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A summary of recent changes within Search Engines:

Google Introduces Smart Campaigns for Small Business

In an effort to streamline their offerings, Google’s flagship advertising product (Google AdWords) is going through a rebrand—changing the name from Google Adwords to Google Ads.

While Google has maintained nothing will change under the hood, new features and changes have already started to roll out. The first new platform is called Smart Campaigns:

“With the introduction of Google Ads, small business can now use Smart campaigns, our new default ads experience. We built Smart campaigns by tailoring the innovation and advertising technology available with Google Ads for small business owners. You can now create ads in minutes and drive real results—like making your phone ring, sending leads to your website, or bringing customers to your store.”

The driving force behind these rebranding efforts is to simplify Google’s advertising products for marketers. Smart campaigns are designed for small and local businesses, ones that likely don’t have dedicated marketing companies or departments. The goal here is to give these individuals an “automated” way to get advertising on Google — quickly.

Personally, I’m hesitant to embrace this change. My primary concern: this is another “simplified” tool (like Facebook’s promoted posts) where business owners can jump in and push the equivalent of an “easy” button to start running ads. Without strategy, these ads fail or seem like a waste of money. Said business owner is now upset and exclaims that “PPC advertising doesn’t work.”

I encourage everyone to take these “easy” changes with a grain of salt. The quest for more tools to “simplify” our lives can have dangerous results in the realm of technology. Software automation is great, but when it is relied on with no human intervention, it can cause trouble. Just ask Uber. Just trying to think of and launch the “perfect” ad is romanticized in television shows like Mad Men, but most companies see these kind of flash-in-the-pan advertisements fail. True success is advertisements that tie in with your brand’s overall image and story.

Use automated tools like this as components of larger marketing campaigns.

Google Search Console Releases Beta Feature to Check URL

Google has announced a new feature that allows users to check specific website URLs and see the status of how the URL is indexed in Google. The URL inspect tool is rolling out to Google Search Console users over the next coming weeks.

“Enter a URL that you own to learn the last crawl date and status, any crawling or indexing errors, and the canonical URL for that page. If the page was successfully indexed, you can see information and status about any enhancements we found on the page, such as linked AMP version or rich results like Recipes and Jobs.”

This is a pretty cool tool that has been requested for a while. While this doesn’t give you a blueprint on how to rank said URL for #1, it will provide more insight in some reasons why the website might not be ranking well or indexed in Google.

FTC Announces New Privacy Hearings

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it will hold public hearings on “whether broad-based changes in the economy, evolving business practices, new technologies, or international developments might require adjustments to competition and consumer protection enforcement law, enforcement priorities, and policy.”

While it’s impossible to determine the outcome of these hearings, if there is any, it’s a sign that agencies across the world are not backing down on increased privacy restrictions. Small business owners need to be very careful to follow proper privacy rules, laws, and other regulations within specific industries (like PCI compliance).

Until the 18th of August, the commission will invite comments on the topics identified in the announcements. You can submit written contents on their website:

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2018/06/ftc-announces-hearings-competition-consumer-protection-21st