Google Search Console updates visual reporting features

Google announced some updates to the new Google Search Console on Monday. Specifically, Google said it has made visual upgrades to the reports and user interface within Search Console.
The update includes:

Annotation cards with the charts.
Difference column to show changes in data over time.
Prepopulated values in filter/compare illustrations.
Changes to the date picker and comparison view.

Google regularly updates the new Google Search Console and is soliciting feedback via the “Send Feedback” button in the UI.
Here is a GIF of the changes from Google:

Check out some visual updates in the New Search Console:
Annotation cardsDifference columnFilter/compare have a new look & pre-populated valuesImprovements to date picker & comparison view
Tell us what you think about these updates by using “Send Feedback” button! pic.twitter.com/dErqMkbPSx
— Google Webmasters (@googlewmc) March 19, 2018

The post Google Search Console updates visual reporting features appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Stop! Think twice before using nofollow attributes on your website

Recently, a number of major websites like Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc. and Huffington Post started using nofollow attributes on their outbound links.
This trend puzzles me. If you can’t trust the people adding links to their articles, they shouldn’t be writing for you in the first place.
Even more disturbing is the fact that search engine optimization specialists (SEOs) seem to misunderstand how to use nofollow attributes and tend to overuse them.
Here’s how they work:

There’s a big difference between using nofollow for an entire page through the head section or the HTTP Header and using the nofollow attribute on specific links.
I can’t think of a single case where I would want to use nofollow at a page level and kill the flow of all signals to other pages, even mine. And yet, I understand nofollow is being used at page level on many websites.
You may consider using nofollow attributes on some user-generated content or paid links to avoid an outbound penalty, but nofollowing an

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Google Images update: Captions added to images, pulled from the page title tag

Google Images search results continue to evolve — from the rollout of badges last summer to the related searches box this past December and the removal of the “view image” and “search by image” buttons last month. Google has been rapidly expanding visual search features.
Beginning today, Google Images results will now include captions for each image. The rollout is global and will be available for mobile browsers and the Google app (iOS and Android). The caption displayed with an image will be pulled from the title of the page that features the image.
As shown in the image below, the caption will be shown below the image and above the page URL.
Google Images: without captions / with captions
From the announcement:
This extra piece of information gives you more context so you can easily find out what the image is about and whether the website would contain more relevant content for your needs.
When asked if these titles might be rewritten

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Chat rate is the new CTR for AdWords message extensions

Google rolled out its click-to-message AdWords extension in October 2016. Similar to call extensions, message extensions allow users to message a business directly from the ad.
Now the company is announcing formal reporting for messaging. It will be available in the next few weeks in the US, the UK, Canada, France, Brazil and Australia. Users of message extensions will need to turn on message reporting in account settings.
Three primary metrics will be captured:

Chat rate: This is analogous to CTR (impressions vs. actual messaging interactions).
Start time: When users tend to interact with you via messaging. Google says this metric will help with dayparting.
Number of messages exchanged within a single chat session: Google says to use this metric to evaluate which ad creatives are driving the most engagement.

Each session will be charged as a click.
The number displayed in the ad will be a Google call-forwarding number, which is how the company is able to track the above metrics. “Whenever possible, Google

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Google working to integrate AMP benefits into future open web standards

Google continues to make major investments in improving the performance of and user experience on the web. This has been primarily through the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) framework, which was first launched in 2015 and has been aggressively developed, promoted, and integrated into publishing platforms ever since.
Initially viewed as another proprietary format (even though it is open source), in addition to only providing a limited feature set at launch, the AMP framework has struggled with widespread adoption. Support for AMP across the entire web currently stands at less than .1%.
However, sites that have adopted AMP have seen encouraging gains in site performance and conversions (which presumes a correlating better site user experience). These and other noted benefits have led Google to begin working toward taking the technologies utilized by AMP and folding them into open web standards.
From the announcement today:
“The standardization work motivated by AMP is well under way through various WICG projects. Google’s goal is to

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Google AMP team launches ‘Render on Idle’ to load ads faster when browsers sit idle

Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) team has launched a new feature called Render on Idle that is designed to increase ad impressions per page by speeding up ad load when a user isn’t taking any action in a browser.
Render on Idle is available to publishers using the DoubleClick AMP ad tag or any ad network that implements Fast Fetch, an AMP-specific mechanism that lowers the likelihood users will see empty ad slots by allowing ad requests to happen as page content is rendering. Ads render just before the ad slot is in view.
From the announcement:
With Render on Idle, ads load 12 viewports from the user’s scroll position (as opposed to 3) when the browser is idle, no other page content is being retrieved or rendered. This delivers better ad performance by loading ads earlier in the page lifecycle.
More from the Github page:
[Ad] Slots not marked with data-loading-strategy attribute that are more than 3 viewports but less

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Google is extending Search capabilities to iMessage and other browser apps on iOS

AmsStudio / Shutterstock.com
Google announced on Monday a couple of integrations to extend Google Search functionality to more apps on iOS. They include extensions for iMessage and browser apps such as Safari.
First, a look at the new iMessage extension, which allows users to search Google and share results with those they’re chatting with in iMessage. To activate the new functionality, click on the App Store icon next to the message field in an iMessage chat to bring up the iMessage apps drawer. Then select the Google app icon to see the options below (You’ll need to have the app installed on your iPhone). You can search or click one of the shortcut buttons to bring up related results.
Clicking on the “Food” icon, for example, will bring up a list of cards for nearby restaurants. Clicking “Share” in any of the cards will add the listing to the iMessage chat.
It appears that if you click through on any

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Google’s antitrust infringement continues ‘unabated’, Google Shopping competitors tell European Commission

Comparison shopping engines aren’t satisfied with Google’s response to the European Commission’s demand that the search giant give equal treatment to competitors.
“Google’s current remedy proposal has been in operation for more than four months, and the harm to competition, consumers and innovation caused by the infringement established by the Decision has continued unabated,” a group of Google competitors wrote in an open letter [pdf] to Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager at the European Commission this week.
After the European Commission levied a record nearly $3 billion fine against Google in an antitrust ruling for favoring its own Shopping ads and squeezing out rivals, Google established Google Shopping as a separate business unit to compete in the ad auction against other comparison shopping engines (CSEs).
That change was supposed to take effect last fall, but ads from competitors have been slow to appear and remain scarce. We’ve recently reported on competitor ads beginning to show occasionally in the UK. In

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Study: 11 voice search ranking factors analyzed

Backlinko has done an extensive analysis of “voice search ranking factors” and identified 11 variables tied to appearing in Google Home results. The company examined 10,000 results delivered over the smart speaker.
What Backlinko found was consistent with what many others have been saying but there were also a few surprises. For example, the study discounts the impact of Schema to some degree and page authority.
Here’s a partial, paraphrased list of the ranking factors:

PageSpeed is a significant factor; voice search results typically come from faster-loading pages.
Google relies heavily on very authoritative domains for results, but pages not as much.
Content that ranks well on the desktop tends to rank in voice search. This might be a correlation rather than causal however.
Schema may not be a factor: 36 percent of pages voice search results came from pages using Schema.
Roughly 41 percent of voice search results came from Featured Snippets.
Voice search results are generally 29 words; however Google sources voice results

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Law firm that used contest to solicit Google reviews sees all but one disappear

Reviews are an essential part of doing business online. They heavily influence consumer buying and local rankings. But as Joy Hawkins points out, using rewards or other incentives to help generate them is a bad idea.
A law firm in Louisville, Kentucky, Winton & Hiestand Law Group, had the vast majority of its reviews on Google removed after it was discovered that the firm was incentivizing people to review the business with contests and giveaways.
The firm had roughly 100 reviews on Google before the matter was reported in Google My Business forums. As of this moment, the firm has a single review on Google (albeit five stars). The firm was giving out family zoo passes as the incentive in this case.

On Facebook, the firm has 1,000 five-star reviews. It may well be that a high percentage of these are the byproduct of contests and incentives. Google previously stated this policy against using financial incentives to generate reviews:
Don’t offer or accept

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