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Is FLoC switching from cohorts to topics?

With the rollout of FLoC delayed until 2023, there may be an indication that Google is adjusting how the privacy-focused ad-targeting system may work.

“A lead engineer helping guide Google’s Privacy Sandbox development has revealed signs of what may be next for the firm’s most advanced cookieless ad targeting method. The potential update of the Federated Learning of Cohorts targeting technique detailed at a recent engineering research event would involve assigning topic categories to websites and people rather than assigning opaque numerical cohort IDs to them,” wrote Kate Kaye with Digiday.

This may be a response to evidence that the previous method of FLoC (which did not pass muster with GDPR) might enable fingerprinting, which means bad actors could still track individuals — something FLoC is expressly created to prohibit. “Topics have a number of advantages over cohorts. Users can see what’s being said about them and understand it,” said Josh Karlin, a tech lead manager of Google’s Privacy Sandbox team in its Chrome browser division at an Internet Engineering Task Force meeting. 

“We are always exploring options for how to make the Privacy Sandbox proposals more private while still supporting the free and open web. Nothing has been decided yet,” a Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land.

Why we care. While Google is buying itself more time (testing for the latest version of FLoC ended July 13 and it’s taking feedback from the advertiser community into consideration too), this pivot could potentially be better for everyone involved. “Adopting a topic-based approach could give advertisers, ad-tech firms, website publishers, and people a clearer understanding of how ads are targeted through the technique,” said Kaye. 


The SEO Periodic Table: HTML success factors

These elements encompass the HTML tags you should use to send clues to search engines about your content and enable that content to render quickly. Are you describing movie showtimes? Do you have ratings and reviews on your e-commerce pages? What’s the headline of the article you’ve published? In every case, there’s a way to communicate this with HTML. 

Search engines look for familiar formatting elements like Titles (Tt) and Headings (Hd) to determine what your page’s content is about, figuring that these cues to human readers will work just as well for them. But search engines also utilize particular fields like Schema (Sc) markup and Meta Descriptions (Ds) as clues to the meaning and purpose of the page.

 As Google has removed the AMP requirement, we’ve gotten rid of that element and added two new ones: Image ALT (ALT) and Content Shift (CLS). ALT text for images improves accessibility and image SEO. Screen readers use ALT text to help those with visual disabilities understand the images on the page. ALT text for images can also help with image search — surfacing your site in image search results. Content Shift (CLS) focuses on the elements of visual stability. 

Cumulative Layout Shift, which is part of the Core Web Vitals and overall page experience update, refers to unexpected changes in a page’s layout as it loads — it’s annoying for users at a minimum and can cause real damage depending on the severity of the shift and content of the page.

Read more about the HTML success factors or download the whole SEO Periodic Table.


Search Shorts: Get more GMB photos, remote working SEOs and automation advice

Google My Business ‘Photo Updates’: A new way to get customer pics. Another solid local SEO piece by one of our faves, Claire Carlile. “It is now possible to add a photo update without leaving a review if you click… on ‘Add a photo update.’”

Remote forever? Kelvin Newman asked his SEO and digital marketing Twitter followers if they were back in the office yet. Over 60% said no (with 19% saying they’d always been remote). Many replies and QTs expect that trend to stay for a while. 

“Definitely don’t do this.” That’s what Kenny Hyder said in response to a Google Ads tweet about Smart Bidding. Just another case of ads automation vs. ads consultant.


What We’re Reading: Reddit’s new round of funding will go toward driving new users and expanding advertiser options

Reddit announced that it raised $140 million in venture capital which increased the company’s valuation from $6 billion to $10 billion. While initially not planned, the fresh capital gives Reddit more time to figure out how to IPO eventually.

“The company makes most of its money selling advertising, which appears in the feeds of users who browse the many ‘subreddits,’ or topic-focused forums, across the site,” said Mike Issac for The New York Times. But this also means “Reddit must compete against digital advertising giants like Google, Facebook, and Amazon, as well as other ad-based social networking sites, including Twitter, Snap, and Pinterest.”

But the company has been steadily improving its metrics, according to the NYT article: 

  • Reddit surpassed $100 million in revenue in a single quarter for the first time this year, up 192 percent over the same period in 2020.
  • More than 50 million people now visit Reddit daily.
  • The site has more than 100,000 active subreddits.

The company has also been working on moderating subs recently, as well, including banning ‘The_Donald’ and other subreddits that degraded into forums of hate speech and violent conspiracy theories. Many of the other major players competing in the space (Facebook, Twitter) have been trying to do the same.

So what’s next for the cash? The latest round of money means that the forum/social media platform can figure out new ways to garner more users and continue to build its business, especially internationally. Plus they plan to explore more options for video ads and opening their system up to be easier for small businesses looking to take advantage of the niche and targeted advertising. 

[Source: This article was published in searchengineland.com By Carolyn Lyden - Uploaded by the Association Member: Daniel K. Henry] 
Categorized in Search Engine

A new spam algorithm is rolling out over the next two weeks aimed at fighting link spam more broadly. 

