Good morning, and congrats, we made it to Friday.

Local Services ads are going to be increasingly hard for service providers to ignore, given their prominent positioning at the top of the search results. The ads for plumbers, electricians, lawyers, financial planning services, interior designers, etc. have been expanding to more categories and regions. They’re currently available in 12 countries and there are for nearly 40 service categories available in the U.S. 

LSAs have historically been priced on a fixed cost-per-lead basis, with leads typically ranging from $3 to $50 depending on the category. Now, Google is expanding a test of auction bidding

Currently just three Local Service ads can appear in the coveted top ads carousel. Bidding will give advertisers more flexibility in vying for those top spots. And, as Greg Sterling notes, “as more local advertisers enter the program and competition intensifies it also means more revenue for Google.” 

BERT made a big splash, but AI is deployed in several other ways throughout the search results. Bing is employing more AI to inform its autosuggestions and People Also Ask, for example. It’s using Microsoft’s Turing Natural Language Generation (T-NLG) Next Phase Prediction (how’s that for a mouthful?) in autosuggestions. This allows it to make phrase suggestions as people type their queries. In the past, autosuggestions relied on previous queries and were limited to the current word the user was typing. 

It’s also using AI for People Also Ask. The models are used to identify question and answer pairs in web pages. Those pairings can then supplement similar questions that users have asked. Bing’s intelligent answers are also now available in more than 100 languages. 

Ginny Marvin,


What does your brand stand for?

For decades, management consultants and economic thought leaders warned us about business disruption. And now here we are in a very different kind of world. So what insight should we marketers take away from all of this sudden change?

  1. Your business purpose should guide all decisions across people, community, stakeholders, customers, and the planet. Companies should implement robust policies and make a genuine impact in areas that matter most.
  2. Your people and your customers demand that businesses do the most they can when it comes to acting ethically, rather than the least they can get away with.
  3. To achieve this, purpose must be embedded into the very DNA of your business. Otherwise, it’s impossible to create change that is meaningful and sustainable.

Learn more. Check out “The Download”, brought to you by Microsoft Advertising. 

Social Shorts

Pinterest Story Pins

Pinterest is hopping on the Story bandwagon with Story Pins, now in beta in the U.S. Pins can include videos, voiceovers, images and text overlays. Creators can also add a detail page with ingredients or DIY materials, for example. Unlike other platforms, Story Pins stick around rather than evaporating after 24-hours.

New for all Business Accounts: Pin Stats show impressions and engagement metrics for Pins as well as the categories and interests that audiences engage with. A new engagement tab allows creators to respond to “tried your Pin” photos in one place.

Why we care. One aim with Story Pins is to help keep users on Pinterest and give creators mechanisms to tell, well, stories without having to direct users to a website. Pinterest also says it is working on ways to support creator-brand partnerships and sponsorships. 


3 ways intent data can connect brands to real buyers

MarTech Today’s Editorial Director Kim Davis and John Steinert, CMO of TechTarget, will discuss how relationship building has changed in the era of COVID and how intent data is playing a critical role in successfully connecting brands to real buyers. In this webinar, they’ll dive into 3 ways that intent data at the opt-in prospect level can help you succeed in today’s landscape.

RSVP Today »

Search Shorts

Wayback machine and Google Search

Wayback machine and Google rankings. Your Google rankings are not influenced by being in or not being in the Wayback Machine, Google’s John Mueller said.

Ahrefs launched webmaster tools. The popular SEO toolset company launched a free version of its own webmaster tools. You can sign up for free over here.

Rich results not showing. Just because you add structured data to your pages it does not mean Google will show rich results in Google search, said Danny Sullivan of Google. 


Making the most of small-screen content for big engagement impact

Sponsored by Cloudinary

Small-screen content holds enormous significance for brand storytelling and consumer engagement. But there are a few not-so-small dynamics that marketers must pay attention to in order to holistically optimize their digital content. 

The first is the opportunity to capitalize on “micro” moments of engagement with 10-20 second video clips. The second is a two-part trend, really: the value of microbrowser content and the resulting “dark social” space, or the social shares that contain no referral information about the source, that is often forgotten in campaign planning.

Read More »

Your Name Here

We’re hiring a new content lead for Search Engine Land and SMX

It’s a great opportunity to lead a team of subject matter experts in creating content for online and in-person consumption that elevates, informs and inspires search marketing professionals.

Are you interested in leading the search community?

Learn More »


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Attend the largest virtual SMX event ever! You’ll access actionable organic and paid tactics that can drive more awareness, traffic, and conversions for just $149.

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What we're reading

We've curated our picks from across the web so you can retire your feed reader.

Creating Your Holiday Content – Search Metrics

Featured Snippet Answer Scores Ranking Signals – SEO By The Sea

Get a better handle on the work day at home with Google – Google Blog

Google Adds Message Button To Google Local Panel Updates Section – Search Engine Roundtable

Google CEO Sundar Pichai considering ‘hybrid’ work from home models – CNBC

Google Discover surfacing Podcasts episodes on Android – 9to5Google

Meet the 2020 Doodle for Google winner! – Google Blog

Navigate safely with new COVID data in Google Maps – Google Blog