Digital Marketing Week in Review by Four Dots: January 2020, week 5
Hello, fellow digital marketers! Welcome to another edition of Digital Marketing Week in Review by Four Dots. It’s that time of the week again when we provide you with the most important topics and events that took place during the last seven days in the realm of digital marketing.
For our January 2020 week 5 installment (yes, this January has been that long!), we have prepared some of the most relevant and interesting stories from the digital marketing industry.
Here’s what we have prepared for you this week:
- Google Responds to Criticism Regarding The New Changes to Desktop Search Results
- Google Confirms Webpages with Featured Snippets Won’t Appear Twice on Page 1 in SERPs
- Instagram Adds a New Way to Find and Share Stories that Mention Your Profile
- Google Puts an End to Rich Results for Data-Vocabulary.org Structured Data
- Google Has Updated Its Mobile-First Indexing Best Practices Documentation
- Vine Successor ‘Byte’ Has Been Launched Officially…
Let’s get started.
Google Responds to Criticism Regarding The New Changes to Desktop Search Results
Google has issued an official statement as a response to criticism they received for introducing changes to desktop search results.
Last week, Google changed the look of paid and organic search results on desktop. The main differences are favicons located next to desktop search results, and a simple black “Ad” label next to paid results.
After making the new changes, Google said the new “Ad” label is more prominent and easier to find. However, many users didn’t agree. They said it makes paid results almost indistinguishable from organic results.
Google listened to the users and took their feedbacks seriously, so they will begin experimenting with new placements for favicons.
Here is their official statement:
“We’re dedicated to improving the desktop experience for Search, and as part of our efforts we rolled out a new design last week, mirroring the design that we’ve had for many months on mobile. The design has been well received by users on mobile screens, as it helps people more quickly see where information is coming from and they can see a prominent bolded ad label at the top. Web publishers have also told us they like having their brand iconography on the search results page. While early tests for desktop were positive, we are always incorporating feedback from our users. We are experimenting with a change to the current desktop favicons, and will continue to iterate on the design over time.”
What did you think of the “Ad” label?
Google Confirms Webpages with Featured Snippets Won’t Appear Twice on Page 1 in SERPs
On January 22, Danny Sullivan from Google confirmed that webpages in a featured snippet position will no longer be repeated in regular Page 1 organic listing.
As you probably know, webpages in a featured snippet position appeared twice on Page 1 of search results. From now on, a webpage will appear only once on Page 1. Featured snippets will count as one of the 10 webpage listings displayed on the first page of search results, Sulivan states.
Google provides users with some clarity and guidance regarding this update:
- This change is called deduplication
- Deduplication is global
- It does not affect video featured snippets
- At the moment deduplication does not affect featured snippets variants that resemble a knowledge panel
- Deduplication does not affect: Top Stories and Interesting Finds
- Some duplicated URLs are moving to page two of the SERPs, but this is just a bug of deduplication and is not an intended feature. URLs in featured snippets that are also on page two of the SERPs may have that listing removed.
- There will be no change in Google Search Console (GSC) performance reports.
Google Puts an End to Rich Results for Data-Vocabulary.org Structured Data
Google announced they are putting an end to data-vocabulary.org structured data. As of April this year, structured data using data-vocabulary.org microdata will not be eligible for rich results. Google recommends all sites that are still using data-vocabulary.org structured data to begin moving to Schema.org structured data.
Data-Vocabulary.org Structured Data is Google’s implementation of structured data that was introduced back in 2009. It was replaced by Schema.org structured data two years later.
Schema.org structured data is an open-source structured data that Google and other organizations supported. However, despite this, Google continued to support Data-Vocabulary.org Structured Data until today’s announcement.
Here is the official statement from Google:
“As of April 6, 2020, data-vocabulary.org markup will no longer be eligible for Google rich result features.”
The most important thing to remember here is to always keep your structured data up to date with Google’s preferred version. Just a friendly reminder, JSON-LD structured data is Google’s preferred version.
