September 2021 – SEO and Marketing News

Sep 24, 2021 by
September 2021 – SEO and Marketing News

The summer is slowly fading away and the kids are back in school. While things have certainly not got back to normal just yet, there is certainly reason to celebrate, particularly if you’re a UK tennis fan. For online marketers, it’s been business as usual with Google constantly moving the goalposts and everyone else playing catch up.

So, what stories have caught our eye this month so far? Feel free to point out any we might have missed in the comments below if you feel so inclined.

Google Adds New Shipping & Return Annotations in Search Results

Google is giving retailers the option to indicate in search results when they offer special promotions related to shipping and returns. Retailers utilising either free or paid listings in Google Shopping are eligible to take advantage of these new features.

The annotations, such as “Get it by Dec 24,” will also be displayed when product listings are returned in search results. Google is introducing these specifically to target holiday shoppers, noting that US searches for “holiday gift ideas” in August have already surpassed 2020 levels.

Microsoft Ads Announces Plans to Move to New Feedback Platform

Microsoft has announced that they’ll be moving to a new feedback platform in October. The goal of the feedback platform is to help Microsoft listen and gather feedback, while pushing feedback to their engineering teams for action. In Microsoft’s current tool, users can submit ideas, such as feature requests or suggestions and other users can vote on the feedback that they would find useful.

The new feedback platform will still allow users to share feedback publicly, receive votes from others, and vote on other feedback that they would like to see implemented. Microsoft’s announcement shared that the new feedback system will allow the team to listen and act on customer feedback in new ways. All feedback that has been shared into Microsoft’s current system, UserVoice, before September 30th will be migrated over to the new platform.

Twitter Announces Communities Feature

Twitter announced they are gradually rolling out a new way for users to discuss favourite topics, Communities. Twitter Communities are groups where like-minded people can discuss their shared interests. Joining a community is currently by invitation only and creating a community is currently limited to approved accounts.

The announcement described it like this: “With Communities, moderators pick the focus, create the Community rules, and invite the people who will make it a great place for conversation. Think of Communities as places created for conversation where the vibe and tone are set by people who share the same interests and want to have relevant conversations.”

Google Lighthouse Update

Lighthouse, the technology that powers audits in Chrome Dev Tools and PageSpeed Insights updated to version 8.3.0. The new version features bug fixes and incremental improvements but it also takes the first step toward measuring what happens after a web page loads. This new direction is called Project Fraggle Rock. The updated version of Lighthouse is live on PageSpeed Insights. It is scheduled to be released in Chrome Dev Tools in Chrome 94 on September 21, 2021.

Google Lighthouse is an open-source tool created by Google that tests web pages for web performance bottlenecks and identifies SEO opportunities. Because the tool is open source, the underlying code that powers Lighthouse can be found in numerous third-party tools, some of which extend Lighthouse by adding different capabilities and more helpful data visualisations. That means that any changes to Lighthouse will inevitably make it into third-party tools as well. Lighthouse can be used as part of the Chrome Dev Tools suite of tools that is native in every Chrome-based browser.

YouTube Adds Traffic & Revenue Data to Mobile Analytics

YouTube is bringing more analytics reports to mobile that were previously only available on desktop, which includes data about traffic sources and revenue. Creators can now stay informed about their earnings while they’re on the go, and see how viewers are finding their videos.

As part of this initiative, creators are getting access to two new reports under the revenue tab in the Studio Mobile app: A monthly revenue report that shows estimated revenue for the current month, along with historical data so you can compare month over month performance and a transaction revenue report that shows where your earnings actually came from.

Google to Begin Sharing More Search Term Data With Advertisers

Google Ads announced this month that it will begin sharing more search term data with advertisers. This move comes almost exactly one year after the original decision to begin hiding search term data with “insignificant data”, a move that was met with criticism and frustration from advertisers.

Google has noted that it has been working toward solutions to help maintain privacy while still sharing data back to advertisers. While advertisers still won’t receive all search term data, Google is working to increase visibility into search term data. Indeed, Google estimates that advertisers could see 6.5x more search term data, on average.

Facebook Reports Increase in Use of Digital Tools Among SMBs

Facebook has reported that the amount of small businesses using digital tools has increased globally, rising from 81% to 88% in the past six months. The adoption of digital tools has surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Small businesses have had to adapt to new ways of reaching customers, in addition to overcoming physical restrictions placed on their operations.

According to a Facebook survey, SMBs were most likely to report using digital tools to advertise and communicate with customers. Though the use of digital tools is increasing across a range of purposes. Data from Facebook’s survey is shared as part of the company’s State of Small Business report. Much of the 55-page report focuses on changes in revenue, employment, and rates of closure.

Google Consolidates Smart Display & Standard Display Campaign Creation

Google Ads announced that it will consolidate Smart display and Standard display campaign options. Google’s announcement notes that advertisers will still be able to use manual or automated solutions, but the option will now be available within one campaign type. At the time of campaign creation, advertisers will be able to choose between an automatic or customised experience.

This change seems to be similar to that of the recent change in bidding strategies, where the feature functionality still exists, though the setup process in Google Ads is changing. That said, theoretically, advertisers shouldn’t notice much difference in performance.