Search Buzz Video Recap: Google Event Penalty, Speed & SEO, Audiobooks & New Google Finance

This week in search, I covered a Google warning about using incorrect event markup on your pages, how it can lead to a penalty. Matt Cutts is upset with how Google doesn’t directly link to the ten blue links in the search results. Google’s Paul Haahr explains why AI is complex for Google and other companies. Google said they do not use time to first byte for search rankings. Google said measure you page speed based on when your users can first interact with the page. We have a new method for hreflang with the mobile first index, check it out. Google says your structured data should be visible on your page. Google featured snippets are still important for Google. Google is testing longer snippets a lot this week. Matt Cutts did want Google to treat underscores as separators. Google Trends added news, shopping, images and YouTube as data sources. Google added donate buttons to Google for Nonprofits knowledge cards. Google has audiobooks in their book search results now. Google Assistant now serves up local services providers. Google added a view all feature on desktop for Google Posts. I explained how to directly link people to leave your reviews on Google Maps. Google Finance launched a new design this week, many are not happy. Google is testing personal tab filter fo search results again. This week the search community honored Jill Whalen, Ross Dunn, Marie Haynes, Alan Bleiweiss and Jim Hedger. That was this past week in search at the Search Engine Roundtable.
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This post was scheduled to go live today but was written earlier – I am currently offline today.

Matt Cutts Dislikes How Google Links To Search Results

Matt Cutts, former Google executive and star amongst the SEO community, posted on Google+ how he is not happy with how Google is linking to the “10 blue links,” the core Google search results.
Matt showed how Google is not directly linking from the core search results to the site. Instead, they are adding a bunch of parameters to the URLs for tracking purposes. Matt wrote “I wish the “10 blue links” in Google’s search results were direct links instead of links like https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct= j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&cad=rja&uact= 8&ved=0ahUKEwjJpuvXgejXAhURSt8KHRUJDl8QFgg7MAM &url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.speedtest.net% 2F&usg=AOvVaw0szRo_9l-4_h8tA3oKB8NJ.” (note I broke up the URL a bit so it wraps in this blog post)
Instead, Matt wants the link to go direct to www.speedtest.net and not pass through all these parameters and redirects. I suspect this is a concern to Matt for a few reasons (a) speed to get to the URL (yes, humans cannot even see the speed issue) and (b) maybe a security issue with passing referrer information through a URL on the Google end. Maybe even more reasons, but now that Matt works for the Federal government, he sees things a big differently?
This is the second public complaint from Matt Cutts in the past couple weeks. The first was around a bug automatically expanding recent searches – remember, that incident turned my SEO world upside down?
This one I doubt is a bug, it is 100% intentional. This is something Google has been doing on and off throughout the years, more often recently. I wonder if Google will respond to this or not. I suspect if they do, they will go with the line that this makes their search results better, giving them more to track, better personalization and it is all over HTTPS anyway. But let’s see what Google does, if anything.
Forum discussion at Google+.

Matt Cutts Wanted Google To Treat URL Underscores As Separators

Last night, former Google executive said on Twitter that he tried to get the Google engineers to treat underscores in the URLs as separators, just like how they used hyphens as separators in the URLs. He said it never happened, at least while he was at the company.

For the historical record, I did try to get Google to index _ as a separator so we’d process the web as it existed. But it wasn’t a high priority request, so it didn’t make it across the finish line. ๐Ÿ™
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) December 1, 2017
This goes back to when in 2007 Matt Cutts posted on his blog about underscores vs hyphens, which of course we covered as did many other SEO blogs at that time. Now, Google says they don’t care – there is no difference, but I am not sure if that is 100% true or not.
That all being said, if you want to go back in histroy, check out this tweet from Anil Dash:

For years, @mattcutts was patient & wise as the most visible public ombudsman for Google. But what happened to the web (and to culture) when an entire industry started to obsess over every pronouncement from the company? Some necessary history here: https://t.co/cgmbH9Zjk5
— Anil Dash (@anildash) December 1, 2017
Make me feel like the past 14 or so years have been a waste here. ๐Ÿ™‚
Forum discussion at Twitter.

Google Assistant Helps You Find Local Service Providers: Electrician, Plumber, Cleaner, etc.

Google Assistant can now give you local results for service providers like electricians, plumbers, house cleaners and other local services you might need in your home or business. Google said this is rolling out to the Google Assistant, Google Home, etc over the coming week.
Here is how it looks like in the Google Assistant app but obviously, if you do it over voice search, Google will just talk to you and probably let you call the service provider from your device.

Google said they give you results first from service providers “that have been prescreened by Google and companies like HomeAdvisor and Porch so you can feel confident they’re ready to take on the job.” If there are none, Google will give you providers they did not prescreen.
Forum discussion at Twitter.

Google Shows Personal Search Filter Tab To Some Users

Eoghan O’Sullivan posted on Twitter that he is seeing the “personal” tab back in the Google search results, at least in his mobile Google search app. Here is his screen shot of the personal tab:

Here is another screen shot from him on desktop, not just the app:

Personalized results first appeared back in 2012 but then slowly disappeared over the years. We saw it come back this year, briefly, in May but then it disappeared again.
Personally, I cannot bring it up but this is what I saw in May:

This is what I see now:

Do you get the personal tab? Yes, I tried logged in – you need to be logged in to even hope to get personal results.
Forum discussion at Twitter.