Episode 173 contains the notable Digital Marketing News and Updates from the week of August 7 -11, 2023.

1. Amazon is Testing AI to Write Product Descriptions for Sellers –
Amazon is reportedly testing a generative AI tool for sellers that writes copy for product listings. This marks a significant move in integrating large language models (LLMs) into ecommerce. The tool is anticipated to revolutionize how merchants create and optimize product descriptions.

According to a report by TechCrunch, Amazon is testing the tool with a small group of sellers. The tool is able to generate titles and descriptions for product listings, as well as bullet points and images. The tool is still under development, but it has the potential to save sellers a significant amount of time and effort.

The use of LLMs in ecommerce is still in its early stages, but it has the potential to disrupt the industry. LLMs can be used to generate product descriptions, write customer reviews, and even create marketing campaigns. As LLMs become more sophisticated, they are likely to play an increasingly important role in ecommerce.

2. Meta to Replace Inactive Group Admins: What You Need to Know –  Meta has begun notifying some group admins that they need to be more active in moderating their groups, or Meta will assign another group member to the job instead. This change is likely in response to the ongoing moderator conflict at Reddit, which has seen some large and popular communities become unmoderated or even taken over by bad actors.

The notification that Meta is sending to group admins says that they need to “take action to maintain activity” within their groups within one week. This includes things like posting new content, responding to comments, and enforcing the group’s rules. If admins do not take action, Meta will assign another group member to the role.

This change is likely to have a significant impact on many Facebook groups. Many groups rely on their admins to keep them active and moderated, and if those admins are replaced, it could lead to the decline or even collapse of those groups. It is also possible that this change could lead to an increase in spam and abuse in Facebook groups, as there will be fewer admins to monitor them.

3. YouTube Cracks Down on Spammy Links in Shorts – YouTube is rolling out a new linking policy that will make it more difficult for creators to post spammy links in their Shorts videos and channel descriptions. The new policy will take effect on August 31, 2023.

Under the new policy, links in Shorts videos and channel descriptions will be automatically converted to unclickable text. Creators will still be able to include links in their videos and descriptions, but they will need to be manually approved by YouTube before they can be clicked on.

YouTube is making this change in an effort to curb the spread of spam on its platform. In recent months, YouTube has seen an increase in the number of spammy links being posted in Shorts videos and channel descriptions. These links often lead to malicious websites or scams.

The new linking policy is expected to make it more difficult for spammers to spread their content on YouTube. It will also make it easier for users to identify and avoid spammy links.

4. YouTube Expands Link Limit for Channel Profiles: Add Up to 14 Links Now! – YouTube is rolling out an update that will allow creators to add up to 14 links to their channel profiles, up from the previous limit of 5. This new feature is designed to give creators more ways to promote their content and drive traffic to their websites, social media profiles, and other online destinations.

To add links to your channel profile, simply go to the “About” tab and click on the “Links” section. You can then enter up to 14 links, each with a title and a description. The links will be displayed in a grid format on your channel profile, and viewers can click on them to visit the linked destinations.

This new feature is a welcome addition for YouTube creators, as it gives them more flexibility and control over how they promote their content. It can also help creators to drive traffic to their websites and social media profiles, which can help them to grow their audience and reach more viewers.

5. YouTube Makes it Easier to Find Longer Content from Shorts – YouTube is testing a new feature that will allow creators to link their Shorts clips to longer video uploads. This will make it easier for viewers to find and watch longer content that is related to the Shorts they have enjoyed.

The new feature is currently being tested with a small group of creators. If it is successful, it could be rolled out to all creators in the coming months.

The ability to link Shorts clips to longer video uploads is a significant development for YouTube. It could help creators to grow their audiences and drive more traffic to their channels. It could also help to make YouTube a more discoverable platform for users.

6. YouTube’s New Report: See How Your Videos Are Performing by Format – YouTube has announced a new report that will allow creators to see how their videos are performing by format. The report, which is available in YouTube Studio, breaks down views, watch time, and other metrics by video format, including Shorts, longform videos, and live streams.

