Episode 174 contains the notable Digital Marketing News and Updates from the week of August 14 -18, 2023.

1. Google Ads Sunsetting Enhanced CPC on Shopping campaigns – Google Ads Shopping campaigns will no longer use Enhanced cost-per-click (eCPC) starting in October. Instead, Shopping campaigns using eCPC will behave as though they are using Manual CPC bidding, according to an email Google sent advertisers. Google explained that it is adopting more advanced strategies and campaigns as its technology improves. Google pointed out that eCPC was launched more than 10 years ago, and new strategies, such as target ROAS, Maximise conversion value and fully automated campaigns like Performance Max, can help you achieve the same or better results.

If you are using eCPC, Google recommends taking the following actions: 

  • In your Standard Shopping campaigns, try the one-click Target ROAS experiments for Shopping, which you can find in your campaign settings. 
  • Alternatively, you can trial Google Ads’ newest fully automated solution, Performance Max campaigns.

2. Google Testing Small Advertisers Premium Support – Not sure if this true but Search Engine Journal reported that Google Ads has launched  a new pilot program to provide enhanced customer service for a select group of small Google Ads customers. The goal of the paid pilot program is to: “… provide agencies and advertisers with specialized one-on-one support tailored to specific customer needs.”

This marks a shift for Google, which has historically reserved this high-touch level of support for its largest advertising clients.

My thoughts in the show. Listen and find out.

3. Google Makes it Easier for Customers to Find You on Social Media – Google has announced that businesses can now add social media links to their Google Business Profiles. This new feature allows businesses to make it easier for customers to find and connect with them on social media.

To add social media links to your Google Business Profile, you will need to:

  1. Go to your Google Business Profile.
  2. Click on the Edit button.
  3. Click on the Contact tab.
  4. Under Social profiles, enter the URL for each social media platform where you have a presence.
  5. Click on the Save button.

Once you have added your social media links, they will be displayed on your Google Business Profile. Customers will be able to click on the links to visit your social media profiles.

4. Google: Domain Name Does Not Make Or Break Your SEO – We’ve covered this topic in the past however it came up this week so we are covering it again. Here is what Google’s John Muller wrote:

An #seo question from the X-Twitter world: In the domain name, is the use of dash ( – ) recommended or not?

  • It’s fine 
  • Pick a domain name for your brand for the long run, don’t just collect keywords (the common reason for dashes). Build out a domain. –
  • For SEO, dashes are very minimally better in URLs than underscores. Don’t change your URLs for them tho. Don’t use spaces, commas, colons, etc in URLs. 
  • Your domain name is never going to make or break your SEO.

5. Is It Okay to Use noindex to Remove a Page from SERP Sitelinks? – Google’s John Mueller answered a question about whether it’s okay to use the noindex meta tag to remove a page from SERP sitelinks.

Here is the original question: “Is noindex a good way to get a page out of a search result sitelinks? Should be an option in web console imho but a specific real estate agent’s page is part of the website sitelinks where there are lots of other pages like About etc. that should be there instead. Should I temporarily noindex the agent’s page to get it off the sitelinks?

What are SERP sitelinks? SERP Sitelinks are clustered links in the search results from one domain and are are typically shown when someone searches for the name or URL of a website.

And a noindex meta tag is a directive, which means that search engines are obligated to obey the request. In the case of a meta noindex tag, this means that search engines are required to drop a webpage from the index. In simple terms, there’s an indexing engine, which is the part with Googlebot that goes out, crawls the web and acquires website content for possible inclusion into Google’s index. And there’s also a ranking engine.

Mueller said that it’s generally fine to use noindex for this purpose, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

I suspect (computers do weird things, so no guarantees :-)) what would happen is we’d drop it (during the noindex) and return it to normal (same state as before) when you remove the noindex. We wouldn’t see a temporary noindex as a signal that you like it a little bit less — it’s either indexable or not, the ranking side is separate from the indexing.

Google lists a number of steps that publishers can take to keep less desirable pages out of the sitelinks in their official documentation:

  • Make sure that the text you use as your page titles and in your headings is informative, relevant, and compact. 
  • Create a logical site structure that is easy for users to navigate, and make sure you link to your important pages from other relevant pages. 
  • Ensure that your internal links’ anchor text is concise and relevant to the page they’re pointing to. 
  • Avoid repetitions in your content.

However it still does not solve the mystery as to why a less desirable page is showing up in SERP sitelinks. May be what is less desirable to the site owner is more desirable to Google? 

6. Why Your Site Might Not Be Ranking in Google Despite Good SEO? During August 2023, SEO Office hour, someone asked “Why is my site not ranking despite low competition and good SEO? I have a sitemap, indexed pages, updated content, backlinks and on-page optimization. But my site is still not in the top 200 results for my keywords.

Before I jump into what Google’s John Muller said in his reply, I want to point out that “Good” is subjective here. It depends on the expertise, knowledge, and competence of the individual making that judgment. Until failure makes a knowledge gap obvious, it is difficult to be aware of what one does not know.So “good” SEO might mean different things. 

Anyways, now on to how Muller responded. First he said “I see this kind of question often. Google tends to focus on various technical aspects when it comes to talking about SEO, but you need to do more.

A good way to think about this is to compare it to the offline world.  When it comes to books, does a good cover photo, a reasonable sentence length, few misspellings, and a good topic mean that a book will become a best-seller?

Or as a restaurant, does using the right ingredients and cooking in a clean kitchen mean you’ll get a lot of customers?

Technical details are good to cover well, but there’s more involved in being successful.”

Hmm. So Mueller responded to the question in riddles. IMO, what he is saying that in addition to technical details you need to have good quality content aka helpful content. More of my thoughts in the show. 

7. Google Doesn’t Use Third-Party SEO Tool Scores for Rankings – Google has clarified its stance on third-party SEO tool scores, stating that Google does not use these scores to determine search rankings. “Once again, no, Google does not use scores from third-party SEO tools for search. However, that doesn’t mean that they’re all useless.” This means that while these tools can be helpful for providing insights into a website’s SEO performance, they should not be relied upon as a definitive measure of success. “Transparently calculated scores can be useful to estimate your website’s standing or to point out actual issues. They could help with the next steps or perhaps even qualify the work that was done.

John Mueller, a Google Search Advocate, made the clarification in a recent episode of the “Ask Googlebot” video series. He explained that Google’s algorithms are constantly evolving, and that they take into account a variety of factors when ranking websites. These factors include the quality and relevance of the content, the number and quality of backlinks, and the user experience.

Mueller mentioned Google’s Chrome Lighthouse tool as a helpful tool that doesn’t directly impact rankings. Lighthouse generates scores for website performance, but Google doesn’t use them to rank websites in search results. However, Mueller explained the performance scores from Lighthouse could benefit you: “The score is transparently created based on various tests, which you can look at. With the overall score, you can estimate how well your website performs for those tests.” Website analytics scores can help you find problems, such as utilizing overly brief anchor text that could negatively impact site navigation. Though these concerns may not directly affect search engine ranking positions, they could still affect user experience and click-through rate.

He said that these tools can be helpful, but they should not be used as a substitute for understanding how Google’s algorithms work. Website authority scores, spam scores – Google doesn’t use any of those in ranking. It’s just an SEO myth that won’t die.