If you’re still unclear on how Google thinks about marketing agencies that offer negative SEO linkbuilding services or link disavowal services, the latest comments from John Mueller should help clarify the company’s stance. 

In a conversation that popped up on Twitter between Mueller and several marketing experts, Mueller clearly and definitively slammed companies offering these types of services by saying that they are “just making stuff up and cashing in from those who don’t know better.”

This is particularly notable as some have accused Google of being unclear on their handling of link disavowal using their tools

The post that started it all came from Twitter user @RyanJones who said, “I’m still shocked at how many seos regularly disavow links. Why? Unless you spammed them or have a manual action you’re probably doing more harm than good.”

In response, one user began talking about negative SEO which caught the attention of Mueller. The user mentioned that “agencies know what kind of links hurt the website because they have been doing this for a long time. It’s only hard to down for very trusted sites. Even some agencies provide a money back guarantee as well. They will provide you examples as well with proper insights.”

In response, Mueller gave what is possibly his clearest statement on this type of “service” yet:

“That’s all made up & irrelevant. These agencies (both those creating, and those disavowing) are just making stuff up, and cashing in from those who don’t know better.”

Instead of spending time and effort on any of this, Mueller instead recommended something simple:

“Don’t waste your time on it; do things that build up your site instead.”

A new report from Forbes confirms that TikTok employees can and do promote specific videos across the platform – effectively deciding what goes viral.

Several current and former employees reported that some employees have access to this ability via a “heating” button which overrides the platform’s usual algorithm to ensure as many users can see content as possible.

What Is “Heating”?

An internal TikTok document called the “MINT Heating Playbook, “The heating feature refers to boosting videos into the For You feed through operation intervention to achieve a certain number of video views.”. 

According to the company, this heating button is intended to boost videos that will “introduce celebrities and emerging creators of the TikTok community.”

Though it was never explicitly stated that every video in the For You feed was selected and placed using the algorithm, that has always been the public understanding of how the feed works. Behind closed doors, it appears things have been a little different.

TikTok Used Heating To Encourage Partnerships

The social network doesn’t altruistically use this algorithm to promote creators who show promise.

Several former employees said the company uses the process regularly to help attract businesses and influencers.

In response, TikTok spokesperson Jamie Favazza didn’t dispute the nature of heating, but downplayed how often it is used:

“We promote some videos to help diversify the content experience and introduce celebrities and emerging creators to the TikTok community,” TikTok spokesperson Jamie Favazza told Forbes. “Only a few people, based in the U.S., have the ability to approve content for promotion in the U.S., and that content makes up approximately .002% of videos in For You feeds.”

What Favazza doesn’t mention is that heated videos make up 1-2% of daily video views according to the MINT Heating Playbook.

Do Other Social Networks Boost Videos?

It has long been suspected that most social networks manipulate their feeds to encourage partnerships with brands or content creators. However, TikTok is the only one so far to have a practice like this confirmed. 

Google is encouraging brands to ensure content is properly dated in search engines by using multiple date indicators on each page. 

The recommendation came in the wake of an issue with Google News where the wrong dates were being shown.

In the response, Google’s Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, emphasized that while many factors may have contributed in this specific situation, the lack of proper date signals made it difficult to show correct info in the search results. 

“That page is a particular challenge since the main story lacks a visible date (it only has a time), and the page contains multiple stories which do contain full dates. Our guidance warns about this.”

To prevent situations like this from arising, Sullivan says it is important to use several signals to clarify the date content is published:

“Understand that ideally, the meta data alone would seem to some to be enough, and we’ll keep working to improve. But there are good reasons why we like multiple date signals present.”

Why Does This Matter?

It may not seem like a big deal for the wrong date to occasionally get shown with content in the search results. However, these can undermine your authority, lead to confusion, and create a poor user experience. All of these can lead to decreased page performance and even demotions in Google’s search results.

On the other hand, situations like this also highlight the need for Google to deliver more consistent ways to signal a page’s publishing date. 

For now, the best recommendation Google has is to use a scattershot approach for the best chance of having your page correctly dated:

“Google doesn’t depend on a single date factor because all factors can be prone to issues. That’s why our systems look at several factors to determine our best estimate of when a page was published or significantly updated.”

Since the much-publicized takeover by Elon Musk, Twitter has seen its daily revenue plummet by up to 40%. While Musk has been widely criticized for his behavior as CEO and management of the company in recent months, this info, reported by The Information, indicates things are also falling apart behind the scenes. 

Much of the lost revenue is attributed to recent news that more than 500 of Twitter’s top advertisers cut or entirely stopped advertising on the platform since Elon Musk’s takeover. 

Why Are Advertisers Pulling Away From Twitter?

The main issue raised by most major advertisers is Musk’s approach to content moderation. Musk has claimed to be a proponent of free speech online, indicating that content moderation should be handled with a light hand – if at all. 

As such, Musk has reinstated many previously banned accounts – including those of avowed white supremacists – and dismissed most of the staff responsible for content moderation on the platform. 

Understandably, this has made many large advertisers wary of how safe the platform is for their advertising. 

