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Marketing

Google Outage Caused By A Fire

How do you google what’s going on if Google is down? That’s exactly what happened last night.

Google Search had a global outage that lasted for about half an hour and today, we’re seeing the consequences. Google apologized for the inconvenience and a spokesperson said they have been working quickly to return things back to normal as soon as possible, the Guardian reports.

Of course, Gmail, Google maps and Google images were also affected.

So what happened?

A fire happened, according to Search Engine Land. Apparently, there was a fire at a Google data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, resulting in injuries to some workers and Google Search issues. Google is aware of what happened and John Mueller even tweeted how things should go back to normal after restoration.

So what does that mean?

It means that – if you notice any ranking changes or anything out of the ordinary this could be the reason behind it. The biggest things will go back to their previous state, but it’s hard to predict how long it will take for everything to go back to what it was before the fire.

The issues

Barry Schwartz shared some screenshots on the Search Engine Roundtable. He reports seeing more issues regarding search quality, including:

  • Outages and inaccessibility of Google Search
  • Old pages dropping out of Google Search
  • New pages not being indexed by Google Search
  • Google Search results look stale and outdated
  • Huge ranking fluctuations

Google is back up now, according to Downdetector.com. At the peak of the outage, over 30,000 US users reported issues with Google. Now, there are about 500 incidents reported.

Read More: Google’s Ad Platforms Suffering Outages

New Tremors and Volatility On Google!

Seems like Google is planning on another Search ranking algorithm update, the Search Engine Roundtable reports. Or, as Barry Schwartz suggests – the tremors noticed this Saturday, August 6th, might even be tremors caused by the now finished Product Reviews update from July.

The chatter among the SEO community is pretty loud and the new volatility has been noticed. The drops in Search have been circling around 30% all over the world, and traffic is not much better, according to people on the WebmasterWorld forum.

Glenn Gabe, an SEO expert, shared some interesting graphs on Twitter:

Google Tracking Tools

The tools are always here to prove what’s going on. As you can see, there were quite a few spikes, especially during the weekend:

Photo Source: Semrush Screenshot
Photo Source: Rank Ranger Screenshot
Photo Source: Mozcast Screenshot

Check out what the SEO community has to say here.

Read More: Google Releases A New Product Reviews Update

Discovery Ad Users Get Four New Features

Google added four new features users of Discovery ad can utilize this upcoming holiday season, Search Engine Land reports. Keeping audiences engaged will be easier with:

  • Nicer Ad Experiences
  • Better Creative Support
  • New Insights
  • Enhanced Campaign Management

Google announced this on their blog, you can read the full post here. The new features are brought into existence after Google conducted a survey in April this year in the US. Americans who use at least one Google feed, such as Google or Chrome app, YouTube, etc.

The survey says that 78%% of these users like to check Google feeds for the latest updates, that are personalized based on their interests and daily routine. You as an advertiser can benefit from this by using the new features, says Google.

Nicer Ad Experiences

Google is working on building and improving a rich ad experience by testing video ads on Discover. That way, brands can craft more modern and compelling ads in a less intrusive way. The goal is to make the whole ad experience more browse-able and organic-looking by including richer details. Google is also using machine learning so you can target the right audience at the right time.

Example product feed by UGG
Photo Source: support.google.com

Better Creative Support

Google rebuilt their onboarding flow completely. Now you’ll see more detailed asset guidance when you’re creating an ad. You’ll get prompts to add extra aspect rations, unique headlines, or add text overlays on images. You’ll also have impromptu feedback on the strength of your ad, and you’ll be able to see your campaign optimization score.

Example Discovery ad by DoorDash
Photo Source: support.google.com
Read More: Google Releases New Ads Editor

New Insights

There’s an Insights page you can now use to see which audience segments might work best and deliver the most. If you pair that with creative tips from asset reporting, you can achieve deeper engagement, says Google. Plus, you can utilize optimized targeting to reach the likely-to-convert audience.

Optimized targeting is actually automatically turned on for all campaigns and by using it, you can get information on keywords and landing pages to find the audience you need for your campaign to be successful.

Enhanced Campaign Management

There’s this new cool thing called Audience builder with which you can create an audience from scratch and then reuse it for another campaign. You can also use the Google Ads Editor and API for campaign management.

