Good morning, what won’t we do for that little checkmark in our profile?

The Google Guaranteed checkmark, that is. Available as part of an experimental “upgraded profile,” the Google Guaranteed badge has started appearing on local business profiles and in the Local Pack.

The white and green checkmark, accompanied by the “GOOGLE GUARANTEED” text (in all caps, mind you), may provide a consumer-trust advantage, leading to higher clickthrough rates for the organic listings they appear in. The badge is available through the aforementioned upgraded profile for $50 per month.

If it becomes a permanent offering, this may lead to some local SMBs investing in the profile upgrade instead of Local Service Ads (LSAs), since it’s easier to pay the $50 per month than it is to optimize and bid for placement in the top three LSA slots, suggests Contributing Editor Greg Sterling. Local service advertisers (assuming they’re successful with their ads) will get the benefit of both placement at the top of search results as well as the badge in their organic listings.

Keep on reading to learn about Instagram’s new workflows for its Branded Content ads, as well as your daily Search Shorts and more.

George Nguyen

Social Short

Update for Instagram Branded Content ads: New workflow, product tags and more

Instagram advertisers can now create Branded Content ads without creators having to post organically first. Branded content ads on Instagram have been around since June 2019. With the new workflow, advertisers request ad creation access from creators. After a creator approves the request, they’ll then be notified to approve or decline branded ads that appear from the advertiser under the creator’s handle. In Stories, Branded Content ads can now include tappable elements — mentions, hashtags, location. 

In addition, Instagram will begin testing Product Tags in Branded Content ads. Currently, creators’ branded content posts that have product tags can’t be promoted by brands as ads.  

Why we care. The new workflow streamlines the process for both brands and creators. Product Tags are potentially a big opportunity as Instagram becomes a bigger driving force in commerce. “More and more, people are shopping directly from the creators they love on Instagram – this new ad format is another way brands can provide a seamless shopping experience on Instagram,” the company said.


Forecasting paid search spend and revenue for 2021

This e-book, walks you through completing a sales and spend forecast to help you measure the impact of your ad spend on your overall revenue. You’ll also discover your ideal contribution margin, and even the level of adjustment required to achieve that ideal – so you can make the changes needed to grow your business in 2021.

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Search Shorts

Secure labels in Bing.

Sitemaps. Google’s John Mueller said in regards to XML Sitemap files “we put them all into the same pot, stir, and sip the URLs. It doesn’t matter to us, but since you can do reporting on sitemap files, you might have preferences on your side.”

Google Doodle for Benoit Mandelbrot. Did you miss the out of this world Doodle for the 96th birthday of Benoit Mandelbrot?  You can learn more about the mathematician and see the Doodle over here.

Bing secure label in search. Some of us are seeing Microsoft Bing test a secure label in green and gray in the search results.  We see it in green, here is a screen shot:


A comprehensive guide to Crowd Marketing

Sponsored by Natural Links

Crowd marketing is a methodology of promoting brands through direct contact with their target audience on forums and forum-like platforms. At Natural Links, we prefer working with industry-specific forums. One needs to participate in organic discussions on topics associated with the brand’s value proposition. When done properly, crowd marketing raises the clients’ brand awareness and creates thousands of safe, natural backlinks that grow organic traffic.

Erik Ivanov, a Co-Founder of Natural Links, has worked in SEO in highly-competitive niches for 15 years — 7 of those in link building and 5 in crowd marketing. In that time, he’s seen plenty of praise for and prejudice against crowd marketing. For this article, Ivanov gathered all his practical experience and use cases and built a comprehensive guide on crowd marketing — with definitions, best practices and life examples.

Read More »


Finish 2020 strong. Start 2021 off right.

Invest in your company and yourself: Attend Search Marketing Expo online, December 8-9, for actionable tactics and strategies that drive more traffic, conversions, and ROI.

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What We're Reading

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

5 Things to Know When Your Site Loses Rankings – BruceClay

Announcing new AdMob API methods and authorization scope – Google Ads Developer Blog

Google leaf celebrates carbon-neutral efforts on homepage – 9to5Google

Google My Business Dashboard Tests New Location Manager Design – Search Engine Roundtable

How to Fix Faceted Navigation; Best Practices & SEO Tips – Botify

How to Get Backlinks in 2021 [Series Part 2: Prospecting] — Whiteboard Friday – Moz

We moved! Introducing the new home for the Google Webmaster Blogs – Google

What is Black Hat SEO? 9 Risky Techniques to Avoid – SEM Rush