Wallpaper & Paint Sector Report

In our latest report, we take a look at which big brands are putting their personal touch on the wallpaper and paint market; delving into organic visibility and performance both for key market players and the ones-to-watch using our proprietary Share of Voice tool, Natural Edge.

Some of the insights you can discover include:

  • Brand table – top 50 brands with highest share of voice
  • Share of voice at a product category level
  • Keyword opportunities – which keyword clusters have seen the biggest growth areas over the last 12 months?
  • Keyword losers – which brands have seen the biggest decline over the last 12 months?

Market leaders like Wilko, B&Q, and Homebase prove their worth as household names, and smaller luxury labels like Farrow & Ball and Little Greene hold strong in the ranks for their niches. Specialist brands Dulux and Crown maintain a steady position for paints, while I Love Wallpaper proves worthy of the name by maintaining a presence across all wallpaper categories.

What could our report findings mean for your brand?

There’s clearly a lot of fluctuation within rankings for the Wallpaper and Paint sector, and new brands entering the market are able to gain visibility. Consequently, there’s plenty of opportunity for existing brands and challenger brands to optimise their site content, improve their SEO foundations, and generate links from reputable publishers to boost visibility and drive conversions.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how we can help you gain visibility in the SERPs within the beds and mattresses category get in touch here

SEO Market Updates: April 2022

Join Fusion’s SEO team as we round up last month’s major industry updates.

AI Generated Content Is Against Google Guidelines

In a recent Google Search Central SEO office-hours hangout, Search Advocate John Mueller weighed in on the widely discussed topic of GPT-3 AI writing tools and, more broadly, the nature of automatically generated content.

Mueller says that any content written by AI is considered as automatically-generated, which is against Google guidelines and could lead to a manual penalty. Here is the full response given:

If you’re using machine learning tools to generate your content, it’s essentially the same as if you’re just shuffling words around, or looking up synonyms, or doing the translation tricks that people used to do.

My suspicion is maybe the quality of content is a little bit better than the really old school tools, but for us it’s still automatically generated content, and that means for us it’s still against the Webmaster Guidelines. So we would consider that to be spam.”

Soon after this conversation, the Webmaster Guidelines were updated to provide more clarity on this subject. Within the Quality Guidelines section, “Automatically generated content intended to manipulate search rankings” is now listed as a technique to avoid:

It is not clear if Google’s algorithm has the ability to detect auto-generated content, however, Mueller did say that “If we see that something is automatically generated, then the webspam team can definitely take action on that”.

Google Rolls Out Conversions Migration Tool For GA4

Google has rolled out a conversion migration tool allowing you to import your existing goals from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4. This can be accessed within the GA4 settings screen, in the Setup Assistant tab, under the Conversions section.

In short, the migration tool allows you to quickly recreate goals from a connected Universal Analytics property as conversion events within a GA4 property.

Charles Farina provided a good post about this on Twitter, along with screenshots of where to find it and what to expect:

A step-by-step guide on how to use the tool is below:

  1. In Google Analytics, click Admin.
  2. In the Account column, make sure that your desired account is selected. (If you only have one Google Analytics account, it will already be selected.)
  3. In the Property column, select the Google Analytics 4 property that currently collects data for your website.
  4. In the Property column, click Setup Assistant.
  5. Under Conversions, go to Import existing goals from your connected Universal Analytics property, and click Get started.
  6. In the Import existing goals from your connected property panel, select which goals you’d like to recreate as conversion events in your new Google Analytics 4 property.
  7. Click Import selected conversions in the top right.

Data Studio Now Supports Discover & Google News Traffic

The Google Search Console connector for Data Studio can now retrieve traffic data for Google Discover and Google News. Within the data source connection settings, here’s how this can be added:

More information on how to monitor search traffic in Data Studio – including detail on the new connectors – can be found in this Google Search Central Blog titled ‘Monitoring Search traffic (and more!) with Data Studio’.

March 2022 Product Reviews Update Finished Rolling Out

The third version of the product reviews update which began rolling out on the 23rd of March, has now officially completed. Google announced on the 11th of April that the March 2022 Product Reviews Update had finished rolling out, taking 19 days to complete.

As previously mentioned in last month’s blog – this set of algorithm updates aims to improve how Google Search ranks product reviews; prioritising in-depth, authentic content based on feedback, internal testing, and an evaluation process.

If you found this update useful, check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today.

Fusion Unlimited Announced as a 2022 Prolific North Top 50 Digital Agency

The team at Fusion Unlimited is proud to announce that we are once again part of Prolific North’s Top 50 Digital agencies, appearing in 26th position in the 2022 list. The annual list shines light on the digital specialists putting out some of the best work in the industry that’s worth watching out for.

Rankings are based on a number of factors including balance sheets and shareholder funds, turnover, pre-tax profit, headcount, and ultimately, growth.

 

What is Prolific North?

Prolific North is a leading hub for the media, digital, marketing, tech, and creative sectors in the North. Since 2013, Prolific North has been the go-to for jobs, events, and breaking news and insights across these sectors, sharing some of the best industry insights and compiling lists of the outstanding achievers and industry leaders operating in the North of England.

