April 2018 Digital Marketing News Recap
Here are some major digital marketing updates from the Month of April 2018.
Google Has No Code To Text Ratio Ranking Algorithm: Google does not care if you have a lot of code on your web page, it doesn’t matter to them these days. The question came up again at the 18:43 mark into the video where the SEO asked “Is there any term like text to code ratio in SEO?”John Mueller of Google said “no.” He explained that some sites use more HTML, some sites use less, it is a design thing, not a content thing.
If You Code Just Breaks The Layout, It’s Fine with Google: CSS grid layouts are more useful and flexible compared to table layouts. For example, a grid container’s child elements could position themselves so they actually overlap and layer, similar to CSS positioned elements. So it’s not a surprise that many websites are using CSS grids over Tables.
However a major disadvantage with CSS Grids is that “Chrome 41” which is used by GoogleBot for rendering web pages does not support CSS grid layouts. When asked about the same issue, this is what John Mueller of Google had to say on Twitter , “If we can still reach the content, we’ll still be able to index it. If it just breaks the layout, that’s fine.”
So apart from clearing the air on CSS grid layout issues, he also suggests that if the GoogleBot is able to see you content then you should not worry about its rendering on “Chrome 41”.
Google Search Console Now Notifies You Of Social Media AMP Page Issues: Barry Adams posted on Twitter that he got a notice from Google Search Console about an AMP issue, this specific AMP issue is related to the use of social media on the AMP page. The notice say that this issue is not impacting how the page appears in search but it does impact the user engagement.
The message reads “reported social media issue on your AMP pages.” It goes on to say “an evaluation of your site has revealed issues with some of your AMP pages. This issue will not affect your appearance on search, but with just a few changes, you could improve the user experience on these pages.”
Google Treats New Location TLDs As gTLDs with No Local Ranking Boost: Google treats all those new TLDs that launched a few years ago as generic TLDs, and by default, those are not geotargeted. That includes the new TLDs for popular cities such as .london, .madrid, etc etc. Google’s John Mueller confirmed this on Twitter but also said so back in 2014 when they were launching these new TLDs. So even those new TLDs that clearly demonstrate local intent and geo intent, such as, .london or .mumbai, Google in treats them as generic TLDs or gTLDs and do not have any advantage of local rankings.
Google Featured Snippets Decline & Direct Answers Increase: RankRanger posted on Twitter that they are seeing less Featured Snippets show up on Google mobile search, while more Direct Answers are showing up. They shared a chart from their mobile SERP trackers. If Google is showing more direct answers on mobile versus featured snippets, that means your web sites are getting less play on mobile search and voice answers.
Google Doesn’t Use rel=next On a-Elements For Search: rel=next or rel=”prev” elements should be implemented in the head tag. If you use rel=next in your link a-element, Google search will not do anything with it. It will likely just ignore it and treat them as normal links without any rel=anything in them, Google’s John Mueller said on Twitter. Refer to the Search help docs for detailed instructions on how to implement pagination tags properly.
Google Featured Snippets Expand By Category/Topic: David Gray spotted and posted on Twitter a featured snippet that expands and has multiple drop down expansion menus. If you search for [garage conversion] on mobile, you probably will see it for yourself. It shows the featured snippet, with the images and text and then below it, it has categories that you can expand that show a section for cost, plans, building regulations and insulation.
Google Starts Sending Mobile-First Indexing Enabled Notifications: Google is now starting to send out notifications about sites switching to the mobile-first indexing process. Here is the text of the notification:
Mobile-first indexing enabled for domain name:
To owner of for domain name,
This means that you may see more traffic in your logs from Googlebot Smartphone. You may also see that snippets in Google Search results are now generated from the mobile version of your content.
Background: Mobile-first indexing means that Googlebot will now use the mobile version of your site for indexing and ranking, to better help our (primarily mobile) users find what they’re looking for. Google’s crawling, indexing, and ranking systems have historically used the desktop version of your site’s content, which can cause issues for mobile searchers when the desktop version differs from the mobile version. Our analysis indicates that the mobile and desktop versions of your site are comparable.
