The Google product reviews update was a big one; Friday’s daily brief
Plus, Google Ads insights page, CLS metric changes and possible soft 404 bugs.
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Good morning, Marketers,
It has been about a week since the Google product reviews update started rolling out and I wanted to give you an update on what type of impact it’s had. Sometimes updates like these can take time to be visible to the SEO industry but this one showed its face early on. Based on early reports, SEOs saw an impact as early as the day after the update.
Plus, this update crossed all sectors: health, finance, e-commerce, blogs, technology, trade businesses, and so on. Many sites with product review content on them saw huge gains or huge losses. Some reported losses as much as 50% or higher in terms of Google organic traffic, and yes, that is similar to a core update. The industry chatter, a term I use for when the SEO community starts to come out of the woodworks to talk about how much they lost after a Google update, was pretty high relative to normal days, and the automated tracking tools reported high volatility. I summed up a lot of this on my personal blog but I am tracking it and hope to have a bigger report on Search Engine Land in the upcoming week or so.
What did we learn new since this update was announced?
- The rollout of this update will take about two weeks, so we still have a week to go.
- This update can impact your Google Discover traffic, just like a core update might.
- Google will do refreshes periodically but will not announce all of these refreshes
- User generated content likely won’t rank well for product reviews anymore
Google product reviews reporter
Google Ads insights page now available globally
After some time in beta, Google is now rolling out the new Google Ads Insights page to all advertisers globally. Starting April 14th, the Insights page is available to all advertisers globally. The Insights page surfaces trends tailored to your business, so you can see if you’re keeping up with demand for trending products or services.
“Consumer demand continues to change, and it’s more important than ever for marketers to keep up. For example, at the start of the pandemic, searches for ‘curbside pickup’ increased by over 3000%. Earlier this year, we saw a surge for ‘staycations,’ and now, we’re seeing a surge for ‘watch party.’ We’ve heard from many of you that you need more insights like these to inform your business and marketing decisions,” Google said.
Best practices. Here are some best practices when using the Insights page in Google Ads:
- Review keyword, budget and bidding strategy recommendations to optimize your account for emerging trends.
- Use broad match and Smart Bidding to help reach the right customers at the right value.
- Use Keyword Planner for keyword ideas based on the emerging trends in your account.
- Plan inventory, promotions, and landing pages based on trending search interest.
Cumulative layout shift metric changes
Google has begun to roll out a new way to calculate the cumulative layout shift (CLS) metric for your core web vitals score. The new method is a “maximum session window with 1 second gap, capped at 5 seconds,” said Google. This should not harm the current scores “since this update caps the CLS of a page, no page will have a worse score as a result of this change.”
On April 13th, it seems these new scores began to rollout in Google Search Console. Google posted an note read on April 13th “the CLS metrics have been updated to reflect a more accurate representation of layout shifts on the page. You might see changes in your page CLS statuses (mostly positive) reflecting this change.”
Why we care. If you notice changes to your CLS score as reported in the core web vitals section of Google Search Console, this may be why.
Unconfirmed soft 404 Google search bug impacting ranking
For the past week or so there have been rumblings in the SEO industry around a soft 404 processing issue with Google Search that is having a negative impact on how some sites rank in Google Search. Google has not directly confirmed the issue outside of saying the company is looking into these reports. It is unclear how many sites are impacted by this issue and when it will be resolved.
I posted some of the examples of issues of this bug on my personal blog and as soon as I have official confirmation of what the issue is and how it impacted sites, I will provide more details. For now, keep an eye on your traffic and know that someone at Google is looking into these reports.
How Google Search serves results.
Google on serving search results. Gary Illyes from Google went deep into how Google search serving works, he went so deep that they had to cut out 5 minutes of what he said because it was too much detail. You can listen to the redacted podcast over here.
Both YMYL and non-YMYL content. In some cases, it might make sense for you to separate out your YMYL content from your non-YMYL content into separate sites, John Mueller of Google said. It really depends on a lot of factors but you can listen to John talk about this on YouTube or look at Glenn Gabe’s recap on Twitter.
Not real-time. The upcoming Google page experience update won’t be a real-time algorithm, mostly because the data it gathers is from Chrome, the CrUX data, and that takes about 28-days to gather.
Local business edits. Google said you can now update your business profile, like hours, category and location directly in the web search results. This expands the number of items you can update directly in web search.
We’ve curated our picks from across the web so you can retire your feed reader.
- Can Medical Alexas Make Us Healthier? – New York Times
- Google is poisoning its reputation with AI researchers – The Verge
- Google Ranking Search Results – Go Fish Digital
- How to Use Low Search Volume Keywords to Optimize B2B Tech Content – Moz
- SEO Writers: Are You Making These 5 Common Mistakes? – SuccessWorks