This past week Google announced it’s going to start getting serious about making sure searchers won’t land on content that’s either upsetting, offensive, or inaccurate.
On that note, Google is also increasing its efforts to ensure ads do not appear against controversial content. Also in display ad news, Google is starting to add location extensions to ads for local businesses.
The search giant’s share of the paid search market is growing, with no signs of slowing down. Demand for SEO jobs is at an all-time high. Lastly, Google released its annual report on hacked sites and the numbers aren’t pretty.
Details about each of these top stories are included in this week’s SEO and SEM news roundup.
Google to Filter out Offensive, Upsetting, and Inaccurate Content
Google added a section to its lengthy document on search quality evaluator guidelines with instructions on how quality raters should flag content that’s upsetting, offensive, or inaccurate. Quality raters are a team of human workers who perform real searches and evaluate how well the top results satisfy the initial query.
With these new instructions on how to flag content, Google hopes to prevent content that’s inaccurate or offensive from showing up in search results. When content is flagged it’s not immediately demoted or deindexed. Rather, the data is sent to the coders who write Google’s algorithms and they use the information to automatically prevent the flagged content from being surfaced.
Since this is a new initiative it will likely take some time before we see any significant changes in the quality of search results. It can also be argued the company should have had these guidelines in place a long time ago — but it’s better late than never.
For more details on what’s to be considered offensive/upsetting/inaccurate and what’s not, see Search Engine Journal’s dissection of the new guidelines.
Google to Ensure Display Ads Do Not Appear With Controversial Content
While on the topic of questionable content, Google made another announcement this week stating it’s going to do a better job of ensuring display ads do not appear with content that may be considered controversial. Display ads include advertisements in the Google Display Network that are seen within web pages, YouTube videos, and mobile apps.
Google already has policies in place to prevent ads from appearing on pages or videos with hate speech, gory, or offensive content. However, some ads are still appearing alongside this type of content and there is demand from advertisers and agencies for Google to do more.
In response, Google says it will be making changes over the coming weeks to give advertisers more control over where their ads appear across YouTube and the Google Display Network.
Google is Adding Location Extensions to Display Ads for Local Businesses
Google has begun automatically adding location extensions to Google Display Network ads when users are both nearby and have expressed interest in a certain category of business.
For example, if a user is reading a food blog, he or she may be served an ad with a location extension promoting a local business.
Like ads with location extensions in Search and Maps, display ad location extensions will include photos, business hours, and the store location.
Google says location extensions increase clicks to a business, with 60% of clicks being related to directions or store information. For more information on how to set these up for your display ads, see Google’s help article.
Google to Hold 80% of the Paid Search Market by 2019
According to research firm eMarketer, it is predicted that Google will hold 80% of the search ad market by 2019. Last year Google held 75.8% of the search ad market, and this year it is currently holding on to 77.8%.
As Google’s share of the search ad market continues to grow, its competitors like Microsoft, Yelp, and AOL are expected lose market share. By 2019, the three companies should be holding on to 6.6%, 5.8%, and 1.1% of the search ad market respectively.
Other than Google, the only companies expected to see growth in this market over the next two years are Yelp and Amazon. By 2019, they should be sitting at at 5.8% and 2.2% respectively.
An eMarketer analyst attributes Google’s continued growth in the search ad marketplace to its dominance in mobile search.
Demand for SEO Jobs At An All-Time High, With Content Writers Being Most In Demand
A study commissioned by marketing software company Conductor revealed the demand for SEO jobs is at an all-time high. However, within that niche, it’s SEOs with the ability to write content that are the most sought after.
Over the past 5 years, from 2012 to 2017, there has been a 22% increase in SEO job positions and a 23% increase in salaries. With as many SEO jobs as there are, there are four times as many content jobs available.
With that being said, companies rarely want one without the other. If you want to work in SEO, you should know how to write content. If you want to write content for the web, you should be familiar with SEO best practices. Nearly half of all available content jobs require SEO skills as well.
These days, SEO is becoming less of a job title and more of a skill set which digital marketers are expected to have. In addition, there’s an industry shift toward having content teams and SEO teams work together, when previously they would work alone in separate departments.
Also included in the study are the top 5 cities to find SEO and content marketing jobs, which include
- New York
- San Francisco
- Los Angeles
For more information, you can read the full study here.
Google’s 2017 Annual Hacked Sites Report
Google released its annual report of hacked sites as part of its #NoHacked campaign, and the numbers aren’t looking good. The company revealed the number of hacked sites grew by 32% in 2016 compared to 2015, and this trend is only going to grow year after year.
Site hacks can have a decidedly negative impact on rankings. Although there is some positive news, because Google revealed 84% of webmasters who cleaned up their sites and submitted a reconsideration request were successful in getting their rankings back.
Unfortunately, Google was not able to inform a whopping 64% of webmasters about their sites being hacked because they did not have their sites connected to Google Search Console. Search Console is Google’s primary channel of direct communication with webmasters. It’s so essential that whenever we start working with a new client, we make sure their site is connected and verified with Search Console.
Google says the best way to defend yourself from site hacks is to be proactive in preventing them. This includes regularly updating your content management system (CMS) and, of course, connecting your site to Search Console so you can be notified of any red flags.
In addition, Google released a slew a new documentation to help webmasters if and when their site gets hacked. For more details see Google’s full report.
Wrapping it Up
Google is increasing its efforts to prevent searchers from landing on controversial content, and to prevent Google ads from appearing against controversial content. Location extensions are now being shown with Google display ads. Google is on track to holding 80% of the paid search market. SEO jobs, especially those that include content writing, are at an all-time high. Lastly, the number of site hacks are on the rise, which means webmasters need to be more proactive than ever to prevent them.