Or get it on:
"Don": Welcome to Episode 15 of season two of the Search With Candour podcast, recorded on Wednesday, the 20th of April 2022. Hosted by Jack Chambers and Mark Williams-Cook. Today, we will be talking about how to avoid manual actions on your medical site, an update on Google's guidelines regarding AI-generated content, multi-account Google Ads dashboard, Google tests a play/listen feature in People Also Ask, and the new WooCommerce and Pinterest partnership.
Mark: What the hell was that?
Jack: That was our AI friend, "Don" reading the intro for us.
Mark: Very scarily good.
Jack: Right? Yeah, it's using a tool called Descript. They are not sponsoring the podcast, but I regularly use them for doing bits of editing and tweaking and stuff like that, and they have a fantastic thing called the Overdub, where you can just create voices out of thin air, just by typing text into their app. You can actually do it with your own voice. If you submit them a selection of your own voice, you can deepfake yourself with your own voice, so maybe we'll do a whole episode of me and Mark not actually here, and I'll just type out and see what happens.
Mark: Maybe we're not actually here.
Jack: Who knows? Who knows?
Mark: We're definitely here. Good time to talk about though, Google testing a new play and listen feature for PAAs, right?
Jack: Yes, exactly. This was highlighted on Twitter a few days ago, and we're looking at a basically little extra button next to the PAAs, a little speaker button. And you can click and it will read it out to you with a lovely little AI voice. That was highlighted on Twitter by Kunjal Chawhan, so shout out to you Kunjal, thank you for spotting that. And of course, it was picked up by all the usual places, including Search Engine Roundtable as well, they highlighted it in one of their most up to date articles there.
And yeah, they're talking about ... I guess it's an accessibility thing, and talking about how we've had listen icons on local search before, there's been some options for that on knowledge panels already as well, but now coming over to even SERP features such as People Also Asked, where now visually impaired people can actually experience those for themselves in an audio format. And if you are one of those people, if you want to test it out yourself, it is being rolled out. I haven't been able to replicate it myself, personally. I've tried a few different things, including the search that Conjal did themselves, but have you been able to replicate it at all, Mark? Have you seen it anywhere?
Mark: No. These features, they'll normally test them in the US first.
Mark: And I did try a few times with a US proxy, trying to trigger it, and I couldn't get it. So sometimes-
Jack: Yeah, I used my VPN to try and do it on the US, yeah.
Mark: Yeah, they have these limited tests. We've actually got a previous podcast that explains if you have seen someone that's been opted in for one of these tests, there's actually a way to copy their cookie settings so you get opted into that test as well. I find this interesting because this is one of the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that, on its own, doesn't maybe look that interesting broadly, but this is, I think, coming towards this future of this multimodal search and just shouting at your TV, and your TV shouting back the answer to you. And I think it's interesting seeing Google test all these things and having these dynamic voices, so it does get to the point where you just, Star Trek-style, ask your computer something, it's constantly creepily listening from everywhere, and it just makes an answer and says it to you.
Jack: Yeah, the amount of times I've triggered my Google at home or friends have triggered their Alexa and stuff like that, it's pretty scary.
Mark: What, so someone's listening to the podcast and you say, "Hey Siri," or, "Hey, Google," that could trigger it?
Jack: Yes, yep.
Mark: Oh, I probably shouldn't do that.
Jack: I think my phone just vibrated in my pocket as we're recording this. It recognized you, Mark. It knows.
Mark: Let's talk about SISTRIX.
Jack: Yes, we should because Search for Candour is supported by SISTRIX, the SEO's toolbox. You can go to sistrix.com/swc to check out some of their excellent free tools such as their Instagram hashtag generator, Google update tracker, page speed comparison, and tracking your site's visibility index. That's sistrix.com/swc for free SEO tools, sistrix.com/trends for TrendWatch, and we'll actually be talking about the latest IndexWatch winners and losers from Q1 of 2022 later on in the show.
