Happy Friday, everyone. Our staff has been pretty busy lately, but a lot of the stuff we’ve been working on is falling into place. Things are looking up for us. We hope all of you are also doing well.
We had to delay the AMA with Nate (our CTO) that we had scheduled for two days ago. The new time and date is 2 PM EDT on April 26. Nate will go over the new metrics that Google now provides for Business Profile locations and demonstrate some of our most recent new features. As always, everyone in attendance will be welcome to ask questions about anything related to SEO or marketing when the prepared talk is over. You can register for the upcoming AMA here.
Speaking of the new Google Business Profile performance metrics, Local Viking and Local Brand Manager users can now export them. Scroll down a bit on any location dashboard (the page that loads after clicking into one of your locations) until you see the Statistics section. On the right side of the screen, you’ll see the word Export in black text. Click it to choose the new metrics or old insights.
We have an update about the Microsoft Rewards program we mentioned four weeks ago (read the text under the second image in this blog post if you need a refresher). We can now confirm that Bing pays out. We cashed in some of our points for a $5 Amazon gift card after a month of infrequent Bing use. We estimate that we could’ve accumulated enough points for $15 in gift cards if we’d truly abandoned Google and used Bing for all of our searches this month.
Like we said the first time we brought up this rewards scheme, the dollar amounts involved aren’t meaningful enough to have any kind of real impact on your life. What we can now tell you from experience is that there’s something mysteriously satisfying about monetizing your everyday web browsing habits. The marinade we ordered with our Bing bucks just got delivered (pictured above), and we plan to savor the pork chops we’re going to cook tomorrow.
Speaking of free money, there’s a class action lawsuit against Facebook that tons of you are eligible for. They’re being sued for privacy violations of some kind or other. The details honestly don’t even matter. You can register for a cash payout if you lived in the United States and had a Facebook account any time since 2007 by filling out this claim form. It’ll be months (maybe years) before a check shows up in your mailbox, but that’s money you don’t have to work for beyond submitting an online form. If you’re eligible, you should get on that. The deadline for filing your claim is August 25.
In terms of real news this week, a Google Search News video was released on Tuesday. It covers many topics, and you should set seven minutes aside to watch it. One of the most interesting things it goes over is Google’s latest guidelines for AI-generated content.
Google was formerly hostile to website content that was created by ChatGPT or one of the million other generative AI platforms. They’ve now adopted more of an if-you-can’t-beat-’em-join-’em attitude. “Our focus is on the quality of content, rather than how content is produced.” One thing Google does say is that you shouldn’t list an AI platform as the author of your content, even if it was. They have separate recommendations for how you can make it clear to your audience that AI was part of your creation process.
All right, before we get out of here, we wanted to link you to a recent op-ed column from The New York Times about online advertising. It essentially argues that highly-targeted ads are bad for society as a whole. If you’re wondering how that last sentence can even make sense, one of the examples they give is an ad campaign for an “anti-woke razor” for men (whatever that means). It’s an exceptionally poor product, but because ad buyers are able to put that kind of messaging in front of people that find it appealing, sales can be generated where the product quality is an afterthought. Such practices have led to our entire economy getting shifted in a direction of worse products for higher prices. It’s an interesting read.
If you hit a paywall trying to read the piece on the NYT website, it looks like a different site copied it and reposted it verbatim. We condemn such practices.
That’s all for today. Have an amazing weekend. We’d really like to see a lot of you show up for Nate’s AMA on Wednesday, but don’t sweat it if you can’t make it. We’ll see you next Friday either way.