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Google is introducing new vehicle ads specifically for car dealerships to reduce the gap between online car sales and in-person dealerships. 

While car sales have traditionally been something largely done in person, many dealerships have seen big shifts towards online sales over the past two years. Not only did Google’s data show that 89% of car buyers research their vehicle online, but 16% also did their entire purchase online in 2021.

What Are Google Vehicle Ads?

With the new ads, dealerships can now highlight cars for sale nearby in relevant searches. The ads include a few important details about the car, including the location, make and model, price, and dealership name. 

If tapped or clicked, the ads then take users to the dealer’s website for more information about the vehicle. From there, they can get more information to come to make a purchase in-person or to order online (if your dealership provides that service). 

How To Gain Access to Google Vehicle Ads

As a new test, vehicle ads are only available to auto dealerships in America.

The ad format is also not automatically shown within ad accounts. To gain access, you or a representative for your company must contact Google. 

Once given access, you will need to upload your inventory through Google Merchant Center and connect your vehicle inventory feed to your Google Business Profile. 

What Vehicles Are Allowed

Currently, only commercial auto dealerships are eligible to run vehicle ads. Private or individual sellers are not eligible. 

Google also has several restrictions on what vehicles are allowed. At the moment, only non-commercial passenger vehicles are eligible in vehicle ads. 

Restricted vehicles include:

  • Recreational vehicles
  • Commercial vehicles
  • Farm vehicles
  • Buses
  • 2-wheelers
  • Trains
  • Boats
  • Airplanes
  • Any outdoor utility vehicles

In early testing, Google says it saw an average increase of 25% in conversions for auto dealerships, along with more qualified leads and increased awareness of accompanying text ads.

Inspired by the popularity of TikTok, Google is working to find new ways to include short-form videos in search results. 

Google Product Manager Danielle Marshak revealed this during a recent episode of the Search Off the Record podcast with hosts Gary Illyes and Lizzi Sassman from Google’s Search Relations team. 

Why Google Is Interest In Short-Form Videos

Though the entire episode is more broadly focused on discussing how Google handles video content in search results, the conversation eventually turns to the most popular video format of the moment – short vertical videos less than 5 minutes in length. 

Beyond their popularity, the Google employees agree there is a lot of interest in short videos because they are easily digestible and can contain a lot of information in a compact package.

As Marshak says:

“And this format, it’s really cool because as I mentioned, it is very concise. You can get a lot of information in a short period of time, and you can also get a loot of different views and perspectives…

“So we think this kind of content could be useful for a lot of different types of search queries, and we’ve been experimenting with how to show it to users more often.”

Could TikTok Videos Appear In Search Results?

Since TikTok is practically synonymous with this specific type of short video, it was only a matter of time before the social video app was brought up. 

Interestingly, Gary Illyes explained that the unique way TikTok works makes its content much easier for the search engine to crawl and index compared to others like Snapchat or Instagram.

Since every TikTok video has a unique URL and can be opened directly in a web browser, Illyes says there is a chance the videos could be directly indexed and shown in search results:

“You can actually open it on the laptop and you will end up on a web page and you can actually watch it on the web page. You don’t have to have the TikTok app for watching the video.

“So I imagine that if they allow crawling – I haven’t checked – then we can probably index those videos as well.”

Other Ways Google Is Integrating Short Videos Into Search

When asked about other types of short video content that Google might include in search results pages, Marshak mostly focused on educational or informational content, such as recipes:

“So let’s say, again, you’re searching for some new ideas to make banana bread. And right now, you might see traditional recipes, you might see longer videos, but you could also see short videos, which could just give you a different style or perspective.

“And people’s preferences are different. Some people might prefer to read; some people might prefer a longer video; some people might prefer short videos.

“And so we want to offer a lot of different options to get that type of information, in the format that is most useful for you. So that’s one example.”

From what was said, it seems the ideas are still in their early stages but the episode makes it clear that Google is taking TikTok and its popular video format very seriously. You can expect to see much more of it in search results sooner, rather than later.

Listen to the full episode of the Search Off the Record podcast here.

Google has confirmed that it is “slowly” rolling out the Page Experience update for desktop search results.

Back in November, the search engine notified webmasters that it planned to extend the Page Experience update – originally limited to just mobile search results – to desktop search results by February 2022. 

While the update is rolling out on schedule, the company says the update will not be completed until closer to the end of March. 

What You Should Know About The Desktop Page Experience Update

For the most part, the algorithm update looks identical to the update introduced to mobile search results last year. As such, the most important aspect of the update is the use of Core Web Vitals metrics to measure website performance.

“This means the same three Core Web Vitals metrics: LCP, FID, and CLS, and their associated thresholds will apply for desktop ranking. Other aspects of page experience signals, such as HTTPS security and absence of intrusive interstitials, will remain the same as well.”

