September 2021 News You Can Use

From Googles report on search improvements to Facebook’s release of information on widely-reviewed content — and a whole lot of digital marketing news in between — this issue of Stukent’s News You Can Use packs enough punch to set your digital marketing mind reeling.

We challenge you to check out the news below and not get excited. If you can do that, you might seriously consider changing your career choice to something less dynamic and fun. Study Latin, perhaps, or maybe consider monitoring inventory at an antique store (just kidding).

Let’s go!


Topic: SEO

Key Point: The Google How Search Works site released a report revealing that 4,500 search improvements were made in 2020 alone. For perspective, Google reported just 350-400 search changes just 11 years prior.

For coverage of the announcement, see this Search Engine Land article, then be sure to visit the newly-updated How Search Works portal. The mission, says Google, “is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful … [and] it starts with Google Search.”


Topic: Digital Marketing | Ecommerce | Retail Marketing

Key Point: Multiple sources are reporting the (apparently leaked) news that Amazon plans to open department stores in the United States. The strategy would add further reach to the company’s distribution of products like household goods, electronics, and clothing. First locations expected are Ohio and California, and the space expectancy for each is a relatively small 30,000 square feet. Find out more in this Forbes article: Amazon Disrupts Retail (Again).

But wait. There’s more.

Walmart’s new media business, Walmart Connect, is committed to “connecting brands and our more than 150 million weekly customers at scale using innovative ad solutions.” The three-point strategy will “provide more holistic ad campaigns,” introduce ”Omni capabilities,” and expand offsite marketing via the new Walmart DSP (demand-side platform).

Isn’t this an interesting combination? Amazon is pushing retail and Walmart is pushing digital. Where marketers once saw brick and mortar versus online, the picture is getting a bit more clear … and it includes both.


Topic: SEO | eCommerce

Key Point: Google/Alphabet grew advertising revenue by 70 percent during the second quarter of 2021. That’s a fairly good indicator that digital marketers would do well to keep up with search marketing tactics. One thing we know for sure, though: digital marketing is an ever-changing field of endeavor. And that’s why this article covering five of the latest advancements by Google and Bing should be on your reading list.

The five changes covered include a new Google search feature, new Google Data insights, an often overlooked tool, TensorFlow Ranking changes, and features recently introduced by Bing.

Are you serious about digital marketing? Since you’re reading Stukent’s News You Can Use, we’re guessing you are. Kudos! Here’s a quote to remember: “The difference between good and excellent is ten percent more effort.” Are you up to the challenge?


Topic: SEO | Social Media Marketing

Key Point: YouTube is rolling out a major update: the platform is adding a search function to the automatic chapter segmentation feature implemented this summer. The development will give viewers a way to quickly find the section of a video containing information they specifically want to see.

The new search capability isn’t yet available to all YouTube creators, but the tide does seem to be headed in that direction. Savvy digital marketers who learn to leverage chapter segmentation with search engine optimization could be way ahead of the pack by getting up to speed on the topic. Here’s an excellent place to begin: A New SEO Consideration.


Topic: SEO | Ecommerce

Key Point: SEO practitioners have long known that Google Search results often don’t show the webmaster-designated description (and now even the title) of their content on the search engine results page. The method for determining how your listing appears to searchers, says Google, is changing.

Here’s how Google puts it:

While we’ve gone beyond HTML text to create titles for over a decade, our new system is making even more use of such text. In particular, we are making use of text that humans can visually see when they arrive at a web page. We consider the main visual title or headline shown on a page, content that site owners often place within <H1> tags or other header tags, and content that’s large and prominent through the use of style treatments.

That announcement kicked off a conversation firestorm among SEOs. Should you change your titles to match the ones Google prefers? How can you check to see which of your pages is affected? Is there a way to provide feedback to Google concerning the change?

You’ll find all those answers (and more) in the following list of suggested articles.


Google Confirms the SERP Change

Google Says the Change Won’t Impact SERP Rankings

John Mueller’s Response to the Issue

Four Tools to Check for Title Changes

Access the Title Complaint Thread

DISCUSSION IDEA: What can digital marketers do to maintain control over their titles and descriptions?


Topic: Social Media 

Key Point: Instagram released a deeper dive into their earlier description of how Instagram Search works. The article focuses on how the platform ranks search results, how Instagram helps you rank higher in search, how they protect search results from black hat operators, and how Instagram plans to make their search function even better.

The report is a little sparse, perhaps, but it definitely provides helpful information for digital marketers. You’ll find Instagram ranking signals listed by level of importance, tips on leveraging those signals for better ranking, and Instagram’s recommended best practices.

To take your study further, check the Instagram Recommendations Guidelines and Community Guidelines. You can create the best content ever, but if you fail to optimize your SEO parameters, the number of Instagram users who see it are likely to be far fewer.


Topic: SEO | Ecommerce

Key Point: Outdated content can hurt your brand. It can make you look out of touch, tarnish your SEO efforts, provide an incorrect phone number to your customers, promote discontinued products — and generally serve up headaches you don’t need.

There are two places that content can appear, though: On a site you control and on a site you don’t control. Now what?

Semrush covers the topic well and introduces a Google feature you may not have yet heard about: The Removals tool. Along the way, you’ll gain perspective on when and why you should be concerned about outdated content, when NOT to remove content, and exactly how to go about the process — including image removal. This article is well worth reading, even if you think you don’t need the information right now.

DISCUSSION IDEA: Check the Content Audit tool mentioned in the article. How can you use it to help discover outdated content?


Topic: Social Media Marketing

Key Point: Facebook’s Q2 2021 report is out, and it contains a potential gold mine of information many digital marketers are drooling over right now. Would it help your social media marketing efforts to know the kinds of posts most likely to be seen in News Feed? How about a direct look at the most widely viewed content, domains, links, posts, and Pages?

All of that and more is yours when you click here.

Facebook wants to be more transparent. The company says it will “expand the scope” of the report and will publish it every quarter along with the Community Standards Enforcement Report. By the way, what was the top domain seen on Facebook during the reporting period? Was it NBC News? CNN? Twitter? The answer is “None of those.” Go find out. You may or may not be surprised.

DISCUSSION IDEA: How can digital marketers best leverage this new Facebook report to boost sales? Is the information too general to be helpful? Or are there nuggets of insight there just waiting to be mined?

Guess What’s Headed Our Way Soon

If you created a holiday marketing “swipe file” (the one we recommended in the August issue of News You Can Use), are you beginning to see why that tactic is useful? If you’ve not yet implemented that suggestion, you’re not too late — but you should get it going now.

What is headed our way soon? 

Get ready for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, and best of all: Christmas Day. Not even a global pandemic can stop the joy (and the spending) every holiday season provides. Don’t wait. Do what marketing experts around the globe are doing right now: Prepare.


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