Breaking Stories and Top Articles for April, 2015
It’s springtime! Don’t you love it? Students and professors are wrapping up another year’s work, birds are busy building fresh nests and getting ready for chicks, and the online world is popping like new growth on a spruce tree. Welcome to the “Time to Blossom” issue of News You Can Use! Let’s get at it. Here’s an overview of the news we think most important to online marketing this month. Did we miss one you think should have made the list? Let us know!
Topic: [highlight]Social Media Marketing [/highlight] Key Point: LinkedIn is paying over a billion bucks for Lynda.com! Watching Lynda grow over the years has been a joy. Members of the Stukent team love the “just-on-time” educational benefits of Lynda – and LinkedIn apparently thinks they are pretty special too. LinkedIn CEO, Jeff Weiner, sounds exactly like the founders of Stukent (and maybe most of our professors), saying: For well over two decades, I’ve been interested in helping to reform the education system. It was actually one of the reasons I went into business, specifically with the belief that one day I could hopefully have enough influence and resources to make a positive difference. This move, by one of the most influential social media channels anywhere, highlights the importance of online education today. For some fields (like internet marketing), up-to-date information isn’t just helpful – it is essential. Stukent congratulates LinkedIn and Lynda.com. We wish you continued success. A Note from Stu: Lynda’s founders began the project to augment their digital arts school’s teaching resources. They launched their first online public courses in 2002. Lynda is a true online success story – but don’t you dare thing they are the last! YOU can do the same: opportunity abounds. [line]
2. TWITTER PUSHES “DIRECT RELATIONSHIPS” FOR DATA FEEDS
Topic: [highlight]Twitter[/highlight] Key Point: Call it capitalism, call it protectionism, call it plain old “Smart business,” call it what you will – Twitter says they are going to “transition everyone receiving raw data for commercial use from other data resellers to a direct relationship with Twitter.” Projecting an August 2015 completion date for the move, ecosystem head, Zach Hofer-Shall, said this: After that transition is completed, companies using raw Twitter data for commercial use – to build products, to analyze internally, and to serve other commercial purposes – will need to have a direct relationship with Twitter. How will the move affect the end user’s quality of data and pricing structure? That would be a really good topic for discussion! Here’s the announcement: GNIP. [line]
Topic: [highlight]Online Advertising – AdWords[/highlight] Key Point: You can see the latest AdWords innovations for mobile, find out how analytics comes into play, and get an AdWords for mobile deep dive on May 5th, 2015, by registering for a Google Adwords Livestream right here. Smartphone users rely on mobile to perform daily tasks – shopping for shoes, baking a cake, finding a restaurant, and more. With a smartphone, the world really is in your hand. Consequently, says Google VP Jerry Dischler, consumers are now making decisions differently, and that “has created tremendous opportunities for marketers.” Considering Dischler’s assertion that the way we make purchasing decisions is changing – does that open up any discussion topics? It could be a course on its own! Here’s that announcement: Change. [line]
Topic: [highlight]Online Advertising – Google[/highlight] Key Point: Google says the internet needs to be a safer place to do business. To that end, they are pushing HTTPS-encryption in a big way. From YouTube ads to mobile and desktop, Google says we are going to see across-the-board HTTPS by June 30, 2015. What question does that raise in your mind? Here’s a hint: SEO. In August of last year, Google announced that HTTPS was now a “very lightweight” ranking signal. Does the current push to get their own offerings compliant indicate that emphasis may soon be increasing? What does it take to get a website HTTPS compliant? Remember: Spring is a time for growth – and one of the best ways to grow in knowledge is to trade ideas and observations with others. [line]
Topics: [highlight]Online Advertising – Bing[/highlight] Key Point: Bing is rolling out a new campaign type within Bing Ads. Bing Shopping Campaigns is Microsoft’s attempt to make the advertiser’s job more efficient – and maybe even relieve Google of some market share. Benefits, say Bing, include better control of ads, deeper analytics potential, the ability to pull your Google AdWords campaigns directly into Bing Ads, and support for APIs. If you don’t want to wait until the feature is available to every advertiser, you can request beta participation by letting your Bing account manager know you want in on the beta test. [line]
Topic: [highlight]Mobile SEO[/highlight] Key Point: Google says mobile search will (soon) no longer display bare URL information, but will return a more user-friendly rendition of website information. Announcing the change (April 16, 2015), Google software engineer, Bartlomiej Niechwiej, teamed up with his product manager to roll out the new look (see below). Moreover, that same announcement pointed to schema.org as the place to get structured data support to help the bots present the information you deem most appropriate. Right now, the launch is for U.S. users only. Here’s a look at the new formatting, courtesy of Google. Why should you care? By using schema to tell Google HOW you would like search results for your websites presented, you can influence branding and click-through rates. [line]
