There’s been some exciting news from Google this week with Display & Video 360 getting new tools to navigate the TV streaming boom. Google also released its annual webspam report and you’re invited to SMX Next (it’s free).
ICYMI, here’s what happened at Google This Week.
- Paid Links and Auto Generated Content Made Less Effective
- Google on Why Keeping Spam out of Search is so Important
- SMX is Online and Free
- New Display & Video 360 TV Streaming Tools
- Google Stops How-To Schema Test on Desktop
- Google Merchant Center Tips
- Google Talks Monetized Policies and Changes
- Nofollow Change Confusion Addressed
Paid Links and Auto Generated Content Made Less Effective
Google discovers over 25 billion spammy pages a day according to its annual webspam report released this week. The report states that paid links and link exchanges have been made less effective, with Google catching over 90% of link spam. User-generated spam was reduced by 80% in 2018 and Google has said “this type of abuse did not grow in 2019”.
The impact of spammy sites on search users has been reduced by more than 60%. Over 90 million messages were sent to site owners about issues that may affect their website’s appearance in search results as well as potential improvements and around 4.3 million messages were sent about manual actions resulting from Webmaster Guidelines violations.
Source: Search Engine Land
Google on Why Keeping Spam out of Search is so Important
After publishing its annual webspam report, Google has spoken on why keeping spam out of search is so important.
“If you’ve ever gone into your spam folder in Gmail, that’s akin to what Search results would be like without our spam detection capabilities.”
Google defines spam as “using techniques that attempt to mimic these signals without actually delivering on the promise of a high quality content, or other tactics that might prove harmful to searchers.” Types of spammy behaviour that is discouraged and lead to lower rankings could be scraping pages, keyword stuffing, participating in link schemes and implementing sneaky redirects for example.
SMX is Online and Free
SMX Next is going to be online and free at the end of June. There are some very exciting speakers lined up, including Barry Schwartz and Ginny Marvin at Search Engine Land, Cyrus Shepard at Moz, Conde Nast and Microsoft.
New Display & Video 360 TV Streaming Tools
With more people watching connected TV at home Google Display & Video 360s connected TV available inventory grew 75% in April (and no this doesn’t include YouTube). To help marketers find better deals Google has created a TV section in Marketplace so you can reach TV audiences across devices. You’ll find deals for Disney, ABC, ESPN, FX, National Geographic, etc.
You can filter by location and device type as well as get additional performance data, audience and inventory volume by publisher. You can also send requests for proposals (RFP) to publishers directly. Google will be rolling out this new interface over the next few weeks. In the future, Google also plans on adding national linear TV broadcast and cable networks and local TV stations.
Google is also rolling out auction packages for marketers who want to skip the negotiation process. The packages will be based on genre, popularity, seasonality, formats or audiences.
Ready to harness the streaming boom? Get a free consultation today.
Google Stops How-To Schema Test on Desktop
Google has stopped testing how-to schema on desktop search. The test looks to have been run from around May 20th to June 4th. Brodie Clark shared Google Search Console charts showing that the test is no longer appearing.
Looks like the testing phase of How-To Schema rich results on desktop is now over. Phase lasted from May 20th – June 4th (16 days). I’d guess that the next time it returns it’ll be for good. @glenngabe @aleyda you both seeing similar? pic.twitter.com/zlpINn3LOj
— Brodie Clark (@brodieseo) June 11, 2020
At this stage, we aren’t sure why Google won’t show this on desktop.
Source: Search Engine Roundtable
Google Merchant Center Tips
With more people than ever shopping online, after 8 years as an ads only product, Google has opened up its Shopping search results to free listings. During the Google Shopping session of Live with Search Engine Land, Kirk Williams owner of ZATO Marketing gave a few tips on increasing your visibility on the platform.
Williams suggests focussing on optimising your product titles. Feed rules can be used for product title optimisation, including adjusting the placement of the product name and brand. Product descriptions are another area marketers should focus on.
“I think supplemental feeds . . . [are a] really handy way to get in promotion IDs.”
Supplemental feeds allow you to layer additional information, including custom labels and seasonal promotions on top of your existing product feed. Indicating sale pricing through your primary or supplementary feed in Merchant Center will help draw your customers’ attention.
Google Talks Monetized Policies and Changes
Google has released a new WMConf Lightning Talk about their monetized policies. Google has over 180 signals to help defend its advertising and publishing network. The video dives into why Google has recently changed certain policies to give more control to publishers and advertisers, with the use of digital content labels, sensitive content exclusions, topic exclusions and placement exclusions. These changes are included across Google Adsense, AdMob and Ad Manager.
“Before the change, alcohol content was a policy and is now a restriction. As a policy any site that facilitated the online sale of alcohol or promoted alcohol consumption or portrayed alcohol in a favourable light would not be monetized. Now, as a restriction, we understand that advertisers may not find this content to be appealing or a good association with their brand. However, we let them decide.”
The end result is a content label as a restriction may receive limited or no monetization however it is no longer a policy violation. These changes came about from Google’s dialogue with advertisers and publishers.
Level of Standards
Google says the greatest benefit to publishers and advertisers using their services is their level of standards.
- 88% of all applications are rejected
- In 2018 2.3 billion ads were rejected
- Approximately 59 million ads were blocked
- Google removes 6 million bad sites/apps every day
In the video, Google also talked about best practices to grow your business in a sustainable way.
- Setup your account correctly
- Segment your responsibility and what is managed by your publisher partners
- Vet the publishers you will partner with to minimise risk
Make sure you can answer these questions for every publisher you’ll be working with:
- Who is this publisher?
- What is their business address?
- Does the address match other information?
- How long have they been working on the app/site?
- Do I trust the people behind the business?
- What is their business model?
- Does the site offer value to its users and advertisers?
- What are their traffic/revenue projections and are they realistic?
Nofollow Change Confusion Addressed
There has been a lot of confusion around the new nofollow link attribute change from last September. Google now looks at a nofollow link attribute as a hint, not as a directive. In September, Google said they can use it as a hint for ranking, crawling and indexing.
Google said we shouldn’t expect to see changes in search based on the change. Right now, it looks to be more of a policy change and nothing has actually changed yet, but it’s hard to say. AJ Kohn asked on Twitter if he missed the announcement that rel=sponsored and rel=ugc would be used for ranking purposes, to which Danny Sullivan replied that
“we treat such links as hints not to credit for ranking purposes – which obviously means there a ranking impact if we don’t use some links (just as was always the case with nofollow)…”
He also added that there is no disadvantage for using the new link attributes.
I don’t understand why anyone would think there’s some different ranking aspect here. All anyone has do to is ask themselves how nofollow was treated before. After is the same with the only exception being as hints rather than never using for anything at all.
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) June 10, 2020
Source: Search Engine Roundtable
Thank You for Reading
Have you noticed any changes from Google this week?
Check back in next week for the latest from Google This Week.