Clubhouse, Shopify, and unconfirmed algorithm updates; Thursday’s daily brief

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Good morning, Marketers, and let’s talk Clubhouse… again.

If you’re tired of chatting about Clubhouse, I’m so sorry, but it’s fascinating to me. There are apparently many unspoken rules, and just as many ways to break them. The “conference calling” social app is open only to iPhone users and builds demand based on exclusivity. You can’t just download it. An existing user has to send you one of their limited invites (though every once in a while I get a notification that I have more invites to send out).

The nature of Clubhouse is such that conversations are ephemeral just like an old fashioned phone call (which increases FOMO), and recording is frowned upon (though some rooms have a “recording” notification in the title).

“Think podcast meets interaction. These rooms can be hosted by anyone. Some are solo talks. Some are expert panels. Some are casual and people just listen to music together or whatnot,” explains Candian-based fitness entrepreneur Saschie MacLean-Magbanua. She shared her Clubhouse best practices for new users and brands:

  • The rooms you see in your feed are based on your selected interests when you sign up as well as the keywords in your bio so optimize both. You’ll see a lot of bios that look like LinkedIn profiles.
  • If you raise your hand in a room, the mods will see and call you “up” to speak. The etiquette is to mute yourself right away until called on so you’re not interrupting existing conversation.
  • You have to host 3 rooms before you can start a club. Clubs are interest-driven. This could be a great opportunity for brands.
  • There’s no way to connect in-app beyond rooms so most people promote their Instagram as the place to connect.

People are already creating branded rooms and conversations in Clubhouse, but the key seems to be no shameless self-promotion and more focus on conversations that interest your audience.

Carolyn Lyden,
Director of Search Content

Google’s search choice screen had virtually no effect on search market share, perhaps by design

An example of the search choice screen.
Image: Google.

In 2018, Google was ordered by the EU to change how app bundling works on Android phones as a result of the antitrust case surrounding Google Play. Phone makers, like Samsung, that want access to Google Play were required to preinstall a number of Google apps, including search, Maps, Chrome and others. 

Google’s solution. As a result of that case, Google created the search choice screen. Search engines pay for the option to show up on the choice screen via an auction: “In each country auction, search providers will state the price that they are willing to pay each time a user selects them from the choice screen in the given country. Each country will have a minimum bid threshold. The three highest bidders that meet or exceed the bid threshold for a given country will appear in the choice screen for that country,” said the Google announcement from 2019.

The limitations. The screen itself is limited to four search engines (including Google) — why four? Why not an alphabetized, searchable list? And, the choice screen only rolled out to new handsets after March 2020, and is only available once during the initial phone setup phase, severely limiting its reach. If anything, the screen, as it currently exists, is a way for Google to influence, and maybe even control, the mobile search ecosystem.

Thanks, I hate it. So how has that turned out? In the words of Mad Men’s Pete Campbell, “Not great, Bob!” At least that’s according to most Google competitors in the EU:

  • DuckDuckGo: Not a fan.
  • Yandex: Not a fan.
  • Ecosia: Not a fan.
  • Info.com: A fan!
  • Bing: No comment.

Why? The auction is biased against search engines that bring in less revenue by design, which also happen to be the niche search engines that are chipping away slowly at Google’s dominance. Search engines that can afford to pay are likely the ones that run more ads, which only makes Google look like a better user experience by comparison. And, larger search engines that win are ending up paying for users that might’ve selected them as a default for free.

Read more here.

Shopify seeking SEO feedback in re: to migration hiccups

a tweet from Jackson lo asking "What are the biggest SEO pain points / challenges when migrating an online store to shopify?"

Jackson Lo, SEO Lead at Shopify, posted on Twitter this week asking what search marketers’ biggest pain points are when transitioning online e-commerce sites to Shopify. One of the biggest issues seems to be the inability to match URL structure one-to-one, especially for sites that are already ranking well in SERPs. Other feedback includes importing navigation and menus, broken image issues, and moving blog content. We love a platform seeking real-world guidance from search marketers on how to improve!

Related reading >> Check out our Shopify SEO guide.

What’s on your mind, marketers?

As search marketers, we deal with a ton of new and evolving issues every day. Ads platforms are moving toward more automation. Google’s algorithm updates are always shifting. Getting data from social ads is impossible. Clients don’t always understand KPIs. Remote work can be a struggle. Salary negotiation is hard. We want to know what you’re dealing with on the day-to-day. (Or, alternatively, what you’re excited about in our industry! Tell us how you nailed it.)

So we made a quick survey for you to dish. Give us the deets.

Tell us what you’re working through.

Google unconfirmed algorithm update on February 17th

Google unconfirmed algorithm update. Starting around Wednesday, February 17th, the SEO community has been noticing fluctuations in the Google Search results. So we have an unconfirmed Google search ranking update going on.

Google Search Console screenshot hack. You know how Google Search Console’s URL inspection tool can give you a screenshot of what Googlebot sees?  Well, it is just the top of the page. If you want to see lower, you can use anchor links, if they are available on the page to see that portion of the page.  This was spotted by Valentin Pletzer along with Saijo George on Twitter.

CrUX data updates take time. The Google Chrome experience report (CrUX) takes time to update, up to 28 days or so, so if you make changes, be patient, it will take time to update. John Mueller of Google said on Twitter “Yes, it’s based on field data, so it takes that long to populate the report; the populated data is then used for alerting. It’s probably a good idea to automate monitoring with lab tests so that you can catch issues / unexpected changes early :-).”

We’ve curated our picks from across the web so you can retire your feed reader.


About The Author

Carolyn Lyden serves as the Director of Search Content for Search Engine Land and SMX. With expertise in SEO, content marketing, local search, and analytics, she focuses on making marketers’ jobs easier with important news and educational content.

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