This week: Google has a new toy, YouTube has more Clips channels, and Shopify users have more exposure.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Google’s Page Experience Update Will Apply to Desktop Search, Too
That page experience update that many SEOs dread won’t just apply to mobile search. It will apply to desktop as well.
Google let that cat out of the bag during a Google I/O presentation this past Tuesday.
If you’re unfamiliar with the page experience update, it’s Google’s effort to include user experience as a ranking signal.
The faster a page loads, for example, the more likely it will get a great rank in search.
For a while, strategists thought that the update (coming soon, by the way) would only apply to mobile search.
But that’s not the case.
Google Expands Shopify Partnership
Are you a Shopify user? If so, then you’ll love this news.
This past week, Google announced an expanded partnership with Shopify. As a result, merchants can more easily get their products listed in search results.
According to the statement, retailers can get their products on Google “with just a few clicks.”
And remember: Google now offers free shopping listings. It’s no longer necessary to pay an advertiser’s fee.
Since making that move, the Big G says it’s seen a 70% increase in the size of its product catalog as well as an 80% increase in participating merchants.
Additionally, Google will now allow users to look up products based solely on screenshots.
Yes. That’s pretty cool.
If you’re running an e-tail site, make sure that your product images are optimized for Google Lens.
Google Has a New Tool to Handle Complex Search Queries
Not all search queries involve just a couple of words. Some of them can get quite complex.
That’s why Google developed the Multitask Unified Model (MUM). It’s designed to help users get things done with fewer searches.
Google says that, on average, it takes people eight searches to handle complex queries.
With MUM, if somebody searches for something like “I’ve hiked Mt. Adams and now want to hike Mt. Fuji next fall, what should I do differently to prepare?”, Google will provide a more immediate answer.
“Today’s search engines aren’t quite sophisticated enough to answer the way an expert would,” Google said in a statement. “But with a new technology called Multitask Unified Model, or MUM, we’re getting closer to helping you with these types of complex needs. So in the future, you’ll need fewer searches to get things done.”
Google already began testing MUM, but it’s not live yet. And it’s got no release date.
I’d be surprised if it goes live before next year.
YouTube Rolls out Clips to More Channels
YouTube is releasing Clips to ten times more channels.
If you’re unfamiliar with Clips, it’s a way for users to grab snippets from existing videos and repurpose them.
When a channel has Clips enabled, a viewer can grab a snippet from a brief block of time and share it with others.
The whole concept of clipping is popular on other platforms (like Twitch). It enables users to create little “trailers” or teasers about the content in much longer videos.
YouTube Clips can only run between 5 and 60 seconds in length.
Originally, Clips was only available for live streams.
Google Analytics Will Track Data Without Cookies
Even though we’re entering a new Age of Privacy, there’s still hope for digital marketers who want to follow the sales journeys their customers take.
This past week, Google announced new privacy-safe tracking methods that use first-party data and machine learning.
Google will offer insights gleaned from its new software in Google Analytics. You can use that reporting to get more info about the customer journey.
According to the report, Google’s machine learning strategy will fill in the gaps left by the absence of third-party cookies.
You can also get first-party data with Google Consent Mode.
But even when users don’t consent, Google will use conversion modeling to deliver analytics. The company says it can recover more than 70% of ad-to-click conversion journeys that way.
New WordPress Update Patches a Critical Vulnerability
The latest release of WordPress (5.7.2) fixes a security threat rated “critical” by the National Vulnerability Database.
If you’re running a WordPress website and opted into automatic updates, you should get the patch without taking any action.
But it’s a good idea to check just to be sure.
If you opted out of automatic updates, consult with your data security team about the necessity of getting the latest and greatest version.
The threat that the new patch eliminates is called an Object Injection Vulnerability. It affects PHPMailer.
According to OWASP, “PHP Object Injection is an application-level vulnerability that could allow an attacker to perform different kinds of malicious attacks, such as Code Injection, SQL Injection, Path Traversal and Application Denial of Service, depending on the context.”
So, yeah, you might want to deal with that.
Google PBNs Are Obvious
If you think you can get a great rank for your website by investing in backlinks via private blog networks (PBNs), think again.
Google’s John Mueller says they’re “pretty obvious” to detect.
The question came up this past week on Twitter. Somebody asked Mueller this question: “If Pbn is leaked, will Google penalize that site or eliminate the effect of links?”
Mueller eventually responded with this: “Usually nobody has to leak a PBN, they’re pretty obvious to the appropriate tools & basic scripts.”
He went on to say: “There’s nothing unique about PBNs, they’re just link schemes like others have been for many years. We respond to link schemes in a variety of algorithmic and manual ways. We have a lot of practice, and much of it is fully automated.”
If you’re unfamiliar with PBNs, they’re a collection of pretend blogs that black-hatters use solely for the purpose of delivering backlinks to money-making websites.
There’s nothing unique about PBNs, they’re just link schemes like others have been for many years. We respond to link schemes in a variety of algorithmic and manual ways. We have a lot of practice, and much of it is fully automated.
— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) May 14, 2021
Instagram Tests Uploading From Desktop
In a related story: yes, there actually is a desktop version of Instagram.
As it stands today, there’s no upload version from Instagram desktop. So this will be a welcome change for many social media marketers.
It looks like the new upload feature will include all the same options you see with mobile uploads, such as image formatting and filters.
However, the new upload option is limited to feed posts only. No Stories or Reels.
— Alessandro Paluzzi (@alex193a) May 14, 2021
Facebook Rolls out Live-Stream Shopping Events
Ready for a QVC clone on Facebook?
Facebook is releasing “Live Shopping Fridays.” It’s a series that hosts live-streamed retailers who will engage with their audiences in real time.
Here’s what Facebook has to say about the new program: “Starting this week and every Friday through July 16, enjoy shoppable live videos from beauty and fashion brands. For shoppers, this means you can discover the latest products from your favorite brands and ask questions about size, fit and tips in real time. And for brands, Live Shopping offers a chance to build relationships with customers, provide new entertaining content, answer questions and streamline the purchase process through convenient checkout with Shops.”
Big-name brands like Abercrombie & Fitch, Sephora, and Clinique will all have experts on-hand to highlight product offerings and answer questions.
YouTube Unveils Plans to Make Uploading Easier
If you’re into video marketing, YouTube is trying to make your life easier.
The company is working on a few new features that will streamline the publication process. Among them:
- Additions to Upload Defaults – Instead of only using a single upload template, soon you’ll have the opportunity to select from multiple templates. That will save time so you don’t have to make the same selections or enter the same text over and over again.
- Upload from Drive – YouTube will give you the option to upload from Google Drive. You won’t have to worry about using up precious hard drive space on-premises.
- Pre-Publish Checks on Mobile – YouTube will run your video through pre-publish checks when you upload it via a mobile device. As of now, those checks are only available with desktop uploads.
YouTube didn’t announce a timeline for any of the new features.
RELATED: Video Marketing: A Complete Guide
Before you head to the beach, take care of these action items:
- If you’re using PBNs to boost rank, don’t bother. Look for another way to reach the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs).
- If you’re running a WordPress website, talk to your security team about getting the latest version to fix that vulnerability.
- Think about how you can use YouTube Clips to promote your brand.
- If you’re on Shopify, take advantage of the platform’s enhanced partnership with Google to boost the visibility of your products.
- Check your website’s Core Web Vitals scores on PageSpeed Insights. Those scores will soon become ranking signals.