Good morning, Marketers, and welcome to Q2.
I hope you met and exceeded your Q1 search marketing KPIs and OKRs. They might have been much different this year than last, but with the COVID vaccine rolling out, we may have a somewhat normal Q2 2021. I think. I wish. I hope.
We’ve all probably learned about SMART goals before (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound). But if you’re past SMART, here are some alternatives for your Q2 KPIs:
- FAST: Frequently discussed, Ambitious, Specific and Transparent
- PACT: Purposeful, Actionable, Continuous and Trackable
- DUMB: Dream-driven, Uplifting, Method-friendly and Behavior-driven
- HARD: Heartfelt, Animated, Required and Difficult
No matter your metrics acronym, I hope you’re well on your way to search marketing success already.
Director of Search Content
Reputation attack sites have plummeted in Google, but can still harm
Reputation-harming sites have long positioned themselves as admirable venues for consumer complaints while hosting unverified content that is often damaging to organizations and individuals. However, these sites still can (and do) appear prominently at times in search results where they can severely harm business and personal reputations.
Reputation attack sites dropped in search rankings.
- Ripoff Report declined in rankings with the Medic Update in 2018.
- Complaints Board also saw a decline following one of the Medic Update(s) in 2018, although they regained some rankings a few months later through the next year, up until plummeting once again shortly after the September 2019 Core Update.
- Pissed Consumer dropped at the 2018 Medic Update, and then again following the September 2019 Core Update.
But they can still harm businesses. Despite these sites’ decline in rankings, their pages can still appear very prominently in search results for some individuals’ and businesses’ names. Ripoff Report does not allow one to remove complaint reviews. Ever. By contrast, many more moderate review websites (Such as Yelp, YP.com and BBB) will allow post authors to update or remove reviews they have published, or tend to be more responsive when presented with evidence that contents are false.
What can a business or person do if a false review is published on these sites?
- Own your web properties. While Google has stepped down the innate advantage of an exact-match domain name, the name should closely match the words people search, because this continues to help in making it easier to rank for name matches.
- Optimize your social profiles. Set up a Twitter account and develop it out by connecting with other users who have similar interests and post frequently. Businesses and organizations should have Facebook pages that are developed out and optimized in the sense that the page names will closely match the subject’s name.
- Start a YouTube channel. Videos remain one of the best types of content out there for advantageous ranking potential on Google.
Friendly reminder: Your YoY reporting might be funky
If you’re pulling annual reporting for March this week, it’s likely going to look a little wonky, Chris Long of Go Fish Digital and Kirk Williams of Zato reminded both SEOs and PPCers on LinkedIn. March 2020 was the first month where pretty much everyone across the globe was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, so you may have seen huge dips or huge increases as we all adjusted to what we thought would be our two weeks of work from home.
Study: Android sends 20x more data to Google than iOS sends to Apple
While both operating systems send user data to their parent companies, new data from Irish researcher Douglas Leith found that Google’s mobile OS collects 20 times more than Apple’s.
“At startup, an Android device sends Google about 1MB of data, compared with iOS sending Apple around 42KB. When idle, Android sends roughly 1MB of data to Google every 12 hours, compared with iOS sending Apple about 52KB over the same period. In the US alone, Android collectively gathers about 1.3TB of data every 12 hours. During the same period, iOS collects about 5.8GB,” wrote Dan Goodin for Ars Technica.
Google disputes the findings, saying the methods for measurement were not accurate: “This research largely outlines how smartphones work. Modern cars regularly send basic data about vehicle components, their safety status and service schedules to car manufacturers, and mobile phones work in very similar ways. This report details those communications, which help ensure that iOS or Android software is up to date, services are working as intended, and that the phone is secure and running efficiently.”
Leith disagrees, writing that “data collection by both OSes is concerning because it’s readily linked to a user’s name, email address, payment card data, and possibly to other devices the user has. What’s more, the constant connections to back-end servers necessarily reveals the IP address of the device and, by extension, the general geographic location of the user.”
Why we care. As Google introduces FLoC on Chrome and Apple’s new IDFA iOS update makes users opt-in to cross-app tracking, privacy is top of mind for consumers. Data like this has the potential to make audiences even more cautious about big tech companies and protection of their online privacy. Advertisers have to walk a fine line between protecting the data of consumers we target and making sure our ads are relevant to them. Moves like this, if true, show consumers that Google may not be as trusted a partner when it comes to data protection.
Web vitals, PPC trends, and Snapchat resources for marketers
SEO: The science behind Web Vitals. Web Vitals is an initiative by Google to help business owners, marketers and developers alike identify opportunities to improve user experiences. Check out their explanation behind the user experience initiative. It’s an oldie but a goody for SEOs and devs ahead of the Core Web Vitals update.
PPC: Key trends in PPC, reporting and analytics in 2021 and beyond. There’s no question that companies across the globe rely on digital advertising to help keep their businesses afloat. This is even more true in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic as consumers are more online than ever before. But as we venture toward a vaccine, there’s still an indication that trends begat by COVID won’t go away anytime soon and may even become our “new normal.”
Social: Snapchat launches back-to-school resources for marketers. As more vaccines roll out, students are headed back to in-person classes. If your brand targets back-to-school shoppers, Snapchat is here to help. Their new Back to School resource center for marketers includes insights into how students use the platform, trends among that audience, and case studies to help student-focused brands reach their target audience.
Facebook’s POV — You and the algorithm: It takes two to tango
In a long-form essay on Medium, Facebook’s Vice President of Global Affairs, Nick Clegg makes the case that, unlike the dystopian portrayal of the social media platform in recent documentaries, articles, and books — YOU are mostly responsible for what shows up on your feeds.
“The personalized ‘world’ of your News Feed is shaped heavily by your choices and actions. It is made up primarily of content from the friends and family you choose to connect to on the platform, the Pages you choose to follow, and the Groups you choose to join. Ranking is then the process of using algorithms to order that content,” Clegg argues.
The piece is published after big tech giants Google, Facebook, and Twitter testified last week about their roles in the insurrection at the Capitol at the beginning of the year. Lawmakers went after the leaders of the three companies for not monitoring extremist misinformation and conspiracy theories that led to the deadly attack.
Clegg writes that Facebook has community standards and actively works to reduce the distribution of misleading content. He adds that studies show that misinformation in the 2020 U.S. election was actually driven by cable news, with social media only playing a secondary role.
The Medium piece also serves as an announcement for Facebook’s new “Feed Filter Bar” which will allow users to toggle between content ranked for them by the social media platform’s algorithm and the most recent updates between the people, places, and groups they follow.
On the marketing side of things, what do you think? Is this too simple an explanation of how social media algorithms work? Should Facebook and other social and algorithm-based platforms take more credit for how they display content to users? Or are users in charge of their own level of knowledge regarding algorithms and what’s in their News Feeds?
Let me know your thoughts firstname.lastname@example.org.