February 2021 – SEO and Marketing News

Feb 26, 2021 by
February 2021 – SEO and Marketing News

There’s a new President in the White House (an actual adult this time, it would appear) and Facebook has cancelled Australia (or is it the other way around?). But the real question is – what’s going on in online marketing and SEO? As ever, the news cycle is dictated largely by the pandemic, but a few nuggets of news have thankfully managed to slip through the net which have nothing at all to do with the virus.

As ever, we’ve managed to catch those nuggets and collect them all in one convenient location for your reading pleasure.

Facebook spill their secrets

Earlier this month, Facebook published an article that explains how the Facebook News Feed algorithm works.

Compared with Facebook’s news feed algorithm patent, both documents explain much about how Facebook ranks posts in the news feed.

The Facebook News Feed is, arguably, one of the most sought after advertising targets for most marketers, so to have its secrets split open should surely be something of a boon for anyone who used Facebook as a marketing platform?

So, how does it work? Well, in layman’s terms:

  • First, Facebook takes every post available in a user’s network (a.k.a. the “inventory”), and it scores those posts according to predetermined ranking signals, like the type of post, recency, et cetera.
  • Next, it discards posts that a user is unlikely to engage with, based on that user’s past behaviour. It also demotes content that users don’t want to see (i.e., clickbait, misinformation, or content that they’ve indicated they don’t like).
  • Then, it runs a more powerful neural network over the remaining posts to score them in a personalised way. For example, Dave is 20% likely to watch tutorial videos from his chess group, but 95% likely to post a heart reaction to a photo of his friend’s new car and ranks them in order of value.
  • Finally, it arranges a nice cross-section of media types and sources so that a user has an interesting variety of posts to scroll through.

As for how to get our content to the very top of a user’s news feed. Well, that depends on the user and in that regard, Facebook says that it uses thousands of ranking signals.

Everything from the speed of a user’s internet connection to whether they prefer to engage by liking or commenting is taken into account.

So, maybe not the great marketing breakthrough it could have been. It’s good to know though.

Bing launch spelling correction model worldwide in over 100 languages

Microsoft Bing’s large-scale multilingual spelling correction models, collectively called Speller100, are rolling out worldwide with high precision and high recall in 100-plus languages.

Bing says about 15% of queries submitted by users have misspellings, which can lead to incorrect answers and suboptimal search results.

To address this issue, Bing has built what it says is the most comprehensive spelling correction system ever made.

Spelling correction has long been a priority for Bing, and the search engine is taking it a step further with the inclusion of more languages from around the world.

Over 100, actually, hence the name. The launch of Speller100 represents a significant step forward for Bing and is made possible due to recent advances in AI.

Amazon announces a solution for sharing affiliate links on social media

This month, Amazon announced a new way to share affiliate links within social media, in comments and direct messaging, in addition to sharing in content.

It’s called Mobile GetLink, and is being marketed as “a way to share affiliate links on the go.”

Amazon’s new affiliate solution is different from the traditional affiliate program because it is designed to help Amazon affiliates generate an affiliate link on the go.

Under the normal process, an affiliate logs into their Amazon Affiliate dashboard and generates affiliate links or downloads banners that contain their affiliate ID, which can then be placed into their content.

Under the new GetLink solution an affiliate, while logged into the Amazon shopping app with their affiliate login, visits the product page, clicks Share to obtain the link.

Mobile GetLink is currently only available in the United States Amazon store. However, it will be rolling out to more countries soon.

Google Analytics stops collecting data from YouTube

Google Analytics will no longer gather new data from YouTube channel pages after deprecating the connection between the two services.

Google Analytics stopped collecting data from YouTube channel pages on February 1, 2021. Historical data will remain accessible but new data will not be tracked.

The ability to establish a link between Google Analytics and YouTube was removed in November of last year. Channels with existing connections to Google Analytics were able to view new data up until the beginning of this month.

Google has made minimal effort to communicate these changes. If it weren’t for a notice at the top of a YouTube Help page the changes may have been missed altogether.

Removing blog comments may impact search rankings

Google’s John Mueller advises site owners that removing all comments from a website may adversely impact search rankings. Mueller offered this advice during the Google Search Central SEO hangout recorded on February 5.

Mueller doesn’t make any recommendations on removing comments or not. That’s up to each site owner to decide. Mueller suggests examining the queries leading to pages on a site to estimate what the impact of deleting all comments might be.

You may find the information in your pages’ comments is assisting searchers with various queries. From there, you can figure out the best action to take for your site. So, each to their own then?