Welcome to another Exposure Ninja Digital Marketing Round-up. In this second week of July, we’ve discovered a number of important items of news and knowledge-increasing articles from across the web.
In this week’s Round-up we’ve learned:
- Google AdWords gets a name change
- Press Release links losing all worth (depending on how they’re used)
- Unilever is tired of fraudulent influencers
- Google released a ‘URL Inspector’ tool
Jump to your favourite marketing subject:
How To Scrape Google’s ‘People Also Ask’ for Content Ideas
This great tip by the team at Builtvisible may take a combined Content Marketer and SEO Ninja approach to pull off, but there’s potential to find new and interesting ideas to build content around, such as improving your landing pages, your Help Desk or Knowledge Base content, or adding to or extending your existing blog content.
Whilst not entirely in-line with Google’s Terms of Service — we’re not saying you should do this, only that you can and it’s great — Dave Elliot’s thorough guide explains how you can use Screaming Frog (one of our favourite tools) to scrape the content you need from the SERPs (What’s a SERP?).
5 Common Misconceptions in Digital PR and Link Building
Ken Scott of Hallam was kind enough to round-up some of the thoughts he’d had regarding common misconceptions in Digital PR and Content Marketing, following on from an inspiring talk by Kirsty Hulse of Manyminds at the Nottingham Digital Summit.
Mr Scott touched on a number of points our own Content Marketing Ninjas regularly keep in mind when creating content for client campaigns, including one point which has been a recent discussion point in our remote office this past week:
“Brand Mentions Aren’t Worth Getting”
There have also been new updates from Google such as the Panda Patent that recognises mentions as “implied links”, and these can bump up your rankings. This is good news for us in the industry as brand mentions are easier to get than links, and will likely help boost your business or client. Like any balanced diet though, you should still look to build high-quality links to compliment your brand mentions.
Google is clearly using the sentiment of text it discovers online, including social shares too, to uncover how genuine humans feel about certain brands and domains.
Google has even gone so far as to release a version of the machine learning sentiment analysis as an API (which showcased some interesting human biases).
Pairing Google’s website crawler with a sentiment tracker allows Google to verify its own crawled data, helping them to choose to rank a website — or not — based on the satisfaction of both the content against both its own quality guidelines and real human reviews.
To read the other four common misconceptions, be sure to check out the post in full.
Conversion Rate Optimisation
Keep Sign Ups Simple
Expert CRO specialists will already know that the process of signing up for a platform or completing a form should be as simple as possible for the user, but if you’re not a professional Conversion Rate Optimisation geek, then this short and simple “Nine Tips for Optimising Lead-Capture Forms” (see, simple always works best!) article by Nikki Gilliland of eConsultancy.com has some great first tips on how you can immediately improve your website to earn more leads!
Goodbye AdWords, Hello Google Ads
After seventeen years Google has decided to put Google AdWords to bed…
…but only for it to arise in the morning in new Google Ads-branded pyjamas.
Google has decided to streamline its branding by rebranding its advertising platforms.
Other parts of its marketing and remarketing platform are also changing on the same day, with DoubleClick and Google Analytics 360 rebranding into the new Google Marketing Platform
Lastly, DoubleClick for Publishers and the DoubleClick Ad Exchange will be folded into a new platform called, Google Ad Manager
No word has been given on whether we should expect any change in the naming of the Google AdSense brand, but for now, we’re expecting this to stay the same.
What This Means Long-Term
A lot of us are going to be making a lot of mistakes when referring to each of these new platforms. It’s going to take a long time to shake a seventeen-year habit of saying AdWords!
In terms of a less-personal impact, this change will bring some much needed streamlining to how ads served via Google are managed. We also expect to see an increase in how Ads are being used across Google’s other properties, such as YouTube.
As Ginny Marvin of Search Engine Land has gathered through her interview with Sridhar Ramaswamy, Head of Ads and Commerce for Google, this seems to be the case:
What Facebook has done — cross-posting ads across their owned properties (i.e, both Facebook and Instagram) — Google is very much likely to replicate with YouTube.
Press Release Links Now Worth Less Than Ever
During a Google Webmaster Office Hours video hangout held at the end of June, John Mueller (Senior Search Analyst at Google) re-confirmed that Google’s algorithm gives very low value to links included in Press Releases.
Press Release link building had long been a strong and (relatively) easy method of link creation since the algorithm was created, but after the Penguin algorithm was introduced to the main search algorithm in 2012 — an algorithm change which penalises high-quality/low-value link building methods — Google took a dislike to these types of links, going as far as adding Press Release manipulation to its documentation on Link Schemes in 2013:
In June’s hangout, Mr Mueller discussed how links within articles regarding business news, such as Press Releases, were treated by the algorithm. His response confirms what we’ve long considered to be the case regarding a Press Release’s value:
So we try to ignore links from things like press releases because we know in general companies put the press releases out themselves. So any links in there are essentially placed by themselves.
But if these links happen and they’re out there it’s not something you need to worry about because you can’t really take them all back.
I just wouldn’t rely on kind of press releases as a strategy for building up links for a website because like I said we do ignore most of those.
Should you build links via Press Releases in 2018?
Sometimes. While we wouldn’t recommend using Press Releases as your primary link building method in 2018, the practice can be useful for publishing genuinely news-worthy business updates from your company.
For example, if you have acquired another company, then business updates mentioning the name change and any change in domain URL can only help your campaign to migrate that domain or build brand awareness around the singular brand name used from that point onward.
