Search Buzz Video Recap: Google Content Indexing Bug, GoogleBot Chrome 76, Favicons, Link Penalties & More

This week I tried to zoom in on sections of the video as I was talking, so you can see the screen better – hope you like it and make sure to subscribe!. Google may have had an indexing issue again this week, but Google did not really confirm it. GoogleBot is now running Chromium version 76, including the Google testing tools. Google seems to have dropped the URLs in the snippets and replaced them all with breadcrumbs on desktop results. Google is still penalizing for unnatural links and if you get hit, it can hurt bad. Google is testing the anchor and highlight feature for featured snippets on desktop as well now. Google Search Console added AMP on Image result reporting to the performance report. Bing Webmaster Tools support Domain Connect for authentication and verification. Google said you should document if a piece of content was reviewed by a doctor. Google says dates help recognize high quality evergreen content. Google has expanded the favicon and URL above the snippet test. Google is also testing expandable people also search for, testing images in people also view and embedding suggested videos in the people also ask. Google also is testing paginated mobile results. Google showed a local knowledge panel with an ad from a competitor. Google added delivery icons to the local pack. A leaked Google document showed some interesting tidbits on Google. Google Ads is getting rid of accelerated delivery, added maximize conversion value bidding and filters on the overview page. That was this past week in search at the Search Engine Roundtable.

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Daily Search Forum Recap: August 23, 2019

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:

  • Search Buzz Video Recap: Google Content Indexing Bug, GoogleBot Chrome 76, Favicons, Link Penalties & More
    This week I tried to zoom in on sections of the video as I was talking, so you can see the screen better – hope you like it and make sure to subscribe…
  • Google Still Penalizing Sites For Unnatural Links & It Can Hurt Bad
    I absolutely love when the industry is transparent and Dan Petrovic from Dejan SEO said his site was slapped by an unnatural links manual action by Google and the result was that his site no longer ranks for its name or key terms. A lot of folks in the industry have been saying Google has toned down these manual actions, espesially around links but here is one example of one.
  • Google Tests Featured Snippets Anchors & Highlights On Desktop
    Google has a feature on mobile, where if a featured snippet leads to an AMP page, Google can take the searcher after they click on the snippet to your AMP page, anchor them down to the section of the content the searcher wants to see and highlight that content in yellow. Well, Google is now testing that on desktop.
  • Google Ads Overview Page Filters & Bidding Maximize Conversion Value
    Google Ads adds features all the time, I don’t cover them all but two ones I want to highlight are a new bidding strategy named maximize conversion value and new filter options on the overview page that both launched this week.
  • Owners Can Now Reply To Reviews On Google Maps Android
    Google now lets owners and managers of verified businesses can reply to reviews directly from their Business Profile on Google Maps Android. You are able to reply to reviews many ways, including Google Maps desktop, Google My Business console and other areas but now also on Google Maps for Android.
  • Google Expands Favicon & Black Breadcrumb At Top Test
    We’ve covered this user interface test numerous times but this morning, I received dozens of reports from people that they are seeing it. It is weird, I literally received over a dozen notices about this interface where Google is showing the favicon and black URL/breadcrumb at the top of the snippet in both mobile and desktop search results.
  • Google Electric Bikes
    We know Google had a program for e-bikes back in 2015 but here are photos of electric bikes at the Dublin office. This version has the Google logo on it, unlike the 2015 version.

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Daily Search Forum Recap: August 22, 2019

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:

