Daily Search Forum Recap: December 30, 2016

Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:

Other Great Search Forum Threads:

Source: SEroundTable

Search Buzz Video Recap: Google Mobile First, Algorithm Update, 2017 SEO Advice & More

This week was expected to be slow because of the holiday week but hey, we may have had a small Google algorithm update but I doubt it. Google said the mobile first index is not yet live. Googleâs advice to SEOs for 2017 is to focus on their mobile page SEO stuff. Google may be mislabeling pages as not mobile friendly. Google said slow pages might be labeled as not mobile friendly. Although Googleâs mobile first index might not measure page speed on launch. Google said they do not throttle or have a quota on how much traffic a site can get in a day. Google said you may notice a link count drop in Google Search Console. Google said CDNs are safe to host with. Google launched a new recipe user interface on mobile and is testing a new mobile search results interface. Google sent out messages about nonsecure login pages. Googleâs John Mueller did spend some of his Christmas day helping webmaters. And we have the New Years eve logo from Google already. Happy new years and that is the search news we covered at the Search Engine Roundtable.

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For the original iTunes version, click here.

Search Topics of Discussion:

Please do subscribe via iTunes or on your favorite RSS reader. Don’t forget to comment below with the right answer and good luck!

Source: SEroundTable

Some May See A Drop In Google Link Counts In Search Console

Have you noticed a change in your link count within the Google Search Console Links To Your Site report? One webmaster said he noticed a drop in the more/latest links report by about 50% So he was rightfully concerned.

He messaged John Mueller who said that he should not worry, it might be related to a data update on Google’s end. He said “that sounds more like data-changes on our side, I’d ignore it.”

Here are the tweets:

We do know that the Google Search Console is undergoing infrastructure updates and the reports may be off in that time frame – so this does make sense.

So no need to panic says Google’s John Mueller.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Source: SEroundTable

Google 2017 SEO Advice: Make Sure You Optimize For Mobile Like You Do For Desktop

In Google’s last hangout of the year, I asked John Mueller of Google what advice does he want to give SEOs for 2017 – assuming those SEOs have done everything right in 2016.

He said the main thing is around the mobile first index that will be rolling out in 2017. He said that most SEOs are really good at on-page SEO based on the desktop version, but when this goes live, they need to apply the same on-page SEO techniques to the mobile version of the site. Of course, if you are responsive, you really don’t need to worry too much about this.

John also added that SEO tools, both third-party tools and the tools you build internally, need to move from looking at the desktop version to the mobile version of the site.

Here is the video embed at the start of this conversation:

Here is the transcript:


So John, its top of the hour. Want to leave us with the end of the year, maybe like three things to look at for 2017? Assuming you did everything right in 2016?


So I would say mobile and mobile and mobile. That’s really easy right? No.

I think especially with the change for the mobile first index, one of the big things that I suspect SEOs in particular will want to look at is how the mobile pages are actually SEO. So if you’ve done on page SEO for your desktop site then usually you folks spend a lot of time looking at the HTML code for your desktop pages but the mobile page is essentially just like a mobile version of the same page, you haven’t really spent time to figure out like how do I need to optimize the the code there to actually be like done in a way that’s like proper on-page SEO.

So I suspect that’s something where people want to spend a bit of time on trying to figure that out and trying to make sure that the tools that they use are actually focusing on the mobile version of the page. So if you have to use a, I don’t know, crawler for your 2website to see how it’s internally linked then make sure you’re actually testing the mobile version of the page and not just the desktop version.

So all of these these kinds of third-party tools that you’re using to evaluate your pages, kind of the understanding of on-page SEO, make sure that you apply that to the mobile version of the page as well and don’t just focus on the desktop offers.

Forum discussion at Google+.

Source: SEroundTable

How To Request A Special Crawl Rate From Google

A Google Webmaster Help thread has one webmaster that needs help controlling how GoogleBot crawls his sites. He said the controls in Google Search Console are not doing it.

John Mueller said that he can use the link on the bottom of this form in order to contact the crawling team.

John said “they’re usually able to help with these kinds of requests.”

So if you need special help with Google crawling your site, then you can use that form.

Although, generally, you want to make sure your server can handle the crawl from Google. Of course, there are plenty of bad bots out there but GoogleBot, you typically do not want to restrict too much.

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

Source: SEroundTable

Here Is Google's New Years Eve Day Logo For 2016

Google News Years Eve 2016

Tomorrow, December 31st is New Years eve, but tomorrow is already here in places like New Zealand and they have the Google Logo up for New Years Eve already.