Mark: Okay. Glenn Gabe has made it onto the podcast again for the-
Jack: He's been on a few times before, a regular is old Glenn.
Mark: 15th, 20th time.
Jack: Yeah, something that.
Mark: But well deserved as usual. He has written an article called How NewsGuard's Nutritional Labels Can Help Publishers Avoid Manual Actions for Medical Content Violations in Google News and Discover. So I imagine for many people even involved in SEO, some of that title would've been confusing, especially if you haven't heard of NewsGuard, and especially if you think ‘nutritional’ has anything to do with food and eating because it does not. It's a clever metaphor.
Jack: Well, it does have to do with EAT, right Mark?
Mark: Oh, wow.
Jack: E-A-T? Listeners?
Mark: That was good. Okay, that ...
Unamused fish: Oh brother, this guy stinks!
Mark: So I will ... Of course, we will link to the post on our show notes at search.withcandour.co.uk. And I have done my best to read, understand, and give you the top line summary overview of this post because it is very interesting.
So, some facts. We know, because Google and John Mueller specifically has told us before, that Google, their algorithm, can be more critical when it comes to medical and health-related sites, or in general, sites referred to as YMYL, Your Money or Your Life. So YMYL, for those that don't know, is the sites that deal with things to do with finances or medical information. i.e., there is a real risk of someone getting harmed if the information is wrong.
Jack: We touched on this very briefly with the title rewrites before, where you had a featured snippet giving the wrong advice for abdominal thrusts when you're choking on something. It was like stick your hand down their throat, and it was all very wrong and very bad. But yeah, Google cares that extra little bit about these sites where you're investing your money, your health matters, all that kind of stuff, which is where we come into this Your Money, Your Life.
Mark: We actually covered in episode 85 with Lily Ray, we talked a lot about EAT and your money, your life sites and patents. And actually, even Google talking about having a smaller, more constricted index when it comes to these kinds of queries of sites that they trust more. So, it is definitely a different ball going to generalized search. And Glen's post about NewsGuard and medical content violations is specifically to do with manual actions in Google News and Discover.
So firstly, when it comes to manual actions, which is your site being penalized for something, it's worth noting that manual actions can affect the different verticals of search differently. And by that, I mean there is a general search, there is specific Google News and Discover. We've seen clients before, for instance, have specific manual actions when it comes to schema, so where their schema hasn't matched the on-page content, Google has given them a manual action flag in Search Console, and they won't be eligible for rich results anymore.
So the medical information or the medical rules that Google have are quite specific in that they say Google doesn't allow publishing medical content that contradicts or runs contrary to a scientific or medical consensus and evidence-based practices. And that's for Google News and Discover. That doesn't apply to general Google Search. That's a bit of a free for all, as you've probably seen, lots of conspiracy sites.
Jack: Yeah, especially over the last two years.
Mark: Yeah, we did that, actually. We looked at the trends, didn't we? For conspiracy theories, as part of some research we're doing. And the spike in 2020 was 20, 30X the usual. Definitely.
Jack: Yeah, noticeable!
Mark: It was a feeding frenzy of conspiracy theories around COVID.
So what Glenn's covering here is that he saw some sites were getting messages in Search Console saying that there had been violations of these medical content guidelines, and if they weren't fixed, there might be a manual action. And then the sites that didn't address these, about six months later, manual actions did follow. So there is this potentially long period between you getting a warning, having time to sort it out, but that train is coming down the tracks if you don't get it sorted.
So, potential problem here of we're publishing lots of content that's health, medical-based, how do we know ... How can we be sure? How can we add in extra checks to make sure we are not contravening these rules? And this is where NewsGuard comes in.
Mark: NewsGuard is an organization that has a team of analysts that are trained journalists, and they review websites based on nine journalistic criteria, including credibility, transparency, and trust. And Glen writes they were originally started by focusing on news organizations, but they've expanded into health and medical as well. For example, there is now a HealthGuard service that "helps patients, healthcare workers, and anyone involved in the medical field identified trustworthy sources of health information and avoid dangerous misinformation."
