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20211222 SEL Brief

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Google Search Console accessibility issues fully resolved five days later

Last Thursday, many SEOs noticed that Google Search Console was inaccessible. Google confirmed the issue saying “We’re aware of an issue with Search Console that prevents some users from using the service. We’re working on fixing it and we’ll post an update when the issue is resolved.” The issue was not impacting all users, but it did impact many users.

The issue is now officially resolved, five days after it was first confirmed. Google posted in an update “The issue is now resolved. Thanks for the patience.”

The notices. Here are the two posts on Twitter from Google on this issue:

The issue is now resolved. Thanks for the patience. ^gi

— Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) December 21, 2021

Resolved earlier. I believe this was mostly resolved earlier, like within 48-hours of the issue, but Google probably fully restored access five-days later. It is not clear what the issue was exactly but it seemed to me it was around server capacity and resources for the Search Console tools. Again, that is not confirmed but the errors displayed conveyed a 429 Apache error which means “Too Many Requests response status code indicates the user has sent too many requests in a given amount of time (“rate limiting”).”

Why we care. If you were having issues with accessing Google Search Console, those issues should now be fully resolved. Some of you may already be off on your holiday break, so I guess any reporting you need to run can wait until you return.

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Inclusive marketing resources to strengthen your brand’s messaging

Inclusive marketing resources to strengthen your brand’s messaging

Knowing your audience and what they want has always been a cornerstone of marketing, but the standard for modern, successful campaigns has grown to include what your audience cares about as well.

Customers are no longer just voting for brands or products via their purchases. Now, they’re also voting for the future they would like to see the world move towards — a future in which climate change is being addressed, centuries of socioeconomic and racial injustices are being corrected and equality and inclusivity are available to all.

This means that brand values are now part of your unique selling point — and if you’re not promoting values that align with your audience, it’s likely that one of your competitors will. However, inclusive marketing isn’t just a tactic to pander to audiences. It’s here to underscore humanity and the common struggles we face while recognizing and celebrating our differences. 

It can also help propel your brand towards its business goals: More than two-thirds (67%) of respondents to an Edelman study said they bought from a brand for the first time because they agreed with its position on a controversial topic, while 65% said they wouldn’t buy from a brand when it remains silent on issues they care about. And, inclusive ads drove a 23-point lift in purchase intent among consumers belonging to Gen Z, whether the person experiencing the ad was represented or not, according to Microsoft, meaning that inclusive marketing can help drive your sales funnel as well.

To help further your understanding and strengthen your messaging, we’ve compiled a list of resources that can serve as the foundations for your brand’s inclusive marketing efforts.

Evaluate your own biases

Relying on your own judgment when auditing your implicit biases means that you’re the judge and jury, which can lead to a self-defeating exercise. Instead, try resources like Harvard’s Implicit Association Test (IAT).

A result from Harvard’s Implicit Association Test.

The IAT can help you identify your implicit biases across many categories, like gender and career, skin tone, religion, disability, sexuality, weight, age and more. Once you’ve taken the IAT, share it with your team so that everyone can keep a watchful eye over how their own biases may make their way into your marketing campaigns.

Inclusive marketing resources from Search Engine Land

As the need for inclusive marketing has grown, we, the editors at Search Engine Land and the programming team behind SMX, have created a number of resources for brands to consider as they build inclusivity and diversity into their organizations and campaigns.

5 ways to promote inclusion in your marketing organization: A recap of Dr. Lauren Tucker’s 2021 SMX Next session, in which she shares her inclusion-first approach for promoting diversity within organizations.The cost of ignoring website accessibility: Non-compliant sites are vulnerable to lawsuits, but SEOs can help protect them by advocating for accessibility, which can serve both differently-abled audiences as well as your business goals.(Video) Addressing diversity, recruitment and retainment in agencies and marketing teams: A panel discussion featuring CJ Bland, Zenia Johnson and Jackie Leuing about why diversity is good for business, what intentional commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives looks like and how employees can initiate change in their companies.(Video) Microsoft’s “The Download” Episode 8: Search Engine Land Editor George Nguyen sits down with Microsoft’s Nora Xu for a conversation about the importance of inclusion in marketing after a surge in hate crimes against Asian Americans.

Nora Xu and George Nguyen discuss the need for inclusive marketing on Microsoft’s The Download.

Search Engine Land also presents an annual award for Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in Search Marketing to recognize the individuals and organizations that are driving positive change in the search community. The 2021 winners are Rejoice Ojaiku, for her work in founding B-Digital, “a digital marketing platform aimed at showcasing and inspiring Black talent,” and hasOptimization, a New Hampshire-based agency whose marketing efforts are complemented by their work for both inclusion and diversity across many areas of focus.

We’ll place a link here when we begin taking nominations for the next Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in Search Marketing award — it is free to nominate both individuals and organizations.