  • Google Fully Dropping URLs For Breadcrumbs On Desktop?
    Back in 2015, on mobile, Google went from showing the URL to showing the site name, plus the breadcrumb in the search results. This morning, I have been hit up numerous times about Google doing the same on desktop. It doesn’t seem 100% rolled out yet, so this might be a test or a bug, but it seems Google is showing breadcrumbs, not URLs, on desktop as well now.
  • Google Local Listing For Dodge Dealership Shows Toyota Advertisement
    Ben Fisher posted on Twitter a screen shot of Google showing an ad within the Google Local Knowledge panel for a Dodge dealership. The interesting thing is the ad is from a different brand, a Toyota!
  • You Can’t Hide From Google’s Mobile-First Indexing
    Like we covered before, you cannot opt out of Google’s mobile-first indexing initiative – it is going to happen with or without you. There is no hiding from it, there is not cheating it, it is coming for you. Heck, Google’s John Mueller made a video just about that question.
  • Google Tests Expandable People Also Search For
    Google is testing an expandable version of the people also search for carousel. It actually looks a lot like the expandable more people carousel but with different types of content. Here are screen shots from Valentin Peltzer who spotted this.
  • Google Search Console Adds AMP On Image Result Report – Here Is How To See It
    Google told us they would give us data within Google Search Console about the “swipe to visit” image feature that only works with AMP pages right now. And now you can access that data in Google Search Console.
  • Bing Webmaster Tools Now Supports Domain Connect For Easier Site Verification
    Bing announced yesterday that it is now supporting Domain Connect, a third-party service, to make the process of site verification within Bing Webmaster Tools faster and easier. Instead of XML file authentication, or meta tag authentication or CNAME authentication, this offers an easier way to do it.
  • Google Growing Watermelons
    Here is a photo of someone at the Google offices, the GooglePlex, holding a watermelon in what looks like Google’s watermelon garden. The Instagram post says “Just a photoshoot with a watermelon. #goo

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Daily Search Forum Recap: August 21, 2019

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:

  • Google’s Indexing Issues Continue But This One Is Different
    Last night I reported that Google was having issues indexing new content again, yes – again. Danny Sullivan from Google said it seems like that was the case and said “We’ll post on @googlewmc if we confirm and have more to share.” Nothing was posted there – yet. But it does seem like indexing issues are happening for some sites – not all.
  • Vlog #12: Greg Gifford On Local SEO, Google Posts & Google Q&A
    In episode #12 of the vlog series at the Search Engine Roundtable I interviewed Greg Gifford (@GregGifford). Greg is the Vice President of Search at Wikimotive. He is well-known in the local SEO space and been doing local SEO for about 13 years…
  • Google AMP Cache Pages Gets A New Share Icon
    Andy Sternberg noticed that when you go to a Google AMP cache page, where it shows the google.com/amp cache URL and not your native URL, the share icon has changed. It is now showing the native sharing icon, as opposed to a drop down that shows you the site’s URL.
  • Google UI Bug Drops URLs From Search Results Page
    Olivier Kyte is in that Google search favicon desktop results test and he noticed that for some search result listings that the snippets are missing the URLs from showing up. Instead you just see a favicon, a hashtag and an arrow down.
  • Google People Also View Images
    Google seems to be testing the people also view carousel with images and icons in them. Here is a screen shot from Raman on Twitter that shows in the people also view carousel snippets the favicon, site name, title, description and an image. I don’t think I’ve seen images in the people also view snippets.
  • Google Adds Delivery Icons To Local Pack
    Google has added delivery icons to the local pack listings that Google can send searchers directly to an online delivery service. If you search for [McDonalds] you might be able to see it, here is a screen shot.
  • Google’s John Mueller With Cheese
    I believe it is known that John Mueller of Google likes cheese – it is also known that cheese and Switzerland kind of go together and that is where John is based. In any event, Gary Illyes from Googl

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Facebook empowers users, but limits advertisers with new privacy feature

Off-Facebook Activity Facebook is giving consumers more control over their data. Image credit: Facebook

Social network Facebook is looking to assuage privacy criticisms by being more transparent with consumers about where their data is shared.

The new privacy feature, called Off-Facebook Activity, allows users to view a summary of the Web sites and mobile applications that share information with Facebook, as well as clear the information if desired. This new feature comes after Facebook has repeatedly faced government and consumer scrutiny for mishandling users’ private information.

“Facebook is letting users control their data sharing in a way that is, at the surface of the platform, not buried in the footer – which is really unique,” said Paige Montgomery, senior marketing manager at Intelligent Demand, Denver, CO. “Usually the fine print and data sharing rules are buried within the company’s privacy policies and within the language that makes it almost impossible for consumers to understand exactly what type of data companies are capturing on their Web sites.

“It’s equally as confusing for the general consumer to understand how to opt out of things like third-party ad services or retargeting – unless you understand the tech in the first place,” she said.

