This week: Instagram Reels launches worldwide, the future is looking bright for Pinterest, and Google says to forget everything you know about link juice.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Google Expands Lead Forms to YouTube & Discovery Campaigns
Now, you can use lead form extensions in YouTube and Discovery ad campaigns.
Additionally, Google now offers more field options. You can ask for city, state, country, and business info in addition to name, email, phone number, and zip.
But wait. There’s more.
Google lets you add questions to your form based on your vertical. For example, if you’re in the real estate industry, you can ask: “What type of property are you looking for?”
Bottom line: Google is making it easier for you to qualify leads.
Google Ads Introduces Update to App Campaigns
If part of your digital strategy involves convincing potential customers to install your app, you’re going to like this news.
An upcoming update will enable you to optimize your campaign to maximize installs. Google says it’s a great strategy if you’re looking to build your audience quickly.
Additionally, Google will simplify image requirements for app campaigns. Whereas the platform now accepts 30 image sizes, soon it will accept only three aspect ratios:
Google will also increase the image size limit from 150Kb to 5Mb so you can put some higher quality pics in your campaigns.
Instagram Reels Launches Worldwide
Just as TikTok is taking hit after hit in the media, along comes Instagram launching Reels in 50 countries, including the U.S.
If you’re unfamiliar with Instagram Reels, it’s a micro-video blogging service. You use it to create and share your homemade productions that last no more than 15 seconds in length.
Reels can also be shared on Instagram. That’s because Reels is part of Instagram. It’s not a standalone app.
In other words, Instagram users won’t have to install anything if they want to use Reels.
Instagram Reels is a direct competitor to TikTok. Some people find it a more attractive option because TikTok allegedly collects data for the Chinese government.
Google: Don’t Rely on Third Parties to Render Content on Your Site
You’re better off rendering content on the server-side than on the client-side, especially if you rely on third-party tools like Disqus.
Bad idea. Especially if there’s a glitch on the third-party’s servers.
There are other issues that could crop up as well.
Splitt said to instead use the API on the server-side and render the content that way. When you do that, Googlebot doesn’t have to go elsewhere to grab the content.
Study: 41% of Google’s First Page Contains Google Links
If you’re an SEO, be advised that you’re not just competing against other businesses in your industry. You’re also competing against Google.
That’s according to a new study by The Markup, a nonprofit newsroom. The company researched more than 15,000 popular queries.
According to the report, almost half (41%) of first page results consist of links to other Google properties (or the same Google property).
In fact, when The Markup looked at just the top 15% of search results, it found that Google links took up more than 60% of the results.
Here’s more from the study: “For one in five searches in our sample, links to external websites did not appear on the first screen at all.”
Here are some of the Google links you can expect to see on Page 1 for those popular search terms:
- Google’s dictionary definition
- The “people also ask” box
- The knowledge panel
- A “related conditions” carousel leading to other Google searches
In response to the study, a Google spokesperson says that giving people options in search is sometimes better than just directing them to a page that matches the query.
Google: Extra Structured Data Could Help With SEO
Looking to gain an edge over the competition in search? Consider using extra structured data.
This past week in a Google Webmaster Hangout, one of the participants asked John Mueller about adding markup on a web page that isn’t specifically listed in the Google Developer’s Guide.
Mueller said that yes, in some cases, that could help with SEO. But only if it helps Googlebot understand the contents on the page.
“[A] lot of things help us to better understand the content and the context of a particular page,” he said. “And those are things within kind of like a general Schema.org markup which you can do various things. And that’s kind of I’d say, almost a shame that we don’t highlight that in the rich results test.”
Mueller also cautioned against going overboard with schema markup just to gain rank.
Google: Forget Everything You Read About ‘Link Juice’
Well, this is a game-changer.
Once upon a time, SEOs went after links from high-profile websites to help their own sites rank well in the search engine results pages (SERPs). The narrative back then went something like this: “If Huffington Post thinks it’s a quality web page, then Google will think it’s a quality web page as well.”
From a technical standpoint, the higher authority site would pass “page rank” to the other site that it’s linking to. That would help boost the target site in search.
Alas, how times have changed.
Now, Google’s John Mueller says to disregard what you heard in the past about building backlinks.
Here’s what he tweeted: “I’d forget everything you read about ‘link juice.’ It’s very likely all obsolete, wrong, and/or misleading. Instead, build a website that works well for your users.”
Once again, the successful SEO strategy according to Google is to develop quality content that resonates with people in your target market.
That’s it. That’s the whole game. According to Google.
Your mileage may vary. But that’s definitely a good place to start.
Pinterest MAU: Passes 400 Million MAU!
Pinterest can’t stop growing.
This past week, Pinterest reported that its image-sharing app is now up to 416 million monthly active users (MAU).
That means it’s more popular than Twitter, Snapchat, and LinkedIn.
Even better for Pinterest: the platform is poised for strong future growth as consumers flock to digital platforms to do their shopping in the midst of the current pandemic.
Here are a few more key takeaways from the latest Pinterest MAU performance report:
- Women make up more than 60% of the Pinterest audience
- The number of men using the platform increased 48% year-over-year
- The number of users under 25 is growing just as fast as the number of users over 25
Pinterest also saw significant increases in popular search terms like “gender equality,” “body positive,” and “creative makeup looks.”
Don’t just read the latest news and forget about it. Take action:
- If you’re not marketing on Pinterest, look at ways you can reach people in your target market on that platform.
- If your SEO strategy includes an emphasis on building backlinks, consider reprioritizing resources towards other options that will more likely bring in visitors.
- Look for some ways you can add more structured data to your website so that search engines can better understand your content.
- If you’re using client-side APIs to render content, think about whether or not it’s best to hire a developer to render the same content on the server side.
- Keep an eye on Reels. You may want to jump in on that early to get ahead of your competitors.
- If you’ve got an app you’d like to promote, check out the new Google Ads strategy to maximize installs. It might provide a healthy ROI even if it’s expensive.
- Think about how you can use lead forms in YouTube and Discovery campaigns.