I hope you had an enjoyable holiday last week. As always, we are keeping close tabs on the digital marketing world to bring you the latest trends in SEO, social media, content marketing, and business.
This week’s news will clue you in on what you should write about starting 2018 and help you take action, so you don’t get affected by Google’s latest algorithm update.
The Latest Happenings in Social Media, SEO and E-commerce
1. Research Says Jumping on Trends doesn’t Work
BuzzSumo Director Steve Rayson’s research shows that the average shares for an article on a specific topic drops as more people write about it. As an example, he used the topic “Influencer Marketing” to show how the rise of published content about it has an inverse relationship with the number of Twitter shares each article on the topic receives.
Influencer marketing, the act of reaching to industry experts and thought leaders in the hopes of having them share your ideas and products to their audience was a novel concept three years ago. That’s why the people who first wrote about it were thought of as industry pioneers and experts. As the chart shows, they had some of the most social engagement per article. But things went downhill from there after other copycats jumped on the bandwagon.
Mark Schaefer refers to this trend as “content shock.” It’s similar to how blockchains and cryptocurrencies are trending but Bitcoin and a handful of cryptocurrency apps get the most of the market’s share, while others are struggling to get a foothold.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to avoid a subject because you’re not the first to write about it. Plenty of thought leaders have written about social media marketing since it boomed, but we and thousand others are still writing new content about it.
Stay true to your niche expertise but be prepared to put a bit more effort into the content you’re producing. Anticipate what’s next in your market, conduct experiments to prove your theories or advice, and seek out new technologies whenever possible. For digital marketing, that might mean AI, the battle against fake news, new social platforms, and the evolution of SEO.
2. Facebook to Use Related Articles instead of “Disputed” label in Fight against Fake News
About one year ago Facebook announced it would allow people to flag content suspected as fake news so that third-party fact checkers can verify its accuracy. Once deemed inaccurate, they label the article or link as “Disputed” on the social platform. Unfortunately, the strategy didn’t work, so they’re switching to another mode of attack.
The process, according to interviews and sources obtained by Bloomberg appears to be meticulous but the volume of flagged links was too much for a small team of fact checkers. It was inefficient.
Instead of “Disputed” flags, Facebook will add links to “Related articles” so users can find context about the disputed article and hopefully, read the evidence of what qualifies the article as fake news.
3. Google “Maccabees Update”
The SEO community noticed changes in the SERP rankings early in December and rumors of another massive update circulated. Barry Schwartz of SEO Roundtable named it the “Maccabees Update,” and Google confirmed it last December 20.
But Google’s statement didn’t clear things up, only that they released a couple of minor improvements as part of their continuous effort to improve the relevancy of search results.
Based on Schwartz’ review of affected websites, it looks like websites using multiple permutations of a keyword were the most affected. This includes websites that use the formula “keyword” + “location” and other keyword permutations.
“By far, the biggest bulk of sites that I saw got hit all had tons and tons of landing pages target massive arrays of keyword permutations. So for example, if they are a travel site, they would target all the destinations they service and also add landing pages for [destination sub name] + [activity name] and sometimes even go beyond that. If they were a service business, they would target [city name] + [service A] and then [city name] + [service B] and so on.” Barry Schwartz
Most of the sites affected, based on Schwartz compilation, were e-commerce, travel sites, review sites, and directories—the usual suspects when it comes to using multiple keyword permutations but we are researching how this might affect home improvement companies etc., that sometimes write very thin content for local town “SEO pages”.
4. Walmart and Google Team Up to Fight Amazon
Google backed Walmart’s bid to enter the e-commerce market last August, so together, they could rival e-commerce giant Amazon.
What would Google stand to gain by helping Walmart? Amazon shouldn’t threaten Google, a search engine that makes money from ads. But Google sells a lot of digital products that Amazon also does, like movies, books, and music.
Google Express, a same-day delivery service, is gearing up to rival Amazon Prime. They stopped asking users to pay for a subscription to increase their user base and added Walmart as an online shopping option to the website.
Walmart’s advantage over Amazon is that they have more physical stores, where customers can touch and examine the products before they buy them. Now, people don’t need to browse at Walmart then purchase at Amazon. They can browse at Walmart and shop later at their online store and get free two-day shipping if their order is more than $35. Time will tell how they will fare against Amazon.
5. Twitter Added More Notification Types
Several reports say Twitter is going down because of its stagnant growth and the rampant rise of trolling on the platform. Twitter’s third-quarter report for 2017 shows otherwise.
Twitter’s monthly active users (MAU) increased by 4 million since the second quarter of the year, a huge jump from their MAU during the third quarter of 2016.
This growth is the result of several initiatives, such as an algorithm change that highlighted tweets their users will likely engage with. A slew of new notifications and alerts were also deployed to encourage users to jump back in and engage with their followers.
Some people think the new notifications are borderline intrusive because Twitter is trying to catch people’s attention even if they didn’t engage with a tweet they received a notification for. On the other hand, some of the updates could be relevant to the user, like location-specific updates about an earthquake, or a political march.
Get Ready for 2018
Welcome to 2018, another year that promises new trends and shakeups in the digital marketing world. You can either dismiss those changes or try them out to see if they work. Experimenting with new apps and marketing strategies is okay, and a healthy way to foster innovation in your company.