SEO Weekly News Recap

Check out the top SEO news stories from this week and stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the digital space.

News #1: WSJ Accuses Google of Manipulating Search Results

Yeah, WSJ went there. 

The Wall Street Journal published an article last week about Google’s practices and accused the search engine giant of manipulating its algorithm to benefit its partners, advertisers and big businesses, as well as manipulate auto-complete results to remove sensitive subjects like abortion and immigration.

Image of people editing the search engine results page of Google, indicating that Google engineers manipulate results seen on the SERP.
Image Source: Wall Street Journal

Here are some of the other claims:

  1. Google engineers regularly make adjustments to other information the company continuously layers on top of its basic search results
  2. Google engineers have created algorithms and blacklists to weed out suggestions on controversial subjects in auto-complete results
  3. Google engineers regularly make adjustments to other information the company continuously layers on top of its basic search results

Google has since denied this manipulation claim stating that they are “very public and transparent’’ about all matters covered in WSJ’s article.

Source: Abonance & Search Engine Land

News #2: Facebook to include Donate Button on Instagram for Nonprofits

Instagram story background showing search results for non-profits. A sticker to Help Girls Learn to Code with the Donate button there to allow viewers to easily donate to the nonprofit.
Image Source: Elite Daily

Facebook has been making headlines recently with their new logo, launching Facebook Pay and now again for launching three new product features to increase funding across its platforms.

  1. A new Donate button for Instagram
  2. Fundraising stickers on Facebook
  3. The browder rollout of fundraising on Facebook gaming live streams

Instagram’s feature however, is anticipated to generate the most amount of donations as nonprofits will now be able to include this on their profiles next to their phone number listing and will remain there permanently. The donation sticker they used to be able to include in their stories, disappears after 24 hours, and will be the same sticker used on Facebook.

While these fundraising efforts wouldn’t exactly be described as revolutionary, they showcase donations much better to easily facilitate contributions from users.

The donation button is a more permanent solution for nonprofit businesses profiles on Instagram and shows the company’s effort to help small and nonprofit businesses on their platform.

Source: The Verge

News #3: Bing is Using BERT on a Larger Scale than Google

Bing logo vs Google logo
Image Source: Search Engine Journal

Bing revealed that it has actually been using BERT in search results long before Google and at a much larger scale. Of course, everyone only made a big deal out of it when Google started using it.

While Google uses BERT only in the US market, Bing is utilising the algorithm worldwide; in fact, Bing has been using BERT since April, much ahead of Google! The search engine also gave a detailed analysis of the challenges it ran into when rolling out the algorithm on a global scale.

One of the key challenges they faced applying a deep learning model like BERT on a global scale was expense. The global rollout was eventually made possible with Microsoft’s ‘Azure’ cloud computing service.

Read all the details here.

Source: Search Engine Journal

News #4: Google launches Audio News Aggregation to Smart Phones & Speakers

Illustration of a person pouring orange juice, only the hands are visible, as the news plays in the background from The World Business Tribune, indicating how people can listen to the news in the morning with Google Assistant.
Image Source: Fast Company

“Hey Google, play me the news”

Google released its new audio news aggregator, ‘’Your News Update’’, an audio news feed accessible through Google Assistant. Users must set up the audio feed as a news ‘playlist’ thought their Google Assistant app. 

What’s great about this is that users don’t even need to pick the news sources they want, instead, they simply select their interests, location, user history and preferences and the Google Gods determine the best news from all sources to play for you, including top news stories.

It is suspected that the new feature will not be used much on smartphones considering news stories and videos are easily available as compared to smart speakers.

Knowing Google, it wouldn’t surprise me if they started to include audio ads between news clips as an additional revenue stream at some point, when they develop a large enough audience.

Source: SEO Trade News

May Madan

Marketing Assistant UK @myposeo

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