Google is rolling out the link spam update today and throughout the next two weeks. This link spam update targets spammy links “more broadly” and “across multiple languages,” Duy Nguyen, a Google search quality analyst, said.

The announcement. Google wrote “in our continued efforts to improve the quality of the search results, we’re launching a new link spam-fighting change today — which we call the “link spam update.” This algorithm update, which will roll out across the next two weeks, is even more effective at identifying and nullifying link spam more broadly, across multiple languages. Sites taking part in link spam will see changes in Search as those links are re-assessed by our algorithms.”

Nullifying link spam. You can see the word Google used here was “nullifying,” which does not necessarily mean “penalize,” but instead, to ignore or simply not count. Google’s efforts around link spam have been to ignore and not count spammy links since Penguin 4.0 was released in 2016.

Might feel like a penalty. While Google may not penalize your site for these spammy links if Google ignores or nullifies links that may have been helping a site rank well in Google Search, that might feel like a penalty. In short, if you see your rankings drop over the next two weeks and if it is a sharper drop, it might be related to this update.

Best practices on links. Google’s Duy Nguyen published a blog post about link spam and best practices that you can read here.

Why we care. Again, if you see ranking declines in Google over the next two weeks, it might be related to this new link spam update. Make sure your links are natural and in accordance with Google’s webmaster guidelines. Work on improving your site, so it can naturally attract new links over time.

As Google wrote, “Site owners should make sure that they are following the best practices on links, both incoming and outgoing. Focusing on producing high-quality content and improving user experience always wins out compared to manipulating links. Promote awareness of your site using appropriately tagged links, and monetize it with properly tagged affiliate links.”

[Source: This article was published in searchengineland.com By Barry Schwartz - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jeremy Frink]

Categorized in Search Engine

This was a pretty busy week, we may have had a Google search algorithm update this week and maybe, just maybe, Forbes got hit hard by it. Google is probably going to revert the favicon and black ad label user interface, lots of tests are going on now. Bing hides the ad label as well, it isn’t just Google. I posted a summary of everything you need to know about the Google feature snippet deduplication change, including Google might be giving us performance data on them, images in featured snippets may change, Google will move the right side featured snippet to the top and until then it stopped deduplicating the right side feature snippets. Google Search Console launched a new removals tool with a few set of features. Google may have issues indexing international pages. Google says they treat links in PDFs as nofollowed links but that contradicts earlier statements. Google said schema markup will continue to get more complicated. Google said do not translate your image URLs. I shared a fun people also ask that looks like an ad, but is not an ad. Google Assistant Actions do not give you a ranking boost. Google is still using Chrome 41 as the user agent when requesting resources but not for rendering. Google Ads switched all campaign types to standard delivery. Google My Business suspensions are at an all time high. Google Chrome is testing hiding URLs for the search results page. Google is hiring an SEO. I posted two vlogs this week, one with Thom Craver and one with Lisa Barone. Oh and if you want to help sponsor those vlogs, go to patreon.com/barryschwartz. That was the search news this week at the Search Engine Roundtable.

Make sure to subscribe to our video feed or subscribe directly on iTunes to be notified of these updates and download the video in the background. Here is the YouTube version of the feed:

Search Topics of Discussion:

 [Source: This article was published in seroundtable.com By Barry Schwartz - Uploaded by the Association Member: Olivia Russell]

Categorized in Search Engine

 [Source: This article was Published in searchenginejournal.com By Barry Schwartz - Uploaded by the Association Member: Martin Grossner]

Google says the June 3 update is not a major one, but keep an eye out for how your results will be impacted.

Google has just announced that tomorrow it will be releasing a new broad core search algorithm update. These core updates impact how search results are ranked and listed in the Google search results.

Here is Google’s tweet:

searchliaison

Previous updates. Google has done previous core updates. In fact, it does one every couple months or so. The last core update was released in March 2019. You can see our coverage of the previous updates over here.

Why pre-announce this one? Google said the community has been asking Google to be more proactive when it comes to these changes. Danny Sullivan, Google search liason, said there is nothing specifically “big” about this update compared to previous updates. Google is being proactive about notifying site owners and SEOs, Sullivan said, so people aren’t left “scratching their heads after-the-fact.”

casey markee

When is it going live? Monday, June 3, Google will make this new core update live. The exact timing is not known yet, but Google will also tweet tomorrow when it does go live.

eric mitz

Google’s previous advice. Google has previously shared this advice around broad core algorithm updates:

“Each day, Google usually releases one or more changes designed to improve our results. Some are focused around specific improvements. Some are broad changes. Last week, we released a broad core algorithm update. We do these routinely several times per year.

As with any update, some sites may note drops or gains. There’s nothing wrong with pages that may now perform less well. Instead, it’s that changes to our systems are benefiting pages that were previously under-rewarded.