Prolific North Top 50 Digital Agencies has shown us that agencies based in Yorkshire continue to thrive, with 7 of the top 10 agencies and 44% of the total list based in the region.

 

How did Fusion Unlimited qualify as a top 50 digital agency?

2022 marks Fusion’s 25th year of supporting UK brands with cutting-edge digital marketing strategy across fast-moving disciplines such as SEO and paid media. Over the past year, we have:
  • Added eight new clients.
  • Grown our turnover by 36%.
  • Once again been named as a Google Premier Partner – which places Fusion in the top 3% of digital agencies in the UK.
What’s more, we’re one of the top 20 independent agencies within Prolific North’s top 50 list, and we have an extremely efficient working model, with an expert group of strategists developing the accounts of national and global brands.

If you’re interested in learning more about how a Top 50 agency could help your brand become more visible, read more about how Fusion Unlimited has supported some of the UK’s leading businesses across a diverse range of sectors.

SEO Market Updates: March 2022

Join Fusion’s SEO team as we round up last month’s major industry updates.

Google to Sunset Universal Analytics in 2023

Google has announced plans to sunset the standard version of Google Analytics called Universal Analytics. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) will therefore replace UA as the new standard.

From the 1st July 2023, standard universal analytics properties will stop processing data. 360 properties will receive an extra three months of data processing, ending on the 1st October 2023.

The move to GA4 comes from a wide variety of factors, however Google says this is largely down to the fact that the new even-based data model can operate across multiple platforms, making it a more future-proof solution.

Speaking on other reasons for discontinuing Universal Analytics, Google said:

Universal Analytics was built for a generation of online measurement that was anchored in the desktop web, independent sessions, and more easily observable data from cookies. This measurement methodology is quickly becoming obsolete.

March 2022 Product Reviews Update Rollout

On Wednesday the 23rd of March, Google began the rollout of the third version of the product reviews update, inventively named the March 2022 Product Reviews Update.

These set of algorithm updates aim to improve how Google Search ranks product reviews, prioritising in-depth authentic content based on feedback, internal testing, and an evaluation process.

Google say this latest version “builds on that work to enhance our ability to identify high-quality product reviews. This will make it easier for us to get sound purchasing advice in front of users, and to reward creators who are earnest in being helpful”. Currently, this may only impact the rankings of English-language product reviews.

Google to Remove the URL Parameters Tool in Search Console

The URL parameters tool that sites within the legacy Google Search Console will be killed off on Tuesday the 26th of April 2022.

In the announcement just last month, Google said “Over the years, Google became much better at guessing which parameters are useful on a site and which are —plainly put— useless. In fact, only about 1% of the parameter configurations currently specified in the URL Parameters tool are useful for crawling. Due to the low value of the tool both for Google and Search Console users, we’re deprecating the URL Parameters tool in 1 month.”

Going forward, there is no specific action for site owners to take in order to specify the function of URL parameters on their site, Google’s crawlers will automatically learn how best to deal with them.

More Context Given in Structured Data Error Reporting

From Monday the 28th March 2022, structured data error reporting within the Google Search Console rich results status reports, the Google Search Console URL inspection tool, and the Rich Results test gained more specific, descriptive, and contextual names for issues to help site owners find and fix the problem.

Within the announcement, Google added that:

  • All your open issues that refer to nested properties will be automatically closed (for example, the Missing field “name” issue in the example above).
  • You’ll see new open issues with more context about what’s missing (for example, the issue will say Missing field “name” (in “author”). To avoid overloading Search Console users with emails, we won’t send notifications on the creation of these new issues.

Here’s a before and after example of a structured data error:

If you found this update useful, check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today.

IWD: An Interview

This International Women’s Day we spoke to Laura (LT), Amelia (AF) and Emily (EF) to hear more about their experiences and what IWD means for them. So without any further ado…

What does IWD mean for you?

LT: Empowerment to live the life I want, to do it all

AF: Celebrating all the strong, successful women in my life who have been pivotal role models for me. Also, acknowledging that we still have some work to do in the pursuit of equality – important days like this helps drive the conversation about gender equality and how we move forward together. 

EF: IWD to me is a day to acknowledge and celebrate all women for what they have achieved, especially women from marginalised groups who still experience racism, stereotyping, ableism etc. every day.

Which powerful women do you admire the most?

LT: My wonderful daughter, mum, grandma and nana aside – who could not admire the Queen, such a strong lady in every aspect of her life, and also the other Queen – Dolly Parton, what a life she carved from humble beginnings. Dolly has such a work ethic whilst being kind, caring and an all round superstar!

AF: Jacinda Ardern. The way she handled the pandemic was admirable. She acted swiftly, strictly and with compassion to protect the people of New Zealand. A true role model.

EF: I admire all the trans women who still experience discrimination and violence in society just for living authentically as themselves. I admire Michaela Jaé Rodriguez who shows us that with talent and determination you can achieve anything, as she became the first trans actor to win a Golden Globe in 2022. I admire my friend Summer who has experienced harassment in Leeds for not looking ‘womanly’ enough but is brave and powerful in expressing her femininity.

