Digital Marketing News 3/30/2020-4/3/2020
This week: Pinterest lets merchants get verified, Facebook has new tools for live streaming, and Google has a very early Christmas present for some SMBs.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Google Dumps Dedicated Ad Rep Support for Some Agency Ad Partners
Don’t shoot the messenger.
This past week, some Google Ads agency partners learned that they’re losing dedicated reps as of April 1.
Why? According to the Big G, the agency rep program is put under a magnifying glass every quarter. Apparently, the numbers no longer add up.
Google also says the change has nothing to do with the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Also, the move only affects small and medium-sized agencies.
Google advises people who’ve lost their support to check out the Help portal, blog posts, and Skillshop training.
Facebook Rolls out New Tools for Facebook Live
Facebook is adding some new goodies to its Live streaming tool.
For starters, the platform will automatically add closed captions. That’s a help to people who want to watch live streams without volume.
Additionally, Facebook also supports the exact opposite of close-captioned viewing. Users can now just listen to the audio portion of the live stream without watching the video.
The social media platform is also rolling out Live Producer. That’s a dashboard for managing your broadcasts.
Finally, Facebook will allow nonprofits to generate toll-free phone numbers for fundraising efforts.
Google Will Give $340 Million in Ad Credits for SMBs
Here’s some much-needed good news if you’re an active Google Ads user.
Google is offering its own stimulus package to businesses hit by the pandemic fallout. The company is pledging $340 million in ad credits to SMBs.
If you’re an eligible advertiser, you’ll see a notification in your Google Ads account. Don’t worry if you don’t see a notification today. Announcements will go out in the coming weeks, according to the Big G.
To be eligible, you must have an active Google Ads account that you’ve maintained since January 1, 2019.
Google also said that it’s increasing grants to the World Health Organization.
Pinterest Rolls out Verified Merchant Program
Pinterest is taking a page from the Twitter playbook and giving some merchants a blue checkmark. That’s a badge indicating that the account is owned by a verified merchant.
If you want to get verified, you’ll have to go through the manual review process. You’re eligible to apply if you’re already a merchant on Pinterest and:
- Your catalog is connected to the platform
- You have the Pinterest tag installed on your website
- You meet Pinterest’s guidelines
Verified merchants have access to a new conversion insights tool. They also get “Shop” tabs at the top of their profiles so users can see all of their products in one place.
Social Platforms Reduce Streaming Quality
With so many people stuck at home binge-watching old TV shows like The Sopranos, streaming services are feeling the heat. As a result, they’ve been forced to adapt their platforms to deal with the increase in traffic.
How are they doing that? By reducing video bitrates. That means lower video quality.
Oh, well. Better to watch a grainy Tony Soprano than no Tony Soprano at all.
But it’s not just Disney+ and Netflix that made adjustments as a result of the pandemic. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram downgraded streaming quality as well.
In a statement, Facebook said that it made the change to “alleviate any potential network congestion.”
Study: Contextual Ad Targeting Works
According to a new study by GumGum, contextually relevant ads pique people’s interest more than their non-contextual counterparts.
Keep in mind: GumGum is a contextual ad company. So it’s got some skin in the game here.
Still, the results show that “old school” ads present a good alternative to advertisers wary of relying too heavily on cookies in this privacy-obsessed era.
According to the research, contextually relevant ads generate 43% more neural engagement and 2.2 times improved recall.
GumGum also says that contextually relevant ads led to a statistically significant increase in purchase intent.
The study didn’t consider click-through rates or conversion rates.
Google Rolls out New Features for Game Marketers
This past week, Google announced a number of new features aimed at game marketers.
First up: open testing ads. They’re designed to help game developers bring in more beta testers before official release.
Next, Google Ads will roll out app campaign asset reporting. It enables you to compare asset source and orientation between similar assets.
Starting next month, the tool will also show you performance charts so you can see changes to asset performance over time.
Finally, Google Analytics is also offering gaming specific analytics. They’ll give you insights about acquisition, retention, monetization, and engagement.
Warning: There’s a Critical Vulnerability in the Rank Math SEO Plugin
If you’re using WordPress with the Rank Math SEO plugin, be advised that the security of your website is at risk.
