The Individuals with Disabilities Act turned 31, are your websites compliant?; Tuesday’s day by day temporary
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Good morning Marketer, do you work for a company that cares about making its content available to everyone?
In our industry we’re used to talking about antitrust or data protection legislation, but for this newsletter intro, I’d like to focus on another breakthrough piece of legislation: the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – its 31st anniversary was yesterday. ADA is directly responsible for the employment of so many people because it requires employers to make reasonable accommodation, and we are a more inclusive, stronger society for that.
In addition to inpatient facilities, ADA protection also extends to websites. Over 2,200 lawsuits were filed in federal courts between 2018 and 2019, and although some were against big-name brands like Dunkin ‘Donuts, Bank of America, Domino’s Pizza, and Nike, most were aimed at SMEs. Today is a good day to ask yourself and your team: “Are our locations ADA-compliant?”
If you’re not sure where to start, Microsoft’s Christi Olson has summarized the “10 Principles of Digital Accessibility for Modern Marketers” to get you started. In recent years many new factors, such as page experience, have influenced rankings, and while accessibility is not currently a ranking factor, never say “never”.
Google publishes schedules for privacy sandbox proposals
Google Privacy Sandbox Timeline. Image: Google
Google recently released a timeline that reflects the developmental stages of different categories of privacy sandbox initiatives. The timeline provides search engine marketers with a general idea of when initiatives should be ready to launch. This can give marketers an indication of whether the company will meet its new deadline (late 2023) for setting third-party cookies.
Transition period: Phase 1 (in which APIs are available for acceptance for each use case) is currently expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2022. A little later we should have a clearer picture of what advertising with Google looks like, as third-party cookies are being phased out.
Read more here.
Google fixes two search bugs; Review snippets and 404 soft detection
Google has confirmed that it fixes two bugs, one related to rating stars in search results and another related to Google’s processing of Soft 404 documents. The two problems seem unrelated.
For the last few days, Google search has mostly stopped showing review snippets – the image above shows the same results as a screenshot every two days. And Google recently changed the way it recognizes soft 404 pages, which resulted in some showing errors on soft 404 errors but not clearly seeing whether those pages were in the Google index or not. Both of these issues can directly impact your traffic from Google search. So if the company fixes them, it can lead to more traffic.
Read more here.
In the second quarter, new store openings remained strong across all categories, according to Yelp
New openings over time. Image: Yelp.
In the second quarter, new local stores opened in record numbers and in numerous sectors, according to Yelp. More new store openings have opened in categories such as household, local services, professional services and automotive services than since 2017-2018. Business owners can feel more secure with the widespread adoption of vaccines and pent-up consumer demand – a phenomenon I have referred to as “spending anger”.
The economy is picking up again and people are rethinking their lifestyles in the wake of the pandemic. We have seen massive changes in the workforce, with many workers using their newfound leverage to find better, better paying jobs. While I want to say that “the pandemic is over for good,” my guidance in today’s introduction still applies: never say “never”.
Why we care. The daily new COVID cases in the US have increased again and we are currently at around October 2020 levels. The silver lining is that we have access to several effective vaccines designed to help keep businesses staffed and up and running stay and we have experience. Platforms have evolved features that allow businesses to share and convey critical information to customers, and many marketers have developed new protocols to help them communicate with their audiences. Let’s hope the health of the nation and the economy continue to improve, but let’s also prepare in case the second half of 2021 resembles 2020.
Are you Team Google or Team BackRub?
It’s new to me. I just found out that Sergey Brin and Larry Page named their search engine “BackRub” because it analyzed backlinks. Imagine: BackRub Maps, BackRub +, BRMail, BackRub Shopping … So, which one should ring better? Vote here.
Google Maps updates the “dangerous” Ben Nevis route. “Mountaineering groups said the dashed line crossed ‘potentially deadly’ steep, rocky, and pathless terrain, while a suggested hiking route for another mountain, An Teallach, would take people over a cliff,” the BBC reported. I’ve followed Google Maps directions on hiking trails before and it hasn’t always turned out to be great. Glad this is now on the company’s radar, but I wonder if they can solve this problem on a large scale.
A Facebook group for SEO memes. I laughed out loud.
The EU is giving Google two months to improve the transparency of hotel and flight search results
Yesterday, the European Commission informed Google that it has two months to improve the presentation of flight and hotel search results and to explain their ranking. If the deadline is not met, the company faces sanctions.
“The latest complaint is about the prices of its Google Flights and Google Hotels services,” Foo Yun Chee wrote for Reuters, “the final prices for these should include charges or taxes that can be calculated in advance, while reference prices are used to calculate advertising Discounts should be clearly identifiable, said the EU executive and national consumer protection authorities, led by the Dutch agency and the Belgian General Directorate for Economic Inspection, in a joint statement.
In the US, Google is already showing why it ranked a particular search result, so I imagine this won’t be a huge leap for the company. However, some EU regulatory tactics seem to have an end goal (such as more transparency or more competition), but also leave a lot of leeway that companies are sure to take advantage of – for example the auction, which originally was the initially search selection screen that Google pushed for ultimately had to be removed by regulators and competitors. With vague directions given, don’t be surprised if the result isn’t exactly what you hoped for.
About the author
George Nguyen is an editor at Search Engine Land, specializing in organic search, podcasting, and e-commerce. His background is journalism and content marketing. Prior to entering the industry, he worked as a radio personality, writer, podcast host and public school teacher.