Google Officially Rolls Out ‘More Results’ Search Button On Mobile: Google has officially launched its “More results” search button on mobile, making it possible for additional search results to load beyond the first set of results displayed. The announcement, made via a tweet from the Google’s @SearchLiason account, confirmed that the new “More results” button will replace the previous “Next” button that would display a new page of mobile search results.
Google My Business Expands Menu Editor to Support Service Menus: Google has expanded the ability for more businesses to add their services to their menus. These include service businesses from plumbers to florists to health and beauty, and even web developers. To access this, log in to your Google My Business listing, click on the info tab and select the add or edit services icon. Then you can add your services to this pop-up so that they show up on your local profile.
New Google Search Console Adds Search Appearance Filters and More: The new version of the Google Search Console has added a filter in the Performance report for “Search Appearance.” The Search Appearance filter, which is also available in the old Search Console’s Search Analytics report lets you compare or filter rich results, AMP non-rich results, AMP article, job listings and job details. If you only want to see how well your AMP articles are doing, you can filter the report to show you that information. Or if you want to compare your rich results to AMP non-rich results to AMP article results, you can do that as well. In addition to this new Search Appearance filter, Google added an export option on the validation details page, and the exported compare columns now have labels.
Google Announces New Job Posting Guidelines & Requirements: Google has announced new job posting guidelines for job schema. The new guidelines can be read here. They include the requirement to remove expired job listings.
Google Confirms Rolling Out a Broad Core Search Algorithm Update Earlier This Week: Google has posted on Twitter that it released a “broad core algorithm update” during Mid of April 2018. Google said it “routinely” does updates “throughout the year” and referenced the communication from the previous core update. Google explained that “pages that were previously under-rewarded” would see a benefit from these core updates.
YouTube Introduced TrueView for Reach Ads: YouTube announced that brands can now buy its TrueView ads and optimize them for reach. Brands can create ads as short as six seconds (and up to 30 seconds), which users can skip after five seconds, and which will run before or during videos.
Google Launches Reach Planner for YouTube & Video Ad Forecasting in AdWords: Google has launched Reach Planner, a new planning tool for video campaigns. Currently in beta, Reach Planner in AdWords is designed to help media planners and advertisers forecast the reach and frequency of video campaigns on YouTube and the video partners on the Google Display Network. Reach Planner provides unique reach data for all devices, core audiences and video formats for more than 50 countries. The tool also includes product mix recommendations intended to show which YouTube ad formats will work best together based on inputs of a marketing objective, budget and ad preferences or assets available. If you have a Google sales rep, you can request access to the beta.
Google Launches Outstream Ads to Boost Video Reach Beyond YouTube: The new video ad format from Google – Outstream Video Ads, will operate on mobile devices across Google video partner mobile sites and apps. Unlike TrueView in-stream ads or Bumper ads, the new Outstream Video Ads won’t require placement within a YouTube video. This is a fundamental change, as it gives advertisers the ability to reach an audience when a YouTube video isn’t present. The videos will appear in banners for mobile web placements and as banners, interstitials, in-feed and native for apps (both portrait and landscape). Outstream Ads can be purchased on a viewable CPM basis, and the ads will only show on Google video partner sites or apps (for now). Google will enhance the look with a message, logo and link, similar to Responsive ads.
Dynamic Search Ads Can Now be Used Across Sensitive Verticals: In the past, certain verticals like Pharmaceuticals, Finance or even Gambling were unable to use Dynamic Search Ads due to policy limitations. These restrictions are no longer applicable and advertisers in these verticals can now begin automating more of their keyword targeting in Adwords. It was a quiet update to the policies around January this year. This means that there will no longer be restrictions for use of Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) on previously restricted verticals.
