This week: YouTube rolls out a new search results page, Google Ads starts identity verification, and there’s a new algorithm in town.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Google Ads Starts Identity Verification
If you’re running Google Ads, expect an email soon asking for identity verification.
That is, if you haven’t received that email already.
And it looks like you’ll have a relatively short deadline to get the verification done. People who are receiving the notice now have only until February 6 to prove that they are who they say they are.
There’s a problem, though. Some strategists manage ads for their clients. So their names will appear when Google displays their client’s ads.
Understandably, many SEOs don’t want that.
And yes, if you don’t verify your identity your account will get suspended. Some folks are seeing that happen already.
LinkedIn Adds Swipe-Up Links to Stories
LinkedIn recently included the ability to add links to your LinkedIn Stories.
Any link you add to a Story will show the anchor text “See More.” People who swipe up on it will visit your landing page.
While editing your Story, LinkedIn gives you the option to edit and preview your link before publishing it.
The platform also gives you link swipe info via insights.
Unfortunately, the new feature isn’t available for all users just yet. So if you don’t have the ability to add a link to your LinkedIn Story, be patient.
Google: No, Don’t Block Countries With Slow Internet for Core Web VItals
The reason some people might want to do that is because of Core Web Vitals. That’s a series of page experience metrics that Google will soon use to rank websites.
One of those metrics is page speed. The questioner was concerned that countries with generally slow Internet connections might throw off the Core Web VItals score and, as a result, the website would lose rank.
In a nutshell: Splitt said no, don’t block countries that don’t have speedy Internet connections.
For starters, he said, if people in those countries want to access your website, they’ll just go through a proxy. Then your site will load even more slowly.
Also Splitt said that Core Web Vitals is one ranking factor out of hundreds and you shouldn’t overestimate its power.
He also said that it’s not the most important ranking factor.
YouTube Now Shows ‘First 24 Hours’ Metrics
Wanna see how your YouTube video performed within just the first 24 hours after publication? If so, you’re in luck.
YouTube is adding those metrics to its reporting.
In the past, if you wanted to see how your video did within its first day, you had to look at the public view count. And, of course, you’d have to catch it at just the right time.
Now you can see how it did in the video analytics section of YouTube Creator Studio.
The report doesn’t just show you how many people viewed it, though. You’ll also gain insights on other important metrics, like how many people subscribed to your channel and total hours watched.
YouTube also gives you the ability to compare analytics between two videos side-by-side.
YouTube Rolls out Hashtag Search Results Page
Speaking of YouTube, you can now use the platform to search for videos by hashtag.
Although that feature has been around since 2018, it never really worked correctly. The search would include videos using the hashtag but also related content that didn’t include the hashtag.
Now, you can expect to see a dedicated search page that only includes videos using that hashtag.
That page will also sort videos so that the “best” show up at the top.
YouTube says that it will continue to make updates as to how it handles hashtags in the future. Stay tuned.
Google Search Console Now Offers News Analytics
If you’ve got content that appears in Google News, then you’ll love this update.
A new report in Search Console will help you measure the performance of your newsworthy content.
If you’d like to see the analytics just click on Google News on the left-hand sidebar of the Google Search Console screen.
The report includes the usual metrics: clicks, impressions, and click-through rates (CTR). And you can segment the data by country or device.
You can also filter by date.
YouTube Turns on Post-Roll Ads for Monetized Content
If you’ve got videos that run ads on YouTube, be advised that the platform will start running post-roll ads by default.
In other words, you’ll have to go out of your way to turn off post-roll ads.
And remember: YouTube now runs pre-roll ads, mid-roll ads, and post-roll ads by default. So you might end up with more ads than you want in a single video if you’re not careful.
With too many ads, you’ll alienate viewers.
Keep in mind, though: post-roll ads aren’t intrusive at all. They run after the video has ended.
Google Sends Notifications About HTTP/2 Site Crawling
This past week, Google announced that it’s letting some website owners know that Googlebot is now crawling their sites with the HTTP/2 protocol, sometimes called h2.
If you’re unfamiliar with h2, it’s the souped-up version of HTTP 1.1. It’s more efficient and transfers data at a faster rate.
The good news here is that Googlebot will take up less of your bandwidth as it crawls your pages.
And there doesn’t seem to be any bad news.
It doesn’t look like Google is going to crawl all sites with h2, though. That’s because there’s “little to no benefit” for crawling some sites with the updated protocol.
just pressed the button to send a large batch of messages to sites which have been opted in to HTTP2 crawling. if something is not clear, follow the link in the message pic.twitter.com/0xiUQVc3Ct
— Gary 鯨理／경리 Illyes (@methode) January 13, 2021
Study: SMITH Algo Beats BERT
According to a recent study by Google,a new search algorithm called SMITH beats BERT when it comes to processing long-form documents.
Although BERT works fine when it comes to plugging words into sentences, it falls short when handling longer content.
That’s where SMITH shines. SMITH can plug sentences into paragraphs like BERT can plug words into sentences.
However, SMITH isn’t in use yet. And Google has made no announcements about its future.
All we know at this point is that Google thinks it’s better for handling long-form content.
I expect to see it included in the overall search algorithm at some point in the not-too-distant future.
Start the year off right by crossing off some to-do’s:
- If you received the identity verification email from Google Ads, take care of that. Yesterday. Otherwise, Google will suspend your account.
- If you’re running monetized videos on YouTube, make sure that you aren’t running too many commercials. Otherwise, you could lose some of your audience.
- If you’ve got content that gets published in Google News, be sure to check out the news analytics section in Google Search Console. Use that info to optimize future content.
- If you publish content on YouTube, start reviewing those “First 24 Hours” metrics. You might gain insight about your current subscribers.
- If you’re in the B2B space, think about how you can use LinkedIn Stories with swipe-up links to promote your business.