Privacy push
The launch of Off-Facebook Activity is one of the tech company’s first privacy initiatives since being hit with a record $5 billion fine from the Federal Trade Commission.

As part of its settlement with the FTC, Facebook has agreed to launch more stringent data privacy policies within its organization, including setting up more oversight within its leadership. Facebook has recently announced its vision for more privacy on its platforms, but this FTC-ordered plan is on a bigger organization-wide scale than earlier efforts (see story).

Mark Zuckerberg Facebook

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Image credit: Facebook

Off-Facebook Activity is currently being rolled out to users in Ireland, South Korea and Spain, before being implemented elsewhere.

Consumers will be able to see and control the data that third-party sites and apps send Facebook about their online activity.

Users can disconnect this information, and they can even choose to disconnect future off-Facebook tracking from their accounts. This will be available for all off-Facebook online activity, or select apps and Web sites.

Once off-Facebook actions are cleared, the social network will remove users’ identifying information from the data sent by apps and sites. This will also prevent Facebook from targeting advertisements on Facebook and Instagram based on consumers’ online activity.

“While a great deal of Facebook users are concerned about how their data is being used, chances are they have already taken steps that already exist on Facebook through privacy settings to guard against that,” said Katy Lucey, director of paid social at Tinuiti, Atlanta. “It’s impossible to gauge whether we will see mass adoption or not.”

Targeted online advertising is one of the revenue streams that keeps Facebook free for its billions of users. Brands and businesses send consumer data to the social network by using online business tools, such as Facebook Pixel or Facebook Login. 

“For those heavily reliant on Web site retargeting, they might see reach within those audiences affected,” Ms. Lucey said. “However, other segments such as interests, demographics, list audiences and lookalikes won’t be affected by the change, so if brands haven’t begun testing those out, they should explore their options there.”

Facebook recently launched a rewards-based market research program. Image credit: Facebook

Facebook acknowledges that allowing users to have more control over their data may have repercussions on advertising.

“We expect [Off-Facebook Activity] could have some impact on our business, but we believe giving people control over their data is more important,” the company said in a blog post announcing the new feature.

Safeguarding data
Facebook is not alone in making privacy moves that may hamper marketers.

Technology giant Apple is continuing its pro-privacy crusade, but its latest features may alienate many developers and advertisers.

With Apple’s forthcoming iOS 13, debuting this fall, it will be easier than ever for consumers to protect their personal information and prevent third parties from exploiting user data.

One of the most important features is “Sign in with Apple,” a new way for users to log in to mobile applications and Web sites.

Apple will offer an option to create a unique, random email address that forwards messages to users’ real inboxes. Ultimately, this ensures that users’ activity cannot be tracked within the app and tied to their profiles (see story).

Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant and Echo devices have also been the subject of privacy concerns. Consumers can be wary about adding devices with microphones or a camera to their homes.

With users increasingly calling for control over their data, Amazon is letting Echo owners delete everything that they said in a day from recordings. This command will eventually evolve to let users clear what they have just said to Alexa.

As part of this privacy move, Amazon has created a new hub for its Echo devices that enables owners to understand what information is being collected through the devices (see story).

“The ability to serve consumers ads based on their actual interests and online behavior is incredibly valuable, so losing that would be a disadvantage of course, but it might actually lead to more quality clicks, impressions and cost-per-action in the long run,” Intelligent Demand’s Ms. Montgomery said. “Users who opt out of having their data connected are probably not motivated buyers or the types of consumers who are likely to click that ‘buy now’ button.”

Daily Search Forum Recap: August 20, 2019

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:

  • Google: Sites Rank Well For A Short Period Of Time
    Google’s John Mueller said it is normal for a site to rank well for a short period of time for a specific query. He said on Twitter “It can happen that a site ranks or a short period of time for a query.” It can happen a lot.
  • Google: Says Dates On Articles Makes It Easier To Recognize High-Quality Evergreen Content
    Google’s John Mueller again is saying that putting dates on content and articles is a good thing for the quality of a piece of content on the web. John said on Twitter the other day “Better for me is to know what the date was, that makes it easier to recognize high-quality evergreen content.”
  • Google: You Should Document If A Doctor Reviewed Your Medical Content
    Google’s John Mueller was asked how should a web site document that its medical and health content was reviewed by a doctor or expert on the topic. John said you can use text, link to the doctor’s profile and add other elements to the page to communicate this.
  • Google: There Is No Sandbox
    I love it how the name “Google Sandbox” which originated back in 2004 or so, is still around today. So much so that Google year after year has to say there is no Google Sandbox. In short, back in 2004, SEOs noticed that new sites took a while to start to rank well – thus we called it the Google Sandbox, because you had to wait your time to rank well.
  • Google Ads To Drop Accelerated Delivery On September 17th
    Google Ads announced that they are doing away with accelerated delivery starting on September 17, 2019. Google said “Starting September 17, 2019, Standard delivery will be the only ad delivery method for Search campaigns, Shopping campaigns, and shared budgets. Accelerated delivery will no longer be available.”
  • Congratulations! Bing Spam Fighter, Frédéric Dubut, Gets Married
    Frédéric Dubut, who works at Bing in search quality and fighting spam – someone we have gotten to know over the years, recently got married. He shared this photo on Twitter from his wedding day. So

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Daily Search Forum Recap: August 19, 2019

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:

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Search Engine Land Stories:

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Google Suggests That The Average Googler Isn’t Interested In SEO

How can anyone not be interested in SEO or how Google search ranks pages? Especially, how can someone working at Google, a company that ranks web pages for a living, not be interested in how it works. But John Mueller from Google said on Twitter “You’re over-estimating the interest of average Googlers in SEO :-). There’s a lot that needs to be done at a company like Google.”

Here is the conversation on Twitter:

This is kind of funny but the truth is, I am sure you know some folks that work at Google. I mean, personally know someone that works at Google. I have a nice number that do in my community and they know nothing about how search works – in fact, they work on things unrelated to search. I think most of those who are employed by Google do not directly work on search. Some have HR jobs, some have legal jobs, some have jobs in cloud computing, self driving cars, mailroom, janitorial, security, etc.

So yea – probably the average Googler doesn’t really care about (1) how search works and (2) more so, how well Google’s own internal SEO is.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Daily Search Forum Recap: August 16, 2019

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:

  • Search Buzz Video Recap: Google Indexing Issues Explained, 3rd Party Hosting Warning, Featured Snippet Removals, Site Quality & More
    This week I covered how I was a bit disappointed in the explanation Google posted about the indexing bugs it has had over the past few months. Google also warned us about leasing out your subdomains to third-parties to host their content on…
  • Google Suggests That The Average Googler Isn’t Interested In SEO
    How can anyone not be interested in SEO or how Google search ranks pages? Especially, how can someone working at Google, a company that ranks web pages for a living, not be interested in how it works. But John Mueller from Google said on Twitter “You’re over-estimating the interest of average Googlers in SEO :-). There’s a lot that needs to be done at a company like Google.”
  • Google Discover Driving Traffic To E-Commerce Product Pages
    Did you know that Google Discover can also show product pages that may interest you? Merlinox shared on Twitter his Google Search Console performance report for the Discover feed and said these are all product pages. The Google Discover help docs do say Google can show products but I personally have never seen it myself – have you?
  • Google Ads Cutting Off Ad Text In Search Results?
    The PPC industry is noticing that in some examples Google is cutting off the headlines and descriptions of the Google Ads text in the mobile and desktop search results. Andrea Cruz posted some examples on Twitter, I was also able to replicate on some mobile examples.
  • Google News Location Operator Is Not Working
    There are numerous reports of a feature in Google News search that is not working. Specifically the location operator is currently not functioning. So if you type [keyword location:countryname] that is not restricting the results to that country anymore.
  • Google My Business Adds Bulk Reviews For Multiple Listings
    Google said you can now manage reviews in bulk for multiple listings. Google wrote “businesses can view reviews for multiple listings at once. With bulk reviews, you’ll be able to view, reply to, and flag reviews for multiple listings from one place.”
  • Barry Schwartz Sketch – Scary
    Andrew Nguyen from Marie Haynes team shared a sketch or doodle he made of me while in a team meeting at the office there. So the person looking down at me in anger is a bit scary and I also look a bit

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