This years Google New Years Eve day Doodle has a bunch of party balloons all ready to be released as the clock strikes midnight. The balloons are in a net, they have big eyes, as they watch the clock on the wall. they have party horns and streamers.

The balloons are all jumpy and ready for 2017 – are you?

Here are the previous years logos from Google on New Years Eve, on 2015, 2014, 2013, 2014 New Year’s Day, 2012 New Year’s Eve, 2011 into 2012, 2011 New Years logos, New Years 2010, New Years 2009, New Years 2008, New Years 2007, Google’s 2006 logo, Search Engine Roundtable’s 2006 logo, Ask’s 2005 logo, and Cre8asite’s 2005.

Forum discussion at Google+.

Source: SEroundTable

Daily Search Forum Recap: December 29, 2016

Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:

Other Great Search Forum Threads:

Source: SEroundTable

2016: The year in paid search (A year of massive change!)


Aloha, here we are again — coming down from the high of holiday e-commerce, the Q4 scurry of lead gen, and the calm before year-end reporting starts churning. Let’s take a breather and look back on all of the changes in PPC that came flying at us in 2016.

First, let’s get one thing out of the way. In last year’s year-end round up, I said Yahoo might be worth paying attention to in 2016 due to the renegotiated search deal with Microsoft and CEO Marissa Mayer’s stated commitment to mobile search. So long ago. It did seem like Yahoo might just be able to gain steam back then. Now, that steam is gone like the data of over a billion user accounts.

The final adieu to the Yahoo Bing Network came in February, and for many advertisers that was the last time Yahoo entered their campaign heads. Sure, if you advertise with Bing and/or Google, your ads typically show up on Yahoo, too, but other than the water cooler talk about who was going to buy Yahoo that developed into, “Will Verizon still buy it and at what discount,” Yahoo held little relevance for search marketers in 2016.

So, moving on to all the stuff that made 2016 a giant year in PPC! We’ll start with the biggies that impact most everyone and move to more specialized updates.

Major, major changes this year

There are always changes in paid search, but 2016 were not your garden variety year. There were fundamental updates that will continue to have repercussions in the years ahead. The was a lot less frustration, however, in 2016 than in the last year of major changes — when Google unleashed Enhanced Campaigns in 2013. 2016 can be seen as the year mobile truly took hold as the primary focal point in paid search, with some reports showing mobile now accounts for 60 percent of searches in the US. Desktop results were changed to reflect mobile. That Mobile preferred check box for ads went away and mobile bids can now be used as a foundation for campaign bidding. Enhanced campaigns did its job.

Google upped its PR finesse in 2016. It announced advertisers would have to rewrite all of their ads at the same time it announced device bidding is coming back. Desktop and tablet were re-separated for bidding, and it’s now possible to have mobile be the base bid. Maybe you’re not even doing anything differently yet, but knowing you can set a tablet bid adjustment or make a campaign mobile-first whenever you want feels so empowering, right? Well played, Google. Bing, which was never as restrictive with device bidding as Google to begin with, is currently piloting new bid adjustment ranges, but still makes desktop the base bid.

We first reported the biggest change of the year — Expanded Text Ads — was being tested in April. ETAs went live for everyone at the end of July. The new ad format upends how advertisers have written text ads since the inception of AdWords, more than 15 years ago. The transition hasn’t been without its bumps or teeth pulling — Google pushed the cut off for being able to edit and add standard text ads until January 31, 2017 after seeing slower-than-expected adoption of the new longer text ad format. There was the headline truncation kerfuffle, but that mostly seems to have been remedied with a narrower font, but for the most part, advertisers have taken the changes in stride, on the promise of better CTRs.

2017 will be the year we really see how ETAs perform. Early results have been mixed with some advertisers seeing dramatic bumps in click-through rates and others seeing, well, meh. Bing added support for ETAs as well, and rolled them out globally in October for much welcomed parity between the two platforms in this area.

The ushering in of ETAs was made possible, of course, by the removal of text ads in the right rail on desktop, which also made desktop echo the layout mobile results. It was quickly pointed out that longer titles and description copy in ETAs also have a way of making text ads look even more like organic listings. And speaking of making ads blend in with their organic surroundings, let’s not forget 2016 was the year of the green ad label. Green replaced the yellow in the ad labels next to the display URLs in text ads, which also happen to be green like their organic counterparts. (Want to see how Google’s color treatment of text ads has changed over the years? Here it is.)

