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Showing posts from November, 2017

Daily Search Forum Recap: November 30, 2017

Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.
Search Engine Roundtable Stories:
Google: We Do Not Use Time To First Byte For Search Rankings
Google's John Mueller said on Twitter that time to first byte, as a page speed metric, is not used at all by Google in search or search rankings. John said "AFAIK we currently don't use TTFB for anything in search/ranking...Google Adds Donate Button To Google For Nonprofits In Search
Google announced that they have added a "Donate" button to some non profits in their knowledge cards in the search results. The donate button lets searchers quickly give to the charity they searched for...

Direct Link To Write A Google Local Review For Your Business
Do you want to provide an easy way for your customers to quickly drop a review for your business on Google Maps...View All Google Posts On Desktop
Previously, the only way to see a comp…

Google: We Do Not Use Time To First Byte For Search Rankings

Google's John Mueller said on Twitter that time to first byte, as a page speed metric, is not used at all by Google in search or search rankings. John said "AFAIK we currently don't use TTFB for anything in search/ranking." "It can be a good proxy for user-facing speed, but like other metrics, don't blindly focus on it," he added.
Time to first byte (TTFB) is a measurement used as an indication of the responsiveness of a web server or other network resource. TTFB measures the duration from the user or client making an HTTP request to the first byte of the page being received by the client's browser.


Again, page speed is one of those things that many webmasters and SEOs obsess about. But most of them obsess about them because of rankings in Google. To see a negative ranking factor for site speed, your site has to be really really slow. I am not saying you should not be concerned with site speed, you should, it has huge influence on conversion metric…

Google Adds Donate Button To Google For Nonprofits In Search

Google announced that they have added a "Donate" button to some non profits in their knowledge cards in the search results. The donate button lets searchers quickly give to the charity they searched for.
Google said this is first rolling out to those non profits that use Google for Nonprofits, which I believe is free. Google said after these customers are on-loaded to this program, they "hope that more opt in moving forward."


So here is what it looks like when you search for a non profit that qualifies for this donate button:

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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View All Google Posts On Desktop

Previously, the only way to see a company's Google Posts, all of them, was to try to access them on mobile. Ben Fisher posted on Twitter that the option to view all Google Posts are now available on desktop as well.
I tested it for my company and it indeed works both on mobile and desktop.
Here is the desktop local knowledge card for my business, with the Google Posts showing a "view all" button:

It looks similar to the mobile version:



When you click on view all from desktop, it shows a hover overlay of all the Google Posts and you can scroll through all of them. Here is my first Google Post for my business:

The mobile version experience takes you into the Google Posts view, without a hover over interface:



I enjoy Google posts, in fact, it is part of my blogging social sharing routine. When I post a blog post at my company blog, I share it on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and yes, Google Posts.
Forum discussion at Twitter.

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New Audiobooks In The Google Book Knowledge Cards

Now if you search on your mobile device for a book, if there is an audio version of that book, let's say on Audible, Google will let you click on that as an option to get the book. Most recently, Google added libraries as an option to get the book but now they linked up with Audible to bring the book to you via audio.
This seems to only work on mobile, for example, here is Hillary Clinton's new book:

Notice the Audible option as well as a way to filter to see this book available as an "Audiobooks"?


Here is the screen shot from Google's post on Twitter:

Hmm, I have to drive to Boston next week, which is about 3-4 hours - maybe I should try some audiobooks?
Forum discussion at Twitter.

