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Good morning, and welcome, October. 

October might not feel like the holidays, but looking at last year’s search trends for “holiday gifts,” interest began ticking up around the 15th. Now, add in Amazon Prime Day on October 13-14, and this year could see an even earlier kick-off to the holiday season. 

Now’s the time to get your product feeds in order. Yesterday, Google announced free Shopping listings are now available globally. Opting into Surfaces across Google in Merchant Center will allow your product listings to show organically in the Shopping tab in Search.

Google is also expanding Local Services Ads to Europe. They are available in Europe for 16 home services verticals such as appliance repair, house cleaning, pest control, plumbers and more. Google is testing auction bidding for LSAs in the U.S., but in Europe, pricing will be auction-based instead of based on a fixed cost per lead. 

This week, antisemitic memes in image results highlighted vulnerabilities in search and got us talking about “data voids” — when there is a lack of relevant, quality content around a search term. Data voids leave openings for low quality and, in this week’s case, offensive content to rise to the top of the search results. Subsequent coverage of the problem by multiple outlets actually exacerbated the problem. 

All agree they’re offensive. Google, however, is not taking explicit action for a few reasons. I happen to think these kinds of images have no place in search results, but acknowledge this opens up a complex discussion about content moderation and where lines get drawn, not to mention technical feasibility (though I tend to think that’s a cop-out). It has sparked very interesting discussions here on our morning calls, and understanding why this kind of content rises to the top in the first place serves as a good reminder about how search works and doesn’t.

Ginny Marvin,
Editor-in-Chief 

 
 
 
Social Shorts
 

Instagram and Facebook Messenger merger

In March 2019, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced plans to merge messaging across Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp and encrypt messages sent among the apps.In a first step, the company has now merged Facebook Messenger and Instagram, replacing the old Instagram Direct service with Messenger. 

“We’re connecting the Messenger and Instagram experience to bring some of the best Messenger features to Instagram,” Facebook lead Adam Mosseri and Stan Chudnovsky, the heads of Instagram, said in a statement. Users must consent to have the services merged.The WhatsApp integration is still a work in progress and remains separate.

Why we care. The move comes amid antitrust scrutiny, and many questioned whether a motivating factor of integrating the technologies to bolster the argument against breaking them up. As users spend more time in messaging and arguably less time in feeds, the integration helps maintain attention share and more attention means more ad view opportunities. 

 

New for 2020! MarTech Today's Guide to Digital Asset Management Platforms

What should a digital asset management (DAM) platform do and what are the ways that vendors differ from one another? This just released guide from MarTech Today examines the market for enterprise DAM platforms and includes the latest industry statistics and developing market trends. Also included are profiles of leading vendors, capabilities comparisons, pricing information, and recommended steps for evaluating.

Read more »

 
Search Shorts
 

Unstable Google search & new Google My Business Insights.

Google Search unstable? There has been a lot of indexing issues, canonical issues and now pages seem to have dropped out of the index. Google just seems very unstable. 

Bing election efforts. Bing is beefing up its election search results. Bing said on Twitter that is team has done a great job with the #election experience on #Bing, making it easy to navigate through the latest news, polls, debate info., and more. 

New Google My Business insights. Google announced that new Google My Business insights is coming soon. Google said Business Profile Performance reporting is moving closer to your profile on Search and Maps. You’ll be able to access more of the core profile metrics directly from your Business Profile. We start with interactions to let you know how often people have contacted you. More metrics will follow over the next months and will include detailed reports about searches and the number of people who saw the profile.  We think it has been out already and we reported it over here.

Bobblehead Google Doodle. Did you miss the bobblehead weiner Google Doodle yesterday? If so, you can check it out over here.

 

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What we're reading
 

We've curated our picks from across the web so you can retire your feed reader.

E-A-T & SEO: What content does Google want to see? – State of Digital

Exclusive: China preparing an antitrust investigation into Google – sources – Reuters

Field Guide to Reporting on Core Web Vitals: Part 2 – Portent

Google Tests People Also Search For Within Google Autocomplete Search Bar – Search Engine Roundtable

Google’s “Found on the Web” Mobile SERP Feature – A Knowledge Graph and Carousel Frankenstein That’s Hard To Ignore – GSQI

How we’re giving everyone, everywhere an address – Google Blog

Microsoft’s Bing Wins Search Slots in Google’s Android Auction – Bloomberg

My Biggest SEO Marketing Mistake and How You Can Avoid it – RankRanger

Page Authority 2.0: An Update on Testing and Timing – Moz

Relevance-Ordered Categories of Information in Search Results – Go Fish Digital

Retail recipe for success this holiday season – Microsoft Advertising

Why is the sky orange? How Google gave people the right info – Google Blog