What barriers/challenges have you faced as a woman in digital?

LT: My own lack of confidence and belief in myself, which is a work in progress every day!

AF: I would say one of my barriers has been the fear of failure. Sometimes, I have a dreadful feeling of “what if I fail”. Collectively as women, I believe it is important support each other in the pathway to success. 

What advice would you give for women looking to start their careers in digital?

LT: Listen, learn and absorb from others whilst on the job – never stop growing your knowledge and pushing forward.

AF: Be confident in yourself and show your strengths. If you want to make a difference, start with believing that you can. 

EF: When applying for roles, it could be a good idea to look at the current staff members to see the ratio of women. It can be evident from looking at a company’s colleagues whether women have been given the opportunity to progress and that could impact your decision of whether you would want to work there.

SEO Market Updates: February 2022

Join Fusion’s SEO team as we round up last month’s major industry updates.

Desktop Page Experience Algorithm Now Rolling Out

As of Tuesday 22nd February, the Google Page Experience update began rolling out across desktop search results, this is expected to complete by the end of March 2022:

As previously touched on, the desktop algorithm includes the same factors as the mobile page experience update, other than the obvious mobile friendliness, illustrated below:

It is unlikely that sites will see any immediate or at all change in rankings from this update. During the rollout on mobile, Google said “While this update is designed to highlight pages that offer great user experiences, page experience remains one of many factors our systems take into account… Given this, sites generally should not expect drastic changes”, we expect this to also apply to desktop.

Multiple Data Losses Within Google Search Console

Google Search Console experienced data losses on two separate occasions throughout February. Firstly, between the 1st and 3rd of February, Google reported a data logging issue within the performance report, relating to Google Search, Google Discover, and Google News.

As a result, site owners may spot some discrepancies in performance data during this period, however, Google says “this is only a logging issue; it does not reflect a change in either user behaviour or search results on Google”. The performance report displays an annotation icon to document this.

The second instance of data loss within Google Search Console last month refers to the crawl stats report, site owners are reporting crawl data missing from either one or both of the 8th and 9th February, looking like this:

John Mueller from Google later confirmed on Twitter that this missing crawl data is of no concern:

Google Search Console Snapshot Now Supports Domain Properties

First launched in 2018, the Google Search Console snapshot displays insights from Google Search Console data directly in the search results, for example:

This now supports and will display for all verification methods, after Google announced “we are happy to share that starting today Search Console in Search results feature will also support domain properties”.

It is worth remembering that the snapshot will only appear if you are either the full owner or the full user of the site in Google Search Console, you must also be signed in with the correct Google account whilst searching for queries that your site ranks for.

If you found this update useful, check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today.

SEO Market Updates: January 2022

Join Fusion’s SEO team as we round up last month’s major industry updates.

Google Launches URL Inspection API

On the 31st of January 2022, Google announced the new Google Search Console URL Inspection API, letting you programmatically access the URL level data from Google Search Console properties through external software, as with other APIs.

Google says “we’re providing a new tool for developers to debug and optimize their pages. You can request the data Search Console has about the indexed version of a URL; the API will return the indexed information currently available in the URL Inspection tool.”

Here’s an example of the API response:

URL Inspection API Code

Many SEO tool providers are already publishing updates with the new API integration, for example, Screaming Frog:

New Google Robots Tag: indexifembedded

Google announced the rollout of a new robots tag, giving sites more control over what content can be indexed in search results. The new tag named indexifembedded lets you tell Google if you’d still like your content indexed when it’s embedded through iframes and similar HTML tags in other pages, even when the content page has a noindex tag.

The new tag addresses a common issue faced by publishers, while they may want their content indexed when it’s embedded on third-party pages, they don’t necessarily want their media pages indexed on their own.

To enable content to be indexed only when it’s embedded on other pages, add indexifembedded in combination with the noindex tag. For example:

Google Search Console Adds Desktop Page Experience Report

With the Page Experience update expected to roll out across desktop search results imminently, Google has added a Desktop Page Experience report to Search Console:

The Google Search Console Page Experience report now looks like the following:

Breadcrumb & HowTo Error Reporting Changed in Google Search Console

Towards the end of January, Google posted an update within the Help Centre stating the way it evaluates and reports errors in Breadcrumbs and HowTo structured data within Search Console has changed.

As a result, Google says “you may see changes in the number of Breadcrumbs and HowTo entities and issues reported for your property, as well as a change in severity of some issues from errors to warnings.”

It is worth noting that any changes are strictly in reporting, this will not affect the visibility of rich results within Google Search.

New “People Search Next” Google Mobile Search Feature

Google search has a new feature on mobile SERPs titled “People search next”, this has been spotted for multiple “near me” queries, displaying above the “Related searches” refinement.

An example of this for the search of “dentist near me” is shown below:

As with most new search features, this appears to only currently be showing in US SERPs.

If you found this update useful, check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today.

