This week: Google is still penalizing sites that break the rules, Instagram wants to show us more ads, and we’re once again reminded that web traffic isn’t a ranking factor.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Instagram Is Testing Increased Ad Loads in Stories
This past week, Instagram confirmed it’s showing more ads in Stories.
“We’re always testing new ad experiences on Instagram and want to learn how people and advertisers respond to this small test,” said a spokesperson from Facebook, Instagram’s parent company.
Specifically, the new ads run back-to-back. You might have noticed something similar on YouTube recently.
As of now, the increased ad loads are still in a testing phase. Apparently, Instagram wants to see how much people complain before deciding to show more commercials full-time.
Report: Google Smart Speaker Shipments Dropped in Q2
Although the global smart speaker market grew by more than 50% in the second quarter of 2019, shipments of Google smart speakers dropped by almost 20%.
According to a new report by Canalys, Baidu saw the strongest growth in the smart speaker market. It surpassed Google and captured second place in terms of the number of units shipped.
Amazon, unsurprisingly, maintained its lead in the market with about a quarter of all shipments in Q2.
Yelp Rolls out Personalized Search Results
Yelp is rolling out a new feature that allows users to personalize search results according to lifestyle, diet, and accessibility.
Here’s how it works: users configure their profiles to specify preferences. Then, Yelp will only show search results that match those personalization options.
Search results will also label business listings to highlight which preferences matched.
In the past, Yelp only allowed users to personalize results according to where they were located.
The new feature rolled out to iOS users this past week. It will roll out to Android users later in the year.
Twitter Says Tweets With Video Content Get 10x More Engagements
Looking for a way to increase engagements on Twitter? Consider posting video content.
According to Twitter, adding video to a tweet can attract as much as ten times the number of engagements you’d receive with just text.
And it doesn’t have to be a professional video, either. According to Twitter, video content captured on a smartphone works just as well.
Twitter also says that tweets with a GIF generate 55% more engagements than tweets without a GIF.
LinkedIn Rolls out a Page Dedicated to Marketing Insights
This past week, LinkedIn introduced a central hub that’s designed to help marketers make informed decisions about their social media marketing.
The Insights and Research page is divided into three sections:
- People Insights – Learn about audience interests and demographics
- Industry Insights – Identify trends, review studies, and gather updated research from LinkedIn
- Advertising Insights – Maximize your return on LinkedIn ad spend with performance measurements and branding suggestions
The new page is part of LinkedIn’s Success Hub for Marketers.
Study: Blog Structure May Hurt Search Rank
According to a new study by Perficient Digital, more than two-thirds of all blogs use a site structure that could adversely impact their search rank.
Specifically, the research found that the blogs have an average link depth that’s greater than five from the home page. In other words, visitors who land on the home page need to click more than five links to get to an article or blog post.
Content that far away from the home page isn’t likely to rank well.
The study also found that almost a third (31.5%) of websites analyzed required 21 clicks or more to get to content from their home pages.
Perficient Digital recommends that webmasters build a content hub rather than a blog to limit the link depth.
Google Ads Allows Users to Create Filters on the Overview Page
In response to user feedback, Google is rolling out filters on the Google Ads overview page.
The overview page is basically the Google Ads “home” page.
Here are the filters you can apply:
- Campaign type
- Campaign status
- Ad group
- Ad group status
The feature is available now on all Google Ads accounts.
Google AdSense Is Cracking Down on Invalid Clicks
This past week, Google AdSense announced that it will proactively prevent ad impressions before invalid clicks occur.
Google says the move won’t affect most webmasters.
Publishers who are penalized will receive a notification and have the opportunity to fix the problem.
Google also advises publishers to limit the number of accidental clicks by placing ads where they’re not likely to get clicked on by mistake.
Google: Web Traffic Isn’t a Ranking Factor
We’ve heard this before but some SEOs still doubt it.
According to the Google Webmasters official Twitter account, web traffic isn’t a ranking factor.
The tweet was posted in response to someone asking if referral traffic can be considered a ranking factor.
“No, traffic to a website isn’t a ranking factor,” Google Webmasters replied. “If you’re starting to get relevant traffic and users love your site, that’s a good start, though!”
Google Is Still Penalizing Sites
Some SEOs are under the impression that Google is no longer penalizing sites. That’s not true.
During a recent search algorithm update, Google changed the way it handled link spam. Now, the algorithm ignores bad links so they don’t pass any page rank to the target site.
That’s led some people in the industry to believe that the days of penalties and manual actions are in the past. Unfortunately, one SEO learned the hard way this past week that that’s not the case.
Dan Petrovic from Dejan SEO said that one of his sites got slapped with a manual action. He wasn’t even sure about the cause.
Petrovic admitted that he did “experiment a lot in the past.” Maybe it was one of those experiments, from years ago, that triggered the penalty.
So a word to the wise: be careful about unnatural link-building. If Google finds out you’re doing it, you could lose your search presence.
Google: XML Sitemaps Are the Second-Most Important Source of URL Discovery
Want to make sure that your pages get indexed? If so, make sure your sitemaps are up to speed.
According to Google’s Gary Ilyes, it’s “still true” that XML sitemaps are the second most important source for URL discovery. He admitted that on Twitter this past week.
He also said that five years ago at SMX London. So apparently that hasn’t changed.
It’s not likely to change in the near future, either.