Got a month's worth of content in this newsletter so this is going to be a looooooooong one.
I have been using FOMO - a social proof service that pulls in profile pic for subscriber's (if they are publically avilable through sites like gravatar) and displays them on the site for visitors, it was brought to my attention that not eveyone will like that. Please reply to the email if you don't want to be shown and I will remove your profile from appearing. I will also update the welcome email to show this.
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Still, think AMP is not a ranking factor? Well, probably not in the traditional sense but a dedicated section on SEPR. Look at that result for AMPStories with a huge image, that bound to get the user's attention. I will take it any day over a ranking factor.
During ampconf Google announced that AMP Stories now appears in a dedicated section in search results for general queries such as "things to do in Tokyo". Will be launching in USA first.
Distil Networks today published its 2019 Bad Bot Report - email paywall, which looks at the current state of automated web traffic, both good and bad. The paper highlights some startling figures, including that bots accounted for 37.9 percent of all online traffic during 2018.
Surprisingly, 53.4 percent of all bad bot traffic comes from the United States, with the Netherlands, with 5.7 percent of all traffic, being the second most common country-of-origin.
Despite that, the most commonly IP-blocked countries are Russia and the Ukraine, highlighting the huge disparity in where people perceive attacks to originate from, rather than where they actually do.
This is a great list of things you might want to have on your eCommerce client's websites. Inflow does this study every year and this is the 2019 version. One big theme this year is consistent experience between your desktop and mobile site.
There is a bug in Google where some sites just drops out of the index when you search for it it will not show up. If you resubmit the site to be indexed in Search Console it comes back up.
This site was impacted by the bug. After Submitting it takes about 5-10 mins for the site to appear back in search. So if any of your clients have just lost all rankings (not moved down a few spots but gone completely), just resubmit the page to Google via Search Console or via the Indexing API.
Google is adding more rich results to answers from your Google Assistant on Android. They have shared some before and after where we see how they are surfacing a lot more visually appealing results when you ask Google assistant a question. Also, if you look closely it looks like they will start showing ads in those results.
Instagram took its next step to becoming a full-fledged commerce business today, announcing that it is bringing a checkout feature to its mobile apps for customers in the USA. With checkout, you can store your payment information with Instagram to make purchases more quickly. In return, Instagram is charging retailers a selling fee.
Checkout tags will appear on feed posts, Stories and Explore content from the brands in the closed beta that Instagram plans to eventually open to more businesses. Brands in the beta include Nike, Adidas, Dior, H&M, MAC Cosmetics, Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta, Prada, Uniqlo, Warby Parker, and Zara.
For now, only organic posts from the launch partner merchants will feature Checkout buttons, and ads aren’t eligible. Items eligible for in-app checkout now have a big blue “Checkout on Instagram” button below them. Tap it and you’ll be asked to provide your email address so that the seller can complete your order. From there, you enter your delivery information and payment method, and after reviewing your details you can place the order.
Merchants will only get the details necessary to fulfill an order, including contact info and address, but not your actual payment info. Users will see an opt-in option to share their email address with the seller for marketing purposes.
Users can pay with PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover.
This patch is now available in version 3.5.3, it's highly recommended you update it.
Google has been slowly adding more and more features to the new Search Console. Looks like the basic functionality of removing an existing sitemap is now added to the new Search Console interface. Some of the other features include: - Opening the sitemap content in a new tab - Deleting a sitemap - Reviewing granular details for sitemaps with errors - Presenting RSS and Atom feed sitemaps
So it would appear that Google was not using rel=prev/next for years and decided to remove it from their documentaion.
For the uninitiated rel next/prev was a meta tag that used to signal the relationship between paginated pages, it was the recommended way to signal to Google and other search engines that the page is a part of a series.
Google is NOT asking you to use infinite scroll pages or anything like that. They feel that Googlebot is smart enough to find your next page by looking at the links on the page, they don't need an explicit "rel prev, rel next" meta tag to pick it up.
A new layout for Google Image search on mobile is letting you drag up the article the image is sourced from. In the example Google lets you drag up the Verge article from the bottom of the image preview screen.
Bing has pushed out some updates to its Text-to-speech, Intelligent answers and Visual search offering.
For example, instead of the relatively simple answer to ‘what is the capital of Bangladesh’, Bing can now provide answers to more complex questions, such as ‘what are different types of lighting for a living room’, quicker than before.
The next time you log into Keyword Planner in Google Ads, you’ll see an announcement of several new features. Some of these updates are older features (“Add to existing campaign” is one) just now getting added to the new Google Ads UI.
More seeds – You can now enter up to 10 seed keywords when searching for new ideas
Keyword trends – View or download trends for individual keyword ideas
Grouped ideas – View keywords by theme or add the set as an ad group
Save an idea to an existing campaign – Add a new keyword idea to a campaign you already created
Suggested budget – Get a suggested daily budget based on the max CPC bid and forecasted cost
Competition value column – Get granular competition ranking across keyword ideas
In a recent blog post, Google softly mentioned that they are retiring the info: search operator. This was a great command to check what Google considers to be the canonical URL for any given page.
Thankfully you can still check this by entering your page’s address into the URL Inspection tool within Search Console and it will show you the Google-selected canonical, even if they are from properties you don't manage in Search Console.