Social Media Updates: January 2022

TikTok Looking to Test ‘Stories’ Format

TikTok is updating a ‘Stories’ feature – a step towards expanding content formats to provide more creative options to creators. This new element will not have its own separate space like on other platforms, instead it would be integrated into the ‘For You’ and ‘Following’ feeds.

Users will be able to view ‘Stories’ content irrespective of whether they follow the account. In multiple story frames, they will have to tap on the frame to move onto the next one, which may take some getting used to as they are used to scrolling down. 

‘Stories’ will be also marked on user profiles with the total amount of frames displayed too. TikTok is still in the testing phase and will launch the feature in the next coming months once it has finalised all aspects.

The social media giant’s aim is to become a social media platform that caters for a range of users with a variety of content options. However, since this ‘Stories’ content format is so overused, we don’t know how it will be taken by users. Will they find it useful and interesting, or will they get annoyed by the intrusion into their feeds? We’ll find out when the format is rolled out.

Pinterest Tests Pin Highlights

Pinterest is testing the ‘Highlights’ option for their Idea Pins. This new feature, which will have up to six highlights, would enable creators to showcase their content longer than the 24 hour time-frame set for Ideas Pin.

The platform says:

Pinterest is an inspiration to realization platform. Creators play a crucial role in that journey acting as personal shoppers, chefs, stylists and overall consultants to our Pinners. Therefore, we continue to evolve our formats, features and tools to help them build a community and to inspire Pinners to take action. Profile highlights are a new way we offer creators to highlight their most relevant Idea Pins at the top of their profile to make them more visible and easier to discover.

Currently, the story-like feature, Idea Pins allows users to add up to 20 frames per sequence. Including the Highlight element to this will definitely provide value as it will not only showcase the Ideas Pin content longer than 24 hours, but it will also point visitors towards the creator’s goals.

Instagram Increases Response Options in Stories Polls

Instagram has updated its Poll sticker used in stories. The element will now enable users to add up to four answer options – which previously, was limited to two.

This is great for brands looking to engage more users through stories and conduct polls that will help shape their marketing strategies based on user preferences. Two response options would limit creator and brands from getting in-depth insights from followers, however this update makes it easier to have built-in replies on any topic. 

Apart from this update, users can also change the colour of the question being asked in the poll. Giving them slightly more creative freedom.

Snapchat Adds Catalog-Powered Shopping Lenses

Snapchat is looking to improve its AR tools by integrating new Catalog-Powered Shopping Lenses which will enable brands to showcase their products and provide virtual try-on options.

Whether it’s a clothing brand or a makeup brand – companies will be able to make users shopping experience more personal, accessible and fun. The Catalog lenses will be directly linked to the company’s brand catalog and include details on pricing, size, colour, and similar items.

This is not only great from a sales perspective, as users can just try on the product from the comfort of their phones – but it can also help brands drive their marketing efforts towards the direction that their target audience are interested in. For example, if one product is more popular than others, it will help brands know where and what to focus their efforts on.

Snapchat has also updated its Lens Web Builder with new templates and tools to allow more brands to easily create their AR lenses. The app further explains:

We’ve now made it so brands can generate a commerce Lens in as fast as two minutes and beauty brands can do so in just a few clicks. At launch, this quick click accessibility in Lens Web Builder will be available to beauty brands and will roll out to other product verticals in the coming months.

If you want to learn how social media can help you maximise your marketing efforts, get in touch with our expert team here. Don’t forget to check out our blog for all the latest news and updates within the digital marketing space.  

Welcome to Team Fusion, Shreya!

We’re thrilled to have Shreya on board as our newest Account Executive. A Computer Engineering undergrad from Essex university and a MSc Business with Marketing from Warwick Uni – we can’t wait to see Shreya blow us away! 

Let’s get to know her a little more…

Welcome to the team! We’re all delighted to have you here. What are you most looking forward to about the role?

Thank you! I am glad to be a part of the team! I would say the thing I am most looking forward to is learning as much as I can from everyone at Fusion and putting my degree to good use!

So tell me, why marketing?

Marketing was a rather impromptu choice for me but the one thing I have come to love about it is that Marketing combines both creativity and analytics. That being said, I have always been fascinated with the social media algorithm and curious to learn more about it.

What attracted you to Fusion in the first place?

The opportunity to work with a small team and learn from a variety of experts on the team was what mainly attracted me to the role. I have always preferred working and learning with smaller teams and I am glad to have been accepted into the Fusion family.

Right, let’s get to know the real you…

Favourite marketing campaign?

It has to be “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty”. It is an impactful campaign which aims to highlight women’s unique differences thus empowering them. Absolutely love the message behind it!

App you couldn’t live without?

Instagram!

What are you reading/podcast are you into currently?

Death Message (by Mark Billingham) … (I really love crime novels)

Dream Client?

 Any online fashion retailer really…

What are you binge watching right now?

Suits! Absolutely love that show! (…and also FRIENDS for about the 100th time!)

Interesting fact about you?

 I am a trained Indian classical dancer.

If you weren’t in marketing?

I would probably be an Event Planner!

