How to Tell Google a Site Quality Re-evaluation is Needed?
The person asking the question offered examples of when a sitewide quality re-evaluation was needed and asked how can publishers let Google know that major changes have occurred requiring such an evaluation.
So, rather than passively wait for Google to crawl a site and encounter a major change during the course of a regular crawling and indexing, the person asking the question wanted to know how they could give notice that a major change has happened and to put a site re-evaluation into motion.
This is the question that was asked:
“What are some things that a webmaster can do to trigger a site-wide re-evaluation from a quality point of view.
Like when you change domains or when does Google say, okay… let’s try to collect new signals and see whether the site is better from a quality point of view.”
Google’s John Mueller Explains Sitewide Quality Evaluations
No Technical Way to Trigger a Re-evaluation
Mueller first said there’s nothing on the webmaster side for triggering a sitewide re-evaluation and he said that it was not usually necessary because site changes are being continually updated in the index.
John Mueller offered his answer:
“I don’t think there is anything technical that you can do to… trigger a re-evaluation.
And usually that’s also not necessary because essentially our systems re-evaluate all the time.
They look at the content that we found for a site and over time as we see that change we will take that into account.
So that’s not something where you kind of have to do something manually to trigger that.”
Major Site Changes Require a Re-evaluation
Mueller next outlined scenarios where a major quality re-evaluation may be needed.
“The one time where we do have to kind of reconsider how the site works is if the site does a serious restructuring of its website where it changes a lot of the URLs and all of the internal links change, where maybe you move from one CMS to another CMS and everything changes and looks different.
Then from a quality point of view or from a technical point of view, we can’t just keep the old understanding of the site, of the pages, because everything is different now.
So we kind of have to rethink all of that.
But that’s also not something that is triggered by anything specific but rather it’s just well lots of things have changed on the site and even to kind of incrementally keep up we have to do a lot of incremental changes to re-evaluate that.”
Should Google Search Console Offer a Re-evaluation Tool?
There are times when publishers make major changes to a site and it might be useful for Google, site visitors and the publisher if there was a way to trigger a major re-evaluation if the entire site has gone through an abrupt change.
Typical situations might be when a website changes domains, changes a CMS, site structure, or a major content quality change.
It might not have to be a directive type of tool but rather like a raised hand to signal to Google that something major has happened.
Google might argue that it’s not necessary but it might make some publishers feel more comfortable if the option to pass the feedback along was there.
How do you feel about it?
Should Google have a site quality re-evaluation tool?
How to Trigger Site-wide Quality Re-evaluation?
Watch John Mueller answer the question at the 32:53 minute mark:
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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