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Daily Search Forum Recap: February 26, 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.


This weekend we had massive Google ranking volatility reported by the third-party tools but chatter was not that high. Google Analytics has a Polish referral spam problem. Google Ads updated is change history page for some. Google Search is testing a “most-read articles” carousel. Google reviews has this “beta questions” section, do you know what it is. Will Google make a content deal with Quora next, some signs lead to that.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Massive Volatility Reported – Google Search Ranking Algorithm Update?


    I am seeing some massive volatility being reported today after seeing a spike in chatter within the SEO community on Friday. I have not seen the third-party Google tracking tools show this much volatility in a long time. I will say, the tracking tools are way more heated than the chatter I am seeing, so something might be off here.

  • Google Analytics Referral Spam From Poland – Complaints


    There is a large thread in the Google Analytics help forum with complaints from site owners of being flooded with fake referral traffic originating from Poland. This seems to be the typical referral spam issue and it started around February 17th or so.

  • Google Ads Tests New Change History Page


    Google Ads is testing a new change history page that shows more details on the changes made to your ads and campaigns. It now documents the change overview by user and by performance as a toggle.

  • Google Most-Read Articles Search Carousel


    Google Search is testing a new carousel named “Most-read articles.” I guess Google is using click data to see which articles are being read the most. Or maybe Chrome or Google Analytics data? Maybe?

  • Google Reviews Disclaimer For Beta Questions


    Now when leaving a review on a business within the Google local and maps results, the disclaimer has a notice about “beta questions.” It reads, “For beta questions, your answers may not be displayed publicly during the experiment and may only be visible to you and/or others participating in the experiment. We may delete answers after the experiment.”

  • Google To Make A Content Deal With Quora Next?


    Last week, Google revealed it signed a deal with Reddit to access its content using an API so it can get the content faster and in a structured format. This deal costs Google $60 million annually. There is now speculation that Google might make a similar deal with Quora.

  • Concrete Steel Plant At Google


    Here is an interesting plant that is at the Google Kirkland, Seattle office. It is a concrete, steel ball with a plant embedded within it. I wonder how that works.



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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Google Core Update Expected In Coming Weeks

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Google Core Fire Balls

Danny Sullivan, the Google Search Liaison, said that he expects the next core update will be rolling out in the coming weeks. He said it is hard to predict because these updates are not scheduled to a particular day but rather tested and then once approved are launched.

Sullivan said this on a comment on this site, over here, he wrote, “I would expect we’ll see one in the coming weeks, because that fits in with our general cycle.” “But precisely when, that’s just not known yet,” he added.

In fact, he added that these updates are simple not scheduled, he said, “the ranking team makes changes, tests those, evaluates those and eventually we get a launch date.” But that, I guess, has not happened yet and thus we don’t have a date yet. When it is ready, I assume Google will roll it out and let us know and that seems to happen pretty quickly after the testing and evaluations are all approved.

He wrote:

We’d tell you when the next core update will be if we knew. But we don’t know exactly yet, that’s all. These aren’t scheduled to a particular day. The ranking team makes changes, tests those, evaluates those and eventually we get a launch date. There have been many times I could have said “Core update next week!” because everything was on track for that to happen, but then there’s a need to do a bit more work or other things that might cause a pushback. I would expect we’ll see one in the coming weeks, because that fits in with our general cycle. But precisely when, that’s just not known yet.

As to seeing changes? Well, Sullivan did also say in the comments, “I do hope we can improve in some of these cases where creators with their hearts in the right places, and who are doing the real content effort behind that, are rewarded as we should be doing.” This echoes a lot of what Google said before.

He also added something I did not know, that he interviewed folks at HouseFresh and RetroDodo in front of about 50 Google Search Quality team members, so the Google team “could hear first-hand directly some of the things that they’ve had relayed from me, John or which they’ve read about,” he wrote. “It was incredibly useful, impactful, and I’m deeply grateful for both of those for agreeing to do it,” he added.

So maybe we will have a July 2024 core update or maybe it will be an August 2024 core update – or maybe later. It all depends on how the testing and evaluations go… For all we know, that might happen later today, so buckle up.

Forum discussion at us and X.

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How To Remove Thumbtack Book Links In Google Business Profiles

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Google Appointment Book

There are new reports that a booking/appointment system run by Thumbtack, a local search service, is automatically adding its booking links and service to Google Business Profiles. Well, you can opt out, if you don’t want it. But I am sure most businesses will have no clue this was added to their local listings in Google Search and Google Maps.

To opt out, you need to fill out this form. This is from the Thumbtack help page – so check there if the form no longer works, maybe there will be an updated link.

The book now button looks like this:

Google Business Profile Book Button

As reported to me by Colan Nielsen on X and posted in the Local Search Forum, this business does not want the book link to go to Thumbtack, but it does – at least when I wrote this.

Colan wrote, “Looks like Thumbtack is automatically adding booking links to Google Business Profiles.”

We saw this happen a lot over the years, we even called it hijacking appointment links in Google – including with Postmates.

The Thumbtack help document says, “we’ve automatically added a Thumbtack booking option through your Google Business Profile. No further action is needed from you.” So this is not an opt in thing, rather an opt out thing – which is not good.

So please be aware of this and be on the look out for changes to your booking link.

Forum discussion at Local Search Forum.

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Google Volatility, Indexing Bugs, Google Ads Broad Match Default & YouTube SEO Tips

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Google Volatility, Indexing Bugs, Google Ads Broad Match Default & YouTube SEO Tips


For the original iTunes version, click here.

This week, guess what, we had more volatility over the weekend and also a blip in the middle of the week. Google also had another indexing bug that lasted only about an hour. Google Search Console had a bug with new owner notifications. Google Search Console now lets you enter your shipping and return policies in settings. Google said it found the feedback it collected on the last core update really helpful. Google updated its URL best practices document to say don’t use fragments to change content on the page. Google Search will now extract composite images with trained algorithmic media types, i.e. AI. Google said if you are ranking for unrelated keywords in search, maybe try to make your content clearer. Google is testing country label tags in the search results. Google is testing auto-playing videos in the search results. Google is also testing thin video snippets. Google Ads enabled broad match by default for new search campaigns. Google Ads confirmed ads can show below featured snippets as part of its dynamic ad placement evolution. Google Ads is testing double row carousel shopping ads. Google Ads is testing people also browsed carousel.s Google Maps said it is not testing “add stop” ads. Bing is testing nutrition labels in the image results. Google Business Profiles added a consumer alerts page. Thumbtack is automatically adding its booking links to your Google Business Profile. YouTube shared some YouTube SEO advice and tips That was the search news this week at the Search Engine Roundtable.

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