February 2019 – SEO and marketing news

Feb 22, 2019 by
February 2019 – SEO and marketing news

For our first Cambridge Web Marketing news roundup of the year, we share the latest news from Google, put a tighter focus on SEO, take a trip to the Bing Ads Next Web conference and check in on Facebook.

New Google Search Console Consolidated View Goes Live a Month Early

Just 24 hours after the tech giant announced that their search console would be consolidating and assigning all data for a single piece of content to the canonical URL, Google went live with a preview of this consolidated data view on the 7th of February, almost a month earlier than they had initially planned. Previously, if a site had multiple properties, users had to view the data for each in individual reports. With all data from multiple properties (mobile and desktop, for example) combined, page metrics will be credited to a canonical URL chosen by Google, and site owners will be able to see all data for a single piece of content from one location.

If you log into the Google Search Console today and check your performance report, you should find a subtle message informing you that “performance data is now based on canonical URLs”. However, you will also be able to use the old view until the 10th of April. There have been various conflicting reports about the changes revealed by flicking between the old and the new view, but it’s early days yet. It might seem like a small shift but it will have a significant effect on SEO, which relies heavily on the data within the search console.

Bing Ads to Serve Yahoo Search Traffic on Exclusive Basis

SearchAt the annual Bing Ads Next Web conference back in January, Microsoft Bing Ads announced it had expanded its partnership with Verizon Media. As a result, Bing Ads will now be the sole ad provider for all Verizon properties (which include both Yahoo and AOL). Microsoft boasts that “marketers will have a single global platform to create search advertising campaigns that reach audiences across the Bing, Yahoo, and AOL networks.”

David Pann, General Manager of Global Search Advertising at Microsoft, added:

This creates new opportunities for advertisers to reach an expanded Microsoft Audience Network with access to Verizon Media properties. We estimate that our enhanced partnership could result in an increase in clicks across the Bing Ads marketplace for customers targeting the United States of up to 10-15%.

Moz Upgrades Controversial DA Metric

Seattle-based SEO toolset company Moz has upgraded its internal domain value measuring metric, known as “domain authority.” The upgraded metric, which will roll out on the 5th of March, hopes to filter out the kind of manipulative links that can spam the system. The “DA” is described by Moz as a “search engine ranking score that predicts how well a site will rank on search engine result pages.” The score ranges from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.

The DA now reportedly works from an index of 35 trillion links and has added a ‘spam score’ for complex distributions of links based on quality and traffic, along with a bevvy of other factors. It has also now switched from a complex linear model to a neural network – allowing for a nuanced approach that can more easily detect link manipulation. Russ Jones, Principal Search Scientist at Moz said of the upgrades to the DA metric:

We can now remove spam, improve correlations, and, most importantly, update Domain Authority relative to all the changes that Google makes.

Facebook to Show Users How Advertisers Are Using Their Information

Facebook will reportedly begin revealing which companies are to blame for the targeted ads users see on their feeds. Custom Audience targeting allows advertisers to upload contact information and match it with Facebook accounts for targeted advertising. From the 27th of February,  users will now be able to click a “why am I seeing this” button, allowing for greater transparency.

Users will be told the name of the business that uploaded their information and any custom audience sharing between businesses such as the agency, Facebook Marketing Partner (FMP) or other partner and the type of information (email address or phone number, for example) that was used.

DuckDuckGo Hits a Billion Searches in January

In January 2019, the little search engine that could, DuckDuckGo, hit a new record of 1 billion searches throughout the month. This represents a 78% year-on-year increase from the 654 million searches served in January the previous year.

DuckDuckGo differentiates itself from its more famous rivals by making its data publicly available and its success could be an indication that people are becoming more aware of the amount of personal data collected by Google.