Google Local Panel Updates Section Gets Message Button

Google seems to have added a message button to the “updates” section of the Google Local panel view. So these are where you can add updates through Google Posts on local, but there is a message button there for a customer to ask you questions about that update.

This was spotted by Darcy Burk and posted on Twitter. Here are some of his screen shots:

The consensus of the local SEO community is that this is a couple weeks new.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Vlog #86: Martin Splitt Of Google On SEO Mythbusting & His History

Martin Splitt Of Google

Martin Splitt and I decided to make the interview very intimate, so we chatted a bit in one of the Google sleep pods at the New York office. This was a while back, in November 2019, but I held this video to publish along with the release of when he interviewed me as well on his channel.

Martin Splitt is on the Google Search Developer Relations team, formerly Google Webmaster Trends Analyst team. His focus on that team is on technical SEO, rendering, indexing, JavaScript and the like. He learned coding during his free time, starting when he was 12 years old or so. His first job was to build an intranet and then other sites, so he has experience building web sites and then software products and applications. He then got recruited to work at Google, in his interview, he kind of was sold on the job.

One of the SEO myths that surprise him the most is that Google is out to get you, the SEO or webmaster. He said sometimes they don’t answer questions from SEOs because the answers are not actionable. Plus, sometimes the numbers change over time, so if they gave a number now, it might be wrong in the future.

Another thing that surprises him is that when he gives an answer to an SEO question, and the SEO community responds to get the answer to be something they want it to say. So when SEOs twist the words, so that they can fit their own hypnosis.

He said most of the time, the answer is “it depends.” He explained why the answer is “it depends” because there are gray areas. The truth is, it depends, is often the answer. If you want an absolute answer, it will be the “most defensive” possible answer just in case.

Another SEO myth is that Googlers do not like the SEO community – that is not the case. Googlers do like SEOs. All they want to do is build better sites. If you are gaming the system, then Googlers do have a problem with that.

SEO myths around rankings get under his nerve. There are so many factors and how those factors are mixed change all the time. There are updates all the time and it is not like they proactively did something with a core update. BERT is proactive but the core updates are not. These updates are usual business.

SEO myth he joked he wished was true, was that he could change a sites ranking. John Mueller cannot, Gary Illyes probably cannot. But he may like this video, maybe not…

We talked a tab about the evergreen GoogleBot as well.

You can follow Martin Splitt on Twitter at @g33konaut and at the Google Webmaster Channel at

You can subscribe to our YouTube channel by clicking here so you don’t miss the next vlog where I interviews. I do have a nice lineup of interviews scheduled with SEOs and SEMS, many of which you don’t want to miss – and I promise to continue to make these vlogs better over time. If you want to be interviewed, please fill out this form with your details.

Forum discussion at YouTube.

Google Ads API Is Now Available To All

Google announced on Twitter that the Google Ads API is now “generally” available to all advertisers and developers. I believe it launched last year but had some serious issues when trying to replace the Google AdWords API and Google had to revert it. Now it is ready for prime time and fully available.

Google said the Google AdWords API “is still available for use at this time. However, new features will no longer be added. For all new integrations, we recommend using the Google Ads API.”

Google added “with the Google Ads API, you’ll see faster rollouts of new features and compatibility updates for tools like recommendations, local campaigns, and more. We’ve also made improvements to existing features like Keyword Planner, change history and billing. This makes it easy for you to manage your campaigns and increase overall productivity.”

The Google Ads API is the modern programmatic interface to Google Ads and the next generation of the AdWords API. It enables developers to interact directly with the Google Ads platform, vastly increasing the efficiency of managing large or complex Google Ads accounts and campaigns. Some typical use cases include:

  • Automated account management
  • Custom reporting
  • Ad management based on inventory
  • Manage Smart Bidding strategies

So make sure you check out the Google Ads API if you are still using the Google AdWords API.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Google Honors Jovita Idár, Mexican-American Journalist & Civil Rights Activist

Google Doodle Jovita Idár

Google has a special Google logo, Doodle, honoring Jovita Idár as part of Hispanic Heritage Month. Jovita Idár was a Mexican-American journalist, political activist and civil rights worker who championed the cause of Mexican-Americans and Mexican immigrants.