Once a site's been reviewed, NewsGuard produces what they call a nutritional label rating the site, which can appear in search results if you are using ... There's actually a Chrome plugin for NewsGuard, so you can see that nutritional label score directly in the SERPs. And in addition to that, NewsGuard actually has relationships with several organizations. For example, Bing, Facebook, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the World Health Organization (WHO) and others have partnered with NewsGuard to fight disinformation.
Now, to be clear, nobody, we, Glenn, is not saying that Google algorithms use NewsGuard. We're saying they don't. The point that Glenn's making is it can be a really healthy, sorry, it can be a really good proxy for thinking about how Google might rate the quality of these sites, especially when dealing with medical and healthcare because he's noticed the correlation between the sites that were receiving penalties and the scores they were getting with their nutritional labels by NewsGuard. So, a really good suggestion from Glen here is if you are publishing a site with health or medical content, then add some additional checks you can put in place to ensure you don't receive a manual action or you're not leaving yourself exposed for a manual action around medical content.
You can be using the NewsGuard plugin to see the nutritional labels. So if you see red all over the label, you might want to be more cautious or at least dig in further to learn more about that organization's views. So he said, for example, if the publisher that he's covered in his post received the manual action checked NewsGuard before publishing the content, then they probably wouldn't have published it at all, as long as they obviously understood Google's policies around that.
I think it's a really good idea because when it comes to EAT in general, the topic, I think, gets quite vague very quickly about, well, how do we demonstrate expertise? We were actually talking in the office this morning about how I've seen spammers trying to attribute ... Post authors who are people who are known to write content, because they're, "Oh, well, this person writes a lot about SEO, they're known, so I'm just going to use them as the author name. Hopefully, Google will think they wrote it and my content will rank higher."
So this is at least an objective way to score content for this particular niche. So I think it's a really good idea, if, as Glen says, if you are writing health, medical content.
Now, this runs parallel, again, to discussions we were having in general around EAT, that we had discovered some websites which shall nameless in this podcast, that were quite obviously generating mashups of various scraped content at a huge scale, so we're talking in the hundreds of thousands, million or so pages. And these sites, there were several of them we found all in the same template, so I would say, obviously by the same creator ...
Mark: Were getting between 200,000 and 700,000 visitors a month to this content. And there was no expertise, authority, or trust from a content point of view for this site.
And I think, again, that's an interesting point for when we're dealing with this really niche long-tail content, which this was. This was all super niche, zero volume. Such stuff that if there isn't any competition and you are one of the only pages that specifically deals with that, then EAT's kind of a tiebreaker. And don't forget, EAT isn't just about the on-page stuff and the authors, it's about links and stuff as well. Not that the link profiles are any good here, but it's worth keeping in mind that EAT ... Again, there isn't a specific, one EAT score that Google has, but it's not something, from a content point of view, that's harshly applied to every website because we can quite clearly see these sites with incredibly poor content, which from a human point of view, you can see there's glaring errors.
Jack: Oh yeah, yeah. Even at a glance, you can tell these sites are just scraped nonsense. Questions and answers not matching up properly, and titles not matching with articles and all kinds of stuff. And yeah, still getting indexed, still being crawled. It's definitely not factoring at that level. I think it's really interesting when you get to that higher levels, as you said, that's when EAT really matters, when you are talking about really broad topics, really important topics, and you're up there with some of the bigger sites discussing those things, the more authoritative sites. That's when you really, really need to care about this stuff and really factor that into your content. And hopefully, you aren't scraping and making nonsense generated sites, listeners. But if you are, let's have a look. We want to run around some tests and have a look.