Older releases of the plugin give attackers the ability to gain elevated privileges on a WordPress site. If they can gain admin rights, they can do pretty much anything.
Any version of Rank Math below 10.0.4 is vulnerable.
To its credit, Rank Math responded quickly once the company learned of the vulnerability.
Google: Marking a Business ‘Temporarily Closed’ Won’t Hurt Rankings
If you’re running a local business that you’ve had to shutter to maintain social distancing, you won’t have to worry about losing rank even if you mark it “Temporarily Closed.”
This past week on Twitter, somebody asked Google’s Danny Sullivan these questions: “Can you please work on an option on GMB for the local businesses that are closed due to COVID 19, but still trading in different channels? The temporally closed option will drop the visibility of the listings. GMB post low visibility. Any options?”
Here’s how Sullivan responded: “Temporarily closed doesn’t impact ranking or visibility.”
That’s in contrast to Google’s previous guidance. In the past, the company said that closed businesses would surface in a lower position than open businesses.
Here are a few to-do’s from this past week’s news:
- If you’re using the Rank Math plugin, make sure you update it to the latest version. Otherwise, your website is open to attack.
- If you’re into game marketing, take advantage of the new features Google announced recently.
- Consider running a few contextual ads to see if they generate more interest than traditionally targeted ads.
- If you’re a merchant on Pinterest, apply to become a Verified Merchant. The perks are worth it.
- If you promote your brand with Facebook live streaming, take a look at the new features and see how they can help you build a better online presence.
- If you’re running Google Ads regularly, find out if you qualify for some of the ad credits that Google will hand out.
Digital Marketing News 3/23/2020-3/27/2020
This week: Amazon could hit the jackpot once the pandemic is over, Bing releases a tool that offers instant indexing, and eMarketer lowers ad spend projections.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Amazon Could Win Big After COVID-19
As I mentioned last week, Amazon reported that it’s hiring 100,000 new workers to keep up with demand as consumers opt for shopping online and social distancing instead of visiting a local store.
But even before the COVID-19 outbreak, we saw what some strategists called a “retail apocalypse.” Stores closed down and retailers declared bankruptcies as people opted to shop with their laptops instead of with their feet.
That problem is only going to get worse for brick-and-mortar outlets.
Simon Property Group, for example, owns and operates shopping malls across the U.S. That company said it would close all of its malls through the end of March.
E-commerce sales, on the other hand, spiked in recent weeks. Amazon, unsurprisingly, will benefit significantly from that uptick.
Amazon isn’t the only company that stands to make gains as a result of the pandemic, though. Big box shops like Costco, Sam’s Club, and B.J.’s Wholesale should weather this storm fairly well.
Walmart and Target also offer online shopping. They’ll likely emerge bruised but not beaten down after this is all over.
Users Claim Instant Ranking With the Bing URL Indexing API
Wanna get indexed in a hurry? Consider using the Bing URL and Content Submission API. It promises real-time web indexing.
One SEO said he ranked a page at #2 for the keyword “jQuery obsolete” in just 10 minutes. He expected to wait 30-45 minutes.Keep in mind, though, that the API is part of a pilot program. You’ll need to apply if you want to use it.
Also, the documentation says that you’re limited to batches of 500 URLs per submission. So if you’ve got millions of URLs you need indexed in the next 10 minutes, that’s not going to happen.
Finally, Bing still uses algorithms to determine whether it will accept a URL and place it in the index.
Google Eliminates Right-Sidebar Featured Snippets
Here’s one you probably saw coming.
Google moved the right sidebar featured snippets results into the main results section. The change is part of Google’s broader effort to eliminate featured snippet duplication.
So if you once owned a few spots on the right sidebar, that means your results only appear in the normal search results now. In other words, your links don’t appear twice.
As a result, you might see a drop in search traffic. Don’t blame an algorithm update. It’s probably because your links don’t appear as often in search as they used to.
Global Ad Spend Projections Lowered As a Result of COVID-19
Research firm eMarketer lowered its ad spend projections for 2020.
Previously, eMarketer forecasted an increase in ad spend of 7.4% or $712 billion. Now, the firm is projecting an increase of 7.0% or about $692 billion.