Now, for two  announcements that generated a ton of interest, but essentially had zero impact this year. First, the Google AdWords redesign. Some advertisers do have alpha access, but there are still a lot of elements missing before the new look is ready for prime time. Still, that didn’t tamper interest in some of the very handy visualizations in the new design. We’ll have to wait until 2017 to get the full Material Design treatment that Google Merchant Center and AdSense got this year. Second, Microsoft is buying LinkedIn. The deal hasn’t closed yet, but Microsoft’s Lynne Kjolso told the audience at SMX Advance this year that discussions of advertsiing scenarios were already happening shortly after the announcement.

Shopping & Retail

With Amazon being Amazon, and Facebook’s Dynamic Product Ads and even Pinterest’s Promoted Pins gaining adoption, Google is under pressure to squeeze everything it can from product search and its product listing ads. And squeeze it did this year. Carousels of product listing ads (PLAS) are now showing up in Google Image Search, YouTube, in addition to third-party retailer sites.

Google also opened Shopping campaigns up to Customer Match, allowing advertisers to retarget customers with product listing ads with bids tailored to those audiences or exclude those audiences from Shopping campaigns.

Google started looking at ways to get more from all those broad product searches like “cocktail attire” this year. The most innovative, but perhaps least likely to succeed of these is the shop the look format for apparel and home products that pull images from partners such as Curalate and Polyvore (owned by Yahoo, so there you go) and link to a set of product ads based on the looks. The other broad query PLA format called Showcase Ads initially showed off retailer collections (shown below). But one recent variation on this featured new and used clothing on outlet-related searches.

Oh, and Purchases on Google — AKA the buy button-like feature that lets consumers shop from a PLA on their phones—is ticking along in pilot mode. Ralph Lauren, .Ugg, and Staples are among the brands that continued to test it this year.

Google took a big step in standardizing product data in Google Shopping by requiring GTINs for brand name products that are sold by multiple retailers in product feeds.

Another big change for sellers was Google’s announcement that retailers and brands must have at least 150 ratings in the past 12-months for seller ratings to appear in their ads. That was up from just 30.

Also, for manufacturers, it’s worth pointing out that Manufacturer Center is still alive. Introduced last year, but flying far under the radar, Google’s Manufacturer Center is where brands and original manufacturers can provide a primary source for their product data used in Google Shopping. Manufacturers that use it can get some pretty nifty insights into how their products perform across Google in the analytics dashboard, such as clicks made on their products versus competing products. This year, Google reduced the amount of data its requesting in Manufacturer Center, apparently because most weren’t providing complete information anyway.

Local And Maps

Local got a shake up this year with the introduction of ads in the local pack, Promoted Places pins in Maps, exposure for local inventory ads in Maps and Knowledge panels, developments in store visits metrics, and pulling Google Maps out of the Search Partners network.

Ads started showing up in the Local Finder, the listings that appear next to the Map after a user clicks on “More places” from the search results, in April, around the same time Maps was moved into general search ad inventory. Later that month, Google started testing a purple “Ad” label on Local Finder ads and a corresponding purple pin on the map on Android and desktop. That didn’t last in the local finder, but the purple labels and pins did roll out in Google Maps.

And the big development in Maps, Promoted Places, has been in testing for a good part of the year. Retailers such as Walgreens, MAC Cosmetics and Starbucks have been testing the ads on Android that feature the brand logo in the pin and can include promotions.

Though still limited to a handful of metro markets in California, another area to keep an eye on in the local space is Google’s Home Services Ads program. This year, HSA opened up to HVAC services and electricians and the whole program finally rolled out to mobile.

Google’s efforts to connect online campaigns with offline impact continued in 2016. Its store transactions measurement is still in beta and there weren’t really any announcements around that this year, but Store Visits continued to gain traction in AdWords. Google announced it had measured more than 1 billion store visits from AdWords in eleven countries as of May (it’s now available in 14 countries). Store Visits also expanded to Display Network campaigns. Finally, Store Visits data became available in distance and location reports in Adwords. (The distance report is an unsung resource for advertisers with physical locations).

Audience Targeting

Google has been steadily shifting from a focus on intent targeting to audience + intent targeting, thanks to market pressure from social networks Facebook. 2015’s Customer Match was the first big step in this area.

Big news in audience targeting is demographic targeting — age and gender — rolling out, and the ability to target similar audiences in search coming out in beta.

