With so much going on in the world at the moment, the digital marketing industry is having to adapt more than ever, which means there have been a lot of developments in the sector over June 2020.
Google has been working hard to ensure businesses have all the tools they need to keep their customers informed as well as continuing to release new features to make internet users’ browsing experience more convenient. We also saw SEO tool provider SEMrush having to backpedal on a new service as it breached Google’s guidelines, while certain businesses began the process of boycotting Facebook by removing their ads.
Here, we’re going to delve deeper into all of these stories and outline how they could affect you and your business.
SEMrush backpedals on guest blogging
At the beginning of June, SEMrush — which offers SEO tools that a lot of digital marketers use — came under scrutiny, as people began to discover that the company was essentially selling links. As any seasoned digital marketer will know, this is against Google’s guidelines.
One concerned Twitter user posted about the situation, and the platform responded to say: “We create this unique article and place a backlink to your URL, as well as other content like research type or so on to be as natural as possible. So what we offer is absolutely legal white hat link building tactic.”
Google’s very own John Mueller responded:
That’s an unnatural link – the kind the webspam team might take action on. https://t.co/kfQQithCnK & https://t.co/q5GmAxx2YM have more. Making sure the links use rel=nofollow / rel=sponsored would still allow sites to get visibility without having to worry about manual actions.
— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) June 3, 2020
So, clearly, this wasn’t as white hat as SEMrush might have thought, which just goes to show that even industry-leading experts can get it wrong at times. They have since paused this service, and you can learn more about how they plan to proceed in a statement that they sent to Search Engine Land.
Google My Business offered more flexibility with opening hours
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of physical stores have had to tweak their opening times. Perhaps you’ve added a special shopping period for the elderly and vulnerable, or your opening times might be quite erratic due to a reduced workforce and the need to abide by government guidelines. To help with this, Google My Business listings now offer more flexibility with opening times.
As there’s so much uncertainty at the moment, it’s vital that you’re providing your customers with as much information as possible, and taking advantage of these new flexible opening times could really help you to do so. Simply log in to your Google My Business account and find the “more hours” section, which will allow you to add information about the different shopping periods you’re offering.
You can also check out our blog post on how to get the most out of your Google My Business listing if you would like to make some further improvements while you’re there.
Google rolls out content highlighting for Featured Snippets
After a few years of testing, Google has launched a feature that highlights a section of content on a webpage, depending on the Featured Snippet you’ve clicked on.
For example, if you’re researching what percentage of the UK’s construction workforce is made up of women, here’s the Featured Snippet you might see:
This could be very beneficial for publishers who consistently publish long-form content, because the performance of longer articles and guides is likely to be improved by people being taken straight to the piece of information they’re looking for. This should reduce bounce rates and help to keep internet users happy.
Brands remove ads from Facebook as part of #StopHateForProfit campaign
A survey conducted by the World Federation of Advertisers has found that around a third of advertisers are likely to join a month-long Facebook boycott by withholding their ad budgets. A further 40% are considering doing so. Many companies feel that the social media platform hasn’t been doing enough to fight hate speech spread by its users and have decided this is the best way to make their positions clear.
There are some very big names among those who intend to halt their advertising on Facebook, including Ford, Adidas, and Unilever. Others, such as Starbucks and Coca-Cola, have paused all of their social media advertising, but haven’t yet affiliated themselves with the official Stop Hate For Profit campaign.
While we initially only saw US companies taking a stand against Facebook, the movement has now started to spread much further. For example, British drinks brand Britvic has revealed it intends to pause all Facebook advertising next month, and both Honda and Ford Europe are said to be joining the charge.
Losing this much advertising is sure to be a huge hit for the social media platform, and time will tell whether it spurs the company on to take stronger action against those spreading hate speech online.
Google releases latest webspam report
On 9 June, Google released its latest webspam report, which explains how they fought against Search spam over the last year. In it, they reveal that 25 billion of the pages they come across every day are categorised as spam, and identifying these has helped them to ensure 99% of visits from their search engine results pages offer spam-free experiences.
The company also noted that their systems have caught more than 90% of link spam and techniques such as paying for or exchanging links have been made less effective.
The release of this report is a huge reminder that you should abide by Google’s guidelines or risk being penalised by increasingly sophisticated spam-detection systems. The Google Webmaster Community is always there to answer your questions or help you troubleshoot any issues you’re dealing with to ensure you don’t do anything that could be detrimental to your Google rankings. And, if you would like some expert help, our organic search team can help you to improve your SEO without using any black-hat methods that might get you in trouble.
You’re now up to date with all of the biggest developments in the digital marketing industry from June 2020. If you would like any help with your digital marketing campaigns, our SEO, affiliate marketing, and paid search teams can help. Or, if you would like more frequent news updates, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, where we talk about changes in the industry on a daily basis.