That’s a decrease of 3%.
In a statement, eMarketer said it’s lowering the forecast due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new modeling assumes that we’ll have the virus under control in the coming months. A fair assumption as some reports indicate that the spread of COVID-19 is limited in warmer weather.
Additionally, eMarketer assumes a significant rebound in economic activity following the containment.
Google Allows Restaurants to Add “Delivery Available’ to Business Name
Thankfully, Google will make an exception in what you can put in your business name if you run a restaurant. Now, you can add “Delivery Available” or “Takeout Available.”
It’s no mystery that restaurants are among the hardest hit businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak. They could use all the help they can get.
Thibault Adda, local search specialist for Darden Restaurants, tweeted this week: “Given the situation, GMB would allow us to update our business name to add ‘ – To Go Available’. Faster to push that Post and more visible.”
Joy Hawkins confirmed the move in the Local Search Forums: “Google said that they are fine with restaurants adding ‘Delivery Available’ or ‘Takeout Available’ to their business names during these crazy times. Normally this is against guidelines but given the circumstances, it’s helpful for users to be able to see this info easily.”
Google: No, We Don’t Prioritize AMP Pages in Search
Apparently, some SEOs are under the impression that Google prioritizes AMPlified sites in search. That’s not the case.
This past week on Twitter, someone posed the question about whether Google surfaces AMP content over non-AMP content in the SERPs.
Google Developer Martin Splitt replied bluntly: “That’s a myth.”
However, some carousels usually need AMP content. Additionally, AMP Stories need AMP content as well.
Sometimes, Google allows non-AMP content in those elements. That seems to be the exception rather than the rule, though.
Google: We May Look at Site Speed in a More Granular Way in the Future
You probably only need to worry about the site speed penalty if your site is reallllly slow. However, that might change in the future.
This past week in a Google Webmaster Hangout, somebody asked John Mueller the following question: “I think you guys have always said when it comes to the speed of a site you’re really only negative, like directly from a ranking standpoint ,directly impacting like the slowest of slow sites. Is that just an SEO thing that we say or is that actually true and then I have a follow-up?”
“I could imagine that over time especially with mobile sites we might find a more granular approach,” Mueller replied.
He went on to say that “if you like tweaking milliseconds and that’s probably not the best use of your time if you’re only worried about SEO.”
Facebook: Expect Ad Approval Delays During COVID-19
Facebook, like just many other companies, made staffing changes as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. As a result, you can expect delays for ad approvals.
Unfortunately, many of Facebook’s contractors aren’t able to work from home. Since they’re also not allowed to work at the office, that means they aren’t working at all.
Some of those contractors are the people who approve ads on the platform.
As a result, Facebook released the following statement this past week: “We use a combination of people and technology to review ads on Facebook and Instagram, and our automated systems already play a big role in that process. Now with a reduced and remote workforce, we’re relying on automated technology even more.”
In spite of the word “automated” appearing twice in the statement, Facebook warned that the change could result in delayed reviews, an increase in ads getting approved incorrectly, delayed appeals, and limited availability of Facebook in-stream ads.
Not a whole lot going on this week thanks to the virus, but we still have a few action items for you:
- If you’re doing any advertising on Facebook, get an early start by submitting your ads for approval well before you want to run them. Then, pause the ads until you’re ready.
- If your site speed is slow, get it up to speed. Literally. Otherwise, you might take a hit in the SERPs at some point in the future.
- If you’re running a restaurant and you do delivery or accept take-out orders, make sure you include one or the other in your business title on Google My Business. That way, people will know that they can support your restaurant during the pandemic.
- Sign up for the Bing API and see if you can get 10-minute indexing with some of your new content.
- Think about using Amazon as a platform to promote your brand since it looks like it’s going to take off in the next couple of quarters. Also, consider using alternative ecommerce platforms like Walmart and Target.
Digital Marketing News 3/16/2020-3/20/2020
This past week: LinkedIn rolls out Conversational Ads, Amazon stops FBA shipments for non-essential goods, and GMB optimization is the most important local marketing service.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
LinkedIn Introduces Conversation Ads
Conversation Ads are coming to LinkedIn!
