30 Days In Search: SEO & SEM News-Recap of February 2020
February went by fast. But before we march into March, let’s take a look at the SEO and SEM updates of the last 30 days. Though there wasn't happening much, the things that did happen confused, surprised, and excited us. Here’s our short news-recap, of a short month.
Google Shopping Ads On Gmail, Google Discover & YouTube
February 6, 2020
As of next week (the week of March 4th), Google will start showing shopping ads (including both Product Shopping ads and Showcase Shopping ads) on Gmail, the Google Discover feed, and YouTube.
Shopping campaigns that target the display network already, are automatically eligible to run on the new properties. (To check whether your shopping campaigns will appear on Gmail, Discover and YouTube, go to: Google Ads > [your shopping campaign] > settings > targeting > networks. Check whether the box for Gmail, Discover and YouTube is ticked. Here’s also where you can opt-in/opt-out).
Insights into the performances of the newly added properties is limited; you cannot review each property individually as the data will be shown under the Google Display Network.
New Google Partner Program Requirements
February 13, 2020
Google announced that its Google Partner program requirements will be renewed, starting at the end of June 2020. To now qualify as a Google Partner, you’ll have to (1) reach double the ad spend; the 90-day ad spend is going up from $10,000 to $20,000, (3) you will have to adhere to Google’s recommendations for ad campaign optimization, and (3) more users need to get certified; 1 certified person is no longer enough, at least 50% of the users in your account need to be certified.
At the moment, the 2nd requirement (the ‘performance requirement’) is based on a company's revenue, revenue growth, and the retention of clients. But with the new requirements, the performance will be based on “whether a company follows Google’s optimization score recommendations”. According to the SEM community, this requirement mainly benefits Google - not what may be best for the client.
With the 3rd requirement (the ‘certification requirement’), at least half of the users listed in your Google Ads account have to get certified. However, among those users can be clients and other representatives who aren’t actively involved in campaign management. (For example, we are an agency of 9 employees, but we have over 60 users in our account. In order for us to keep our Google Partner badge, we need to start asking clients to get their certifications, too). Google clarifies why clients may be listed as eligible users and states, “we strongly recommend that any user who can edit campaigns should be certified. We understand other users, such as finance or legal teams, will need Admin access, and therefore they will be in the other 50% of users”. (To view who’s on your users’ list, go to: Google Ads > partner program > badge status / view details > certifications section; here click on the link indicating how many users have updated certifications).
Summing up, Greg Finn states: “If I were advising a company to choose an agency after these changes have been implemented, my advice would be to legitimately question any agency that is a Google Partner”.
Keywords In Google My Business Description
February 13, 2020
Google recently included a sentence to their help document suggesting business owners to add keywords to their Google My Business descriptions ‘as it would help with local ranking’ - only to remove that same sentence again the next day, after local SEOs claim that it’s not true and ‘misleading'. “After a lot of testing by many since the help center update, we can safely say the description has no impact in the 3-pack”, local SEO expert Joy Hawkins says.
Google’s reaction to this: “while it's not guaranteed to improve the ranking, it could, depending on other factors, as well as information that is found online associated with the business.”
The events and conferences we liked to follow closely or even attend in February? Friends of Search, E-commerce Berlin Expo, and SMX Expo West.
Describing themselves as an “unmissable congress for (online) marketers and SEO/SEA specialists in the Benelux region”, Friends of Search returned to Amsterdam for the 7th year. The 2020 edition was one with the most international speakers of all times, one with an additional Friends of Search event taking place in Brussels the day after, and one full of incredible speeches on SEO and SEM.
Last year we attended the E-commerce Berlin Expo - and as it was inspiring, insightful, and well-organized, we just had to visit it again this year. With 180 exhibitors, 45 speeches, sessions and panel discussions, and over 7000 participants, it’s the biggest e-commerce event in Germany. (Plus: the event is free to enter, after registration. Make sure not to miss it next year!)
“To stay ahead of the competition, you have to keep exploring, networking, and training with experts who know their stuff.” With more than 70,000 search marketers from around the world attending the event, and with the best-of-the-best industry leaders as speakers, SMX West Expo continues to be a must-attend event for anyone obsessed with SEO & SEM.
Editor’s Choice: Women In Tech SEO
Diversity is a big topic. Women are underrepresented in digital marketing, and to make a change we have to stand up, support, and empower women. One community that really inspires us to do so, is Women in Tech SEO. Led by Areej AbuAli, her aim is “to empower each other in a positive, inspiring and beneficial way, and to help build our network and accelerate our careers”.
☆ On March 6, Women in Tech SEO hosts its first full-day conference in London: Women in Tech SEO Festival. This years’ edition is already sold out, but make sure to register your interest for 2021.
News From The Kubixers
A short month, a short news-recap, and a short list of Kubix updates.
- [BLOG] To continue with our Quick Tips series, we’ve published our next two tips. In tip no. 4 we tell you which five things to consider when doing a backlink health check, and in tip no. 5 we present five SEO tools to improve user experience on your site.
- [WEBINAR] Being present as a guest in many international webinar series already, SEMrush has asked Pinar to host a monthly Turkish webinar on their site. With the series “SEO ve SEM Dünyasından” (in English; From the World of SEO and SEM), Pinar invites guests to talk about what’s going on in the online marketing industry. (The first two episodes are already done: #1 and #2, and the third one is coming up March 19).
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