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Daily Search Forum Recap: May 13, 2022

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Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.


Google Search Console added a new search appearance filter for “translated results” in the performance report. Google will add a new indexing report in Search Console for video page indexing. Google posted its I/O presentation on Google Search for site owners. Google launched a new popular destinations search carousel for Google Travel. Microsoft Bing has a new top rated tutors carousel that leads to Microsoft’s TakeLessons. And I posted the weekly SEO video recap – have a good weekend.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Other Search

Feedback:


Have feedback on this daily recap; let me know on Twitter @rustybrick or @seroundtable, you can follow us on Facebook and make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or just contact us the old fashion way.





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Meta Brings Transparency To Electoral & Political Ads

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Meta Brings Transparency To Electoral & Political Ads


With the midterm elections upon us, consumers in the United States (and around the world) are calling upon social platforms for transparency.

Combating misinformation sharing is an uphill battle.

Meta (formerly Facebook) responded to consumer concerns with an announcement of updates to its ad transparency tools.

Jeff King, VP of Business Integrity at Meta, introduced new measures for better ad transparency to the following tools:

  • Facebook Open Research and Transparency (FORT) tool
  • Facebook Ad Library

Specifically, the ad types that will be affected include:

  • Social issues
  • Electoral
  • Political

Updates to these tools will be available to all countries that currently have Meta’s ad authorization and disclaimer tools available.

While these updates are driven by consumer feedback, there will be an impact on advertisers. Let’s dive into the changes and how advertisers can prepare.

Facebook Open Research and Transparency (FORT) Tool

The Facebook Open Research and Transparency (known as FORT moving forward) tool is not available to the public, but to vetted academic researchers.

First launched on January 11, 2022, the goal was to provide a tool for researchers to understand Meta’s impact on society.

The tool is a cloud-based research platform that is cost-efficient, flexible for researchers, and secure when it comes to storing data. 

Starting at the end of May, the FORT environment will include detailed ad targeting information (such as interest categories) for social issues, electoral, and political ads.

Detailed targeting information will be available at the ad level for affected ads.

Facebook Ad Library Changes

The Facebook Ad Library, in contrast, is available to the general public. 

Updates to the Ad Library will be available July 2022. If your ads fall into one of the three categories above, consumers will now be able to see the following:

  • Summary of targeting information for each affected ad
    • Location
    • Demographics
    • Interests
  • Total number of targeted ads in the three categories a Page has ran
  • Percentage of ad spend on social issue, political, or electoral ads
  • Whether a Page used Custom audiences
  • Whether a Page used Lookalike audiences

What This Means For Advertisers

It’s no secret that Meta is cracking down on detailed targeting.

While you still have the ability to target by demographics such as age, gender, and location, you may see a lot more ads disapproved depending on the ad content.

Even if your ads don’t directly fit into social issues, electoral, or political categories, you may still be affected moving forward.

If you feel like all hope is lost for Meta audience targeting, don’t fret! Below are a few tips and tools to try out.

#1: Start With Broader Targeting

Even if you know exactly who your target market is, you may not be able to use demographics in the same ways you used to.

A tip for wider reach and awareness is to create a large “interests” category that’s not separated out by demographics.

You may see an initial higher CPA while in the learning phase, but it often doesn’t take long for Meta’s algorithm to find your highest quality targets.

#2: Use Remarketing To Your Advantage

If you’re starting with broad targeting (above), keep track of folks who are engaging with your ads!

Quick video ads are a way to gain awareness, but did you know you can create remarketing lists from people who engage?

If you don’t have video content, try creating a remarketing list of people who have previously engaged with your page.

This takes the demographic targeting out of your ads, and into a more qualified audience who is more likely to purchase from you.

#3: Use Custom Audiences

While users will now be able to see whether you’ve used Custom or Lookalike Audiences, this is less likely to phase them if they are a past customer, for example.

As long as you’re populating these lists from first-party data, you shouldn’t have an issue with getting ads approved.


Source: Meta

Featured Image: Tada Images/Shutterstock





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Google Ads Adds Audience Targeting & Reporting Features

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Google Ads Adds Audience Targeting & Reporting Features


Google Ads emailed some advertisers earlier this week about three new audience targeting and reporting features. Here is what is new:

(1) You can now reuse your audiences across campaign types in Google Ads. Google said when building an audience for use in a campaign, you will notice that it will be saved for use again in the next time you run a new campaign. This feature has been in Performance Max and soon will also come to Discovery, Video Action and App campaigns.

(2) A new simplified view of your audience reporting is live, where Google Ads consolidates the detailed reporting across demographics, audience segments, and exclusions under a single “audience” tab. You can access this Audience tab on the left page navigation menu.

(3) Audience type name changes are live in your Google Ads audience reports and console. An example is that “audience types” are now referred to as “audience segments.” Also “Remarketing” is now referred to as “your data.”

Here is the email PPCGreg shared about this on Twitter, in which Ginny Marvin from Google responded saying “You may have seen the first two updates in some accounts. The ability to reuse audiences will be expanding to more campaign types in the coming months. And, you may be aware, but cross-account segment sharing from your manager account might be helpful.”

Forum discussion at Twitter.





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10 Must-Know SEO Basics For Web Developers

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10 Must-Know SEO Basics For Web Developers


You know the struggle… you just need these four or five tickets taken care of and it would mean so much to your SEO goals for the month.

But how do you get your web developers on board?

How can you help them understand the urgency of your SEO needs when they have so many other competing priorities on their plate?

Fifteen years ago, I could do about 90% of my SEO work for a given client myself.

Those days are gone. SEO now relies on content creation, UX, code development, IT, various layers/levels of approvals, and more.