If you’re unfamiliar with Conversation Ads, they give potential customers the option to choose their own path based on the CTA that they find most attractive.
For example, you can send a Conversation Ad that introduces your business and gives people the option to visit your site, register for a webinar, or sign up for a newsletter.
When you’re ready to get started with a Conversation Ad campaign, you can start with one of two objectives: website visits or lead generation.
Keep in mind: the platform will only send messages to active LinkedIn users. So you won’t have to worry about wasting ad spend on occasional visitors.
The new ad format rolls out globally over the next few weeks.
Amazon Eliminates FBA Shipments for Non-Essential Goods
There are many ways that the COVID-19 outbreak could affect your business. This is one of them.
This past week, Amazon announced that it’s limiting Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) inbound shipments to household staples and medical supplies.
Here’s a list of items that still qualify for FBA:
- Healthcare products
- Household items
- Baby products
- Industrial and scientific products
- Pet supplies
- Beauty and personal care products
To see if your product is eligible, visit the product detail page. If you see a double-arrow with a circle and a line through it on the right-hand side, then your product isn’t eligible for FBA shipments.
In a separate report, Amazon is hiring 100,000 more warehouse workers to handle the demand for its products. So this policy might get lifted in fairly short order.
Survey: 1 out of 3 Business Owners Don’t Know How Google Search Rankings Work
According to new research from Fractl, more than 1 in 3 business owners don’t know anything about how Google ranks web pages.
Nearly 1 in 4 owners aren’t even familiar with SEO, according to the survey.
Further, Fractl says that all respondents failed a basic SEO quiz. The average score on the quiz was 48.7%.
That quiz included the following questions:
- What is alt text?
- Which best describes organic search?
- What are backlinks?
- What is anchor text?
The questions were multiple-choice.
Survey: GMB Optimization the Most Important Local Marketing Service
According to a new survey by BrightLocal, Google My Business optimization is more important to local marketers than website optimization.
Here are the other four most valuable services, in order:
- On-site optimization
- Reputation management
- Citation management
- Website design
And here are the top five services offered by local marketers:
- GMB optimization
- SEO audits
- On-site optimization
- Citation management
So it looks like local marketing pros are fulfilling the needs of their clients.
Local marketers also say that SEO is the best way to attract new clients.
Google: We Don’t Use W3C Validation in Search
If you’re worried that W3C validation errors might adversely affect your website’s appearance in search results, don’t be.
This past week on a webmaster hangout, somebody asked Google’s John Mueller if W3C validation errors could slow down page loads.
Here’s how Mueller responded:
No, this does not affect time to download a page. Time to download a page is purely the time that it takes from Googlebot asking your server for a URL, to your server having provided that full-content to Googlebot.
What is on that page is totally irrelevant, other than maybe if you have a lot of text then maybe it will take a long time to transfer. But HTML errors are totally irrelevant to that.
Mueller also said that W3C validation isn’t something that Google uses when it comes to search.
Informal Survey: 58% of SEOs Want Google to Stop Algorithm Updates During Outbreak
This is pretty funny.
This past week, Barry Schwartz took a Twitter survey asking if Google should pause algorithm updates until the Coronavirus outbreak is in the past.
Fifty-eight percent said yes.
Google’s John Mueller responded to the tweet asking, “What would you consider an update?”
That’s a good question.
Google puts out updates all the time. Some are more significant than others.
Bing: Use 302s for URLs That Will Change in a Couple of Days
If you’re wondering whether you should opt for a 301 or 302 redirect, it depends on how long the destination URL will last. That’s according to Fabrice Canel from Bing.
“When the future is uncertain,” he tweeted, “preferable to use a 302 redirect if your destination URL may change within 2 days, else 301 is recommended.”
Frederic Dubut added: “I don’t think 2 days was meant as a prescriptive threshold… If you’re changing the target every 3 days, you should still use 302s.”
He went on to say that anytime a redirect is temporary, you should use a 302.
Google: Start With Fewer Pages for New Sites
If you’re planning a new site, it’s probably best if you don’t cram 10,000 pages into it right out of the gate. That’s according to Google’s John Mueller.