SEO Market Updates: December 2021

Join Fusion’s SEO team as we round up last month’s major industry updates

December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On 1st December Google announced the rollout of a new product reviews update, following on from a previous update released in April 2021.

The news was announced within a new Search Central blogpost, with Google writing that the update was designed to reward “high-quality product reviews” and that webmasters may notice changes in how their reviews are ranked as a result.

According to Google, the decision to release a new update was largely based on new feedback from users on what is viewed as “trustworthy” or “useful” review content. This feedback has formed the basis of two new best practice recommendations, taken into account in the most recent update:

  •  Provide evidence such as visuals, audio, or other links of your own experience with the product, to support your expertise and reinforce the authenticity of your review.
  • Include links to multiple sellers to give the reader the option to purchase from their merchant of choice.

As well as forming a part of the most recent update, the new recommendations have now also been added to Google’s official documentation around product reviews.

As with the previous update, only websites offering product reviews should be impacted by the recent release, with no other content types impacted.

Google Search Console Experiences Widespread Bugs

December was a rocky month for Google Search Console, with the platform experiencing at least two widespread issues impacting the accuracy and accessibility of data.

In mid-December, many webmasters reported a large spike in redirect issues within the platform, often across multiple websites. Following coverage of this, on 13th December Google stated that the spikes reported were false and that this was due to an issue with the platform:

Just a few days later another issue was reported, with some users finding that they were unable to access and essentially locked out of their account. Google again announced this was a bug:

Google has since confirmed that both issues are now resolved, although some within the industry are continuing to report sporadic issues with the platform. No further information has been provided as to the reasons behind the bugs, with Google simply stating that they were “internal issues”.

No Penalty For Failing to No-Follow Affiliate Links

In a recent Q&A session, Google’s John Mueller stated that failing to correctly no-follow affiliate links is unlikely to pose a real issue.

In answer to the question “Would I be penalized if I don’t set the rel sponsored or rel no follow for my affiliate links?”, Mueller stated:

Probably not. […] From our point of view, affiliate links fall into that category of something financial attached to the links, so we really strongly recommend to [add a rel sponsored or rel no-follow tag]. But for the most part if it doesn’t come across as you selling links, then it’s not likely to be the case that [Google] would manually penalize a website for having affiliate links and not marking them up.

As affiliate links indicate some kind of financial relationship between the linking and linked-to website, Google considers it best practice to ensure that they are tagged with a “rel=sponsor” attribute or”rel=nofollow” attribute. Both tags prevent equity from being transferred to the linked-to website, with the sponsor tag also indicating to search engines clearly that a financial agreement is in place between the two websites.

However, Mueller’s answer indicates that failing to use the tag for affiliate links is unlikely to cause any real issue, despite this being contrary to best-practice guidelines.

Watch the question at 31:58 here.

100k URLs Unlikely to Pose Crawl Budget Issue

Google’s John Mueller recently stated that websites sized around 100k URLs shouldn’t encounter issues with crawl budget. In response to a question on Twitter focused on whether to de-index lower-quality content, Mueller tweeted:

https://twitter.com/JohnMu/status/1473268153316691975

Although Google’s official documentation on crawl budget contains brief definitions of what it considers a “Large site” (+1,000,000 URLs) and a “Medium or larger site” (+10,000 URLs), there is no information given on how well Google is able to handle both size brackets.

As such, Mueller’s tweet provides a useful – albeit informal – guideline for webmasters to follow when considering the impact of website size.

If you found this update useful, check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today.

Best Marketing Campaigns of 2021

2021 has been another interesting year with many ground-breaking brand marketing campaigns, reaching customers through their innovative, meaningful, and quirky ideas.

With so many buzzworthy campaigns, here’s a list of our favourites of 2021! Worth keeping these in mind as a source of inspiration for your next brainstorm.

 

Welcome Back – Guinness

There is no doubt that the general public had missed going to pubs for a pint during lockdown. We surely had!

So, when lockdown restrictions started to ease and pubs were allowed to operate again in May 2021, the beer giant, Guinness, launched a campaign to welcome people back. The video ad included random objects having a resemblance to a pint of Guinness, whether that’s a black bin covered with snow or white pigeons on a black chimney.

The aim of the campaign was to inspire a variety of emotions including a feeling of positivity, nostalgia, and excitement. The idea was also promoted on social media with the #LooksLikeGuiness hashtag encouraging users to share their examples of white and black Guinness lookalikes.

The campaign was a great success and led to Guinness being the number one most talked about beer brand at the time with engagement 3.5 times higher than the industry benchmark.

Cuthbert the Caterpillar – Aldi

We’re sure everyone has heard about the Caterpillar war between Aldi and Marks & Spencer. When Aldi launched its Cuthbert the Caterpillar Swiss roll, M&S launched a legal action against the supermarket claiming the company had infringed the trademark for its Colin the Caterpillar cake.

Aldi’s response to this was brilliant and unexpected. They managed to turn a complex situation into a national debate through a series of funny tweets using the #FreeCuthbert hashtag.