Inclusive marketing guides

Google and Bing, the search platforms that are at the center of many of our campaigns, have recognized the value and need for inclusive marketing by publishing their own resources on the subject.

Microsoft’s Marketing with Purpose Playbook: Available as a free download, the Marketing with Purpose Playbook is one of the most comprehensive resources for inclusive marketing statistics (which can help you secure executive buy-in) and tips. The 101-page PDF is divided into three important areas for marketing (responsibility, values and inclusion) and covers a wide range of audiences.Google’s All In Inclusive Marketing Insights: Created from the lessons Google learned as it began its own inclusive marketing practices, this resource center has strategies for building teams, making inclusive creative choices, embedding inclusion into your strategy as well as audience insights to help eliminate stereotypes in your creative.

Inclusive language guides

Creating a welcoming environment for diverse audiences starts with the language in our messaging. Below is a list of language guides from various organizations that can help you ensure inclusivity in your creative assets and content.

LinkedIn’s Inclusive Language for Marketers: This pocket guide provides a concise summary of inclusivity considerations for your messaging and brand identity.Google’s developer documentation word list: This style guide for developer documentation contains safe alternatives for biased wording, like the use of “slave,” “tribal wisdom” and more.Northwestern University’s Inclusive Language Guide: This general-purpose guide features explanations for why certain language is considered exclusionary or biased, as well as alternative phrases to use instead.GLAAD Media Reference Guide: Intended for use by journalists, GLAAD’s guide focuses on language as it pertains to the LGBTQ community.


Accessibility for differently-abled individuals or those that rely on assistive technologies is often considered by marketers to be “someone else’s job,” but inclusive organizations recognize that the responsibility is shared by all. Here are some resources that can help you evaluate and improve your site’s accessibility, while potentially opening up new audiences for your brand and protecting you from ADA-related lawsuits.

The cost of ignoring website accessibility: An analysis of the potential consequences of overlooking website accessibility.10 principles of digital accessibility for modern marketers: A list of key accessibility principles that should be relatively straightforward to implement.W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG): Developed by the World Wide Web Consortium with the goal of providing a single standard for web content accessibility, the WCAG explains how to make content easier to access for people with disabilities.

Inclusive marketing for your campaigns

Numerous platforms have added ways for businesses to showcase their diversity. Below are some articles covering features that you can use to immediately add an element of inclusivity to your advertising or online presence.

Microsoft Advertising launches Marketing with Purpose Business attributes. The company later added Asian-, Latin-, Women-owned and Diabetic-friendly business attributes as well.Yelp introduces a searchable Asian-owned business profile attribute. The company also added an LGBTQ-owned attribute; both attributes join the pre-existing Women-owned, Black-owned and Latinx-owned profiles attributes.Google Business Profile adds “Women-led” icon and attribute to listings. The “veteran-led” and “Black-owned” attributes are also available for local listings.

This resource will be updated on an ongoing basis. If you have feedback, suggestions or resources to submit, please send an email to [email protected].

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Google December 2021 product reviews update is finished rolling out

Google has confirmed that the December 2021 product reviews update is now finished rolling out. This update has officially completed rolling out a few days before Christmas.

The announcement. “The Google product review update is fully rolled out. Thank you!” Google’s Alan Kent wrote on Twitter.

The Google product review update is fully rolled out. Thank you!

— Alan Kent (@akent99) December 21, 2021

December 2021 product reviews update. As a reminder, the December 2021 product reviews update started to roll out at about 12:30pm ET on December 1, 2021. This update took 20 days to roll out after it was announced. So this update started on December 1, 2021 and lasted through December December 21, 2021.

When and what was felt. Based on early data, this update was not a small update. It was bigger than the April 2021 product reviews update but also seemed to continue to remain pretty volatile throughout the whole rollout. The community chatter and tracking tools were all at pretty high levels consistently for the past few weeks.

Why we care. If your website offers product review content, you will want to check your rankings to see if you were impacted. Did your Google organic traffic improve, decline or stay the same?

Long term, you are going to want to ensure that going forward, that you put a lot more detail and effort into your product review content so that it is unique and stands out from the competition on the web.

More on the December 2021 products reviews update

The SEO community. The December 2021 product reviews update, like I said above, was likely felt more than the April version. I was able to cover the community reaction in one blog post on the Search Engine Roundtable. It includes some of the early chatter, ranking charts and social shares from some SEOs. In short, if your site was hit by this update, you probably felt it in a very big way.

What to do if you are hit. Google has given advice on what to consider if you are negatively impacted by this product reviews update. We posted that advice in our original story over here. In addition, Google provided two new best practices around this update, one saying to provide more multimedia around your product reviews and the second is to provide links to multiple sellers, not just one. Google posted these two items:

Provide evidence such as visuals, audio, or other links of your own experience with the product, to support your expertise and reinforce the authenticity of your review.Include links to multiple sellers to give the reader the option to purchase from their merchant of choice.

