Good morning, SEO can be a bumpy ride, even when you do everything right.

Google confirmed late Thursday that it was experiencing indexing issues with both canonicalization and mobile indexing. Those problems may have started more than a week prior. As we noted in Search Shorts over the last week, many SEOs began noticing big search results changes around September 22 and 23. There is no action to take any time Google has indexing snags other than to wait until the company confirms the issue has been resolved. If your rankings return, you’ll know it was Google, not you. 

The brand search ads debate is as old as, well, keyword bidding itself. I still vividly remember George Michie’s presentation on testing brand ad cannibalism at an SMX around 2011. He wrote about it here and again here, too. Aside from the +1 references (remember?), they’re still evergreen articles.

So, I was delighted to see contributor Marcel Smal reference Michie in his new column, “How to bid on your brand name based on incrementality.” As Marcel notes, “CPA targets for your branded keywords are very different when you take incrementality into account.” 

Keep reading and I hope you have a successful Monday. 

Ginny Marvin,

Social Shorts

Facebook sues browser makers for data scraping

Facebook has filed suit against two companies it says used browser extensions to scrape and sell user data from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Amazon.When installed, the Chrome browser extensions, “UpVoice” and “Ads Feed,” pulled down the user’s name, user ID, gender, date of birth, relationship status, location information and other account-related data. The companies appear to be run by the same people.

Why we care. The extensions didn’t have big install bases, just 5,000 and 10,000 installs, according to ZDNet, but in addition to user data, the extensions also scraped “advertisements and advertising metrics (name of the advertiser, image and text of the advertisement, and user interaction and reaction metrics), and user Ad Preferences (user advertisement interest information),” ZDNet reported. Buyer beware who you’re funding: The data was repackaged and sold as marketing intelligence. 


Tips for improving your Google Quality Score

Within Google Ads, every keyword is subject to Google’s Quality Score metric, which impacts your cost and your ad’s ability to display. Download the Quality Score Improvement guidebook from Titan Growth to learn the three main components that impact Quality Score and tactics for improving yours.

Read more »

Search Shorts

Cookie consent banners and CLS

Cookie consent banners impacting cumulative layout shift. If you have a site that has those cookie consent banners and that seems to be impacting the cumulative layout shift score in the Google core web vitals metrics, then let Martin Splitt of  Google know about it on Twitter.

Google Shopping Actions standards update. Google updated its shopping actions to add two new performance metrics that retailers will be accountable for. Specifically, Google added “return defects” and “delivery defects.” Return defects reporting will start on November 1. The first Retailer Standards Score “impacted will be March 1, 2021 and will lookback to defects as early as November 24, 2020,” says Google.

Links and rankings. Another classic John Mueller of Google quote for y’all: “If links are the reason why a site is ranking higher, then if you remove them the site will rank lower. Links aren’t the only reason sites rank, obviously, so I wouldn’t blindly focus on them.”


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What we're reading

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

A new sense of direction with Live View – Google Blog

Apple launches the new detailed Apple Maps experience in the United Kingdom, Look Around in 

select cities – 9to5Mac

Audiovisual Speech Enhancement in YouTube Stories – Google AI Blog

Bing Releases Intelligent Question-Answering Feature to 100+ Languages – Bing Search Quality Insights

Developing a PPC Analyst Mindset – PPC Hero

How to Rank in ‘People Also Ask’ Boxes and If You Should – Ahrefs

New third-party verification in Google Marketing Platform – Google Blog

Senate committee votes to subpoena CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter to testify – CNBC

Why Safe Browsing Matters to Your Website, Visitors and Rankings – BruceClay