Discovery Ads can be a valuable asset for your campaigns. However, test these new features in time and plan accordingly for this holiday season.

Read More: Why To Use Paid Ads?

How To Boost Your Channel’s Performance?

It’s a short-form-video era and YouTube knows it!

Well, all of the social media platforms do, but let’s focus on one thing for now, eh?

A while ago, news about YouTube surpassing TikTok in monthly users broke, and they can thank YouTube Shorts for that. Obviously, everyone wants to board the engagement train, so YouTube is doing its best to attract even more users and make creators create more.

Because of that, YouTube’s product manager Pierce Vollucci decided to answer some of the most asked questions about shorts. Keep reading!

Read More: YouTube Surpasses TikTok In Monthly Users

What Are YouTube Shorts?

Let’s cover the basics first for the newbies. shall we? YouTube Shorts is a short-form video-sharing platform where videos can last a maximum of 60 seconds.

The main difference from regular YouTube videos is the perspective (YouTube Videos are horizontal, Shorts are vertical) and length. You can use Shorts in various ways and they can especially come in handy if you already have a long-form channel on the platform.

By using Shorts you can expand your audience and grow your presence on the platform while raising awareness about your brand. You might also qualify for YouTube Shorts Fund and earn extra money as a creator.

Question 1. If I start uploading Shorts if I usually make longer-form content, could it hurt my channel?

No – creating both forms of content might improve your channel’s growth. At least that’s what YouTube’s analysis says. Shocking, I know!

They compared the growth of channels that make only long-form videos with the ones that make both and found out that the channels making both experienced faster growth.

YouTube also added a new option to create Shorts from your long-form videos, so it’s even easier for you to create extra content and use it as a type of ad or trailer for your channel for example.

Of course, YouTube’s goal is for Shorts to be used as much as possible – after all, they do get some greens out of that – let’s be real here.

Read More: Users Can Now Tip Their Favourite Youtuber

Question 2: How should long-form content creators to approach Shorts?

It’s about experimentation, according to Volluci. YouTube has a few options to choose from, but it might be best for you to find your vibe and style. That’s why you should try out different forms and lengths, see what your audience likes and how to appeal to a new one.

“Viewers love entertaining content, and that’s what’s going to get recommended. But, different viewers have different preferences, and different creators are more or less skilled at different formats. Try a bunch of different things, and make more of what works.” – Volluci says and adds an example of gaming videos.

Gaming videos work great in live streams, but you can use highlights or funny moments from the long video and turn them into Shorts. That might help attract a new audience.

Read More: YouTube Launches ‘Search Insights’

Question 3: If viewers watch my Shorts, will they be recommended my long-form content?

Not really. Shorts recommendations and long-form recommendations on YouTube are now separate, so they don’t affect each other. Apparently, YouTube used to save all of the watch history in one place and people would get recommended a bunch of Shorts on their homepages. That led to complaints and they decided to separate the two.

However, the more you publish, the more you’ll understand the whole thing and the more results you’ll get.

Read more: YouTube Launches 3 Insight Features for Creators

Question 4:  How to decide when or if to start a new channel for Shorts?

Should you separate then? Well, that depends. As mentioned above – it’s not the same people that watch your long-form videos and your Shorts.

So, you should group your channels around similar audiences and separate the channels if your viewers have totally different interests.

Question 5: Does the algorithm need a certain number of videos uploaded before the channel starts seeing success?

Volluci says no. Allegedly, every Short is given the same chance to succeed, regardless of the channel or the number of videos on that channel.

“Performance of a Short is dictated by whether or not people are choosing to watch and not skip a video in the Shorts feed. That audience engagement is often built over time, as opposed to happening instantaneously.” –  said Volluci in the video.

You Can Use Third-party Cookies For An Extra Year

We should have said goodbye to third-party cookies by now, but Google changed its mind. Again. The search engine is delaying its deprecation of third-party cookies and plans to kiss them goodbye in 2024, instead of early next year.

This is not the first time Chrome has prolonged the usage of these cute little assets – their plans changed last year when they decided to stop the usage of third-party cookies in 2023. This is the second extension.

Third-party cookies have been a go-to solution for years when it comes to measuring digital ad performance – and once Google stops supporting them, it will be way harder to see view-through conversions, especially if someone saw your ad and converted on your website later.

