Good morning, what’d I miss?

I went away last week (to Guatemala, which is incredible and I highly recommend a visit) and watched from afar as Google’s desktop UI changed, then half-changed back and a tweet I sent in 2016 about Google’s ad labeling took off again after getting featured in TechCrunch’s coverage of the switch.

Being somewhat removed from the chatter and coverage gave me an interesting perspective. When the favicon and black ad label change rolled out on mobile last summer, there was grumbling in our industry (including by us), but it didn’t gain much wider attention. Last week’s broader backlash must have caught Google off guard — the backtracking clearly indicates that. As I watched this all play out, two lessons for digital marketers stood out. One: desktop might have faded, but it ain’t dead. Two: what plays on mobile won’t necessarily pass on desktop (and vice versa). 

Meanwhile, Google’s hiring an SEO, and there are some good takeaways from the job listing. What caught our attention in Google’s job listing is that it explicitly discusses cross-team collaboration with product growth marketing and engineering teams (no, not Google Search engineering). This may sound basic, but it’s a best practice that many companies struggle with. If you’re an SEO feeling siloed, this listing might give you some leverage to talk about collaboration internally. Also, check out Jessica Bowman’s piece from last month about the need for companies to integrate SEO across departments to be truly effective. 

Thom Craver, the SEO veteran and current lead SEO analyst at CBS Interactive’s news division chatted schema awesomeness, Google News, algorithmic bias and more with Barry Schwartz from Studio 10 at CBS. 

George Nguyen,
Associate Editor

 
 
 
Soapbox
 

How BERT is helping agencies focus on collaboration strategies

SEO agencies have to reassess resources, particularly those of content creators. Many digital marketing and SEO agencies have focused on the sum of keywords coupled with the tone of voice, technical language and preference (not to mention client approval) when making large scale content edits on a client’s website. 

Many agencies work collaboratively with a content agency and freelancers for more in-depth content messaging, or have a small in-house content production. These players often have a decent conceptual understanding of SEO best practices but, in many cases, are not SEOs themselves. 

The disciplines of SEO and high-quality content are commonly divided, even though the partnership is imperative to find a webpage (with SEO) and to stay there (for the content) to address users’ intent. 

BERT will undoubtedly push SEO agencies to assess their interagency practices with a focus on how content and SEO-focused practitioners collaborate to provide the best for their clients.

Alex Buckingham-Bullock is an SEO manager at POLARIS Agency

 

 

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Search Shorts
 

Undoing some deduplication of featured snippets

Reverse deduplication for right side featured snippets. As a reminder, Google is deduplicating the featured snippet URLs from showing again in the main search results. The right side featured snippets will stop being deduplicated until Google can move them to the top spot, said Google’s Danny Sullivan.

Google’s user-agent name. GoogleBot will crawl using the new naming convention when rendering pages but for requesting resources, it still may use Chrome 41, said Google’s John Mueller.

New colors for Search Console reports. Google added orange as a color for some of the Google Search Console reports.

Antitrust coordination. U.S. state attorneys general will be meeting this week with Department of Justice lawyers to discuss information sharing and potential coordination of their Google investigations. The antitrust inquiries are broad and concern Google’s role in online advertising, the Android OS and search. Nearly all states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are involved. It’s too early to speculate on the outcome of these discussions but they could well lead to a division of labor between the states and the federal government.

 

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What’s your search marketing specialty? Multi-location SEO, Google Ads, paid social, Amazon advertising? Choose from six highly-focused SMX workshops Friday, February 21 in San Jose, to drill down into a specific aspect of search and soak up channel-specific tactics you can implement immediately.

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What we're reading
 

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

20 years of fashion on Google – Google Blog

Brand Search Strategy: Save Campaign Spend and Drive More Organic Sales – Seer Interactive

Have a Search Warrant for Data? Google Wants You to Pay – New York Times

How do SEOs provide value? – Wellspring Search

How much longer will we trust Google’s search results? – The Verge

Inclusive Marketing: Essential for your brand – Microsoft Advertising

Microsoft Advertising Ads Label In Bing Search Hard To See Also – Search Engine Roundtable

Taking Advantage of MCC Scripts for Multi-Account PPC Efficiency – PPC Hero

The Dirty Little Featured Snippet Secret: Where Humans Rely on Algorithmic Intervention [Case Study] – Moz

The Most Searched: A celebration of Black history makers – Google Blog