We took a break last week, but don’t worry; we’re back and we’ve got some big news to make up for it! Google changed their local review schema guidelines this week and Threadwatch has links to the full story.
We’ve also got two stories from WebmasterWorld and Threadwatch about Google’s new policies for what it calls “intrusive interstitials.”
Along with that, one of our SEO Chat gurus has a new theory: reviews might be the new links for SEO.
Let’s start out with a real bombshell, shall we? KernelPanic on SEO Chat has an interesting thought experiment in this thread.
“Reviews are the new links in Google’s algorithm. PR is hidden from us not because Google just feels like hiding it… but because it’s calculated so differently now.”
As an example, he gives the search results for “Jambalaya Recipe,” where the highest ranking results are also the ones with the most and best reviews. Tstolber adds their thoughts:
“I am not sure all reviews are created equal though. I wonder what other factors make up a review?”
Users in this thread have some excellent thoughts on what could be the future of SEO and ranking in Google. Keep an open mind when you read this one!
User Kappi on WebmasterWorld is wondering how (and how often) advertising folks calculate their ROI and lead values. They follow a process where they figure out average lead value, then calculate exact ROI based on ad spending and customer value every week or month. A CRM, Kappi says, helps to optimize their business even more.
“For my clients I mostly use excel fort his, which is a pretty slow process. Also this process is not very accurate. Of course you always know which marketing sources and campaigns brought the most leads and has the best conversion rate etc. But to figure out which campaigns bring in the highest real revenue…is something more difficult.”
Bakedjake adds that part of the problem is that
“…the data that you need to do this is stored in different places, and you have to bring it together first and transform it into a common format.”
To do so, he recommends a whole set of useful tools! Users ergophobe and Nutterum also have some great suggestions involving Google products and Python libraries, too. Check it out!
What’s an intrusive interstitial? The targeted techniques, writes WebmasterWorld user Robert Charlton, are
“…popups covering main content during the navigation process, standalone interstitials preceding the main content, and blending a standalone interstitial with the above-the-fold portion of the page.”
Initial responses from users were “Good! Finally!” but there’s more to this story. For example, this downrank penalty only applies on mobile devices…for now. And JS_Harris writes that he’s confused:
“AdSense has been hounding me with suggestions that I enable these types of ads for months despite the fact that the ads themselves are against their own AdSense terms. What’s good or Google isn’t always good for AdSense.”
7_Driver sums it up as
“…yet another example of Google’s right hand (Search) not knowing what the left hand (AdSense) is doing…”
If you’re looking for just the facts, check out a summary of the interstitial announcement on Threadwatch.
It’s been common practice to use schema to markup local reviews for some time now. But Google now says that “only reviews directly produced by your site” can receive schema. If you’ve got any that were produced from third-party websites or syndicated, their schema has got to go.
A few users on SEO Chat have already received messages from Google about their schema – and it seems like removing the schema fixed the message. So to be clear, it seems like you can keep the reviews on your website…they just can’t be marked up.
The mobile friendly label that appeared next to listings in Google SERPs will be gone soon. It seems like it was just a tool to get more users to make their websites mobile friendly. Having accomplished that job, the tool has no use to Google – and so it will be discarded. On Cre8asiteforums, EGOL writes
“Too bad they will not get the label anymore…but I am really happy about how [our] new pages appear on a phone.”
User iamlost chimes in that,
“The label was merely an exclamation mark on a bare minimal requirement…The big question going forward is whether, in practice…Google continues to differentiate desktop and mobile results and whether they require more friendliness than mere acquaintance with the idea of mobile in the results.”
EGOL on Cre8asiteforums found a paid post from Adobe on the New York Times homepage this week. The title was about how ads of the future will become “fun and relatable.” The issue is…
“When I clicked the page I waited and waited and waited for the images to load and the page jumped and flashed long enough to test my patience. It was really really image heavy.”
So much for fun and relatable, eh! Sounds like it was more of a pain in the rear, which is how many of us already feel about most advertising. But it brings up an interesting thought – what’s the future of advertising, and do consumers and advertisers have opposing views of what is “fun, good, and relatable?”