query. Well, Google is now giving you pretty detailed clues into why it ranked that site for that query with this new box. Of course, this is not detailed ranking weights and signals, but it does tell you if the words match or match closely, if people link to the site, if there are geo-specific reasons and more.

From the searcher’s perspective, it might help a searcher understand why Google ranked that result and enable more trust through transparency.

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Google will pass permanent signals with a redirect after a year /google-will-pass-permanent-signals-with-a-redirect-after-a-year-350697 Thu, 22 Jul 2021 11:43:02 +0000 /?p=350697 If you have a redirect live for a year, you can then remove the redirect and Google will continue to pass the signals from the origin URL to the destination URL.

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We know Google has told us to leave our redirects up for at least a year, but now, Gary Illyes from Google said the “concrete answer” after he dug into how Google Search handles it internally, is to leave your redirect up for “at least one year.” This will result in Google to pass any signals from the origin URL to the destination URL from the time Google found the redirect, to the time Google noticed the redirect was removed.

That means, the signals passed from the origin URL to the destination URL will always be associated with the destination URL, even after you remove the redirect. But after you do remove the redirect, the signals going forward will then be associated with the origin URL and not the destination URL.

Got that?

The announcement. Here is Gary’s announcement on Twitter on this:

What about the signals passing? So Gary Illyes and a bunch of SEOs went back and forth trying to clarify what this means. I summed it up above but here is Patrick Stox, a long time SEO, summing up Gary Illyes’ clarification:

More caveats. Technically, it can be less than a year, but to be safe, keep it up for a year to be safe that the signals will stick with the destination URL.

Also for users, you probably want to keep the redirect up for as long as possible. But that is up to you.

A final point, which I mentioned above, is that the clock starts ticking when Google first discovers the redirect. So if you are tracking it that closely, it is based on the time Google crawled the redirect, not when you actually put up the redirect.

Why we care. This is the first time Google has officially confirmed that the signals passed through redirects last forever even after a redirect is moved, if the redirect is live for over a year.

So now if you have clients that really want to remove redirects for whatever reason, if the redirect is live for a year or more, it is safe to do so from an SEO perspective specific to Google Search.

More importantly, if the redirect is removed over time because of just normal maintenance and it has been a year, you still do not need to worry.

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Change is what search marketers expect; Wednesday’s daily brief /change-is-what-search-marketers-expect-wednesdays-daily-brief-350628 Wed, 21 Jul 2021 14:00:00 +0000 /?p=350628 Plus, AMP labels are gone and Google Ads releases three-strikes policy.

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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, do you love or hate change?

If one thing is constant in the search marketing industry, it is change — and a lot of it, very often. Just in this newsletter, we are reporting about new changes Google made to its mobile results and Google Ads¡¯ new policy violation rule that will go into effect in the coming months.

The search results, both paid and organic, are constantly changing. Sometimes it is the algorithms that cause them to change. Sometimes it is the competition causing the change. Sometimes it is something you do that causes them to change.  But if there is one guarantee in our space – it is change.

We¡¯ve seen the strategies, especially the quick win strategies, change drastically over the years. We¡¯ve seen the link-building industry turned upside down numerous times. We¡¯ve seen the content marketing space adapt countless times. We¡¯ve seen AI, automation, and machine learning touch all aspects of what we deal with.

Embrace change and it¡¯ll make your job easier.

Barry Schwartz,
Change management consultant

Google Ads to try three-strikes and you¡¯re out policy

Starting in September 2021, Google Ads will begin testing a new three-strikes pilot program for accounts that repeatedly violate ad policies. Well, it might be four-strikes; it starts with a warning but then an additional three-strikes after that warning – your Google Ads account can be suspended. 

Strikes expire after 90 days, according to Google. If you¡¯ve had two strikes, fix the issues, send an acknowledgment of the issues and fixes, and then do not violate another policy for 90 days after the fix, your account resets, in a way, and the next violation will be the initial warning again. As always, search marketers will be able to appeal any violation and enforcement decisions.

Google may expand this three-strikes rule beyond just the Enabling Dishonest Behavior, Unapproved Substances and Dangerous Products or Services policies areas in the future. 

Why we care. The new ad policy pilot program provides clear actions and consequences for advertisers. While Google is testing this program for the Enabling Dishonest Behavior, Unapproved Substances and Dangerous Products or Services policies, it will likely eventually roll out to other policy areas in the coming year. The initial warning gives you the benefit of the doubt, but penalties are increasingly stringent after that. Many advertisers are worried that the new policy will penalize those whose ads get mislabeled or mistakenly violate policies.

Read more here.

AMP labels gone for Google mobile search results

After five years of Google showing the AMP icon in the mobile search results, it is now retired. Google is no longer showing the AMP label even for AMP pages in the mobile search results.

Google was thinking of showing a page experience label instead, but we have yet to see Google show the page experience label that they tested for a short period of time last December. Instead, Google shows no label for either AMP-enabled pages or for pages that meet the page experience update factors ¨C at least not yet.

Why we care. It is unclear what impact this change may or may not have on your click-through rate to your AMP content from Google Search. Keep an eye out for those changes in your analytics and reporting tools.

Read more here.

Google illustrated what different types of traffic declines look like

Daniel Waisberg of Google came up with illustrations of what six different categories of organic search traffic drops look like when you are looking at your performance report in Google Search Console.  It is broken down into these categories:

  • Site-level technical issue
  • Page-level technical issue
  • Manual action
  • Algorithmic changes
  • Seasonality
  • Reporting glitches

So if you see these types of traffic drops, you may want to dig in and figure out what is the cause.

Why we care. I believe this was the first time Google described visually how various issues in Google Search can impact your traffic. It gives you a way to clearly see what to expect from various SEO issues and how your traffic may be impacted. It is important to note that these illustrations are generalizations and that you do need an experienced SEO consultant to diagnose any real issues with your website.

Read more here.

Math solver rich results filter in Search Console performance report

A new search appearance filter has been added to the Google Search Console performance report. This new filter works for math solver rich results and structured data. That is, if your site shows math solver rich results in Google Search, Google can now report on your clicks, impressions and other data within the search performance report in Search Console.

The Google Search Console performance report shows important metrics about how your site performs in Google Search results: how often it comes up; average position in search results; click-through rate; and any special features (such as rich results) associated with your results.

Why we care. This gives us more data to see if using Math Solvers markup is actually helping our sites get more visibility in search. More importantly, is the markup and rich results leading to more clicks to our websites.

Read more here.

Faster AdSense code, shared hosting, Google Posts for hotels and deleting disavows

Deleting disavow files. John Mueller of Google warns against blindly deleting disavow files. He said ¡°blindly deleting the file sounds as bad as blindly adding to the file :). Be thoughtful when making bigger changes.¡±

Google Posts for hotel listings. It seems Google might be testing bringing Google Posts to hotel listings in Google Search. It is unclear if this is a bug or an early beta feature, but those SEOs in the hospitality industry are excited to give it a try.

Shared hosting and SEO. Google¡¯s John Mueller said in a video that shared hosting works fine for SEO and ranking in Google Search. He shared more details in this video, like if the shared host gets overloaded and GoogleBot may have issues crawling the site.

Google AdSense better code. Google announced it has new faster and better performing AdSense code. If you want better-performing pages and for your AdSense code to not slow down your pages as much, you can replace your old AdSense code with the new one.? Google is not doing away with the old code, so you do not need to replace the code if you don¡¯t want to.

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

The post Change is what search marketers expect; Wednesday’s daily brief appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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