Your communications shouldn’t feel like marketing; Tuesday’s daily brief

And, California’s challenge to Amazon’s labor algorithms carries potential ramifications for merchants.

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Good morning, Marketers, do you think of yourself as a brand?

“Thinking of ourselves too much as brands can take away from what’s human and real,” wrote Marketoonist creator Tom Fishburne. “If everyone acts too much like a personal brand manager, all communication can start to feel like marketing.”

Promoting yourself on places like LinkedIn or Twitter can help you further your career and open up new opportunities, but, “Communications that ‘feel like marketing’ is something that marketers work to avoid all day, every day, regardless of channel,” Chris Wood, my colleague and editor at MarTech, added.

“There’s a line between personal branding and self-promotion,” Fishburne said. “I think it’s less about what you say about yourself and more about what you do.” In a space where so many organizations and professionals rush to share their messaging about the latest industry news or current affairs, I can only recall two groups: the ones that totally botched their responses and the ones that actually went out there and did something.

If you’re interested in promoting yourself or your business and learning more ways to successfully engage on LinkedIn, Darryl Praill, CRO at VanillaSoft, will be leading a session on exactly that at our MarTech Conference, kicking off tomorrow at 11am ET. You can register for free for that session and much more, including sessions on marketing in the search-first era and proven methods for improving onsite search effectiveness.

George Nguyen,

Messy SEO Part 2: The importance of canonicalization

What do you do when you’ve merged two sites only to find that there are now a large number of canonical URLs pointing to now-non-existent pages? They don’t directly affect users like redirects do, which was what Corey Patterson, content and SEO manager for MarTech and Search Engine Land, covered in the first installment of our Messy SEO series. However, Google and other search engines rely on them to ensure that search results are up to date and meet users’ needs.

In the case of Marketing Land and MarTech Today, which we merged into back in May, Corey analyzed the URLs on each page via the Yoast SEO plugin and replaced the canonical URLs with the newly consolidated URL.

“​​This leaves many URLs out there, both in the SERPS and on the MarTech site itself,” Corey wrote, “Fortunately, the Third Door Media [our parent company] team already put in redirects from these domains to the new MarTech site, sending a pretty strong signal to search engines. But, with a domain as large as ours, it’s taken months for the index to cull the old URLs.”

Read more here. 

Microsoft Advertising is switching to a new feedback platform

Beginning in October, Microsoft Advertising will move to a new first-party feedback platform, the company announced Monday. Microsoft Advertising also plans to bring over existing feedback, status and votes from UserVoice, the platform it’s currently using, as part of the transition.

In addition to allowing advertisers to share their feedback and vote on feedback from other users, “This new feedback platform will enable [Microsoft Advertising] to listen and act on customer feedback in new and exciting ways,” Juan Carlos Ousset and Aaron Lauper wrote, although they didn’t provide any examples of what these “new and exciting ways” might be. Advertisers can still submit feedback via the existing platform until September 30, and all feedback will be migrated over.

Why we care. Feedback matters — that’s how Google knew that advertisers weren’t thrilled when it limited search terms reporting, and that led to the recent addition of more query data for impressions without clicks. The search marketing community on Twitter is often generous with its feedback, but (as many of you have probably experienced yourselves), screenshotting a social media post and putting it into a report for your client or boss may not be as effective as feedback submitted through proper channels.

Featured snippets links, cover songs and worthy causes

Google is testing links in featured snippets (again). In November, Google was spotted testing contextual links in featured snippets and many SEOs were keen to highlight the new opportunities and risks that came with this potential change. Now, Google is at it again, but Brodie Clark, who first brought this to our attention, has said that, this time around, the links all go to Wikipedia or an internal page. If this is closer to the final version — if there even is a rollout, that is — publishers may have less to worry about, since the links won’t be going to competitors (unless you count Wikipedia as a competitor).

The Beatles x Google Ads. ETA, we are sad to see you go away… Kirk Williams busts out his guitar for a PPC-centric rendition of Yesterday. Kirk, if you’re reading this, we need the full version of the song.

Celebrate your colleagues and diversity and inclusion in marketing. As a person of color, I can’t tell you how much it means to me to feel welcomed in the search industry, but sadly, not everyone is met with that experience. That’s why I’m so proud to announce our second annual Search Engine Land Award for Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in Search Marketing. Last year, Women in Tech SEO founder Areej AbuAli earned the accolade for her inspiring contributions to the industry. This time around, she’s a guest judge. There are a lot of advocates and organizations that deserve to be recognized for their allyship — if you know one, recognize them by submitting a nomination.

What We’re Reading: California’s challenge to Amazon’s labor algorithms carries potential ramifications for merchants

Last week, the California Senate approved AB 701, a bill that “would block Amazon and other companies from punishing warehouse workers who fail to meet certain performance metrics for taking rest or meal breaks,” Makena Kelly wrote for The Verge.

With numerous outlets reporting that warehouse employees are known to skip bathroom breaks in order to meet performance quotas, Amazon’s labor practices have been under intense scrutiny over the last few years. But, the bill doesn’t just affect Amazon, in fact, it doesn’t even explicitly name the company; however, “both Republican and Democratic lawmakers recognize that the e-commerce giant would be greatly affected by the enactment of the legislation,” Kelly wrote.

For businesses that use Fulfillment by Amazon, that may eventually mean a slower fulfillment process in California. If similar bills get passed in more states, the online retailer may have to rethink its labor practices on a larger scale. That’s potentially bad news for merchants that are reliant on Amazon, but Amazon isn’t the only platform out there — the new legislation could skew the math as retailers weigh their options, assessing not only fulfillment times but also seller fees, user bases and so on.

If signed into law, the bill would also force companies to be more transparent with their performance algorithms, revealing the quotas to regulators as well as employees, which should be…enlightening. Last Wednesday, after getting approved by the California Senate, AB 701 was sent back to the assembly for minor changes before it will be sent to Governor Gavin Newsom, who hasn’t signaled whether he’ll sign the bill.

Contributing authors are invited to create content for Search Engine Land and are chosen for their expertise and contribution to the search community. Our contributors work under the oversight of the editorial staff and contributions are checked for quality and relevance to our readers. The opinions they express are their own.

About the author

George Nguyen
George Nguyen is the Director of SEO Editorial at Wix, where he manages the Wix SEO Learning Hub. His career is focused on disseminating best practices and reducing misinformation in search. George formerly served as an editor for Search Engine Land, covering organic and paid search.

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