There’s no ‘fix’ for pages that may perform less well other than to remain focused on building great content. Over time, it may be that your content may rise relative to other pages.”

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was Published searchengineland.com By Barry Schwartz - Contributed by Member: Clara Johnson

Some SEOs are seeing more fluctuations with the Google rankings now, but Google has confirmed the August 1 update has been fully rolled out.

Google has just confirmed that the core search algorithm update that began rolling out a week ago has now finished fully rolling out. Google search liaison Danny Sullivan said on Twitter, “It’s done” when I asked him if the rollout was complete.

Danny did add that if we are seeing other changes, “We always have changes that happen, both broad and more specific.” This is because some of the tracking tools are seeing more fluctuations today, and if they are unrelated to this update, the question is what they can be attributed to.

Here is Danny’s tweet:

@dannysullivan is the rollout of the core update complete? Seeing fluctuations today.

It's done. That said, we always have changes that happen, both broad and more specific.

Based on our research, the August 1 update was one of the more significant updates we have seen from Google on the organic search side in some time. It continued to roll out over the weekend and has now completed.

Google’s current advice on this update is that webmasters do not need to make any technical changes to their websites. In fact, the company said, “no fix” is required and that it is aimed at promoting sites that were once undervalued. Google has said that you should continue to look at ways of making your overall website better and provide even better-quality content and experiences to your website visitors.

Now that the rollout is complete, you can check to see if your site was impacted. But as Danny Sullivan said above, there are always changes happening in search.

 

Categorized in Search Engine

Early yesterday morning, the SEO underground was buzzing with alarm, as webmasters shared horror stories of dropped rankings, tanking keywords, and halted traffic.

Search Engine Roundtable’s Barry Schwartz reported chatter occurring in the wee hours of March 8th, with several forums proclaiming “massive” drops in traffic. Over the course of the morning, users commiserated with each other and shared news of the statuses of their sites, which laid out a pretty bleak landscape in the wake of the possible algorithm update. Here’s what people were reporting:

  • 90% loss of keyword positions
  • Sites disappearing while others stayed – or even improved
  • 20,000 visits down to 2,000
  • Mobile pages being deindexed

Some webmasters even reported their rankings returning by the afternoon. “Things are in massive flux right now,” says Schwartz, who continues to keep his ears and eyes open for changes.

Granted, these are just some examples of what people were experiencing. They are in no way meant to describe what this algorithm update/ranking change may exactly entail. However, they are significant enough that we felt the need to share it so you’re aware.

Is it link-related?

Perhaps. Many webmasters have admitted to their sites having spam links (“from competitors,” they have said), which, depending on the severity of the links and the potency of the update/ranking shift could affect their site. Still, to drop the sites entirely from the SERPs, as some have claimed, seems very extreme. Even so, sites have been disappearing across a wide variety of niches. It would depend on the types of sites before we could make any sort of guess as to why this could be happening.

One common theory seems to be that Google is making a major move against private blog networks (PBNs). These are a set of blog sites under a single owner that link to the same owner’s “money sites,” effectively spreading link juice back to the sites that make money. PBNs have been considered grey hat territory for a while, but this algorithm update could prove how Google really feels about them.

My website has been hit – help!

Stay calm. It’s possible this is a bug in Google’s systems or simply a “dance,” as some have phrased it, going on with rankings. Whatever is happening, the fluctuations we’ve seen seem too extreme for Google to stay quiet for long.

Author : John Caiozzo

Source : http://www.business2community.com/seo/warning-possible-google-algorithm-update-blame-massive-losses-traffic-01796047#5e4GOHIZkAxjudRr.97

Categorized in Search Engine

Did your rankings in Google get better or worse over the past week? Many webmasters and SEOs are noticing some significant changes in Google's search rankings algorithm.

Last Tuesday, Feb. 7, there seems to have been a Google algorithm change that adjusted how many sites rank — both for good and bad. I’ve been tracking the update since Feb. 8, and over time, more and more webmasters and SEOs have been taking notice of the ranking changes at Google.

This seems to be unrelated to the unconfirmed link algorithm change from earlier in February. This new update seems to be more related to Panda, based on such things as content and site quality, versus link factors.

Google has not confirmed the update and would not comment on what webmasters and SEOs have been noticing over the past week in the search results. So we cannot confirm if this was a content quality shift, link quality change or something else. But what we can say is that webmasters and SEOs are very busy noticing these ranking changes, through looking at ranking reports or their traffic from Google in their analytics, or using tracking tools that track visibility and other means.

The automated tracking tools from Mozcast, RankRanger, Accuranker and others also all showed evidence of an algorithm update on Feb. 7.

This update seems to have been somewhat significant, which is why we reached out to Google for a comment. If we hear more from Google, we will update you. But for now, this is all based on the conversation and chatter that I track closely within the industry.

Author : Barry Schwartz

Source : http://searchengineland.com/new-unconfirmed-google-algorithm-update-touched-february-7th-269338

Categorized in Search Engine

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