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Daily Search Forum Recap: February 7, 2024

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Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.


Google said big changes to improve search quality are coming in the near future. Google Business Profiles are being nuked through a Local Service Ads loophole. Google Search has this popular products spam listings issue. Google made some minor updates to its JavaScript documentation. Google Ads to sunset its commission bidding on hotel ads. Microsoft Advertising is expanding enhanced conversions and more updates.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Google: Search Quality Improvements Coming In Near Future




    For the past few months now, Google has been saying there are big improvements coming to address some of the search quality issues we’ve all been seeing in the Google Search results. Danny Sullivan, Google’s Search Liason, wrote yesterday that these improvements “are on the way in the near future.”

  • Google Popular Product Spam Search Listings


    Google seems to be having a bit of an issue with spam getting into its popular products section. This may be fed in through Google Merchant Center or normal rich results – I am not 100% sure. But here is a screenshot showing one company listing the same product over and over again, even though it should be 10 different stores.

  • Google Business Profiles Nuked Through Local Service Ads Loophole


    Google seems to have this loophole where you can essentially hijack or destroy a Google Business Profile that is also using Local Service Ads. What happens is if someone else links their Local Service Ads to that same Google Business Profile, the Local Service Ads will stop performing.

  • Google Minor Updates To JavaScript Docs & Drops Most Of Dynamic Rendering Details


    The Google Search team has made a number of relatively minor changes to its JavaScript documentation and also removed much of the dynamic rendering documentation, as it has been deprecated as a workaround for many years now.


  • Microsoft Advertising Enhanced Conversions Expansion, RSA Updates & More


    Microsoft Advertising published its monthly what’s new feature announcing changes and new features to its advertising platform. Microsoft announced enhanced conversions is rolling out to more markets, new targeting options, new ways to set up campaigns, an update to hotel center subaccounts and RSA reporting updates.


  • Google Ads To Drop Support For Commissions Bidding For Hotel Ads


    Google Ads will stop supporting Commissions (per Stay) and Commissions (per Conversions) bid strategies for Hotel Ads in October 2024. Google says this is because third-party cookies are being phased out and these models will not work in the future.



  • Google W2 Email


    A couple of weeks ago, Google employees started to receive their W2 forms for their employment salaries to be filed with the various tax agencies. Here is a screenshot of Malte Ubl’s W2 email from Google. Malte left Google last year but still worked at Google long enough to get a W2 in 2023.

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Other Search

Feedback:


Have feedback on this daily recap; let me know on Twitter @rustybrick or @seroundtable, on Threads, Mastodon and Bluesky and you can follow us on Facebook and on Google News and make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or just contact us the old fashion way.



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NYC’s lunatic lawsuit against social media could drive millions of tax dollars away

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NYC's lunatic lawsuit against social media could drive millions of tax dollars away

In the realm of dangerously misplaced urban priorities, nothing compares with the lawsuit the Adams administration filed last week against five social-media sites — Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and TikTok — claiming they cost the city $100 million to treat mental-health issues supposedly caused by young people’s “addictions” to their content.

The city blames the platforms for such youth-afflicting maladies as depression and suicidal “ideation.”

But if there’s a death wish in all this, it is the city’s.

All the sites but Snapchat are owned by companies with vast Manhattan real-estate holdings that pay enormous property taxes and other real-estate-related taxes that keep the metropolis’ services — everything from the NYPD to obscure art-review panels — afloat.

Mayor Adams’ campaign to punish the companies for their alleged evil influence on kids is chutzpah run amok. 

It’s an effort to change the subject from the real bad influences the city inflicts on our youths — such as schools that don’t teach and rotten public housing that breeds an underclass of high-school-age carjackers and murderers.

Not, of course, that the “social” site owners don’t have plenty to answer for.

Every political lie they post, every destructive “dating tip,” every sickening image that borders on child porn is reason to rein them in.

But a New York City suit to shake them down for cash won’t do it. 

Only legislation or regulation out of Washington can bring them to heel.

But the tech giants might well reconsider their commitment to the Big Apple over lawsuits that, however ineffectual and misguided, will cost them fortunes to defend.

If you think companies don’t care when City Hall deliberately targets them, recall that Philip Morris USA moved from Park Avenue to Richmond, Va., soon after the Michael Bloomberg administration enacted tough citywide anti-smoking regulations.

Both the company and the city naturally denied the law had anything to do with the decision to leave.

And of course the sky is green, too.

Manhattan’s office buildings prop up the city’s entire economy.

The real-estate-related taxes they pay are the golden goose to the city treasury, for which they generate more dough than Wall Street.

Today’s office market is vexed enough by vacancies at a record-high 20% and depressed sale prices.

The last thing we can afford is to risk chasing out companies that feed the municipal piggy bank and provide tens of thousands of high-paying jobs.

Google, YouTube’s parent, owns 111 Eighth Avenue — a leviathan that occupies the entire block bounded by Eighth and Ninth avenues and by West 15th and 16th streets.

Google’s parent, Alphabet, paid the city $54,175,200 in property taxes alone on the building in 2023, according to city assessment and tax data.

Google held a series of opening celebration events this week at the St. John’s Terminal building at 550 Washington Street, which it bought for $2.1 billion two years ago, where it will house thousands of employees.

Gov. Hochul, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine attended a Wednesday ribbon-cutting.

But reps for City Hall were conspicuously absent.

Could you blame them for not showing their faces after the city demanded Alphabet pay unspecified monetary damages and “equitable relief” for prevention education and mental-health treatment?

