Trending February 2024 # Google Aims To Improve Search Quality With New Feedback Form # Suggested March 2024 # Top 11 Popular

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Google has recently overhauled its search spam report form to combat search quality issues.

The updated form is part of Google’s approach to improving user experience by addressing problematic content such as paid links, malicious behavior, and low-quality pages.

An Improved User Interface

The redesigned form makes it easier for users to report a broader range of search quality issues.

“Now, you can report spam, paid links, malicious behavior, low quality, and other search quality issues, all in one improved form,” Google announced.

This new form introduces a feature for bulk submissions, allowing users to report up to five pages violating the same policy in a single report.

After submitting a report, users will receive a confirmation email from Google, offering help links to additional resources covering Google’s quality policy and directing them to a forum for personalized support.

What Happens After Reporting?

When user feedback reaches Google, the company has a system to prioritize and address them.

While urgent problems might be addressed immediately, most issues are resolved when Google updates the algorithm.

Google’s John Mueller previously explained how the reporting system works, stating:

“The web is so gigantic, and ever-changing, and people ask us new questions every day. Because of that, our goal is generally to improve the algorithms that pull together the search results over all and not to tweak things for individual queries. This may take a bit of time, but it makes search better for everyone worldwide for the large number of searches that are done every day.”

He adds, “regardless of the contact method, make it easy for Google to recognize the scale and the scope of the problem.”

The exact timeline for Google’s response to user feedback remains unclear and likely depends on the nature and urgency of the reported issue.

The Larger Picture

Overhauling Google’s search spam report form isn’t an isolated move. It comes as part of a more comprehensive effort by the tech giant to improve the quality of search results continually.

Google’s decision to allow bulk submissions of up to five pages suggests the company recognizes the scale of search quality issues and is ready to engage with them more substantially.

The enhanced reporting process can lead to cleaner, more relevant search results for everyone.

In Summary

In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, Google prioritizes user feedback to enhance search results.

With the redesigned search spam report form, Google has a more streamlined avenue for reporting search quality issues.

The new form is the most recent example of Google’s commitment to maintaining high-quality SERPs.

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Google’s New Search Quality Guidelines

A must-read for anyone responsible for SEO or Content Marketing

Importance: [rating=5] For all Webmasters, SEO Consultants, Content Producers and Web Designers

Recommended link: Google’s new Search Quality Rating Guideline

Yesterday (November 19th 2024), we saw the release of an updated ‘full’ 160(!) page version of the Search Quality Rating Guidelines. Here’s a sample:

With the adoption of Mobile Devices influencing the search landscape more and more, Google have decided to update its guidelines for Search Quality Raters.

This is big news since Google used to previously to keep these ‘behind closed doors’, but occasionally one would escape into the wild and be dissected. Back in 2013 Google published an abridged version as they looked to “provide transparency on how Google works” after previous leaks of the document in 2008, 2011 and 2012, then in 2014. However, as the use of mobile has rocketed, the need for a “Major” revision of the guidelines was deemed a necessity.

Although this is the full version, this is not the definitive version. Mimi Underwood, Senior Program Manager for Search Growth & Analysis stated:

“The guidelines will continue to evolve as search, and how people use it, changes. We won’t be updating the public document with every change, but we will try to publish big changes to the guidelines periodically.”

So, if you work in search we suggest you download a copy now before people change their mind.

What are the Search Quality Guidelines?

In short, it is a document that will help webmasters and people alike, understand what Google looks for in web pages and what it takes to top the search rankings.

They work this out by using Google’s Search Quality Evaluators (third-party people hired by Google via a third-party agency to rate the search results) to measure a site’s Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness, allowing Google to better understand what users want.

Why is it important?

Referring back to the ‘What is it?’ section, it helps you to understand better what it takes to top the search rankings.

And whilst it doesn’t necessarily define the ranking algorithm, it provides you with an insight into what Google are looking for, which, as an SEO Professional, Webmaster, even Website Designer is invaluable information.

How is it structured?

If you’ve read previous incarnations (excluding those who have had a peek at the leaked 2014 version) you’ll see a completely new structure, which has been rewritten from the ground up.

Looking at the monstrous contents page, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, however it’s relatively simple to follow. The first section is the General Guidelines Overview (Pages 4-6), highlighting topics such as the purpose of Search Quality rating, Browser requirements, Ad Blocking extensions, Internet Safety etc.

This is followed by the Page Quality Rating Guidelines (Pages 7-65), which discusses at great detail what Page Quality entails, providing examples of High Expertise, Authority and Trustworthy pages along with the middle tier and lowest tiers. Something interesting about this section is the Your Money or Your Life (YMYL), which discusses pages that could “potentially impact the future happiness, health, or wealth of users”.

