Kooznews: May 2021

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What will you find in May’s edition?

Google’s Page Experience Rollout Pushed Back
Soft 404 Error Leading to Ranking Drops
Regex & Improved Filtering In GSC
Continued Spam Blocking
Paid Media
Google Ads Rolling Out Auto-Applied Recommendations
Instant Match Rates Available for Customer Match Lists in Google Ads
WordPress Proposes Blocking FLoC by Default
Content Marketing
New Content to Get Stuck Into
Third-Party Cookies Marketing Guide
Getting Creative & Client Wins: Stannah Lifts

Let’s start with SEO…

Google’s Page Experience Rollout Pushed Back

Originally announced to be taking affect this month, the page experience (Core Web Vitals) update has been pushed back and moved to a gradual rollout. This is a big relief for many sites who are still getting to grips with the Core Web Vitals report and making the amends needed.


The rollout will start in mid-June and is expected to be completed by the end of August, so it’s unlikely we’ll see definite movement over this period.

The reasoning behind this is to give us extra time, as Google stated themselves it’s to “help you continue to make refinements to your website with page experience in mind”. This could be due to the slow uptake of developmental changes, or it might be due to Google’s internal deadlines – who knows!

Koozai Tip: Check your Core Web Vitals report in Google Search Console to see what changes can be made to improve your rankings.

Soft 404 Error Leading To Ranking Drops

Google recently made some changes as to how it detects soft 404s on sites. This led to some errors on their part and dropped some rankings in early April.

This has since been resolved, but it clearly shows how important it is to keep on top of the errors reported on your site and to make sure nothing gets out of hand.

Even on small sites, if soft 404s are being reported on key pages, you can easily lose a significant portion of your traffic.

Koozai Tip: Regularly check your indexation in Google Search Console and fix your errors.

Regex & Improved Filtering In GSC

Google Search Console has increased the filtering available in the performance report and included the use of regex. Whether you’re a regex fanboy or you think it’s completely non-sensical, you can’t deny its usefulness! For a quick run through on using regex, take a look at our super speedy video.

This is particularly helpful for blog posts and looking at URLs outside of the traditional site hierarchy. Basically, the complexity of your queries in the performance report has increased greatly and we can look at how your site performs in greater detail for specific topics and queries.

Koozai Tip: If you’re not up to speed with regex, try a few sample queries in GSC and see how it can help you.

Continued Spam Blocking

Whilst spam is still inevitable, it’s much better than it has been in the past, and this is arguably due to Google’s increased spam blocking methods.

It’s difficult to stay ahead of trends, but when you see the numbers involved in spam internet traffic you can begin to appreciate how spam free your browsing is!

Highlights include:

  • 40 billion spammy pages discovered every day, increasing by 60% YoY.
  • Reduced scraped site content by 80% compared to a couple of years ago.
  • COVID and pandemic-related spam being a priority to ensure users are protected.
  • Estimated 99% of searches were spam free.

Koozai Tip: Report spam in search results as well as emails and messages to help AI filter out spam and give you a better experience.

Google Ads Rolling Out Auto-Applied Recommendations

Google now allows advertisers to opt-in to apply a certain subset of recommendations automatically to your account. Google said this “can improve your account performance and save time”. Although auto-applied recommendations may save time, they might not be the smartest or most effective way to spend your ad money. Make sure the recommendations being applied are relevant, and that they really do have a positive impact on your ROI and campaign objectives.

Koozai’s POV

The recommendations section on Google Ads gives recommendations on bidding, new keywords to add in and many more things to change/add to your account. By auto-applying these recommendations, you allow Google to apply the changes that they propose.

At Koozai, we strongly advise against applying this setting. It’s really important that the recommendations are checked thoroughly before applying anything. For example, some recommendations on our Koozai account suggest that we should add in the keyword ‘digital influencer agency’ – this is not a service that Koozai offer. If we auto-apply these recommendations these keywords would be set live and spend our budget. We’re not saying that all of these recommendations should be ignored, but they should definitely be checked before applying them. Therefore, the auto-apply should not be enabled.

Instant Match Rates Available for Customer Match Lists in Google Ads

Search Engine Land has reported that when advertisers upload a customer list, Google will now show them the estimated match rate (the percentage of the list that is usable with Customer Match). Match rate data is also available for previously uploaded customer lists as well.

In order to get the most out of customer lists and increase match rate, Google recommends adding as much customer information as you can: “Advertisers who uploaded two types of customer information saw an average list size increase of 28%, and with three types they saw an increase of 35%.”

In addition to this, traffic and conversions for Customer Match lists increased by an average of 17% after they’ve been updated, according to Google’s internal data, so it’s a good idea to keep your lists as up to date as possible to reap the rewards.

Koozai’s POV

This is a good update as it gives us a bit more information to help forecast the performance driven by the customer list and the number of users we could potentially target. We anticipate a surge in customer match targeting as the third-party cookie is depreciated, so the more information we can get to help make the case for this type of targeting, the better.

It can also help troubleshoot the list as we’re able to see the match rate. If the rate is low, clients should provide more information on the list such as phone number and name, as well as email address.

WordPress Proposes Blocking FLoC by Default

A new proposal has been put forward by WordPress which would, by default, block Google’s replacement for third-party cookies, Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC). If this were to go ahead, a substantial share of browsing behavior may be hidden from Google’s ad-targeting technology as it’s estimated that over 40% of all sites use WordPress.

Search Engine Land reports that ‘under the proposal, FLoC would be disabled via the addition of a few lines of code that opt out WordPress sites from transmitting the user’s interest cohort to Google… If WordPress disables FLoC by default, that could be a large-scale blow to Google’s advertising capabilities’.

Koozai’s POV

KoozNews wouldn’t be KoozNews at the moment without a FLoC story. There’re loads of updates happening at the moment on this, but probably the biggest is this one, with WordPress sites potentially blocking the new way of browsing behaviour collection.

An estimated 40% of sites are built on WordPress, so this cuts out a lot of the ability to collect user behaviour. Essentially, for advertisers, this means that the pool of users that we’ll be able to target through FLoC will be much less than we first thought. The future of this form of advertising still hangs in the balance, but as always, we’ll provide you with more updates when we get them.

Content Marketing

New content to get stuck into

We’ve always got some new blog content to cast your eyes over. Our Koozians have been busy putting blog content together so you have a great source of information for any SEO, Paid, Content or PR queries and questions. We’ve recently published the following:

Using the right audience for social advertising

How to use Google Trends: A guide

Should you use Google Analytics, Global Site Tag or Google Tag Manager?

Remember to keep checking back as multiple new posts go out each month.

Cookie Marketing Guide

We’ve also recently published a new cooking marketing guide which tells you everything you need to know about the demise of third-party cookies in January 2022. Get to grips with short-term and long-term plans so your conversions don’t suffer with the change. Download the guide for free here.

Getting Creative & Client Wins

We were delighted to provide a helping hand to one of our clients when faced with some issues with Google Ads. Suzanna, Digital & Data Marketing Executive for Stannah Lifts, commented: “I just want to say again another huge thank for your perseverance in speaking to the Google Ads support centre in India. It was no easy feat speaking to a new person each time about our issue, we certainly couldn’t have done it without you!”.

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