Ironically, the Commercial Observer reported, the St. John’s building is “meant to reflect the company’s commitment to New York City, with Big Apple-themed touches like a hollow ‘Google’ sculpture in the main hall where the letters are filled” with “red ‘I Love NY’ mugs, little Statues of Liberty and mini yellow taxis.”

Thanks, Eric Adams!

Consider, as well, Facebook and Instagram parent Meta.

The company has around 2 million square feet in Manhattan.

It leases more than 750,000 square feet in the Farley Building, where the rent it pays helps make possible landlord Vornado’s billion-dollar upgrades to Moynihan Train Hall and Penn Station. 

Meta also anchors 50 Hudson Yards, where its lease for more than 1 million square feet makes it the tower’s largest user.

And although China-owned TikTok faces entirely appropriate scrutiny and political pressure over its questionable content, it’s worth recalling it helped stabilize “ghost town” Times Square when it took more than 200,000 square feet at 151 West 42nd Street in the dark days of 2020.

Of course, TikTok can go elsewhere if it chooses.

So can Meta and Alphabet. 

Should it happen, the city can blame itself for blaming them for a youth crisis that’s entirely of its own making.

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Daily Search Forum Recap: February 22, 2024

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Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.


Google has a bug with negative keyword operators in shopping search. Google’s shopping carousels dynamically change the results below it. Google is testing fading in search result snippet text. Bing Search has sub-sitelinks. Bing is testing next page and refresh page links in the footer.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Bug With Google Shopping Exclude Search Operator


    Google has a confirmed bug with using negative search operators, a way to exclude words from your search results, within Google Shopping. Danny Sullivan, the Google Search Liaison, confirmed the issue on X saying, “We did have a bug where it wasn’t working within some shopping results. That might not be resolved yet.”

  • Bing Search Sub-Sitelinks (Expandable Sitelinks)


    Bing Search’s sitelinks can sometimes be expanded to see sub-sitelinks, deeper level sitelinks. This is something Google experimented from time to time but something Bing Search does on mobile right now, at least for me.

  • Google Shopping Carousel Dynamically Changes Products Below


    Google has these latest styles and shop the look carousels for some clothing queries. Now when you swipe through the carousel, Google will dynamically change the products listed below them.


  • Google Fading In Text Of Search Result Snippets On Scroll


    Google is testing fading in the text of the search result snippets as you scroll down to see more search results. The text is a light gray, and then it becomes a more solid black as you scroll toward that search result snippet.

  • Bing Tests Next Page & Refresh In Place Of Normal Pagination


    Bing is testing replacing its search pagination bar at the footer of the search results with a “next page” button and a “refresh” button. This is instead of showing the number of pages of search results that you can click on.


  • Google St. John’s Terminal Office Ribbon Cutting


    Yesterday, Google opened a new office in New York City in St. John’s Terminal. Google has a blog post with more details, a video and more photos. But here is a ribbon cutting with important Googlers and politicians from yesterday.

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Search Features

Other Search

Feedback:


Have feedback on this daily recap; let me know on Twitter @rustybrick or @seroundtable, on Threads, Mastodon and Bluesky and you can follow us on Facebook and on Google News and make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or just contact us the old fashion way.



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Daily Search Forum Recap: February 21, 2024

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Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.


Google again says they want to do better with ranking smaller sites in the search results, but do they? Gartner said search volume will drop 25% by 2026, what do SEOs think? Google Ads sitelinks has a weird eligibility bug. Gmail is pushing Google Ads in the interface. The Google App has a toggle between Search and Gemini.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Google: We Want To Reward The Best Content No Matter Site Size


    For the past 20 years, probably even longer, the debate about Google giving preferential treatment to large sites over small sites has been a huge topic in the SEO world and that has not changed in 2024 from 2004. Danny Sullivan, the Google Search Liaison, recently said on X, “yes, we should be rewarding the best content, regardless of site size.”


  • Only 20% Of SEOs Think Search Volume Won’t Change By 2026


    The other day, Gartner, a respected research firm, predicted that “traditional search engine volume will drop 25%, with search marketing losing market share to AI chatbots and other virtual agents.” So I asked SEOs what they think and only 20% of SEOs think search volume won’t change by 2026.

  • Google Ads Sitelink Unknown Eligibility Bug


    Google Ads has an issue with some sitelink assets where it shows the sitelinks are eligible but “limited” and the reason says “unknown.” Google’s Ads Liaison said, “the team is aware of this issue and currently on it.”

  • Google Pushing Google Ads Consults In Gmail Accounts Pop Ups


    Google is pushing some businesses to sign up for a free Google Ads consult with a Google representative through their Gmail accounts. This is in the form of a pop up in the Gmail interface, it is not a normal spammy email solicitation but rather a pop up.


  • Google App Adds Toggle Between Search & Gemini


    The popular Google app, the Google Search app, now has a toggle at the top to quickly switch between Google Search and Gemini (formerly Google Bard). It shows up at the top and is defaulted to Google Search with the super G logo but you can see the Gemini logo that you can tap on to switch to Gemini.



  • Googlers Built & Donated Skateboards


    Here is a photo from the Google Palo Alto office of some members of the Google Cloud team building and then donating skateboards. They had some event where they made skateboards and helmets for an organization named Friends for Youth.

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Other Search

Feedback:


Have feedback on this daily recap; let me know on Twitter @rustybrick or @seroundtable, on Threads, Mastodon and Bluesky and you can follow us on Facebook and on Google News and make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or just contact us the old fashion way.



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