This new report is a valuable tool for creators who want to understand how their viewers are engaging with their content. It can help creators to identify which formats are performing well and which ones could use improvement. This information can then be used to make strategic decisions about future content creation.

For example, if a creator sees that their Shorts are getting a lot of views but their longform videos are not, they may want to focus on creating more Shorts in the future. Or, if a creator sees that their live streams are getting a lot of engagement but their Shorts are not, they may want to experiment with different ways to promote their live streams.

The new report is just one of the many ways that YouTube is helping creators to succeed. By providing creators with insights into their performance, YouTube is empowering them to make informed decisions about their content creation.

7. 3 Ways to Keep Your AI Chatbot Content Out of Google Search – AI chatbots are becoming increasingly common on websites across the globe, providing instant customer service and engagement. But AI-powered agents can also produce inaccurate content that website owners may not want to be a part of their human-edited and generated content. 

Google’s Search Advocate, John Mueller, recently advised website owners to consider ways to block artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot content from indexing. This is because AI chatbot content can often be repetitive and low-quality, which can negatively impact a website’s search engine ranking.

There are three main ways to block Google from indexing AI chatbot content:

  1. Use a roboted iframe. This is a frame that the site owner can control independently, allowing them to apply a noindex directive to it, which prevents it from being indexed by search engine bots since Google can crawl iframes.
  2. Use a roboted JavaScript file / resource. This is a file that can be used to control how Google crawls and indexes a website. By adding a noindex directive to this file, Google will be prevented from indexing the AI chatbot content.
  3. Use the data-nosnippet attribute. This attribute can be added to HTML elements to prevent them from being included in the snippet that is displayed in search results. This can be useful for blocking AI chatbot content that is not relevant to the user’s search intent.

It is important to note that these methods are not foolproof. Google may still be able to index AI chatbot content if it is not properly blocked. However, by using these methods, website owners can significantly reduce the chances of their AI chatbot content being indexed.

8. Google Ads Updates: Get More Customers with New Features – Google Ads is rolling out a number of new features and making major updates to its platform in the coming months. These changes are designed to help advertisers improve their campaigns and get better results. The changes to Google Ads were unveiled via an announcement on their announcement page. They wrote:

  • “This holiday season is just around the corner, which means one thing: shoppers and retailers alike are working on their checklists. In fact, today’s shoppers are being more intentional with their holiday purchases, with 74% planning their shopping ahead of time.”
  • “AI-powered tools are transforming businesses’ ability to move faster, better understand the intent of their customers, and engage them in new ways across the path to purchase.”
  • “Today, we’re excited to share new tools to generate insights and new features to help you do more with Google AI.”

Here are  the things you should know about:

  • Local inventory ads and Omnichannel Shoppers – According to Google’s data, 61% of holiday shoppers use five or more channels while shopping over two days. To reach these omnichannel consumers, Google is expanding ad formats and adding new optimization tools. For example, businesses can now use “Pickup Later” annotations for local inventory ads if they don’t have a feed set up.
  • Insights On Early Holiday Shopping – Advertisers can now access more granular performance reporting on products, brands, and labels over time in the Ads interface to capitalize on this. The Performance tab in Google Merchant Center has also been upgraded with competitive benchmarks on bestselling items and pricing visibility.
  • Targeting – Google is enhancing the promotions, shipping details, and visuals on product listings to help items stand out. Advertisers can now target deals to specific locations and categories. Same-day delivery and return information will also be more prominent.
  • AI Tools In Product Studio – Google is launching new tools to help retailers improve product images and create 3D visual assets. Product Studio will be available within Merchant Center Next, Google’s upgraded interface for managing Shopping campaigns. It will also be available on the Google & YouTube App on Shopify. Shopify merchants can access Product Studio directly through their Shopify account. Early adopters can test out Product Studio ahead of its full release.
  • AI Strategy in Performance Max – Google urges more advertisers to adopt its AI-powered Performance Max campaigns this holiday season. The platform can now optimize for high lifetime value new customers, helping businesses focus spending on valuable first-time buyers. Early adopters who have switched from standard Shopping campaigns to Performance Max have reportedly seen a 25% increase in conversion value on average, at similar return on ad spend levels.

