Keeping up with all the latest digital marketing headlines feels nearly impossible, which is why we include a news roundup segment in each episode of the EDGE. The latest features host Erin Sparks and Creative Studio Producer Jacob Mann along with special guest Talia Wolf, Founder and CEO of GetUplift, who helped us make sense of some of the latest stories. Here’s the news roundup from Episode 336 of the award-winning EDGE of the Web podcast: 


Google search quality guidelines update emphasizes users of diverse backgrounds

From George Nguyen on Search Engine Land we learn that Google search quality guidelines update emphasizes users of diverse backgrounds. Evaluators are reminded not to base ratings on personal viewpoints. Google’s search quality evaluator guidelines were updated on Thursday, December 5. The revisions emphasized diversity, impartiality and pertained to language referring to users. The guidelines are now prefaced by an introduction explaining why people conduct searches and the ways in which they perform them.

  • Erin Sparks: Talia, you talk about landing pages and emotional connection and personal connections whenever you’re trying to convince people into a funnel. Google is asking its evaluators to basically not use their personal emotional biases. Don’t you steer people directly in the opposite direction?
  • Talia Wolf: Yes, it sounds more like Google trying to cover its you-know-what. I mean, come on, we are navigated. I mean, we’re steered by hundreds of cognitive biases. We’re not even aware of the choices that we’re making. Everything we do, every step we take, every decision we make is navigated by our experiences, our culture, our history, and it happens without us even being aware of it. And even when we think we’re aware of our biases, we immediately rationalize them. Google is just trying to jump on the diversity bandwagon because it’s the cool thing to do. What Google is not doing is the work of making sure they push up content that comes from diverse people, not just what some are paying to have pushed to the top. 
  • Erin Sparks: With the 2020 presidential election coming up, maybe they’re trying to get evaluators to steer clear of political biases.
  • Talia Wolf: They’re trying to avoid a Facebook situation, but how are they going to enforce it? Twitter made the better choice to just ban political advertising. Like Facebook, Google is trying to look like they’re doing the right thing without actually doing anything at all. Trying to remove all the biases people have is impossible.


Google is Working on Adding Package Tracking to Search Results

According to Matt Southern on Search Engine Journal, Google is Working on Adding Package Tracking to Search Results. Google is working on integrating package tracking into search results, allowing users to get information without visiting the carrier’s site.

  • Erin Sparks: If Google ads package tracking right into its search results, this is just another way they’re bypassing business websites altogether, in this case the carrier websites. The package tracking feature will even give you the progress/timeline of the package.
  • Talia Wolf: This is outrageous. Of course it’s useful and practical for users, but what about the companies who have spent years building high-quality content and ranking for it? What’s going to happen to these businesses when they lose all their traffic? When traffic goes down, conversions go down. What choice will those companies have but to pay more money Google for paid search exposure? It feels like Google is turning itself into its own landing page for everything. 
  • Erin Sparks: But it’s all in the name of making things easier and better for users, right?
  • Talia Wolf: But it’s only a half-truth! Google pushes publishers to create good content tht brings value to users, but then takes all your traffic away by providing everything users need right inside of search results, so what choice do you have but spend more on paid search?


Google Encourages to Differentiate Your Site

On Search Engine Journal, Roger Montti reports how Google Encourages to Differentiate Your Site. A publisher tweeted a question to Google’s John Mueller about commodity content. John Mueller’s response gave the general direction of what to do when your site content is the same as the content on competitor sites.

  • Erin Sparks: Mueller says even if you have to present information on your site that’s going to be largely the same as content on other sites, you still have to find a way to differentiate your site.
  • Talia Wolf: Yes, there is a point to made here. If the only difference between competing sites for a product is price or a couple minor features, then there’s not a strong value proposition for one over the other, which means whoever offers the lower price will win the game. But if you can show how you solve some aspect of the consumer’s problem that the competition doesn’t solve, then you win. It’s about how well you know the pain of your customers and can relate to them by knowing them so well.

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