April 2020 – SEO and Marketing News

Apr 17, 2020 by
April 2020 – SEO and Marketing News

In the last month, the coronavirus pandemic has completely neutered the global economy and almost every industry under the sun has suffered as a consequence.

With no end in sight and the complications of the virus and its implications becoming even more complicated by the day, it would be churlish to suggest that it won’t have a direct impact on the online marketing world.

Indeed, COVID-19 is already having a major impact on search trends and SEO and there’s no telling what the long-term impact will be.

However, with more people than ever before housebound, the wheels are still turning and we’re here, as ever, to keep you abreast of the latest movements in the world of SEO and marketing.

Google might be forced to reveal its algorithm to an SEO

Google has been involved in a lawsuit that might mean the company has to divulge its long-guarded algorithm secrets.

As part of the lawsuit, Google has been given an ultimatum by the UK courts to either withdraw evidence to its defence or disclose the details of its search algorithm.

Not only would Google have to hand over the details of its algorithm, but it would also have to hand them over to a working SEO consultant.

This situation stems from a lawsuit against Google by a company called Foundem dating back to 2012, with actual events pertaining to the lawsuit dating back to 2006.

Foundem alleges it was the victim of anti-competitive practices by Google, which it claimed deliberately ranked its own products ahead of Foundem in search results starting in 2006. Foundem is seeking damages for the loss of business it incurred as a result being ranked down in Google search.

For obvious reasons, Google does not want to give up its algorithm secrets. However, it also doesn’t want to withdraw evidence which is vital in helping the company win the lawsuit.

The only other choice would be to settle the lawsuit, which would reportedly involve millions in damages. In addition, the settlement would also mean Google admitting to doing something wrong, which is definitely off-brand.

People using YouTube to improve their moods during lockdown

Channel Factory, a global technology platform, has announced the results of a new survey that shows how people are flocking to YouTube for uplifting and mood-enhancing content.

Entitled “Content consumption & consumer sentiment amid the Coronavirus pandemic,” the survey asked more than 1000 US consumers to share their YouTube activity in the recent weeks of social distancing as a result of the COVID-19 virus.

Channel Factory found that the vast majority of consumers go to YouTube to improve their mood and find uplifting, helpful and educational content.

Moreover, the survey also found that respondents felt that YouTube offers more contextually relevant content based on what they wanted to see.

  • 80% of respondents go to YouTube to improve their mood.
  • 69% find the platform’s content more uplifting than other channels.

While 33% of respondents go to YouTube for COVID-19 content specifically, many more are watching a broad variety of mood-boosting videos:

  • 48% are watching entertainment videos.
  • 48% are watching music-related content.
  • 33% are consuming comedy.
  • 31% are looking at videos about DIY.
  • 29% are feasting on cooking-related content.

Google instigate COVID-19 special announcement Schema

Google has shared examples of what COVID-19 special announcement structured data will look like when used in search results. A brand new set of structured data markup for special announcements related to COVID-19 was introduced last month. Last week, Google officially stated it will support the new structured data, but didn’t say when it will be used in search results.

At the time, it was also not known what the markup would look like when Google uses it to render search snippets. When the new special announcement structured data is added to a page, the content becomes eligible to appear with a COVID-19 special announcement rich result.

Google will render the COVID-19 special announcement in addition to the page’s regular snippet description.

A COVID-19 announcement rich result contains a short summary that can be expanded to view more. However, Google notes the format may change over time.

Searchers may not see the changes right away because special announcement rich results are only eligible to appear for certain sites.

Marketers would choose Google Ads over SEO if they had to

The question of which channels to use for greatest impact is top of mind for most marketers at the moment, given the current state of affairs.

A recent survey casts some light on the current thinking among marketing professionals and small business owners about the relative merits of SEO and PPC.

A survey by BestSEOCompanies.com, polled 1,000 marketing professionals and consumers (split almost evenly) and asked about the effectiveness of SEO vs. Google Ads according to several measures.

Marketers in roughly equal numbers found both SEM (90%) and SEO (87%) to be effective. Forced to choose one or the other, however, a surprising 64% said they would choose Google Ads, although SEO was seen as more affordable and sustainable than paid search.

This response comes despite the fact that SEO drives more referral traffic than paid search. Data from BrightEdge last year, for example, showed that organic search was responsible for 53% of site traffic while paid drove roughly 15%.

As budgets are being squeezed and paused across the board, the SEO vs. PPC question takes on new importance and urgency. While many marketers reading this article would probably argue SEO is foundational and PPC is more discretionary, the ultimate answer, it would appear, is basically case-by-case.

Google Doodle sends thanks to Coronavirus helpers

Finally, a little bit of positive news. Google has a new Google Doodle up on its home page to thank coronavirus helpers across the world. Google wrote “As COVID-19 continues to impact communities around the world, people are coming together to help one another now more than ever.

Over the coming weeks, we’re launching a Doodle series to recognise and honour many of those on the front lines. Today, we’d like to say: To all the public health workers and to researchers in the scientific community, thank you.”