9. Google Updates Performance Max Best Practices: How to Get Better Results – Google has updated its Performance Max best practices guide, with new recommendations for businesses of all sizes. The guide covers everything from setting goals and budgets to creating effective creative.

One of the key changes in the new guide is the emphasis on using Performance Max to achieve specific business goals. The updated best practices guide underscores how Performance Max campaigns can help retailers optimize ad spending across Google’s search, display, YouTube, and other inventory. In short – Performance Max utilizes AI to present customers with the most relevant combination of ad creatives across devices and marketing channels.

The guide also provides new recommendations for leveraging Google’s Performance Planner for optimizing budgets and bids. Performance Planner gives retailers suggested budget and bid adjustments to help campaigns achieve better performance for the same spend. Additionally, the guide offers tips on demand forecasts to understand predicted trends relevant to your business.

The guide encourages marketers to experiment to measure the uplift in conversion value from switching to Performance Max. Here is what Google wrote: “If you are running Standard Shopping campaigns, you can run an experiment in order to measure the uplift in conversion value from switching to Performance Max. … If you’re satisfied with the results of your A/B experiment, you can then continue running your new Performance Max campaign to replace your Standard Shopping campaign.

The guide provides tips on strategies like lower ROAS targets to increase visibility for high-priority products leading to significant retail moments. “For example, you may want a campaign for holiday merchandise, a campaign for high-margin products, and a campaign for everything else. Setting a lower ROAS target can also help maximize visibility for these products…

To help Performance Max campaigns learn faster, Google advises consolidating campaign structures where possible. “When setting up a new Performance Max campaign, you should consolidate your campaign structure where you can. Google AI works best when it can optimize performance across channels using a unified budget.

With the latest Performance Max capabilities, retailers can optimize for acquiring high-value customers. “New Customer Acquisition with High Value optimization is also now available in beta to help you optimize for new customers with high predicted lifetime value.

The guide concludes with a thorough review of reporting and insights, focusing on using retail-centric reports.

The updated Performance Max best practices guide is a valuable resource for businesses of all sizes. By following the recommendations in the guide, businesses can improve the performance of their campaigns and achieve their desired results.

10. Google Downgrades HowTo and FAQ Rich Results: What You Need to Know – Google will be showing fewer rich results in its search results, specifically showing less FAQ rich results across the search result snippets and limiting How-To rich results to desktop devices.

Google said the FAQs, FAQPage structured data, rich results will only be shown for “well-known, authoritative government and health websites.”

For all other sites, this rich result will no longer be shown regularly, Google added. Which sites Google decides to show them for are automated and algorithmic.

Google said there is no reason to remove structured data from your site. Google said “Structured data that’s not being used does not cause problems for Search, but also has no visible effects in Google Search.”

Google said the How-To, from HowTo structured data, rich results will only be shown for desktop users, and not for users on mobile devices.

Google added that “with mobile indexing, Google indexes the mobile version of a website as the basis for indexing: to have How-To rich results shown on desktop, the mobile version of your website must include the appropriate markup.”

Google wrote, “For both of these items, you may also notice this change in the Search Console reporting for your website. In particular, this will be visible in the metrics shown for FAQ and How-To search appearances in the performance report, and in the number of impressions reported in the appropriate enhancement reports. This change does not affect the number of items reported in the enhancement reports. The search appearances, and the reports, will remain in Search Console for the time being.”

11. Semantic HTML: Can It Help With SEO Success in 2023? – Semantic HTML is the practice of using HTML elements to convey the meaning of the content on a web page. This is in contrast to using HTML elements only for presentational purposes.

There are many benefits to using semantic HTML for SEO. First, it helps search engines understand the content of your page better. This can lead to your page ranking higher in search results. Second, it can help users find the information they are looking for on your page more easily. Third, it can make your page more accessible to people with disabilities.