Google product reviews update. The Google product reviews update aims to promote review content that is above and beyond much of the templated information you see on the web. Google said it will promote these types of product reviews in its search results rankings.

Google is not directly punishing lower quality product reviews that have “thin content that simply summarizes a bunch of products.” However, if you provide such content and find your rankings demoted because other content is promoted above yours, it will definitely feel like a penalty. Technically, according to Google, this is not a penalty against your content, Google is just rewarding sites with more insightful review content with rankings above yours.

Technically, this update should only impact product review content and not other types of content.

More on Google updates

Other Google updates this year. This year we had a number of confirmed updates from Google and many that were not confirmed . In the most recent order, we had: The July 2021 core updateGoogle MUM rolled out in June for COVID names and was lightly expanded for some features in September (but MUM is unrelated to core updates). Then, the June 28 spam update, the June 23rd spam update, the Google page experience update, the Google predator algorithm update, the June 2021 core update, the July 2021 core update, the July link spam update, and the November spam update rounded out the confirmed updates.

Previous core updates. The most recent previous core update was the November 2021 core update which rolled out hard and fast and finished on November 30, 2021. Then the July 2021 core update which was quick to roll out (kind of like this one) followed by the June 2021 core update and that update was slow to roll out but a big one. Then we had the December 2020 core update and the December update was very big, bigger than the May 2020 core update, and that update was also big and broad and took a couple of weeks to fully roll out. Before that was the January 2020 core update, we had some analysis on that update over here. The one prior to that was the September 2019 core update. That update felt weaker to many SEOs and webmasters, as many said it didn’t have as big of an impact as previous core updates. Google also released an update in November, but that one was specific to local rankings. You can read more about past Google updates over here.

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Microsoft Bing’s Shopify integration now live with buy now

Microsoft Bing’s Shopify integration now live with buy now

The Microsoft Bing and Shopify integration that was previously announced in October is now live in the Bing Shopping and Bing Search results, the company announced.

Microsoft said “we’re excited to share that the experiences are live,” where you can more deeply integrate your Shopify site so Bing has showcase more “diverse products, great prices, and improved discovery of deals.” “With the integration of Shopify, you will now have access to millions of merchants to select from,” Microsoft said.

You can click the “Buy Now” link directly in the Bing search results and be taken directly to the shopping cart page on that Shopify website. Here is a screenshot of this:

Benefits to advertisers. Along with an easy way to show up in Bing Product Ads, Product listings on the shopping tab, and Product Listings on the Microsoft Start Shopping tab, Shopify users will soon be able to take advantage of the integration’s new quick checkout option: a “Buy Now” button on products ads and listings. “With the ‘Buy now’ offering, shoppers can easily purchase the products they are interested in by being sent directly to the shopping cart page,” according to the announcement.

How to set it up. Website owners and advertisers can easily set up the integration in Shopify. “Merchants can quickly connect through the Microsoft Channel using their Microsoft Advertising account or sign-up for a new one in few simple steps.” Under Sales Channels, click Microsoft, and sign in.

Why we care. This integration and updates to the Microsoft Channel app are just another way to help small businesses, retail, and e-commerce find visibility online. As many businesses were thrown into online stores over the past two years. Shopify was a go-to platform for many new and first-time e-commerce sellers. It is just days before Christmas, so probably any last minute holiday shopping is a tad too late to arrive before the holiday but maybe you want to buy some new years gifts?

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Google Ads issue affected a significant subset of users, now resolved

Google has confirmed an issue with Google Ads that is “affecting a significant subset of users,” the company posted on the Google Ads status dashboard. Google updated the dashboard to say the issue is now resolved.

The notice. Google posted at 3:22pm ET “we’re aware of a problem with Google Ads affecting a significant subset of users. We will provide an update by Dec 22, 2021, 1:00 AM UTC detailing when we expect to resolve the problem. Please note that this resolution time is an estimate and may change. The affected users are able to access Google Ads, but may not have access to the most recent data.”

What is the issue. Google wrote that the Google Ads conversions that use non-First/Last Click attribution models, such as Data Driven Attribution, may be delayed up to 24 hours.

Simon Poulton complained about this on Twitter saying “seems like there might be some conversion pipeline latency / undercounting going on with Google Ads today.”

It seems like this is just a reporting issue and hopefully Google will be able to restore that data.

Fixed. Shortly after posting this story, Google updated the status to report the issue is resolved. Google wrote “the problem with Google Ads has been resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support. The affected users are able to access Google Ads, but may not have access to the most recent data.” “Conversions delayed by this incident, those making use of non-First/Last Click attribution models, are now present in Google Ads,” Google added.

Why we care. If you are noticing lagging reports, specifically around conversion data that use non-first and lack click attribution models, do not worry, this is a confirmed Google bug.

Google is working on resolving the issue and hopefully Google will be able to back fill the data.

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