The past few days saw the digital marketing world awaken from its post-holiday slumber and really put out some eye-opening stats.
Tag Archive for: Google Updates
This past year has been an intense one, to say the least. But we’re finally nearing the end, and we’re ready to set our sights on 2017! Of course, in order to make appropriate assumptions about what will occur next year, we have to look back at some of the notable digital marketing predictions that came true this year.
Throughout 2016, we saw a rise in voice search queries, Google’s Penguin algorithm began updating in real-time, mobile-friendly sites continued to be rewarded, and so much more. Social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram expanded their arsenals, and AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology was such a favorite this year that Amazon was sold out of its Echo and Echo Dot devices at one point.
Since many of these popular trends are still pretty new, we can only expect them to continue to grow in the new year.
Below are some of our digital marketing predictions for the upcoming year
1. The shift from desktop-first to mobile-first will continue
Mobile search has always been an important component of SEO — and of digital marketing in general — so it’s no surprise that its role continues to grow as years pass. In 2015, Google released a mobile-friendly update to their search algorithm. Since this update, mobile-friendly websites have had the advantage over others when it comes to mobile rankings.
Today, many businesses are receiving more traffic from mobile search over desktop. In fact, Moz performed a study that showed 20 out of 24 industry niches note mobile as their primary source of web traffic. As technology progresses and Google continues to reward those with mobile-friendly sites over others, we have no doubt that the mobile-first trend will continue to rise and most likely overcome our desktop-first mentality.
2. Say hello to Progressive Web Apps
If the mobile-first shift comes to pass, it’s possible that the move towards PWAs will as well. Just as AMP (a code that optimizes mobile websites) took precedence in 2015 and 2016, PWAs, or Progressive Web Apps, may take center stage in 2017. Users are becoming less and less patient with page load speeds, and even a highly optimized site has trouble loading within 3 seconds. Enter: Progressive Web Apps.
They’re defined as user experiences that have the same capabilities as a web page, and are reliable, fast, and engaging. In other words, they allow a website/website page to work as if it were an app, without actually being an app. Although PWAs may not be suitable for every type of business, there are plenty that could benefit from them, such as content-heavy or real-time data sites, chat-related platforms, news outlets, and blogs.
As consumers yearn for safer, faster, and easier-to-use mobile-friendly websites, we can expect to see a greater prominence of Progressive Web Apps in 2017. They may even replace the use of separate mobile sites or apps entirely — but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
3. Live video will take over (at least with social media and content marketing)
Consumers have become accustomed to carrying around mobile devices and having practically anything they need right at their fingertips. Now, both brands and individuals have begun using livestreaming as a way to be more in-the-moment with their followers (capitalizing on that whole #FOMO trend of the last couple years).
In the past, brands chalked up their entire video marketing strategy to the hope that one of their videos would go viral. However, as video (live video, in particular) becomes a larger part of users’ everyday lives, brands are going to have to work on continuously creating quality video content.
Joe Pulizzi remarks on how video will become an important part of content marketing strategies in 2017 in an article for the Content Marketing Institute:
“It doesn’t take “Chewbacca Mom” to show us how big and important using video and having a visual storytelling strategy are…most brands [should begin] building a process and organization around the ongoing delivery of valuable information through video.”
As top platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat are incorporating live video, we can be sure we’ll see it grow in 2017.
4. Native advertising will flourish
Back in the good ol’ days, online advertising was defined by intrusive pop-up ads and annoying flashing sidebar ads. And it’s important to remember that most of those ads were irrelevant and spammy.
While there are still plenty of ads like this, native advertising has helped online ads become more user-friendly. And to ensure that users don’t click on unwanted ads, brands are required to clearly label these ads as such. Websites like BuzzFeed, Mashable, and even The New York Times offer sponsored content that relate the ads to content users are already interested in viewing.
Brands are also taking advantage of the native advertising potential on social media sites like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram. With Facebook pushing their Promoted posts and ads and Instagram releasing it’s “Shop Now” button, we’re sure to see more online native advertising in the coming year.
5. People are going to want to SEE the data
Data is key to knowing the who’s, what’s, when’s, why’s, and how’s of your marketing strategy. However, that doesn’t mean analyzing data is easy. In all honesty, it can be boring and immensely time-consuming when done properly. Even if you analyze data every day, digesting all those numbers can be tricky.