Why Is Google Extending Again?

Because they need more time to test the Privacy Sandbox initiative, Search Engine Journal reports. The Privacy Sandbbox initiative is supposed to be a low-key solution for targeted advertising.

“The most consistent feedback we’ve received is the need for more time to evaluate and test the new Privacy Sandbox technologies before deprecating third-party cookies in Chrome…

This deliberate approach to transitioning from third-party cookies ensures that the web can continue to thrive, without relying on cross-site tracking identifiers or covert techniques like fingerprinting.” –  said Anthony Chavez, Vice President of Google’s Privacy Sandbox initiative.

So, instead of just replacing the cookies with something new and wild, Google is taking a more rational approach and plans for a more gradual transition. The trial version of the Privacy Sandbox API is available to developers and should be available for millions of people this month too. More testing for more people is planned for next year.

Read More: Advertisers Working Hard To Find Alternatives to third party cookies

Other than using first-party cookies, you have some extra options for dealing with Google not supporting third-party cookies. This includes:

  • Identity Solutions – email address, phone number, login ID. This uses 1st-party cookies on your website
  • Google’s Privacy Sandbox – still developing
  • Publisher Provided Identifiers (PPIDs)
  • Contextual Targeting – doesn’t rely on personal data, but on the web page’s contents for keywords and phrases (time spent browsing)
  • Data Pools or Data Clean Rooms – storing a large amount of data
  • User Identity Graphs – combines personal identity information (email address) with 1st-party cookies and publisher IDs.
  • Digital Fingerprinting – identifying users by recording their IP, plugins, screen size, browser, time zone and OS.
Read More: How To Handle the removal of third party cookies

 

How To: Influencer Marketing on Instagram

Influencer marketing is a very valuable tool if you know how to utilize it. By using influencers for your campaign, you can not only bring your product in front of millions but also generate more leads and increase brand recognition.

Read More: How to Find the Right Influencer for Your Brand

The platform’s experts and their followers could bring extra benefits for both you and the creator, but as we said – you have to know how to do it. Also, you have to make sure it’s a win-win situation for both you and the creator you’re collaborating with.

Meta recently posted some tips on how to do just that, after attending the VidCon and chatting with some influencers about how they like to do their job when it comes to branded content. Let’s dig right in and see what they say!

Multi-pronged approach

Use all the tools you have. Instagram hasn’t been just a photo app for a while now, so not using Stories, Feed and Reels is a massive miss. To maximize your presence on an influencer’s profile, you should be all over the place!

If your message is relatable and valuable, something people can engage with, then using multiple formats on the app literally means improving your reach and brand recognition. And increasing engagement for the creator!

Read More: Influencer Marketing: Everything You Need to Know

Let creators share their story

They wouldn’t be where they are if it wasn’t for their story people relate to.

Choosing the right influencer is crucial for your campaign’s success. You must choose the one who is the closest to your community and brand voice, relatable to the audience you’re trying to reach.

Letting creators use their voices paints you as a business that cares about individuals and is authentic to the community. Also, letting them choose how they’ll promote your brand helps make spontaneous content, a type of content their audience is used to and will seem organic and natural.

You don’t want your promo to be just another sponsored ad – trust the creator you chose and let them do their thing.

Creator’s Values = Your Brand’s Values

Make sure your brand’s values align with the creator’s. As we mentioned above, if your brand and chosen creator are a good match, the content will seem natural and authentic.

If you choose an influencer based on how well they go with your brand and goals, there is not much space for mistakes and bad results. This way, the connection to the audience is maximized.

Read More: 5 Benefits Of Influencer Marketing

Leverage creators’ insights

I feel like this should be well-known too. Just because an influencer has a massive number of followers doesn’t mean the demographics will suit your brand.

Check their analytics and see if their audience matches your target audience, take a look at their engagement rate and see how people are responding to their content.

You can check their insights via Creator Marketplace or Facebook’s Brand Collabs Manager.

Pinning branded content to the top of the grid

Asking creators to pin branded content on the top of their grid might also be a good idea, says Instagram. That way, every time someone visits their profile, they can see your brand and know the creator is working with you.