She was born on September 7, 1885 in Laredo, Texas and she was most well known for her work during the Mexican Revolution, between 1910 through 1920, for her writing and journalism during that time. She was part of several movements including Orden Caballeros de Honor, the first Mexican Congress, and La Liga Femenil (League of Mexican Women).

Google wrote “Today’s Doodle celebrates Mexican-American journalist, educator, nurse, and activist Jovita Idár, a pioneer in the fight for Mexican-American civil rights at the turn of the 20th century. During the First Mexican Congress, which met the week of September 14 to 22 in 1911, Idár was elected president of the League of Mexican Women, a feminist organization ahead of its time in uniting women around the critical educational, social, and political issues facing the Mexican-American community.”

Here are two earlier concepts for the Google Doodle:

click for full size

click for full size

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Google Merchant Center Additional Countries Setting Is Coming

Google said by the end of this month you will need to control global product availability in your product feed. You can apply the shipping attribute to products directly in the feed or specify countries by using the “additional countries” feature. This applies to both Shopping ads and free listings, Google said.

A month ago we reported about using the feed to exclude countries as an FYI but now Google said this is coming by the end of this month.

In the past, there were two ways for products to become available in multiple countries. You could specify countries through shipping settings (either by creating an account-level shipping service or by applying the shipping attribute to individual products), or you could specify countries in your Shopping ads feed (either as the country of sale, or by using the “additional countries” feature).

Google is pre-selecting countries in your feed to configure as “additional countries” of sale starting the week of September 14, 2020. For most merchants, this doesn’t change the availability of your products across countries. Up until September 30, 2020, Google will use Merchant Center shipping settings to determine additional countries for your product data. After this time, further country selection changes can and will be configured on the feed or product level. Your product-level shipping attributes will continue to apply.

There are a lot more details on this change over here.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Daily Search Forum Recap: September 18, 2020

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: Confusing Google Search Fluctuations, Many Google Bugs & How Google Core Updates Work
    This week was an interesting one, we had a huge amount of Google search ranking fluctuations according to the tracking tools but overall the chatter within the SEO community was not all that much. Google had a bug with news…
  • Google Merchant Center Additional Countries Setting Is Coming
    Google said by the end of this month you will need to control global product availability in your product feed. You can apply the shipping attribute to products directly in the feed or specify countries by using the “additional countries” feature. This applies to both Shopping ads and free listings, Google said.
  • Can Cheap Hosts With Many Low Quality Sites Can Hurt Your Google Rankings?
    Recently an interesting experiment was published on Reboot Online that says cheap hosting with low-quality, spammy bad neighborhoods of sites, can actually impact Google rankings. But John Mueller of Google disputed this study saying it is not really true and it doesn’t work that way at Google.
  • Google Search Feature Online Therapy Providers
    John Vantine shared a screen shot of Google showing an “online therapy” box in the search results that helps you find options for therapy that is covered by your insurance. I can replicate, so it does seem to be live, at least in the US.
  • Gift Cards Can’t Be Sold On Google Shopping With Buy on Google
    Google has updated its gift card policy in the Google Merchant Center to disallow the sale of gift cards using Buy on Google starting on September 30, 2020. Google said “Beginning September 30, Google will be changing the gift card category policy to prohibit the sale of gift cards on Buy on Google.”
  • Google Logo On Spare Tire Cover
    Here is a van, actually the Google Research Van, with a Google logo on its spare tire cover. Everyone needs to have their company logo on a spare tire cover. Without it, can you really call your comp

Other Great Search Forum Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:


Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice



Search Features

Search Buzz Video Recap: Confusing Google Search Fluctuations, Many Google Bugs & How Google Core Updates Work

