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Expansion, Machine Learning & Core Updates

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Expansion, Machine Learning & Core Updates


Google’s John Mueller was asked a series of questions around the product reviews update on last Friday’s video hangout. In short, it will expand to other languages and countries, it probably does use machine learning and eventually it might be incorporated into the larger core updates.

As a reminder, we had two product reviews updates in 2021, one in April 2021 and the other in December 2021.

These series of questions came up at the 46:21 mark in this video, here it is if you want to play it, otherwise the transcript is below:

Expanding The Product Reviews Update

John basically said Google does plan to expand the product reviews update beyond just English, as we covered before – but he has no timeline for when that might happen.

Here is what was said:

AUDIENCE: So I have a few questions about product reviews, which is my domain. So I noticed that recently you made some moves in the US to promote product reviews, where there were real testing instead of just comparison. Do you have any time estimates of when we could expect these upgrades to be, like, in the market stack in French or German?

JOHN MUELLER: I don’t know, with most things, it’s something, where we tend not to pre-announce them. So it’s hard to kind of say ahead of time. And for some of these updates, the team moves very fast in kind of, like, rolling things out globally. And for other types of updates, it’s very slow. And sometimes there are also policy and legal reasons kind of that make things a little bit harder. So it’s always very tricky to give an estimate.

Machine Learning & Product Reviews Update

Then he was asked if the product reviews update uses human input or machine learning? John basically said no to human input but likely to machine learning. John said this takes an “algorithmic approach” and not a human editing approach, like most of what Google does. He isn’t sure if this specific update uses machine learning, but he said it probably does “to some extent.”

Here is what was said:

AUDIENCE: I’m curious to just learn a little more in general how could Google train, like, an algorithm to understand where there were real testing or not. Is it machine learning, or is it also human reviewers?

JOHN MUELLER: For Search, for these kind of general ranking updates, it’s not something, where we would have human reviewers in the loop, because there’s just so much content out there. We can’t review it all. And a lot of times, we also don’t have a clear yes or no understanding, where someone can go through a website and say, oh, this page is good. This page is bad. It’s just not scalable.

So these are all essentially algorithmic approaches that we take. And we do use a lot of machine learning. Whether we use that for this particular update, I don’t know. My guess is probably also, at least to some extent. But it’s hard to say which exact technology was used for which update.

Core Updates & Product Reviews Update

Finally, he asked if eventually will the product reviews update be incorporated into the core update like some other algorithms have been in the past. John said maybe, it depends on a lot of things. He said it also depends on how you define core algorithms.

This is what was said:

AUDIENCE: OK, and do you plan to integrate this kind of understanding of a web page into the core Google algorithm?

JOHN MUELLER: I mean, it’s always tricky to define what is a part of the core update– the core algorithm. So I don’t think I have an answer for that. Because usually, what happens is when we see that some algorithm is working really well, then we’ll kind of like just keep using that for a longer period of time. And at some point, you could say, well, it’s a part of the core algorithm, even if it’s not in a file that is called Core Algorithm or something like that.

Forum discussion at Twitter.





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Google Layoffs, DOJ Sues Google, Search Console Content Ideas & Google Optimize Going Away, Yahoo Search Comeback

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Google Layoffs, DOJ Sues Google, Search Console Content Ideas & Google Optimize Going Away, Yahoo Search Comeback

As I mentioned briefly last week, Google announced mass layoffs last week, and I discuss what I know so far about it. There are also reports that Google is pushing advertisers to use third-party resellers and not their internal staff. The DOJ sued Google again to break up its ad business. Microsoft announced its earnings, showing how Bing’s search ad growth continues to slow. Bing also may have had a search ranking algorithm update. Google Search Console content ideas beta feature may go away in March. Google Search Console Insights has an achievements section. Google confirmed a bug with some preferred languages in Google Search, and they blame mobile-first indexing. Google Ads had an outage on Monday morning that caused huge headaches. Google has no preferences between connected structured data and not connected structured data. Google will parse the image elements even when those elements are enclosed within other elements. Google published a new case study after 18 months, this one from Vimeo on video SEO. Google said generating tons of fake URLs on a site won’t cause SEO issues. Google Business Profiles now supports cars for sale inventory for US dealerships. Bing is testing infinite scroll. Google is testing two justifications in the local results. Google is also testing a new trusted store badge. Bing has a new menu for image search that uses a drop-down and adds explore and collect. Account-level negative keywords are now available on Google Ads. Google will sunset Google Optimize on September 30th. And it seems like Yahoo Search may be making a comeback to Search – that would be exciting. 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.

SPONSOR: This week’s video recap is sponsored by Duda, the Professional Website Builder You Can Call Your Own.

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New Google Trusted Store Badge Test

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Google Store Smile

Google is testing a new design for the trusted store badge in the paid shopping results. The Google Trusted Stores program to all U.S. merchants back in 2012, along with that came a badge in the search results to make those listings stand out.

FYI – here is how to qualify for this trusted store badge.

Brian Freiesleben spotted this new badge the other day and posted a screenshot on Twitter – here is that screenshot:

Google Trusted Store Badge New

Curently, the badge looks more like this version from last year:

click for full size

And the original one looked like this:

Google Trusted Stores AdWords Badge

Brian said on Twitter, “Would love to see Google add this to organic products from trusted merchants as well, but not sure if that’s likely.”

Forum discussion at Twitter.



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Google Search Console Content Ideas Going Away March 28th

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Google Ideas Light

Last December, we caught Google testing an experimental feature named content ideas in Google Search Console. Well, yesterday, Google sent more invites to this feature but noted the feature is only available until March 28, 2023 and then it goes away.

Both Robin Dirksen on Twitter and Deepak Ness on Twitter shared screenshots of this feature but the new part is the March 28th date.

The email they received about this feature reads, “Note: This feature be available only until March 28, 2023, and only to select properties.” Then when you access the feature, there is a notice in the interface that says, “New! Get inspiration for new content (available until March 28).”

Here are those screenshots (click to enlarge):

click for full size

click for full size

We know this seems like the Question Hub feature and that Google Question Hub shut down this month. So maybe this content ideas feature is also shutting down but not until the end of March?

Here are more tweets with this:

I do wonder if Google is only testing it until then and maybe will bring it to more users later or if Google is completely killing it off on March 28th?

Forum discussion at Twitter.



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