The next section looks at Understanding Mobile User Needs (pages 67-86), there is a large emphasis on this part of the report as it is one of the key reasons behind the update. This Brand new section highlights the multiple issues that cause trouble on websites when viewed on a mobile device.

Another new section is the Needs Met Rating Guideline (87-149), which is one of the new ratings for webmasters to determine the quality of the site. It refers to mobile searcher’s needs and questions “how helpful and satisfying the result is for the mobile user?”.

The final section discusses Using the Evaluation platform for the Google Search Quality Evaluators (pages 152-158). It shows the process the Evaluators had to undergo, whilst reporting to google.

Recommended sections

Here’s our analysis of the sections of the parts I felt were critical to read – there’s a lot, and you may think differently!

The sections recommended in the Page Quality Rating (pages 7-65) are:

2.2 What is the purpose of a Webpage? (page 8)

2.3 Your Money Your Life (page 9)

2.6 Website Maintenance (page 15)

2.7 Website Reputation (page 16)

3.0 Overall Page Quality Rating Scale (page 19)

5.0 High-Quality Pages (page 19-23)

7.0 Page Quality Rating: Important Considerations (page 58-59)

11.0 Page Quality Rating FAQs (page 65)

The entire Mobile User Needs (pages 67-86) is worth a scan at the very least.

Needs Met Rating (pages 87-149).

13.0 Rating Using the Needs Met Scale (page 87)

13.1 Rating Result Blocks: Block Content and Landing Pages (page 87)

13.2 Fully Meets (FullyM) (page 90)

13.4 Moderately Meets (MM) (page 107)

13.6 Fails to Meet (FailsM) (page 112)

14.6 Hard to Use Flag (page 127)

15.0 The Relationship between E-A-T and Needs Met (page 130)

18.0 Needs Met Rating and Freshness (page 141)

19.0 Misspelled and Mistyped Queries and Results (page 143)

20.0 Non-fully Meets Results for URL Queries (page 146)

21.0 Product Queries: Action (Do) vs Information (Know) Intent (page 148)

22.0 Rating Visit-in-Person Intent Queries (page 149)

For a more of an in-depth overview, check out Jennifer Slegg’s post at thesempost.

New Google Mortgage Information Search

Google announced they are rolling out a mortgage information search product. The new service will show in mobile searches.

Google Mortgage Information Search for Mobile

Google’s new service is a collaboration with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

The CFPB is a United States government organization that regulates the consumer financial products and services.

The new mortgage search tool is available in mobile.

According to the CFPBs About Us page:

with the information, steps, and tools that they need to make smart financial decisions.”

Google is partnering with the U.S. government to provide information that is meant to benefit consumers.

Google Mortgage Information Search

The tool has a tabbed interface. It currently only shows in mobile devices. General mortgage related keywords trigger the new mortgage search engine results page.

The new search feature can be seen as a way to funnel users from high level mortgage related search queries to more specific information, but not necessarily to more specific websites.

Screenshot of Tabbed Interface of Google’s Mortgage Information Search Four Ads Above Mortgage Tools

Screenshot of a Google search ad above the mortgage information tools:

The search results are beneath Google’s mortgage search tools.  But you have to scroll past multiple mortgage related Google features before you get to two search results that in my case was from the same domain.

Then that’s followed by FAQs that have no links to the website of origin.

Did Google “Borrow” Content Without Attribution?

One of the FAQs has content that appears to have been sourced from chúng tôi But there is no link to the source of the information or any other attribution.

It’s possible that BankRate is not the original source of that content. But a search for a snippet of that phrase shows BankRate as the likeliest source.

One Section from Google’s Mortgage Search FAQ: Screenshot from a chúng tôi Page:

The page is visible here.

How does Google’s Mortgage Search Work?

Google’s new mortgage information search provides multiple choices for finding more information about mortgages.

The information is designed to funnel consumers from every point of their mortgage research journey.

According to Google:

list of relevant documents and helpful tips from the CFPB. “

What is Google Mortgage Information Search?

The mortgage information search offers the following tools:

Mortgage calculator

Mortgage rate tool

Step by step mortgage tool

Videos with How-to and 101 level information

Mortgage Calculator Keyword

The mortgage calculator keyword phrase drives traffic to Google’s information search tool.

While Google previously had featured their own calculator, this change may represent a greater disruption in the mortgage calculator search engine results pages (SERPs).

The new mortgage information feature pushes organic listings further down the page.

Mortgage Related Videos

The mortgage related videos seem to be focused on how-to and beginner level information.  Those seeking to gain traffic via videos may do well to focus on that kind of video.