Within hours, the brand was trending on Twitter and the topic became so big that it gained coverage from national news channels such as BBC Breakfast, Good Morning Britain, newspapers such as The Independent and Daily Mail, and creators also generating content through memes and parodies.

This reactive marketing effort gained great results for Aldi as its Twitter following increased by 30%, with a 15% engagement rate on socials. The score for news sentiment also increased by 8.5%, with its purchase consideration increasing by 6.8%.  

Beanz on Bix – Weetabix

Another popular campaign you’ve probably come across either on social media or heard about through friends or colleagues, Beanz on Bix!

The breakfast cereal company wanted to drive brand engagement and demonstrate its versatility by going ahead with a bold and weird idea of having baked beans on their popular wheat biscuits.

The aim of the campaign was to generate conversation on social media, and it did exactly that. When the brand introduced the idea on Twitter, users were so outraged by the weird combination leading to involvement from other brands such as Specsavers, Nando’s, KFC, and more.

The idea became so viral that it was covered by all mainstream media outlets such as Good Morning Britain, The Express and LADbible, to even being discussed in the House of Commons.

Although the campaign received plenty of mockery and conversation, it did achieve its goal of increasing user engagement as brand awareness grew by 40% with sales up by 15%.

Kindness, the greatest gift – Amazon

Let’s conclude with a favourite Christmas campaign – Kindness, the greatest gift! With the past two years being a true challenge for everybody, especially those who have lost their loved ones, Amazon’s holiday ad message looked to promote kindness.

The video campaign consisted of a young woman forming a new friendship with her neighbour while dealing with her recent traumas. To show her support and kindness during this tough time, her neighbour gifted her something of interest from Amazon.

This has truly touched our hearts at Fusion as we all believe in the power of kindness and how a small act can help people feel better during a difficult time.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our round-up of best 2021 marketing campaigns. To find out how you can create a long-lasting impact on your target audience through digital marketing, get in touch with our expert team to create results-driven SEO, PCC and Social Media campaigns.

How Was 2021 For Our Newest Recruits?

There’s no doubt 2021 has been a wild one but as we got used to WFH, Friday Fun, back to the office, socials, new client wins, award wins, and continuing to go above and beyond for our existing clients, we also made 6 new hires this year!

So whilst our senior leadership team might have been with Fusion for 83 years combined (!) our newest recruits are only just getting started on their journey with us. Want to find out what it’s like to work at Leeds’ best-kept secret? Let Tom, Charlie, Emily, George, Jonny and Elise tell you more…

You joined the Fusion team earlier this year, how would you summarise your time here so far?

Tom: It’s been great! Everyone has been very welcoming, it’s a great team to work in and I feel like I’ve learned a lot since I started. Working across different clients has been something new for me as I worked in-house previously, but it’s been very enjoyable and it’s helped me grow.

Emily: This is my first full-time role post-university so when I think about my knowledge of the field when I joined the team compared to now, I have learned soo much. It’s been quite the journey starting from working remotely, which is why it’s now great having the option to go into the office & see everyone at socials face-to-face rather than through a screen.

Charlie: My time at Fusion so far has been incredibly fulfilling and a rewarding experience. In terms of development I’ve had continual support from the team as a whole, positively challenged with opportunities to grow, whilst also being introduced to and welcomed across all teams. 

Jonny: In one word; welcoming! The whole team has been incredibly warm and friendly since the day I joined, and has made it an absolute breeze to settle in. Every agency likes to talk about collaboration and teamwork, but with Fusion you can really feel it. The team is always ready and willing to support on any issue or challenge.

George: It’s been great, very fast-paced and no day is the same. I’ve loved the variety of sites that we get to work on and take great satisfaction from seeing recommended technical actions implemented with a positive impact.

What’s been the biggest surprise about working at Fusion?

Tom: Not a surprise as such, but everyone works to a very high standard and is very professional in what they do, and I haven’t worked in an environment like that before where the standards are so high, so it’s great to be within it.

Emily: I had no preconceptions of what it would be like working for Fusion, so it has been a pleasant surprise to find it’s a fun and welcoming environment to work in. There has always been someone to turn to if I have a question so that has been really helpful for my own personal development.

Charlie: I think when you start a new job it can be a nervous time, but across the interview process to starting my first day, a sense of welcoming and warmth came across in abundance – the extent to which this has continued goes far beyond what I could have hoped for. Feeling like you belong in a workplace is so essential and I feel I’ve really found that here.

Jonny: How adaptable the team is. I joined Fusion during lockdown and it was a genuine surprise to see how well Fusion had adapted to working from home. I never felt like I skipped a beat switching between the office and home. That being said Charlie’s barista skills make trips to the office somewhat essential; the man has travelled the world in order to perfect the art of coffee for the whole team’s benefit – definitely not one to be missed.

George: I’d say the biggest surprise would be how efficient and adjusted everyone has become to WFH, whilst maintaining communication and remaining collaborative.  

Top skill or tip you’ve learned this year in your specialism?

Tom: Attention to detail is the top tip I’ve learned, whether that be a change in metrics or a market trend, constantly looking at the small details has been massive for me.