Mark: So, talking about scraping and making nonsense, I have done a test, which is a site that is scraping and generating nonsense. No ads or anything on it, but I'm testing, because I think this will rank, despite this being a 15, 20 year old method of mad-libbing stuff. Again, as I did in my BrigthonSEO talk, I think this has got to do with recent updates and how Google's handling long term queries. But I've got that set up as a test, and I'll share the results with everyone and share the URL if it starts to rank. Its only been live ... What was it? Four, five days? And it's already got about hundred pages in Google index. Bing kindly has already caught it and started sending traffic to it.
Jack: Good old Bing.
Mark: Good old Bing.
Jack: You can always rely on Bing.
Mark: But that'll be interesting. We'll publish the results of that as well.
Jack: Well, speaking of AI-generated content, there's been a little bit of an update on Google's guidelines around this. And we did touch on this last week as well. We talked about what Google considers AI generated content and Google's stance on that, that has been confirmed fairly recently. But there has been a little bit of an addition to the specific guidelines from Google, hasn't there, Mark?
Mark: Yeah, so I feel ... We published, obviously, the last episode ... We publish them on Mondays, and we recorded it after there was this big, "Oh, Google says you can't use AI content," and there was then this very polarized debate of some people saying, "No, you definitely can't use any AI content for anything, it's always going to be spam." Didn't really have that many moderate people. As I said in the last episode, my view is always as long as it's helpful to the user, I don't see why Google would care. I wouldn't care, personally, as a user.
Jack: I agree with you, yeah.
Mark: But yeah, the webmaster guidelines page has been updated. So instead of now saying "avoid the following techniques", and then it lists automatically generated content, they've now added on the end of that "automatically generated content intended to manipulate search rankings", which actually does match the language they've used elsewhere, so nothing's changed at Google, I think they're just being clearer that it's-
Jack: They've got that uniformity across all of the guidelines, right?
Mark: Yeah. And it's okay to use it as a tool as long as the end result is better for the user. Because as we said, actually this has been happening for years as well on big sites, and there is an objective good use for it that provides value.
Jack: You gave the example of the earthquake alerts and stuff like that.
Mark: Yeah, like that.
Jack: The massive news sites have this stuff ready to go when big news events happen, people die, natural disasters, all that kind of stuff. You don't have somebody sat there like, "Right, this latest earthquake has happened," or "This latest natural disaster has happened." As you said last week, Mark, you get those people where it's, "Oh, it will generate the basic template for you," and then maybe you'll get an editor into just a sprinkle a few things in there and tidy it up and that kind of thing. But the vast majority of that is generated by a robot, is generated by AI. So yeah, there's definitely a principle and a precedent set there, and yeah, a hot debate on SEO Twitter, that's for sure.
Mark: Intended to manipulate search rankings, I think, is always going to be very difficult for Google because if the content is indistinguishable from a human, how do you know the intent of it being created is very difficult.
Jack: Isn't manipulating search rankings basically what we do for a living as well?
Mark: No, no. We create value.
Jack: Oh, sorry. Yes, yes, yes.
Mark: Let's move on to the next topic.
Jack: Quick, let's move on.
Jack: So as I mentioned at the top of the show, we have the latest edition of IndexWatch from SISTRIX. This is IndexWatch for Q1 of 2022, we're looking at the UK winners and losers. As always, you can go to search.withcandour.co.uk. You can read this post in full written by the fantastic team over at SISTRIX, this post in particular written by the one and only Luce Rawlings who is a regular writer of these IndexWatch kinds of things. Luce does fantastic work over there.
The big winner, interestingly enough, is Wikipedia. I know.
Mark: Never heard of it.
Jack: No, exactly. Luce goes into a bit more detail about why she thinks Wikipedia have seen such growth and visibility, essentially. We're looking at the SISTRIX Visibility Index and seeing where their rankings are, what keywords they're ranking for, all that kind of stuff, and seeing where their positions are moving over the last ... Yeah, three or four months or so since the beginning of the year. And to quote from Luce here on the IndexWatch post, "From analyzing the domain's keyword data from the 10th of January to the 28th of March, we can see that Wikipedia has started ranking for more keywords. In addition, existing keywords have also experienced an improvement in ranking position." There you go.
