This week: Google pushes back against zero-click claims, Facebook predicts challenges for advertisers, and WordPress is plagued with a couple of new problems.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Instagram Will Soon Let Users Save Stories as Drafts
Need to put your Instagram Story on “hold” for a little while? Want to save a working copy before you publish it?
If so, you’re in luck. Instagram will soon let you save drafts of Stories.
The ability to save a Story as a draft will also allow you to create the Story immediately and then publish it at a later time.
And, of course, you can always decide not to publish a draft if you have second thoughts.
Instagram will roll out the new feature in the not-too-distant future.
Google Shares SEO Best-Practices for Ecommerce Sites
This past week, during a Lightning Talks video, Google shared SEO best-practices for ecommerce sites.
Here are the three key takeaways, in no particular order:
- Use structured data – That’s how you’ll make sure that Google learns about all product details.
- Provide product info through Merchant Center – Make sure you keep your feed updated.
- Content marketing – Update product detail pages with keyword-rich info.
Google also says it’s also a great idea to make your product images and descriptions appealing to customers.
Google Disputes Zero-Click Claims
This was the controversy of the week, in case you missed it.
A recent article by SparkToro said that only 35% of search results get a click. That news understandably disappointed a lot of digital marketers.
For example, SparkToro said that fewer clicks are going to websites. But Google claims that its search engine has increased visits to websites every year.
However, not everybody is buying Google’s rebuttal.
Web marketing consultant Ammon Johns, for example, had this to say: “Nothing in the piece in any way denies or counters the valid observation that despite overall search traffic increasing, including outward, Google has continually worked tirelessly on capturing and owning an ever-larger share of it, and actively worked on multiple measures to have an ever-increasing proportion of searches never leave Google or a Google-owned property.”
However, some experts have criticized SparkToro’s research in the past.
A 2019 study claiming that less than 50% of searches resulted in a click got blasted by statistician Jennifer Hood. She claimed the study suffered from Availability Bias (the belief that something represents reality in general when in fact the phenomenon is limited in scope).
Some folks think the same bias might afflict the most recent SparkToro report.
Free New SEO Tool Provides Insights From 60M Queries
Did I have you at “free”?
A new tool by Local SEO Guide offers insights on 10 types of Google search features, including knowledge panels, local packs, ads, job postings, and more.
And yes, the headline is accurate. The tool gleans those insights by analyzing 60 million queries.
In other words: it’s got the data to back up its claims.
That info, by the way, is provided by Traject Data, a client of Local SEO Guide.
The analytics date back to May 2020. So you can already spot trend patterns.
Facebook Adds More Ways to Make Money With Videos
Good news if you’re into earning money from video productions. Facebook is giving you new ways to do just that.
For starters, Facebook will expand ad eligibility.
If you want to run in-stream ads, you’ll need to show 600,000 total minutes viewed in the past 60 days. You’re also required to have five or more active video uploads.
But Facebook now looks at short videos when determining eligibility. Previously, Facebook only considered videos of three minutes in length or more.
In addition to the eligibility expansion, you can run ads on videos as short as one minute. In the past, Facebook only let your run ads on videos that lasted at least three minutes.
But videos still need to last at least three minutes for mid-roll ads.
Finally, Facebook will also allow viewers to make contributions in the form of “Stars” during a live stream. You’ll earn a share of revenue based on how many stars you receive.
WordPress Gutenberg Is Causing Fatal Errors
WordPress publishers say that the most recent version of Gutenberg (10.2) causes fatal errors because of an incompatibility issue.
If you’re unfamiliar with it, Gutenberg is the WordPress WYSIWYG editor. It allows you to create web pages and posts using “blocks” that give you not only the content but also the layout you’re looking for.
It looks like the problem is that the latest version of Gutenberg is incompatible with older versions of WordPress.
There doesn’t appear to be a fix for the problem as of yet. If you’re seeing it, you might want to upgrade to WordPress v5.7 or later.
