Host Erin Sparks and Studio Creative Director Jacob Mann along with Mordy Oberstein, Wix’s SEO Liaison, pick apart digital marketing and SEO headlines this week, including updates to Google’s algorithm and Search Console. Oh, and Google may be in more legal trouble for giving favor to their own ads over others. We also talk about Core Web Vitals ahead of the big May 2021 update. Get the news you can use in this week’s news roundup, episode 410 of the award-winning EDGE of the Web podcast!


Google Announced Product Reviews Algorithm Update

Barry Schwartz covered the new Product Reviews algorithm update for Search Engine Land, and we suspect it’s aimed at all those affiliate links websites are including in their reviews these days. Google has provided more stringent criteria for product reviews as a result.

  • Mordy Oberstein: “If you pay attention to this trend, overall, Google’s telling you ‘we want content that’s highly authoritative, highly nuanced, highly relevant, highly targeted. Versus that top level content. Obviously there are cases where that doesn’t apply, but as a general sort of direction of things.”
  • Erin Sparks: “You’re absolutely right. We remember the comment spam of yesteryear. A bunch of junk in a website’s reviews or commentary. And this sounds very similar. There was an optimization tactic for getting product reviews on a regular basis, onsite and offsite. And in what we’re seeing here is they’re wanting more substantial content. 
  • Erin Sparks: “Here’s some of the things that they’re actually measuring. Google recommends your product reviews cover these areas and answer these questions: Express expert knowledge about products where appropriate. Show what the product is physically or how it is used with unique content beyond what’s provided by the manufacturer. Provide quantitative measurements on how a product measures up in various categories of performance. Explain what sets a product apart from its competitors.”


Google Launches Two Improvements To Search Console

Finally! Site owners can now filter data in Search Console by regex (regular expression). They’ve also improved comparison modes, which brings a tear to our eye. Matt Southern reports on the new changes over at Search Engine Journal.

  • Erin Sparks:  “Site owners can actually compare the comparison mode in search console to answer comparison-based questions; up until now the table wouldn’t contain a comparison column with a relative difference in percentage if more than one metric was actually selected. So you can actually now compare two different queries in the same table and be able to see how well one particular pursuit is actually going as opposed to the other. And I had a tear in my eye, actually, as I was looking at, I really did.”
  • Mordy Oberstein: “Things that make you cry.” 
  • Erin Sparks: “It’s a twisted world out there, but it’s great to be able to see that because now you can actually put a good number of different pursuit vectors in there; see how your multi-pronged attack of different types of campaigns are going. And on top of that, you can also pull that data down. So you now have a full export of that comparison data. Right?”
  • Mordy Oberstein: “Right. So now you see up 20% down toward whatever it is.”
  • Erin Sparks: “Yep. Yep. Yeah. But you can also chew on that and be able to pull that into your own CSV.”


Antitrust lawsuit claims Google gamed its ad system to the tune of $213 million

Using a program referred to as “Bernanke” in-house, Google allegedly gave favor to its own ads over rivals. The Wall Street Journal reports that Google failed to redact the information during its initial legal filing. Apple Insider reports that Google allegedly used historical bid data to pay less money to ad publishers by “massaging” the bids of its clients.

  • Erin Sparks: “They actually saw that, in 2013, Project Bernanke was anticipated in their internal memorandum to generate $230, ‘three – zero,’ million in revenue for that year alone. Wow. Just because you did not redact things correctly in the filing as you’re actually going into an antitrust suit from multiple State Attorney Generals. Hey, Mordy, you want to touch this with a 10-foot cattle prod?”
  • Mordy Oberstein: “No…”
  • Jacob Mann: “I’m Googling ‘lawyers near me’”
  • Erin Sparks: “Oh my Lord…”
  • Mordy Oberstein: “That’s funny.”


How Often Will Core Web Vitals Ranking Factor Be Calculated?

As Core Web Vitals crest over the horizon, expected to affect rankings in May 2021, John Mueller answered a question regarding how CWV will factor into the algorithm. As of right now, Search Engine Journal reports that CWV may be evaluated every 28 days. Mordy and Erin suggest an alternative idea, in case anyone at Google is listening in.

  • Mordy Oberstein: “It would be cool to almost have a URL inspection tool you can refresh. Submit it again, ‘Hey, you know, I made a change. Why don’t you reset the clock, Google’ and have a look again. 
  • Erin Sparks: “That would be a great idea. Just like we have a reindex request regularly and they have a cap on how many times you can actually request that over a day; do the same thing.”
  • Mordy Oberstein: “I’m full of great ideas.”
  • Erin Sparks: “Google, if you’re listening to us, please take that idea. And don’t lambast us for the previous article. How about that? Sounds like a plan.”