I have written many times about how SEO can’t be done in a silo and am happy it’s a discipline that now focuses more on alignment for creating a quality experience for website visitors.

Over my career, there has always been a need for the support of web developers.

That meant going down the hall in my agency or working with a third-party developer contracted or employed by my clients.

In either case, getting buy-in and support from web development is critical for SEO.

Even better is when developers have an understanding of SEO principles.

It is much more efficient if developers know the basics and factor them into their builds and site maintenance, avoiding any re-work later.

Check out the 10 must-know SEO basics for web developers and some focus group discussions with my teams of SEO specialists and developers as well.

1. Security

Website security matters to the search engines.

Make sure you have an SSL in place and without any errors.

That’s the starting point.

Beyond that, have the necessary safeguards to ensure the site has no vulnerabilities that allow for an injection, manipulated content, etc.

Getting hacked at any level hurts user experience and trust signals for users and search engines.

However, be mindful of site speed (more to come on that) when you secure the site with any plugins, extensions, or tools.

2. Response Codes

Server response codes matter.

Often there are ways to get a page to render for a user and unique UX designs that prompt some creative dev implementations.

Regardless, make sure pages are rendering 200 server codes.

Source and update any 3xx or 4xx codes. If you don’t need redirects, remove them.

3. Redirects

Speaking of redirects, they are a critical part of the website migration and launch process coming from an old site to a new one.

If you don’t do anything else in your launch process, at least implement redirects.

We’re talking about making sure all URLs from the old site have a 301 redirect to the most relevant subject matter page on the new site.

This could be 1:1 old site to new site pages or many to one if you are streamlining and updating content structure.

Like with server codes above, don’t trust a page is rendering and assume it is ok.

Use tools to validate that redirects are 301s.

4. Robots.txt

Nothing matters in SEO if the site can’t get indexed and shown in search results.

Don’t let the robots.txt file be an afterthought.

Sometimes default commands are too open and, in other cases, too restrictive.

Know what’s in the robots.txt.

Don’t blindly push the staging file to production without checking it.

Several sites with great migration and launch plans have been foiled by a disallow all command from staging (to keep the dev site from being indexed) that was pushed to the live site.

Also, consider blocking low-value items like tag pages, comments pages, and any other variations your CMS creates

You’ll usually need to consider a lot of low-value junk and if you can’t keep the pages from generating, at least block them from indexing.

5. Sitemaps

XML sitemaps are our chance to ensure the search engines know about all of our pages.

Don’t waste resources and opportunities letting images, insignificant pages, and things that shouldn’t be prioritized for focus and indexing.

Ensure all pages listed in XML sitemaps render a 200 server code.

Keep them clean and free of 404s, redirects, and anything that isn’t the destination page.

6. URLs

Good URLs are concise, include words relevant to the page’s subject matter, are lower case, and have no characters, spaces, or underscores.

I love to see a URL structure of sub-folder and pages that match the content hierarchy in the navigation and site structure.

Three levels down?

Then “example.com/level-1/level-2/topical-page.”

7. Mobile Friendly

Again, remember that just because something works or looks good in a browser doesn’t mean it is ideal for a search engine.

Mobile-friendliness is important to search.

Validate it with Google’s mobile-friendly tool.

Make sure it passes.

Beyond that, think about the content rendered in the mobile version.

Google uses “mobile first” indexing.

That means they are looking at the mobile version of the site.

If you’re hiding or not rendering important content that you want search engines to consider in the mobile version for UX considerations, think twice and know that the content may be missing from what Google sees.

8. Site Speed

This is number eight on the list but possibly the most important after ensuring your site can be indexed.

Site speed is important.

Slow page loads and sites hurt UX and conversion rates.

They also have an impact on SEO performance.

There’s not a single set of ways to optimize site speed.

It really comes down to keeping your code light, being judicious in using plugins or extensions, having an optimized hosting environment, compressing and minifying JS and CSS, and keeping image sizes under control.

Any code, files, and aspects that can cause shifts in performance or instability are a risk.

Build in any safeguards for content management controls so a 10MB image can’t be uploaded and tank a page. Or a plugin update goes undetected in how it slows down things.

Baseline, monitor, and improve site speed on an ongoing basis.

My Lead Developer’s favorite tool is web.dev or Lighthouse in the Google Chrome browser dev tools.

9. Heading Tags

Heading tags are great context clues for search engines.

Keep in mind they are for content and not CSS shortcuts.

Yes, tie your CSS to them, but keep them in order of importance.

Don’t have the first, biggest page heading as an H5 and subheadings on a page as H1s.

There’s plenty of commentary on the impact (or not) of headings on SEO performance.

I’m not going there in this article.

Just be as literal as you can in the hierarchy and how they’re used.

Use them where you can instead of other CSS.

Have just one H1 on a page if you can.

Work with your SEO resources to understand the plan for headings and on-page content overall.

10. Content Management & Dynamic Content

As noted above, CMS functionality can wreck the best dev implementations.

Be smart about the control you give.

Understand the site’s ongoing content plan and needs so content creators have the control they want and need but can’t wreck site speed or any of the SEO on-page elements.

Having as many dynamic aspects like tagging, XML sitemap generation, redirects, and more can save you time and safeguard your site and code to keep everything stable.

Conclusion

The intersection and collaboration between SEO professionals and web developers are important.

SEO relies on best practices for technical SEO and other things like enterprise scaling of on-page items.

Developers understanding SEO basics can go a long way toward successful collaboration and SEO performance.

Plus, it can make for more efficient website development work and the need for less re-work or “SEO-specific” updates and requests.

More resources: 


Featured Image: baranq/Shutterstock





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