Pure SEO’s This Week In Search series takes a look at the top SEO and SEM news stories from the week.
This week Google made several updates, Instagram Stories added GIFs, and Bing Hotel Ads announced they are switching to general release with Koddi.
Google Adds ‘Similar Sounding Words’ to Dictionary Search Cards
Google has updated its dictionary cards in search results. Now, searchers will be alerted when a word they’ve searched for sounds similar to another. The alert appears at the bottom of the search card and is highlighted in orange. Tapping on the similar sounding word will give you a definition and an option to hear the word spoken aloud.
Instagram Stories Includes GIFs
GIF stickers can now be added to an Instagram story, thanks to an integration with GIPHY. Users can choose from hundreds of thousand of GIFs from GIPHY’s database and add them as stickers. Users can type in something specific into the search bar, or select from trending GIFs. This feature is available in the latest version of Instagram for iOS and Android.
Google Search Console’s ‘Remove URL Report’ is Being Upgraded
Google is currently upgrading the report, so the removal tool URL report might not function properly for a “short time” period. Google said it is making “some improvements” to the report. The Remove URLs tool lets people temporarily block pages from Google Search results on sites they own.
Bing Hotel Ads Moving from Beta to General Release with Koddi
Last year Bing Ads ran its Hotel Ads offering in beta, but now they are switching to general release and partnering up with travel advertising platform Koddi. The release opens up another paid channel for hotel marketing.
Bing’s Hotel Ads experience is similar to Google’s, in that the interface gives searchers a fast way to punch in travel dates and instantly see pricing across different travel engines. Searchers can use the ‘sort’ options to look at the best match, price or rating.
This data is populated via an XML feed called the Hotel Feed that advertisers assemble. It contains data such as hotel name, phone number, address and location. A separate XML feed called the Point of Sale Feed details the sites that users can use to book rooms.
Koddi advertisers will have access to Bing Hotel Ads through the Koddi platform upon general release.
Google Dropping Merchant Center Feed Integrations with BigCommere, Magento & PrestaShop
Just over a year ago, Google enabled integrations between Google Merchant Center and three e-commerce platforms, which meant that merchants using BigCommerce, Magento or PrestaShop could directly connect their product catalogs to Google Merchant Center. Now, these integrations are coming to an end.
As of 20 March 2018, these partnerships will end. Google said it is ending the partnerships “in order to better focus on solutions that will make the Shopping ads onboarding a more seamless experience. We’re continuing to work with e-commerce platforms to explore more frictionless integration opportunities.”