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Alan Bleiweiss - The Search Community Honors You

This is part of the say something nice about an SEO/SEM series - feel free to nominate someone over here.
Alan Bleiweiss, who has been in the internet marketing space since the mid-90s, is the next individual we would like to take the time to honor. Alan, at least to me, is an individual who stands out as someone who goes through the tiny details to make sure he uncovers every small potential problem with your site and how it may interact with Google. He has been doing what he calls "forensic site audits" since 2002 and is one of those people who do audits in great detail.
Even though he does audits all day/every day - he still makes the time to help others in the industry. He is very active on social media and the forums, trying to guide people to do better on the web. Giving advice on problematic areas of their web sites and/or call out an issue with someone's SEO article or advice. He is always brave enough to call someone's advice out as being wrong or hurtful, w…

Google Brain Light Fixtures

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Daily Search Forum Recap: November 29, 2017

Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.
Search Engine Roundtable Stories:
Google Trends Adds News, Shopping, Images & YouTube As Sources
The other day, Google announced that they are adding more sources of data to Google Trends. So now instead of just web search data, Google will pull in data from News, Shopping, Images and YouTube...Google To Review Obscure Search Results Showing More Ads Than Organic Results
For years Google has sometimes, for very obscure and restrictive queries...

New Google Finance Has Launched, Dropping The Portfolio Feature
Google announced yesterday, and it is finally now rolled out to searchers, that the new Google Finance is live. We knew it was coming because Google warned us that the portfolio feature is going away and it did...Google Hreflang For Mobile First Index: Mobile to Mobile & Desktop to Desktop
John Mueller confirmed today on Twitter th…

Google Trends Adds News, Shopping, Images & YouTube As Sources

The other day, Google announced that they are adding more sources of data to Google Trends. So now instead of just web search data, Google will pull in data from News, Shopping, Images and YouTube. Google said they are "opening up more data to show what people in the world are looking for, as they're looking for it."


So now with your keyword research, you can use Google Trends to find even more valuable data. Google Trends lets you really slice and dice the information by source, location, type and many other ways. I highly recommend marketers take a look at it.
You can learn more about these new additions over here.
Forum discussion at Twitter.

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Google To Review Obscure Search Results Showing More Ads Than Organic Results

For years Google has sometimes, for very obscure and restrictive queries, has potentially shown more AdWords ads than organic results in the search results page. This has come up from time to time and we honestly stopped covering virtually all the cases.
But Danny Sullivan from Google has said he will share this feedback with the team. In short, someone was upset that when he searched for [site:http://ift.tt/199bhXl ransomware] more ads than organic results came up.
You wonder why I donât use Google? The ads get a bit overwhelming. I did a search. To help you, the second picture (same search) marks the ads. http://pic.twitter.com/9qjMQ7bIGM â" Charles Arthur (@charlesarthur) November 28, 2017

Here is the screen shot he shared:



When I search for it, I get two ads and two organic results:

That being said, when Google has no organic results to show and the ads are available, they run into these issues.
Danny said he'd share the feedback with the team:
Yes, don't doubt that!…

New Google Finance Has Launched, Dropping The Portfolio Feature

Google announced yesterday, and it is finally now rolled out to searchers, that the new Google Finance is live.
We knew it was coming because Google warned us that the portfolio feature is going away and it did. Google said "we're retiring a few features of the original Google Finance, including the portfolio, the ability to download your portfolio, and historical tables." As you can imagine, this is really upsetting some old timers who loved the original Google Finance.
The ongoing Google Web Search Help thread has these comments from users:
I just want to let you know Google Finance was the best free finance tool I have ever used.
I found I was updated to the new product this morning and it was enormously disappointing. All the ratios, scan function, trends function, sector summary etc. were gone!!! They were core functions!!!!!
Now there are only a few financial data and news left. In terms of financial data I uses 8-k, 10-k from SEC, and Google NEWS search for news…

Google Hreflang For Mobile First Index: Mobile to Mobile & Desktop to Desktop

John Mueller confirmed today on Twitter that Google's advice around hreflang implementing when it comes to when the mobile first index has been rolled out is to configure it as a "mobile-to-mobile & desktop-to-desktop."
Aleyda Solis posted a chart on Twitter to clarify what should be done with the desktop first index versus the mobile first index:



You can click on it to enlarge the chart.
This makes me wonder even more so that Google really should tell webmasters when their sites migrate over to the mobile first index, to make sure they implement these small things properly when the switch happens.
Clearly when a site is on the mobile first index, Google wants the hreflang to be implemented differently here. No?
Forum discussion at Twitter.