Equally, if you’re opening a new branch of your company in another town or country, any additional links you earn via news outlets which include your new location’s address, contact details, and URL can only help to enhance your Local SEO profile – However, in neither of these two cases would Press Release link-building be the answer to your link building needs. For that, consult a digital marketing professional (we happen to know a few 😬).
25 Negative Google SEO Success Factors
Ex-Mozzer Cyrus Shepard has crafted a brilliant long list of over one-hundred ranking factors which can and could contribute to how well a website — including some Negative Factors too:
- Manipulative Links
- Over-Optimised Anchor Text
- Thin Content
- Linking to Bad Neighbourhoods
- Aggressive Ads / Intrusive Interstitials
Many of these factors have long been on the radar of trustworthy SEO agencies and consultants for years as must avoid aspects of both onsite and offsite SEO – but unfortunately, there’s a large percentage of link selling snake oil merchants who still routinely charge you good money for the low-ball, low-value SEO and link-building tactics covered in Cyrus’ Negative Factors list.
If you’re worried that your website may include these negative factors, or that your current or last agency may have used them, get in touch to discuss your options
Do keep in mind, however, that Cyrus’ list is only a fraction of the possible total number of factors within the algorithm. That being said, it’s still an incredibly reliable list of the most important factors for ranking well.
Good job, Cyrus.
Google Webmaster Team Releases ‘URL Inspector’ Tool
Announced on its official blog, the new URI Inspection tool by the Google Webmaster team is located within Search Console and acts as an efficient method of discovering if your website has been crawled and indexed by Google’s crawling robot and indexing system.
As described in its blog post, “If a page isn’t indexed, you can learn why.”. This is very useful for not only regular HTML pages but also for AMP pages. Also included in the URL Inspection tool are details discovered per URI regarding structured data, including Recipes and Jobs.
Mobile Pop-ups during Uncookied Visits Could Spell Disaster
The ever-inspiring Glenn Gabe shared details on an unusual, but definitely not uncommon, problem with a website he was auditing which was showing pop-ups only to users on mobile who were browsing with without cookies.
In his post, How Sinister Mobile Pop-ups Only Triggering For Uncookied Users (and Googlebot) Could Impact SEO, Usability, and Monetization, Mr Gabe reveals how his manual auditing process and intuition spotted something unusual in the time and way in which pages were loading on his client’s website. After navigating to an Incognito window to use the Mobile View of Chrome Dev Tools it was soon evident that users with uncookied sessions were being prompted with a mobile interstitial asking them for their location.
Not only were users seeing this popup, but so was Googlebot.
Googlebot crawls the web without cookies. It does this so that it can determine the differences and changes to a URL from one visit to the next. The problem that arose here, and as is the case with mobile pop-ups in general, was that Googlebot was seeing the pop-up during its crawl. What this could potentially mean, is that Googlebot might consider the pop-up as the only content on a page. This could result in pages not being indexed for the content that lies behind the pop-up because Googlebot simply isn’t seeing it or can’t determine if the primary content is the pop-up or the content that lies beneath it.
There are two takeaways to be lifted from this:
- Decide if you really, really need to have a pop-up (we prefer to implement two-step action-based pop-up systems).
- Test, test, and test your pop-ups again using multiple tools and a staging environment, before you push it live.
Google Updates Its Lighthouse Page Speed Testing Tool
Although the update happened in May, the latest version of Google’s Lighthouse has become an even stronger all-in-one tool for testing the loading time, security, Search Engine Optimisation, and Usability of your website.
The tool provides a lot of detailed insights, which can be daunting if even to those who consider themselves a casual Technical SEO or Website Developer. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, then this simple guide by Adam Gent of Salt.Agency explains all you need to know
Majestic Updates Its Experimental ‘Solo Links’ Tool
Majestic is a marketing tool our SEO Ninjas find themselves using on a daily basis, if not an hourly one. When the UK-based team behind the private search engine announced an experimental tool which identifies “…the links your competitor has BUT you don’t have!”, we had to try it out! It does this by comparing two domains against each other and pulling out the domains which don’t link to the other (up to a limit of 500 root domains).
At the end of June Majestic updated the Solo Links tool to include improved filtering.
The tool quickly lets you pull together a list of the strongest domains which link to your competitor , but not your own website, which you can then pass on to your Content Marketing Ninja to build outstanding content for.
Social Media / Influencer Marketing (SMM / IM)
Instagram Adds Purchase Button to Stories
Following the way of Pinterest’s Buyable Pins mechanism, Instagram has launched its own system of enabling purchases of highlighted purchasable items into its Instagram Stories platform.
This new button — already in use on the regular feed — will enable users to click a button over buyable items selected by the publisher within a Story. The user will then be taken to an eCommerce platform (owned by the brand) where the user can complete the checkout process.
Unilever Is Tired of Influencer Marketers
At the recent Cannes Lions Festival, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Keith Weed was critical of a section of the Influencer Marketing community which fraudulently inflated its statistics and engagement numbers to convince companies such as theirs to work with them.
As covered in the Wall Street Journal, the interviewed CMO explained that the quantity of fraudulent Influencers who use methods such as purchased followers and paid-for engagement was presenting a risk to those who wish to use the marketing method.
“At best it’s misleading, at worst it’s corrupt,” Unilever marketing chief Keith Weed said in an interview. “For the sake of a few bad apples in the barrel, I believe there is risk in the area of influencers.”
Fortunately, more methods of checking the validity of an Influencers reach and engagement are becoming more available – including increasingly smart software —outlined in this useful guide to spotting fake influencers by Brian Mechem of grin.co.