Episode 207 contains the Digital Marketing News and Updates from the week of Apr 08-12, 2024.

1. How Index Selection and Canonicalization Are Impacted During Google’s Core Algorithm Updates – In a recent LinkedIn conversation, a significant topic was brought to the forefront by David Minchala, addressing a common misconception in the SEO community regarding the impact of Google’s core algorithm updates on indexing services like canonicalization.

Minchala posed a question, suggesting that during core algorithm updates—or possibly any major update—services such as canonicalization might slow down. Canonicalization involves selecting the most representative URL for content that exists in multiple URLs and merging all signals from known duplicate URLs. The underlying concern was whether these crucial indexing services suffer in performance during extensive updates.

Responding to this, Gary Illyes clarified that this assumption was incorrect. He explained that the processes of indexing, like canonicalization and index selection, are entirely independent of core updates. Illyes used a culinary analogy to elucidate his point, comparing core updates to adjusting ingredients in a recipe which can significantly alter the dish’s outcome. In contrast, canonicalization and index selection processes are likened to activities in the salt mines or MSG factories—fundamental and separate from the immediate cooking process.

This separation is crucial for SEO practitioners and business owners to understand, as it reassures that the stability and performance of indexing services remain unaffected by the changes introduced in core updates. These updates primarily tweak how Google’s algorithms assess and rank web content based on relevance and quality, but they do not directly interfere with the technical processes of how content is indexed or canonical URLs are determined.

In summary, while Google’s core updates can significantly impact how websites are ranked, they do not directly influence the fundamental mechanisms of how websites are indexed. This distinction is crucial for effectively navigating SEO and ensuring that efforts are directed towards enhancing content quality and user experience, rather than worrying about the operational aspects of Google’s algorithm updates.

2. Google’s John Mueller Demystifies 404 and 410 Codes! – Understanding the intricacies of SEO can be a daunting task, especially when it involves technical aspects like HTTP status codes. John Mueller, Google Search Advocate, clarified common misconceptions regarding the 404 and 410 HTTP status codes during a discussion on the r/SEO Reddit forum. These codes are used to indicate that a page on your website is either temporarily missing or permanently removed. Mueller emphasized that there is a minimal difference between the two from an SEO perspective, stating that both are treated similarly by Google’s indexing process. Importantly, having these status codes on your website does not result in penalties from Google, which means they should not be a major concern for site owners.

The discussion began with a website owner who had used AI-generated content for a videogame guide site. When issues arose from the AI content, the owner removed the pages and sought advice on recovery. This led to a broader conversation about whether 404 (not found) or 410 (gone) status codes could affect their site’s SEO. Mueller reassured the community that the practical impact of these codes on search engine visibility is negligible.

Mueller’s advice serves as a crucial reminder for business owners: focus on creating high-quality, engaging content rather than getting bogged down by the technical nuances of HTTP status codes. By ensuring your site maintains valuable content, you’re more likely to see sustained SEO success.

3. Rising Ad Costs Due to Meta Platform Glitches! – Are you monitoring your Facebook advertising costs and performance? If not, you might want to start. A recent report highlighted significant system glitches within Meta’s advertising platform that have been pushing up ad prices since early April 2024. These issues have been causing increased costs for advertisers, with some marketers experiencing a tripling in CPMs (cost per thousand impressions), a key advertising expense metric.

According to insights from Bloomberg and additional details from Search Engine Land, these technical issues have not only escalated the costs but also led to mixed results and decreased sales, affecting the overall effectiveness of advertising campaigns. Interestingly, Meta has recognized some problems with ad delivery but suggests these are not widespread. They have reportedly fixed a few technical issues and are investigating further to ensure optimal outcomes for businesses using their platform.

It’s important to note that not every advertiser has been affected by these glitches. However, the potential impact on your ad spend due to these glitches could be significant. This situation mirrors a similar occurrence last year where a glitch led to many advertisers being overcharged. It’s a crucial time to keep a vigilant eye on your account’s performance and ad charges.

Given that this issue arose at the close of the first quarter (January to March), any additional ad spend could inadvertently inflate Meta’s revenue figures for the period, despite the possibility of subsequent refunds. While it might seem speculative, the timing of these glitches is indeed noteworthy.

As a proactive measure, I recommend regularly checking your Facebook ad performance and noting any unusual fluctuations in costs. Staying informed and vigilant can help mitigate unexpected financial impacts and ensure your advertising budget is spent effectively.

Should you notice inconsistencies, consider reaching out for expert analysis or directly to Meta support for clarification and potential rectification.