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Marie Haynes - The Search Community Honors You

This is part of the say something nice about an SEO/SEM series - feel free to nominate someone over here.
Marie Haynes, born in 1973 who joined the industry in 2008, lives with her husband and two young girls in Ottawa, Canada. When I personally think of Marie, I think of an SEO who spends her time helping sites negatively impacted by a Google algorithm. It can be a link penalty or just a site that is doing poorly after some sort of Google update, she is eager and willing to help. Marie is incredibly active on Twitter and social media helping out folks with SEO advice, she speaks at many conferences and spends a lot of time sharing her knowledge, for free, in the various SEO communities.
Andrew Cock-Starkey from Optimisey nominated Marie and he wrote:
Marie's knowledgeable, generous and humble - all things which make not just a great SEO'er but a great person.
For me (still in the mere foothills of my SEO journey) I reached to a load of SEOs for help and advice. Some were too…

Google Garden Logo For Gertrude Jekyll On Her 174th Birthday

Today on the Google home page is a special Google logo, Doodle, for Gertrude Jekyll, a British horticulturist, garden designer, artist, and writer. She has designed over 400 gardens throughout Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States and to remember her contributions, Google has given her a Doodle today.
She was born in London on November 29, 1843 and passed at the age of 89 on December 8, 1932.
Google said:
Todayâs Doodle was created by British artist Ben Giles. Giles unites the hot and cool colors the horticulturist favored to create a lush and brilliant garden collage. From the corner of the illustration, Jekyll watches her garden grow.

You can learn more about her life on Wikipedia.
Forum discussion at Google+.

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Google Serves Orange Juice In Light Bulbs

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Daily Search Forum Recap: November 28, 2017

Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.
Search Engine Roundtable Stories:
Google Will Penalize Your Site For Using Event Markup Incorrectly
Google has had enough of people using the event markup in a misleading way and is now sending out a strict warning that if you use this markup in any other way then its intended purpose...Google: Featured Snippets Are Not Losing Their Appeal
We recently reported about the changes in the featured snippets being shown in Google. Yesterday...

Google Bug Removes Answers From The Local Q&A Feature
Brodie Clark from optimising.com.au has been tracking the local Q&A feature in depth and noticed the other day that many of his answers have gone missing. He was upset because he spent a lot of time and energy answering questions for Google and those businesses and now they were gone...Google Tests Research Search Carousel
Google seems to be testing…

Google Will Penalize Your Site For Using Event Markup Incorrectly

Google has had enough of people using the event markup in a misleading way and is now sending out a strict warning that if you use this markup in any other way then its intended purpose, Google may go ahead and penalize your site. The penalty will be in the form of a manual action which would result in your site not being able to show any rich snippets in the Google search results.
This is the same thing as the spammy structured markup manual actions and Google has not been shy with them in the past. But here you have Google (1) updating the events schema guidelines and (2) telling people not to use them in the "coupons/vouchers space" or other manners that it is not meant for.


In short, many in the coupons/vouchers space have been using them to markup their coupons in the rich results. Google said "as much as using a discount voucher can be a very special thing, that doesnât make coupons or vouchers events or 'saleEvents'." "Using Event markup to des…

Google: Featured Snippets Are Not Losing Their Appeal

We recently reported about the changes in the featured snippets being shown in Google. Yesterday, Pete Meyers from Moz posted more details about the loss in featured snippets on his blog.
I did reach out to Google for a comment on this change but I have yet to hear back from Google PR.
The closest thing we have to an official response from Google is Danny Sullivan responding about it on Twitter saying "it's not" losing its appeal to Google.
It's not :) — Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) November 27, 2017

I mean, that does make sense. Google needs featured snippets for voice search, Google Assistant, Google Home, etc. But they can use knowledge graphs as well, and they probably do prefer to use knowledge graphs instead of using featured snippets when possible.
So featured snippets seem to be important for Google but they are fairly dynamic in nature.
Forum discussion at Twitter.

