Digital Profits Podcast – Episode 21: Search Engine Marketing News & Reactions

Are you a business owner looking for the latest search engine marketing news and reactions? In this blog post, we will provide you with an overview of the industry’s biggest developments and help you make sure your brand capitalizes on changing trends. 

We’ll explore some key strategies to ensure success in a competitive market—from understanding what Google thinks about your company, to learning how different competitors are utilizing PPC campaigns. With this comprehensive guide, you can look forward to achieving impressive returns as part of your search engine marketing strategy.

Overview of the Latest Search Engine News  

Google is rolling out its latest core update, which could shake up search results for months to come. Meanwhile, Bing has launched a new shopping hub to take on Amazon, and DuckDuckGo continues to see record-breaking traffic as more people prioritize their online privacy. With so much happening in the world of search engines, it’s more important than ever to stay informed. 

Analyzing the Impact of Recent Changes   

There’s no denying that change can be a little daunting at times. But when it comes down to it, change is what propels us forward and ultimately makes us stronger. So, let’s talk about the recent changes that have been happening. 

Whether it’s changes in our personal lives or on a larger scale, it’s important to take a step back and analyze the impact. Sometimes change can take us out of our comfort zone but if we remain open-minded, we can see the incredible benefits that come with it. 

So, let’s embrace the changes and see where they take us. Who knows what exciting opportunities are waiting just around the corner?

Exploring Strategies to Adapt to New Developments   

As the world continues to change and evolve at a rapid pace, it’s more important than ever to be able to adapt to new developments in your industry. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting out, exploring strategies to stay ahead of the curve can make all the difference in your success. 

From networking with like-minded individuals to keeping up with the latest trends and technologies, there are countless ways to stay ahead and continue to thrive. So, don’t be afraid to take risks and try new things – with the right mindset and determination, anything is possible.

Examining Opportunities in the Current Landscape   

The current landscape is ripe with opportunities waiting to be explored, and it’s our job to take advantage of them! With so much innovation and change happening around us, there’s never been a better time to investigate what’s out there. Maybe you’ll find a new industry that you’re passionate about, or a new way of thinking about an old problem, or even a new group of people to work with. 

Whatever it is, there’s no reason not to go out and explore. So, if you’re feeling stuck or stagnant in your career, it’s time to shake things up and start examining the opportunities all around you. 

Breaking Down User Behavior for Different Search Engines   

As online marketers, we all know the importance of understanding how users interact with different search engines. Whether it’s Google, Bing, or Yahoo, the unique features of each search engine inevitably influence user behavior. That’s why it’s crucial to break down user behavior by search engine and analyze it carefully. 

By doing so, we can learn how users interact with search results, identify which keywords are most effective, and optimize our campaigns accordingly. So, if you want to stay ahead of the game and make the most out of your online marketing strategies, let’s dive deeper into breaking down user behavior for different search engines!

Exploring Tactics for Staying Ahead of Competitors  

In today’s fast-paced business world, staying ahead of the competition is essential to success. While the thought of constantly having to outdo your rivals can be overwhelming, there are various tactics you can explore to stay ahead. One of the most important things you can do is assess your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. 

This will give you valuable insight into where you need to improve in order to stand out. Another tactic is staying up to date with industry trends and innovations. By doing so, you’ll be able to anticipate changes in the market and stay ahead of the curve. And finally, investing in employee training and development can give you a competitive edge by equipping your team with skills that others may not have. 

With these strategies in your arsenal, you’ll be well on your way to outperforming your competitors and achieving your business goals. As search engine news continues to evolve and develop, it is essential that businesses stay up-to-date with the latest changes. 

 Adapting strategies in response to new developments, exploring opportunities available in the current search engine landscape, and breaking down user behavior for different search engines will enable companies to continue staying ahead of their competition.  

By leveraging tactics such as these, businesses will be better positioned to gain a competitive advantage and capitalize on the changing digital climate. With so many possibilities and opportunities in this rapidly changing world of search engine news, now is the perfect time to take action! 

Start by understanding the implications of recent updates and take steps to adjust your approach accordingly – seize opportunity and keep a step ahead of your rivals today!

