This week: Google pays the big bucks to stay the dominant search engine, Facebook is in trouble with the feds, and yeah, your titles appear different in search.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Report: Google Paying Apple $15 Billion to Remain Default Search Engine
According to financial analysts, Google is paying Apple $15 billion to keep its default search engine status.
And that figure is believable. Just last year, Google paid Apple $10 billion to stay on as Safari’s default search option.
Looks like Google is getting hit by inflation just like the rest of us.
Apple is willing to fork over that much cash because it doesn’t want to get outbid by Microsoft.
Safari, by the way, holds 53% of the mobile search engine market share in the U.S. and 18% of the desktop market share.
Google Ads Includes Impression Share Data
This past week, Google announced that you can now include impression share data in custom columns.
Specifically, you have the option to use the following metrics in custom columns: search impression share, click impression share, and display impression share.
Previously, Google allowed you to add the average position metric in custom columns. But that feature got deprecated in 2019.
You can use the custom columns in the Keywords, Campaigns, Ad Groups, or Ads & Extensions pages.
New Research Shows How to Succeed With Local Search SEO
A new report by Milestone highlights how to win with Local Search SEO.
According to the study, organic was the top-performing channel, followed by local search and then referrals.
So the important takeaway here is to earn more referrals from sites like Yelp, Angi, and Home Advisor.
Milestone found that referrals amounted to almost 10% of traffic and resulted in higher engagement rates.
Here are some other keys to success:
- Complete and optimize your Google My Business (GMB) profile
- Ensure your business name and contact info is identical on all websites
- Use schema markup
- Ensure your website is mobile-friendly
- Optimize for voice search
- Use FAQs
- Include clear calls to action
- Use an event calendar
Google Confirms It: We Changed Titles in Search
I mentioned this last week, and Google confirmed it this week. The search giant admitted that it’s changing titles in search results.
And the company went on record to explain what’s going on with the recent update.
For starters, Google is not using search queries to generate titles.
Secondly, Google said that titles are still important. So don’t think you can avoid optimizing titles because Google is sometimes rewriting them for you.
Next, headers are more important than ever. Make sure you optimize those H1 and H2 elements.
Also, Google might still use anchor link text to make titles. But the company says that “other text contained in the page might be considered” as well.
Google Looks for Ways to Improve Search Titles
Google’s update on titles in search hasn’t sat well with every member of the SEO community. That’s because the company’s algorithm created some embarrassing titles.
And, in some cases, Google displays the title in all lower case even if the original title was in camel case.
Specifically, Google is making two big changes:
- It will ensure that search snippets show the most relevant info and useful titles
- It will provide a feedback mechanism so SEOs can complain about inaccurate titles
Google also pointed out that the exact text in title tags hasn’t been used as search titles for a very long time.
Yeah, I’ve collected some of those to pass on to the team as well. It’s hard for me to judge if those are due to this update, but it’s good feedback neverless. If you have examples that weren’t shared already, I’d love to have them!
— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) August 23, 2021
Google Says Its New Title Update Is Dynamic
More on Google’s new system for generating titles in search: the company says that it’s dynamic and responds to on-site changes.
In other words, you can affect how Google displays your web page titles by making changes.
That’s helpful if you don’t like what you see in search and you’re stuck waiting around for those updates I mentioned in the previous section.
If you update a title tag, Google will take the update into consideration when generating the new title for search results.
That doesn’t mean Google will display exactly that text in search, though. It will still depend on how well the title reflects the page contents.
Instagram Is Removing Swipe-Up Links for Stories
Instead, publishers have the option to include a Link sticker.
Some folks think that stickers will generate more engagements than swipe-ups because they’re visible. As it stands now, users have to respond to that “swipe up for more” message at the bottom of a Story. But many have probably tuned that out.
On the other side of the coin, old habits die hard. Many users have become accustomed to swiping up on Stories.
Instagram is killing Swipe up links on stories from Aug 30
They will be replaced by link stickers pic.twitter.com/4jYEeu0b3f
— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) August 23, 2021
TikTok Rolls out Shopify Shop Tab
This past week, TikTok announced that it’s expanding its relationship with Shopify. Soon, merchants will have the opportunity to promote their products on the TikTok platform.
Here’s how it works: Shopify merchant profiles will get a new shopping tab. Within that tab, merchants can showcase their products.
Effectively, it’s a virtual storefront that links to the Shopify checkout page.
TikTok users who shop with Shopify merchants will need to leave the app to complete the checkout process.
So it’s not as fully integrated as some other social media/e-commerce solutions. Yet.
Still, it’s a step in the right direction and great news for Shopify merchants.
Twitter Adds Revue Newsletter Subscriptions to User Profiles
Good news if you’re a Revue user on Twitter. The social site will soon add a button to your profile so followers can subscribe to your newsletter.
According to Revue: “Revue makes it free and easy for anyone to start and publish newsletters, so we want to make it just as easy to turn your Twitter followers into subscribers. The test group will be able to use the feature on Android and web, with iOS to follow soon.”
Twitter acquired Revue back in January and started testing the integration in June.
It’s here 🧡
Today, we’re starting to test a feature that allows people to subscribe to your Revue newsletter directly from your Twitter profile.
It’s available to all Revue creators immediately. To start though, your newsletters will show only for a test group on Twitter. pic.twitter.com/YDa1aOGeLM
— Revue (@revue) August 19, 2021
FTC Files New Antitrust Case Against Facebook
This past week, the FTC amended its antitrust case against Facebook, claiming anti-competitive behavior.
Specifically, the FTC alleges that Facebook resorted to “an illegal buy-or-bury scheme” to maintain its position in the social network hierarchy.
According to the allegation, Facebook bought “mobile innovators” Instagram and WhatsApp to avoid losing mobile market share to competitors.
Additionally, the FTC says that Facebook “lured app developers to its platform, surveilled them for signs of success, and then buried them when they became competitive threats. Lacking serious competition, Facebook has been able to hone a surveillance-based advertising model and impose ever-increasing burdens on its users.”
Facebook says the lawsuit is “meritless.”
A fairly slow news week but a few items should move you to action:
- Think about how you can reach people in your target market with newsletters using Revue and Twitter.
- If you’re a Shopify merchant, consider promoting your products on TikTok.
- Since Google’s update to titles in search is dynamic, take a look at how your titles appear and make updates where needed.
- If you’re optimizing for Local Search, be sure to study that report by Milestone so you can further increase market share.
- Think about how you can use impression share data in Google ads to take your online advertising to the next level.