"Given there was no Google algorithm update and the other reference sites have not seen a major change, this could indicate a change in the way Google is using Wikipedia in the SERPs." Interesting, very interesting. We'll keep an eye on Wikipedia over the long term.
Any theories, Mark? Any ideas about what Google could be doing for Wikipedia? As you said, never heard of it, so I know you're coming out of the blue here, but ...
Mark: Yeah. No. From all the metrics that we know about, obviously, Wikipedia is always going to score high, lots of people cite it, it's a verified kind of source of information. I think the arguments about, "Oh, it can't be trusted because anyone can edit it," have pretty much died out when you've seen the studies where it's more accurate than Encyclopedia Britannica.
I think it's difficult to say because it might be, in some cases, again, Google not changing how they rank websites, but understanding queries better. So understanding the intent behind a query better, rather than, "Oh, we're increasing or decreasing the importance of this factor." It's never a surprise for me when Wikipedia gets more traffic because it's a good site, but I don't think there's anything there that would be actionable for me from a we need to be more like Wikipedia in our company. I think it's just-
Jack: Good luck ape-ing Wikipedia, yeah.
Mark: I think, as a general trend, we're seeing more fragmentation in terms of Google understanding intent and what types of sites they're returning. Similarly, how we talked about the review update and Google being a bit more selective about which sites it's listening to, that it feels are doing fair comparisons. And I guess, again, in terms of the things Wikipedia is providing, because it's citation because it's reviewed by the community, you can kind of trust that that's a fairly good source for that.
Again, when we see any big jump in any particular sites, I'm always interested to see how long that will last, because Google obviously do tests for various algorithm updates they're going to do, to see what it looks like, but I don't think they ever really know until it's rolled out. And it's not uncommon sometimes where we've seen large sites win or lose big. So Daily Mail had massive loss a couple years ago, so much that they were going on to SEO forums asking for advice. We've seen Pinterest at times have massive gains, and then three, six months later, obviously some levers have been adjusted and things go back. So it wouldn't surprise me if they've seen massive gains that maybe that gets tuned down.
Jack: Yeah, definitely. And something we have seen a seemingly temporary spike in another one of the winners is Tidal. We've mentioned Spotify a few weeks ago in talking about IndexWatch and TrendWatch and things that, so having its competitor, Tidal, see quite a significant increase in the Visibility Index, again, looking at Q1 2022 here, Luce goes on to talk about how the URL count on Tidal is very, very high, and there is a history of large swings. As you were just saying, Mark, these large sites see big swings both positively and negatively. And it's interesting to see that there's also a lot of competition in that big music site range, as you can imagine. So, you expect to see this from Tidal and Spotify, and there's other big music streaming platforms. They rank very highly for artist names and stuff like that, which have masses and masses of search volume, as you can imagine. So yeah, there's a lot of volatility in those big music streaming sites and big music pages and things like that.
Another interesting one, kind of tying back into EATs and what we were just talking about is Astrostyle.com, which I can't say ... I've heard of Tidal, I've heard of Wikipedia. I genuinely have not heard of Astrostyle.com.
Mark: I've heard of it.
Jack: I'm not much of an astrology person. I apologize, listeners, if you are a big astrology fan. But yes, it is a dedicated horoscopes website associated with Elle Magazine, and it has seen a pretty significant increase in organic growth, organic search visibility over the last few months as well. They had a slump towards the end of 2021, so they're picking back up again now, possibly following the November core update, as Luce says here in the post. And yeah, maybe we'll see how Google handles this kind of stuff.
