The news roundup segment in each episode of the EDGE is your chance to get expert opinion and analysis on the latest digital marketing headlines. Host Erin Sparks and Creative Studio Producer Jacob Mann were joined in-studio by special guest Joe Martinez, Director of Client Strategy for Clix Marketing. Here’s the news roundup from Episode 326 of the award-winning EDGE of the Web podcast:
Google Will Now Treat Meta Robots Nofollow as a Hint
From Roger Montti at Search Engine Journal we learn that Google Will Now Treat Meta Robots Nofollow as a Hint. Previously, the Nofollow tag was a directive that stopped a web crawler in its tracks, but now it’s treated as a hint, which means the Google crawler may or may not obey the Nofollow tag.
- Erin Sparks: So it seems like Google is saying, okay, no more hiding! Google is going to be poking around in a page where you previously directed the crawler NOT to explore the links on that page. It’s an indirect way of saying if you’ve got links you don’t want Google to explore, think again.
- Joe Martinez: The piece of it that affects the kind of PPC work I do relates to landing pages carefully crafted for your relevant search terms and keywords. Previously, you could build as many variations of a landing page as you wanted and populate each one with different relevant keywords. But now this change could be a cause for concern. We’re used to being able to target specific queries based on keywords to go to a very specific keyword-matched landing page, but if the match is no longer going to be exact, then we don’t need to do all those different variants of the landing page with their nofollow and/or no-index tags. Whether its links or indexing, though, lots of digital marketers get stressed out whenever Google adds in its own discretion. Digital marketers tend to be control freaks, so whenever there Google’s discretion is introduced, it causes anxiety.
Google Makes Big Change to Nofollow, Introduces 2 New Link Attributes
According to Matt Southern on Search Engine Journal, Google Makes Big Change to Nofollow, Introduces 2 New Link Attributes. rel=“sponsored” is for links created as part of advertising, sponsorships, etc. and rel=“ugc” is for links in user-generated content. Both will be treated as hints for links to exclude as ranking signals, as will rel=“nofollow” come March 2020.
- Erin Sparks: Before when you wanted to exclude a link from ranking signals, say perhaps because it was a link somebody paid you to put on your site, you would add a nofollow attribute tag to the link, but now you can specifically tell Google why, by using the “sponsored” attribute, or the “ugc” attribute for links in user-generated content such as forums and comments and such.
- Joe Martinez: I am completely on board with it because from the advertising perspective, from a legality standpoint, we have to call that out now. It’s nothing new from running Facebook or Instagram ads and when you’re setting up a campaign, there’s now a checkbox saying, “This ad is running alongside this company.” You can check the box and say, “This account is also a part of this advertising initiative.” And consumers want more transparency about how they’re being marketed to, so it’s all good. And it should still be really good content without being overly “salesy.”
Content Accuracy is Not a Ranking Factor
On Search Engine Land, George Nguyen reports Content accuracy is not a ranking factor. Content. Google thinks machine learning isn’t quite good enough yet at assessing content accuracy to make it a ranking factor, which is why it relies instead on various signals for topic relevance and authority.
- Erin Sparks: This is interesting because you’d think with all the emphasis lately from Google on EAT (expertise, authoritativeness, and trust) that content accuracy would be a part of that, and yet Google says it can’t measure accuracy yet.
- Joe Martinez: I’m laughing because I want accuracy as much as possible just in the world and on the internet. However, when I hear a story of someone purposely messing with a Wikipedia page just to mess with the knowledge, I laugh at that because it’s funny. When it happens over and over again and it doesn’t get corrected, then you know there’s a flaw in the system. You can be sure Google wants to consider accuracy. It’s just not quite there yet. The challenge for Google is that it wants to fix everything by adjusting algorithms, but it’s not always able to do that. Take the example of links to pedophilia content in YouTube content. Google said it would crack down on it, but the word is that it hasn’t improved much at all yet. And that’s because it’s trying to do it algorithmically through machine learning but hasn’t figured it out yet. Google will always be chasing problems and coming up with fixes, and people will keep finding ways around them. And Google faces a real challenge, too – these are problems that are not at all easy to fix.
Connect with Joe Martinez, Clix Marketing, and Paid Media Pros
Twitter: @MilwaukeePPC (https://twitter.com/MilwaukeePPC)
Instagram: @milwaukeeppc (https://www.instagram.com/milwaukeeppc/)
Clix website: http://www.clixmarketing.com
Clix Twitter: @ClixMarketing (https://twitter.com/ClixMarketing)
Clix Facebook: @ClixMarketing (https://www.facebook.com/ClixMarketing/)
PMP YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/PaidMediaPros
PMP Facebook: @PadMediaPros (https://www.facebook.com/PaidMediaPros/)
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