December 2020 – SEO and Marketing News

Dec 18, 2020 by
December 2020 – SEO and Marketing News

2020 is nearly over (finally) but the festive season is traditionally quite a busy one for the world of digital marketing and this year should be no different.

As we begin the final descent into Christmas, there are some pretty substantial changes on the horizon. There’s a confirmed Google algorithm update being rolled out as we speak and there are interesting regulatory shifts in the pipeline too.

Overall though, it would appear it is business as usual for us SEO types. Here’s hoping things remain stable going into 2021.

New EU regulations compel more transparency for search rankings

The EU wants to make it easier for non-SEO professionals, especially small businesses, to understand how search rankings work. New regulatory guidelines released this week in Europe ask search engines, online marketplaces and travel sites to disclose ranking factors and update them each time a meaningful algorithmic change takes place.

This extends to the influence of payments and ads on organic rankings. The stated purpose is, “To improve predictability and help users improve the presentation of their goods and services, or a characteristic of those goods and services.”

In other words, the EU wants to demystify search and marketplace rankings for marketers, merchants and publishers. The guidelines were developed in support of, “Article 5 of Regulation (EU) 2019/1150 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services.”

They appear substantially directed at product search results, but they’re written in a way that suggests a very broad application.

Google confirms a core algorithm update

On December 3, Google released the following statement: “Later today, we are releasing a broad core algorithm update, as we do several times per year. It is called the December 2020 Core Update.”

This marks the third core algorithm update of the calendar year. A fair amount of time has passed since the last core update, compared to the average time between these types of updates. The last core update rolled out on what the internet refers to as “Star Wars Day,” also known as May 4th.

Adthena launches granular local search insights solution

Search intelligence platform Adthena has launched a new local search insights solution called Local View designed to give marketers granular data on how people search locally as well as competitive insights on ad copy and spend in local markets.

Local View can highlight local search intent at the DMA, state, city or other local level as well as competitor ad copy, CPC and CTR insights at the local level.

The launch comes at a time when Google is making less search query data available to advertisers due to privacy concerns and consumer behaviour has changed substantially due to the pandemic, with local behaviours impacted by changing restrictions.

Ashley Fletcher, VP of marketing at Adthena said: “With Local View, we can show you what your audiences are searching for by geography, which ad copy performs best and who you are really competing with, bringing much-needed transparency to location-based search.”

That also includes day-parting views of when you and your competitors are bidding on key terms, as shown in the screenshot below. That data can be used to inform your bidding as well as that of partners or affiliates.

Online shopping hits new records over the holiday weekend in the US

Adobe’s analysis of around one trillion visits to US websites found that Thanksgiving Day this year saw an increase of over 20% YoY in online sales, hitting a record consumer spend of over $5 billion — and almost half those transactions were conducted on smartphones – another record.

The data also shows a strongly increased conversion rate for retailers offering pickup for online purchases.

This should be seen against a background of increased difficulties in offering swift and inexpensive shipping.

The day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday) saw records smashed too, with an almost identical YoY increase in online sales (21/6%).

Consumers spent some $9 billion, making it the second-largest online spending day in U.S. history, with 40% of spending coming through smartphones.

One statistic held big promise for Small Business Saturday: on Friday, small businesses saw sales increase well over 500% compared with a typical day in October, success which continued with revenue growth of almost 300% on Saturday, based on the same comparison.

Google rolls out App campaign type to re-engage existing users

Google has rolled out App campaigns for engagement globally. The ads run across Google Search, Play, YouTube, and the mobile app Display Network. Google first introduced the campaign type more than a year ago.

App campaigns for engagement are aimed at targeting an app’s existing users, bringing users back to the app and fostering their loyalty and engagement.

The retargeting ads can feature new offers or content to bring users back who may not have used the app for a while, have products in their cart, are likely to make in-app purchases, promote an event or sale, or installed but haven’t used the app yet.

Like other Google Ads automated campaign types, you submit ad copy, images, videos, starting bid and a budget. The ads are served dynamically across properties. App campaigns for engagement can also link to business data feeds or product feeds in Google Merchant Center.