Digital marketing is constantly changing and updating, but that’s part of what we love about it. It keeps us on our toes. We do what we enjoy, so you can keep doing what you enjoy: improving your business.
Search marketers should remember their power in the Google-SEO relationship
Google has essentially said that SEOs (or those attempting SEO) have not always used page titles how they should be for a while (since 2012). “Title tags can sometimes be very long or ‘stuffed’ with keywords because creators mistakenly think adding a bunch of words will increase the chances that a page will rank better,” according to the Search Central blog. Or, in the opposite case, the title tag hasn’t been optimized at all: “Home pages might simply be called ‘Home’. In other cases, all pages in a site might be called ‘Untitled’ or simply have the name of the site.” And so the change is “designed to produce more readable and accessible titles for pages.”
This title tag system change seems to be another one of those that maybe worked fine in a lab, but is not performing well in the wild. The intention was to help searchers better understand what a page or site is about from the title, but many examples we’ve seen have shown the exact opposite.
The power dynamic is heavily weighted to Google’s side, and they know it. But the key is to remember that we’re not completely powerless in this relationship. Google’s search engine, as a business, relies on us (in both SEO and PPC) participating in its business model.
Google’s local search trends: From saturation to depth of content and personalization
The focus of GMB has shifted in recent years from getting more businesses to sign up for the listing service to getting business owners or managers to add even more information about their companies on the platform.
“The new GMB mission is to have businesses provide as much relevant information for as many content areas as possible. Beyond basic contact info, these opportunities include photos, action links, secondary hours, attributes, service details, and several other features. The intent is to make GMB as replete with primary data as possible, so that any pertinent detail a consumer might need to know before choosing a local business is provided in-platform, without the need to click through to other sources,” wrote Damian Rollison for StreetFight.
The local trend matches Google’s overall direction in the search engine results pages: answering everything right there in the SERP. It also does this by personalizing the local results to what it believes is the searcher’s intent.
“The term that has arisen to describe the most prevalent type of local pack personalization is ‘justifications’ (this is apparently Google’s internal term for the feature). Justifications are snippets of content presented as part of the local pack — or, in some cases, as part of the larger business profile — in order to ‘justify’ the search result to the user. Justifications pull evidence from some less-visible part of GMB, from Google users, from the business website, or from local inventory feeds, and publish that evidence as part of the search result,” said Rollison.
So why should marketers care about this? “Personalization represents a broad range of opportunities for businesses to drive relevant traffic from search to store. Answers to questions, photos, website content, and much more can be optimized according to the products and services you most want to surface for in search.”
The most interesting part is many analysts see this as a fee to essentially prevent Bing from being the default search engine. Jane Horvath, Apple’s senior director of global privacy, told the Computers, Privacy and Data Protection conference (CPDP) that Safari defaults to Google because it’s the most popular search engine, but that users still have the ability to change to the search engine of their choice: “We do support Google but we also have built-in support for DuckDuckGo, and we recently also rolled out support for Ecosia.”
Why we care: This move has many marketers asking, “So when will Apple launch their own search engine?” The company has been propelled mostly by hardware, and this deal with ever-increasing payments from Google is one of its moves toward improving its services options. But perhaps the deal with Google is more lucrative than the potential of having to compete with the biggest player in the marketplace for some advertising dollars
Google lost some data in Search Console’s performance report
When you are looking at the performance report in Search Console, you will notice an annotation on August 23 and 24 stating that Google lost Search and Discover data between those dates. The data cannot be backfilled and is likely gone forever, Google said. Some sites are seeing huge impressions and click declines, while others are not.
“An internal problem caused a data loss in Search and Discover performance during this period. Users might see a significant data drop in their performance reports during this period. This does not reflect any drop in clicks or impressions for your site, only missing data in Search Console,” wrote Google.
Why we care: It is important that you annotate this data glitch in your own reporting or client reporting. Google has added an annotation to the Search Console reports but do not forget, that data on from August 23 to 24 is likely gone forever. I would think it is safe to say you had more impressions and clicks on those days than what Google is showing you. But make sure to communicate the data issue with your clients when you do your monthly reporting.
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Summer has tons of experience in all realms of marketing. Her favorite is Search Engine Optimization and trying to figure out what Google is up to next.