Mark Oliver. Gordon Carslaw. Laura Shields. Joannie McLellan. Megan Reid.
This week, we're taking a look at the business end of digital marketing and social media, with a bit of fun thrown in! Mark and Gordon delve into Google's Data Studio and Search Console, Joannie discusses the impact of user experience on SEO, while Laura discusses Facebook's Workplace and Megan covers GIPHYCAM.
Google Introduces Data Studio to the UK
Recent news that has caught the attention of the Dog Insights & Analytics team is Google rolling out the free version of its Data Studio platform to the UK. First announced at the beginning of this year, Data Studio had been available in the US since May. So, what is it?
Well it’s a reporting tool that combines data from Google Analytics, AdWords, YouTube plus any non-Google property where stats can be exported to Google Sheets, and presents it in an easy-to-read, visual format.
The rationale behind Data Studio appears to be to make it easier for SMBs to analyse their key web stats - let’s face it, Google Analytics can be overwhelming if you’re not accustomed to spending hours studying web data.
Those familiar with Google Sheets will notice similarities in terms of the collaboration and sharing options. Google Sheets removed the need to attach spreadsheets to emails, and Data Studio does the same with analytics reports. Multiple users can edit the report, and when complete it can simply be shared with relevant stakeholders. When the template has been created, it essentially becomes a dashboard that can be refreshed as required with the latest key stats.
This is very much an entry level release. Those looking for a more heavy-duty visual analytics package would be looking more at the premium version of Data Studio, which is available as part of Google Analytics 360. I can’t see the free version replacing some of the monthly reports we send to clients for example, but for weekly snapshots and ad-hoc daily updates I think this could be a useful new tool, and should empower small businesses and those who struggle with Google Analytics to get involved.
Mark Oliver, Insights & Analytics Manager
Sitelinks Demotion feature removed from Google Search Console
In October 2007, Google introduced a Sitelink Demotion setting onto its Google Search Console platform. Nine years on and developments in Google’s algorithms has led to Google deciding to shut it down and will no longer feature on Google Search Console.
The news came this week on Google Webmasters Google+ page. In the past the ‘Demote Sitelinks’ setting would allow you to control what appeared in front of the user in search. You could choose specific URL’s that you didn’t want to show in the featured sitelinks section within the search results. Sitelinks at the sub links that sit under a search result snippet in Google.
This announcement may anger some people as webmasters will lose control of what will be displayed but Google’s reason for the change is to “simplify things” and searches will only show relevant content that will be useful for those who are searching on Google. Google said:
“algorithms have gotten much better at finding, creating and showing relevant sitelinks, and so we feel it’s time to simplify things. We only show sitelinks for results when we think they’ll be useful to the user. If the structure of your site doesn’t allow our algorithms to find good sitelinks, or we don’t think that the sitelinks for your site are relevant for the user’s query, we won’t show them. This process is completely automated. Sitelinks have evolved into being based on traditional web ranking, so the way to influence them is the same as other web pages”.
To ensure that sitelinks you don’t want to show don’t, Google have listed 3 best practices:
- Provide a clear structure to your site using relevant internal links, and anchor text that’s informative, compact and avoids repetition.
- Allow Google to crawl and index important pages within the site. Use Fetch and Render to check that they can be rendered properly.
- If you need to remove a page from search completely, use a “noindex” robots meta tag on that page.
Gordon Carslaw, Digital Marketing Executive
Facebook Workplace Aims to Take over Work Emails
Early this week, just one week after the launch of new feature Marketplace, Facebook introduced Workplace. The feature is available to any company or organisation!
Workplace has all features of Facebook along with the disappearance of advertising posts and does not feature in app games. It is a platform for communication between colleagues, whether they are from the same office or from different parts of the world. Translation is also popular on Facebook and will make it easier to communicate internationally. As well as the original Facebook features, Workplace introduces new ones such as ‘Multi-Company Groups’ which allows employees from different organisations to collaborate.
Employees are able to sign into Workplace separately from their personal Facebook account in order to catch up on what’s happening in the company or within teams. The project director believes that this presents everybody in an organisation with a voice and makes for a more productive workplace. Read his interview with Mashable here.
Laura Shields, Media Coordinator
Low Quality User Experience Becomes Focus for SEO
It has been reported that User Experience is becoming more of a focus for SEO with Google rolling out even more quality updates to ensure that the user comes first. Sites with a variety of "low quality user experience" problems have noticed a sharp drop in organic visibility.
Some of the "low quality" user experience factors include blocked content, aggressive popups and deception of content ( ie. Ads that are made to look like the main content). It seems that Google can identify barriers to usability and the negative impact those barriers have on user engagement.
It is thought that not only will Google be looking at low quality user experience factors but that dwell time on pages will also be a key indicator. Very low dwell time is a powerful signal to Google that users were not happy with the result and will be a key indicator of low user experience.
For more information on Google's Algorithm Changes visit Moz.
Joannie McLellan, Search Marketing Executive
GIPHY ramps up to take on Snapchat
If 2015 was the year of the emojis, 2016 has definitely been the year of the Gifs. King of gifs GIPHY has been integrated with Facebook and Twitter for some time, and with the recent iOS update it is now also integrated with iMessage.
Just under a year ago Giphy launched their GIPHYCAM app, which aenabled users to create there own gifs, shot on their mobile phones, while adding fun stickers and filters. Just this week, they have upped their game again, and have now added facetracking- a feature very similar to Snapchat.
What sets GIPHYCAM apart is the strange and cool filter options and stickers, which are arguably more creative and ‘hipster’ than Snapchat’s current offering. GIPHYCAM also allows you to opt in to receive updates on when the latest new filters are out, capitalizing on the constant need to try a new snapchat filter - so you can be the first to have the new cute dog lense as a profile picture!
It will be interesting to see how GIPHYCAM fares and changes in the coming months, and if it makes the jump like Instagram from a photo editing app, to a photo sharing app. Check it out here!
Megan Reid, Digital Marketing Co-ordinator
That's it on the latest news and announcements that have caught the eyes of our marketing team this week. As ever, if you have any comments or questions, feel free to tweet us or hit us up on Facebook!