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Google’s John Mueller: Don’t Wait Around for People to Find Your Site



Google’s John Mueller recently offered some advice that’s applicable to anyone launching a brand new website.

In a Google Webmaster Hangout held on April 9, Mueller answered a question from a site owner concerned about a lack of query data in Search Console.

The site owner stated they’ve only received 5 to 10 impressions in search results, and they were hoping to see which queries they’re showing up for.

In response, Mueller said Search Console will eventually display query data when the site receives more impressions.

He also emphasized that it’s important not to wait around for people to find the site. Webmasters need to be proactive.

“My guess is that it’s just not enough queries yet.

So we do filter queries that are below a certain threshold and I don’t think that threshold is exactly defined, it might depend on various factors…

If you’re talking about 5 to 10 impressions for a website then probably that’s still below that amount.

I’m pretty sure that, over time, as the number of impressions for your website grows, then you’ll start to see more of that in there.”

Take a Proactive Approach to Gaining More Visitors

Admittedly, when launching a new site, part of the early stages does involve waiting for Google to crawl and index it.

Google has to crawl the site and understand where it fits in with the bigger picture of the web.

During that time site owners need to “get the ball rolling” on their own, as Mueller puts it.

“Sometimes it takes a bit of time to kind of get the ball rolling. What I would generally recommend though is not just to take this as something like “oh I’ll just wait a couple of months and then it’ll be better.”

Take this as kind of a situation where it’s similar to where you’re opening a business in a new location where you need to do something to get the ball rolling yourself.”

What can site owners do to be more proactive?

Mueller recommends treating the launch of a new site like opening a new business.

In other words, it requires some promotion.

That could involve advertising, or it could involve reaching out to relevant sites and trying to get mentioned.

“So instead of waiting for people to just randomly search for your website, and go to your website, maybe there’s a way you can promote your website amongst people who are interested in this topic already.

Maybe it’s a matter of doing some ads, maybe it’s a matter of doing some outreach to related sites that might be able to point at your site as well.”

Mueller emphasizes several times that site owners should think like business owners.

You wouldn’t open a business and simply wait for customers to show up.

The same approach should be taken to launching a website.

“Essentially, like a normal business would do, you need to kind of get the ball rolling. You shouldn’t just wait for people to come to your website and say “oh look, I found this new website.”

So that’s kind of my recommendation there. I think with a small number of impressions it’s a good start, but if you just wait for things to grow it’s going to take a while for all of that to pick up.”



Google to pay $391.5 million settlement over location tracking, state AGs say



Google to pay $391.5 million settlement over location tracking, state AGs say

Google has agreed to pay a $391.5 million settlement to 40 states to resolve accusations that it tracked people’s locations in violation of state laws, including snooping on consumers’ whereabouts even after they told the tech behemoth to bug off.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said it is time for Big Tech to recognize state laws that limit data collection efforts.

“I have been ringing the alarm bell on big tech for years, and this is why,” Mr. Landry, a Republican, said in a statement Monday. “Citizens must be able to make informed decisions about what information they release to big tech.”

The attorneys general said the investigation resulted in the largest-ever multistate privacy settlement. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, a Democrat, said Google’s penalty is a “historic win for consumers.”

“Location data is among the most sensitive and valuable personal information Google collects, and there are so many reasons why a consumer may opt out of tracking,” Mr. Tong said. “Our investigation found that Google continued to collect this personal information even after consumers told them not to. That is an unacceptable invasion of consumer privacy, and a violation of state law.”

Location tracking can help tech companies sell digital ads to marketers looking to connect with consumers within their vicinity. It’s another tool in a data-gathering toolkit that generates more than $200 billion in annual ad revenue for Google, accounting for most of the profits pouring into the coffers of its corporate parent, Alphabet, which has a market value of $1.2 trillion.

The settlement is part of a series of legal challenges to Big Tech in the U.S. and around the world, which include consumer protection and antitrust lawsuits.

Though Google, based in Mountain View, California, said it fixed the problems several years ago, the company’s critics remained skeptical. State attorneys general who also have tussled with Google have questioned whether the tech company will follow through on its commitments.

The states aren’t dialing back their scrutiny of Google’s empire.

Last month, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he was filing a lawsuit over reports that Google unlawfully collected millions of Texans’ biometric data such as “voiceprints and records of face geometry.”

The states began investigating Google’s location tracking after The Associated Press reported in 2018 that Android devices and iPhones were storing location data despite the activation of privacy settings intended to prevent the company from following along.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich went after the company in May 2020. The state’s lawsuit charged that the company had defrauded its users by misleading them into believing they could keep their whereabouts private by turning off location tracking in the settings of their software.

Arizona settled its case with Google for $85 million last month. By then, attorneys general in several other states and the District of Columbia had pounced with their own lawsuits seeking to hold Google accountable.

Along with the hefty penalty, the state attorneys general said, Google must not hide key information about location tracking, must give users detailed information about the types of location tracking information Google collects, and must show additional information to people when users turn location-related account settings to “off.”

States will receive differing sums from the settlement. Mr. Landry’s office said Louisiana would receive more than $12.7 million, and Mr. Tong’s office said Connecticut would collect more than $6.5 million.

The financial penalty will not cripple Google’s business. The company raked in $69 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2022, according to reports, yielding about $13.9 billion in profit.

Google downplayed its location-tracking tools Monday and said it changed the products at issue long ago.

“Consistent with improvements we’ve made in recent years, we have settled this investigation which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago,” Google spokesman Jose Castaneda said in a statement.

Google product managers Marlo McGriff and David Monsees defended their company’s Search and Maps products’ usage of location information.

“Location information lets us offer you a more helpful experience when you use our products,” the two men wrote on Google’s blog. “From Google Maps’ driving directions that show you how to avoid traffic to Google Search surfacing local restaurants and letting you know how busy they are, location information helps connect experiences across Google to what’s most relevant and useful.”

The blog post touted transparency tools and auto-delete controls that Google has developed in recent years and said the private browsing Incognito mode prevents Google Maps from saving an account’s search history.

Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees said Google would make changes to its products as part of the settlement. The changes include simplifying the process for deleting location data, updating the method to set up an account and revamping information hubs.

“We’ll provide a new control that allows users to easily turn off their Location History and Web & App Activity settings and delete their past data in one simple flow,” Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees wrote. “We’ll also continue deleting Location History data for users who have not recently contributed new Location History data to their account.”

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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