At the same time, Musk has also terminated much of Twitter’s sales teams, including those in charge of accounts with the company’s biggest advertisers. Similarly, engineers and data scientists who were working to improve the advertising service on Twitter have been dismissed. 

What This Means For Twitter’s Future

Unless Musk finds a way to reverse course and satisfy previous advertisers’ concerns, this could bode poorly for the company’s future. Users have already expressed frustration with having new features locked behind a paywall as part of Twitter Blue, indicating the premium service will not be able to make up for lost ad revenue. Meanwhile, Musk’s slashing of staff will make it difficult for the company to engineer new tools or services that generate revenue. 

With all this in mind, advertisers have every right to approach the platform with caution.

Google continues to be relatively tight-lipped about its stance on AI-generated content, but a new statement from Google’s Danny Sullivan suggests the search engine may not be a fan.

Artificial Intelligence has become a hot-button issue over the past year, as AI tools have become more complex and widely available. In particular, the use of AI to generate everything from highly-detailed paintings to articles posted online has raised questions about the viability of AI content.

In the world of SEO, the biggest question about AI-generated content has been how Google would react to content written by AI systems.

Now, we have a bit of insight into how the search engine’s stance on AI-created content – as well as any content created solely for the purpose of ranking in search results.

In a Twitter thread, Google Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, addressed AI-generated content, saying:

“Content created primarily for search engines, however it is done, is against our guidance. If content is helpful & created for people first, that’s not an issue.”

“Our spam policies also address spammy automatically-generated content, where we will take action if content is “generated through automated processes without regard for quality or user experience.”

Lastly, Sullivan says:

“For anyone who uses *any method* to generate a lot of content primarily for search rankings, our core systems look at many signals to reward content clea/rly demonstrating E-E-A-T (experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness).”

In other words, while it is possible to use AI to create your content and get Google’s stamp of approval, you are walking a very thin line. In most cases, having content produced by experts with experience providing useful information to those who want it will continue to be the best option for content marketing – no matter how smart the AI tool is.

If your site gets hit with an algorithmic penalty from Google, you’ll likely be eager to fix the issue and improve your rankings again. However, Google’s top experts say it can take quite some time to recover if they believe your site is spammy.

In a recent Google SEO Office Hours session, representatives were asked how long it can take to recover from an algorithm penalty related to content quality problems. 

While many details about the question remain unclear – such as how significant the penalty is – the search engine’s spokespeople encouraged site owners to be proactive. Otherwise, it may be months before they regain ground in the search results.

Specifically, the question posed in the video is:

“If a website gets algorithmically penalized for thin content, how much of the website’s content do you have to update before the penalty is lifted?”

There are a few ways the question could be read, so in this case, the experts kept it simple and straight to the point:

“Well, it’s generally a good idea to clean up low-quality content or spammy content that you may have created in the past.

For algorithmic actions, it can take us months to reevaluate your site again to determine that it’s no longer spammy.”

In other words, it is always better to share high-quality original content than to risk being labeled as spam. Once that happens, you’ll likely be in the doghouse for at least a few months.

To hear the answer, check out the video below beginning at 24:24.

To kick off 2023, Linkedin is giving a preview of the upcoming features it is working on. Along with updates to the platform’s job search systems, the company revealed it is prioritizing making content more accessible, new ways to find B2B products and services, better analytics, and more. 

Let’s explore all 7 of the new features LinkedIn revealed:

1. Improving Accessibility for Video Content

To help content creators make their videos more accessible, LinkedIn will start automatically generating captions for all videos on the platform. Currently only available for English users, creators can edit these captions or upload manually generated captions when uploading videos. 

Additionally, LinkedIn is adding a high contract mode on the LinkedIn app to make videos and other content easier to see for those with difficulty seeing. 

2. Standardized Accessibility Job Titles

LinkedIn is making it easier for those working in accessibility to find job opportunities and connections by providing a set of standardized job titles for use across the platform. 

3. Alt Text In Campaign Manager

Another feature intended to make visual content more accessible, LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager has added the ability for advertisers to add alt-text descriptions to images in ads. 

4. Personalized Job Collections 

According to LinkedIn’s research, more people are casually looking for job opportunities than ever – particularly with the goal of finding a position that better aligns with their values and interests. 

With this in mind, LinkedIn is creating personalized job collections to help users find opportunities without conducting specific searches. 

5. Improvements to B2B Product Search

To make it easier to search and filter through the nearly 90,000 B2B available across LinkedIn, the platform is adding new category filters and ways to share information with prospects 

Along with updates to the B2B product search engine, the company is improving Product Pages to better showcase the benefits and unique features of B2B products.

6. Post Scheduling

After years of pleas from users, LinkedIn is finally letting creators schedule posts ahead of time. 

Users will begin seeing a “schedule” button directly next to the “Post” button when preparing a post. If selected, the icon will let you select exactly when you want your content to go live. 

7. Improvements to Analytics

Lastly, LinkedIn is updating its analytics dashboard for creators to include more relevant data like audience insights and top-performing content. 

The company says highlighting these specific types of data will help brands understand their overall growth and performance at a glance.