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Google’s internal SEO strategy: Make small changes, embrace change, consolidate

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Sean O’Keefe, a data scientist at Google, on Thursday shared how Google thinks about their own internal SEO efforts for the 7,000 websites they manage. O’Keefe said Google makes on average over 200 changes to these sites on a daily basis and managing the SEO for those changes can be complex.

It’s a rare glimpse inside Google’s own SEO practices.

Small changes make a big impact. Google’s first point is that often with large sites, making small changes can make a big impact and return when it comes to search rankings. Google plotted the growth of one of the 7,000 websites, the Google My Business marketing site, showing how adding canonicals, hreflang to their XML sitemaps, and improving their metadata all resulted in gains in their organic traffic in search.

Here is that chart:

Embrace change. Google also recommended that webmasters do not fear making changes to their sites. Google gave AMP and Progressive Web Apps, both Google-backed projects, as two examples of changes Google embraces.

Google said they “found that the more we embrace them [change] and experiment with them, the better our SEO results.” Google said they fixed Google Search Console errors, implemented structured data, and added AMP to the Think with Google site, it helped impressions increase by 200 percent. They also improved a lot of the content on that site, which they said led to an “additional 1,000 impressions a day.”

Here is the chart showing the improvement after making the AMP error fixes:

Consolidation. For the past several years, many SEOs have been saying “less is more.” Meaning, having fewer sites and fewer pages with higher quality content often leads to better SEO results. Google says that works for them and they have been working on consolidating their sites. Google said they found a “large number” of near duplicate sites across their properties.

“Duplicate content is not only confusing for users, it’s also confusing for search engines,” Google said. Google added, “Creating one great site instead of multiple microsites is the best way to encourage organic growth over time.”

In one case study Google provided with the Google Retail site, they took six old websites and consolidated the content. They made “one great website” and it lead to them doubling the site’s call-to-action click-through rate and increased organic traffic by 64%.

Why it matters. All companies, even large search engines, need to worry about their SEO efforts. In this rare Google post, Google shares some case studies of how some SEO strategies have helped them succeed with their organic traffic improvements. Google also recommended you check out their SEO starter guide and while you are at it, check out our SEO section.


About The Author

Barry Schwartz is Search Engine Land’s News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on SEM topics.



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Price extensions now supported in Microsoft Advertising Editor

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Price extensions in Microsoft Advertising Editor.

Price extensions launched in Microosoft Advertising a little over a year ago, allowing advertisers to show products and pricing in text ads in mobile and desktop search results.

Why we should care

Now you can manage those extensions in Microsoft Advertising Editor. That means you can manage them in bulk and much more quickly.

From the Shared LIbrary in Editor, you will be able to add headers, descriptions and prices, including currency.

To associate price extensions with ad groups in your campaigns in Editor, select an ad group and use the “Choose price extension” dialogue box.

More on the news

Some helpful reminders for price extensions:

  • The prices must be included on the landing page.
  • They are charged the same CPC as a click on an ad headline.
  • They can link to third-party retailers.
  • Do not duplicate the same copy in the header and description of a price extension.

About The Author

Ginny Marvin is Third Door Media’s Editor-in-Chief, managing day-to-day editorial operations across all of our publications. Ginny writes about paid online marketing topics including paid search, paid social, display and retargeting for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, she has held both in-house and agency management positions. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.

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Google Lets Advertisers Promote YouTube Live Streams as Display Ads

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Google is introducing a new ad format that lets marketers run YouTube live streams in display ads.

Live stream ads can appear anywhere Google’s display ads are shown. So a person could be scrolling through a website, such as this one, and see a live stream playing right where an ad would be.

People can expand the video to full screen and interact with the live stream just as they could on YouTube.

Here’s an example of what a live stream ad looks like:

Google Lets Advertisers Promote YouTube Live Streams as Display Ads

Live streaming on YouTube is free, so advertisers will only have to pay for the ad unit itself.

The new live stream ad format is currently in a limited beta. There’s no further information available about how Google plans to charge advertisers for these ads.

One of my initial thoughts was whether viewing time would be a factor in the cost.

For example – would an advertiser be charged the same if a person only watched a few minutes of a live stream as opposed to watching the whole thing?

I presume we’ll learn more when the ad format rolls out more widely.

Other Google Advertising News

In related news, Google introduced another display ad format today that allows users to interact with 3D objects.

The new ad format, called Swirl, lets advertisers showcase products from all angles.

A car manufacturer could take an existing 3D model of a car and use it in a Google display ad. Then, those who view the ad could rotate the car as well as zoom in and out of it.

For more information about the Swirl ad format see our coverage here.



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Google Search Console image search reporting bug June 5-7

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Google posted a notice that between the dates of June 5 through June 7, it was unable to capture data around image search traffic. This is just a reporting bug and did not impact actual search traffic, but the Search Console performance report may show drops in image search traffic in that date range.

The notice. The notice read, “June 5-7: Some image search statistics were not captured during this period due to an internal issue. Because of this, you may see a drop in your image search statistics during this period. The change did not affect user Search results, only the data reporting.”

How do I see this? If you login to Google Search Console, click into your performance report and then filter by clicking on the “search type” filter. You can then select image from the filters.

Here is a screen shot of this filter:

How To Filter By Image Traffic in Google Search Console

Why we should care. If your site gets a lot of Google Image search traffic, you may notice a dip in your traffic reporting within Google Search Console. You may have not noticed a similar dip in your other analytics tools. That being said, Google said this is only a reporting glitch within Google Search Console and did not impact your actual traffic to your web site.


About The Author

Barry Schwartz is Search Engine Land’s News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on SEM topics.

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