It’s really, really hard to stay focused. Especially during extended periods of global uncertainty and unrest (which I guess is all the time now?). As marketers, we have to direct both mental and emotional energy into our work, which can be a drag when the world around us feels so negative.
So what is our professional responsibility as marketers during these times? I think it’s important to remember that your work matters. In the world of SEO and Content Marketing, we are legitimately helping shape and frame conversations around the world. This matters. You matter. Don’t forget that.
And don’t forget to take a break.
Now, for everyone that made it through the opening rant, here’s some of the biggest stories and updates from the SEO world this past week.
Google and Bing stopped all ad sales in Russia to protest the invasion of Ukraine. This means search ads can’t be served to users in Russia from the two top search engines. This is part of a larger trend of digital sanctioning that includes major social media platforms blocking Russian ad sales and search ads from Russian media sources. Yandex, Russia’s second biggest search, is still serving ads, but any Russian businesses or international companies targeting Russian users will already be seeing an impact due to economic sanctions, so this move is definitely going to have a larger impact from a political standpoint versus advertising dollars.
After nine days, the Google page experience update for desktop is complete. It’s good to keep an eye on this, but Google made it clear that the update shouldn’t lead to drastic ranking changes, however you should check site performance to make sure.
Unconfirmed reports indicate a possible Google search ranking algorithm update on Friday. Both SEOs and major tracking tools reported dramatic ranking volatility on Friday, March 4th. No themes or trends related to the changes yet, but you should double check your traffic and rankings to see if you were hit.
You might have to complete double verification on your Google Business Profile. Google now says that certain profiles will require a second method of verification, in addition to the postcard. This scares me. Verifying business profiles with one step can be super painful, hopefully this second method is better implemented. Sitting on a call with a furious business owner who’s been waiting two weeks for a postcard is never good.
Google has confirmed an increase in errors with the URL inspection tool in Google Search Console. Google hasn’t announced timelines for a fix, but I I’ve run into these issues recently myself, so good to know I’m not alone (at least on this).
Some local pack maps in Google Search are now interactive. This means you can do all the wonderful map-y things you love in the full maps experience. There are some real local search implications here too. Out of the top 3 used to mean total failure. However, now a searcher might be able to discover your pin as they interact with the map directly from the SERP.
IndexNow recently expanded with additional SEO plugins integrating with the protocol. IndexNow allows you to instantly inform search engines of updates to your site content. According to reports, millions of sites are now using IndexNow. Google does not use this protocol yet, and it’s still unclear if this protocol really improves crawl efficiency and traffic.