This past week on Twitter, someone asked Mueller if she should launch her jewelry website with different URLs for each product/style/color/etc.
Here’s how Mueller replied: “That’s hard, I recommend erring on the side of having fewer pages, especially when starting up a new site. ‘Too’ many pages makes it hard to find the unique value of each page, so unless they’re significantly different, I’d try to keep them together.”
Not a whole lot going on this week thanks to COVID-19, but there are still a few takeaways:
- If you’re using 301 redirects for destination URLs that change frequently, consider using 302 redirects instead.
- Get up to speed on Google My Business optimization if you haven’t done so already. As we’ve seen, it’s an important skill set these days.
- If you’re a business owner who doesn’t understand the basics of SEO, take some time to get acquainted with successful optimization strategies. You don’t have to know everything, but it’s a good idea to understand what your paid consultants are doing to give your website greater exposure.
- If your products don’t qualify for FBA shipments on Google, put an emergency plan into place. Determine how you’ll continue to meet the needs of your market during this crisis.
- If you’re running a B2B shop, consider how you can use LinkedIn Conversational Ads to reach new people in your target market.
Digital Marketing News 3/9/2020-3/13/2020
This week: Reddit releases a new ad unit, Google Ads includes more options for portfolio bidding, and mobile search results now display Key Moments for multiple videos.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Reddit Unveils New ‘Trending Takeover’ Ad Unit
Looks like Reddit took a page out of Twitter’s playbook. The company released a new ad unit that appears in the trending section of the Popular tab and Search dropdown.
Users who click on the ad open a landing page that shows Reddit conversations, communities, and posts relevant to the search terms selected by the advertiser.
Because the ads are related to trending topics, campaigns only last 24 hours.
As of now, the new ad unit is only available on a reservation basis.
Google: Paid Links Don’t Work
Don’t bother taking shortcuts with paid links in an effort to manipulate the search engines. It doesn’t work.
This past week, somebody pointed out to Google’s John Mueller that 80-90% of the sites ranking in a specific industry use paid links.
Mueller responded to that by confirming that Google still uses backlinks as a ranking signal. But he said that the search giant uses other signals as well.
He went on to say that just because websites use paid links, that doesn’t mean that those links give the sites a boost in rank. Sometimes it’s just because of good content.
“So just because you’re seeing people doing something that looks kind of weird doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re actually profiting from that in a sense that there are lots of reasons why sites can rank in the search results,” he said. “And it doesn’t have to do with anything sneaky that they’re doing.”
Google Ads Rolls out More Options for Portfolio Bid Strategies
Google Ads is releasing new options for portfolio bid strategies.
If you’re unfamiliar with portfolio bid strategies, they help you improve ad performance across multiple campaigns.
In the past, Google allowed you to optimize portfolio bid strategies for Target ROAS, Target CPA, Maximize Clicks, and Target Impression Share.
Now, you can do it with Maximize Conversions and Maximize Conversion Value.
You can also combine new portfolios with shared budgets.
Google Will Review Photos & Videos Posted on GMB
This past week, Google announced a change to its photo and content policy on Google My Business (GMB).
From now on, all photos and videos will be reviewed prior to publication.
That means one thing: delay.
You can expect to wait at least a little while from the time you upload your photo or video until the time that people can see it online.
Google didn’t say if AI or human beings will handle the review process.
Google Ads Rolls out New Reports
Google Ads is making it easier for you to learn more about how website visitors become customers.
New attribution reports include:
- A bird’s-eye view of conversion paths
- The most common paths that visitors follow before they become customers
- The devices people use along the way to conversion
- Assisted conversions beyond the last click
- A comparison of attribution models
The new reports roll out this week.
Report: Most Local SEOs Earn at Least $60,000
According to a new survey by BrightLocal, most Local SEO professionals enjoy their line of work.
More than three-quarters (78%) of those polled said they intend to remain in the industry. Just 4% said they want to move out of the Local SEO space.
About half of respondents said they’ve worked in the industry for more than a decade. Eleven percent said they’ve been in SEO for 20 years or more.
Almost two-thirds (65%) of local strategists earn $60,000 or more annually while 29% earn $100,000 or more.
