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Why did Google release all these updates together?; 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, why do you think Google released all these updates so close to one another?

Just to recap: The June core update finished rolling out on the 12th. The page experience update started rolling out on the 15th and will continue through to the end of August. Last week, Google also rolled out part one of a two-part spam update; the second part rolled out yesterday (more on that below). And, there will be another core update in July. Phew.

This makes it much more difficult for SEOs to identify the cause of ranking fluctuations. “I don’t think they did it intentionally,” Barry Schwartz told me, “I think they are a big company and when things are ready to be released, they release them.” It’s also possible that delays could have impacted the release schedule and all these updates just happened to come out in a condensed time frame.

Google’s advice on improving your site’s ranking for future core updates is often overlooked because of the broad nature of the guidance, but when it’s hard to pinpoint why a ranking fluctuation may have occurred, it’s best to revisit Google’s suggestions and cover your bases.

George Nguyen,

The search community mourns the loss of Russ Jones

Search marketers are blessed to be in such a vocal, enthusiastic industry where their peers are excited to share knowledge and victories. That’s also why it hurts so much to know that one of our own, Russ Jones, principal search scientist at System1 and former principal search scientist at Moz, passed away last week.

Russ’s friends and former colleagues reacted to the news on Twitter and many of them shared stories and photos. He is survived by his wife and three daughters (Russ’s twitter bio actually begins with his love for them), and a memorial website has been published for Russ, where you can read his obituary, share a memory or make a donation. On behalf of the Search Engine Land team, I’d like to express our condolences to Russ’s friends and family — our prayers are with you.

Part two of Google’s spam update rolled out on June 28

Yesterday we got the second part of Google’s spam update, just five days after part one rolled out. Both parts of the spam update were “global” updates that affected both web and image results, Google’s Danny Sullivan told Search Engine Land.

If your rankings changed yesterday, Google’s spam-fighting efforts might have something to do with it. It’s also a good idea to see if your rankings changed on the 23rd as well. Unlike core updates, these spam updates are set to roll out over a single day, so any changes afterwards are unlikely to be related to this update.

Read more here.

Consumers and marketers think privacy and personalization aren’t mutually exclusive

Stats from Facebook on how likely consumers are to buy from businesses that offer personalized recommendations.
Image: Facebook.

Some 82% of Millennials and Gen Z consumers say privacy is a right, not a privilege, according to Facebook’s “Industry Perspective: The Evolving Customer Experience” report. In the U.S., 44% of consumers say they’re more likely to buy from businesses that offer personalized recommendations. Are these contradictory notions? Nearly three-quarters of U.S. marketers don’t think so — 74% agreed that relevant personalization and user privacy protection are not mutually exclusive.

Why we care. Sure, Google has delayed blocking third-party cookies in Chrome until 2023, but the growing emphasis on consumer privacy may mean that your marketing strategy should incorporate other ways, like first-party data or contextual ads, to reach your target audience. Customers want the best of both worlds — privacy and personalization — and the brands that can deliver both stand to gain.

When Google confuses you for a criminal, experimental GMB features and a good ol’ fashion SEO myth-busting

Local Q&A related to your search. Q&A related to your search has been spotted in GMB listings. Allie Margeson first spotted this feature on mobile, although it can also show up on desktop search results as well. Just another good reminder to answer questions prospective customers may be asking you.

When Google thinks you’re a serial killer. Hristo Georgiev can’t decide if it’s hilarious or terrifying that Google associated a photo of him with a knowledge panel for a serial killer. The good news is that the image doesn’t seem to show when you search his name anymore, so perhaps someone at Google acted quickly.

I love a good myth-busting. Ross Simmonds shares his take on a number of SEO myths. I enjoy these lists because, even if I don’t agree with the person’s opinions, it’s always enlightening to learn why they feel the way they do and it can help you think differently about a given tactic or strategy.

Google plans to mix corporate needs and community with its 80-acre San Jose megacampus

I grew up in Silicon Valley — San Jose, to be exact. Being a child in the 90s, I couldn’t grasp the socioeconomic consequences of tech growth and its appetite for talented workers and real estate. The amount of disruption and gentrification this has ushered in over the decades is hard to overstate.

That’s why I’m a bit cynical about Google’s forthcoming San Jose megacampus. The project, called “Downtown West,” involves Google developing 80 acres of downtown San Jose. There will be 7.3 million square feet of office space to accommodate about 20,000 workers and thousands of housing units. Google says it’ll be more like a neighborhood than a corporate campus, but we’ll only know once it’s complete — in about a decade.

“Not including office space, Google will pay more than $1 billion for infrastructure features such as parks, walkways, and preservation of historic sites,” Jennifer Elias wrote for CNBC, “It’ll also pay approximately $265.8 million in land and infrastructure fees as well as $200 million in ‘community benefits,’ which includes anti-displacement and job readiness programs.” A quarter of the 4,000 housing units will be designated as “affordable housing.”

My parents couldn’t afford a home in the Bay Area when they were raising me, and that is only more true now. One of the biggest challenges for this development is not simply to offset the high earners it attracts for Google (which may displace the existing community), but to actively undo the gentrification that has occurred over the last two or three decades. Companies exist within communities and help to shape them, for better or worse and whether they want to admit it or not. I hope Google gets it right.

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