Week of December 21 Digital Marketing News Roundup with Mordy Oberstein
We had such a great digital marketing news roundup last week with special guest Mordy Oberstein, Wix’s SEO Liaison, that we brought him back in again to discuss this week’s news! Host Erin Sparks and Creative Studio Producer Jacob Mann covered some great headlines this time around, so enjoy reading about this week’s news roundup from the award-winning EDGE of the Web podcast:
Google Temporarily Disables Issue Validation in Search Console
From Barry Schwartz on Search Engine Land we learn that Google Temporarily Disables Issue Validation in Search Console. Google has temporarily disabled yet another feature in Google Search Console, the issue validation function is currently disabled. Google said it is “temporarily disabled due to upcoming changes in the report.” There is no estimated time for when it will be fixed.
- Erin Sparks: So Google Search Console (GSC) previously disable one important tool, the Request Indexing tool, and it’s still not available, although Google’s John Mueller said they’d have it back by the end of the year. Now we’ve got the Issue Validation tool disabled.
- Mordy Oberstein: It’s weird because it makes you wonder what’s going on over there at Google. They’ve been working on aspects of GSC for a long time now, but these tools related to crawling are important and having them disabled leaves people trying to figure out workarounds and using other tools.
- Erin Sparks: And maybe it wouldn’t be a big deal except that we SEOs have come to rely heavily on these tools, and then they get taken away and it’s frustrating.
- Mordy Oberstein: I was just working on a new site and screwed some things up with it just as Google decided to crawl it, and I had blocked the crawling so that ended up being a real mess for like two months or something ridiculous that the site wasn’t indexed.
Google to Move the Structured Data Testing Tool to Schema.org
Another headline covered on Search Engine Land by our pal Barry Schwartz is this one: Google to move the Structured Data testing tool to schema.org. After the SEO backlash around Google announcing it would deprecate the tool, Google decided to migrate it instead.
- Erin Sparks: Apparently Google was just going to ditch the tool entirely and just go with their Rich Results tool, but the SEO community was so upset that Google decided to keep it around but move it over to schema.org.
- Mordy Oberstein: This was a real controversy because Rich Results are great, but it doesn’t get the job done around structured data needs and we need that structured data testing tool to easily see where the errors are and so on.
- Erin Sparks: Yes, structured data is so important and that structured data testing tool is a very practical tool that lets you see what’s going on with structured data.
Google accused of colluding with Facebook and abusing monopoly power in new lawsuit
And to make it a perfect trifecta, we have a third story from Search Engine Land, but this time it comes from George Nguyen who reports Google accused of colluding with Facebook and abusing monopoly power in new lawsuit. Ten state attorneys general filed a lawsuit against Google on Wednesday, alleging that the company has illegally used its monopoly over the online advertising sector to force out competition via a range of exclusionary tactics.
- Erin Sparks: It’s no surprise that Google dominates the online advertising space, but the question is what is Google doing to maintain that dominance? How is it actively exercising its monopoly power to exclude the competition. And what’s the sketchy deal they made with Facebook back in 2017? Facebook was opening up the Facebook Audience Network to header bidding platforms as an alternative to Google, but Google got them to pull back on that in exchange for some perks like information, speed, and “other advantages.” And I think the lawsuit is now expanding with other states joining the original ten.
- Mordy Oberstein: Other places like the UK and Australia have gone after Google to some extent, so it’s only a matter of time before our own government does as well. And it’s worth paying attention to because it will change the SEO landscape when it happens.
- Erin Sparks: And it’s more than just online advertising because there are lots of questions out there now about content and how Google decides what content to show and not show in its search results, which we talked about last week. It does seem like some government action is needed. If not regulation, then at least some kind of oversight.
- Mordy Oberstein: Yes, if you’re a news publisher or you have site with a lot of featured snippets and our government starts getting involved in that, you’re going to want to follow that very closely because it could have a big impact on you. It does seem like Google needs more oversight, but who is going to do that? When you hear members of Congress asking questions in a hearing, it’s clear you don’t want any of them involved, right? They’re just idiotic politicians doing political grandstanding. So, who would do the oversight and how would it work?
- Erin Sparks: And of course Google says the suit and all its claims are baseless and without merit and that falling ad prices and fees and such all point to a highly competitive industry, and so on. And of course IF this thing goes to trial it’ll take years, and whatever the decision is will be appealed, which will add more years. The whole thing is just one big hot mess.
Finally, remember to check out the Thursday SEO chat that happens every Thursday starting at 1:00 pm eastern time. Great questions are asked and people weigh in with answers. Carolyn Lyden is one of the co-organizers, and Mordy helps out as well. Just jump on Twitter and search on #SEOchat to follow the discussion. A great question last week was, “What do you think was the biggest change in the SEO industry in 2020? How has it affected the way you practice SEO?” Well-known technical SEO consultant Simon Cox said it was by far the disabling of the Request Indexing tool in Google Search Console. But then on the content side people were talking about passage indexing and other search features, as well as Core Web Vitals, which are due for a big overhaul next year. That’s just a sampling of the kinds of discussions that take place during the Thursday #SEOchat on Thursdays at 1pm. The next one will happen after the holidays, on January 7, 2021!
Connect with Mordy Oberstein, Wix’s SEO Liaison
Twitter: @MordyOberstein (https://twitter.com/MordyOberstein)