The marketing world is constantly changing, and it can be hard to keep track of everything that happens. To combat this, as an SEO agency, our marketing team regularly gets together for a meeting we like to call Knowledge Share. Below you’ll find a summary of everything we discussed this week, along with a link to the original articles so you can have more of an in-depth look.
Google's Disavow Tool Doesn’t Work With Search Console Domain Properties
As some of you may know, Google has been slowly moving everyone from the old Google Search Console to the new, sleeker version. It undoubtedly looks a lot better and more modern, but it has often been criticised for lacking some features that the old Search Console had. In this case, it’s the Disavow Tool. For those that may not know what this tool does, it is essentially a way of giving Google a list of websites that you have backlinks on, but don’t want those links to be associated with your website (because they’re spam sites etc). There are some who value disavowing links quite highly(and indeed there are some websites that deserve to be disavowed), but there are others(including Googles John Mueller) who think that disavowing might be unnecessary because Google should be able to tell a bad site from a good site. Mueller is in favour of the tool being removed because it creates unnecessary work.
Ultimately, it’s what works that counts, and until we can be 100% sure that Google is dealing with bad links properly, it can be reassuring to upload the occasional disavow file
9 Massive Changes Coming to Google Ads #GoogleMarketingLive 2019
Ok so the headline is a bit 'click-baity', but the changes are interesting and it’s worth reading the article. Here’s the tl;dr:
- Feed-based advertising getting discovery ads – similar to the Facebook ad carousels, includes creative visuals in your Google Feed
- Immersive creative comes to the search network with Gallery Ads – similar to feed based ads above, these will appear at the top of the search results page.
- Big improvements to smart bidding – Machine Learning is evolving at an ever-increasing rate, for Google this means that you can set your campaigns to work based on a specified goal and it will work out the best way to spend your money. Don’t sit back and relax just yet though, Smart Bidding isn’t a particularly effective way to spend your budget and is very much a work in progress.
- YouTube bumper ads for everyone – 3 x 6-second bumper ads are more effective than one 30 second ad according to the data. Trouble is, it’s difficult to condense your message effectively into 6 seconds. If only Vine was still around.
- Custom affinity + custom intent = custom audiences – Google is taking another leaf out of Facebooks…book. Essentially Google now knows who you are, what you like, what you’ve demonstrated a commercial interest in, and something that Facebook doesn’t have; your search data.
- Reach more prospects with the audience expansion tool – yet another Googleised Facebook feature. Is your Custom Audience performing well? Use this tool to find similar people.
- Google Shopping becomes more … shoppable – like the old Google Shopping, but now actually a shop! You can make a purchase in Google shopping rather than clicking through to the retailer, although that Is still an option should you wish to.
- Shopping showcase ads in new places – you know Google showcase ads? They’re going to be in more places.
- Local campaigns available for everyone – customers research on their phones before buying from a physical store. You can now promote your brick and mortar store and increase your foot traffic.
Microsoft goes open source with one of its Bing algorithms
Microsoft has been making moves towards a more open platform in recent times. Working with Steam and Nintendo with it’s Xbox gaming platform as well as embracing open-source with its Azure cloud hosting platform. It’s a big change from the Microsoft of old that used to be very secretive and proprietary. This attitude, combined with Googles secretiveness and the embrace of alternative browsers and search engines like Duck Duck Go, could see Microsoft's and Bing's stock continue to grow.
Going open-source is a great thing to do for many reasons, including the fact that enables people to create other technologies using your open-sourced material. Like this guy on Reddit.
Google is Adding Favicons to All Search Results
In a move more divisive than the Game of Thrones finale, Google has added Favicons to the search results. Ok, maybe not that divisive but it’s the biggest visual change for some time. Some people really like the way it’s been implemented, others think it’s just another way for Google to make paid search results blend with organic. Either way, it’s certainly generated some buzz.
Why Boots is getting a makeover: ‘Brand love alone is not enough’
“Out of 50 high street retailers, it is third behind only Marks & Spencer and John Lewis…”. That’s not a bad stat at all, and it speaks volumes about Boots as a brand. Being around for 170 years and ranking 3rd in YouGov's BrandIndex, you’d think that Boots hardly needed a makeover, but like most things, there’s a fine line to walk. ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ is a great adage, but runs the risk of being left behind or relying too heavily on the past or present, rather than looking to the future. Boots has only just digitised it’s loyalty/reward card, something it arguably should have done a long time ago. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been around, if you don’t move with the times, you’re in danger of being left in the past.
April 2019 Google Outages Due to Human Error
Everyone makes mistakes but most people don’t accidentally delete the entire internet. Ok so that’s a little bit hyperbolic, but only a little bit. Sort of. Like most things. The rumours and the truth are distant cousins when news first breaks. Google Developers Break Internet becomes Google Developers Breaks Google Index becomes Google Developers Temporarily Pause Live Index Updating Due to Server Update Processing Issue. It’s still a big deal and shows how fragile the internet is. The thing that more and more people rely on every day for communication and commerce can be ground to a halt by someone who hasn’t had enough coffee. Or too much coffee.
Cars.com vs. CarGurus.com saga shows the importance of SEO (and the bad side of a Google update)
Saving the best for last. This article really highlights the importance and benefits of good, solid SEO work. It’s well worth reading but the tl;dr is:
Company A is doing better than Company B. Google releases an algorithm update and Company A tanks, while Company B benefits. It turns out Company A had been gaming the system, using lots of admittedly clever but altogether unwholesome SEO practices. Whereas Company B had been doing very well anyway, doing everything properly, and then when the algorithm update dropped they were given a boost, as well as seeing their rival punished. Company A insists everything is fine and nothing has changed but has increased their Paid Search budget substantially to make up for the hit in traffic and rankings.
It just goes to show that good SEO practices are what’s important. You can lie and cheat your way to the top but you will be found out eventually, dethroned, and made to walk through the streets to the baying crowd; “SHAME. SHAME. SHAME.”. Don’t use cheap SEO tricks or you’ll end up paying the price.
Author: Conor Swarbrick