Looks like we made it: Regex finally comes to Search Console; Thursday’s daily brief
Plus, Google updates Merchant Center product data specifications
Good morning, Marketers, and SMX Create is less than a week away!
I’m looking forward to ALL the sessions we have in store for you, but here are a few I think you won’t want to miss.
Planning content that actually ranks with Aja Frost, Head of EN SEO at HubSpot
- You’ll learn how to set goals around content, identify your audience and their needs, determine your content angle based on those needs, and use that data for effective keyword research.
Ad copywriting from a copywriter’s perspective with Charlie Byrne, PPC Manager at Peak Ace AG
- Whether you’re freshening up ads that have been around for a long time or starting from scratch, we’ll explore ways to get your creative juices flowing to battle sameness, me-too ads that pollute the SERPs.
Creating a continuous improvement advantage with Karen Hopper, Senior Data Strategist at M+R
- Wrap up your learning journey with a look at how to nurture a culture of continuous improvement through testing — and what that means for day-to-day campaign management.
Plus we’ll have LIVE clinics at the end of the day where experts in SEO and PPC will do in-the-moment assessments of content and landing pages (this won’t be available afterward on demand — so you’ve gotta be there).
Check out the full agenda here, and don’t forget to grab your ticket ASAP. See you there.
P.S. You won’t want to miss my keynote with George Nguyen, either. There may be spaceships 🚀 and rainbows 🌈 involved.
Director of Search Content
Regex and more data filtering added to performance reports
Google has improved the performance reports in Google Search Console to add regular expression support and improved data filtering on the comparison mode of those reports. Regex is a feature that has been sought after by many who use these reports and now it is finally available after Google teased it several months ago. Check out the joyous responses from marketers on Twitter to the announcement yesterday.
Why we care. We now have more ways to slice and dice the performance report in Google Search Console. From the addition of regex support and now to the improvements in the comparison report data filtering, you can dig even deeper into your Google Search organic traffic data.
Google Ads’ continuous audience sharing is now available from sub-accounts
Last year, Google announced continuous audience sharing to enable manager accounts to share audience lists with sub-accounts. This week, the company expanded the feature, enabling sub-accounts to automatically share existing and future remarketing lists with manager accounts (in other words, sharing lists in the opposite direction).
Why we care. This can help PPC professionals save time that might otherwise be spent manually selecting audiences from individual accounts or creating new audience lists. Before sharing audience lists, check to ensure you have permission from the account that owns the list and keep in mind that any changes made to a shared list are applied across accounts.
Google updates Merchant Center product data specifications
Google has laid out a roadmap of updates and new attributes for merchants to be aware of.
Effective immediately, Google has begun enforcing its checkout price policy that requires merchants to show a consistent price between their product data and landing pages. It is also requiring that products shown across countries that use the subscription_cost or installment attributes be listed using a separate feed for each country. Merchants are also now able to indicate sizing types (such as “big,” “tall” and “plus”), backorder and preorder availability and region-specific shipping times via new attributes.
Beginning on June 15, Google will assume the times you provide are in the UTC time zone if no timezone is specified in the
sale_price_effective_date attributes. Products using the same Manufacturer Part Number (MPN) and brand combination may also get disapproved if they have different item_group_id values, or if they have the same MPN and brand combination as well as the same variant attributes (
And, on September 15, the shipping country sub-attribute will be required when providing the shipping attribute for products shown in more than one country.
Level-up your virtual events speaking setup
Many of you have been speaking at virtual events and webinars from home for the past year, but have you perfected your speaking environment yet? It’s easier said than done. There are so many obstacles to overcome from the sun shining in a window at the exact time you record, noise from the kids or various pets, and internet issues. Here are a few tips we like to provide to speakers to get the best presentation video possible:
Look for the quietest and best-lit location you can find. The light should be in front of you, not on the side or behind you. Consider getting a ring light like this one recommended by Kyle Pouliot, social media manager and video editor for Third Door Media, that you can put in front of you. Don’t forget your background lighting either. You don’t want everything around you to look dark so make sure the rest of your room is pretty well lit too.
Your background should look clean and professional. Make the bed and move the laundry. Better yet, have a neat-looking bookcase, a plant and/or some colorful art in the background. Center yourself within the frame and make sure your eyes are level with the camera. If you want some inspiration check out @ratemyskyperoom on Twitter. It’s good for some laughs too.
Audio is so critical. Buy yourself a good mic. Here’s one Kyle suggests that won’t break your budget. The other thing that affects audio is your internet connection. A high-speed connection that you are hardwired to is best. I know we live on Wi-Fi these days but if at all possible, order an Ethernet cable and plug it into your modem. Then shut down all your windows, especially your email and Slack before you present.
Do a tech check. There are many different technologies out there for broadcasting webinars and events so make sure you’re familiar with how everything works for the event you’re speaking at. Do a rehearsal from the same location you’ll be presenting from and with the same equipment you’ll be using on the day of the recording or broadcast.
There are many things to consider when carving out your speaking environment but I hope these tips will help you improve what you’re already doing. If you have best practices to share or other equipment you like to use, let me know at email@example.com.
Auto-captions on TikTok, new WTS podcast, and why Instagram ads are different
Facebook did it. Instagram did it. Now TikTok is doing it. We’re talking captions. This is a win for accessibility. “Up until now, TikTok users who wanted to make their videos more accessible had to manually type out captions, which could be a time-consuming process. But with auto-captions TikTok will be able to create subtitles for videos automatically,” wrote Karissa Bell.
Women in Tech SEO launches a podcast. Hosted by Sarah McDowell and Areej AbuAli, the podcast will amplify all the brilliant women in search marketing. “Through our weekly episodes, you will learn new SEO tactics in a fun and accessible way, feel inspired by our guests’ stories and what empowers them, and stay up to date with our latest initiatives and events.”
How to optimize your Instagram ads creative. Instagram passed the 1 billion user mark in 2020. This huge milestone is a good reminder that despite being owned by Facebook, it’s a social network in its own right. The Instagram user experience has some similarities to Facebook but there are key differences to keep in mind to ensure your ads perform at a high level.
Don’t kill the website (again)
Brian Morrissey’s latest substack newsletter strikes at the heart of how online media is constantly evolving.
“We are in a period of digital media where people are, again, back to wondering if publishers still need websites. The [inclination] these days is to create an email newsletter. After all, have you heard many people wanting to be the Quartz of X? No, they want to be the Morning Brew of X,” writes Morrissey.
His take is a reminder that as properties evolve and trends change, the staples of the web will likely remain the same. I saw a Twitter conversation the other day where the OP argued that Google can change and algorithms can update and SERPs can shift, but our goal as search marketers remains the same: to serve the needs of users, provide them the best answers, and help them make the best decisions with the information we have.
Along with the inability for newsletters to capitalize on advertising for publishers (the place where most online news outlets get the funds to run every day), he points to the lack of SEO for newsletters on places like substack, “Search fills the top of the funnel for most publishers — and the traffic is usually higher quality than random clicks from Facebook.”
“Ultimately, I still believe the hub of most publishers will remain websites. Publishing goes through phases, and this newsletter phase will join the ‘distributed media’ phase in dissipating. Sites will serve different roles but, for most publishers, remain the focus of their audience,” said Morrissey.
As search marketers, we may be wondering why anyone is having a conversation about getting rid of websites, but this newsletter indicates that someone out there is having this conversation and thinking through the justifications for keeping their main online properties.