Disruption in Mobile Mortgage SERPs

This may cause disruption in the mobile SERPs for mortgage related keywords. This does not currently affect the desktop SERPs.

The disruption appears to be on general high level type keywords.

A search for Mortgage Rates will trigger the tool. A search Mortgage Rates Massachusetts will also trigger the tool.

But more granular searches like Mortgage Rates Northampton Massachusetts or Mortgage Rates Charlotte North Carolina do not trigger Google’s mortgage information search tool.

So it looks like local related and granular keywords will not trigger the tool.

Those seeking to pick up mortgage related traffic may want to consider pivoting to more granular keyword phrases.

What’s Next from Google?

Does this tool signal the future of Google search?

It’s possible that something like this might pop up in other finance and Your Money or Your Life related topics, where a complicated topic needs a more comprehensive approach.

Citations

Read Google’s announcement here:

Find Helpful Information on the Mortgage Process in Search

CFPB About Us Page

Google Adds New Features To Responsive Search Ads

There are also now improved copy suggestions and recommendations, and the launch of cross-campaign asset reporting.

What are Responsive Search Ads?

It essentially treats headlines and body copy as two different elements or “asset,” where versions of each are listed out. The Ads system then pulls an asset from each list (headline and body copy), and combines them to make a full text ad.

It provides for testing at scale, and gives fast insights into which copy and combinations are resonating for searchers.

However, they are a great way to test for things like different value propositions, sale messaging, and other items to learn the phrasing users prefer.

Location Extension Insertion

It’s  inserted with the command {LOCATION(City)} reference, where “city” can be changed out for State or Country via a radio button selection:

Countdown Customizers

The Countdown time specification can be adjusted to the timezone of the searcher, or set at a global level to end without making any timezone adjustments. (For example, if something ends at 1am on the east coast, it would still end at 10pm for the west coast searcher.)

Countdown options are brought up by typing in the {COUNTDOWN command. A menu will pop up walks the user through the details, and populates the rest of the command based on those choices.

New Copy Asset Suggestions

When creating RSAs, the system populates a dropdown of suggested copy to test. This feature has been updated for the Covid-19 era, with new suggestions for things like Contactless delivery and curbside orders.

Adding your final URL to your ad copy unlocks additional options based on what Google discerns your offerings are.

Cross-Campaign Asset Reporting

To aggregate results per asset faster, Google Ads now also offers cross-campaign reporting for these copy assets. This aggregates the data for each asset, regardless of campaign, and gives the user one snapshot of total performance.

The full announcement of these features are on Google’s blog.

Images courtesy of Google

Form Tracking With Google Analytics (Via WordPress And Gtm)

Tracking form submissions is a crucial aspect of marketing success, as it allows organizations to gather valuable data about their audience and their preferences.

By keeping track of the forms submitted, companies can identify which marketing campaigns are most effective, what kind of content resonates with their target audience, and which channels drive the most conversions.

Additionally, tracking form submissions helps organizations to understand the customer journey – from initial contact to conversion – providing insight into areas for improvement.

While there are seemingly infinite ways to track form submissions on your website, I recommend using Google Tag Manager to do the leg work, so that it’s easier to send the right data to publisher platforms (think Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook, and LinkedIn).

Why You Should Use Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager is an essential tool for form tracking as it provides a centralized platform for managing tracking tags and marketing code snippets on a website.

By integrating form tracking with Google Tag Manager, both individuals and businesses can easily track form submissions and gather valuable data without having to manually add code to their websites.

This saves time and reduces the risk of errors that can arise from manual implementation.

Additionally, Google Tag Manager provides a user-friendly interface that allows marketers to create, manage, and implement tracking tags without the need for technical skills.

How To Track Form Submissions In Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager listens for events on your website, called “triggers,” and runs code snippets with necessary data, called “tags,” when appropriate.

There are a few different triggers that can be used to track forms, including the following, ranked by reliability:

Confirmation Page Views.

Success Message Visibility.

Data Layer Events.

Auto Event Listener.

AJAX Event Listener.

DOM Scraping.

Custom Event Listener.

While all of these triggers work, the one that I’ve seen the most success with is the first: Confirmation Page Views.

Instead of having the form send a signal to Google Tag Manager when someone fills out a form, we can track when a user lands on a confirmation or “thank you” page after filling out that form.

Step 1: Setting Up A Confirmation Page In WordPress

If you’re using WordPress to manage your website content, there are plenty of plugins that you can use to integrate functional and good-looking forms on your website.

My favorite, and the one my agency uses, is Gravity Forms.

If Gravity Forms isn’t for you, there are an endless amount of plugins that can do the job, including WPForms, Ninja Forms, and HubSpot.