Luce talks about this again in the post about how you handle the trustworthiness and the authoritativeness and the expertise of somewhat subjective things like horoscopes. Like how do you judge if somebody's an expert on a horoscope or not? And we even talked earlier, before we started recording, AI-generated horoscopes are probably already a thing and you don't even know yet, so can you tell the difference between ... A very dated reference here, Mystic Meg, giving you your horoscopes and somebody just churning out nonsense on a website. How do you tell the difference between them?
Mark: Jack will be celebrating too. Yeah, so this was actually a subject area that I looked at when-
Mark: Yeah, when I was looking at experimenting with AI-generated content. So when we were playing around with open AI and the Q&A stuff that it did, it's really impressive. It did occasionally get the answer wrong, so I started looking at areas where the answers weren't quite so objective to put it. So there were subjective answers, and astrology was an area that interested me because I was like, "Okay, looking at these astrology sites, a lot of it is interpretive," and therefore, naturally with that area, how, as you say, would Google judge, "Well, this answer is correct," or, "This answer is better than this one?"
Jack: No, no. You should spend more time with your family. That's the objectively correct answer. How can it tell?
Mark: And I think this touches back to what I said at the top of the show about EATs, which is that when we're talking about expertise, authority, trust, this isn't just the on-page thing here. A large chunk of EAT is to do still with links, and that's one way Google measures trust and authority, which is other websites linking to it. You've seen now as well-
Jack: Are those websites themselves authoritative in their space and so on and so forth?
Mark: Yeah. And Google started putting in those ... I think it's for the news stories, the citated labels now, to show where new stories have been citated. Obviously, that's been a thing for academic papers for a long time, how much has been cited. So I think the answer to that would be fairly straightforward for me, which is if we can't judge if the content's not super important and needs to be correct, and if it's difficult to judge the objectivity, then we fall back on other metrics when we understand the query like the link graph stuff.
Jack: Yeah, very interesting stuff. We'll keep an eye on the astrology world from an SEO perspective, and I'm sure we'll have an update later on about that kind of stuff as well. And going over to the biggest losers. We're talking about YouTube, interestingly enough. You don't often think of YouTube as a loser in terms of search growth and search visibility.
Mark: I love that this has happened, not because I dislike YouTube, I think YouTube's great.
Jack: Oh, yeah.
Mark: The reason I love that this has happened is I encounter lots of people that say, "Oh, Google just ranks YouTube above all the other video sites." And when you start showing them, you say, "Okay, which site ... ?" Of Vimeo or something, and you compare them side by side, Google actually, in these cases, has followed its own SEO practices better. Those videos are more discoverable, more indexable, they've got more meta content around them. And just the volume as well. For every one video on another platform, there's a hundred thousand videos probably on YouTube. So just from a probability point of view, if you do a video search, yeah it's probably going to be YouTube because the library's massive.
Jack: Yeah, exactly. And Luce touches on that, actually. The fact that we have more video placement on SERPs, Luce dives into it here, using Hostname data, so go diving into the data here on a granular scale. The Hostname, visibility data confirmed that along with the increase in video placement on SERPs, as you just said, Mark, the question, image, and new placements have also increased as well. So with that in mind, you also see a decline in video showing the primary result listings. And equally, more videos are now shown in SERP features instead, making search results for queries for these much more enjoyable to browse. So you get lots more videos, not just YouTube answers.
And Luce touched on something here, kind of what you just hinted at as well, Mark. Is it because Google and YouTube are under the Alphabet umbrella, they're all part of the same parent company, is it possible that organic search criteria doesn't apply in the same way to YouTube? Possibly. We don't know, obviously, but yeah, very interesting to see and notice a specific decrease in prioritization of YouTube content for high volume keywords with no undue intent, specifically. So yeah, very interesting to see YouTube on the decrease for once. We so often see it on the increase.
Mark: I'd just like to say, the Gemini horoscope for Wednesday says that: “It's a good day to put your positive attitude into practice. You can make progress in your relationships and career if you stay focused and optimistic. Things may not be perfect, but you can make the best of what you have. Keep your head up and keep your eyes open for opportunities." How did that feel to you?