Emily: I’d say for anyone starting in the field, try to make clear comprehensive notes while you’re learning anything new. It is helpful to have a written explanation of what was done and why so that you can go back to it when you come across the task again. It is especially valuable to have these notes written in a step-by-step format so that they are organised in the order you will complete the task.

Charlie: Be curious, read across varying industries and always look to discover and anticipate the next development.

Jonny: Perhaps a bit cliché but…I’ve learned the value in thinking outside of the box. Recognising that the solutions to some challenges involve brand new processes, and true collaboration with other departments/people has been of great value and has given me a fresh perspective on client strategy.

George: You could say I have become relatively accustomed to ScreamingFrog, the capabilities of that tool are endless for a technical SEO.

What are your predictions for digital marketing trends in 2022?

Tom: Automation will continue to be more prominent for platforms.

Emily: I have found it interesting how much can change within the industry in such a small amount of time, for example, what is considered best practice can adapt relatively quickly. From this, I think there will be an even greater focus on automation as technology evolves and changes the way we work.

Charlie: Customer-wise, ‘experience’ across the digital journey path is increasingly becoming a social currency. Elsewhere, privacy challenges will continue to affect the wider industry, but present an opportunity to develop more meaningful connections between all parties.

Jonny: I think we’ll continue to see rich media play a bigger role in Paid Search. Image and video assets provide a fantastic opportunity for clients to communicate their brand values, whether that be within a SERP or attached to content. Text ads are limited by characters, but a picture paints a thousand words!

George: On the SEO side of things, I expect plenty more Google algorithm updates – including Page Experience finally coming to desktop (although that’s not much of a prediction).

Anything else you’d like to share?

Tom: Fusion is a great agency to work for and I’m constantly learning from a lot of good people. I feel very grateful to be a part of the team and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in 2022!

Jonny: It’s clear to see from day one Fusion’s friendly and welcoming atmosphere, but it’s also especially great to see that same culture shared with clients. There is a real sense of collaboration with all my clients and I’ve been fortunate enough to build fantastic relationships with people from a variety of industries.

George: Just that how happy I am to be a part of team Fusion, it’s a happy and supportive place to work.

Like what you hear? Join Team Fusion! We have exciting opportunities on our careers page.

Social Media Updates: Nov/Dec

TikTok is Testing a New Business Registration Option

TikTok is planning to expand its eCommerce capabilities with a new business registration option that will allow brands to list their business categories on their profiles. The feature will give the app another way of collecting data on business users and categorising the business pages into different segments.

This is great for eCommerce listings as there are more chances of being shown to relevant users who will be able to see what the brand does, making it easier to drive purchase actions from their TikTok page.

Overall, by adding this category element, businesses can add an extra level of authority to their in-app presence, while at the same time better communicating their offerings.

Snapchat Launches Multi-Format Ad Placements

Snapchat has launched a new ‘Multiple Formats’ delivery option which will enable marketers to incorporate multiple video ad formats such as Snap Ads, Story Ads, Collection Ads, and Commercials within a single ad set.  

The app explains:

Multi-Format delivery will offer brands buying on Snap the opportunity to purchase multiple advertising formats in one cohesive ad set, optimizing towards clients central goal or objective.

This new multi-format ad placement will enable Snapchat’s automated placement tools to help maximise ad response and streamline the management of campaigns by keeping creative elements in one single ad set.

This would allow brand awareness campaigns to achieve better results by allowing for a broader placement and capacity for exposure. 

Twitter CEO Stands Down

Twitter’s co-founder and CEO, Jack Dorsey, has resigned from their position at the app. It is believed that the decision has come as a result of the rising pressure from activist investor group Elliott Management Corp. as they acquired over $1 billion in Twitter shares to gain more power on the board.

The group had previously called for Dorsey’s removal due to questions over his leadership as they believe he was failing to capitalise on the app’s potential. The main concerns were his dual commitments as being both the CEO of Twitter and Square.

He has been succeeded by CTO Parag Agrawal, who has been with Twitter for more than 10 years. This change could potentially swing Twitter in a new direction with the possibility of the app abandoning some projects while focusing on others in line with pre-established targets.

Instagram Launches Live Test of Longer Videos in Stories

Instagram has officially launched a live test of 60-second videos in Stories which means that longer clips will no longer be split into 15-second sections and played across various Stories.

The app states:

The ability to create longer Stories posts comes highly requested by our community. We’re excited to be testing 60-second Stories so that people can create and view Stories with fewer interruptions.

The option aims to provide more creative freedom to users by further integrating the app’s various video options to streamline its creative tools and functions.

This will be another great step towards the app’s aim to gradually merge and open to full-screen feed of stories and reels to maximise user engagement, just like TikTok.

To find out how social media can help you maximise your promotional efforts and contribute towards reaching your business goals, get in touch with our expert team today. Alternatively, check out our blog for all the latest sector-wide reports and updates within the digital marketing space.

SEO Market Updates: November 2021

Join Fusion’s SEO team as we round up last month’s major industry updates.