Don’t forget to tune in to the latest episode of the Digital Profits podcast where the Profit Squad unlocks the secrets behind Google’s search results and navigates the latest buzz as we dissect Google’s new Notes feature. Dive into the collaborative search experience, explore the impact on SEO strategy, and unravel the surprises of clicks influencing rankings. Ready to demystify Google’s algorithm and reshape your digital strategy? Tune in now for actionable insights and stay ahead in the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing! 

Intro: Welcome to the Digital Profits podcast, where you’ll learn how to grow your business faster using paid traffic and SEO. Each episode will feature a breakdown of digital marketing trends and answers to your burning questions that will provide actionable takeaways to make your marketing better. So join us Ben Page, Ray Sawvell and Blake John as we guide you on your journey to higher profits. Remember to join the profit And get ready to profit in three, two, one.

Ben Page: Hey Squad, great to see you. I’m joined by Ray and Blake.

Ray Sawvell: Hey Squad.

Ben Page: Today we’re going to mix it up yet again, and we’re going to cover some of the latest search engine marketing news and give our reactions and takeaways to some of the biggest headlines that have been announced recently. So let us know what you think about this format and any of the different headlines. We’d love to hear your thoughts and answer your questions. Let’s start out with this fun one. It’s a new feature, and the headline is Google launches notes to add user comments in search results. Guys, what does this mean? What’s the story?

Ray Sawvell: Yeah, so Google basically added a feature within search results. It’s not on a specific page, it’s actually in Google Search on mobile devices, in which there’s little icons, there’s new little buttons, essentially, where you can add a note to discuss the search results, whatever, like the page and the content, or you can read other people’s notes who already have left them, which is really, really interesting.

Ben Page: Yeah, I was kind of toying around with this just right before this recording, and I got a story about a new Pixel phone, and people were dropping notes on the phone saying, I can trade in mine for XYZ and just adding reactions to it. But I wonder, are people going to try to game the system at all?

Ray Sawvell: Yeah, that’s where my head went when I first read this article. And by the way, this released, I think very recently, within the last 24, 48 hours, it’s only in beta, it’s in Search lab, so you have to opt in for it. But that’s where my head went immediately when I saw this is how are people going to abuse this and kind of game the system? Because I think I’m hopeful that Google’s moderation efforts are really strong with this one because I could see it going dark quickly.

Ben Page: Yeah, it’s interesting because if you look at the article, it’s a search story here that we’re covering. If you look at the screenshots of the examples. To me, it’s almost like bringing blog comments into the SERP. It’s almost like people would normally leave comments like these after the article or maybe as a caption if they shared it on social media or something and they’d, you know, hey, this recipe turned out great. I loved, you know, in the case of you, you Googled Milwaukee Pizza and saw that notes feature visible on one of the search results, or maybe more than one. So it’s almost like it’s pulling reviews and user generated content higher up to make it even more visible in here. In the highlights of this article, it says the goal is to provide helpful insights from real people alongside regular results. It’s almost like a human driven backlink system, if you want to think of it that way. Right? It’s like social up votes and social down votes.

Ray Sawvell: Yeah, sort of. It’s not truly a voting system, but you can leave feedback on which you can read. And Google has been making a lot of updates in the last, well, probably a year, but really even more so in the last like 30 to 60 days on making the search experience more personalized and more user focused and specifically like feedback focused from actual users and people who are just like you and me and not necessarily the content publishers. And this is another step towards that. They’re trying to get real life experience into the search results as much as they possibly can.

Ben Page: Yeah.

Ben Page: And I just tried to leave a comment on one of the stories and essentially what it’s telling me is, what did you think of the link? Keep it friendly and helpful. So, Ben, back to your point. It just seems like it’s some version of social proof or the comments that people may leave on a blog. So it’ll be interesting to see how this kind of plays out over the next couple of months.

Ben Page: I think it dies.

Ray Sawvell: Yeah, I do, too. I do too.

Ben Page: Honestly, I don’t know how they moderate it.

Ben Page: What’s the purpose?

