SEOs, stop wasting time and focus on what really matters; Friday’s daily brief
Also, Google released its webspam report for 2020 and the new Google Ads API
Search Engine Land’s daily brief features daily insights, news, tips, and essential bits of wisdom for today’s search marketer. If you would like to read this before the rest of the internet does, sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox daily.
Good morning, Marketers, let’s talk about the cycle of spam and why some of you may be led down the wrong path without even knowing.
In the newsletter items below you will read about how Google released its webspam report for 2020, saying how spam is increasing but Google’s efforts to detect and ultimately block spam from its search results are improving. If there is one guarantee in life, outside of taxes and death, is that as long as search engines are popular, spam will always be a concern for Google and those search engines.
In What We’re Reading below, I listed an article I wrote (I also did read it after I wrote it, which is rare): Brands Value Domain Authority Because They Mistakenly Think Google Values It. It is a vicious circle with DA or domain authority. What you get is brands who don’t understand that DA is not a Google metric and those brands buying links from sites that have high DA. This causes a multitude of issues. Site owners work hard to get their DA scores up because for some reason certain marketers believe there is value in the score, then those sites then sell links on their sites because they have a good DA score.
Google’s Webmaster Guidelines strictly forbid link selling in this manner, so what eventually happens is the people selling links on their sites will ultimately see their rankings in Google Search drop because Google will stop trusting the links on that site and trusting the site in general.
You also then have those who are buying the link, paying for a link that does them no good – because Google isn’t counting it. This isn’t a new topic, we covered it before.
In short – these marketers can end up obsessing about a metric called DA that’s not even used by Google but created by an SEO toolset provider. Instead, SEOs should be obsessing about what really matters: Building a website that has great content that people naturally want to link to, that helps users solve a problem and that people want to recommend to their friends. And that is what will perform well in Google in the long term, not pages with high DA scores but pages that have great content, user experience and that people love.
Stop wasting your time, money and resources on vanity metrics.
SEO spam good cop
Google Search spam prevention keep on improving says Google
Google came out with its annual webspam report on how Google is getting better and better at detecting and blocking webspam in Google Search. Google said that it now detects 40 billion pages of spam every single day throughout 2020, that is a 60% – yes SIX ZERO – increase from 2019’s number of 25 billion per day. Google credits a lot of that to its AI capabilities, where it reduced sites with auto-generated and scraped content from showing up in the search results by more than 80% compared to just a couple of years ago.
Hacked spam detection improved as well, and improved by 50% the company said. Google also made efforts to protect “billions of searches” around COVID-19 topics from showing misinformation or scams and fraud. Google is busy fighting spam, as you can imagine, and that will never end. Being a spam fighter at Google is good job security.
Google Ads API version 7.0
Google has released version 7.0 of the Google Ads API with a slew of new features and goodies. Some of those features include these listed below:
- New assets for test accounts including callout assets, structured snippet assets, and sitelinks assets.
- Promotion assets are available both in production and test accounts
- The API now supports reporting for Apple’s AKAdNetwork.
- Keyword Planning tool supports refining keywords using annotation data, selecting custom date ranges for search volume, requesting aggregated metrics for generating keyword ideas and for keywords in a keyword plan.
- Manage bidding strategy and campaign simulations
Why we care. If you, your customers or toolset providers are using the Google Ads API, you can now explore more features within the API to get more done, in a more efficient way. Check out the full release notes to see what additional features you can utilize or nudge your tool provider to use to make your daily work-life as a search marketer easier.
Facebook revenue almost doubled: Here’s what it means for advertisers
Earnings reports released on Wednesday show that Facebook nearly doubled its Q1 earnings compared to last year. Revenue from advertising was up 146% compared to 2020 while daily active users only increased 8%.
The increase was driven largely by an uptick in ad prices, according to the CFO outlook commentary on the earnings report: “We are pleased with the strength of our advertising revenue growth in the first quarter of 2021, which was driven by a 30% year-over-year increase in the average price per ad and a 12% increase in the number of ads delivered.”
Pricing changes correspond with privacy initiatives. “Directly after the platform change [in response to IDFA], we saw an increase in both cost-per-click and cost-per-purchase across our client portfolio, regardless of industry,” said Lauren Clawson, social media team lead at Portent. “In addition to a decrease in overall metrics, some SMMs have been reporting a decline in the performance of lookalike audiences, which are typically our top performers. This was expected, as a decrease in attribution window decreases the data points that Facebook has to make connections between their users.”
Why we care. “We expect second quarter 2021 year-over-year total revenue growth to remain stable or modestly accelerate relative to the growth rate in the first quarter of 2021 as we lap slower growth related to the pandemic during the second quarter of 2020,” Facebook’s CFO said in the announcement. The increase in ad prices will likely continue to bolster these predicted revenue increases.
Google Discover ranking issues, dofollow links, Google publisher center and more.
Suspending sites in Google Discover. No, this doesn’t really happen. Paul Bakaus from Google said on Twitter, “We don’t generally ‘suspend’ sites, and when you fix issues, you are always eligible to reappear.” What is happening is that the site, likely after a core update, no longer has enough quality to be in Google Discover.
Google news video and regex. If you want to catch up on the SEO news from Google, John Mueller published a video on some of the latest changes at Google Search. My favorite part is at the end where he is trying to say regex.
Google publisher center updated. The Google publisher center, where news publishers can manage their sites in Google News, has had a few design tweaks and help document changes.
Dofollow. There is no such thing as a rel=”dofollow” link attribute, John Mueller of Google explained (not sure why it needed to be explained). I mean, you can add it to your links if it makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside but Google ignores it. All links are followed by Google unless you tell Google otherwise.
We’ve curated our picks from across the web so you can retire your feed reader.
- Brands Value Domain Authority Because They Mistakenly Think Google Values It – Search Engine Roundtable
- Google Translate: One billion installs, one billion stories – Google Blog
- Loud and clear: AI is improving Assistant conversations – Google Blog
- Study: Driving impact with search advertising – Microsoft Advertising
- Understanding the Magic Behind Google’s “Price Drop” Rich Result for eCommerce SEO – Brodie Clark Consulting