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News from Episode 309

By Site Strategics
April 17, 2019

Your Digital Marketing News Roundup with Site Strategics

This week’s digital marketing news from Site Strategics CEO Erin Sparks and Digital Media Director Tom Brodbeck kicked off the latest episode of their award-winning EDGE of the Web podcast. Episode 309 featured special guest Moz Senior SEO Scientist Britney Muller, who brought her perspective to the latest trending news:

Ahrefs Announces Plan for New Search Engine


According to Roger Montti on Search Engine Journal, Ahrefs CEO Dmitry Gerasimenko wants to create a new search engine – one that rewards content creators with a search revenue-sharing model. But can anyone realistically take on Google and even make a dent?

  • Erin Sparks: Dmitry feels Google’s business model for search only puts money in Google’s pockets and not the people who are creating good content, hoards visitors for itself and prevents them from visiting the content creator sites, and simply exercises too much control as a major gatekeeper around what kind of content is allowed to reach people, and shaping the content as well. Content creators shouldn’t have to go begging for money like Wikipedia has to do.
  • Britney Muller: You have to give Dmitry kudos for the rationale behind building a new search engine, but I also have to echo the concerns many people have noted. It seems like a revenue-sharing model runs the risk of quickly becoming very spammy. And where is the user perspective in all this? What’s the incentive for users? That has to be a primary driver in any new search engine. Google has such a strong foothold in the Internet of Things (IoT) and integrating into so many devices. It’s tough to compete with that.
  • Erin Sparks: It certainly is frustrating when Google does all these things with features and algorithm changes that feel like they’re pushing SEOs aside and holding down organic results. But it is their sandbox, right? The entry barriers for a new search engine are just so high.
  • Tom Brodbeck: It’s hard to imagine how a new engine could really change people’s very ingrained user habits, which naturally default to Google because of their oversized market share and influence.

Google Guarantee Local Listings Appearing in Google Home Results


As reported by Greg Sterling on Search Engine Land, right now Google Guarantee listings only appear organically in Google Home results, but it seems reasonable to expect that Google will find a way to monetize Google Home.

  • Erin Sparks: The point is that the Google Guarantee badge is different from Google Local Services ads. The badge might appear in Google Home voice search results organically, and right now Local Services ads do not appear in those Google Home results at all, but is something that is likely to happen down the line.
  • Britney Muller: This story created a lot of confusion, and the article did have some corrections made to it. There are no paid local services ads in Google Home voice search results. But the Google Gurantee badge can appear.
  • Erin Sparks: And that Google Guarantee badge is important for service providers because it actually includes a background check conducted by Pinkterton. And it’s not a quick process to go through all of that.
  • Tom Brodbeck: What this will mean is that you can use Google Home Hub (if it has a screen) to ask for a plumber, choose a result and have it make the call right from the hub to schedule an appointment. But it does kind of bypass ever going to the plumber’s website, so this is what people mean when they say Google hoards its visitors. No one has to ever leave the Google properties.

Google’s De-Indexing Issue Still Not Fully Resolved but Google is Working on it


Last week, many URLs were de-listed from Google’s index, apparently due to some kind of glitch. Then Google said it was resolved when it really wasn’t as reported by Barry Schwartz Search Engine Land. What in the world is going on?

  • Tom Brodbeck: A bunch of websites were inexplicable de-listed from Google’s index entirely, meaning they wouldn’t appear in any search results at all. This was noticed on a Thursday. Then on Saturday Google said it was resolved, but then had to walk that back because it wasn’t resolved, and as of the following Tuesday was still not fully resolved. Some of the delisted sites have reappeared in listings, but others still have not.
  • Britney Muller: Yes, there was a drop in stable rankings on Friday, April 7, a recovery on Saturday, and then another drop on Sunday. This was something like a 4% drop, which has been characterized as significant but not a catastrophe. And that was just for page 1 results.
  • Erin Sparks: People are calling it a “bug” but it feels more like a very big hammer.

Connect with Britney Muller, Senior SEO Scientist at Moz

Twitter: @BritneyMuller (https://twitter.com/britneymuller)

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/britneymuller/

Britney’s articles on Moz: https://moz.com/community/users/514135

Updated Beginner’s Guide to SEO: https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo

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