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Weekly News: Google Ads launches placement reports for Performance Max campaigns

Google Ads has launched placement reports for Performance Max campaigns, the company confirmed to Search Engine Land on Thursday. Placement reports can be generated to see where ads have served for Performance Max campaigns as well as how many impressions they’ve received.

Tip of the hat to Gianpaolo Lorusso and Giuseppe Scollo for bringing this to our attention.

Google created the placement report to provide some insight into where Performance Max ads are showing, which may help advertisers with their brand safety efforts.

Unfortunately, the data only shows where ads have served and their impressions — not click data. Nevertheless, this data may help inform your campaigns. 

Google’s statement. “Placement reports for Performance Max campaigns are a new reporting resource for advertisers to easily see where on Google’s channels ads have served and associated impressions,” a Google spokesperson said, “We created these reports to give advertisers more transparency and assurance around where their ads are showing.”

Marketers should keep an eye on Performance Max campaigns. Introduced in October 2020, Google has steadily built out this automated campaign type. Support for it has been added to the Google Ads Insights page as well as within the Google Ads API.

Performance Max campaigns became available to all advertisers in November 2021. Google also announced that beginning sometime in 2022, Smart Shopping and Local campaigns will be rolled into Performance Max, which might indicate that the company is trying to usher more advertisers to this campaign type.

Read more: Google Ads launches placement reports for Performance Max campaigns

Semrush acquires SEO training website Backlinko

Semrush, the SEO toolset provider, has acquired SEO training website Backlinko, the company announced Wednesday, for an unannounced sum.

Read more:  Weekly News: Google’s Algorithms Can Understand When Sources Agree On Same Fact

Why we care. Semrush’s acquisition will likely strengthen the company’s own SEO education hub, Semrush Academy. This could make Semrush a more robust source of SEO knowledge and may help it pull away from other toolset providers.

Additionally, Backlinko draws in 500,000 organic visits a month, according to the announcement. Semrush is likely to market to those users to drive them further down its sales funnel.

Why Semrush may have acquired Backlinko. “The desire to acquire Backlinko was fueled by Semrush’s commitment to inspiring both the current and next generation of digital marketers,” according to the announcement.

In an email sent to Backlinko subscribers, Brian Dean, founder of Backlinko, explained that he wanted to further scale his business, but had hit a plateau in terms of what he could do on his own. “Then, out of the blue, I got an email that changed everything,” Dean wrote, sharing that he was approached for this deal by Max Roslyakov, SVP of marketing at Semrush.

A screenshot of the email Brian Dean sent to Backlinko users.
Image: Sugandha Bansal.

Some SEOs have speculated about other potential reasons for the acquisition: “How much was Backlinko worth to Semrush? Breaking down courses, traffic, and estimated MRR from converting that traffic. What if a competitor came in?” tweeted Victor Pan, head of technical SEO at HubSpot.

“That’s what makes the acquisition itself the joke about our industry — A leading, listed tool company, buying a site, purely for the links gained by publishing nonsense,” Peter Mindenhall tweeted, suggesting that one of the motivators behind the deal was the acquisition of Backlinko’s backlink profile. Mindenhall’s remark about “publishing nonsense” refers to the mixed reception that some of the guidance in Backlinko’s content has garnered from the SEO community.

Read more:  Weekly News: Google Chrome’s Topics API test going public on July 1

Read more: Semrush acquires SEO training website Backlinko

How analyzing search data can improve your decision-making

Much like a physical marketplace, the online search environment has both its successful businesses and those that fail to gain traction. Matt Colebourne, CEO of Searchmetrics, used the analogy of a “high street” — the main area of commercial or shopping — to describe the current state of search marketing in his presentation at SMX Next.

“Just as you have the winners and the losers in the physical space, you have the same in the digital space; page two of Google or any search engine is fundamentally the ‘backstreet,’” he said. “That’s where a lot less audience is going to end up.”

Marketers have long used search data to optimize their content so it meets user needs. But many fail to apply those same insights to inform decisions that impact the long game.

“A lot of companies make the mistake of optimizing for growth way too soon,” Colebourne said. “They settled for their current product set and their question becomes, ‘How can we optimize sales of what we have?’ Whereas the questions they should be asking are, ‘What are the sales that we could have? How much of our target market do we have right now?’”

Each day Google processes over 3.5 billion searches, which provides marketers with a wealth of data. Here are three reasons why analyzing this search data improve marketers’ decision-making processes.

chart showing how managers believe data is important in decision-making

Read more: How analyzing search data can improve your decision-making

Google explains how it deduplicates Top Stories from main search results

Google will deduplicate a link from its main web results if that same link appears in the first Top Stories slot, so long as the Top Stories section appears before the main web results, according to Danny Sullivan, public search liaison at Google.

Read more:  Weekly News: Google lets users limit three more types of ads on YouTube, GDN
An example of when Google deduplicates a Top Stories link (left) and when it does not (right).

However, if this is not the case (e.g., the main web results appear above the Top Stories section), Google will not deduplicate the link (as shown above, to the right). “And again, it’s something we’re reviewing,” Sullivan noted.

What Google said. “Just to cap off with the further clarification I promised, we deduplicate a link from web results if a link appears as the first link in Top Stories and if the Top Stories box appears before web results,” Sullivan said on Twitter, “If it comes after, we don’t.”

This explanation was provided after Dieter Bohn, executive editor at The Verge, called out Google over search listings that were “stealing [The Verge’s] content.”

The query can influence deduplication.  As Sullivan explained, searching by exact headline may not reflect how most people seek out information. Bohn’s example query, “trials and tribulations turning a real camera,” was a partial match for The Verge’s article — Sullivan’s example of what a typical user might search for was “turning the camera into a webcam.”

Read more: Google explains how it deduplicates Top Stories from main search results

More news:

Google Search Console launches desktop page experience report

How to build a long-term, search-first marketing strategy

Google Ads releases disapproved ads auditor tool

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