Ben Page: Just from a usefulness standpoint. And here’s why. Right? It’s like, suppose a lot of the screenshots in this article relate to baking and recipes and that kind of niche, that vertical. But here’s an example. In a screenshot, someone has Googled every type of frosting. And then there’s an article here and it’s like a breakdown of almost every frosting and it’s showing add note, 80 notes. All right, so imagine this. You’re actually seriously trying to figure out what kind of frosting can I make to pair with this dessert that I’m going to bake this weekend? Well, either a, you’re going to want to consume that content yourself or get a helpful summary of it from AI perhaps, right? Like give me the cliff notes of this 1200 word article and if there are anonymous commentaries below, you might find some of them helpful. Like, oh, I was making a cake and I wanted buttercream and this one told me about the three kinds of buttercream. Cool. That’s helpful. But the reason I think that social proof or that user generated content works is it works to the degree that we trust the source it’s coming from. So I’m not going to take extra time to click on, oh, there’s 80 notes on this article in the search result to scan through 80 rando’s notes, you know what I mean? To try to figure out if this is actually the right thing that I want to get. Now, if there’s some way, I forget, is there an up vote down vote?

Ray Sawvell: I don’t believe that there is. I will mention though, it’s not anonymous.

Ben Page: You do leave it with your Google account, which helps.

Ray Sawvell: Right.

Ben Page: But still, if it’s a C of 80 notes, unrecognized. Yeah. So unless there’s going to be some extra data that is going to mine out. Okay, there have been 80 notes on this article. These three were the most engaged with the most upvotEd, the most helpful. Without that moderation feature, it feels like this is not super valuable. I see why they’re trying to pull it higher up. They’re trying to pull it right into the SERP to get someone to like, oh, yes, this is the most helpful result for that query, for that question, but without that added layer of moderation or trust, it’s almost know how much do you lean into that wisdom of crowds aspect?

Ray Sawvell: Right.

Ben Page: The only way I can see it working is if there was some reputable person or in your example of some famous chef or Baker or Gordon Ramsey or something was to, you know what mean? Like if they were to be the one who were to do it or if somebody were to who manages their profile did that. Sure, maybe there’s value there, but why wouldn’t they put that out somewhere else versus a Google note, you know what I mean?

Ben Page: So I could see, yeah, it’s almost like if Google had, or just in general, there were editors in each vertical based on they had expertise in baking and now they’re going to be the ones to leave notes on the top results for these different highly search queries or something like that. Like, oh, very helpful if you’re a first time Baker trying to figure out life. Or if you’re looking for advanced techniques to nail this kind of frosting, read this article. But then not to say anything about the gamification of these or the, I don’t know how you could exploit them. Like I said earlier, early mover advantage. Just start leaving notes.

Ray Sawvell: Yeah, I have a handful of thoughts, honestly, and I don’t know how much more time we want to spend on this, but I’m thinking like one. Somehow they have to bring the notes to the actual page. You know how you can see like Google will generate a summary of an article. Maybe in that summary it also includes notes that could be valuable because right now they’re only on the search result page.

Ben Page: Right.

Ray Sawvell: Which is like you’re kind of disconnected from the actual content then. But the other thing, kind of what you were getting towards, I think it could be the early mover, it could be a strategy. Just leave comments on your own content and not necessarily in a spammy way, but maybe if there’s a specific pain point that your user has, you could get to them quicker now and really say, hey, I don’t know, solving all.

Ben Page: Your frosting woes here.

Ray Sawvell: This is how you get the most delicious frosting. Don’t forget the extra sugar or something.

Ben Page: Or whatever it is.

Ray Sawvell: That could be a real strategy. And I don’t think that’s like black hat in any way, or even gray hat. I think it’s like a legitimate. Because what you guys are saying is there needs to be some expertise behind some of these comments and, well, you’re kind of the expert in your space and you want to build that. And I think there’s an opportunity there.

Ben Page: Yeah, it’s interesting. What about the flip side? What’s all the bad behavior we’re going to see surrounding notes?

Ben Page: Spam.

