This Week In Search & SEO: August 4, 2017

This Week In Search & SEO: August 4, 2017

It was a big week in search and SEO with some of the biggest stories coming out of the paid search world by both Bing and Google. So let’s jump in …

Top SEO News

Google Makes Torrent Sites Less Visible (kind of)
Until recently a carousel appeared for the query “best torrent sites” listing then all. Google has investigated and removed this carousel making it “harder” to get to them replacing it with a list. Not exactly a significant increase in the barrier to entry but let’s call it a victory anyways.

Badges On Image Search Results
Badges on Image Search help users find what they really want

Google announced on the Webmaster Central Blog the addition of new badges that appear in image search results helping users find the type of content they want.  When the image is understood to be a recipe, video, product or animated GIF the badge will indicate such allowing the user to more quickly find and filter the content they’re looking for. A very good move by Google and another reason to use Schema.

New Search Console Features
Google is also giving us a sneak peek at two upcoming features on Search Console.  The changes will be coming to the Index Coverage where we’ll get more information on why and how to address issues and in how they report AMP issues. You can read more about it in their blog using the link above.

Google Adds Save & Bookmarking Features
Google adds new ‘save’ & bookmarking feature, which you can access in a new hamburger menu

As Barry Schwartz reported for Search Engine Land, Google is making yet another attempts to allow users to save search results to a single location. The same menu is available throughout the search experience and the button to do so replaces the Share button.

Updates Google Quality Raters Guidelines
Jennifer Slegg reported on changes to Google Quality Rates Guidelines. The updates revolve mainly around non-English language results and how to deal with them when there are both English and non-English results available but there were other changes around page quality, needs met (I suspect we’ll be seeing a lot more around this int he coming days weeks and months) and more. A good read.

Microsoft Pushing Hard On AI
There was a great write-up by Neel Patel (not a typo … different Neel) over at Inverse. Microsoft has listed AI as their top priority according to their latest financial report replacing their focus on mobile and cloud. I suspect the folks at Microsoft are remembering a time when they could ahve built their own search engine in the early days but decided it wasn’t where the money was and are learning from that experience.

Top PPC News

New Conversion-Based Budget Suggestions From Bing
Making it easier to adjust your budgets based on conversions

Bing Ads has announced that they’re adding conversion data to budget suggestions to allow advertisers to make decisions based on this important metric. it’s a good move by Bing in their never-ending quest to keep up with AdWords.

Google Home Services Launching In Chicago
Google Home Service Ads to Launch Soon in ChicagoPat McKay reported for Search Engine Journal on the start of the vetting process for Google Home Services Ads in the Greater Chicago area.  These ads are available to advertisers who pass Google’s vetting process which involved background checks, mystery shoppers and more. I recommend reading Pat’s write-up and considering what this might mean for your own industry as they push forward into this and other sectors (and they will).

Google Slides With AdWords Data
Frederick Vallaeys over on Search Engine Land followed up on a Google announcement that they’d added the Google Slides API to AdWords scripts with a write-up on how to use these scripts (with code samples) to automate the injection of AdWords data into your presentation and slide making. Very handy.

Policy Update At Bing Ads
Bing is updating their Relevancy & Quality Policy. The policy updates will impact those with campaign with no recent performance where Bing will be removing keywords and/or ads from the platform. There may also be limits on the number of keywords the system can retain.

Google Shopping Using Swipeable Carousels
Google Shopping shakes up mobile product card unit ads with swipeable carousel, filters

Ginny Marvin over at Search Engine Land covered the discovery of a change to how shopping results appear on mobile.  The results are now being presented in a filterable and scrollable carousel as opposed to the list format they have been presented in. We’re also seeing additional information included.

Product Badge Now An Ad
Not ad creep: Images labeled ‘Product’ in Google Images part of new badges markup

We reported above in the organic section about the change to mobile image search that included badges. Google clarifies that the ‘Product’ badge was not a shopping result and this is not “ad creep”.

Top Social Media News

Facebook Bot Experiment Shut Down
We all probably heard about the crazy bot experiment Facebook has to shut down because AI was teaching itself a new language. Well it was completely inaccurate and the experiment was shut down because it was over. The bots behaved uniquely in some ways but not in any alarming way and researchers are calling the reports ‘irresponsible’.

Facebook Favors Speed
In a completely expected move Facebook is changing their feed results to favor sites that are faster. Given the number of their users that are on mobile no one can be surprised. It’s a good move for users and a good reminder for site owners about how important speed is to the user experience.

Internet Marketing-Related Tech

Sorry – nothing in this category this week.

Best Opinion Pieces

Machine Learning And Adapting Our SEOHow Machine Learning Is Changing SEO & How to Adapt

Winston Burton wrote a very interesting piece for Search Engine Journal on machine learning.  In the article he discusses exactly what machine learning is vs AI and how it may impact SEO. I don’t agree with everything Winston concludes, especially around technical SEO but it’s a very good read and worth every minute.

45 Local SEO Pitfalls
Mirriam Ellis wrote a very good piece for Moz on local SEO. In the article she outlines 45 areas where things can go wrong and how to address them. A very good as well as very easy read. Something to bookmark and glance over whenever you find yourself in a pickle with local.

Cindy Krum & Emily Grossman On Webcology
Cingy Krum and Emily Grossman joined Jim Hedger and I on our podcast to discuss mobile-first and portable-first indexing, security and the future of the web. It was a great show with a lot of useful takeaways.  You can listen to it by clicking the link above to download it or play it in your browser below.

How To Make Badges Happen
Matt Southern wrote a good piece for Search Engine Journal related to the new image badges we’ve touched on a couple times in this summary.  In the article Matt outlines some strategies on just how to get them. Definitely recommended reading.

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