Bing Ads Launches Price Extensions: Bing Ads announced the rollout of price extensions. The prices used in price extensions must be visible on the landing page, and that landing page can be on a third-party retailer site like Amazon or Walmart, as opposed to the advertiser’s e-commerce site. Advertisers are charged for clicks on price extensions, just like sitelinks. Price extensions can be set up in the Bing Ads UI, via the Bing Ads API or imported from AdWords campaigns.
Facebook Expands A/B Ad-Testing Capabilities & Adds Reporting Features: Facebook is adding new features to its A/B split-testing feature for advertisers and making it available from within the Quick Creation workflow. With this update, Facebook has added the split-testing option to its Quick Creation flow where advertisers can create ads in bulk. Advertisers can now run split tests focused on engagement objective, catalog sales, conversions, app installs, reach, video views, traffic and lead generation. Facebook has also made it possible to duplicate a split test while running existing split-test settings. There is a new reporting dashboard to track a selection of standard KPIs for split tests, including CPM, CPC and CTR.
Facebook’s New Custom Audiences Permission Tool Will Require User Consent Confirmation: Facebook has confirmed a TechCrunch report that it is developing a tool for advertisers to verify they have gained consent to use email addresses uploaded via Custom Audiences. Permissions tool will require an advertiser and the agencies or other entities that obtain data to confirm that the third-party data in a Custom Audience has been responsibly sourced.
Facebook is Now Giving Users The Option to Remove Apps in Bulk: Facebook has rolled out a new option that allows users to remove apps in bulk from their profile settings. The new feature, which is accessible on mobile and desktop, will not only remove the apps but also will offer the option to delete any posts the individual apps have made to a user’s profile, TechCrunch first reported.
Facebook Political & Issues Ad Update: Facebook announced several changes and features they said would make advertisements and Pages more transparent. The changes include required authorization and labeling of political and “issue” ads, and manager verification for large Pages. The company will also roll out a searchable political ads archive and a tool to see what ads a Page is serving that is already being tested in Canada. The ad requirements will also apply to Facebook-owned Instagram, but the post did not mention any other Facebook entities.
Snapchat Is Adds Group Video Chat and @ Mentions: Snapchat users can now start a group video chat by entering an existing group chat or creating a new group with the users they wish to chat with. Each group member will be notified that they were invited to a call and, when they open the call, their name bubble will light up above the keyboard of the user who initiated the call so that he or she knows who is participating. Snapchat said up to 16 users can participate in group video chats simultaneously, with that number doubling to 32 for group voice chat. Users can also opt to join group calls with just voice, or they can toggle between voice and video.
Facebook Is Rolling Out Its Article Context Features in News Feed Throughout the U.S.: Facebook announced that it is expanding the article context features in News Feed that it began testing last October to all U.S. users, along with two new feature updates. Users will see an “i” button atop the links for certain articles in their News Feeds, and tapping that button will launch a pop-up with additional context about those articles, including:
- Wikipedia entries for the publishers of those articles.
- Related Articles on the same topics.
- Information about how other Facebook users are sharing those articles.
- Informing users if any of the information above is unavailable, which may help to provide context, as well.
The two new features that were added with this week’s rollout are:
- More From This Publisher: Just as the name suggests, a snapshot of other recent stories posted by the publisher.
- Shared by Friends: Users will see if any of their friends have shared the article.
360-Degree Photos and HD-Quality Video Can Now Be Shared via Facebook Messenger: Facebook Messenger announced that it can now handle 360-degree photos and HD-quality 720p videos. 360-degree photos are available globally on Messenger’s iOS and Android applications, while HD-quality videos are only available in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the U.K. and the U.S.
Facebook Announced a Data Abuse Bounty Program: In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, head of product security Collin Greene announced in a Newsroom post that the social network launched the Data Abuse Bounty program with the aim of rewarding people who report misuse of data by application developers. According to Greene, Facebook will review all legitimate reports and respond to credible threats to user data as quickly as possible. If data abuse is confirmed, the offending apps will be shut down, and legal action will be taken against the company or companies that are selling or buying user data.
