After two years of updates, postponements and feedback from unhappy advertisers, Google’s revamped Partners program has finally been relaunched.
The program updates were initially announced in early 2020. But the subsequent delay caused by the pandemic allowed Google to take on board input from agencies and advertisers who weren’t quite sold on the first iteration of the new Partner requirements. In an announcement posted on Wednesday, Google said,
“Over the last two years, we’ve evolved the Google Partners program based on industry changes and your valuable feedback.”
As a reminder, the initial requirements from 2020 increased the 90-day spend threshold from $10,000 to $20,000 and added a requirement for a certain optimization score. Much to agencies’ horror, Google also included a requirement that at least half of all eligible users listed in manager accounts would need to earn a Google Ads certification from Skillshop.
Taking advantage of the delay, paid search professionals have spent the past two years providing feedback to Google. And luckily, the new Partner program is more in line with advertisers’ expectations. For one, the 90-day spend threshold remains at $10,000.
A Search Engine Land article by George Nguyen sums up the new program in plenty of detail. To be eligible, advertisers must meet these requirements:
Additionally, agencies that meet all the Partners requirements listed above and fall within the top 3 percent of Partner agencies in their country are eligible to become Premier Partners. This brings with it a host of extra, high-value benefits outlined in the announcement, including early access to product betas, Google Ads credits and advanced Google Ads support.
Current Partners risk losing their status if the new requirements are not met, and according to Google, the main requirement not being met (unsurprisingly) is the Certification requirement. So if you haven’t been spending the past couple of years preparing for the inevitable, now is the time to do it.
There’s No Relationship Between Impressions and Search Volume: Google’s John Mueller says the number of impressions your site receives for a keyword is not an indication of the search volume for that keyword. Mueller revealed this information on Twitter in response to a user asking if impressions in Google Search Console (GSC) for a particular keyword could be considered search volume. In other words, if your page is ranking first for a keyword and receiving 2,000 impressions monthly, does that equate to 2,000 monthly search queries? Mueller explained that “impressions” in GSC are the impressions your site receives in Search, not all the impressions shown to users, which means this number can’t be used to infer search volume. Also, as Mueller reminded the Twitter user, even if you’re ranking first for a keyword in some cases, it doesn’t mean your page is always shown.
Split-Testing Study From Semrush Shows the Impact of Bolded Text on SEO: Late last year, we reported on John Mueller’s surprising statement that bolded paragraph text definitively helps SEO by sending stronger signals to Google and adding “extra value” to a page. Now, in a Semrush blog, SplitSignal (Semrush’s new SEO split-testing tool) tests the claim. SplitSignal conducted a split test for a major Canadian software company to see the real impact bolded text would have on organic rankings. The test ran across 28 days. But with an increase in clicks of a measly 1.5 percent, it appears that bolded text makes no significant change to optimization at all. Why? As the blog explains, Google usually aligns with what it believes a page is about, and no amount of bolded text will change its overarching idea. But while it didn’t make a difference in this particular case, there’s no reason it couldn’t in others.
Here’s How Emojis Affect SEO: Emojis are everywhere these days – including page titles and meta descriptions. They aren’t against any of Google’s guidelines, and we all know a crying-laughing face is worth a thousand “LOLs.” With SEO changing every day, could emojis finally be a ranking factor? Mueller gave Google’s updated stance on emojis in a recent Search Central office-hours hangout, so we can now definitively state that emojis won’t help or hurt SEO. In fact, Google might just ignore them entirely – and because the search engine deems them “disruptive” on results pages, it probably won’t even surface them in search results. Mueller said if you have an emoji in your title, Google may disregard the emoji and replace it with an equivalent word instead (sad). The takeaway? Finding the perfect emoji for your SEO elements is probably a waste of time.
Google Is Rewriting Over 60 Percent of Title Tags: Google is still on a title-rewriting frenzy with no signs of slowing down. The last time we discussed Titlepocalypse, we reported Google was rewriting 20 percent of all title tags. Now, it turns out, that number is closer to 61 percent. Yikes. A new study from Zyppy analyzed 80,959 title tags across 2370 sites, comparing them against desktop Google results. Evidently, Google’s algorithm believes it’s much better than you at writing title tags (but try telling that to the SEOs pouring their hearts and souls into crafting their perfect titles.) At the very least, the study showed that certain factors increased the probability of a rewrite. These include titles that are too short or too long, include parentheses or use pipes as separators rather than colons and dashes. However, the study stressed that even following these tips is no guarantee – maybe it’s time to give in to Google’s will.
“Untitled” Title Tags in Google Search Results Are Redirecting Users to Spam: Over the past few days, users have been complaining about “Untitled” title tags in search results that, when clicked on, redirect users to spam sites. The Hacker News forum first addressed the issue, with a user saying, “Something seems to have gone wrong at Google to allow so many fake results to pollute so many different search queries.” On Reddit, users have also been posting images of how these “Untitled” results look. Many are speculating that these results could be owing to WordPress sites that have been compromised. When Google’s Danny Sullivan was alerted to the issue on Twitter, he told the SEO community Google was debugging it and that this type of spam is something its “systems would typically catch.” So, Google is on it – but SEOs, many of whom have been saying the quality of search results is decreasing, are not all that impressed.
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