India’s competition regulator fines Google $21.1 million for ‘search bias’ in travel results

India’s Competition Commission (CCI) today fined Google $1.36 billion rupees (roughly $21.1 million) for “abuse of its dominant position” in search. The specific finding made by CCI (in a 4 to 2 decision) surrounded Google’s treatment of flight search results.
CCI said that Google “allocated disproportionate real estate” to the box of sponsored flight results at the top of the page, which the Committee said disadvantaged “verticals trying to gain market access”:

CCI found prominent display of Commercial Flight Unit by Google on Search Engine Result Page (SERP) with link to Google’s specialised search options/ services (Flight) in contravention of the provisions of Section 4(2)(a)(i) of the Act. CCI noted in its order that Google through its search design has not only placed its commercial flight unit at a prominent position on SERP, it has also allocated disproportionate real estate thereof to such units to the disadvantage of verticals trying to gain market access. Besides, it was also found

Search Engine Land Source

Effective July 2018, Google’s Chrome browser will mark non-HTTPS sites as ‘not secure’

July is shaping up to be a big month for Google. Earlier this month, the company announced its Speed Update set to roll out in July, and today announced it will then also mark all sites that have not migrated to HTTPS as “not secure.”
This move will coincide with the release of Chrome 68 and will look like this in a user’s browser:
HTTPS warning in Chrome 68
Google has been pushing webmasters to make the change to non-secure web sites a for years now – including hinting at small rankings

Search Engine Land Source

Google now wants larger images for AMP articles

Google has updated its article schema document for AMP articles to require larger images in your markup. Previously, the minimum requirement for your image sizes was 696 pixels wide and 300,000 pixels in total, but now it is 1,200 pixels wide and 800,000 pixels in total.
This is specific to the markup you use for your AMP articles so that they can appear in the Google search results top stories carousel. If you are currently serving content and getting traffic from that carousel, you may want to make sure your images meet these new requirements.
Here is a screen shot of the old requirements from the Articles schema developer document:

Here is a screen shot of the new requirements that are live now:

Hat tip to Aaron Bradley for spotting this.
The post Google now wants larger images for AMP articles appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Search Engine Land Source

AdWords Express launches notifications for calls from search ads

After launching goal tracking in the platform last year, AdWords Express, the simplified ad platform designed for small business, is adding support around calls to a business with two types of call notifications.
Now, when a call received via a search ad ends, the advertiser will get a notification on their phone to leave feedback about the relevancy of the call. The feedback prompt appears as a simple question that can be answered “yes,” “no” or “not sure”:

The feedback will be delivered to Google, with the intention of improving targeting that will yield higher-quality calls over time.
The other new offering provides a solution for small business owners who are often juggling more than one thing at a time and wind up missing calls from potential customers. Now, a notification will pop up from the AdWords Express app alerting the advertiser that a call was missed. The business owner can simply hit “Call Back” to get back in touch

Search Engine Land Source

SearchCap: Google AdWords ticket sales, flight search, AMP changes & more

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.
From Search Engine Land:

AdWords Express launches notifications for calls from search adsFeb 7, 2018 by Susan Wenograd
Advertisers can now rate calls and be notified of missed calls.

Google now wants larger images for AMP articlesFeb 7, 2018 by Barry Schwartz
Are you getting Google search traffic from the AMP-based top stories carousel? Make sure your images are at least 1,200 pixels wide.

Best practices for onboarding new clientsFeb 7, 2018 by Digital Marketing Depot
Your customers have more choices for products and services than ever before. And with the proliferation of digital communications, it’s easier for your competition to reach your prospective customers — and harder for you to stand out. To be successful, winning a new customer isn’t enough. You must provide an unparalleled experience that demonstrates your […]

Google adds new features & improves navigation for mobile hotel & flight searchesFeb