Jack: I'm not a Gemini, but that sounds great.
Mark: I'm a Gemini. But that was written while you were talking, by OpenAI. All right, if you need any more, let me know.
Jack: Will do. We'll put it through our AI voice thing, and then we have the full experience of just creating our own horoscopes podcast.
Mark: Maybe that could be a little value add at the end. We could just have the AI read out the AI horoscope at the end of the podcast.
Jack: Stay tuned, listeners. Listen past the closing music at the end. Once that dial tone hits, you'll get your very own personalized AI horoscope at the end. Extra added value from the Search With Candor podcast, right there.
Mark: Okay. We are in PPC land, specifically the Google Ads continent of PPC land, and there's been a couple of updates to the interface which I thought were quite interesting. So again, I will link to the canonical sources of this on the Google blog.
But firstly, we have multi-account Google Ads dashboards. So dashboards provide a single place for you to review consolidated performance statistics across your account, and to date, these dashboards have only been able to pull in data from individual accounts, obviously making it difficult for you to spot potential problems, opportunities across multiple accounts, especially obviously if you're an agency or a freelancer. So to make this easier for you, Google now has had the ability to use dashboards at the manager account level. So as part of this update, they've made dashboards faster, apparently, which is great, because that Google Ads interface can be a little bit clunky. And there's several improvements, including change date ranges and filters for dashboards as a whole, add interactive table cards, rich formatting features and conditional formatting, download reports faster and at higher quality, resize cards and layouts dynamically based on window size, and create a dashboard card by copying over existing saved reports.
So a few extra features, they're under reports menu in the Google Ads manager account. You click on dashboard. But that, I think, is going to be really handy, especially if you are working at maybe an ad agency, you've got five, 10, 20 different accounts that you are looking after, to be able to have one dashboard to quickly look through and just spot any issues or opportunities.
Mark: Secondly, and I picked this one up through the TLDR Marketing newsletter. If you're not subscribed to that, I would highly recommend it.
Jack: One of my favorite marketing newsletters, for sure.
Mark: Yeah, absolutely. So it's one of the only two, actually, I subscribe to that and Aleyda's SEO FOMO. And a lot of the stuff you'll hear us talking on the podcast comes from, we pick stuff out of those two newsletters and just talk about them in more detail, both excellent sources of information. So this is an update about Google Ads custom columns.
So spanning across all Google Ads products, custom columns are an easy way for you to quickly see information that's most important to your business. Google is adding new metrics and features that make it easier to view your data. You can now do the following with custom columns. You can include spreadsheet functions, you can calculate and compare metrics across date ranges, reference other custom columns in a formula, add more non-metric columns in your formula, including columns like campaign, name, your budget, and more, utilize new column formats like text, true/false Boolean columns and date, apply multiple filters to one formula, and filter by custom variables for conversions. Just wanted to mention those two updates because I know working on Google Ads, it can be very difficult to keep up with all of the changes that they make. They're not particularly vocal about them. You don't hear of them discussed in too many places.
Jack: We've talked about this before. The SEO stuff gets shouted to the rooftops, and everybody forgets about the poor people working with Google Ads. So yeah, we like to shout out PPC stuff and updates you may have missed while we're here, just in case you have missed it in your day to day subscribing to newsletters and keeping up to date and all that kind of stuff.
Mark: If you're on Twitter as well, there is a #PPCChat, which can be useful as a nice little community there that can help you with these things as well.
Jack: So we're going to wrap things up by talking about the new partnership between WooCommerce and Pinterest. If you use WooCommerce to power your shop, I know plenty of people who do, I know a few sites I work on do as well, there is now a Pinterest extension that turns your entire product catalog into shoppable product pins. And if you've ever used Pinterest, oh boy, have you seen those product pins before? You can use it for home decor and clothing and appliances and all kinds of stuff. Doesn't matter what you sell, with this new integration, each product listing becomes its own shoppable pin, kind of creating your own little shopping feed through the power of Pinterest, combining with WooCommerce there as well. Mark, you ever used Pinterest for anything or clicked on a pin by accident?
