5 most interesting search marketing news stories of the week

Welcome to our weekly round-up of all the latest news and research from the world of search marketing and beyond.

Google has been busy this week, performing several interesting tests including two fairly major ones concerning hotel reviews and job listings.

Meanwhile, Bing makes its homepage a little more interactive, and Google has announced that Similar Audiences will be available for Search and Shopping in AdWords. Finally, one Googler put a persistent SEO myth about 404 pages to bed once and for all.

Google is testing a new UI for hotel reviews

Toronto SEO specialist Sergey Alakov discovered the test last week, exploring its implications in a post on his personal blog. The test shows a new review carousel that amalgamates reviews from third-party sources like Expedia and booking.com.

There are a few changes to the review system too, with Google now displaying average scores for Room, Locations, and Services & Facilities. Clicking through to the reviews section also shows an average score for different types of traveler – like Couples, Families, and Solo.

Image courtesy of Sergey Alakov

…alongside a new Job Portal to help users find job listings

SEO and Moz-affiliate Dan Shure broke the test via Twitter last Friday with a screenshot of a Knowledge Panel-esque feature for active job listings. Clicking through results in an expanded results page which allows segmentation by industry, title, type, location, company type and employer.

Speculators were quick to spell doom for the recruitment industry, with one contributor linking to a Google Hire page.

Image courtesy of @dan_shure

Bing is sharing the story behind its homepage photos

Bing’s homepage has sought to differentiate itself from the stoic simplicity of Google with high-res, eye-catching background images.

An article from Search Engine Land noted that Bing homepage now displays the source of these images, and offers the option to download and share it via social media.

Google announces a new audience solution for Search and Shopping

In a Google+ post, the Google AdWords account revealed that their Similar Audiences feature would now be available for Search and Shopping. Here’s the full text of the post:

Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) (https://goo.gl/J6csaJ) help you reconnect with people who’ve been to your site, but engaging both new and loyal customers is just as important to your business. Starting today, we’re rolling out similar audiences for Search and Shopping along with Customer Match for Shopping to help you use your own data to reach the right customer with the right message: https://goo.gl/sa2VMK

Google confirmed you won’t be demoted for linking to a 404 page

There has been some speculation over the impact of linking to 404 pages, which provide a potentially negative experience for users. SEOs have asked: does Google care?

Well, in response to a tweet from SEMPost writer Jennifer Slegg, Gary Illyes (@methode) confirmed that Google doesn’t take it into account:

Not much room for ambiguity there.

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