The Week In Search & SEO: May 25, 2018

The Week In Search & SEO: May 25, 2018

This content is 3 years old. Please, read this page keeping its age in mind as SEO changes rapidly and while the past is useful to remember and reference, it often doesn't provide the best strategies to apply today.

StumbledUpon closes its doors next week. Meanwhile, more uncertainty may exist among webmasters as Google may be rolling out the second algorithm update of the month. Google launches a campaign to try to protect small business owners against scammers. Read more about these stories and others in this week’s edition of This Week in Search.

Top Global Search News

Google Steps up Efforts to Fight Scams and Fraud Directed at SMBs 

Many small business owners receive calls from scammers representing themselves as Google with outrageous demands. In reaction, Google is launching a campaign to educate small business owners while taking scammers to court.

Yelp asks Europe to Take New Antitrust Action Against Google 

After hitting Google with a $2.7 billion shopping search fine, the European Commission may be poised to hear other complaints against the company including Android app preinstall rules and AdSense contracts. If the European Commission follows through, Google could be hit with another round of astronomical fines. Yelp is maintaining that Google abuses its dominant position when it comes to local search.

Google Trends Gets Updated With New Features and Design Elements 

Google Trends gets updated with new features and design elements

While you can still find the Explore Page, Daily Trends and Real-time Trends on Google Trends, the program has several new features designed to help journalist build stories around data available from this source. Updates include a new section curated by the Google News Team, use of more infographics and a new Year in Search feature.

Google Removed “Don’t Be Evil” From Code Of Conduct 

Google’s code of conduct has started with the phrase “Don’t be Evil” ever since Paul Buchheit and Matt Cutts introduced it to the company’s culture in 2000. Recently, however, the company revised its code of conduct, and it now it ends with a gentle reminder not to be evil.

Google: Duplication In Title Tags With Image Alt Tag Is Not An Issue 

While it is still the best practice to use the image alt tag to describe what the image is about, Google’s John Mueller says it is not a problem if the title tag and the image alt tag has the same wording.

Is Another Google Update Happening In May? 

Is Another Google Update Happening In May?

Many webmasters noticed a change in their traffic about May 17, 2018, but now it appears that another update may be in the works. Some sites are experiencing up to 30 percent growth in their traffic while others are experiencing about a 30 percent loss (such is the impact in the zero-sum world of search).

Google Offers Advice on 404 and 410 Status Codes 

If you want a web page to disappear from Google, then use a 410 Status Code to make it happen quickly. Google’s John Mueller says when the crawler discovers a 404 Status Code, then they return in 24 to 48 hours to see if they get the same result before removing it from their search engine result pages.

Google Gets Smarter With Named Entities: Acquires MetaWeb 

Metaweb may be the structure that Google uses to classify named entities, and it was acquired by Google in 2010 after having obtained several patents. According to Microsoft, about 25 percent of all searches on Bing consist only of a named entity while over 71 percent of searches contain a named entity.

Google Has A Bias Towards Scientific Truth In Search 

According to Google’s Quality Raters Guidelines section 3.2, Google has a bias for scientific truth when available.

Google: Shared Robots.txt Across Domains Work Okay 

In the realm of things I didn’t know –> According to Google’s John Mueller, robots.txt file shared across domain sitemaps should not be a problem.

Top Local Search News

Google Maps Lets Users Customize Navigation Icons 

Google Maps Lets Users Customize Navigation Icons

iOS users can now customize their navigation icons in Google Maps by choosing from a pickup, sedan or SUV. There is no report if this new feature will be available to Android users.

Google Shows More Yellow Map Pins In Snippets 

Google Shows More Yellow Map Pins In Snippets

Some users are discovering more yellow map pins on Google Featured Snippets, but no one seems to have figured out what triggers them yet. They first started appearing in early April, but they are becoming more abundant.

Google “Similar To” Carousel For Local Search Results 

Google "Similar To" Carousel For Local Search Results

When a local business is searched for, Google now appears to be showing five nearby businesses that are related and in close proximity. It would appear that Google has now decided to call this carousel feature “similar to” or “explore.”

Top PPC News

The Status of Google’s Presence in Google Shopping Auctions 

The status of Google’s presence in Google Shopping Auctions

Google announced in late March that it would start placing Google shopping actions alongside traditional shopping ads in their carousels. Ann Taylor points out, however, that Google must perform a delicate balancing act between the commissions earned off the sale of products directly to the consumer and the sale of pay-per-click ads to traditional retailers.

Google AdWords Requires All Accounts to Use Parallel Tracking, As of October 2018 

Google has announced that they will require all Google AdWords to use parallel tracking which allows click measurement to occur in the background while pages are loading. Further, Google will redirect HTTP search ad clicks to HTTPS sites when they are aware of them and allow users to upgrade to more secure HTTP sites without resetting performance settings.

Top Social Media News

Instagram Lets Users ‘Mute’ Other Accounts 

Instagram Lets Users ‘Mute’ Other Accounts

Users can now mute profiles or pages on Instagram without unfollowing them. Simply tap on the three-dot menu at the top of the page and choose the red mute button.

StumbleUpon Shuts Down After 16 Years 

Despite the fact that over 40 million users have used StumbleUpon over the course of the last 16 years, the service will cease to exist on June 1, 2018. All accounts will be moved to co-founder Garrett Camp’s new service

Internet Marketing-Related Tech

Google releases Lighthouse version 3.0 

Google releases Lighthouse version 3.0

Google has released Lighthouse version 3.0. It comes with new and faster audits, a new interface for users and less variance.

It Sounds Like Google has Finally Caught up to Amazon in the Smart-speaker Wars for the First Time Ever 

According to Canalys, Google sold 3.2 million Google Home and Google Home Mini devices while 2.5 million Echo devices were sold by Amazon during the first quarter of 2018. If these numbers are accurate, it is the first time that Google has beaten Amazon in the smart-speaker field since the two started battling in 2016.

Best Opinion Pieces

SEO For Google Now Harder? What Has Changed Over The Past Few Years? 

Barry Schwartz suggests that SEO has gotten harder in the last couple of years. He points to an increase in quality content on the web, fewer pages with better content, the lack of link farms, more competition and a better user interface as some of the ways that SEO has changed.

It’s Time for Local Business to Take Voice Search Seriously 

It’s time for local business to take voice search seriously

Voice search is here to stay, so local businesses need to position their websites to take advantage of it. According to Jamie Pitman, businesses should build content around low-intent questions that Google does not currently have a Featured Snippet on, create better content than that currently featured in the snippet, make sure content is relevant to keywords you want to rank on and make sure that people are leaving positive reviews for your company. Read this outstanding thought-piece for even more practical advice.

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