This week was an interesting one, we had a huge amount of Google search ranking fluctuations according to the tracking tools but overall the chatter within the SEO community was not all that much. Google had a bug with news sites being shown in the top stories section on last Friday night. There may be an ongoing bug with Google Discover traffic since August 10th. John Mueller from Google shared with me more details on how broad core algorithm updates work, we pulled some interesting nuggets from that talk. Google’s coverage report was fixed but was it really? Google said it will drop the crawl anomaly data for something more useful. Google does treat most affiliate links as if they have nofollow on them. Google will soon start crawling some sites over HTTP/2. Google wants your feedback on site command searches that are very off. Google has some featured snippets with how-to schema. There was a study that said cheap hosts can hurt your rankings but Google said no, not true. Google My Business photo insights is delayed. Google is showing an online therapy look up search tool. Google Ads has a new ad destination report. Google Shopping added new nearby tools and look up tools. Google Merchant Center is switching to additional country data in your feeds. Google AdSense launched new first-party cookies. Also I wanted to wish you all a healthy, happy and successful Jewish New Year! Oh and if you want to help sponsor those vlogs, go to That was the search news this week at the Search Engine Roundtable.

Make sure to subscribe to our video feed or subscribe directly on iTunes to be notified of these updates and download the video in the background. Here is the YouTube version of the feed:

For the original iTunes version, click here.

Search Topics of Discussion:

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

GoogleBot To Crawl Some Sites Over HTTP/2 But There Is No Ranking Benefit

Google announced that starting in November 2020 it may begin to crawl some sites over HTTP/2. Google wrote “today we’re announcing that starting mid November 2020, Googlebot will support crawling over HTTP/2 for select sites.”

Google said sites that support HTTP/2 should see efficiency improvements with this change. Google said it “expects this change to make crawling more efficient in terms of server resource usage.” Why? In short, it requires opening less TCP connections; Google said “Googlebot is able to open a single TCP connection to the server and efficiently transfer multiple files over it in parallel, instead of requiring multiple connections. The fewer connections open, the fewer resources the server and Googlebot have to spend on crawling.”

This will start with a small number of sites in November and Google will then ramp it up as it sees how it goes. Googlebot decides which site to crawl over h2 based on whether the site supports HTTP/2, and whether the site and GoogleBot would benefit from crawling over HTTP/2, Google said. If your server supports HTTP/2 and Googlebot already crawls a lot from your site, you may be already eligible for the connection upgrade, and you don’t have to do anything.

Google has a larger article with FAQs on this over here.

Just an FYI – Google said in 2015 this support was coming soon. But I think that was more on if GoogleBot can handle HTTP/2 sites in general, not that GoogleBot itself will crawl using HTTP/2.

And no, “is there any ranking benefit for a site in being crawled over h2? No.” Google actually also said that in 2016.

Here is a bit more from Gary:

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Google Discover Traffic Drop On August 10th

Since August 10th or so, there has been a number of publishers complaining that the traffic Google sends them via Google Discover has dropped off the cliff. The complaints have not subsided yet and some feel it has to do with the Google Search glitch on August 10th. Google did say they are investigating it but we have not hear back from them on the topic yet.

It is unclear what is the cause or if this is a bug or not. But a nice number of publishers are complaining that their Google Discover based traffic has literally went from a nice amount of traffic to zero traffic on August 10th. It has been over a month and there is no real improvement yet.

There are threads at WebmasterWorld and several at Google Webmaster Help forums and even posts on Twitter. I know Google’s John Mueller was asked about this several times in his hangouts and he said the team is investigating it. But he has no news to share yet, I believe.

Here is some of what people shared publicly on this topic.

I am not sure if this is affecting a small number of publishers who are really loud or if it is a much larger issue. I suspect it is not a massive issue but I am not sure.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld and Google Webmaster Help.

Google Tests Knowledge Panel In The Middle Of The Search Results

Looks like Google may be testing (I think again) the knowledge panel box in the middle of the search results. Saijo George posted a video screencast on Twitter of this in action, but here is a screen shot:

Here is the tweet with the video of this in action:

I cannot replicate this but it doesn’t surprise me that Google would test these things out.

Forum discussion at Twitter.