One factor is being dropped from the desktop Page Experience update, however. For obvious reasons, this version of the update will remove the mobile-friendliness signal which was originally built into the update.

What Does This Mean For Your Site?

If you have been having good performance on mobile search results, you are probably fairly safe from the newer desktop version of the Page Experience update. However, if you’ve seen drops in search visibility or performance from mobile searches in the past year, this update is likely to compound your pain. 

To help you predict how the algorithm update will impact you, Google Search Console is launching a new report specifically dedicated to Page Experience metrics for desktop versions of sites. 

This report is available in the Page Experience tab of Google Search Console, immediately under the mobile report.

Any small-to-medium-sized business owner or operator is all too aware that it often feels like the odds are stacked against them – especially when it comes to competing with larger companies on Google. 

It’s something Google rarely addresses outright, but it seems clear that big companies have several advantages which can make it hard to compete. This is why one person decided to ask Google’s John Mueller about the situation during a recent Office Hours hangout chat with Google Search Advocate.

As Mueller acknowledges, Google is well aware that big brands often receive natural competitive advantages. But, he also had some advice for smaller brands trying to rank against massive brands – big sites face their own unique problems and limitations which can give you a chance to get the upper hand.

John Mueller’s Advice For Small Companies On Google

The original question posed to Mueller included two parts, but it was the second half that the Search Advocate decided to focus on. Specifically, he was asked:

“Do smaller organizations have a chance in competing with larger companies?”

From the outset, he says its a bit of a broader “philosophical” question, but he does his best to show how smaller companies have consistently been able to turn the tables against larger brands. For example, Mueller points to how many larger companies were so invested in using Macromedia Flash, they stuck with it long after it became clear it was not helping their SEO. Meanwhile, smaller sites often knew better and were able to use this against their competition.

“One of the things that I’ve noticed over time is that in the beginning, a lot of large companies were, essentially, incompetent with regards to the web and they made terrible websites.

And their visibility in the search results was really bad.

And it was easy for small websites to get in and kind of like say, well, here’s my small website or my small bookstore, and suddenly your content is visible to a large amount of users.

And you can have that success moment early on.

But over time, as large companies also see the value of search and of the web overall, they’ve grown their websites.

They have really competent teams, they work really hard on making a fantastic web experience.

And that kind of means for smaller companies that it’s a lot harder to gain a foothold there, especially if there is a very competitive existing market out there.

And it’s less about large companies or small companies.

It’s really more about the competitive environment in general.”

While it is true that it can seem very difficult to compete with the seemingly unlimited resources of bigger brands, history has shown time and time again that bigger brands face their own challenges. 

As Mueller concludes:

“As a small company, you should probably focus more on your strengths and the weaknesses of the competitors and try to find an angle where you can shine, where other people don’t have the ability to shine as well.

Which could be specific kinds of content, or specific audiences or anything along those lines.

Kind of like how you would do that with a normal, physical business as well.”

In the end, big brands competing are much like David facing down Goliath; if they know how to use their strengths and talents to their advantage they can overcome seemingly unbeatable challengers.

You can watch Mueller’s answer in the video below, starting around 38:14.

A new study conducted by Google and Boston Consulting Group indicates that 90% of consumers are willing to give brands their email addresses, so long as there is an incentive. 

The results come from an exploration into how consumers view modern advertising, including targeted ads, sharing personal information with advertisers, and email marketing.

As online advertising has become more pervasive and personalized to consumers, it is widely believed that shoppers have become jaded and worn down by online ads. As such, many believe shoppers are generally unwilling to engage with online advertisers. However, this study refutes this idea quite clearly.

Instead, the findings show that modern consumers are quite willing to engage with ads on the condition that they are relevant to their needs and interests.

How Consumers View Targeted Ads

First and foremost, the new research makes it clear that advertisers do not dislike all advertising. They dislike irrelevant advertising, with 65% of people saying they have negative experiences with ads that are not relevant. Additionally, 74% of consumers say they only want ads that are relevant. 

These consumers are also largely aware that receiving ads that are targeted to their interests requires some amount of data sharing.

According to Google’s research, most consumers are willing to share some personal information, so long as it is not overly invasive. 

At the same time, some demographics are more willing to share specific details such as their gender, age, or online activity compared to other groups.

For example, Young Urban Professionals tend to be more willing to share their social media activity, but less willing to tell advertisers their gender. 

When consumers’ concerns are addressed, users may be even more willing to share personal details. These concerns include what specific information is being collected, how an advertiser is collecting this information, and what they intend to use it for. 

How Incentives Increase Data Sharing

Another major concern advertisers need to address is “what’s in it for me?”

While nearly 1 in 3 consumers say they are willing to give out some personal information such as their email address for absolutely nothing, more than 90% say they are willing to give their email address if given the right incentive – such as a discount or free sample. 