Sixty-five percent of those polled said they charge clients on a monthly retainer basis with the most common retainer between $100 and $500.
The typical services offered by Local SEOs include:
- GMB optimization
- On-site optimization
- SEO audits
- Citation management
- Web design
- Content marketing
The most common way that local strategists stay on top of industry trends is by reading blogs published by local marketing tools.
Google: Yes, You Should Prohibit Crawling of Search Results Pages
If you’re running a website that includes a search bar, you might find that the search feature uses an encoded URL to serve results. If that’s the case, you should prohibit Google from crawling any URL that handles search.
Why? Because otherwise, you’ll have pages competing with each other for placement in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
This past week on Twitter, somebody pointed out that search results for a specific website rank on Page 1 of the SERPs. She thought that was odd considering that Google advises webmasters to prohibit Googlebot from crawling search results.
John Mueller responded to that tweet. He said that when webmasters allow the search bot to crawl search results, they’ll dilute their “indexed content with useless pages that compete with each other.”
In the past, Mueller also said that local search result pages “make infinite spaces (crawling)” and “often lead to empty search results/soft 404s.”
Google: Hang on to Those Security Certificates After Site Merges
If you’re redirecting an old domain to a new domain, you might be wondering if you should keep the SSL certificate for the old domain. The answer is yes.
Here’s what Google’s John Mueller said about this subject recently on Twitter: “Browsers definitely need the certificate for HTTPS, even if you’re just redirecting. Search engines can probably deal with it, but if there’s a chance the old URL is shown to users, just keep the certificate live too. You can get certificates for free nowadays.”
Mueller went on to say that Google usually recrawls URLs every six months. So it’s a good idea to renew the certificate for at least a year.
He also said to keep the domain for the long haul to prevent spammers from taking it.
Google: It’s Okay to Link to HTTP URLs for SEO
You might think that you should only link to secure HTTPS URLs or Google might penalize your site in search rankings. That’s not the case.
Keep in mind: this advice is for external links only. When you link to resources (such as images) internally, you’ll need to use HTTPS if the page URL uses HTTPS. Otherwise, browsers will issue a warning.
This past week on Twitter, somebody asked John Mueller if it’s okay to link out to non-HTTPS external links or if it would present a problem from an SEO perspective.
“No, that’s fine from an SEO point of view,” Mueller replied. “From a security POV linking directly to the HTTPS version when it exists is better, but sometimes HSTS helps.”
Google Now Shows ‘Key Moments’ on Multiple Videos in Search
Google now shows “Key Moments” on multiple videos in mobile search results.
In the past, the search engine only showed Key Moments, or “in this video,” for the first video result in search.
If you’re unfamiliar with Key Moments, Google uses it to highlight different sections of a video, such as different steps in a how-to explainer. The feature enables users to go right to the spot that contains the info they’re searching for.
Google’s expansion of Key Moments means videos that don’t rank Number 1 might get more attention in the SERPs.
Lots of action items to take from this week’s news. Here are a few of them:
- If you haven’t yet provided timelines of your YouTube videos, make it a point to put that on your to-do list. Google uses timelines to extract sections of the video for Key Moments.
- If you’re doing a redirect from an old domain to a new domain, check the expiration date on the old domain’s SSL certificate. If it’s expiring soon, renew it for at least a year.
- Update your robots.txt file to prevent Googlebot from crawling search results pages on your website.
- Take a look at the new attribution reports in Google Ads so you can get a clearer picture of how your customers decided to make a purchase.
- If you’re using portfolio bidding, check out the new strategies and decide if any of them will work for your business.
- Think about if Reddit’s “Trending Takeover” ad unit is right for your brand. Remember: you won’t likely find targeted traffic that way unless the trending topic of the day is relevant to your industry.
Digital Marketing News 3/2/2020-3/6/2020
This week: YouTube has some new toys for you to play with, Google allows you to download complete sets of data from Search Console and wait until you hear about how much fake reviews are costing U.S. consumers.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
YouTube Rolls out Lots of New Goodies
If you’re into YouTube marketing, you’re going to love this news.
For starters, YouTube is adding a new feature that enables you to compare your analytics side-by-side.
