GA4 Vibes - Backlink Breaker #36

As SEOs and content marketers, we’ve signed up for a job that relies heavily on a single, all-powerful entity. When we do our job right, Google delivers massive traffic and lead gains — but Google can also take everything away. 

It’s not the perfect model — I would prefer to work with multiple, competing search engines delivering meaningful traffic to client sites — but that’s just not the reality. Google is the monolith I built my career around.

This is why it’s so strange to hear everyone complaining about GA4. Universal Analytics is officially gone by July 2023, which means a lot of new work to move to a new system, but that's exactly the type of work we signed up for. 

Of course, I’m frustrated that many simple things I can do in my sleep with UA (Goals, Landing Page > Conversion reports, etc.) I'm forced learn again and teach clients; but it's what we do. This is how we show value and support other marketers and teams that don’t spend their entire careers understanding how to flow gracefully with Google’s product whims. We got this... and I actually like GA4.


The News

Total traffic from mobile devices dropped 9% last year, according to a recent study that tracked 46 billion sessions across more than 3,500 websites around the world. Despite the YoY drop, mobile still beat out desktop on total traffic, accounting for 58%. The report also found that the majority of traffic to business sites comes from unpaid (75% of traffic), led by search, social, and referrals. It’s important to look at these trends and understand that desktop and mobile work together, it’s not one over the other,, and you have to make sure your site is optimized for all screens.  

Google launched a new visual search interface for mobile that features a dominant image grid format. It delivers two side by side image results (so now we have two position ones?) and prominently displays featured images connected to web listings. This is going to make a big impact on mobile positions and CTR, and emphasizes the value of strong image SEO.

 The URL parameters tool will be retired in April. Good riddance. Robots was always a better solution for this, and Google has gotten really good at understanding which parameters to index. Plus, I’m tired of explaining why this tool is useless to clients.  

You can now earn the trusted store badge on free Google Shopping listings. To earn it, merchants need to meet some performance metrics like shipping speed, return windows, and more. Google said that in early testing this badge already drives more clicks, so this is a big deal. It will roll out in the US in the next few months. Keep an eye out.  

Google Search Console added more context to the structured data reports. This is awesome, and will help debug and fix structured data errors. I always struggled connecting GSC data with error reporting from rich text tools, this should fix a lot of those problems.  

Ranking Factors

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