Welcome one and all to the sixth instalment of the Digital Marketing Monthly Round-Up! July is here, the first balls are being served at Wimbledon and the sun is showing its face. June was a busy month in which Jay-Z became the first billionaire rapper, the Women’s World Cup thrilled new audiences (it’s coming home!), childhood nostalgia peaked once more with the release of Toy Story 4 and Stormzy, The Killers and The Cure headlined Glastonbury. June was full of developments in the world of SEO, PPC, Content Marketing and Social Media. Gather round as we take to the stage to catch you up with everything you’ve missed!
1. Google Core Algorithm Update
In a change to how they usually roll out updates, Google announced on 2nd June that they would release a core algorithm update the following day. Everyone took notice as Google rarely gives businesses and marketers the heads up on a core update. Google stressed it was a broad update which wasn’t focusing on a particular niche. However, Sistrix identified that content and news sites were greatly affected by the update. News media sites on the whole seemed to gain greater visibility, except the Daily Mail, which saw a huge 43% drop, leading the company to ask the SEO community for help after losing 50% of traffic! As usual, it’s up to marketers to analyse the impact it has had on sites and work accordingly to recover from it if losses have happened.
2. New Google Update Aims to Diversify Search Results
The core update also overlapped with the Diversity update. With this update, Google will aim to display only two results from the same domain in the top of particular queries. Marketers and users alike have often complained at seeing results from the same sites in the top ten results, so this update should see a more diverse selection showing up. Google also said, “However, we may still show more than two in cases where our systems determine it’s especially relevant to do so for a particular search,”; one example being branded search. Search intent still matters despite the new update and we should see this as an opportunity for SEOs and businesses owners to get smaller businesses ranking higher on Google for their targeted queries.
3. Google Refreshes Desktop Search Results Look
June was not only a big month for algorithm updates but also in how Google presents itself on desktop. The new design gives SERPs a little more colour in the top navigation bar. The previous design was just text, but with this subtle design change each tab has been given a bit of character.
4. The North Face Manipulated Google Search Image Results
Nothing gets the SEO community up in arms more than a company trying to use controversial tactics to gain results. During June, outdoor clothing brand The North Face came under fire as their ad agency updated Wikipedia images to make sure the brand appeared at the top of Google image searches. They claimed to have worked with Wikimedia for the SEO campaign but this turned out to be a lie as they had unethically manipulated Wikipedia for “a short-lived marketing stunt.” The campaign was widely criticised for giving SEO a bad image to the wider public. Was the stunt worth it to risk the reputation of a brand? Only time will tell.
5. We Attended the Inaugural Creative North
Content marketers gathered at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester for the first ever Creative North conference. The brainchild of copywriting agency Hampson Nattan Williams, the first conference had speakers discussing the theme, “The Future of Content”. With an emphasis on being human and authentic running throughout the talks, each speaker had their own unique take on what is coming. Our own Content Executive Lee gathered his highlights and takeaways from the event.
6. 80% of Voice Search Answers Come From Top 3 Organic Results
With a large increase in smart speakers in homes, voice search continues to intrigue marketers. SEMRush released their findings from a study of over 50,000 queries to discover the vital ranking factors in voice search. Alongside ranking in the top 3, 70% of answers had a SERP feature with 60% taken from featured snippets. Other interesting findings include the fact that 50% of answers had backlinks with anchor text that appeared in the question and the page speed of content is faster than the rest of the top 10 organic search results. This Voice Search Study offers a great insight for marketers looking to optimise their content for voice queries.
7. Improved Tracking Coming to Microsoft Advertising
Microsoft Advertising is adding several updates to improve tracking for marketers. Parallel tracking will direct users to a landing page after clicking an ad, with the ad tracking taking place in the background. This addition will also speed up loading times for the user, making them more likely to stick around. Microsoft are also adding a Final URL Suffix field to Campaign URL Options so you can specify parameters you want attached to your landing page URL for tracking. It’s recommended that you use Final URL suffix with parallel tracking, to ensure all values are passed to the website.
8. Google Introduce 3D Ad Creation & Live and AR Options For YouTube
Standing out from the crowd with online advertising is all about innovating, and Google wants to help with that. First off, the new Swirl 3D display gives brands the chance to provide a more interactive experience. Users will see a product in 3D on their screen to “test” before making a purchase. Secondly, Google are rolling out an AR opportunity where users can try out on make-up when viewing content on YouTube. ‘Beauty Try-On’ will enable viewers to try on various looks at the same time as YouTube creators. Using technology to test products appears to be the future of advertising and is one to keep an eye on.
9. Instagram Advertisers Can Convert Organic Influencer Posts Into Ads
Instagram is allowing advertisers to access branded content ads, giving brands the chance to create ads using organic posts from the influencers they have a relationship with. Branded content ads rolled out during June, with branded content ads for stories, will roll out over the coming months. With influencers posting 150% more sponsored content, the opportunity to take advantage of that market has led to Instagram opening up these options.
10. We Attended Inspired Social
CrowdControlHQ hosted Inspired Social in Birmingham, bringing together experts in the field of social media. With talks on tone of voice, reporting, strategy, crisis communication and brand awareness, this was an event not to be missed. Our very own Elliot attended the event and gathered his key insights and takeaways.