Step 2: Setting Up A Trigger In Google Tag Manager

After setting up a confirmation page, the next step is to set up a “trigger” in Google Tag Manager.

Make sure that your trigger is listening for a page view event on only your confirmation page (like the configuration shown below).

Step 3: Setting Up A Tag For Google Analytics 4

After confirming the right data is getting to Google Tag Manager, using a tool like GTM’s native debugger or GTM’s popular Chrome extension, you can start sending that data to marketing and reporting platforms like Google Analytics.

With everyone switching from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 (GA4), we figured this would be the most helpful example to demonstrate how easy form tracking is in GTM.

Just be sure to use the “Google Analytics: GA4 Event” template tag, choose the right GA4 configuration tag (or type in your GA4 property ID directly) and choose the right event name.

In most cases, “generate_lead” will be the best choice, but there are a ton of other native events in GA4 to choose from.

Step 4: Start Seeing Results

Now that Google Tag Manager is collecting data and sending it to Google Analytics 4, you should be able to see that data in your GA4 reports (it might take a day or two to see results if you’re checking in real-time).

If you used the “generate_lead” event described above, page views to the confirmation page will automatically be flagged as a conversion.

If not, you might need to mark the event name as a conversion first.

Conclusion

While the solution above is the most popular and reliable, there are plenty that are well-suited for websites that have more customized forms and website logic.

Be sure to consult a developer if you run into any issues along the way!

More Resources:

Featured Image: G-Stock Studio/Shutterstock

How To Search The Web With Bing’s New Ai

Get Microsoft Edge

As much as you may like Chrome, Firefox, or whatever web browser you use, Bing is a Microsoft product and it works best with the company’s homegrown browser, Edge. Without it, you won’t get full access to Microsoft’s AI-powered search engine (which they’ve branded “The New Bing”). If you open Bing in any other browser, you’ll still get to search the web, but you won’t get to try the platform’s chat mode. 

And that’s not the only restriction. To use Bing with ChatGPT, you’ll also need to log into a Microsoft account. If you don’t, you’ll only get five responses, after which the platform will prompt you to sign in to continue your conversation. If you do, Bing will give you access to 25 more responses, save the conversations you’ve had with it, and let you view them across Microsoft’s apps and services.   

[Related: 6 ways ChatGPT is actually useful right now]

Finally, if you have more intimate questions you’d prefer Bing didn’t archive under your name, we’re sorry to inform you that Edge’s InPrivate mode (the browser’s equivalent to Chrome’s Incognito mode and Firefox’s Private window) doesn’t support ChatGPT. This means there’s no way to have delicate conversations with the platform, so if you share a computer with someone else, make sure you log out after you’ve made your queries or search in a more private setting. 

Get familiar with the platform Choose a conversation style

The big difference between classic Bing and its AI-powered version is that it lets you search for information in a conversational style. This means the engine understands your questions in a specific context, which makes it easier to refine your search. For example, if you’re asking Bing how to get from the airport to your hotel on your next trip to Paris, the platform will understand what you mean when you follow up by asking which method of transportation is the cheapest or fastest. But there are actually several types of conversations you can have with Bing, depending on what you want it to do. 

Before you enter your prompt, use the buttons in the middle of the interface to define your query’s conversation style. Bing suggests Creative to “generate more imaginative and original responses, such as poems, stories, jokes, images, etc.,” but if you want “more informative and factual responses,” like search results and definitions, you should go with Balanced. Finally, if you’re looking for something even more specific, like calculations, conversions, or straightforward recipes, Precise mode is what you need. 

Do dogs dream? Bing generated three types of answers with similar information. Sandra Gutierrez for Popular Science

In our experience, no matter what conversational type you use, the information will be pretty much the same. Answers will mostly vary in length and tone, with Precise being the shortest and most straightforward. Keep in mind that you can’t change the conversational style midway through a conversation, so choose wisely—or you’ll have to start over. 

If you’ve been chatting with Bing for a while and can’t remember what conversational style you’re using, pay attention to the color of the interface. When using the Creative type, it’ll be magenta, you’ll see blue with Balanced, and green with Precise. 

Check for accuracy

Bing won’t discuss how it chooses the sources of it uses to generate answers to your questions. Sandra Gutierrez for Popular Science

Start again

The last function you’ll need to get familiar with is the New Topic button, which you’ll find in the bottom left corner of the interface. Sometimes you’ll only see its icon: a broom with some sparkles.

[Related: 3 ways to prevent ChatGPT from using you as training data]

This button will automatically archive your conversation and start a new one. By default, it’ll keep the conversation style you had for your previous conversation, but you can change it if you need to. And if you ever need to go back to an earlier chat and ask a follow-up question, you can find them listed in chronological order to the right of the interface and start exactly where you left off. 

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