Digital Marketing Roundup – October 2019

SocialB Digital Marketing Blog Last modified: 01 Nov 2019 by Paul Hogg
Digital Roundup

What Happened?

  1. Google Released New Algorithm Update ‘BERT’
  2. Google Merchant Center Updates Are Out Right Before Holiday Season Starts
  3. Google Trials the Removal of URL’s from SERP’s

Google Released New Algorithm Update ‘BERT’

Set to impact 1 in 10 searches (approximately 560 million out of 5.6 billion per day), Google’s new ‘BERT’ update is set to change the search space in a major way and change the way marketers do SEO…

…or is it?

BERT (or Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers if you’re a fan of long words) is Google’s next step in neural network-based technology for processing language.

While this may seem like developer jargon on the face of it, this is actually pretty significant. Perhaps it is best understood as an example from Google itself:

Before, if you searched for “2019 brazil traveler to usa need a visa”, Google would return results for someone located in the USA looking to travel to Brazil. Now, post-BERT, Google is able to put the ‘to’ in this sentence into context and understand that it’s some FROM Brazil looking to travel TO THE USA.

What this means for businesses

This really does come back to user intent. If you’ve hired an SEO agency to rank your website and they’ve been more focused on satisfying the search engines than the searcher’s problem, then this could be seriously affected by this new update.

With each new improvement, Google is better able to understand the searcher’s intent through the language they use, and BERT is another major step forward in this mission.

Remember: focus on the searcher, not the engine. Create the best content to possibly can to leave them with a solution to their query, but don’t completely blow-off SEO practices, many are still essential (including keyword research).


Google Merchant Center Updates Are Out Right Before Holiday Season Starts

Google recently announced new and updated features for Google Merchant Center, mainly aiming to simplify the process of getting your product information on Google properties. Which will make a huge difference for businesses especially during the holiday season.

  1. Businesses can now choose to let Merchant Center crawl their websites to get necessary data for automated feeds. And this crawled data will be refreshed regularly according to the traffic your website gets from Google. You can even use supplemental feeds with the automated ones for extra information.
  2. Now there is an automatic removal tool in Merchant Center, this is for Google to try to automatically delete the promotional text in your product images.
  3. From now on merchants (currently available in the U.S. and India) can opt-in to show their products across Google platforms, like rich product results and Google Images, besides Google Shopping.
  4. Businesses that are active in multiple countries can use a multi-country feed. Even though this is not a new feature, it used to be only available for 37 countries, currently it’s available in 95 countries!

These features definitely seem promising. It will be interesting to see how much they help in the upcoming hectic holiday season.


Google Trials the Removal of URLs from SERPs

Google recently decided to test the complete removal or URLs from the search results page.

Google wanted to focus on displaying only the title, description and breadcrumbs, giving the SERP a different look than what we’re used to.

Google search results page

These types of updates can affect a websites click-through rate – don’t panic though, Google are monitoring this closely and is unlikely to make this change permanent if this negatively affects websites.

This is, however, a clue that we may be looking at the end of URLs in the search results page.

If you become one of the lucky testers to view your SERP in this format, make the most of it and do some research on your products and services and maybe your competitors!

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