One of the creators Instagram hung out with at VidCon, said that “brands should bake the feature as a requirement into contracts”.

I hope you’re taking notes!

Remember what businesses gain from working with creators

The trust you gain from creators is an important element to remember. You’re using the connection they have with their audience, a connection that didn’t happen overnight.

On the other hand, creators have to choose a brand they can stand by, because only by partnering with the right brands can they maintain that trust with their audience.

The Takeaway

Influencer marketing could be the thing you’re looking for for your next project and campaign. If you decide to use this type of marketing strategy, make sure do to your research. Find the creators that go great with your brand and work your way towards a successful collaboration. These tips should help you achieve that!

Use these tips wisely and make sure to check more of them on Instagram’s We Create series!

Google Search Quality Rater Guidelines Update

Google’s search quality raters guidelines are freshly updated. The search engine refined its YMYL content and added extra clarifications on low-quality pages, among other things, Search Engine Land reports.

Here’s what’s new:

  • Updated language to align with the newly published Search Quality Rater Guidelines: An Overview
  • A refined YMYL that focuses on topics requiring extra accuracy to prevent harm
  • Low and Lowest Page Quality sections are more clear now and emphasize that E-A-T types and levels depend on the page’s purpose
  • The language used in the document is more applicable for all device types (new screenshots, updated examples, etc.)
Read More: Google Updates Its Rich Results Content Guidelines

YMYL Topics

What is YMYL short for? The acronym stands for ‘Your Money, Your Life’ and is a description of a specific kind of content. This refers to content that can persuade a reader to decide something related to their money – or their life. It means that that particular content can harm someone. For example, content about what to do during an earthquake, vaccines, etc.

In the previous document, Google had these topics broken down into seven categories. Now – there are no such categories. Instead, the Quality Rater Guidelines now define YMYL by what harm can it cause to the reader and others around him.

These topics can impact health, financial stability, the safety of people or the well-being of society. As Google states, that can happen because:

The topic is harmful or dangerous (criminal acts, violent extremism, etc)
The topic can cause harm because it’s not trustworthy and accurate (health, investing money, voting rights, etc.)

Also,  Google added a new table of fresh examples that clarify this more:

Photo Source: Screenshot of Google’s Guidelines linked in the text

Low-Quality Pages,  E-A-T & YMYL

How do you know if your page is labelled as ‘low quality? According to the new document, you get a low rating if a page has one or more of these:

  • An inadequate level of E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness) for the purpose of the page
  • The quality of the main content is low for the purpose of the page.
  • There is an unsatisfying amount of helpful MC (main content) for the purpose of the page.
  • The title of the MC is exaggerated or shocking – so no clickbait!
  • The Ads distract from the MC  or interferes with it
  • Not enough information about the creator of the main content for the purpose of the page – no good reason for anonymity
  • Negative reputation of the website or MC creators
AI-Generated Content Against Google’s Guidelines

A lack of E-A-T could potentially mean a low-quality rating, and that low-quality and harmful pages can happen on any type of website. That’s why more information about the creator is a good thing, especially for YMYL content where E-A-T  is critical.

Google Updates FAQ Rich Result Guidelines

Google Releases A New Product Reviews Update

The fourth version of the product review update is currently in the process of rolling out. Google released a new search ranking algorithm update named – you guessed it – the July 2022 Product Reviews update, and announced the new version on Twitter:

As mentioned, this is not Google’s first rodeo when it comes to product review updates: the first one launched in April 2021, the second one in December 2021, and the last one launched in March 2022.

Read More: Another Search Ranking Update In The Making?

The Update

As usual, the main focus of the update is on reward content that is unique, creative, and factual instead of being a boring template. The better the product review – the higher the ranking. This of course doesn’t mean the “template” content will be sanctioned or punished whatsoever – think of it as a point-based rewards system. Google is just rewarding content that is better than the rest, as harsh as that might sound.

Read More: Customers Want To See Bad Reviews, Too!

What’s new about the update is that nothing is actually new. It seems like Google is now just making minor adjustments, unlike what they did in March when they were full-on inspecting every little thing.

It will take around two or three weeks for the update to fully roll out.  Since these updates can be big, don’t be surprised if you notice some volatility in ranking.

How To Not Be Negatively Impacted By This Google Update?

