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Good morning, Marketers, tomorrow night commemorates the 9th anniversary of the death of my mother. In the Jewish world it is called a yahrzeit and it got me thinking about change and the change we experience with death and of course over the past year and a half with COVID.
Often, SMX East fell on the same week as the yahrzeit and this and last year, we didn’t have an in-person SMX event. In fact, last year, the Javits Center was a makeshift hospital for COVID patients. In 2019, the last time the show was in-person, I was thankful for several Jews who helped me hold a small prayer service in memory of my mother at the show. Who would have thought, just a few months later, that venue would be transformed into a hospital?
Change is not always bad. In fact, virtual conferences have given the opportunity to many professionals that were unable to fly to an event to showcase their knowledge. As someone who has been involved in the search conferences for almost 20 years, it is amazing how the industry has adapted to change — for the better. Oh, and even for my mother’s yahrzeit — we went virtual by offering a jewish app in her memory.
How do you embrace change?
The good son
Google search quality guidelines updated
Google has finally updated the company’s search quality raters guidelines, this update comes after over a year of the document not being updated. This time Google expanded on the YMYL category, it clarified what constitutes lowest quality content, simplified the definition of upsetting-offensive and the overall document has been refreshed and modernized with minor updates throughout. In fact, the old document was a 175 page PDF, the new one is 172 pages.
Why we care. Although search quality evaluators’ ratings do not directly impact rankings (as Google clarified in the document), they do provide feedback that helps Google improve its algorithms. It is important to spend some time looking at what Google changed in this updated version of the document and compare that to the last year’s version of the document to see if we can learn more about Google’s intent on what websites and web pages Google prefers to rank. Google made those additions, edits and deletions for a reason.
Microsoft Advertisers health insurance ads
Microsoft Advertising is introducing Health insurance ads as a pilot program, the company announced Tuesday. The new format is now eligible for advertisers targeting U.S. customers.
Why we care. Health insurance ads can help health insurance providers get in front of searchers, which may be especially important given the upcoming annual enrollment period. Additionally, Health insurance ads are dynamically generated, which may help advertisers save time. This is the fourth vertical-specific ad type Microsoft Advertising has introduced this year and they are all similar in that they’re intent-triggered, appear on the right-hand rail of results and are dynamically generated based on a feed. Maintaining this formula across ad products can also help PPC professionals, particularly those at agencies, more easily get this ad type going for different clients since the requirements and placements are all the same.
Would you want an ad free Google Search for a monthly subscription fee?
Would you pay a monthly subscription fee to remove all the ads from the Google Search results? Neeva thinks so but so far, Google has not gone down that route. But Google is asking some users via a Google opinion rewards survey if they would like such an option.
Eli Schwartz spotted this survey and posted it on Twitter. The survey asks, how interested would you be in paying a reasonable price for a search service with that feature. The feature is “Results show no ads at all.”
Google does offer a premium service for YouTube without ads – so I guess it would be feasible for offer this for Google Search. But honestly, I’d be shocked if Google ever did this in search. The only way I can see this happening is if government regulation pushed Google to a point where this might make sense for their revenues.
Announcing the winners of the 2021 Search Engine Land Awards
The competition was fierce for the 2021 Search Engine Land Awards. The pandemic caused lockdowns and shutdowns, which affected many businesses’ main income streams. Not only that but it forced many consumers almost completely online.
As such agencies, in-house marketing teams, and individual marketers had to get creative, think on their toes, and often make a little go a long way. We are, as always, ever thankful to our amazing roster of Search Engine Land Awards judges who brought their keen expertise, provided thoughtful input, and donated their time.
Check out the award winners below:
Google local attributes, review snippet authors and false claims
No longer “led” but “owned”. Google My Business is uniforming the language for business attributes, so it is no longer “women-led” or “veteran-led” but now it is “women-owned” and “veteran-owned” to be more aligned with the Black-owned and Latino-owned labels in local search. This was spotted by Damian Rollison and posted on Twitter.
Purple hearts 💜. Talking about women-led or women-owned on Google local, Google is testing replacing the current icon with a purple heart icon instead.
Review snippet author name. Google updated its policy around review snippets to say the author name must be less than 100 characters. Do you know anyone whose name is longer than 100 characters?
Google policy for false claims. Google Merchant Center added a new policy prohibiting offers that make claims that are demonstrably false and could significantly undermine participation or trust in an electoral or democratic process.
Google Alerts alert. Google confirmed an issue with Google Alerts not functioning as it should. Google wrote on Twitter “This is an alert about Google Alerts. We’ve identified an issue that’s prevented Google Alerts from operating properly. Our apologies. We’re working to resolve the issue quickly.” Hopefully by the time you are reading this, the issue is already resolved.