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What’s next for big tech? Google Web Stories and how Google evaluates SERP changes: What we read this week (8/7)

Without further ado, here is the SEO news, tips and intriguing tidbits we read this week.

…What’s next?

Columbia Journalism review interviewed several journalists, antitrust experts and tech wizzes about the potential outcomes of Congresses’ investigation into antitrust and anti-competitive behavior by Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook.

You can check out all of their interviews here.

Takeaways: Separating Instagram or WhatsApp from Facebook is definitely a possibility, according to Matt Stoller, research director at the American Economic Liberties Project.

A different view: Alex Webb at Bloomberg wrote an analysis this week that dived into the differences of approach of American and European regulators. He says the European Union is well ahead of the US in the way it is approaching regulation, but it may not have the regulatory teeth to cause meaningful change. Conversely, the US has the teeth, but not the political motivation to do so.

Google Webmasters on Web Stories, Page Experience Benchmark and Mobile-first Indexing

John Mueller, a senior webmaster trends analyst at Google, gave a brief overview of some changes coming to Google Search in last week’s Google Webmasters YouTube video.

Check it out:

Of note: WordPress developed a plug-in that lets users build Web Stories directly in the CMS.

Our thoughts: Web Stories may be the next big thing for publishers or they may fizzle out. Our philosophy is do anything  you can (within reason) to increase your Google visibility. If Google puts emphasis on Web Stories then publishers should dive into Web Stories with both feet.

Be prepared: For more info about Web Stories and how to enable them, check out this handy how-to from Google.

Google pulls back curtain on search changes process

On Tuesday, Danny Sullivan, Google’s public liaison for search, published a blog post detailing the process that the company’s algorithm changes go through before going live to the public.

The evaluation process includes more than 10,000 “search quality raters” from across the world. Raters use these guidelines to evaluate whether or not results pages meet the needs of searchers.

Here’s what the process looks like:

“Here’s how a rater task works: we generate a sample of queries (say, a few hundred). A group of raters will be assigned this set of queries, and they’re shown two versions of results pages for those searches. One set of results is from the current version of Google, and the other set is from an improvement we’re considering.”

The big takeaway: Search ranking isn’t directly affected by rankings. Google says ratings are one of many data points taken into consideration.

5 accounts to follow this week:

  • @SEO – AJ Ghergich, SEO and content marketing expert
  • @dr_pete – Dr. Pete Meyers, Marketing scientist at Moz
  • @seosmarty – Ann Smarty, Brand manager at Ninjas Marketing
  • @SEOSnack – SEO tidbits, news, commentary and resources
  • @jasonacidre – Jason Acidre, SEO and co-founder of Avaris


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