This week: 404s are eating into your crawl budget, Facebook rolls out new changes in its advertising, and backlinks are still an important ranking signal.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Big Changes in Facebook Advertising
Facebook is making sure that its advertisers get top-notch service with some upcoming changes.
First, Facebook has agreed to have its ad metrics audited by a third-party organization. The Media Rating Council will check and accredit ad impressions as recorded by the social media giant.
That move comes in response to a report of Facebook ad “measurement errors” from September of last year.
Next, Facebook will also offer pre- and post-campaign placement reports. Those reports will list the publishers and creators whose videos, articles, apps, or sites hosted ads.
Also, Facebook will ban certain controversial content from carrying ads. Clearly, the company is attempting to avoid its own YouTube-like “adpocalypse.”
Facebook Will No Longer Display Instant Articles in Messenger
Once upon a time, when Facebook Messenger users tapped on a link and the app would display the Instant Article version of the content. That’s no longer the case.
According to a Facebook spokesperson: “As we continue to refine and improve Instant Articles — and in order to have the greatest impact on people and publishers — we’re focusing our investment in Instant Articles in the Facebook core app and are no longer offering Instant Articles in Messenger. We believe that Messenger is an exciting channel for new and interesting news consumption experiences, including the opportunity to build unique messaging experiences in Messenger that many publishers have executed successfully via the Messenger Platform.”
Facebook is making the change because publishers aren’t committed to using Messenger as a way to promote content.
Facebook Tests Instant Videos That Won’t Eat Into a User’s Data Plan
You probably like to use Facebook videos to promote your brand. Unfortunately, those videos often require megabytes of throughput.
Those megabytes can eat into a user’s data plan.
Facebook Instant Videos coming soon? ⚡️
h/t Devesh Logendran pic.twitter.com/rNZYkbeL2r
— Matt Navarra ⭐️ (@MattNavarra) September 11, 2017
That’s why Facebook is testing a new feature that enables the app to download and cache videos while connected to a wifi network. Then, users can watch the videos when they’re off the network without jeopardizing their monthly data quota.
It looks like the feature is available only to a limited number of (Android) users at this point. If it takes off, you can expect to see it on your Facebook app in the not-too-distant future.
Twitter Is Testing a Built-In Tweetstorm Feature
Twitter is formally accepting the fact that people are using its microblogging platform for something other than microblogging. To that end, it’s testing a tweetstorm feature.
WOAH! Twitter has a hidden tweet storm feature!
h/t Devesh Logendran pic.twitter.com/QpDLhKnAZZ
— Matt Navarra ⭐️ (@MattNavarra) September 10, 2017
If you’re not familiar with a tweetstorm, it’s a series of tweets connected by replies that are published by a single author. Twitter users create tweetstorms as a way of getting around the 140-character limit imposed by a single tweet.
The new Twitter feature makes it easier to compose tweetstorms. You just have to type out your entire monologue, then break it up into segments that are 140 characters or less.
Twitter will handle the rest.
The new feature is in a limited testing phase right now.
Instagram Tests Feature That Allows Users to Share Stories to Facebook
Instagram is testing a new feature that will allow users to share stories directly to Facebook.
Keep in mind, Facebook has its own version of stories. Presumably, Instagram stories would be converted to Facebook stories when they’re shared on that platform.
It looks like Instagram is adding the feature because Facebook stories haven’t really gained widespread acceptance.
Recall that Facebook owns Instagram.
Instagram has no word yet on when, or if, the new feature will roll out to all users.
Study: Backlinks Are Still Important for Ranking Well
Do you think you should sacrifice link-building in favor of other SEO strategies? Think again.
According to a new study by Stone Temple Consulting, backlinks are still a powerful ranking signal.
The research used several different models to test search results over the past few years.
The authors of the study think that backlinks will be an important ranking signal into the foreseeable future.
Google: 404s Do Use up Your Crawl Budget
Those “Page Not Found” URLs are eating into your crawl budget.
They use the normal crawl budget, but we tend not to refresh them so often since they don't "change" that much.
— John ☆.o(≧▽≦)o.☆ (@JohnMu) September 9, 2017
This past week on Twitter, somebody pointed out to Google’s John Mueller that 404/410 results don’t use the crawl budget.
Mueller corrected the record: “They use the normal crawl budget, but we tend not to refresh them so often since they don’t ‘change’ that much.”
Usually, though, that happens when the Googlebot has already crawled everything else on your site that it wanted to crawl.