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How do you plan for in-person consumer behavior and COVID at the same time?; Tuesday's daily brief

Search Engine Land’s daily brief features daily insights, news, tips, and essential bits of wisdom for today’s search marketer. If you would like to read this before the rest of the internet does, sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox daily.

Good morning, Marketers, “are we there yet?”

That seems to be the question on everyone’s mind: are we really getting closer to the end of the pandemic or are we getting ready for another wave? How do we even know what to prepare for?

Amazon share prices took their biggest drop in a year on Friday, and Etsy, eBay and Wayfair also saw their prices drop, too. The return of pre-pandemic consumer behavior may help explain the slowdown for these companies. But, the seven-day average for new COVID cases is on the rise; it’s currently back to where it was at the end of October.

To the e-commerce marketers among us, I’d like to know what your strategy looks like over the next three to six months: Are you planning for a “normal” rest of the year? Has your supply chain been impacted? What are you doing to navigate that? How will your ad budget change? Did you pivot your content strategy? Please send me an email, I’m gnguyen@thirddoormedia.com (subject line: Sounds like a plan!).

George Nguyen,

Google math solver guidelines require accuracy

Google has added several new technical and content quality guidelines to its math solver structured data help documentation. The new guidelines list a number of requirements in order to be able to show math solver and practice problem rich results in Google Search.

The technical guidelines require that MathSolver structured data be added to the homepage of your site, your host load settings allow for frequent crawls, canonical URLs are used on each copy of a page (if you have several identical copies of the same math solver hosted under different URLs) and that your math solvers aren’t entirely hidden behind a login or paywall.

The new content guidelines state that “promotional content disguised as a math solver, such as those posted by a third party (for example, affiliate programs)” is not allowed and, if a certain amount of your data is found to be inaccurate, Google may remove your solver until you resolve the issue.

Read more here.

SEOs and e-commerce marketers weigh in on product ranking factors

Top 5 Specific Product Ranking Factors for Google Organic Search, according to a study by Joe Youngblood
Image: Joe Youngblood.

Over 80% of respondents selected keywords in the name of the product as the most important ranking factor for products in Google Search, according to a study conducted by Joe Youngblood. There was a three-way tie for second place between keywords in the reviews, keywords in the title tag and the number of inbound links. And, internal links took fifth place, with 68.2% of the responses.

Youngblood’s study goes as far as to list the top 20 product ranking factors for Google Search, according to the 35 SEOs and e-commerce marketers that participated in the study. At the bottom of the list are recency of reviews, linking document quantity and number of photos or videos of the product.

Why we care. While reviews and media may not be the most important ranking factors, they’re still worth putting effort into as they may convince prospective buyers to make a purchase. The sample size here is quite small, but it may still be worth taking a glance at the responses to see if your experiences align with that of the participants.

Google Ads Editor v1.7 brings support for Hotel ads and lead form extensions

Managing Hotel ads in Google Ads Editor v1.7. Image: Google.

Google Ads Editor v1.7 will be available in just under a week, on August 9. With this update, advertisers can use the Google Ads Editor to manage their Hotel ads, YouTube audio ads and lead form extensions, and select specific parts of their campaigns to download for offline work.

Why we care. For advertisers that use lead forms or run Hotel and/or YouTube audio ads in the web interface, the Google Ads Editor now supports these features so they can be managed offline. The ability to download specific parts of a campaign may also make it easier for advertisers to work on their campaigns while offline.

Read more here.

Chatbots have been around for decades, but have they gotten any better?

Bing is testing a new chat feature. Sunny Ujjawal caught a glimpse of a chat box on Bing. “This is an experimental AI-powered Chat on Bing.com,” the disclaimer reads. Bing added a CDC coronavirus self-checker chatbot to the SERP last year, but this test doesn’t seem to have a specific application in mind.

Google removes rich result type from performance reports. Google has removed the generic rich result type from GSC performance reports and the API. The company gave us a heads up about this in May, and now it’s officially gone.

Interview with Veruska Anconitano. Women in Tech SEO has a weekly interview series, and this week, Veruska Anconitano, who focuses on helping startups enter non-English-speaking markets, shared her approach to SEO as well as advice for women who are starting out in the field.

Analyzing the performance of various GMB Post types

Sterling Sky’s Joy Hawkins recently shared a case study in which her team manually analyzed clicks (according to Google My Business [GMB]) and clicks and conversions (inside Google Analytics) for over 1,000 GMB Posts from a variety of small businesses. The findings cover the types of Posts that perform best, whether to use titles and emojis, what to include in Post images and what to post about.

  • COVID Posts performed the best, followed by event Posts, offer Posts and update Posts. COVID Posts appear higher up in the local knowledge panel, but they’re text-only. Note that COVID Posts actually replace your Posts carousel, so your other Posts won’t be visible anywhere else.
  • Posts with titles got almost twice as many clicks and conversions as ones without titles. Just make sure you’re not writing them in all caps — Posts with regularly capitalized titles received nearly twice as many clicks.
  • Posts that contained emojis received double the clicks, according to GMB insights, and also got more conversions than ones without.
  • Photos that contained text in them received nearly four times the clicks compared to photos without text. Logos don’t seem to count, though, as there was no measurable difference between Posts that contained logos and ones that didn’t.
  • The GMB Post types that received the most activity were about specials or discounts. Second to that were ones that contained CTAs. And, the third-best-performing Post type contained a sense of urgency (e.g., same-day appointments).

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