This fall, Google announced it would at last start to support cross-device retargeting. Google’s head of search ads, Jerry Dischler, made several announcements on audience targeting for search at SMX East in October: Cross-device retargeting extended to Retargeting Lists for Search ads (RSLA), demographic targeting for age and gender in search ads was rolling out of beta, and similar audiences for search is now in open beta. These all add up to big possibilities for refining the way we execute search campaigs in 2017 and beyond.

Analytics & Reporting

This year, Google unveiled the Analytics 360 Suite in May. The a la carte premium suite includes the rebranded versions of Google Analytics Premium, tag manager, and Adometry attribution tools, as well as a new data management platform, a testing and optimization tool, and a reporting and data visualization service. The nice thing is, the freeloaders got gifts, too. A free version of the reporting and visualization platform, Google Data Studio, rolled out early this summer. This fall, a free version of Google Optimize for landing page testing and optimization went into beta (sign up here).

Ad Extensions

A quick rundown of what happened in extension land this year:

  • Bing launched a Social Extensions test in March that seems to have faded away.
  • Sitelinks started showing up in swipable carousels. The new Price extensions started off as a list and then shifted to swipable carousels.
  • Affiliate extensions didn’t get much fanfare when they rolled out, but I’m hoping to see some case studies on how these are working for manufacturers in 2017.
  • Message extensions came out of beta. There is a lot of promise in this extension, and it will be interesting to see the kind of support Message extensions receive next year.
  • A Visual Sitelinks test started running in late fall. On mobile, each sitelinks displays with an image in a swipeable carousel card. (No, it’s not just you, the swipable card carousel showed up all over the place this year.)  I’m not so sure about these, but we’ll see.
  • The Promotions extension beta launched ahead of Black Friday. From what I’ve heard so far this, too, holds lots of promise.

Honorable Mentions in no order particular order

Google added native inventory to the Display Network and introduced a responsive ad format to fill it. The responsive ads can run across the GDN, including in the newly available native ad inventory. Advertisers can convert text ads to responsive ads in Editor now. It looks more may be in store for responsive ads soon.

Conversions became the king of measurement in AdWords as Converted Clicks went off to into the sunset this fall.

Salesforce users can now import their lead data right into AdWords.

A whole bunch of weird stuff happened in AdWords Keyword Planner, presumably thanks to bots. And Google added forecasting and trend data for those with active AdWords campaigns.

Google banned payday loan adskinda sorta.

Here’s something I was excited about when it was first announced, but have yet to do anything with and am jealous of those who have: AdWords Campaign Groups

Google started shutting down it’s Compare products in the US and UK in early in the year — a big deal to the industries affected (credit cards, auto insurance, mortgages and travel insurance).

Google updated automated bidding in AdWords and introduced Portfolio bid strategies to make it possible to set distinct CPA targets at the ad group level.

In the US, those giant car ads, Model Automotive Ads (just rolls off the tongue), came out of beta on mobile along with nearby dealer ads.

Christmas came early for Mac users with the release of Bing Ads Editor in June.

And that’s a wrap on 2016. Expect to see the trends we say this year — audiences; attribution, including online-to-offline; mobile; automation — continuing to influence change in the year ahead.

The post 2016: The year in paid search (A year of massive change!) appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Source: SEland

The Google Mobile First Index Won't Measure Page Speed

Remember the hangout that I covered yesterday where Google’s John Mueller said that really slow sites may not be labeled as mobile friendly? Well, he also said that when the mobile first index launches, Google probably won’t be looking at the page speed of your mobile site as a factor.

As you know, Google does look at desktop page speed but not mobile page speed because it crawls the web as a desktop useragent. That is changing with the mobile first index, Google is going to crawl the web from a mobile useragent.

I assumed that when the mobile first index launched, that they would flip it and use the mobile page speed and not the desktop page speed. I may be wrong.

John Mueller said in the hangout at the 20:50 mark that at launch, it probably won’t take into account page speed.

Question: Will mobile site speed effect desktop ranking?

Answer: I think at the moment we don’t take speed into account for mobile. So that something like into to figure out like how we can best do that but at the moment I don’t think we take that into account all.

Question: You don’t take speed into account on mobile rankings but you do on desktop rankings?

Answer: No, we don’t take the speed from the mobile sites into account.

Question: But that’s gonna flip. So you will?

Answer: I don’t think we’d be able to do that from the beginning. That’s a good point though. Maybe we should clarify that somewhere…. But for the most part in the same way that we use speed for desktop i don’t see us doing that in the beginning. That’s something we would like to do in the long run but not in the beginning.

Here is the video embed:

Interesting, don’t you think?

Forum discussion at Google+.

Source: SEroundTable