TL;DR: now you can only see the Google assigned canonical from domains you have access from search console, previously they were just an info: command away.
Looks like the Google Ads rebrand has caught up with the Adwords Editor, it's now called Google Ads Editor and v1 was just announced. This supports things like cross-account management, improved design and usability and more.
Back in Sep last year Google announced more visual content in search and one of the features was using AI to intelligently construct AMP stories and surface this content in Search, it looks like that feature is now live with Google Arts&Culture content.
Looks like Google users can start leaving reviews for music albums, they used to have a 👍 and 👎 rating system. Google used to offer user-generated reviews for Movies and TV shows. Looks like they are adding reviews for more and more verticals. Events, Books, Recipes what will be next?
Action Extensions allows you to highlight a clear call-to-action on your text ads to entice customers to immediately click and drive them to your website. Customers who have used this appears to have seen a 20% increase in CTR.
Action Extensions are available in all Bing Ads markets on both PC and mobile devices. Advertisers across many verticals can leverage up to 70 pre-defined Action Extensions in all Bing Ads supported languages (English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese (Brazil), Dutch, Swedish, Traditional Chinese, Danish, Finnish, and Norwegian). More info here
With this version, you’ll continue pointing to v1 as your endpoint; however, you'll need to update your client libraries in order to use v1_1 features. They also have a bunch of new features compared to the older AdWords API.
In some countries, Google My Business now provides suggested posts to help you showcase positive reviews. These posts are automatically suggested based on 4 or 5-star reviews recently left for your business.
Custom Audiences allows you to remarket to your existing customers with messaging customized for each customer segment — platinum-level customers, loyalty program customers, highest lifetime-value customers, newsletter subscribers — or even customers you want to avoid targeting and exclude.
Advertisers in all Bing Ads markets except the European Union, Norway and Switzerland can now bring their own first-party customer data onto Bing Ads to target with Custom Audiences, using one of thie data management platform (DMP) partners: Adobe Audience Manager, LiveRamp and Oracle BlueKai.
Custom Audiences can only include your own first-party data, collected directly from your customers — for example, data that you collected from your own website or apps — to target on the search network. Buying or leasing third-party data to use in creating Custom Audiences isn’t permitted.
You can use Custom Audiences in both Bing Ads online and the Bing Ads API. Pilot participants saw up to 18% higher click-through rates (CTR).
In addition to standard hotel accommodations, users will be able to filter and browse through short-term rentals via a variety of partners including Expedia, HomeAway, Hotels.com, NextPax, RedAwning, Rentals United, TripAdvisor, VRBO and more right on Google Hotel Search. This is already available on mobile and will be coming to the desktop next month.
I am assuming Airbnb won't be too happy about this.
To stay competitive, the retailer launched 200 localised microsites - smaller sites which perform alongside its main website - which had a negative effect on Asos' search engine rankings, there are rumors flying around saying they had some technical issues with hreflang implentation, etc. And SEOs are having a field day with it - 2.
Discover feed shows users a mix of content based on their interactions with Google products or content that they choose to follow directly.
The Performance report for Discover feed shows important metrics about how your site performs in Discover. This report will only be visible if your property has reached a minimum threshold of impressions in Discover.
Usually, an AMP page served from Google’s cache has a URL starting with https://google.com/amp/ this can be incredibly confusing for end users. Starting today, when you use Google Search and click on an AMP link, the browser (only Chrome for now) will display the publisher’s real URLs instead of an “http//google.com/amp” link. Over time, the hope is they will expand it to other areas of the search results page including the “Top Stories” news area at the top of the page.
They use signed exchanges (mozilla considers this to be outright harmful for the open web) with digital signatures to make this happen.
Publishers will have to do a bit of extra work, and publish both signed and un-signed versions of their stories. Cloudflare users will find a new section on the Speed tab of your Cloudflare dashboard that will allow you to take advantage of this in a few clicks.
Looks like Goole has renamed their google-speakr UserAgent, you might start seeing that as google-Read-Aloud. This user-agent is used when Google Go fetches a page to make sure it has the most up-to-date information before it translates it to read aloud.
Google has turned on their Reserve relationship with Trip Advisor allowing consumers to purchase tickets directly from the Business Profile (aka Knowledge Panel).
When the Buy Tickets button is clicked you are brought to an e-commerce interface allowing you to select the date, the type and number of tickets and then asked to pay with Google Pay. If you don’t have a Google Pay credit card set up yet, you are then directed to do so.
Unlike, the Reserve scheduling tools for spas, this completes the whole transaction from scheduling to the purchase for TripAdvisor and the venue directly on and within Google.
BUT at times Google gets it wrong and apprenlty, there is no option for the business to turn off this feature.
LinkedIn has introduced four new reactions people can use in response to posts in their timelines. In addition to “like,” you can now react in four other ways to posts with icons that indicate “celebrate,” “love,” “insightful” and “curious.”
In a move that will infuriate influencers, Instagram is considering hiding like counts on posts according to a hidden feature uncovered int he app's source code. The message that will show up for users who will be a part of this test reads as follows:
We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get. During this test, only the person who shared a post will see the total number of likes it gets.