24.02 - 1.03.2020 Week in Review
Starting today, we are launching a new series of weekly posts that will offer a roundup of the most important news from the previous week. The list will comprise news from the digital marketing world, as well as all the news we feel may be relevant for webmasters and website owners all over the world. Being informed about changes in these fields is the first step towards running a successful website and business.
Wordpress testing version 5.4 Beta 3 - 25.02.2020
The software is still in development but it can already be tested by Wordpress enthusiasts. The main novelty is the fact that this new version allows Wordpress website owners to see a site health score in their dashboard.
Read more on wordpress.org
Voice commerce could decline in 2020 - 25.02.2020
MediaPost published a report claiming that about 33% of consumers participating in a study say they will stop purchasing products using voice-enabled devices (like Amazon Alexa), due to privacy concerns. The study included 4000 online shoppers from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany and Sweden.
Better data exports from the Google Search Console - 26.02.2020
Some good news for website owners that are using the Search Console arrived Wednesday, February 26. The possibility to export data has evolved and it’s now a lot easier to download all your data about queries, pages, countries, devices and search appearance with just one click, all in the same dataset. Also, new filter options were added, that make it easier to find the most relevant data in your performance report.
These updates are especially relevant if you rely on Search Console to get an idea about what is leading users to your website. Currently, this is the only way to see the search queries that your website shows up for, and it should be part of the research that you base your digital marketing strategy on.
Visitor Analytics publishes an analysis of the best website builders - 26.02.2020
As a website analytics SaaS, Visitor Analytics works with many types of websites every day, most of which are built using website builders. With literally hundreds of options available for website owners, choosing the right builder can be as time consuming as creating the website itself.
Visitor Analytics tried to give some advice to those looking to build a new website and put together a list of the best 20+ website builders available in 2020, adding details such as pricing, level of flexibility and needed technical skills in order to work with them.
LinkedIn announces the testing of LinkedIn stories - 26.02.2020
We don’t have a lot of details at the moment, but LinkedIn official Pete Davies made abrief announcement that stories will be coming to LinkedIn, as a new, “lightweight” way to help users start work-related, productive conversations on the platform.
Apart from making the announcement, the purpose was to start a conversation with users, to understand their views on this. While some of them are saluting this new feature, others are worried about the quality of content being distributed. Could this backfire and turn LinkedIn from a professional platform to a place where people post stories about their cats? Hopefully not and, surely, this is not the intention. We will be keeping an eye on future developments.
The Michael Bloomberg presidential campaign puts Instagram to the test - 26.02.2020
The New York Times reports that several high-profile Instagram accounts posted sponsored content for Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign last Wednesday. While this is not newsworthy in itself (this is not the first time politicians invest in advertising on social media), the way it was done has raised some questions about unorthodox advertising.
The campaign largely relies on meme pages who do not disclose that the messages they post are sponsored. Many of these accounts flip from public to private, which means that followers must request to see the accounts and be approved by account owners. This also means that what is posted on them can escape public scrutiny and avoid the necessary disclosure on sponsored content. This new Instagram campaign tactic has made headlines last week and has prompted Facebook to find solutions to ensure that Instagram advertising only happens through the branded content tool.
Google Images shows new “recipe”, “product” and “video content” icons - 26.02.2020
The change has gone live already, as you can see in the screenshot. The top results in this example all have the “recipe” icon displayed. It shows extra information about the context in which an image is displayed. This could help users find the type of content that fits their search intentions and would potentially have some impact on Google Images click-through-rate. We have no official information yet about whether website owners can do anything to increase the odds of their images showing an icon in Google Images.
New structured data available for “how to” pages - 27.02.2020
The first page of Google search results has changed a lot lately, thanks to a constant push towards adding diverse SERP features to the established 10 links with meta descriptions. From featured snippets, knowledge cards, knowledge panels, the local pack, news boxes, related questions, shopping results to tweets and videos, the SERP is no longer just a list of the 10 most relevant links on a query.
Since February 27, there is another type of SERP feature your website could be displayed under: the “How-to”. This is a section with rich results that looks something like the one on the right.
In order for a website to have a chance of being displayed in the “how-to” rich content section, webmasters must add specific structured data to their content. For those not so familiar with what structured data means, it basically involves the production of a <script> that is meant to give more details, in an organized way, about the contents of a webpage. This is detected by the Google bot and it may impact the ranking of that page, as well as the possibility to be displayed in a rich-content area.
You can automatically generate the code for different types of pages using a tool such as a schema markup generator.
For the “how-to” structured data, please see the Google developers page, with examples for standard, image and video how-to rich results.
Google public profile cards being tested in India - 28.02.2020
Google has been looking for a way to easily replace Google+ profiles with something else. That “something” is now taking shape. Currently being tested in India, the profile cards will allow everybody to post a description of themselves and their activity, which will be the first result when somebody is doing a Google search that includes their name.
Although other results based on your name will not disappear from search results, it is very likely that the profile card will get a huge ratio of the clicks, therefore changing the way reputation management is being done on the web. It is not entirely clear how Google plans to safeguard this new feature from abuse and identity hijacking. We will likely find out more in the coming weeks.
Read more on Android Police
Amazon removes over 1 million items related to coronavirus - 28.02.2020
The coronavirus is affecting the world in more than one way. Apart from the victims of the virus itself, stock markets have been hit, travel plans have been canceled and panic has begun to play an important part in daily activities.
One side effect of the virus is the fact that many speculators have tried to take advantage of it by manipulating prices for products such as hand sanitizers and face masks. Prices for some of these rose by up to 1000%. Others have been trying to boost their online business by making false claims about their products, which would supposedly cure the virus or keep you safe from it. So much so, that more than 1 million cases of unlawful product promotion have been found on Amazon only.
To keep things in order and sanction speculators, Amazon removed their products from the platform last week.
Read more about this on Wired.com.
Google new “nofollow” rule doesn’t bring significant impact - 1.03.2020
The news about the fact that the rel=”nofollow” attribute will change has been around since September 2019, but only on 1 March 2020 did implementation actually begin. For those who are hearing about this for the first time: last autumn, Google released the information that it was changing the way the rel=”nofollow” attribute worked, as well as adding two other parameters for linking: rel=”ugc” and rel=”sponsored”. For more details about what these link rules do, see our glossary entries: follow url and nofollow link.
In very few words, rel=”nofollow” had been developed as a way of allowing webmasters to block the passing of authority to sites they were linking to. The reason for this was that many were using comments sections and forums to post spam links, looking to earn some authority from the domain where these sections were being hosted.
With the appearance of “nofollow”, there was nothing more to be gained in terms of SEO for those posting irrelevant spam comments.
Google still saw these links, but it disregarded their destination in terms of search engine authority.
But with several years gone by, webmasters started to over-use the rel=”nofollow” attribute and apply it to all outbound links, in order not to pass authority to any other websites. Google felt that, at least in some cases, this was unfair and that it kept them from seeing the whole picture of relevancy and authority.
This is why it decided that treating all “nofollow” situations in the same way was not up to standards anymore. For the initial problem of comment section spam you now have rel=”ugc” (stands for “user-generated content”).
The bigger implication was that Google might start to ignore the rel=”nofollow” element and take these links into account when calculating authority.
SEO experts and website owners all over the world had been anxiously waiting for the impact of this measure. But, from the first reports on the issue, as well as John Mueller’s comments, it looks like the impact of the change has been minimal so far, and Google is treating “nofollow” only as a “hint”.
Read more on SEO Roundtable