Ray Sawvell: Well, yeah, spam. People trying to sell things. I was wondering if you could leave links. If you could leave links, it’ll just be a wasteland of people.

Ben Page: It doesn’t get back that way, at least the couple that I’ve seen so far. But who knows?

Ben Page: It’s going to be like YouTube comments. Like people don’t have a formatty URL, but it’s like dub dub dub space. Google Space or.

Ray Sawvell: Yes, exactly.

Ben Page: Exactly that. Or, yeah, like fake profiles or like bots. Or know, just going to all of your competitors Serp results and leaving notes. Terrible. All caps. Terrible.

Ray Sawvell: Yeah.

Ben Page: And I mean, because it’s tied to your Google profile. I know every Google profile has, like, if you’re a local guy. Do you have a different level? I don’t know if that’s going to be tied to this. So if you’re like a higher level, do you have more trust in the Google system? Are those types of comments going to go to the top?

Ben Page: Yeah, maybe the mods love you because you’re a higher tier, more trusted.

Ben Page: I am level six, so I don’t want to brag or anything, not that I’m better than you guys, but I am level six.

Ray Sawvell: We’ve got a celebrity on the podcast, right?

Ben Page: A major local guide. Any other thoughts on the notes feature? It sounds like it’s going to roll out further with time, but both in terms of geographies, perhaps even devices, possibly beyond search labs.

Ray Sawvell: Just parting thought again, I don’t think there’s anything actionable today. Maybe toy around with leaving positive comments on your content truthfully. Maybe do it from your CEO’s perspective or something. Or if you have a well known figure in your company or somebody. You know what I mean? Again, adding that layer of expertise and authenticity a little bit to it, you can kind of hit both. So I think that’s the takeaway for now, at least.

Ben Page: Got it. All right, next one, Google is using clicks in rankings. Blake, share your surprise with us.

Ray Sawvell: Yes, this one is. Well, Ben, you were not surprised by this. I was always skeptical that they were using clicks in as a ranking factor because I felt like they were easy to manipulate. You could easily, if you have 50 employees, say, hey, everybody, when you get home, go click on our article. It could help. Theoretically, if they’re used as a ranking factor, that theoretically that could help. We’ve talked about this, too. You could build a bot. And people do build bots. This is true. I’ve seen cold emails saying, hey, sign up for this service. We’ll make your brand more popular in search and increase search volume. And they do that. They do that by spamming bot clicks. That’s a real thing that people sell. So I was shocked. Honestly, I thought it was Google would avoid using clicks as a ranking signal because they’re easy to manipulate. But I was naive. I was wrong.

Ben Page: Maybe. Well, yeah, it’s like the dear sir, madam, do you want 100 DA. 50 backlinks to your site? We can build them for you. Well, and here’s the headline. Former Googler. This is from Search Engine land. Former Googler. Google using clicks in rankings. And then here’s the subhead. Does this mean clicks are a direct ranking factor? No. In fact, Bert and Mum are making user data less important. It’s kind of interesting.

Ray Sawvell: That’s where my head is at, the user input again, because it’s easy to manipUlate. Google doesn’t want to rely on that. It’s hard not to. And I think in the past too they have been. And I do think there is still value. Like you want to have a good click through rate, obviously, so you should be optimizing for that. And I think that’s one of the big takeaways, is click through rate optimization on your title tags and meta descriptions should probably be part of your SEO strategy. But I do believe that Google wants to avoid relying on click data and dwell time and things of that nature because they are easy to manipulate and they’re potentially better signals that are harder to game, essentially.

Ben Page: Yeah. And this article is some coverage related to some testimony in the ongoing Us versus Google Antitrust trial. And it sounds like the slant in here or the different perspectives, the different angles, it’s like, okay, this user engagement data and user data generally are influencing, at least we could say rankings and SERP makeup and so on. But there is a directional or a major push to get AI driven systems to have more weight on those to determine like rankings and so on. Because as they grow in sophistication, you don’t need as much training data. They’re able to look at connections among data sets and different possible URLs and maybe better assess what is quality versus what is not. And perhaps there’s like, I’m sure there’s some kind of balancing signal, but traditionally it just makes sense to me intuitively. Let’s go to first principles or reverse engineer. If you were going to make a search engine, how would you decide what should get to rank first? And early days it was links and so on. But I think you’d also use that engagement data because from like a measurement standpoint, right? Scroll data, click data, dwell time links. Certainly then you start to get into some of the semantic analysis and some of the more advanced kind of features. But yeah, I don’t know. It’s very interesting.

