This week: a big merger is occurring, good news if you run mobile ads (but better news if your run desktop ads), and you’d better get rid of mixed content on your website.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Taboola and Outbrain Will Merge
Big news from the world of native advertising this week: Taboola and Outbrain are going to merge.
The new company will operate under the Taboola brand name. Adam Singolda, who founded Taboola, will serve as CEO.
When the two companies join resources, they’ll serve ads on more than 20,000 web properties reaching audience well north of 2 billion.
The new company will employ more than 2,000 people and provide native ad services for more than 20,000 customers.
Study: Mobile Conversions Rising, Desktop Conversions More Valuable
Mobile conversions are on the rise. But that doesn’t mean they give you a better return on investment, according to a new study by AccuraCast.
The research found that mobile conversions grew a whopping 10 points from 39% to 49% between 2018 and 2019.
However, the study found that “desktop visitors convert 60% more than mobile visitors, and conversions from a desktop device are worth 93% more than mobile conversions, on average. (For B2C companies, conversion value was calculated as the average order value, and for B2B it was calculated as the lead value and propensity to buy.)”
AccuraCast says that the likely reason for the lower conversion metrics on mobile platforms is a poor user experience on a small screen.
Google Shares Small Business Search Trends for 2019
This past week, Google released a report detailing small business search trends for 2019.
According to the Big G, local business search grew about 350 times in the past decade.
Local business search includes phrases with words like “local” and “near me.”
Here are the most popular local shop searches during the past 12 months:
- Coffee shops
- Flower shops
- Print shops
- Tire shops
In fact, search for local coffee shops is currently at an all-time high.
The most popular states for local shop searches include:
- West Virginia
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
Google Chrome Will Block Mixed Content
This is a big one. You’ll want to pay attention.
That would be exceptionally bad for business.
Chrome will start blocking the mixed content websites in December. So if your site is still serving unsecure resources, you have about a month to get your house in order.
Google Is Testing Search Results Without URLs
This past week, a Reddit user spotted something different in search results: no URLs.
The results looked normal except for the lack of the expected URL below the title. The title is still clickable, though.
Apparently, Google is considering revamping the SERPs so that they’re without URLs. It would save some digital real estate.
The downside is that users won’t be able to validate the legitimacy of the website hosting the search result.
Google Starts Showing User-Generated Images in Product Reviews
This one seems a little bit overdue. Google is now showing user-generated images in product reviews on Google Shopping.
If you’re a retailer with a product review feed, you can now include images uploaded by customers in that feed.
To do that, though, you’ll have to use the updated schema and sign up for Google’s product ratings program.
As of now, the new feature is only available in the U.S.
Report: GDPR-Compliant Companies Outperforming Peers
A new report from Capgemini shows that GDPR-compliant businesses are seeing unexpected(?) gains in trust, engagement, and growth.
“[GDPR] compliant organizations have outperformed non-compliant [companies] by an average of 20%,” according to the research.
Further: “92% of executives from compliant firms say their organization has gained a competitive advantage thanks to the GDPR.”
However, only 28% of the organizations surveyed were GDPR-compliant.
Regarding U.S. firms, Capgemini found that 70% of them said they would be compliant with CCPA when it goes into effect in 2020.
Google Search Console Adds New Features for Video Content
Want to know how well your videos are performing in search? If so, pay attention to a couple of new features in Google Search Console.
First, under the performance report, you have the option to see video-only appearances in “Search Appearances.”
You’ll need to implement VideoObject structured data to ensure that your content shows up in that report, though.
Google is also rolling out video enhancement report details. Unsurprisingly, it’s in the enhancements section.
The report will show you video errors and warnings about markup on the page. It will also offer advice on how to fix the issues.
Google: HTML Sitemaps Aren’t Important
This is getting weird. Last week, Google told us that H1 tags weren’t necessary for SEO. Now, we’re being told that HTML sitemaps aren’t important.
It happened on Reddit. John Mueller posted the following: “When it comes to SEO … for small sites, your site should be crawlable anyway (and if you’re using a common CMS, it’ll almost always be fine) & for large sites, they’re not going to be useful anyway (use sitemaps, use normal cross-linking, check with a crawler of your choice).”
Mueller did concede, however, that some HTML sitemaps might be good for visitors.
Ten years ago, Matt Cutts (who worked for Google at the time) said that HTML sitemaps come first.
Apparently, that’s no longer the case.
Google: Large Sites Shouldn’t Use the Google Crawl Rate Setting
As you probably know, you can use Google Search Console to adjust the crawl rate setting. That’s the “speed” at which Google crawls your site looking for content.
If you set it too high, Googlebot might drain your server’s resources and prevent real human visitors from viewing pages on your site.
If you set it too low, it will take Google longer to index your site.
So what should you do? According to John Mueller, probably nothing.
That’s especially the case if you have a large site. In that case, “setting maximum value is probably too small for your need.”
Much of this is news you can use, so here are your assignments for the week:
- Since desktop platforms offer more conversions, take a look at possibilities for ramping up your desktop-only marketing.
- Check your site carefully for mixed content. If you find any references to resources using the HTTP protocol, get rid of them or access them using HTTPS.
- If you’re running an e-commerce shop, add user-generated images to your reviews.
- Make sure your website is compliant with both GDPR and CCPA.
- If you have video content on your site, make sure you’re using schema markup to identify it.