Facebook’s Secret ‘Loyalty Prediction’ Ad Tool Anticipates Future User Behavior & Purchases: A new report from The Intercept claims the company is currently promoting a “Loyalty Prediction” ad service tool that lets advertisers target users based on predicted behaviors versus past actions. Facebook’s predictive ad service tool will make it possible for advertisers to build campaigns beyond user demographics and preferences, instead using data that anticipates user behavior and purchases, according to a “confidential” document obtained by The Intercept.
Facebook’s ‘Premieres’ Video Format Will Let Publishers Post Prerecorded Video As Live Footage: Facebook is testing a new video format called Facebook Premieres that will let video creators, publishers and shows post prerecorded video as live footage. The prerecorded videos will play similar to a livestream, allowing viewers the chance to interact with the video as it is broadcast on the site. Comments, reactions and interactions with the prerecorded Premieres video will happen in real time, as with Facebook’s Live videos. Once used as a Premiere video, the video becomes a normal VOD (video on demand). The new format is currently being tested among a group of creators, publishers and shows.
LinkedIn Teamed Up With Tenor to Add GIFs to Its Messaging: LinkedIn announced that, they have teamed up with Tenor to allow users to integrate GIFs directly into their messages. Users can now search for GIFs directly within the messaging interface and add them to their communications.
AR Drawings Can Now Be Added to Videos in Facebook Stories: Facebook continues to pack more feature into Stories in the hopes of convincing more people to use them, and the latest addition is augmented reality drawing. Users of the iOS and Android flagship Facebook application will soon begin seeing a brush in Facebook Camera that will enable them to create 3-D drawings before or while capturing videos.
Pinterest Business Profiles Now Include Dynamic Cover Images, Monthly Viewers: Pinterest began rolling out a redesign of its business which will take a couple of months. The redesigned business profile includes a dynamic cover image, which enables brands to highlight the content they want people to see first. Pinterest also added a monthly viewers statistic to the top of business profiles, displaying the total number of people who saw that profile’s Pins over the past 30 days.
Facebook Is Expanding Its Testing of Pre-Roll Video Ads: Maria Angelidou-Smith revealed in a blog post that the social network is expanding the testing of pre-roll ads it began on its Facebook Watch video platform late last year to “places where people seek out videos.” Facebook will test a show preview trailer format, enabling people to discover episodes of Facebook Watch shows in their News Feeds. Another new feature from the social network is a tool enabling content partners to submit videos for monetization eligibility review before posting them, ensuring that those videos will be eligible for advertising opportunities throughout their distribution on the social network. Finally, Grudin and Angelidou-Smith provided this link detailing best practices for its content partners.
Pinterest Is Beta-Testing a Way to Factor Skin Tone Into Beauty-Related Searches: Pinterest is beta-testing a way to enable users to narrow down their beauty-related search results by skin tone. The test kicked off with four palette options, each representing a range of skin tones, and Pinterest users will be able to select one of them to filter their search results for beauty ideas.
Snapchat Introduced Snappables, AR-Enhanced Interactive Lenses: Snapchat introduced a new type of augmented-reality-enhanced interactive lens, Snappables, calling them the first shared AR experiences on the messaging application. Snappables will appear in the app’s lens carousel, and new ones will appear dynamically, as other lenses currently do. Snappables will be on the left side of the circular capture button, while World Lenses and face lenses will be on the right. The new lenses enable users to share experience and play AR games with friends, and they can be controlled via touch, motion and facial expressions.
Instagram Users Can Upload Multiple Photos, Videos to Their Stories: Instagram users can now upload multiple photos and videos simultaneously to their Stories. All Android users will see a new icon in the top-right corner of their upload media screen, enabling them to choose up to 10 photos or videos from their galleries to be added to their Stories. Once they move to the edit screen, a preview of all selected photos and videos will appear, and each one can be edited individually with stickers, text and other creative tools. When the user is ready, all media will be uploaded to their Story in the order in which they were selected.