Ray Sawvell: And this is also like relatively older news. Now, I think this was officially confirmed maybe three weeks ago. So it’s not like the latest news, but it’s definitely interesting. And I think it’s just worth noting because it really solidifies that user engagement metrics are important and some people are still skeptical of that. But I don’t think there’s any reason to be skeptical of that anymore. We know for a fact now that user engagement is important, for sure.

Ben Page: Yeah. Any other takeaways on this, Blake, I mean, is there anything that you would do differently as far as SEO strategy knowing mean, does it make you pay more attention to meta titles? But then we have the whole thing of like Google rewriting meta titles.

Ray Sawvell: Yeah.

Ben Page: So it’s kind of squirrely.

Ray Sawvell: Yeah, actually that’s a good point. So click through rate optimization, I mean, still write quality title tags and meta descriptions. I do think that they’re important. They’ve always been important, meta descriptions less so. But obviously Google rewrites them. So it makes measuring those things really, really difficult because you don’t actually know what’s displaying in SERPS. I remember doing tests a while ago and being like, okay, when this metascript or this title tag was live, we had an X click through rate and then this title was live, we had y click through rate and you could compare, but now you don’t actually know what’s displaying anymore. So it makes it really challenging. But I think it’s just important to keep that top of mind and I think most SEOs are, but it just kind of reinforces that.

Ben Page: Yeah. And it’s almost, what if you go a level higher and you think about the SERP globally and you think about click through rate globally? So not just like the reason I’m saying this, Blake, is I’m thinking about instances where we’ve optimized for featured snippets and then watching the data after you reclaim or win a featured snippet for the first time. It’s like maybe for months we were moving the organic blue link up, just ratcheting up one position, two positions, and maybe marginal gains and organic impressions, clicks, et cetera. But it’s like if all of a sudden you win a featured snippet and it’s just like tripled, like overnight, it’s just like dramatic. Maybe the click through rate optimization piece is while taking into account all zero click SERPs and all SERP features and blue links. And maybe it’s just that the importance of that meta title is maybe a little bit lessened compared to some of the other and newer ways that we can gain visibility in the SERP.

Ray Sawvell: Yeah, Google doesn’t want to rely on any one thing too much because then of course, and we already talked about it’ll be game, it’ll be manipulated, it’ll be spammed or whatever. So they’re trying like passage indexing as an example, which is essentially when Google indexes sort of like a single bit of content and you might rank in a featured snippet because this one paragraph explains this answers a question extremely well. And so yeah, I agree with you. It’s the sum of all the things. It’s the sum of all the parts that will ultimately improve your organic visibility.

Ben Page: Which headline would you like to discuss?

Ben Page: Yeah, I thought one of the interesting things, just looking at performance Max in general and how to look at scaling those campaigns, especially since the provenance of those campaigns has increased over the last year or so, and on average, it’s still pretty much a black box. So I think we found a search engine land article where it’s kind of discussing different ways on how you can look at performance max campaigns to kind of lift a lid on that black box a little bit to help kind of scale growth. So some of the biggest call outs from that article is that it’s still very much a black box, but there are several strategies that you can put in place to help scale these types of campaigns. And a lot of it is focusing on general marketing principles like getting the right message in front of the right person, along with having the highest quality data possible, especially if you’re like a lead gen client, like having qualified conversions that you’re optimizing for. So I just thought this article did put together some pretty good talking points when it came to optimizing for very specific data points, along with trying to lift that black box as much as possible.

Ben Page: Yeah, interesting. I’m reading through it now and the headline is lifting the lid on Google’s black box to find growth proven tactics to uncover the blind spots, performance Max, CPC inflation and affiliate growth. This one is a sponsored article by Athena. Yeah, and we’ve seen over time more data becoming available. Now we can see performance at the asset group level, which is pretty cool. What are some of the other aspects, Ray, that we’ve seen enhanced as far as like reporting?

