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🔍 Google’s lyrics gotcha

Good morning Refactual, is it scraping or someone else’s fault?

For years, Google has been steadily reshaping its search results pages to provide direct answers or enable transactions right from the search results — without having to click through to web sites. In some cases, Google partners with third-party content providers to show information boxes — as it does with lyrics boxes — and in other cases, it scrapes web pages and features the content in featured snippets. Lyrics site Genius says Google has been scraping its site for lyrics boxes even though Genius is not a Google content partner — and now says it can prove it.

Genius began switching between curly single-quote marks and straight apostrophes, in the same sequence, for every song. When the quote marks and apostrophes are translated to the dashes and dots used in Morse code, the sequence spells out “red handed.” (Genius, indeed.) Then it found Google showing the exact sequences in lyric boxes.

Google insists it’s not scraping Genius’ site and instead it’s blaming partners and says it’s investigating. SEOs are not reacting favorably to Google’s positioning on this.

In other news, Pinterest has rolled out a new visual search feature called Complete the Look. The tool recommends relevant products in the home decor and fashion categories based on the context of an image. For example, from a beach scene image, Pinterest might recommend hats, swimsuits and sunglasses. It’s the latest e-commerce capability to roll out since Pinterest brought former Walmart CTO and eBay VP of engineering Jeremy King onboard in March.

Read on for a Pro Tip on becoming a Google Help Community expert and more.

Ginny Marvin


Pro Tip

What level of expertise do Google’s product experts actually have?

“As anyone who has used Google’s Help Community knows, it’s not always the official Google representatives that provide the most helpful and useful responses. Oftentimes the best assistance comes from Google’s Gold product experts,” explains Jamie Pitman of BrightEdge. “There are a few levels of product experts. Silver product experts get to cut their teeth on issues that users have, and through doing so gain access to a private forum where they can engage with Googlers, other Silver product experts, and also get assistance from Gold product experts. Then there is Platinum, these distinguished people help mentor and dedicate enormous amounts of time to helping users. Becoming a Gold product expert takes time, and it’s at the discretion of the community manager and others in the Gold product expert group if someone is to join the ranks.”

Read More »


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Search Shorts

Google Panda vs. the Google Core algorithms

Panda & Core updates are different. Danny Sullivan from Google said on Twitter that the Google core updates and the old Panda updates are different.

Portals in Google. John Mueller from Google said that web portals are not prioritized in Google search rankings.

Google Webmaster Channel India. Google launched a dedicated YouTube Google Webmaster channel in India.

What we’re reading

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

Google Assistant gets improved voice models for Dutch, Indian English, Indonesian, Norwegian, and Japanese – Android Police

Google Hotel Search Tests Hotel Box Without Local Identifier – Search Engine Roundtable

How to hire for an in-house SEO opening – Eli Schwartz

Location Extensions Augmented Advertisements – SEO By The Sea

PPC Tools: 39 Solutions for Paid Advertising Pros (Plus a Bonus One) – SEM Rush

SEO Whitepaper: How Distance and Intent Shape a Local Pack – Moz

Why You Must Know about the New Evergreen Googlebot – Stone Temple


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