Not only does an incentive simply give a person a reason to sign up, but it also gives a brand an opportunity to prove themselves to shoppers and earn their trust. 

This is crucial for brands because at least 29% of new customers say they start from a place of mistrust with all companies from any industry. Why? Because they are concerned that brands will then sell their private information to less scrupulous marketers.

As Google’s report explains:

“And while almost 60% of customers believe that companies are selling their data, our research found that very few brands do that.

Marketers understand the value of data and the trust their customers place in them — and how customer-centric, data-driven marketing unlocks significant gains across business objectives.”

Key Takeaways

Google’s report concludes with three major recommendations based on the study’s findings:

  • Build trust by prioritizing transparency
  • Create great experiences through first-part data
  • Build a data-centric organization that respects privacy at all levels

For more in-depth information, read the full report from Google here or from Boston Consulting Group here.

Most people these days understand the general idea of how search engines work. Search engines like Google send out automated bots to scan or “crawl” all the pages on a website, before using their algorithms to sort through which sites are best for specific search queries. 

What few outside Google knew until recently, was that the search engine has begun using two different methods to crawl websites – one which specifically searches out new content and another to review content already within its search index.

Google Search Advocate John Mueller revealed this recently during one of his regular Search Central SEO office-hours chats on January 7th.

During this session, an SEO professional asked Mueller about the behavior he has observed from Googlebot crawling his website. 

Specifically, the user says Googlebot previously crawled his site daily when it was frequently sharing content. Since content publishing has slowed on this site, he has seen that Googlebot has been crawling his website less often.

As it turns out, Mueller says this is quite normal and is the result of how Google approaches crawling web pages.

How Google Crawls New vs. Old Content

While Mueller acknowledges there are several factors that can contribute to how often it crawls different pages on a website – including what type of pages they are, how new they are, and how Google understands your site.

“It’s not so much that we crawl a website, but we crawl individual pages of a website. And when it comes to crawling, we have two types of crawling roughly.

One is a discovery crawl where we try to discover new pages on your website. And the other is a refresh crawl where we update existing pages that we know about.”

These different types of crawling target different types of pages, so it is reasonable that they also occur more or less frequently depending on the type of content.

“So for the most part, for example, we would refresh crawl the homepage, I don’t know, once a day, or every couple of hours, or something like that.

And if we find new links on their home page then we’ll go off and crawl those with the discovery crawl as well. And because of that you will always see a mix of discover and refresh happening with regard to crawling. And you’ll see some baseline of crawling happening every day.

But if we recognize that individual pages change very rarely, then we realize we don’t have to crawl them all the time.”

The takeaway here is that Google adapts to your site according to your own publishing habits. Which type of crawling it is using or how frequently it is happening are not inherently good or bad indicators of your website’s health, and your focus should be (as always) on providing the smoothest online sales experience for your customers. 

Nonetheless, it is interesting to know that Google has made this adjustment to how it crawls content across the web and to speculate about how this might affect its ranking process.

To hear Mueller’s full response (including more details about why Google crawls some sites more often than others), check out the video below:

Google has revealed their yearly recap of all the top trending searches for a smorgasbord of topics and themes for 2021. The lists show a focus on the news, money, and (of course) Squid Game, but they also reveal a bit about how Google thinks about its purpose as a search engine. 

In addition to the expected stories or trends like Gabby Petito or various types of cryptocurrency, the list of top trending searches brings attention to the ways people use Google to find information, connect with others, and how to improve their own lives with tutorials, resources, and ways to help others in need. 

Below, we will include some of the most interesting top trending search lists for the US from 2021, or you can explore Google’s full Year In Search site here.

Google’s Top 10 Trending Searches in 2021

  1. NBA
  2. DMX
  3. Gabby Petito
  4. Kyle Rittenhouse
  5. Brian Laundrie
  6. Mega Millions
  7. AMC Stock
  8. Stimulus Check
  9. Georgia Senate Race
  10. Squid Game

Top Trending News Searches

  1. Mega Millions
  2. AMC Stock
  3. Stimulus Check
  4. Georgia Senate Race
  5. GME
  6. Dogecoin
  7. Hurricane Ida
  8. Kyle Rittenhouse verdict
  9. Afghanistan
  10. Ethereum price

Top Trending Searches for How To Help Others

  1. How to help Afghan refugees
  2. How to help Texas
  3. How to help India COVID
  4. How to help toddler with cough
  5. How to help foster kids

Top Trending Searches For “How To Be”

  1. How to be eligible for stimulus check
  2. How to be more attractive
  3. How to be happy alone
  4. How to be a baddie
  5. How to be a good boyfriend

