Google, give us more data!; Wednesday’s daily brief

Search Engine Land’s daily brief features daily insights, news, tips, and essential bits of wisdom for today’s search marketer. If you would like to read this before the rest of the internet does, sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox daily.

Good morning, Marketers, we expect Google to make changes, that is why so many of us love the search space. But figuring it out in the dark is not fun.

Anyone who has been in the search marketing industry for any period of time knows that one constant is change. Google is changing algorithms, user interfaces, and features all the time.  We are changing our sites, while competitors are launching new sites or modifying their own.  We embrace change and leverage change for our benefit.

But approaching it in the dark, in such a data-centric world, is not fun. As you will see below, we lost a significant amount of data in the performance report in Search Console last week.  Measuring the impact of our changes or Google’s changes (i.e., title changes) is hard enough, but harder when there is data loss.

If Google wants to make these changes, which some believe are massive and disruptive, at least give us the data to see how it impacts our click-through rates, positions and our bottom lines. In 2021, there is no reason to keep us in the dark when the data is so available. Show us the before and after titles, show us the before and after CTR and let us be able to opt out of those title changes.

Barry Schwartz,
Eyes wide open reporter

Google ads to drop expanded text ads for responsive search ads

Starting June 30, 2022, responsive search ads will be the only Google Search ad type that can be created or edited in standard Google Search campaigns, the company announced.  That means you will no longer be able to create new ETAs or edit existing ETAs in Google Ads. “Your existing expanded text ads will continue to serve alongside responsive search ads, and you’ll still see reports on their performance going forward. Additionally, you’ll be able to pause and resume your expanded text ads or remove them if needed. You’ll also still be able to create and edit call ads and Dynamic Search Ads,” said the announcement.

Why we care. This is the latest move that Google is making to push automation through their ad products. The announcement says that, “15% of search queries every day are new searches we’ve never seen before” and therefore “Automation is key to keeping pace with these trends.” Many advertisers do use RSAs well, but they also like having the control and capabilities that ETAs offer. The future phase-out of ETAs means advertisers are moving further away from direct control over their accounts and having to work with the Google Ads machine learning and AI.

Read more here.

Google lost some data in Search Console’s performance report

When you are looking at the performance report in Search Console, you will notice an annotation on August 23 and 24 stating that Google lost Search and Discover data between those dates. The data cannot be backfilled and is likely gone forever, Google said. Some sites are seeing huge impressions and click declines, while others are not.  

“An internal problem caused a data loss in Search and Discover performance during this period. Users might see a significant data drop in their performance reports during this period. This does not reflect any drop in clicks or impressions for your site, only missing data in Search Console,” wrote Google.

Why we care. It is important that you annotate this data glitch in your own reporting or client reporting. Google has added an annotation to the Search Console reports but do not forget, that data on from August 23 to 24 is likely gone forever. I would think it is safe to say you had more impressions and clicks on those days than what Google is showing you. But make sure to communicate the data issue with your clients when you do your monthly reporting.

Read more here.

Google still uses your HTML titles for ranking

Just because Google made changes to some of the titles it shows in the search results does not mean Google is not using your HTML title tag for ranking purposes. Google’s John Mueller confirmed that HTML title tags are still a ranking factor and that the title change has nothing to do with ranking. It may impact your click-through rate from the search results, but it should not impact your rank position in Google Search.

“This just changes the displayed titles, it doesn’t change ranking or takes [sic] anything different into account,” John Mueller of Google elaborated.

Why we care. This means the titles you wrote may still be taken into account by Google when it ranks results. So, don’t stop optimizing your titles just because they may change in the search results. That having been said, Google makes ranking changes very often, so you may experience rankings fluctuations, but they won’t be due to title changes.

Read more here.

N95 masks are back for Google Ads and Google Shopping

Google is now reallowing advertisers to promote the sale of N95 and N95 adjacent masks (i.e KN95s, FF2s) in both Google Ads and Google Shopping – both paid and free editions. There is an application process, managed by third-party companies named LegitScript and ProjectN95, to vet merchants looking to list or run ads for respirator mask products on Google Shopping.

  • N95 Adjacent Masks (Global): Google Merchants will be required to apply for approval to list KN95s, FFP2s and KF94s through LegitScript. LegitScript will require additional information on the merchant, supply chain and for certain products will require an independent lab test be conducted for authenticity of claims. 
  • ProjectN95 (US-only, to start): Google Merchants will be required to apply for approval through ProjectN95, Google said Project N95 is the leading rapid response nonprofit organization that acts as the National Clearinghouse for critical PPE and diagnostic tests. 
    • Through ProjectN95, manufacturers will be required to share more information on their business, supply chain and provide documentation of relevant medical certifications (i.e NIOSH).
    • ProjectN95 also adds an additional layer of vetting by reserving the highest-performing surgical N95s for healthcare workers, while providing standard N95s to consumers. 
    • Google said this ensures N95s are being directed to the most critical populations first and is in alignment with federal guidance.  

“Since the beginning of Covid-19, we have prioritized consumer safety and protecting critical mask supplies for healthcare workers. Based on recent guidance from the CDC and FDA stating respirator mask supplies are no longer in a state of emergency, we will begin allowing N95 and N95 adjacent masks from approved manufacturers on Shopping. We believe this will help users find more types of masks to meet their needs while also continuing to protect them from counterfeit goods,” Google told Search Engine Land.

Paywall content is not thin, don’t blindly change your titles and be confident in your rich results

Paywall content. Google’s John Mueller said that “content behind paywalls is not automatically thin, and people can choose different ways to monetize their sites.”

Change your titles. Some are thinking it might be a good idea to change your HTML title tags to what Google is using as titles in the search results.  That probably isn’t the best idea, said John Mueller of Google.

Rich results Google order. I would avoid using multiple rich results markup on the same page, because you kind of want to guide Google which rich result type to use in the search results. Google has no defined order on which rich result type to show, so stick with one, suggests Google.

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


About The Author

Barry Schwartz a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry’s personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here.

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