In the past, you could only compare one metric over time. Now, you can look for correlations between different analytics.
For example, you can check “views versus comments” or “views versus revenue.”
The new feature is in the “deep dive” section of the analytics dashboard. You can get there by clicking “see more” next to any metric on the overview page.
In addition to that feature, YouTube is also rolling out notification analytics. That report will show you how many of your subscribers received a bell notification and how many clicked on it.
If all of your subscribers didn’t get a bell notification, YouTube will tell you why.
Finally, YouTube is also introducing a mid-roll ad editor. It enables you to customize where your ads get shown in your videos.
The tool uses a simple drag-and-drop interface, so you’ll have little trouble learning how it works.
Even with the new feature, you can still let YouTube automatically place mid-roll ads at certain points in the video.
Google Ads Mobile App Now Includes New Optimization Score Features
The Google Ads mobile app now shows you info about optimization scores.
The account overview screen displays optimization scores at both the account and campaign levels.
It also delivers improvement advice. By default, the app displays recommendations with the highest potential impact at the top.
Additionally, the app gives you the option to receive notifications when your optimization score changes.
Report: Cost of Amazon Sponsored Product Ads Is Going Up
This isn’t surprising, considering the popularity of Amazon advertising.
According to a new report from eMarketer, prices for Amazon Sponsored Product ads are on the rise.
Three companies (Merkle, Tinuiti, and Pacvue) reported 12% to 16% increases in cost-per-click (CPC) of Sponsored Product ads late last year.
The report also notes that prices steadily rose for the past several months.
Interestingly enough, prices of Sponsored Brand ads fell during that same timeframe.
In spite of that, Sponsored Brand ads still cost more on a CPC basis than Sponsored Product ads.
Google: Don’t Use Repetitive FAQ Markup
If for whatever reason, you have an FAQ page that asks and answers the same question multiple times, you shouldn’t mark up each question-and-answer with structured data. That’s according to Google.
Google recently added that line to its developer document for FAQ structured data.
Apparently, some SEOs were adding multiple markups to steal spots at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs).
By the way: the rule applies if you have the same question on multiple pages on your site. You should still mark it up only once.
Google Tests Profile Card Customization for Search Results
Google is testing a new feature that allows users to customize Knowledge Graph cards that appear in search results.
A caveat: the new feature is only available in India.
Here’s how it works: you type “add me to Google” in the search bar and perform a normal search. Then, click on the “Get Started” link.
At that point, you’ll need to provide your name, location, occupation, and a little info about yourself.
Google says that the info you provide about yourself shouldn’t contain any solicitations or other forms of advertisement.
After you create your card, people will see it when they search for your name.
Google Now Allows SEOs to Test How-To Markup
Google Rich Results Test tool gets better every week.
Now, the tool will show you HowTo markup gets rendered in Google Home and smart displays.
If you’re unfamiliar with how to markup, it’s the kind of markup you’d use if you’re offering step-by-step instructions.
HowTo markup can appear as a rich result in the SERPs. It can include text, images, and even video clips.
Google Allows Marketers to Download Complete Sets of Data From Search Console
Just in case you didn’t have enough analytics to manage already, along comes Google with a new feature that allows you to download complete sets of data from Search Console reports.
In the past, the tool only allowed you to download certain table views.
Now, you can not only download more data, but the data you download will be easier to read.
Specifically, when you download data from the enhancement report, you’ll see:
- A list of issues, as well as pages, affected
- A breakdown of pages and the number of impressions they received on search
- Details about a specific downloaded view
When you download data from the performance report, you’ll see content from all tabs, including:
- Search appearances
The changes have already rolled out.
Amazon Retail Analytics Premium Data Is Now Available for Free
If you’re a seller on Amazon’s Vendor Central, then you just saved $30,000 per year.
That’s because Amazon is making it’s Retail Analytics Premium data available free of charge. It used to cost $30k annually.
In the past, if you didn’t want to fork over that much cash, you had to live with the limited data you got from Amazon Retail Analytics Basic.
Now, you can get info about sell-through and customer demographics at no additional charge.
To gain access to the data, though, you need to ensure that you have Brand Registry. If you don’t have it, you need to register for it by March 31.
