The Week In Search & SEO: September 22, 2017

The Week In Search & SEO: September 22, 2017

The week of September 22, 2017 in search and SEO was a big one with a Google update and major enhancement to Bing Ads just for starters. Here’s what happened …

Top SEO News

Google Update
As Barry Schwartz reported for Search Engine Roundtable – There was a Google update that began to roll out on September 16. We felt the impact of it here at Beanstalk as well. For the most part our clients’ realized gains (specifically those where link building had been a recent focus) but generally in the 4 to 8 position gain whereas people who lost ground are reporting more extreme movement.

Ranking Signals Change Based On The Query

Echoing a great analysis of Rankbrain by Rand Fishkin Google has noted that there are no top 3 signals and that they adjust based on the query.  To give an example of what this would mean, a query for “new on netflix” shouldn’t rely as much on links as the ranking best page likely wouldn’t yet have accumulated the largest number.  Instead signals like freshness and domain authority and topical relevancy would kick in.

Bing: Links Still Important
After stating that links are and/or will be decreasing in weight Bing has clarified that they are still important. So they’re reducing in their importance but they’re still important.

Click Data Impact On Ranking
John Mueller clarified this week a statement regarding the use of click data for rankings. The clarification is that they do use click data to “train” algorithms on success metrics but not to influence a specific site’s rankings due to the ease of manipulation.

Google Testing White Knowledge Panel
Google Tests White Knowledge Panels

Barry Schwartz reported on a discovery from Sergey Alakov of a test Google is performing.  In the test illustrated above we can see on the left what Sergey is seeing – a while knowledge panel vs Barry’s screenshot which is closer to what I see as well in blue. More local testing.

Bing Upgrading Visual Search
Object Detection for Visual Search in Bing

Bing has improved their visual search.  Rolling out is a feature that understands the objects in an image and will let users click that object to find other instances of it or similar. This is going to be great for paid search. It’s only available on desktop presently but should be rolling out on mobile soon. Then – just take a picture of that item you want and find it on Bing.

Top PPC News

Google Auto Ads
No – we’re not talking about automotive advertising. This new featured for AdSense allows website owners to place a single piece of code on their site and Google will select the best placement, ad, etc. I haven’t seen it in the wold to my knowledge yet but it is an interesting concept for publishers to investigate.

Bing Ads Offline Conversion Report
Track more of your ad impact with Offline Conversion Import

Bing has just added offline conversion importing Bing Ads. Essentially using the URL or cookies to track a visitor from Bing Ads a website owner can then append this data to a form, coupon, etc. and then use this data to track them to an offline conversion via an import file.

Bing Ads Adds Account Level Ad Extentions
Managing ad extensions can be a time consuming process and it’s especially annoying when you have to perform the same task multiple times. Until recently ad extensions were manages at the ad group and campaign levels on Bing which they still are but Bing has also enabled account level extensions. Basically – you can now add an extension that spans all applicable campaigns and ad grounds.

Google Kills Second Line Of Ad Copy
Google was testing the addition of a second line of descriptive text in ad copy. Seems it didn’t work to improve CTR and like Ginny Marvin – I didn’t actually see it in the wild but alas, it is no more.

Google Merchant Center Upgrades
From multi-country submissions in a single feed to new supplemental feeds Google is adding a lot of new functionality to the merchant center just in time for the holidays. Definitely a highly recommended read.

New Opportunities Tab In The Merchant Center
Google Merchant Center Now Finds ‘Opportunities’ for Improving Campaigns

Matt Southern reported for Search Engine Journal on the addition of a new ‘Opportunities’ tab in the Merchant Center. A great enhancement with some valuable information.

Callout Extensions For Call-Only Ads
Advertisers on AdWords can now add location, callout and structured snippets to their ads.

Bing Ads Countdown
Highlight upcoming sales and events using countdown ad customizers

Bing Ads have added an ad customizer that adds a countdown to ads for upcoming sales, events and more. They add an incentive to click when a deal is on for a limited time only and are a great feature to have launched as we approach the holidays.

Top Social Media News

Facebook Snooze Button
Tired of seeing pics of your friend’s trip or the constant announcements of an upcoming sale from a group or page that’s normally interesting? You can now pause them from showing up in your new feed for 1, 7 or 30 days. So instead of unfollowing them forever you can just snooze them.

Instagram Follows You
Instagram has finally added a “follows you” section where users can see who follows them. Odd that it’s only rolling out now but glad it’s there.

Grow Your Instagram Audience
And speaking of Instagram … there’s a good article over on Search Engine Journal with tips on growing your Instagram audience. It’s not as highly covered as many social properties of it’s popularity and the article gives some good entry-level advice.

Pinterest Rolling Our Features
Pinterest just hit 200 million users and to celebrate they’re rolling out a ton of new features including boards within boards. We’ll be watching their blog for more news on the features as they roll out.

Internet Marketing-Related Tech

Google $49 Smart Speaker Coming October 4
Google to debut ‘Home Mini’ smart speaker for $49 on October 4

Answering to Amazon’s Echo Dot, Google is set to release the Home Mini upon the world. The device will cost $49, come in three colors and greatly broaden the market for Google’s personal assistant.  I personally think this is a great move on Google’s part giving them access to a market not willing to commit the $150 of a Google Home for a device they’re unsure of.

Amazon Broadening Ecosystem With New Products
Amazon is launching two new products to broaden their role in the IoT. they’re launching a pair of smart glasses that don’t record but rather have the primary use of being the Alexa voice assistant access point. They’re also launching a smart security camera that till livestream to the Echo Show or smartphone app.

Best Opinion Pieces

The Myth Of The Non-Technical Marketer
In one of my favorite opinion pieces in a long LOOOONG time GTM guru Simo Ahava essentially lecture internet marketers for apologizing about code in their slides and underestimating the ability of a reader/audience to learn. He’s 100% right and if you’re an internet marketing – this is a highly recommended read.

5 Strategies To Deal With AI In SEO

Artificial Intelligence & SEO: 5 Strategies You Need to Follow

Guy Sheetrit wrote an interesting piece for Search Engine Journal on a favorite subject of mine – SEO and AI. In it he outlines his 5 strategies for dealing with the influence AI is having/will have on SEO.  Essentially approaches to help reinforce to Google that your site is intelligently the right choice for their searchers. Highly recommended read.