Thankfully, there are plenty of data visualization tools that can help. As technology evolves, so are visuals; and as more data visualization tools become available, the more businesses are going to start using them. In addition, as narrative content grows in popularity, the need for visual storytelling grows.
Keeping these technological and content marketing trends in mind, 2017 is probably just the beginning of the data visualization revolution.
While we don’t have a crystal ball to know exactly what 2017 will hold, we feel it’s safe to say there is a lot to look forward to. What are your digital marketing predictions for the upcoming year? Leave your thoughts in the comments — we’d love to hear ‘em!
When Onimod Global noticed significant changes in Google’s Possum updates two months ago, we knew big changes were on the way for our clients’ local search results. Read more
In Google Search, their goal is to help users quickly find the best answers to their questions, regardless of the device they’re using. Today, they’re announcing two upcoming changes to mobile search results that make finding content easier for users.
Simplifying mobile search results
Two years ago, they added a mobile-friendly label to help users find pages where the text and content was readable without zooming and the tap targets were appropriately spaced. Since then, they’ve seen the ecosystem evolve and they recently found that 85% of all pages in the mobile search results now meet this criteria and show the mobile-friendly label. To keep search results uncluttered, they’ll be removing the label, although the mobile-friendly criteria will continue to be a ranking signal. Google said “We’ll continue providing the mobile usability report in Search Console and the mobile-friendly test to help webmasters evaluate the effect of the mobile-friendly signal on their pages.”
Helping users find the content they’re looking for
Although the majority of pages now have text and content on the page that is readable without zooming, Google recently seen many examples where these pages show intrusive interstitials to users. While the underlying content is present on the page and available to be indexed by Google, content may be visually obscured by an interstitial. This can frustrate users because they are unable to easily access the content that they were expecting when they tapped on the search result.
Pages that show intrusive interstitials provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible. This can be problematic on mobile devices where screens are often smaller. To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.
Here are some examples of techniques that make content less accessible to a user:
- Showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.
- Displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.
- Using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.
Examples of interstitials that make content less accessible
By contrast, here are some examples of techniques that, used responsibly, would not be affected by the new signal:
- Interstitials that appear to be in response to a legal obligation, such as for cookie usage or for age verification.
- Login dialogs on sites where content is not publicly indexable. For example, this would include private content such as email or unindexable content that is behind a paywall.
- Banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible. For example, the app install banners provided by Safari and Chrome are examples of banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space.
Examples of interstitials that would not be affected by the new signal, if used responsibly
Google previously explored a signal that checked for interstitials that ask a user to install a mobile app. As they continued our development efforts, they saw the need to broaden our focus to interstitials more generally. Accordingly, to avoid duplication in our signals, Google removed the check for app-install interstitials from the mobile-friendly test and have incorporated it into this new signal in Search.
Remember, this new signal is just one of hundreds of signals that are used in ranking. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.
Mobile app, mobile website, desktop website — how do you track their combined visibility in search? Until now, you’ve had to track all of these statistics separately. Search Console is introducing the concept of “property sets,” which let you combine multiple properties (both apps and sites) into a single group to monitor the overall clicks and impressions in search within a single report.
It’s easy to get started:
- Create a property set
- Add the properties you’re interested in
- The data will start being collected within a few days
- Profit from the new insights in Search Analytics!
Property Sets will treat all URIs from the properties included as a single presence in the Search Analytics feature. This means that Search Analytics metrics aggregated by host will be aggregated across all properties included in the set. For example, at a glance you’ll get the clicks and impressions of any of the sites in the set for all queries.
This feature will work for any kind of property in Search Console. Use it to gain an overview of your international websites, of mixed HTTP / HTTPS sites, of different departments or brands that run separate websites, or monitor the Search Analytics of all your apps together: all of that’s possible with this feature.
Don’t just listen to us, here’s what we heard from one of the beta-testers:
It was one of my most important demands since the beginning of Webmaster Tools / Search Console. And I love the way it is given to us. I see that the remarks of beta-testers have also been understood by Google engineers. So thank you so much! — Olivier Andrieu (Abondance)
Google will be rolling this out over the next couple of days. If you have multiple properties verified in Search Console, we hope this feature makes it easier for you to keep track. If you have any questions, feedback, or ideas, visit Google in the webmaster help forum, or read the help documentation for this new feature!
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