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Google Blocks Search Ads From Donetsk People’s Republic & Luhansk People’s Republic

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Google Blocks Search Ads From Donetsk People's Republic & Luhansk People's Republic


Google has posted a new legal requirement policy that blocks search ads related to what is going on with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The policy says that entities and individuals who are restricted cannot create or use a Google Ads account or have Google Ads used on their behalf for those who are located in or reside in so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR). Google Merchant Center is also blocking Shopping Ads from Russian Federation state-funded media.

Wikipedia describes these regions as disputed territories in Donbas. The central government of Ukraine regards the republics as being under terrorist control. Both declared independence from Ukraine following an unofficial status referendum in May 2014. Shortly thereafter, both self-proclaimed states merged to form the short-lived confederation of Novorossiya which was suspended a year later. Also in 2014, South Ossetia, a similar breakaway separatist republic, recognized the independence of both states. On 21 February 2022, the two republics were recognized as independent states by the Russian Federation.

Google posted “The Google Ads Legal Requirements policy has been updated to reflect the addition of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) to the list of embargoed countries or territories in order to comply with the United States Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). This addition is effective immediately.”

The full requirement says:

Advertisers must comply with applicable sanctions and export regulations, which includes sanctions administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), and agree to not cause Google to violate these regulations. You cannot use Ads for or on behalf of restricted entities or individuals. You cannot use Ads for or on behalf of entities or individuals located in sanctioned countries or regions.

In addition, Ads are not available to any entities or individuals that are restricted under applicable trade sanctions and export compliance laws. It is also not available to entities or individuals owned or controlled by or acting for or on behalf of such restricted entities or individuals.

Ad campaigns that are run by or on behalf of entities or individuals that are restricted under applicable trade sanctions and regulations.

Note: Google must comply with sanctions imposed by OFAC. Entities and individuals who are restricted cannot create or use a Google Ads account or have Google Ads used on their behalf. People who are located in or ordinarily reside in embargoed countries or territories cannot create or use a Google Ads account. Currently, there are embargoes on Crimea, Cuba, so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR), Iran, North Korea, and Syria.

Google also posted it is blocking ads from the Russian Federation state-funded media, it posted this news in the Google Merchant Center announcements section saying “Effective immediately, due to an ongoing sensitive event (the crisis in Ukraine), we are pausing ads from and for Russian Federation state-funded media.”

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Microsoft Bing Says The lastmod Tag In XML Sitemap File Is Critical

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Microsoft Bing posted a new blog post saying “for XML sitemaps, one of the most critical tags you can include in your sitemap is the “lastmod” tag.” And it will become even more critical as Bing is reworking its crawl scheduling stack to rely more on this lastmod field.

Yes, by June, the way Bing decides what to crawl will be more dependent on the lastmod tag. Fabrice Canel from Microsoft wrote, “we are revamping our crawl scheduling stack to better utilize the information provided by the “lastmod” tag in sitemaps.” This is being done so it can “enhance” the “crawl efficiency by reducing unnecessary crawling of unchanged content and prioritizing recently updated content.”

“We have already begun implementing these changes on a limited scale and plan to fully roll them out by June,” he added.

So making sure your lastmod date is accurate is now even more important. It should be the last time you modified the URL, not the time the URL was first published and not the time the XML sitemap file was generated. In fact, that is the biggest issue Bing found with the field, that it often just shows the date the XML sitemap file was generated and not the date the page of the URL was last modified.

Here are some data points Bing put together on XML sitemaps:

  • 58% of hosts have at least one XML sitemap.
  • 84% of these sitemaps have a lastmod attribute set.
  • 79% have lastmod values correct.
  • 18% have lastmod values not correctly set.
  • 3% has lastmod values for only some of the URLs.
  • 16% of these sitemaps don’t have a lastmod attribute set.
  • 42% of hosts don’t have one XML sitemap

Oh, Bing still wants you to use the IndexNow protocol for the most efficient crawl solution but if you don’t – make sure your lastmod date is accurate.

In terms of Google, in 2015 Google said they don’t really use the lastmod date but then changed that in 2020 they said they do. The current Google documentation says, “Google uses the lastmod value if it’s consistently and verifiably (for example by comparing to the last modification of the page) accurate.”

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Google Search Console Video Indexing Report Adds Impressions & Sitemap Filters

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Google has updated the video indexing report within Google Search Console to add impression data and a way to filter the report by your available sitemaps.

As a reminder, the video indexing report went fully live in August 2022 after Google started to slowly roll out the video index report within Google Search Console earlier in 2022.

Google added two new features to the report; impression data and a sitemap filter. Here is a GIF of these two features:

Video Indexing Google Report Upgrade

You can now overlay the impressions your indexed videos saw directly in this report. Google said, “the impressions are aggregated by page which means that if the same page appears multiple times in a single search result page (or a single Discover session), then we consider each appearance as an impression.”

Here is what it looks like:

click for full size

Google added, “The Search performance report groups video search appearances by property, not by URL, which means that if multiple pages show in a search results, we’ll count only one impression. As a result, the Search performance report can show lower impression counts than the Video page indexing report.”

The sitemap filter is a nice addition also, so you can see what videos you submitted via your sitemaps compared to what Google really indexed. Google said, “To help you focus on the video pages that matter most to you, you can now filter the Video indexing report to show only video pages that are present in a selected sitemap. The filter applies to all the report features: the chart, chart totals, issue list, and exports.”

Here is a screenshot of that:

click for full size

You also see a section in the sitemaps location for discovered videos:

Again, if Google sees videos on your site, Google will display the new “Video indexing report” on the left navigation bar in the coverage section of Google Search Console. The report shows the status of video indexing on your site. It helps you answer the following questions:

  • In how many pages has Google identified a video?
  • Which videos were indexed successfully?
  • What are the issues preventing videos from being indexed?

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Helpful Content & Link Spam Update Done, SEO, Search Console & More

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Chalkboard4 WebmasterReport Magnified 1900px

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