Google search quality guidelines update expand YMYL category, defines lowest quality content and more
A year ago Google updated the company’s search quality raters guidelines, and today, it has been updated once more – this time to expand on the YMYL category, it clarified what constitutes lowest quality content, simplified the definition of upsetting-offensive and the overall document has been refreshed and modernized with minor updates throughout. In fact, the old document was a 175 page PDF, the new one is 172 pages.
The last update to this document was on October 14, 2020, before that was December 5, 2019.
What is new? Here is a changelog of what is new in this document:
- Expanded the definition of the YMYL subcategory ‘Groups of people’
- Refreshed guidance on how to research reputation information for websites and
- Restructured and updated ‘Lowest Page Quality’ section; reorganized and
refreshed examples to reflect new structure
- Simplified the definition of ‘Upsetting-Offensive’ to remove redundancy with
Lowest Page Quality section
- Minor changes throughout (updated screenshots and URLs, wording, and
examples for consistency; removed outdated examples; fixed typos; etc.)
YMYL – Groups of people subcategories. Google expanded this subcategory to include more examples of YMYL, your money – your life, a section for this groups of people section. The updated section is named groups of people and is now defined as:
“Information about or claims related to groups of people, including but not limited to those grouped on the basis of age, caste, disability, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, immigration status, nationality, race, religion, sex/gender, sexual orientation, veteran status, victims of a major violent event and their kin, or any other characteristic that is associated with systemic discrimination or marginalization.”
The other changes. Google said the bulk of the changes in this update are “refreshing the language for clarity and updating organization.” These updates “included clarifications of what constitutes lowest quality content and refreshed and modernized guidance on researching the reputation of websites,” Danny Sullivan of Google said.
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Clarity in an uncertain future: Cookies, privacy, and marketing roadblocks
The numbers are compelling. The 2021 Digital Consumer Trends Index polled over 5,000 global consumers, and 66% declared that ads based on cookies and tracked behavior were creepy, not cool. Furthermore, numbers show a mere 4% of Apple users are opting in to app tracking for advertisers, and that number is predicted to only dwindle.
It’s unlikely Google FLoC (cohort-based advertising) is going to be the silver bullet, and I like to think as marketers, we’ve matured beyond shouty spray-and-pray advertising formats. There isn’t going to be a magic replacement for the cookie, so what do marketers do next to deliver more personalization and also meet privacy demands?
To move forward and build lasting, more meaningful relationships with consumers, marketers need to embrace the zero-party data economy.
Read more: Clarity in an uncertain future: Cookies, privacy, and marketing roadblocks
IndexNow – new initiative by Microsoft and Yandex to push content to search engines
Microsoft and Yandex announced a new initiative today named IndexNow, a protocol that any search engine can participate in to enable site owners to have their pages and content instantly indexed by the search engine. Currently, Microsoft Bing and Yandex are the two search engines fully participating in the initiative but others are welcome to adopt this open protocol.
IndexNow allows “websites to easily notify search engines whenever their website content is created, updated, or deleted,” Microsoft wrote on its blog. The goal is to make for a “more efficient Internet,” the company said, by reducing the dependency on search engine spiders having to go out into the web and crawl each URL they find.
How it works. The protocol is very simple — all you need to do is create a key on your server, and then post a URL to the search engine to notify IndexNow-participating search engines of the change.
Read more: IndexNow – new initiative by Microsoft and Yandex to push content to search engines
Microsoft Advertisers can analyze post-click behavior, analyze engagement with new Clarity integration
What is Microsoft Clarity? First launched as a closed beta in 2018, Microsoft Clarity provides site owners with visual heatmaps that illustrate user engagement, individual session replays, a dashboard to help them get an overall understanding of user interactions and filters to drill down on various types of interactions.
In November, UET tag creation will be compatible with the Clarity tool by default. In mid-November, the company will migrate all existing UET tags to include Clarity insights (except for sites that are excluded from this update, such as sites that contain sensitive data). Once your UET tag is updated, you should be able to access Clarity from your Microsoft Advertising account
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Messy SEO Part 3: How to find cached images and improve user experience
Messy SEO is a column covering the nitty-gritty, unpolished tasks involved in the auditing, planning, and optimization of websites, using MarTech’s new domain as a case study.
SEO is incomplete without good UX
Regardless of how well Google and other search engines crawl your website, few people will interact with your brand if they have a poor experience. Broken and non-HTTPS links discourage many from trusting what your page has to offer. People want relevant links and engaging images in their content, not outdated links no longer working.
Fixing broken links
Virtually all of these instances had nothing to do with negligence; they were largely the result of old domain URLs on the site. The link issues we chose to tackle first were those that were completely broken, undoubtedly leaving visitors wondering why they were included within the article at all.
Replacing images that no longer exist
Search marketers run into this messy problem most often during migrations. If the old site domain isn’t set to redirect every image file to its new URL, the new site will fail to pull the old, non-existent content.
The Internet Archive and Wayback Machine
In scenarios such as this, some marketers opt to view cached images from their old domain in the search results. The problem is that search engines such as Google only store cached images for a limited amount of time. And this is only helpful if your domain URLs are still indexed post-migration.
Read more: Messy SEO Part 3: How to find cached images and improve user experience