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Hello, fellow digital marketer. The Four Dots team hopes you’re doing great in the light of the current COVID-19 outbreak and that your day is as productive as possible. To make sure this is the case, we have another edition of Digital Marketing Week in Review by Four Dots in store for you. 

For those of you who are new to our weekly digest, this is a blog post that sums up some of the most relevant industry-related pieces of news and events that took place over the last 7 days or so.

That said, let’s see what “April 2020: Week 3” edition brings:   

  • Google Has a New Blog Series Tackling the Value of SEO
  • Google Loses a Content Publishing Battle with French Publishers: “Major Defeat” 
  • Google Explains How to Hide Content in Search Console by Using the Removals Tool 
  • Facebook Ads Fails a Test-Review Regarding the Mitigation of COVID-19 Misinformation
  • YouTube Officially Stops Banning Monetization on Content About COVID-19
  • Google Explains How to Properly Remove Pages for Better SEO
  • Google’s New Data on Search Behavior Suggests How Brands Can Help During the Outbreak

Let’s dive right in! 


Google Has a New Case Study Series Tackling the Value of SEO

Google has recently launched a brand new series of blog posts whose purpose is to highlight and explain the importance of SEO. The digital media giant will be publishing case studies and success stories that should demonstrate the value of SEO to those business owners who need some extra convincing that investing in this type of service can potentially make or break a business.

Here’s a statement from their official Webmasters announcement: 

“We want people to hear about these success stories, so we’re starting a new blog post series that features case studies. They may, for example, help with convincing a boss’ boss that investing in SEO or implementing structured data can be good for the business.”

Google’s first success story blog post in this series tackles the fundamental benefits of SEO-based investments and describes how the proper implementation of this tactic helped a company.

You can contribute to this new SEO series by submitting your own story. To do this, you need to make a talk proposal during the Webmaster Conference sign-up process and they will consider featuring your two cents.

More info available via this SEJ article


Google Loses a Content Publishing Battle with French Publishers: “Major Defeat” 

Google suffers a major defeat as the company loses a potentially disruptive case in France. The case resulted in Google having to pay French news publishers for using their content (article extracts, photographs, and videos) as it was accused of “abusing a dominant position.”

 The French Competition Authority ruled in favor of news organizations and accused Google of not complying with the French laws saying that digital companies must negotiate a fair price when it comes to using their content.

Here’s a translated version of the decision:

“Google unilaterally decided that it would no longer display article extracts, photographs and videos within its various services, unless the publishers give it to them. free of charge.

In practice, the vast majority of press publishers have granted Google free licenses for the use and display of their protected content, without negotiation and without receiving any remuneration from Google.”

The court’s final decision is that Google’s activities did harm the news organizations involved as they were forced to comply with Google’s terms of allowing free use of their content in Google News.

Read more here


Google Explains How to Hide Content in Search Console 

Daniel Waisberg, a search advocate at Google, recently reached out to site owners to explain how Search Console can be used to temporarily hide content in Google search results. 

The steps of the process are explained in a recent Console Training video that covers the removals report in this tool, while the video also shows the ways to review requests made by other users to remove outdated and inappropriate content.

As site owners are able to only temporarily remove content using Search Console, there are additional actions that need to be taken so the content is permanently removed.

The video is available below: 

It is important to emphasize that the Removals Tool cannot be used to manage anything else other than the search results from your own website and that it cannot be deployed for the removal of any personal information.

Read more about this type of content removal in this SEJ article


Facebook Ads Fails a Test-Review Regarding the Mitigation of COVID-19 Misinformation

Facebook Ads has had its share of information filtering trouble over the years. The one that immediately comes to mind is the 2016 election fiasco, but it seems that the current COVID-19 outbreak is slowly but surely proving to be a yet another potentially challenging scenario. 

Last month, the social media network announced that their platform wouldn’t be approving ads that spread misinformation on the novel coronavirus, but a recent article published on Consumer Reports suggests otherwise. 

What Was The Test?

One reporter decided to test their claims by creating Facebook ads that had been purposefully filled with false information about the said virus. Both the ads and the page used for running those ads were created on the same day, and the misinformation involved two very specific examples Facebook provided:

  • The audience being told to drink bleach in order to kill the coronavirus
  • Discrediting the pleas for social distancing

The reporter tried out various copy versions to test the filter sensitivity of potential misinformation – from subtly referencing the virus without explicitly mentioning its name, to direct headlines claiming that the coronavirus is a hoax (with the actual word HOAX written in all caps).

The publication of these false ads was then scheduled for more than a week following the creation date so the network has time to review them, but also to make sure the ads don’t actually run. 

The ads were subjected to the process of content review and every version of the ads was approved by Facebook.  

Read more about this event here


YouTube Officially Stops Banning Monetization on Content About COVID-19 

Web’s biggest video sharing platform, YouTube, has officially lifted the monetization ban on videos that are covering or referencing COVID-19, with certain exceptions that may apply (these exceptions are listed below). 

Though the ban has already been lifted (prior to this decision) for a limited number of YouTube content creators, it is now affecting all channels across the platform.

YouTube’s help document that has been recently published states the following: 

“Content that references and/or features COVID-19 and adheres to our Advertiser-Friendly and Community Guidelines is now eligible for monetization.”

As for the exceptions that may apply, here are the examples of the coronavirus-related video content that won’t be eligible to serve ads:

  • Distressing Footage – videos showing people visibly suffering due to COVID-19
  • Medical Misinformation – videos that spread misinformation on health matters regarding COVID-19
  • Pranks & Challenges – videos showing any type of prank or challenge related to COVID-19 that involves medically dangerous activities.


Google Explains How to Properly Remove Pages for Better SEO

John Mueller, Google’s senior webmaster trend analyst, has recently talked about some of the most frequently made mistakes that site owners and publishers make in an attempt to remove their content for SEO purposes.

One publisher asked: Can it help SEO by reducing web pages by marking our product pages noindex, which have almost zero impressions in the last 16 months?

So, the question is if the removal of non-performing pages, or “dead weight” from your website, can help you gain more traffic.

The answer, according to Mueller, is that this question cannot be answered in a yes or no manner as the physical removal of certain pages doesn’t automatically result in other pages on your website performing better.

Here’s John’s verbatim answer:

“It’s something that I know some sites do. I think it is not a totally unreasonable approach to say that the pages that nobody cares about I essentially removed from my website. But it’s something where I wouldn’t just blindly do this.

So if you’re just blindly focusing on the number of impressions that you have for individual products and you drop them from search then it’s very easy to drop things that are actually useful but they’re just not that common.”

To find out how to properly remove your pages in order to improve your chances of getting more traffic, visit this SEJ article


Google’s New Data on Search Behavior Suggests How Brands Can Help During the Outbreak 

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed numerous aspects of our lives, one of which is Google search trends and behavior. 

This is why the company has recently published new data on this phenomenon and revealed 5 most relevant ways user’s search behavior is changing – all this in an attempt to help brands better understand their consumers in this currently unusual setting. 

The main 5 ways that Google users changed their search patterns are listed below: 

  • Assembling critical information
  • Discovering new connections
  • Adjusting to changes in their routines
  • Praising everyday heroes
  • Taking care of themselves and others

Each of these is explained in more detail in Google’s official report titled “Google search data reveals how brands can help during the coronavirus pandemic.” 


Wrapping Up

That would be all for this installment of Digital Marketing Week in Review by Four Dots. See you next week, until then – feel free to check out our previous edition!

Stay home and stay safe. 

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