Google Will Apply Mobile-First Indexing to All Sites Within a Year
We’re finally seeing some light at the end of this tunnel.
Google first announced mobile-first indexing back in the fall of 2016. The company moved countless websites to mobile-first indexing since that time.
But still, some are using desktop indexing.
Not for much longer, though. This past week, Google announced that all sites will use mobile-first indexing within the next year.
If you’re unfamiliar with mobile-first indexing, it means that Google’s search bot will “view” websites as though it were looking at them with a mobile browser.
Google Doesn’t Give Shopify Preferential Treatment in the SERPs
Some SEOs are under the impression that Google gives Shopify preferential treatment in search results. It doesn’t.
This past week on Twitter, someone tweeted to John Mueller that Shopify seems to be doing great in search and wondered aloud if Google’s search algorithm helped it along.
“We generally don’t have special search algorithms to help any particular CMS,” Mueller replied. “When sites do things technically correct, there’s not much need to do anything special :). There’s always room for improvement, but a good & stable foundation goes a long way.”
In the past, Mueller said that Google doesn’t do anything special for WordPress sites, either.
Google: Old Manual Actions Won’t Hurt Current Rankings
Apparently, Google knows how to forgive and forget.
If your site was slapped with a manual action in the past and you managed to scramble your way out of it, you won’t have to worry about Google remembering your previous SEO sins. That’s according to Google’s Gary Illyes.
This past week on Twitter, Illyes stated flatly: “Site being ‘tainted’ after a manual action is an SEO myth. You request an RR and if successful, you’re off the hook.”
So if you’re having trouble ranking a site that once went through a manual action, there’s another reason for it.
Report: Fake and Inaccurate Reviews Costing Consumers Billions
According to a new study by TrustPilot, fake and inaccurate reviews cost U.S. consumers about $25 billion in 2019.
The average American consumer wasted about $125 because of bogus reviews.
Almost half (48%) of U.S. shoppers rely more heavily on reviews today than they did two years ago. Ninety percent of consumers check reviews online before making a purchase.
However, 49% of those surveyed said they believe too many companies are creating fake reviews online. As a result, 72% of respondents said they’re less inclined to trust 5-star reviews because they believe they’re manufactured.
Two-thirds of those polled said they’d rather buy from a company that made a mistake and responded to it quickly as opposed to a company that never made a mistake.
Facebook Blocks Mobile Advertisers From Using Device-Level Data
In January, Facebook prohibited its mobile advertisers from using device-level data for any reason other than measuring campaign performance.
And even in that case, you’ll still only have access to the data on an “aggregate and anonymous basis” if you’re running ads on mobile.
You can’t use the data to retarget ads, redirect with tags, or sell to third-parties.
Clearly, Facebook is responding to growing concerns about privacy.
LinkedIn Stories Are Coming Soon
This was inevitable.
If other social media apps are jumping on the “Stories” bandwagon, why not LinkedIn?
This past week, Pete Davies of LinkedIn confirmed that Stories are on the way. In fact, he says the company is currently testing the new feature.
According to Davies, LinkedIn Stories resonate well with younger professionals. That’s because they grew up using Stories as a way of communicating.
But will they be really effective on a B2B platform? Time will tell.
With knowledge comes responsibility. Here are some to-do’s you can add to your list from this past week’s news:
- Brainstorm up some ideas about how you can use LinkedIn Stories to promote your brand now. That way, you’ll be ready to go once they roll out.
- If your site isn’t ready for mobile-first indexing, make sure you get it up to speed now.
- If you’re on Amazon Vendor Central, grab that Retail Analytics Premium data and get to work. Use the data to build market share.
- Now that you can download complete sets of data from Google Search Console, think about ways that you can use the exported data set. Maybe you can feed it into a third-party tool to get a better picture of how well your website is performing.
- If you’re using HowTo markup on your site, start testing it with Google’s Rich Results Testing Tool.
- If you’ve got repetitive FAQ markup on your site, eliminate it.
- If you’re a Google Ads mobile app user, take advantage of the notification feature about optimization scores. Use it to respond immediately to drops in scores.
- Check out YouTube’s new features and determine how you can use them to boost your video marketing