Welcome once again to the digital marketing monthly round-up! July saw the UK reach record temperatures as a mini-heatwave took over Northern Europe. The world was also full of hot developments as USA won the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the fourth time, England won the Cricket World Cup, Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame became the highest grossing movie of all time and the first ever Fortnite World Cup saw a 16-year-old take home a $3m prize! The world of digital marketing kept things heating up thanks to news from SEO, PPC and Technical SEO. Put your feet up and let us take you through what happened in July 2019.
1. Is Google delivering less Organic Traffic Year-on-Year?
When you’re the market leader, you will always have the competition trying to assert their dominance. Google is no exception to this and search competitors continue to make in-roads on their position. Merkle’s Q2 2019 digital marketing report show that Google’s organic search visits are down 8% from the same period in 2018. Meanwhile, DuckDuckGo grew to 49% more visits during the last quarter with mobile visits up 64% YOY. This may lead to the question, “are more people seeking out search engines that don’t track them?” However, it’s fair to say that Google is still a long way ahead of the competition.
2. DuckDuckGo now handling 40 Million searches a day
In January, DuckDuckGo had around 34 million searches a day but The New York Times recently reported a growth. The search engine is now handling 40 million searches a day, even though there is a significant lack of tracking, and their results are not personalised. This growth is great for DuckDuckGo but with Google handling around 5.5 billion searches a day and 63,000 searches a second; it has a long way to go to catch the big G.
3. Facebook makes changes to their mobile news feed
For a while now, Facebook images and videos have had a 2:3 aspect ratio but the social giant announced a change in July. As reported in Search Engine Journal, from 19th August a 4:5 aspect ratio and three lines of primary text will take its place. The changes simplifies the process and will make it easier to use their assets across Facebook and Instagram which is a huge advantage to marketers.
4. 5% of Google My Business listing views lead to a customer action
New research from BrightLocal has shown that the average conversion rate of a Google My Business is 5%. This rate focuses on when a customer completes a website click, call or direction request. While this figure may seem low, it represents a 25% increase from 2017 to 2018. The study also discovered that the average business is found more than 1,000 times a month, direct searches grew 38% and businesses received 29% more website clicks. This highlights how important it is for businesses to ensure they have a GMB listing and it’s kept up-to-date.
5. Google Local Listings Shortnames Bug
During July, a bug with Google My Business saw listings disappear when shortnames were added. Shortnames are a great tool for marketers as it can help with growing a brand and adding a search shortcut for users. Businesses can use the short URL provided to promote themselves anywhere. Google blamed a technical issue on the fault and resolved it by 15th July.
6. Google Maps app update allows editing of Business Information
Having a presence on Google Maps is important for a business if they want to be found by customers. Google have now made it easier for users to edit their business information natively within the Maps app on iOS. Before, users were directed to a web browser to complete an action. This gives managers and marketers the chance to update their information as soon as possible, if for example, a business has changed its opening times or services.
7. We looked at FAQ Schema and how you can use it
Google added a new feature to SERPs this year known as FAQ Schema. This feature allows users to markup the contents of the page which use the question-and-answer format and present it in search results. As it offers a new opportunity for marketers to experiment with SERPs, we had to investigate. Our very own Liam took up the task and wrote his latest blog: What is FAQ Schema and How Do You Use It?
8. Google launches a shopping portal
Following on from Amazon’s latest Prime Day, Google has taken the step to launch its new shopping platform. The tool offers users a tailored experience and will greet you by name. Google isn’t about to open warehouses and sell products like Amazon, but it will point users in the direction of retailers. The tool is only live in the US at the moment but will probably launch worldwide at some point, offering business another way of getting their products to customers.
9. Microsoft Advertising adds longer titles and descriptions to search ads
Microsoft Advertising has taken a leaf out of Google’s book and added longer titles and descriptions to its search ads. The update allows marketers to use up to two description fields of 90 characters each and longer dynamically generated titles. While adding a second description field is great, it may not show up on all devices. We recommend that you keep your important text to the first description field.
10. Google Extending Same-Meaning Close Variants to Phrase Match and Broad Match Modifiers
It’s been coming for a while but now PPC managers need to be ready for the addition of same-meaning close variants to phrase match and broad match modifiers. With machine learning now advanced enough to fill the gaps for marketers, there’s less of a need for tight controls and exhaustive keyword lists. Google says users should see 3-4% more clicks on phrase and broad match modifier keywords. It will be interesting to see how the PPC community reacts to this big change.
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