This week: Instagram adds auto captions for IGTV, YouTube rolled out its own version of TikTok, and Google adds new attributes to GMB listings.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Google Ads Combines Audience Options
This past week, Google Ads consolidated Custom Intent and Custom Affinity into Custom Audiences.
The new audience option is available for Display, Discovery, Gmail, and YouTube campaigns.
You set them up at the Audiences section. They’re available at either the campaign or ad group level.
Additionally, you can create a Custom Audience in Audience Manager. That’s under the Shared Library in Tools.
Google says it’s also working on new ways to increase transparency in advertising.
Google Now Supports Regional Video Structured Data
Ever hear of the structured data property called “regionsAllowed”?
If not, it’s the property that developers associate with embedded video. The regionsAllowed property tells search engines which regions the video is available in.
In some cases, and for legal reasons, you might want to only show your videos in specific countries. If that’s the case, then you should use the property with VideoObject markup.
Previously, Google didn’t recognize the regionsAllowed property. Now it does.
Going forward, Google’s search algorithm might not display a video outside of its permitted regions. And it will determine what the permitted regions are using that property.
The markup affects results in organic search, video search, image search, and Google Discover.
Google: Don’t Expect the Same Rankings After Recovering From a Manual Action
If your site got penalized because you were naughty, and you appealed to Google to make things right after you decided to follow the rules, don’t expect your ranking to return to where it was. That’s according to Google’s John Mueller.
“[I]f you clean up a manual action, that essentially means in the past your website was ranking in an artificial situation,” he said during a Google Webmaster hangout. “The manual action kind of took care of that. And if you clean it up so that the manual action is no longer necessary, then your website is ranking in a different situation.”
That makes sense, of course. If you were cheating to get a great rank, you shouldn’t expect the same results when you’re no longer cheating.
Google: You Don’t Need Keywords in a Domain Name
If you’re starting a new website, don’t stress over including keywords in the domain name.
According to John Mueller, stuffing keywords in the domain name won’t give you any ranking benefit.
He also advised digital marketers to conduct a quick experiment to prove his point.
“Anecdotally you can see that by searching naturally for anything that interests you,” Mueller said. “I’d venture a guess that the top results don’t have those keywords as a domain ending. Often it’s not even in the URL at all. That’s by design.”
YouTube Created Its Own Version of TikTok
This seems a bit overdue.
YouTube recently rolled out YouTube Shorts. It’s a short form video feature.
Clearly, it’s a shot at TikTok’s market share.
Also, it includes a lot of the tools you’re seen on TikTok, including timers, countdowns, speed control, and a music library.
YouTube Shorts videos can last 15 seconds or less.
Keep in mind, though: right now, the new feature is only available in India. That’s probably because India recently banned TikTok so there’s a market for a short form video app.
Look for YouTube Shorts in the U.S. sometime soon.
Google Adds Health and Safety Options to GMB Listings
In the midst of this awful pandemic, it’s a good idea to let your customers know what you’re doing to keep them safe. Google My Business (GMB) now lets you more easily communicate that info.
Here are the new health and safety attributes you can add to your business listing:
- Appointment required
- Mask required
- Staff wear masks
- Staff get temperature checks
- Temperature check required
Google already allowed GMB users to add other attributes for local business, such as:
- Curbside pickup
- No-contact delivery
- Online care
- Online appointment
- Online estimates
- Online classes
The new attributes are already starting to show up for GMB users on both desktop and mobile platforms.
Bing Rolls out URL Inspection Tool
How’d you like to get some quick SEO insights about your web page? If so, then head over to the Bing URL inspection tool.
The new tool offers info about:
- Crawling issues
- Indexing status
- SEO errors
- Structured markup
It’s yet another free utility offered to digital marketers by Bing. Some day, you might be able to cancel your subscription to SEMRush or Ahrefs.
Google Boosts Visibility of Nearby Products
Thanks to the sharp increase in BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick Up In Store), Google is making some changes to online shopping.
For starters, Google will more prominently display the “nearby” filter under the Shopping tab. That will make it easier to find products sold locally.
Google is also rolling out a local stores card. It shows a map at the top with local merchants below and info about curbside pickup or delivery.
The info on the card is derived from the GMB attributes that I mentioned earlier.
Google Coverage Report Fixed?
As you may have heard, the Google Search Console coverage report didn’t behave correctly for the first half of the month. It didn’t show all indexed pages.
Google, just this past week, fessed up to the error. The company issued the usual line that it was working to get the problem resolved as quickly as possible.
Well, it looks like “as quickly as possible” has arrived.
According to Barry Schwartz, the problem is now fixed.
Keep in mind: there’s no word yet from Google on this resolution. So engineers might still be working out a few kinks in the system.
Instagram Adds Captions for IGTV
Auto captions on IGTV? Yep, they’re here.
Now, when you upload a video to IGTV, you can toggle an “Auto-Generated Captions” switch that lives up to its name.
Facebook, the company that owns Instagram, issued this statement about the change: “While there is no shortage of information, not everyone can access it. It needs to be available to hundreds of millions of people in the world who are deaf or hard of hearing.”
The statement goes on to say that 466 million people in the world are hard of hearing. Those folks should have the opportunity to enjoy social media videos as well.
Facebook rolled out auto-captions for its own platform back in 2017.
Twitter Rolls out ‘Holiday Hub’ for Marketers
Are you ready for the holiday season? If not, Twitter wants to help you get ready.
The company recently launched a “Holiday Hub” mini-site. It’s packed with guides and resources to prepare you for the 2020 Holidays.
It’s also got a holiday calendar, just in case you forgot about some of those other important dates like Veterans Day and All Saints’ Day.
The site also includes case studies that you can use for inspiration in your own marketing efforts.
Here are some action items you can pick up after reading this week’s news:
- Visit Twitter’s Holiday Hub. Check out a few of the resources you see there. Bookmark the site and visit it from time to time.
- Make sure you take advantage of auto captions for IGTV productions so you can reach people who are hard of hearing.
- Take a look at Bing’s URL inspection tool. See if it’s analysis is strong enough that you can cancel services you’re paying for.
- If you’re running a local business, make sure you take advantage of the new GMB health and safety attributes.
- If you’re publishing region-specific videos, make sure you use the schema.org markup that Google now supports.
- Take a look at the new Custom Audience feature in Google Ads. Determine how you can use one or more Custom Audiences to reach people in your target market.