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Good morning, Marketers, do your Google rankings feel rocky?
It is me again, Barry, the one obsessed with Google algorithms. Over the past month or so I feel like I’ve written in the “Search Shorts” section below about several unconfirmed Google algorithm updates. Google seems to be pretty busy tweaking its search ranking algorithm and not talking much about those tweaks. Of course, the search results rankings are very dynamic these days but tracking these unconfirmed updates, in my opinion, is important.
So let’s sum up the past month or two: We had one recently on March 2nd and 3rd, then February 26th and 27th, February 20th and 21st, February 17th, February 6th through 8th, and then January 27th or so. Yes, this is more than what I would typically see in such a short time frame, but I guess Google is busy. This does not include passage ranking going live on February 10th, that is a confirmed update that did not seem to cause much of a ranking change in Google Search.
If your site gets hit by one of these updates, it is often good to know that you are not alone. You might go down a rabbit hole looking for technical issues that just do not exist. It might just be that Google adjusted its ranking algorithm, and you did nothing specifically wrong on your end. Having a place to see others in the same boat can give you a sense of comfort and belonging. That is why I report on these unconfirmed updates.
Google algorithm watcher
New device and platform breakdown report in Google My Business
Have you ever wondered how searchers found your Google My Business profile listing? Google is now showing you if people found you not only using which device, (i.e. desktop device versus mobile device) but also if they viewed your profile in Google Search versus Google Maps.
This report shows the number of unique visitors to your profile, Google explained, so it may be lower than the number of views you find on Google My Business and in email notifications. This is because a user can be counted a limited number of times if they visit your Business Profile on multiple devices and platforms. Plus, a user can only be counted once a day.
Also, because the metric focuses on views of the Business Profile, as opposed to overall views of the Business on Google, it may be lower than the number of views you find on Google My Business and in email notifications.
Google Ads mobile app adds custom and performance insights notifications
Google Ads’ mobile app can now send you custom notifications and alert you of significant performance changes. The customizable notifications (shown above) can be used to monitor the metrics that are most important to your business. The performance insights notifications come with explanations of why performance may have changed as well as recommendations, which can be applied directly from the performance insight screen. These are nifty tools to have, especially for SMBs where one person, or a small team, may be responsible for multiple marketing channels.
Microsoft Bing gets a more visually immersive look
Microsoft announced several updates to Microsoft Bing Search that make the search experience more “visually immersive,” the company said. This update goes across many different features including recipe results, image search’s similar looking items, expandable search result carousels, infographic knowledge panels and the design of the local answers.
My favorite is the new infographic-looking knowledge panels, I mean, how fun is that giraffe? But the local answers getting beefed up with more information and the recipe results showing more data – how cool is all of that!
Google will add a 2% surcharge for ads served in France and Spain
Google has notified billing contacts that, as of May 1, it will tack on a 2% surcharge for ads served in France and Spain. The surcharge is supposed to cover “part of the costs associated with complying with digital services tax legislation in France and Spain,” the notification says. We’ve seen this move by Google before when it passed on similar taxes to advertisers in the UK, Austria and Turkey last year.
There are two interesting things about this: 1) The tax rate in France and Spain is 3%, so advertisers aren’t entirely footing the bill themselves; in Austria, Turkey and the UK, Google passed on the entire amount. 2) Google is only notifying billing contacts, not all account users, according to Bloofusion’s Martin Röttgerding, who first brought this to our attention (thanks, Martin!). That means account managers may miss out on this important detail, but clients won’t.
For advertisers here in the U.S., that leaves one question yet to be answered: Will Google pass on the Maryland ads tax (or other similar taxes that may get approved) to advertisers here as well? We asked Google, and they’ve yet to respond, but we’ll keep you posted as soon as they do.
WordPress, Yoast and crawl budget.
WordPress Robots meta tag control. WordPress 5.7 will include a new Robots API that will allow for developers to edit the Robots Meta tag as a filter.
Yoast FAQ schema fix. There was a bug between Yoast and Google where FAQ schema was not being processed properly by Google. Joost de Valk from Yoast said it was due to a change on Google’s end, but the company fixed the issue. If you see errors in your rich results report in Search Console, this may be why.
Google Ads scripts. Matt Poldberg asked on Twitter: “Does anyone have a favorite script for exporting data hourly from a Google Ads account? I have an account where CPA fluctuates wildly due to imported conversions and I’m trying to figure out the average delay.” Can you help him out?