Mark: I've used WooCommerce a lot, run my only commerce business on WooCommerce. I never really got that into Pinterest. My wife uses it a lot for home stuff.
Jack: Interesting you mentioned your wife. My fiance, soon to be wife, has forced me onto Pinterest for part of our wedding planning stuff, so it was like browsing, "Oh, what do you think of these suits?" Or, "What do you think of these shoes?" Or, I don't know, wedding rings for men and all that kind of stuff. I actually ended up finding the wedding ring I wanted through Pinterest, and ended up buying it on Etsy. But still, getting that the whole pin board thing, where you get a vibe of these are the things I like, and it's a good, quick reference way between you and your partner or you and your colleagues or whoever it is you are collaborating with to say that "Oh, yeah, turns out this shoe," or this kind of thing. I'm guessing your wife does the same thing in terms of, "Let's make the living room look this. It should all go blue." And you go, "No, I want green," and that kind of thing.
Mark: Yeah, shopping itself, I think, is naturally a very visual activity.
Jack: Yeah, definitely.
Mark: Pre-internet you would go into shops and the main thing you do is look at stuff. You browse and then you hone in on something you like. That's why Google shopping ads evolved the way they did, because Google shopping ads weren't a thing to begin with, and now they're incredibly visually heavy.
The same with Google's pushing a lot of updates around shopping being experiences, particularly for fashion, where the SERPs are very heavily skewed to just look at this bunch of images, because it's very quick to ... For anything with style, so wedding stuff, house stuff, fashion stuff, it's very much you can assimilate a huge amount of information visually, very quickly hone down on, "I this style, I like this color." There are actually things sometimes that are very difficult to describe with text.
Mark: So there's a particular style of shirt I like with the type of collar. I think they're Asian in origin. You don't really find them much in the UK. I have no idea what words I would use to describe that, but I can use image search to just scroll through a hundred and then be like, "Ah, that's roughly what I'm after," and then use images from there.
So, really exciting. I think that's such an easy way for WooCommerce merchants to get that stuff on Pinterest, and the interesting stats that Pinterest released was that 97% of top searches on Pinterest are unbranded.
Jack: Having used Pinterest, that doesn't surprise me at all. Because it is, like you said, you're looking for a vibe or a genre or a style. I've never gone, "I want this particular type of suit," or, "I want this particular ... " My fiance was looking for chairs to match our dining room table the other day, and it was chairs that would go well with white tables and stuff that like that. It's these very long tail search terms. And yeah, never once did I even think, "Oh yeah, we should be trying to match the brand," for whatever reason. That never even occurred to either of us as we were searching through independently. So yeah, it's an incredible statistic. 97% is quite the statistic. But yeah, having been using it for the last of 18 months or so in preparation of all my wedding planning stuff, I'm not surprised, because that's certainly how I use it, is no branding whatsoever.
Mark: Pinterest advises even if you've made the shopping pins before and you're on WooCommerce, that you should switch over to this extension that they're using. So yeah, there's no downside to this really. If you're doing shopping, you're on WooCommerce, get this Pinterest extension and get your stuff on there.
Jack: That's all we've got time for this week. We'll be back next week, that is Monday the 27th of April, with all the latest SEO, PPC, and maybe some astrology news as well. And until then, have a brilliant week. Thanks so much for listening, and over to Mark with the AI astrology update.
“Ruth”: A horoscope for SEOs. You have a lot of energy and enthusiasm for your work right now and it's paying off. Your hard work is starting to pay off in terms of rankings and traffic, and you can expect to see even more progress in the coming weeks. Keep up the good work and you'll be reaping the rewards soon. Generated by OpenAI.
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