Welcome to 2019 and another year of monthly roundups detailing the trends and updates in the search, social, and content marketing industries.
This month, I’m happy to say nothing too scary happened in digital marketing. In fact, it seems all the updates from Google and the major social networks are focused on improving things for the better. A Data Scientist at Google even shared the on page SEO techniques Google uses for its own websites—that’s good news for everyone out there wondering if Google plays by the same rules they impose on us SEOs.
February’s Search, Social, and Content News Roundup
1. Google Chrome Ad Blocking will Rollout Worldwide on July 9
Google published an update that blocked abusive ads in Europe and North America last February. Starting July 9, however, the same ad blocking practices will affect websites worldwide.
This change in ad blocking practices comes after Chrome’s success prompting website owners to update their sites. According to them, less than 1% out of millions of websites reviewed have had their ads blocked.
“In the U.S., Canada, and Europe, website owners have successfully been able to make changes to the ads on their sites. As of January 1, 2019, two thirds of all publishers who were at one time non-compliant to the Better Ads Standards are now in good standing.”
If you don’t want your website’s ads and traffic conversion to be affected by this update, you should start reviewing the Better Ads Standards, which is the same guideline Chrome’s ad blocker follows.
Created by the Coalition for Better Ads, this guideline includes 12 ad experiences that research has found to be irritating to many users.
The image below gives an example of what the Better Ads Standards considers to be annoying ads:
Not sure if your ads are up to scratch? Use the Ad Experience Report tool to see if your website’s ad complies with the Better Ads Standards.
2. Instagram Now Lets You Post Content to Multiple Accounts within Its Composer
Rumor has it that Instagram now allows users to post the same content to multiple user profiles on its own composer.
Well, that’s no longer a rumor as TechCrunch confirmed it recently and the feature is already rolling out, starting in iOS.
Social media managers will love this feature because it will make it easier for them to post content to the accounts they’re handling.
Some people claim this move will just flood Instagram with duplicate content, while others say it’s not necessarily a bad feature because it just depends on how people will use it. For instance, you can post the same photo or video to multiple accounts and no one would complain if the profiles target different audiences.
Big brands with multiple accounts, like Nike that owns Nike Sportswear and Nike Football, can use this feature to blast promotional messages easily.
3. Google’s On Page SEO Techniques and Off Page SEO Approach for their Own Websites Revealed
Google Data Scientist Sean O’Keefe shared a rare glimpse into Google’s own SEO strategy, when he revealed how the tech giant handles the SEO of the 7000 websites they manage last Thursday.
O’Keef confirmed that they make an average of 200 changes (a combination of on page SEO techniques and off page SEO techniques), and that even the little changes they make can make a big impact on the site’s rankings. For instance, the chart below shows the organic traffic improvement of Google My Business website, after they applied some on page SEO techniques, such as improving its canonicals, meta data, and adding hreflang to the XML sitemaps.
Google also confirmed the “less is more” SEO strategy many experts tout, which simply means having fewer sites with better content leads to better results compared to having a ton of micro sites with shoddy content, and in most cases, duplicate content that confuses search engines.
They proved the effectiveness of the “less is more” strategy after they consolidated six websites into the Google Retail site, leading to a 64% increase in organic traffic and almost double the site’s previous conversion rate.
4. How to Optimize Your Site for Voice Search in 2019
PWC’s 2018 report shows that 72% respondents prefer to use their voice assistant to search for items instead of typing them.
Is your website ready for voice search?
Spoken and typed queries differ, which means the SERP for the same query can vary greatly depending on its source—was it typed or spoken?
For instance, if you’re planning a vacation to the Caribbean, you’ll probably type “Caribbean Tourist Spots.” But if you ask Alexa, you’ll probably say, “Alexa, what are good places to visit in the Caribbean?” Voice search is more natural.
Read this article from Search Engine Watch to discover six steps that will help your website improve its rankings in voice search.
5. Trends in Marketing and Marketing Jobs in 2019
As an SEO and digital marketing agency, we keep ourselves updated on the changes in the digital media landscape. Since January already brought a barrage of people shouting their predictions for this year’s marketing trends and changes, we’ll just go a slightly different route.
Instead of predicting what’s going to happen to SEO, social media, and content marketing, we’ll look at the trends in digital marketing jobs. After all, hiring trends also reflect the focus and main goals of the businesses hiring marketing professionals. It’s a good indicator of what’s to come.
CMO’s 2018 survey shows a 6.4% increase of marketing hires this year, the biggest growth is predicted to come from retail (14.5%) and transportation companies (13.3%). Product-selling B2C and B2B companies are expected to increase their hires at 9.7% at 7% respectively this year. On the surface, this is just a signal of job growth in these industries but if you think about it, these numbers also show the demand for marketing services.
As for the specific services or skills that are in demand, the same survey shows that companies are allotting 9.4% of their budget on mobile marketing—a 3.7% increase from 2017. Budget for marketing analytics is also expected to increase by 21.3% in the next three years.
I’m not sure, however, why SEO doesn’t show under its own category in the marketing activities that companies focus on. Perhaps companies consider SEO tasks under digital marketing or positioning? It could also be that many companies prefer to outsource SEO services because of its technical nature. After all, advanced SEO does take time to learn and it’s not as simple as building links or inserting keywords.
If you think your previous marketing degree or educational background didn’t equip you for any of these in-demand skills, you can easily earn a certificate through self-study via Hubspot or one of the many courses in Udemy, and some schools have updated their marketing curriculum to include social media campaigns and other new digital marketing topics into their curriculum.
6. Newsgate Algorithm Update
Rumor is, there’s another algorithm update and some webmasters say many sites in UK already lost traffic but others didn’t see any changes in their rankings yet. Some people on Webmaster Forum are complaining that websites who don’t guest blog were getting demoted in the SERPs because of the latest update.
But Google’s previous document release, “Ways to Succeed in Google News,” suggests that sites who engage in republishing content or posting scraped content from other sites shows that guest posting isn’t to blame. People are calling this the Newsgate Algorithm Update.
What’s Your Plan for 2019?
Did you get more leads from your website last year? If not, how do you plan to improve your traffic and conversion rates this 2019? A mix of on page SEO techniques, social, and content marketing usually work well for businesses in most industries.
If you’re not yet sure what to do, give us a call for a free consultation of your website’s SEO and digital marketing strategy. And don’t forget to come back next month for another dose of digital marketing updates.