7. LOCAL SEARCH RESULTS PUTTING ADS OVER KNOWLEDGE?
Topic: [highlight]Local SEO[/highlight] Key Point: Local search specialist, Linda Buquet, kicked off a round of loud moans and SEO doomsday prophecies with her observation that Google searches on the words “Dentist” and “Chiropractor” returned ads filling the top and side, with the map and local info moved to the lower right – below the fold. While it may SEEM that Google is making a radical change in the way search results are shown, there has been no official word from Mountain View – and chances are much greater that Google is only conducting tests to gauge the effect on click-throughs when the Knowledge Graph components are not shown in a prime location. What do you think about this development? Back in 2010, dental SEO folks were jumping up and down about prominent positioning on the SERP (search engine results page). Looks like some of that ground may be lost – at least temporarily. Here’s a link to Linda’s post: OUCH! The test may be completed by the time you read this, but to take a look for yourself, run a search on “physician” and note the location of the map and local results listings. Then search for “chiropractor” and see if the layout changes. I’ll bet Googlers have fun messing with things like that and watching people run around in a frenzy, certain that SEO is coming to an end. Note from Stu: The real lesson here is that things DO change. SEO practitioners must be constantly vigilant and ready to make adjustments to whatever comes down the pike. That’s why we publish this article every month: WE stay up with the news, and we are convinced that you should too! [line]
Topic: [highlight]Email Marketing[/highlight] Key Point: Most of us have multiple email accounts – one for work, one for school, one for home, one for business, one for sign-ups – wouldn’t it be great to collect them all in one mobile email app? Google says their Gmail app for Android will now do that for you … EVEN if you are using Yahoo or Outlook mail. The new “All Inboxes” option for Android blends all your inboxes into one. Announcing the update, Google says the Conversation view feature is maintained, auto-complete has been improved, animations are more responsive, attachment previews are larger, and you can now save to Drive with one tap. If you already have Gmail on Android, but don’t see the change … time for an update. How will this help email marketing? The simpler reading mail is for your prospect, the more likely the mail will get read. [line]
Topic: [highlight]Web Analytics[/highlight] Key Point: Google Tag Manager is one helpful tool. With properly implemented tag-code, you can track visitor behavior, figure out what’s working and what isn’t, and generally work towards site and strategic optimization. Google’s analytics advocate, Krista Seiden, announced the release of a new section in the Solutions Guide – focused on helping users get the most from Tag Manager. Promises for the new resources include helping you learn:
- When and why to use Google Tag Manager
- Best practices for naming conventions and setup tips
- When to choose the Data Layer or the Tag Manager UI
- How to implement GA event tracking, custom dimensions & cross-domain tracking
- How to setup AdWords, Doubleclick, and Dynamic Remarketing tags in GTM
Tags are crucial to internet marketing analytics. Improperly applied, though, they can bog down a site and waste time. The new Solutions Guide section will come in handy. Check it out here: Help! *bonus One more news flash that may be of increasing interest: This month, the European Commission served Google with a Statement of Objections, saying Google “has abused its dominant position in the markets for general internet search services in the European Economic Area (EEA) by systematically favouring its own comparison shopping product in its general search results pages.” [line] THAT’S ALL for April News You Can Use. As always, if you know of something we missed, let us know in the Comment section below. By the way… does it seem to you that Google dominated this month’s report? Here’s why: The latest stats say Google sites pull about 2/3 of U.S. search traffic. Moreover, their free tool offerings are industry standards. It will be interesting to see how that situation pans out. A U.S. commission investigated Google a few years back, but found no reason to proceed with charges. Happy spring! Be a Stukent field observer: When you find a news tip, send it in. Let’s help one another stay current. The internet won’t slow down for us … we have to keep up!