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Google Bug Removes Answers From The Local Q&A Feature

Brodie Clark from optimising.com.au has been tracking the local Q&A feature in depth and noticed the other day that many of his answers have gone missing. He was upset because he spent a lot of time and energy answering questions for Google and those businesses and now they were gone.
Looks like all Google Q&A's I've developed in the past have either been partially or completely removed ð¤"anyone else noticing this? @rustybrick — Brodie Clark (@Brodieseo) November 27, 2017 Well, it turns out it was a bug and Danny Sullivan of Google (still feels weird to write that) confirmed there is a bug and the answers should return soon.
Bug. We're aware of it and expect it to be restored tomorrow. — Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) November 27, 2017

I suspect the bug came from the need for Google to be better at moderating the Q&A feature? In fact, they removed it from some local venues because of the insane spam.
In this case above, Google will likely be adding you…

Google Tests Research Search Carousel

Google seems to be testing a new search feature that shows a "research" search carousel box in the search results for content around your query. I cannot replicate this by Geoff Angell posted a screen shot on Twitter showing the feature in action.
Here it is:

I am able to see the "Refine by type", which we've covered here before, but not that Research box. The query was [paint sprayer] - try it yourself.


This reminds me of the in depth articles box Google use to show frequently in the search results. Maybe they renamed it or maybe this is something new?
Forum discussion at Twitter

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Google Often Tests Longer Search Results Snippets

Over the past few days or so, since around Thanksgiving time, I've been getting emails, tweets, etc from people telling me they are seeing Google showing longer snippets from the typical two line search results snippet. Truth is, Google has been messing around with snippet length for over a decade - they are constantly playing with these things.
So these users are (a) in a test group or (b) seeing a dynamic search snippet that is longer because Google feels the snippet should be longer for that query. Or maybe it is both or maybe it is a bug?
Either way, longer snippets is something Google does all the time. It seems maybe Google has dialed up the test on this and is showing more longer snippets. But I do not have data to prove that outside of the spike of folks telling me they are now seeing way longer snippets.


John Mueller of Google replied to these questions on Twitter:
We're always working on search, there's not really anything specific to say there. I don't thin…

Ross Dunn - The Search Community Honors You

This is part of the say something nice about an SEO/SEM series - feel free to nominate someone over here.
Ross Dunn, 41 years old, and has been in the industry since 1997 - well before the SEO industry was named "SEO." He is married for 10 years and has two children. He lives in Victoria, BC, Canada where his family has lived for four generations. He is the owner of a Canadian based marketing company named StepForth and contributes a lot of his time helping the industry on the SEO 101 Podcast on WebmasterRadio.FM. Most people who have been in the SEO/SEM space for some time have likely heard of his name throughout various SEO conversations.
Jim Hedger nominated Ross, he told me that Ross taught him "SEO twenty or so years ago." Jim wrote:
He taught me far more than that however. I worked for and with Ross for six years at the beginning of my career. Ross remains one of the fairest, most level headed, kindest, and most open people I've ever had the pleasure of s…

Front Seat Of The Google Chicago Subway Car

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Daily Search Forum Recap: November 27, 2017

Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.
Search Engine Roundtable Stories:
Google Engineer Cites Complexities Around AI Algorithms Explaining Themselves
Google has been saying for a year or so that they are moving from a mobile first world to an artificial intelligence first world but we've been told, at least in search, machine learning won't take over the algorithm - at least not yet...Google: Your Structured Data Should Match Visible Content
Google's John Mueller said that if you implement structured data on a page, that structured data should match the content visible on your page...

