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Weekly News: Google Search Console performance reports data issue may impact analytics

Google Search Console performance reports data issue may impact analytics

Google Search Console had yet another data issue with the performance reports, this time impacting Google Search, Google Discover, and Google News data. Google said this was a “logging issue on analytics” that occurred between February 1, 2022, through February 3, 2022.

Rankings not impacted. This was just an analytics issue, any drop in impressions and clicks might be related to the data logging issue and not related to any search ranking changes. Google said, “this is only a logging issue; it does not reflect a change in either user behavior or search results on Google.”

The issue. Google said this was a “logging issue on analytics.” Google wrote, “Performance metrics suffered a logging issue on analytics for Search, Discover, and Google News.” This may lead to you seeing “some discrepancies in your performance data during this period,” Google added.

Make sure to annotate your reporting, Google already added an annotation directly to the Performance reports. But if you send data to your clients or internally based on Search Console data, make sure to communicate this data issue with those reports.

Read more: Google Search Console performance reports data issue may impact analytics

Google tests Buying Guides in mobile search results

Google is testing “Buying Guides,” new mobile search results feature that presents users with various drop-down menu options to learn more about the product they’re searching for, the company has confirmed to Search Engine Land.

An example of Google's buying guides in the mobile search results.
Google’s Buying Guide for the query “baseball bats.”

Tip of the hat to Brian Freiesleben for bringing this to our attention.

Editorial content — not e-commerce links — show up in the various drop-down options of the Buying Guide, which could be another place in the SERPs where your content marketing can appear.

“Brands” was one of the drop-down options in the Buying Guide I saw, so it’s safe to assume that the same Brand section will appear in many Buying Guides. Brands will want to ensure that they appear in the Buying Guides for as many of their products as possible — being omitted when your competitors are being shown to users puts you at a disadvantage.

How it works. A price range is shown at the top of the Buying Guide, right below the title of the search result feature. The drop-down menus within the Buying Guide cover several characteristics that might help shoppers narrow down their options. Tapping on a drop-down menu shows the user editorial content; Google did not say how it ranks content that appears in these sections.

The “Types” and “Brands” menus showed carousels that users could interact with to toggle the information shown (for example, users could select from “Composite,” “Aluminum,” “Hybrid” and “Wood” in the Types menu to find out more about bats of the selected material).

The rest of the drop-down menus were geared toward addressing a single question. For example, the “Size” drop-down provides a search listing and preview that answers the question “What is the average size for a bat?”

For the query I was able to trigger this test for (“baseball bats”), the Buying Guide appeared as the fifth organic, non-rich result listing, below 3 ads, a “Popular Baseball Bats” Shopping carousel, and the People also ask box. 

Google’s statement. “This is an experiment that helps shoppers discover relevant characteristics of a product by surfacing attributes like price, brand, and type,” a Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land. “We’re always testing new ways to improve the shopping experience for our users but don’t have anything specific to announce right now.”

There are some kinks to work out. In terms of understanding a user’s query and matching it with relevant content, Google has made a lot of progress over the last few years, touting advancements such as BERT and MUM. However, it still gets things wrong from time to time.

An example of Google's Buying Guide for "baseball bats" confusing the sports equipment with the animal.
Google’s Buying Guide for “baseball bats” confuses the sports equipment with the animal.

I used the query “baseball bats” to trigger the Buying Guide feature and, while most of the baseball bat drop-down categories and results were relevant, the results for “Body” and “Age” pertained to bats, the flying mammal (as shown above).

Whether the irrelevant results are due to Google’s systems mistaking baseball bats for animal bats or because the Buying Guides are still in testing, it’s clear that this feature is not quite ready for a wider rollout.

Read more: Google tests Buying Guides in mobile search results

Google says Shopify sites are in a good crawling state after reports of stalled crawling

Last week there were numerous reports that Google stopped crawling and Googlebot “flatlined” its crawling activity on many, if not, all Shopify websites. Google’s John Mueller responded to the reports this morning that yes, that is what it appeared to happen in Google Search Console but these sites “are in a good state” and “crawling will speed up again.” He said the issue was related to a “temporary drop in how we calculate how much we can crawl,” implying there was no issue with the Shopify sites.

In fact, if you click through to that thread, you will see more reports of this. Both Google’s John Mueller and Shopify’s Kevin Indig said they will investigate.

What was the issue? The issue seemed to be on Google’s end and not an issue with Shopify. John Mueller of Google said this morning “we looked into the sites that were mentioned and for all of them it was a temporary drop in how we calculate how much we can crawl. This happens from time to time and catches up after a few days usually. As far as the engineers are concerned, these are in a good state, crawling will speed up again, and there’s not something that needs to be done. It’s kinda confusing from the outside though.”

Read more: Google says Shopify sites are in a good crawling state after reports of stalled crawling

Secrets of marketing agency success

CallRail SEL Sponsored Article 1920 x 1080

CallRail just released its 2022 Outlook for Digital Marketing Agencies. The good news: “2021 was a good year for agencies, and 2022 is looking even brighter,” said Mary Pat Donnellon, chief revenue officer at CallRail. 

“The report highlights the areas of success agencies saw last year and reveals what challenges they expect to face in 2022 and beyond. With client acquisition a key concern, agencies are utilizing — or plan to utilize in the near future — the latest marketing trends, like conversational marketing and artificial intelligence, to bring in new clients and keep their momentum going.” 

The study surveyed over 500 individuals employed full-time at U.S.-based marketing agencies to also determine how client expectations are projected to change in 2022 and which marketing trends agencies are currently implementing to bolster client acquisition. 

Read more: Secrets of marketing agency success

More news: Weekly News: Google allows ads for sports betting in Louisiana

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