Top Trending “This or That” Searches 

  1. Effect or affect
  2. Barbie, Bratz or Fairy
  3. Allergies or COVID
  4. Bones or no bones
  5. Bougie or boujee
  6. Pfizer or Moderna
  7. Sinus infection or COVID
  8. Choose Bidoof or Bidoof
  9. Cold or COVID
  10. Capitol or capital

Top Trending “Where to Buy” Searches

  1. Dogecoin
  2. Shiba coin
  3. PS5
  4. safemoon
  5. N95 mask
  6. XRP
  7. NFT
  8. Baby Doge
  9. Xbox Series X
  10. Squishmallows

As usual, Google also collected many of these lists and trends into a Year in Search video for 2021. Check it out below:

Google’s Page Experience Algorithm update is officially coming to some desktop search results, beginning in February of next year.’

Google Search product manager Jeffrey Jose teased this news earlier this year at the annual I/O event. At the time, however, details about when it would be rolled out and how it would be implemented were scarce. Now, we have the full rundown.

What Is Google’s Page Experience Algorithm?

The Page Experience Algorithm was originally rolled out exclusively for searches coming from mobile devices earlier this year, but the search engine confirmed it will be bringing much of the algorithm to desktop searches. This includes the much-talked-about “Core Web Vitals” metrics which are intended to ensure a good user experience on sites.

As the announcement says:

“This means the same three Core Web Vitals metrics: LCP, FID, and CLS, and their associated thresholds will apply for desktop ranking. Other aspects of page experience signals, such as HTTPS security and absence of intrusive interstitials, will remain the same as well.”

However, one notable signal from the mobile Page Experience Algorithm will not be coming to desktop search results for obvious reasons: mobile-friendliness.

To accompany the new search signal, Google says it is working on a new Search Console report dedicated to showing how your desktop pages stack up when this algorithm is applied to them.; For now, the release date of that is unknown, but most believe the report will arrive before or at the same time as the algorithm update.

For more information, read the full announcement here.

Say goodbye to “Google My Business” and say hello to “Google Business Profiles” as the search engine streamlines its tools for businesses.

Though much will stay the same for businesses listing their services on Google, the rename marks some significant changes – such as where and how your businesses can claim their profile. Starting now, your brand can claim its profile directly from either Google Search or Google Maps.

Below, we will talk a bit more in-depth about how you can claim your listing and what this means for existing listings.

How to Claim a Google Business Profile

When signed into the Google account associated with your business, the fastest way to claim your listing is to simply search for your business name. 

This will bring you to a prompt that will allow you to verify your listing or challenge someone who has already made a claim for your listing. 

Once claimed and verified, you will be able to edit any information shown and add additional details like photos, videos, unique services, and Google Posts.

Is Anything Else Changing?

For the most part, everything else is staying the same regarding local business listings on Google. Their appearance will stay the same, as will the optimization methods to ensure your business appears for relevant searches. 

What will change is where you are editing this information. 

For example, the search engine says it is no longer necessary to use the specific Google My Business website or app to update your listing.

The app will be phased out in early 2022, though you can still use the website if you are managing multiple listings. It will simply be renamed to “Google Business Profile Manager.”

For now, this is all the news we have about the relaunch of Google My Business and Google Business Profiles. More info will be coming in the coming months as the relaunch rolls out.

When it comes to ranking a website in Google, most people agree that high-quality content is essential. But, what exactly is quality content? 

For a number of reasons, most online marketers agreed that Google defined high-quality content as something very specific: text-based content which clearly and engagingly communicated valuable information to readers.

Recently, though, Google’s John Mueller shot down that assumption during a video chat. 

While he still emphasizes that great content should inform or entertain viewers, Mueller explained that the search engine actually has a much broader view of “content quality” than most thought.

What Google Means When They Say “Quality Content”

In response to a question about whether SEO content creators should prioritize technical improvements to content or expand the scope of content, Mueller took a moment to talk about what content quality means to Google.

“When it comes to the quality of the content, we don’t mean like just the text of your articles. It’s really the quality of your overall website, and that includes everything from the layout to the design.

This is especially notable, as Mueller specifically highlights two factors that many continue to ignore – images and page speed. 

“How you have things presented on your pages? How you integrate images? How you work with speed? All of those factors, they kind of come into play there.”

Ultimately, Mueller’s response emphasizes taking a much more holistic view of your content and focusing on providing an all-around great experience for users on your website. 

There is an unspoken aspect to what Mueller says which should be mentioned. Mueller subtly shows that Google still prefers text-based content rather than videos or audio-only formats. While the company wants to integrate even more types of content, the simple fact is that the search engine still struggles to parse these formats without additional information.

Still, Mueller’s statement broadens the concept of “quality content” from what is often understood. 

“So it’s not the case that we would look at just purely the text of the article and ignore everything else around it and say, oh this is high-quality text. We really want to look at the website overall.”