Google: Measure Page Speed To When Users Can Interact With Your Page
There are a lot of tools out there that measure your page speed, numerous tools from Google and many tools from third party developers. But not all of them measure the same thing...Jill Whalen - The Search Community Hono…

Google Engineer Cites Complexities Around AI Algorithms Explaining Themselves

Google has been saying for a year or so that they are moving from a mobile first world to an artificial intelligence first world but we've been told, at least in search, machine learning won't take over the algorithm - at least not yet.
So I saw this interesting tweet from Paul Haahr, a top search ranking engineer at Google for over 15 years. He cited a NY Times article named Can A.I. Be Taught to Explain Itself? and wrote "This article by @cliffkuang on Explainable AI is an excellent introduction to hard, important problems. These issues are coming up at work every day; the article describes them well and gives some reasons for optimism."
This article by @cliffkuang on Explainable AI is an excellent introduction to hard, important problems. These issues are coming up at work every day; the article describes them well and gives some reasons for optimism. https://t.co/1aRP5WB2qO — Paul Haahr (@haahr) November 24, 2017 It reminded me of when he spoke at SMX some time…

Google: Your Structured Data Should Match Visible Content

Google's John Mueller said that if you implement structured data on a page, that structured data should match the content visible on your page. The most obvious example is if you add review markup to your page but there are not reviews visible to the end user, that would be spammy structured markup.
Here is John's tweet:
You don't have to put SD on all pages of a site, but if you're going to put SD on a page, it should match the visible content. — John â.o(â§â-½â¦)o.â (@JohnMu) November 20, 2017

Of course, there can be some gray areas, which is why Google has some pretty detailed guidelines for when and how to implement structured data on your site.
Follow those guidelines or you can lose the ability for your site to show rich snippets in the Google search results.
Forum discussion at Twitter.

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Google: Measure Page Speed To When Users Can Interact With Your Page

There are a lot of tools out there that measure your page speed, numerous tools from Google and many tools from third party developers. But not all of them measure the same thing. Some measure when the page starts to load, some measure when first party stuff loads on the page and some measure other aspects of how fast the page is.
Ultimately, what is important to the user is when they can start using the page they are looking at. If there is a tool on the page or links and those featured do not work until the page is fully loaded, then that is what your measurement and benchmark should be for that page.


John Mueller from Google said he'd be more interested in looking "at the page as a whole" at the time the page is "ready to interact" with. Here is his tweet:
I'd look at the page as a whole (until ready to interact), and look for low-hanging fruit there. It might be the initial HTML response (usually where app-level speed plays in), it might be somewhere e…

Jill Whalen - The Search Community Honors You

Jill Whalen, currently 56 years old, was literally one of the pioneers in the SEO industry, starting in 1995 and championing the "white hat" following for about 20 years. Jill officially retired from her business and the SEO space back in 2013 but has continued to be an inspiration for many existing and new SEOs in the industry. She is married, with 3 grown kids ages 30, 29 and 24 living in Massachusetts in the same house for almost 32 years.
Dianna Huff, who nominated Jill for this series wrote:
Jill is no longer an SEOer but she was instrumental in helping me build my career when I first started doing SEO in 2001. Her book, "The Nitty Gritty Guide to SEO Copywriting" was one the first books I purchased.
I read her newsletter and listened to her at conferences for years.
On a more personal level, I was always a bit shy and hesitant when I attended the big SEO/SEM conferences as I knew the "big" names but they had no clue who I was. I'll never forge…

Google Crazy Hats Day On Friday

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Daily Search Forum Recap: November 24, 2017

Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.
Search Engine Roundtable Stories:
Search Buzz Video Recap: Featured Snippets, Link Building & My Google World Is Upside Down
This is the special Thanksgiving SEO video recap where I talk about the changes to the Google featured snippets. I also discuss the parameter handling tool in Search Console and how you need to think about that when you migrate to HTTPS...Google: Anchor Text For Internal Links Do Matter
Some asked Google's John Mueller if the anchor text you use for your internal links matter for Google. Of course, John Mueller responding suggesting it does. He said "Most links do provide a bit of additional context through their anchor text...