Changing structured data to schema.org should be your priority these days. If you can afford it, updating to JSON-LD Schema.org structured data format is probably the best thing for you because this is a preferred option today.
Google Has Updated Its Mobile-First Indexing Best Practices Documentation
Google updated its best practices documentation on mobile-first indexing by adding a lot of new information.
The main purpose of this document is to help site owners to provide the best possible experience to all users, those who are accessing the site on a mobile and those who visit it on a desktop device.
Here is the information that has been added to the document:
- Make sure Googlebot can access and render your mobile and desktop page content and resources
- Ensure that the mobile site has the same content as the desktop site
- Use the same meta robots tags on the mobile and desktop site
- Use the same headings on the mobile site and desktop site
- The mobile and desktop sites should have the same structured data
Images and Videos
- Try your best to provide high-quality images
- Make sure the videos on your page are easy to find on a mobile device
- Use only supported formats for images and videos
- Avoid URLs that change every time the page loads for images or videos
- Your mobile site should have the same alt text for images as the desktop site
- Make sure the descriptive titles, captions, filenames, and text relevant to the images or videos on the mobile site are the same as the ones on the desktop site
Separate M-Dot URLs
- The error page status should be the same on both the desktop and mobile sites
- The mobile version shouldn’t have fragment URLs
- Make sure the desktop versions that serve different contents have suitable mobile versions
Google’s New “Search for Beginners” Video Recommends Hiring SEOs
The latest episode of Google’s Search for Beginners animated series talks about 5 important things website owners should consider doing in order for their website to perform better, and the last item involves hiring a professional SEO.
It also appears that the upcoming “Search for Beginners” videos will delve deeper into why hiring professional SEOs is beneficial for your website.
The video at hand stated the following:
“Are you looking for someone to work on [your website] on your behalf? Hiring a search engine optimizer, or “SEO,” might be an option. SEOs are professionals who can help improve the visibility and ranking of your website. We’ll talk more about hiring an SEO in future episodes.”
The entire episode available below:
Have you ever hired a professional SEO? What was your experience with this hire?
Instagram Adds a New Way to Find and Share Stories that Mention Your Profile
Considering the popularity of the Story format, Instagram is trying to keep its users engaged by introducing some new features. Recently, they added a new Stories @ mention option, which highlights any Stories that mention the user’s profile, and enables a certain user you to easily re-share them into their own Stories stream.
New? Instagram’s ‘Create’ mode now has an “@“ option for sharing stories mentioning your account pic.twitter.com/4hKduRaoEo
— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) January 22, 2020
This option is a good thing for brands looking to display relevant mentions that include feedback from their customers, various endorsements, and influencer marketing partnerships.
At the moment, it’s not clear how accessible this option is. Instagram introduced its ‘Stories About You‘ feature a few months back, which provides a similar listing of active Stories that mention your @handle in your Mentions feed. However, that listing is only available to business and creator accounts.
Check your Instagram Create Mode options to see if you have this feature or not.
Vine Successor ‘Byte’ Has Been Officially Launched
TikTok has a new serious competitor in the form of Byte, Vine’s successor that has now been officially launched and is made available to both iOS and Android users. In a Byte tweet, the team behind the app dubbed the network “a 6-second looping video app” and they promised it will be both “familiar and new.”
today we’re bringing back 6-second looping videos and a new community for people who love them.
it’s called byte and it’s both familiar and new. we hope it’ll resonate with people who feel something’s been missing. https://t.co/g5qOIdM8qG
— byte (@byte_app) January 25, 2020
Back in 2017, the Vine co-founder, Dom Hoffman, first announced that he had started developing the heir to the famous short video format app that was shut off in 2016.
Much like it was the case with Vine, Byte users will b able to upload 6-second looping videos, while the app’s architecture will be in a standard social media platform form that features:
- home feed
- explore page
Time will only tell if Byte can become as successful as its predecessor.
That’s it for this edition of Digital Marketing Week in Review by Four Dots. Until we meet next time, check out our previous editions!