Here at the EDGE, we understand how hard it can be to keep up with the digital marketing headlines. This is why we include a news roundup segment in each episode of our award-winning podcast. The latest features host Erin Sparks and Creative Studio Producer Jacob Mann along with special guest Andy Drinkwater of IQ SEO. Here’s the news roundup from Episode 329 of the EDGE of the Web podcast: 


If Google says H1s don’t matter for rankings, why should you use them?

From George Nguyen on Search Engine Land we explore the following: If Google says H1s don’t matter for rankings, why should you use them? Here’s why. Google’s John Mueller put it this way: “Our systems aren’t too picky and we’ll try to work with the HTML as we find it — be it one H1 heading, multiple H1 headings or just styled pieces of text without semantic HTML at all.” But then Hamlet Batista, CEO and founder of RankSense says, “It is naive to think that Google completely ignores the H1 tag. I’ve seen H1s used in place of title tags in the SERPs. So, it is a good idea to make the H1 the key topic of the page; in case this happens, you have a reasonably good headline.” Batista added that having multiple H1s may provide less control of what text could appear in the search results if the H1 is used instead of the title.

  • Erin Sparks: Andy, what do you think about this ongoing H1 debate?
  • Andy Drinkwater: I don’t always take what Google says at face value. There’s been an awful lot of testing showing H1s do make a difference. And it might not be that you’re going to put an H1 on a page and suddenly you’re going to jump to position 1 from position 90 for a search term that’s got like 85,000 monthly searches. But it does make a difference. It also helps keep your pages clean as well.
  • Erin Sparks: We’re all scratching our heads around here because literally many of our SEO tools are all dialed into missing H1s as a key factor, or deduplication as a key factor of technical SEO strategy. We are a bit aghast over here on this side of the pond. I’m sure that what they were really leaning into was the fact that there’s a deeper semantic analysis that’s happening, as opposed to the fact that they’re not paying attention to H1s at all.


More consumers willing to share data when there’s transparency

According to Robert Williams on Marketing Dive, More consumers willing to share data when there’s transparency. Accenture Interactive has a new report out: Consumers want to know more about how brands are using personal data. The portion of consumers who said they’re willing to share more when brands are transparent rose to 73% this year from 66% in 2018.

  • Erin Sparks: For the most part, however, consumers really don’t want to share personal information for the purpose of marketers personalizing ads to them. People have been pushing back hard against the personalization of ads. After all, it’s been drummed into our heads to be worried about data breaches and the constant threat of identity theft.
  • Andy Drinkwater: It’s about the horror stories you hear in the press. For every 100,000 sites doing nothing bad with your data, there’s always going to be that one horror story in the press that sticks in people’s minds. Those sorts of things are always going to make people wary. I don’t think this is ever going to be something that’s going to be an easy one to get past people. I think more transparency about how personal data is used is generally good, but it can also work against you. There are plenty of people who really don’t want you to share all that with them because it feels like information overkill to them.
  • Erin Sparks: And if you’re fully transparent about what you collect and how you use it, another whole set of consumers will just be shocked to learn how much is being collected about them, regardless of what it’s used for.
  • Andy Drinkwater: When you search for something on Google and all of a sudden an ad turns up in your Facebook, it can be disconcerting to many people. And conspiracy theorists are tapping away on their blogs. 
  • Erin Sparks: My wife and I just went on a cruise for our 20th wedding anniversary. After the cruise we flew home and no sooner had we stepped off the plane than she had an email message about a hangover cure! How did they know to send that?
  • Jacob Mann: Probably just based on the fact you had been on a cruise and that people tend to have plenty of drinks on a cruise.


Google Ads is Testing New Lead Form Extensions

On Search Engine Journal, Matt Southern reports Google Ads is Testing New Lead Form Extensions. Google Ads is testing a new way for businesses to capture customer information with lead form extensions. It’s designed to attract customers with a compelling call-to-action, in this case a special offer, which can only be accessed after filling out a lead form. Advertisers can customize lead forms with their own title and description, and indicate which pieces of information they want to ask customers for.

  • Erin Sparks: So here it is. Now we’re allowing Google to capture the leads for us. They’re not coming to our websites to fill out our forms. They’re not coming to our landing pages. We’re literally allowing lead data to stay in the Google Ads space for the benefit of the consumers, obviously. Andy, what do you think about them apples?.
  • Andy Drinkwater: There’s more and more discussion about Google trying to be the ONE thing you need. You don’t need to go to websites. They gather everything and they display it for you, and this is just another example. It does make you wonder how far is this all going to go? There are people out there who are genuinely shocked about the way this is moving. It’s great that Google just wants to deliver the information people want. But will there come a point when none of us need to have our own actual websites? I am not a fan of letting Google handle all lead collection. I don’t even really like PPC because I much prefer organic. How much of all this can Google take over?

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