Google Local Pack Tests Showing Knowledge Panel Tabs
Google seems to be testing merging the local pack with knowledge panel data into tabs across the top of the local pack. Sergey Ala…

Search Buzz Video Recap: Featured Snippets, Link Building & My Google World Is Upside Down

This is the special Thanksgiving SEO video recap where I talk about the changes to the Google featured snippets. I also discuss the parameter handling tool in Search Console and how you need to think about that when you migrate to HTTPS. Google said your URL structure does not need to follow your content structure. Google said IP addresses can rank fine in Google. Google said websites can and do rank without link building. Google said internal anchor text is important. Google launched the Trust Project to help fight fake news. Google updated the text for the search results snippets it canât gain access to. Google launched a new Google Flight search. Google AdWords updated to version 12.2. Google local pack adds some knowledge panel data. Finally, my Google world has turned upside down with Matt Cutts complaining about Google and Danny Sullivan being the spokesperson defending Google. That was this past week in search at the Search Engine Roundtable.


Make sure to subscribe to our vide…

Google: Anchor Text For Internal Links Do Matter

Some asked Google's John Mueller if the anchor text you use for your internal links matter for Google. Of course, John Mueller responding suggesting it does. He said "Most links do provide a bit of additional context through their anchor text. At least they should, right?"
The reason I am highlighting this post on Twitter is not because Google is saying anchor text matters for internal links but rather someone would think the anchor text does not matter for those links.
Most links do provide a bit of additional context through their anchor text. At least they should, rightâ½ — John â.o(â§â-½â¦)o.â (@JohnMu) November 23, 2017

I mean, it makes you wonder where people have been living?
Forum discussion at Twitter.


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Google Local Pack Tests Showing Knowledge Panel Tabs

Google seems to be testing merging the local pack with knowledge panel data into tabs across the top of the local pack. Sergey Alakov caught this test, although I cannot current replicate it, here is what he shared.
When some local panels come up that are company specific enough, Google might show additional tabs at the top to let searchers toggle between the local listings with locations, Google Posts and about the business.


Here is a screen shot for a search related to Honda:

This is an interesting move but it does make sense. I do wonder how many searchers actually will click on those tabs:
Forum discussion at Twitter.

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Google: Most Websites Rank Without Any Link Building

Did you know that most websites listed and ranking on Google rank without building a single backlink? John Mueller of Google said on Twitter that "most" websites rank without building a single backlink.
Well, it depends on how you define "build backlinks." If you define it as building great content people want to link to, then no. But if you define it as actively asking people to link to your web site, then yes. Most websites probably never have asked anyone to link to them and they do rank in Google.


Of course, most websites my readers work on have done link building to try to help the website rank even higher.
Here are the tweets:
Sure. Most do. — John â.o(â§â-½â¦)o.â (@JohnMu) November 23, 2017 So yes, you can build a site, like this one, and rank just fine without asking or actively link building.
Forum discussion at Twitter.

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Google My Business Web Search Dashboard Now Ask You To Create Ads

Sergey Alakov spotted that the Google My Business web search dashboard that launched a couple months ago, now is asking businesses to create ads using AdWords Express.


Here is a screen shot with the new "create ad" option in this dashboard:

When you click on it, it takes you into the Google AdWords Express local ad system.
This change should come as no surprise to most of you.
Forum discussion at Twitter.

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Thoughtful Google Dublin Thanksgiving Cupcakes

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Thanksgiving 2017 Google Logo, Bing Theme & More

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Today is the day I work on my year end recap for this site, so I won't be posting much today in terms of SEO banter. Instead, enjoy the day off, the family and the turkey - heck, even if you are not in America. Who doesn't love turkey?
Google, Bing, and even Sogou have special Thanksgiving day logos and themes. Google has a turkey is an interesting one. Google wrote on their Doodle page that "though the pardoning of turkeys has been a presidential privilege since 1989, the Turkey in this Doodle has decided to pardon itself." Interesting, don't ya think?


Here is the Bing theme which is the turkey tail fungus - Trametes versicolor, is fairly common around the world. And though itâs used in folk medicine teas and tinctures, itâs not something youâll want to sauté up and serve alongside the sweet potatoes and cranberries today. Recent research indicates that a compound found in turkey tail fungus may help treat patients with various can…