This week: Google Search Console lets you analyze performance from the News tab, Hulu sends its self-serve ad platform into beta, and a new WordPress plugin can get you indexed immediately?
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Google Delays Mobile-First Rollout
Looks like mobile-first indexing is getting an 8-month delay.
It was initially set to roll out in September 2020. Now, it’s pushed back until March 2021.
Along with the delay announcement, Google said that some sites may need to address mobile-related image and video issues, such as:
- Different image URLs for mobile versions of sites
- Different video structured data between desktop and mobile versions
- Video and image placement on mobile versions
It’s possible that Google may have warned you already via Search Console if your site is experiencing any of the issues mentioned above. Still, it’s a good idea to do your own due diligence.
New Bing WordPress Plugin Indexes Content Immediately
Well this might come in handy.
A new WordPress launched by Bing promises to get your content indexed immediately.
The whole process happens behind the scenes. All you need to do is install and activate the plugin.
You’ll also need to provide the API key from the Bing Webmaster portal.
Up to 10,000 URLs can be submitted per day with the new tool. That should keep you busy.
Search Console Now Lets You Analyze Traffic From News Tab
If you’re running a news site, Google Search Console just rolled out an update that will make you happy.
Now you can check your search performance from Google News.
In the past, you could only check your performance from Google Web, Image, and Video searches.
All you have to do to view your performance in News search is click Performance on the left-hand menu bar. Then, select News in the “Search type” dropdown at the top.
You’ll see the standard, two-line graph that you’re accustomed to seeing from other search types. But it will only show you data from news searches.
Google Adding Images to Search Ads
Google is beta-testing a feature that will display images alongside ads in search results.
Google Ads Image Extensions let you choose your own photo to display next to your ad. Alternatively, you can let Google choose one for you based on machine learning.
According to Google, fashion retailer Hugo Boss saw a 2.5x improvement in ROI and a 5% increase in click-through rates after using images with ads.
Unfortunately, the new feature is only available to select advertisers at this time. You’ll see a notice in your account when you can start using Image Extensions.
Hulu Moves Self-Serve Ad Platform Into Beta
Hulu just beta-launched a self-serve ad platform. It’s designed for small-to-medium sized businesses.
In fact, you can get started with a budget as low as $500. Assuming you’re one of the whitelisted brands, of course.
If you opt to advertise on Hulu, that means you can market your products or services to people who watch some of the most popular TV shows ever produced.
You can pick a date range, target your audience, and even specify a geographical area where you want your ads to run.
Unsurprisingly, your ad creative must be a video. It can last anywhere between 15-30 seconds.
Google: Search Isn’t a Science
Too many SEOs look at search as an exact science. They think that they can land a top spot in the SERPs by just following a few simple (or not-so-simple) steps.
In a recent Search Off the Record podcast, Google’s John Mueller challenged strategists who think of SEO as a recipe that they can duplicate over and over again.
“I think that’s really important to keep in mind in the sense that there is no absolute truth out there with regards to which page should be ranking for which query,” he said.
He went on to say that you don’t have to “follow just one ranking factor to get the end result.”
Mueller also said that the best thing SEOs can do is to optimize for a variety of factors. But even that’s not a guarantee of a top spot.
Instagram Will Roll out a TikTok Competitor Next Month: Instagram Reels
Instagram Reels, a competitor to TikTok, will launch in the U.S. next month.
The new app will share many of the same features as TikTok, including:
- 15-second videos
- A catalog of licensed music that can accompany videos
- The ability to use audio from other videos
- A “Featured Reels” section that includes popular videos
Unlike TikTok, though, Instagram Reels isn’t a standalone app. It’s part of Instagram and fully integrated into the app as you know it.
Instagram Reels has already launched in Brazil, France, and Germany.
It also launched in India right after that country banned TikTok for its ties to the Chinese government.
Once the update rolls out to the U.S, there will be an Instagram Reels icon added to the bottom of the main screen.
To use Instagram Reels, users can go to their Stories screen and create and edit their Reels — it can then be published as part of the Story feed or posted to the user’s profile.
Google Offers Upgraded GMB Profile for $50/Month
How would you like to add a little prestige to your Google My Business profile? You can do that for a cool $50 per month.
That money will buy you Google Guaranteed certification. Online shoppers will see a badge on your profile.
The badge might also appear in the Local Pack.
You’ll also have to go through a background check to qualify. Google doesn’t want to give its certification to just anybody who pays a monthly fee.
Microsoft Advertising Offers Free Stock Images
This past week, Microsoft announced that qualified people who use the company’s advertising platform can now include Shutterstock images in their ad campaigns. For free.
The Shutterstock library access if rolling out to Microsoft Advertising accounts in the U.S. and UK. Advertisers who participate in the Microsoft Audience Network beta are eligible to use the images.
Eventually, the stock photos will be available for image extensions.
If you choose to use a Shutterstock image, you’ll still need to follow Microsoft’s image policy.
Google Will Fix a Problem WIth Its Local Business Algorithm
Plenty of SEOs complained that Google’s local search ranking algo gives too much weight to business names. Google heard their concerns and will fix the problem.
This past week on Twitter, Danny Sullivan responded to a Local SEO who voiced that complaint. Here’s what Sullivan tweeted: “I know the team really is working to better deal with this type of stuff. I also know that as that’s been heard before. But I do expect improvements should be noticeable in the near future.”
Stay tuned for further news on this issue.
Google: Don’t Worry About Duplicate Content With Site Migrations
If you’re moving a site, you won’t need to worry about duplicate content during the transitional phase. That’s according to Google’s John Mueller.
This past week on Twitter, someone pinged Mueller with the following concern: “I’m retiring a site but re-using some content. I don’t want it to be considered duplicate content. If no pages of the site display when I search ‘site:http://0ldwebsite.com’ does that mean it’s not in the index, and I can safely use the content?”
Mueller replied as follows: “There’s no need to worry about duplicate content if you’re migrating it from one site to another.”
Google Rolls out New Shopping and Review Platform
Meet Shoploop. It’s Google’s latest venture that will hopefully prove more successful than Google+.
Shoploop gives users the ability to highlight and review products with short-form videos. Viewers can visit merchant sites directly from videos they like. Alternatively, they can “save” products so they can check them out later.
You can think of Shoploop as a blend of Google Shopping, Twitter, and TikTok.
However, Shoploop stands apart from other platforms in one very important way: it’s not an app.
You can access Shoploop by visiting shoplopp.app on your mobile browser. That’s the only way you can use it.
It’s a risky play by Google. We’ll see if it pays off.
Here are some assignments based on this week’s news:
- If you’re in the ecommerce space, take a look at Shoploop and see if you can benefit from promoting your products on that platform.
- If you qualify for the free Shutterstock images on Microsoft Advertising, look for images that you think can promote your brand better than the images you’re currently using.
- Decide if it’s worth it to spend the $50 a month to get the upgraded GMB profile. You might find that your click-through rate gets a lift with that badge next to your business name.
- Get ready for Instagram Reels. You’ll probably find some great advertising opportunities there.
- Speaking of advertising, see if you can get into the Hulu self-serve ad platform beta. You might reach some new people in your target market.
- Start brainstorming up ideas now about how you can use images in search ads.
- If you’re running a news site, check out your performance from News search in Google Search Console.
- Install the new plugin that gets your content indexed immediately on Bing. See if it lives up to the hype.