Ben Page: Now you can see search term details in PMAx which you weren’t able to see before. So you have a lot more control as to what’s actually delivering within your PMAX campaigns. You can also add brand exclusions within your PMAX campaigns which before PMAx was again Black box where you couldn’t really control what you were exactly delivering on. So we have a little bit more control there. I think one of my general thoughts when it comes to this article is they’re really pushing PMAX. And again, Benny said it’s a sponsored article by Athena, but PMAX is not suitable for every advertiser. In my opinion, this is one campaign that you really need to probably meter your strategy and start small and then grow based on the results that you’re seeing. But I think PMAx can be good, but it can also be like a double edged sword where it’s going to deliver a bunch of volume. Also most likely a lot of conversion. But you really need to keep an eye on it as it starts to learn and starts to scale.

Ben Page: Yeah, it’s interesting. One of the areas I’m still a little frustrated by is if you segment by network and I think it still shows multi-network, is that the name of it? And it just lumps all the delivery into that box. You can’t tell easily. I think there are some scripts that are trying to get to the core of this or through the API. There are some ways to break out reporting on this, but getting delivery by networks, you can tell. Great. I spent five grand on PMAX. How much of that was shopping, how much display, how much Gmail, how much search? Because I think there are. PMAX is great for liquidity and delivery and especially if you have scale, like if you have budget and so on and conversion volume at scale, it can be a win for you, especially if you’re doing asset group segmentation and creative properly. But how does it compare to still having network specific campaigns broken out separately where you can control things like targeting and so on a little bit more, in a more nuanced way, more targeted way? Yeah. Interesting.

Ray Sawvell: Can I add that I think it’s as kind of like a PPC outsider, someone who knows enough but still looking in. I’m shocked that you guys don’t have that level of data with all the money that’s being spent on Google. I think it’s actually kind of scary that Google is hiding it and they’re keeping it a black box because there’s just so many ad dollars being spent there and it blows my mind. This is how I always feel in the SEO side because they give us very little information.

Ben Page: Take your crumbs and scramble.

Ray Sawvell: So you guys are kind of stepping into my world a little bit and there’s just unknowns, whereas usually there are very few unknowns on the PPC side. It’s kind of amazing to me.

Ben Page: Yeah, I mean, my opinion is Google’s trying to lower that barrier to entry with PMAX, where any advertiser technically can launch a PMAX campaign and probably can get some level of results. But there’s also a huge opportunity to lead to a bunch of. So, like, if you have a limited budget, you’re probably not going to over-index in PMAx, but there’s just so much volume that’s available in that campaign type. And if you can crack the code and see some value from it, there’s so much scale that you can put behind it, but it’s still just very much a black box.

Ben Page: Yeah, and the key is to have your data aligned so that you’re optimizing for a qualified sale or lead objective. Otherwise it can create like a doom loop of oh great, we got a conversion. Find more like that conversion, conversion. And then you find out 90% of your leads are junk. And so it’s so crucial to feed it the appropriate signals and to kind of monitor as well. But I think probably PMAX just becomes more important with time, whether it keeps the name PMAx or not. I could see Google continuing to consolidate there. I mean, we see a similar thing Blake on Meta with advantage plus campaigns and automation consolidation. And it’s like there are definite pros and cons. Like, yeah, the scale, the convenience, but depending on the sophistication of your data, your ad budget and so on, that’s where it can get tricky. I don’t know if it’s the best tool for all, but it certainly is growing in importance and I don’t think that’s going to slow down, especially with SGE. I think there have been some announcements we can dig into another time related to more and more generative AI features getting rolled into the Google Ads experience, and I expect that will only accelerate in 2024. So hopefully, squad, we got to wrap things up for today, but hopefully, this has been enlightening. We covered several hot and recent articles in search engine marketing. So again, shout out to us with any questions and just reflect on how you can use these headlines and takeaways for your own digital marketing growth. Thanks for listening.

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