Google’s John Mueller, in a recent SEO Office Hours session, answered a question about whether the

semantic HTML element has an impact on Google. John answered the question directly but there is a fair bit of nuance that was left out of his answer that needs to be addressed.

The questioner asked: “Does the use of an

HTML tag have an impact on Google? Is it better to put the content of a product listing page in an


John responded: “The

HTML element does not have any particular effect in Google Search. This is similar to lots of other kinds of HTML tags. There’s so much more to using HTML than just Google Search though! Sometimes there are accessibility or semantic reasons to use a specific kind of markup, so don’t only focus on SEO.”

John Mueller correctly said that there are “semantic reasons” for some HTML elements. Semantic HTML tells developers (or search engines) what the purpose of that code is. For example, the

element tells developers or search engines that whatever is wrapped within that element

is the footer section of the webpage. The

semantic HTML element describes the purpose of that section of content. 


element makes it easier for search engines to identify where the main content is, making it easier to find where to find what Google’s Martin Splitt calls, the Centerpiece Annotation.

Of course you need to have good content in the

block and if you do then you definitely make it easier for the Google crawler.

12. Google Warns: Content Pruning Can Hurt Your SEO – Gizmodo published an article “exposing” CNET for deleting thousands of pages, as they put it to “game Google Search.” This, even though content pruning is a fairly common advanced SEO practice. And CNET decided which pages to “redirect, repurpose or remove (deprecate)” by looking at metrics such as:

  • Pageviews.
  • Backlink profiles
  • Amount of time passed since the last update.

And from an August 2023 leaked internal memo we learned that someone at CNET thinks that old content “sends a signal to Google that says CNET is fresh, relevant and worthy of being placed higher than our competitors in search results,”

It’s evident that, CNET needs better advice on how SEO works. Deleting content does not signal those three things. Publishing relevant, trustworthy, helpful, quality content for your audience on a technically sound website is what makes you worthy of greater organic search visibility.

Here is the bad news for CNET – Google doesn’t want to reward sites that are primarily driven by SEO traffic. The helpful content system is meant to reward websites that are primarily creating content for users, not search engines. Also, there is no “penalty” for having old content on your website. Google will not send a manual action notice to CNET, or any site, because you have an article that was published in 2015, or 2007, or 2003, or whatever year.

To bolster my point, Google’s Danny Sullivan, via his @SearchLiaison account on X, posted: “Are you deleting content from your site because you somehow believe Google doesn’t like ‘old’ content? That’s not a thing! Our guidance doesn’t encourage this. Older content can still be helpful, too.”

When someone asked Sullivan on what to do if the old content has broken links, is no longer relevant or can’t be made more helpful. Sullivan’s response was: “The page itself isn’t likely to rank well. Removing it might mean if you have a massive site that we’re better able to crawl other content on the site. But it doesn’t mean we go ‘oh, now the whole site is so much better’ because of what happens with an individual page.”

The “deleting old content is good for SEO” belief started back to 2011 (12+ years back) after Google launched the Panda update. After the launch, a Google employee wrote :”In addition, it’s important for webmasters to know that low quality content on part of a site can impact a site’s ranking as a whole. For this reason, if you believe you’ve been impacted by this change you should evaluate all the content on your site and do your best to improve the overall quality of the pages on your domain. Removing low quality pages or moving them to a different domain could help your rankings for the higher quality content.”

IMO, may be that idea made sense back in 2011 but these days one needs to be informed and careful.  Google’s Danny Sullivan, clarified that there is more need for nuance in this particular discussion and tried to make it clear that Google has never advised people to delete content simply because it’s old. Other prominent Googlers, including John Mueller and Gary Illyes, have also advised improving content, instead of removing it, whenever possible.

Deleting old content can be good for SEO performance. To be clear: deleting old content alone – just because it’s old – probably won’t help you much. However, deleting, improving and consolidating content should be part of your SEO strategy because it helps improve your overall content quality – or, as Mueller once put it, “building out your reputation of knowledge on that topic.”