Life in the digital marketing world changes quickly. That’s why we’ve started rounding up the biggest industry changes you need to know – month by month. August was a cracker with a Google algorithm update rolled out and plenty of new capabilities within Google Analytics added.
Here are the top six August SEO, PPC and digital advertising updates you need to know!
1. Heard of the Medic Update? A big Google algorithm update rolled out on August 1
There is always a huge hype surrounding Google algorithm updates. As stated by Google, this was a routine broad core algorithm update. These happen about several times per year, and their advice always remains consistent – there is no quick fix for any ranking fluctuations. You simply need to remain focused on building great content!
It appears that health, diet, nutrition and your money your life websites were most affected by the August algorithm update. Our focus at Alpha remains simply on building better content than your competitors.
All Google updates are focused on providing a better search experience, so that’s why we’re continuing to place a strong focus on using content marketing strategies that demonstrate your expertise, authoritativeness and trust.
2. Google Signals Beta was released
Google Analytics rolled out Google Signals in its Beta version. This gives you a much clearer picture of how customers interact with your website across mobile, desktop and tablet.
It has previously been difficult for marketers to be able to visualise this customer journey. Data has also been session based, rather than user based. So, a visit from one person on mobile and then on desktop just showed up as two sessions, rather than as one user on two different devices.
Now with cross-device reporting, we can visualise this journey and target advertisements to users by devices. Let’s say most of your customers like to do their research on mobile and then make a purchase on a desktop.
In this scenario, we can now target advertisements to mobile to capture customers during their research phase. Now we just love to optimise results and spend, so needless to say – we’re excited!
Stay tuned for our upcoming blog post on everything else we can do with Google Signals data!
3. Expanded text ads
Google introduced some changes to expanded text ads in August, allowing advertisers more room to convey messages in their ad text. This update means you can:
- Add a third headline
- Add a second description and,
- Use up to 90 characters for each description
In addition to these updates, expanded text ads allow the display URL to include two optional “Path” fields. These fields are added to the display URL after your website’s domain and mean that you can add text that will help people who see your ad get a better sense of where they will be taken when they click on the ad.
4. Google launched a combined link report in the new Google Search Console
Google has been progressively moving their reports from the old to the new interface of Google Search Console. The external and internal links reports have now been moved across and combined into one more accurate, user-friendly report.
A great new feature of this report is that you can download the latest links. This provides a snapshot of the new links you might have earned in your recent content and PR backlink campaigns.
Backlinks remain to be one of the most important SEO ranking factors, alongside great content! Backlinks basically represent a vote of confidence from one site to another. It’s a little bit like high school. The most popular kids had the highest number of cool friends, right?
It’s always a good time to create high-quality content and promote the hell out of it so that other reputable websites decide to link back to you. The more high-quality links you have, the higher your domain authority. (We like to call it link juice!)
The new link report in search console will be a great first point of call for assessing your linking strategy.
5. Glimpse multiple aspects of a topic with a single search.
Google has further enhanced the search experience by giving users the ability to sift through subtopics. Barry Schwartz has aptly coined them as “Expandable Featured Snippets.”
Imagine that you are searching for quartz vs granite countertops. Now you will see the best answer for that query highlighted in a featured snippet, alongside a drop down of subtopics like costs, benefits, weight and durability.
Google guides searchers with common, useful aspects of the topic. That means you can sift through the available information on the web, without having to conduct multiple searches.
How to get your content in these featured snippets?
Google automatically generates them based on their understanding of these content topics from the web. So, it’s the same story – continue providing the best answers on the web to people searching for the problems you solve!
6. Google Analytics now shows Google Image Search Referrer Data
You can now better track Google images traffic to your website. Google has changed the referrer URL for Google Image search, to provide a new level of segmentation in your marketing analysis.
All your regular search and image search traffic used to be grouped together. However, now you will see the two separate traffic sources in the Google Analytics acquisition reports like this:
By comparing Google Organic traffic to Google Images traffic, we can get a better understanding of the value of your google images. You can also segment and create audiences based on Google Images versus Google search across the Google Marketing Platform. That paves the way for a better spend on your advertising and site optimisation.
Unsure of how to get your images to show up in the Google Images search? Start alt tagging! Alt tags tell Google what is actually in your image so that it can display it in the relevant search results.
Want to know more about how to use the latest updates and insights to raise your visibility online?
Get in touch with one of our digital marketing experts today!