Follow Google’s list of best practices. Here are some of them:

  • Flex the expertise – offer expert knowledge about products
  • Show what’s the product like, how to use it, say something interesting about it, valuable information people can use
  • Let your readers know why this product is better than the competition’s one
  • Go in-depth and do research – what are your main selling points? What piece of information would convince your readers to buy the product?
Read More: Google Updates Its Rich Results Content Guidelines

Be original and creative, don’t just put in the specs – no one cares about those – at least not so bad to make the buy. You must offer value and a good reason your product deserves to be in their hands. Do your best, follow Google’s best practices and get a reward with each product review update. The devil really is in the details!

 

Update from the future: High volatility was noticed on August 6th, leading the SEO community to think about how the tremors have something to do with this update. Read more about it here

Videos Shorter Than 15 Min To Become Reels

As Instagram Reels are having a moment now, the social media platform will turn every video shorter than 15 minutes into a Reel. If your account is public and you’re about to post a video to your profile, Instagram will show you an alert. The alert will – you guessed it – alert you about your video being shared in the Reels category and will offer you some suggestions on how to make the video even better.

This is weirdly happening at the same time as Facebook is restructuring its main feed and shifting its focus to Reels while making the Home Tab a discovery engine. Read more about it here. 

Read More: Instagram’s Main Feed Going Full Screen 

Also, other people will be able to use the sound from your Reel and turn it into a Reel of their own – they can make a remix out of your Reel, or download it as a part of their remix. The remixing option can be turned off – said Instagram in the official announcement.

Here’s what the alert will look like:

Photo source: Instagram Blog

Mmmm…This The Remix?

If you were caught off-guard by these remixes above – there’s no need to panic.

In addition to the new video policy, Instagram is also expanding its tools. Now they unveiled the Remix option, which should help you with making your videos more compelling and creative. Using this tool, you can collaborate with others on the platform. Now, Instagram’s offering:

  • Remix For Photos – you’ll be able to remix public photos. I guess this means some kind of photo editing? We’ll find out for sure.
  • Expanded Remix Layouts – this sounds like the duet option on TikTok.
  • Add Your Clip – this just means you’ll be able to add your video to an existing Reel and create a unique, new Reel.
Photo source: Instagram Blog
Read More: Instagram Releases New Reels Features

Instagram also added some templates that will help you create reels when you run out of ideas. Also, there’s the Dual option, which lets you use both your front and back camera while recording. You can use that option in the Instagram camera.

Facebook’s Home Tab Will Be A Discovery Engine

Remember that leaked memo we talked about, about a month ago? The one about Facebook restructuring its main feed? It’s happening!

Social media platforms are still on a quest to make themselves look and feel more like TikTok, and Facebook isn’t an exception.  As part of the effort to make Facebook attract more users and increase engagement, the app is in the middle of a make-over with two big changes coming in. You will now have:

  • the Home tab – will have more personalized content recommendations and offer more Reels and Stories, and
  • the Feeds tab – will let you see your friends’ posts, Favorites, groups and Pages.

Mark Zuckerberg announced this in a Facebook post, and the rollout is almost done.

Read More: Facebook Launches New NFT Display Options

Facebook has also published an official announcement in which they explained what’s coming up. As the Verge noticed in their article, it sounds like the News Feed is splitting in two and that the priority is being given to the discovery part of the update.

How Will It Work?

The Home Tab is what you’ll see when you first open the app. In this tab, you will be able to discover new content, create Reels, see what your friends are sharing, and more. It will be fully personalized and customized to fit you, your habits, and your interests,  using AI and machine learning.

We’re investing in AI to best serve recommended content in this ranked experience.”

The Home tab will therefore serve more as a discovery engine, just like one other app we’re familiar with *cough, cough*.

Feed tab, on the other hand, will be the tab showing only the content you’ve decided to see – so, like your friends’ fishing trips or your neighbourhood group. Glenn Gabe shared a photo of what it will all look like:

At first, you might not really see the point of doing this since nothing is actually going away. But, for marketers and content creators, the Home tab might actually be a useful tool. Because of more content suggestions people will receive, marketers have an opportunity to build or expand their audience on Facebook. That could also help Facebook bring back the users it lost to TikTok.