November 2019 – SEO and marketing news

Nov 22, 2019 by
November 2019 – SEO and marketing news

The long cold nights have officially settled in and as a result, we are more dependent on the internet than ever. We need it to keep us entertained with Netflix binges when it’s too cold to leave the house and to keep us informed of the frequent transport delays when there’s water on the rails or ice on the road.

For the SEO and digital marketing sector, however, this marks the time when they kick into overdrive in preparation of the golden goose that is Christmas.

Christmas seems to be coming sooner and faster every year (or maybe I’m just getting older) and for marketers to make the most of the season, they really need to know what’s going on behind the scenes.

So, this month we explore everything you need to know about Google’s new local algorithm update and put a spotlight on the tech giant’s latest big purchase. We also delve a little into the latest best practices in SEO regarding accessible design and recent FTC rulings on influencer endorsement. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Google’s latest local algorithm update

Google recently deployed its biggest local algorithm update since 2016 and businesses are already experiencing drops in rank as a result, particularly in Google Maps. The Possum update in 2016 put user location first and foremost as the most important factor, so listings had a greater chance of showing up if a user made a search when they were physically close to a business. This, in many ways, changed how SEO thought about local. The latest update doubles-down on proximity. Of course, it’s still early days so we would suggest no panicking and making any major changes until the dust has settled, but it’s certainly a major bombshell for Google to drop this close to Christmas!

DuckDuckGo joins World Wide Web Consortium

DuckDuckGo has joined the World Wide Web Consortium (otherwise known as “W3C”). As a member of the international organisation, DuckDuckGo will contribute to “global standards with privacy in mind as part of our mission to raise the standard of trust online.” As a company that prides itself on its privacy standards, it can only be a good thing that DuckDuckGo has decided to join W3C, as it might have a positive influence on future standard revisions. And that would be better for all of us.

New FTC guidance on influencer endorsements

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently issued fresh guidance for social media influencers who endorse products online in order to educate them that they are obligated to let their users know who is endorsing them. The FTC announcement instructs that payment for an endorsement is not the only circumstance that requires a disclosure. They must also now disclose when they receive free products or discounts. How strictly these guidelines will be enforced remains to be seen, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction for a marketing sector that has grown decidedly shady of late.

Google buys Fitbit for $2.1 billion

Google’s parent company Alphabet started the month by entering a deal to buy fitness tracker and smartwatch manufacturers Fitbit, presumably to replace their Android Wear watches, which have struggled to make much of a dent on the market. With Apple’s wearables revenue growing to $6.5 billion this year, it seems like a smart move for Google, which will use the acquisition to build next-generation wearables. Rick Osterloh, Senior Vice President, Devices & Services, said: “By working closely with Fitbit’s team of experts, and bringing together the best AI, software and hardware, Google can help spur innovation in wearables and build products to benefit even more people around the world.”

For existing Fitbit users, however, the news has not been welcomed with open arms, with many worrying about privacy concerns should the deal go through, particularly given Google’s 2014 acquisition of Nest Labsand its partnership with the health giant Ascension. Indeed, certain privacy groups have actually been pushing regulators to block to acquisition entirely. Of all ‘big data’, health data is perhaps the most precious and private so we can’t see this issue being solved easily. We’ll check back in next month if there have been any developments though.

SEO best practices support ADA compliance for digital accessibility

In September 2010, the Department of Justice released the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design. This soon became the standard for accessibility of goods and services offered on the web and site owners who did not comply started to face lawsuits as a result. For example, Domino’s Pizza was hit with a lawsuit from a blind man who alleged that the company’s site and mobile app were not accessible to people with disabilities. Now, it behoves site owners to abide by ADA standards, not just because of the risk of lawsuits, but most importantly to be more accessible to people with disabilities. Thankfully, many elements of SEO overlap with ADA standards. So, by following SEO best practices, you are also optimising your site’s and mobile app’s accessibility.

So, if anyone ever told you that SEO was a force for bad, then tell them to speak to the Department of Justice!

To check out what was big in the world of SEO, digital marketing and the digital realm in general last month, click here for more news.