Search Engine Land Source

Case study: On-page + off-page SEO working together = success

I encounter many people who believe the basic blocking and tackling of search engine optimization (SEO) execution is losing its value, but I find doing this basic hard work still works incredibly well.
In today’s post, I’m going to share a case study of a travel site whose business plan incorporates a straightforward approach to creating highly differentiated content on their site and then promoting that content effectively. They believe in building and marketing content with a high focus on the end user, and as you will see, the results are impressive.
Disclosure: The company discussed in this post, kimkim, is a client of my company.
Business overview
kimkim is an online travel company founded by a team of experienced entrepreneurs and engineers who played key roles at companies including TripAdvisor and EveryTrail. Their mission is to push the travel industry toward a more authentic and local experience while still maintaining high quality and consumer trust. This is achieved by partnering

Search Engine Land Source

Bing explains how AI-powered intelligent answers can show users two points of view for the same query

In December last year, Bing introduced several AI-powered search features, one being intelligent answers. This week Mir Rosenberg from the Bing search team published more detail on how one type of intelligent answer format called multi-perspective answers works.
Bing multi-perspective answers provide two different and often opposing perspectives on a topic. “There are many questions where getting just one point of view is not sufficient, convenient or comprehensive,” Rosenberg wrote in the blog post. “We believe that your search engine should inform you when there are different viewpoints to answer a question you have, and it should help you save research time while expanding your knowledge with the rich content available on the Web.”
 
Below are some examples of Bing multi-perspective answers cards as displayed on desktop. (On mobile, the cards are shown vertically.)

How Bing multi-perspective answers work
Intelligent Answers were unveiled at a Microsoft AI event in December where the company outlined several ways in which artificial intelligence is being infused

Search Engine Land Source

SearchCap: Google Search Console live, Quora ad targeting & Google search app update

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.
From Search Engine Land:

Bing explains how AI-powered intelligent answers can show users two points of view for the same queryFeb 6, 2018 by Barry Schwartz
Multi-perspective answers is another example of how Bing is using artificial intelligence to inform richer search results.

Case study: On-page + off-page SEO working together = successFeb 6, 2018 by Eric Enge
Contributor Eric Enge offers an insightful case study on the positive effects SEO-focused content created by local influencers can have on driving targeted traffic.

Technical SEO in the age of semantic search and GoogleFeb 6, 2018 by Ryan Shelley
Contributor Ryan Shelley explains that technical SEO is more important than ever — but for long-term ranking success, understanding how Google processes data is key.

Google officially announces the new Google Search Console is available for everyoneFeb 6, 2018 by Barry Schwartz
The Search Console UX team shares how

Search Engine Land Source

6 AdWords strategies businesses can use to make love, not war on Valentine’s Day

If you’ve visited any local pharmacy recently, you have a pretty good idea of what holiday is coming up. Yup, that one with the hearts, chocolates, flowers and teddy bears.
It’s not Christmas or New Year’s, but Valentine’s Day is a huge opportunity for all businesses, not just flower delivery and giant teddy bear manufacturers. There’s just as much opportunity to optimize your return on investment (ROI) improvements if you know the right strategies.
Let’s dig into the following pay-per-click (PPC) tactics so you avoid situations like this one and learn how to maximize your advertising efforts on Valentine’s Day.
Is advertising on Valentine’s Day worth it?
Look, people aren’t only looking for flowers, chocolates and cute cards on Valentine’s Day; there are plenty of people who want to spend the day out treating themselves, reserving a nice day at the spa or grabbing a drink with friends. Using Google Trends and the Keyword Planner, we see there is a market

Search Engine Land Source

Google adds new SEO Audit category to Chrome’s Lighthouse extension

Webmasters, web developers and SEOs are getting a new feature in the widely used website auditing tool Lighthouse. Google announced today the addition of an “SEO Audits” category to the Chrome extension. You can access the new audit category via the “Options” button in the extension.
By no means a replacement for a comprehensive SEO audit, the new feature does provide feedback on basic/fundamental SEO best practices, returning a report that checks for:

Descriptive anchor text.
Titles, description.
If the page can be crawled by Google.
HTTP status code.
Valid hreflang and rel=canonical tags.
UX — legible font sizes, plugins.
… and makes recommendations for additional reports.

From a sample report I ran against Starbucks.com:
SEO Audit Report from Lighthouse Extension
According to the post, they’ll be adding more features to the SEO audit, and they are actively soliciting user feedback in the Github project and webmaster forum.
The post Google adds new SEO Audit category to Chrome’s Lighthouse extension appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Search Engine Land Source