WordPress Plugin Vulnerability Hits 7 Million Publishers
If you’re unfamiliar with Elementor, it’s a plugin that enables you to create beautiful layouts suitable for just about any home page.
But apparently, that convenience comes with a very steep price. According to Wordfence, Elementor is plagued with cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability.
That means hackers can upload a script that gets executed by anybody who visits the page. And that script can steal people’s passwords.
But here’s something that is good: if you have Elementor, you just need to upgrade to the latest version (3.1.4 or later) and you’ll eliminate the threat.
Google: Don’t Use a 502 Status Code When You Should Use a 503
Recently, Google’s John Mueller said that you should serve an HTTP status code of 503 (Service Unavailable) when your website goes offline.
In response to that, somebody asked Mueller about the possibility of serving a 502 (Bad Gateway) instead.
Mueller said no.
“502 is not the same as a 503 — I’d recommend using the proper result code,” he said. “These durations aren’t documented in absolute terms since they can change & vary.”
So stick with 503.
Google: Ignore Bounce Rate for SEO Purposes
A high Bounce Rate isn’t a negative ranking signal. At least according to John Mueller.
If you’re unfamiliar with it, Bounce Rate is the percentage of people who visit a single page on your site and then take off before visiting any other pages.
This past week on Reddit, somebody asked Mueller if a click to a subdomain counts as an exit towards a Bounce Rate.
“Google doesn’t use that for SEO, so if you’re focused on SEO, you can ignore that,” Mueller replied.
Google Testing ‘Not Helpful’ Buttons on Local Reviews
Looks like Google is borrowing a page from Amazon’s playbook.
The Big G is now testing a “Not Helpful” button in local reviews.
A “Helpful” button has existed for five years. But apparently, that isn’t good enough.
Keep an eye on this one. I think that “Not Helpful” reviews might have less of an impact on SEO than “Helpful” reviews.
That’s a two-edged sword, though. “Not Helpful” positive reviews could lower your rank while “Not Helpful” negative reviews might give it a boost.
Facebook Will Conduct Another Webinar About the Impact of iOS 14
Facebook wants its advertisers to know that there will be ramifications when Apple rolls out iOS 14 later this year. And it’s holding a webinar on April 7 to explain what’s going on.
The company already held a similar webinar back in January.
In case you missed the news: the upcoming version of iOS will include an IDFA update.
The IDFA (ID For Advertisers) is a unique identifier that marketers use for ad targeting purposes. They also use it to measure the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns.
As it stands now, iPhone users have to manually opt-out if they don’t want to share their IDFA with apps. But the new version of iOS will ask them if they want to share their IDFA.
In other words, users won’t have to go out of their way to demand privacy.
With that change, it’s estimated that the number of users who share their IDFA will drop by 10-15%.
And now you see the problem as described by Facebook. The company’s advertisers will have less data for targeting and tracking purposes.
That will make it at least a little more difficult to optimize ad campaigns.
Feel free to attend that webinar if you’d like more details about the upcoming change.
Report: Facebook Is Working on a Children’s Version of Instagram
According to a new report, Facebook is developing a version of Instagram for people under the age of 13.
As of now, Facebook blocks people in that age group from signing on to Instagram.
The company sees the new Instagram as a move towards safety. If Facebook can give kids their own version of the social media platform, that means they’ll be less likely to expose themselves to risk on the “adult” version.
But the company admits it doesn’t have a clear strategy in place yet. So this is definitely a work-in-progress.
Spring is here. Get busy.
- Consider attending the upcoming Facebook webinar if you want to learn more about how the iOS 14 update will impact your social media marketing.
- If you’re using Elementor, make sure you upgrade to the latest version so you can eliminate that XSS threat from your website.
- If you’re into video marketing on social media, take a look at the new ways you can monetize your content on Facebook.
- Check out that new tool by Local SEO Guide. It’s free and it might give you some insights you aren’t getting from your current toolset.
- If you’re running an online shop, follow Google’s SEO best-practices for ecommerce sites.