November 2021 Core Algorithm Update

On 17th November, Google announced the rollout of another core update, titled ‘November 2021 Core Update’. This came as a surprise to the wider SEO community, with the update rolling out across Black Friday weekend, one of the busiest online shopping periods of the year, eventually coming to completion on 30th November.

The following Google Search Central tweets confirmed those dates:

There are mixed reports regarding the severity of the update, however a Twitter poll by Marie Haynes provides some nice insight. With 48% of voters (632 total) not seeing much from the update on the sites that they handle:

Google Drops Mobile-First Indexing Deadline

In a Google Search Central blog post, John Mueller announced that Google is dropping the final deadline for sites moving over to mobile-first indexing. This comes from Google wanting to accommodate the timelines for sites facing unexpectedly difficult challenges.

The previous update claimed that mobile-first indexing would complete by the end of March 2021, and has since continued to be pushed back, with Google now saying:

After analyzing the sites that are not yet indexed mobile-first, we’ve determined that some of these sites are still not ready to be shifted over due to various, unexpected challenges that they’re facing. Because of these difficulties, we’ve decided to leave the timeline open for the last steps of mobile-first indexing.”

Page Experience Update Set for Desktop in February 2022

Back in May 2021, Google announced their plan to bring Page Experience ranking to desktop search results in the near future. A timeline has now been given for these changes – Page Experience ranking will begin rolling out across desktop in February 2022 and will complete by the end of March 2022.

This means that the same three Core Web Vitals metrics (LCP, FID & CLS), along with the other page experience signals such as HTTPS security and the absence of intrusive interstitials will now also apply to desktop pages. The one signal that will not be carried over is Mobile Friendliness, with it having no relevance to desktop ranking. A breakdown of all the Page Experience signals for mobile and desktop can be found below:

Updated Version of PageSpeed Insights Goes Live

As of 16th November, Google began to roll out a revamped version of PageSpeed Insights. This came with the following announcement:

While it is a critical element in our speed tooling suite, the PSI code base was ten years old, contained a lot of legacy code, and was due for a redesign. We used this as an opportunity to address interface-related issues in PSI which have sometimes made it difficult for users to navigate the report.”

The updated PSI tool has a host of new features, in short, these include:

  • Clear separation of field and lab data
  • Core Web Vitals assessment result now stands out as a separate subsection with a distinct icon.
  • Origin summary rehoused under new tab, labelled “Origin”
  • New “Expand view” feature that adds a drill-down function to the field data section
  • Page image and thumbnails now available in lab data section

A video posted by Addy Osmani visualises the changes to the PSI UI over time, whilst demonstrating some of those new features:

Google Say “A Mix of Positive and Negative Reviews Are More Trustworthy”

Google has updated the Google Business Profiles Get Reviews help document with a new line stating that a mix of positive and negative reviews can be more trustworthy, indicating that having some negative reviews rather than all positive may be beneficial to your site. Here’s the new addition to the best practice advice:

  • Value all reviews: Reviews are useful for potential customers when they’re honest and objective. Customers find a mix of positive and negative reviews more trustworthy. You can always respond to a review to show the customers that you care and provide additional context. If the review doesn’t follow our posting guidelines, you can request its removal.

Bolding Words or Paragraphs Does Help With SEO

In a Google Search Central SEO office-hours hangout recorded on 12th November, John Mueller was once again asked about the SEO benefits of using bolded text. In short, the following was said: “Does bolding important points on a paragraph help the SEO? Yes it does.”.

To provide some more context around this topic, John went on to say that when trying to figure out what a page is actually expressing, besides the usual tagging such as headings on a page, Google also look at “things like what is actually bolded or emphasized within the text on the page. So to some extent that does have a little bit of extra value there, in that it’s a clear sign that actually you think this page or this paragraph is about this topic here.”

It goes without saying that random sentence bolding is not the takeaway from these comments. Making sure that page content is high-quality, useful, unique, and compelling should be a priority.

If you found this update useful, check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today.

Curtains & Blinds Sector Report

The second installment in our homewares sector series, we’ve peeked behind the curtain at some of the biggest brands dominating the SERPs in the curtain and blinds industry. 

Using our proprietary tool, Natural Edge, we’ve taken a 6-month look back at how SOV for core keyword categories has changed over time, developing a league table with some (very surprising) increases and decreases. 

Get in touch here to find out how the experts here at Fusion can help you drive your business forwards. 

Social Media Updates: October 2021

Facebook Announces New Corporate Title

Facebook’s rebranding, Meta logo
Image from Wikipedia

Facebook’s overarching company will now be called ‘Meta’ – the rebranding decision has been made to reflect the company’s emerging focus on the next generation of digital connections.

To clarify, all the social networking apps names will stay the same, they will just sit under this new banner that aims to bring innovative change. Meta’s operational system will be divided into two segments:

  • Family of Apps: this will include all apps owned by Facebook, such as Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger.
  • Reality Labs: this will cover evolving technology such as VR and AR.

This rebranding means that users won’t need a Facebook account to use other apps and services. It seems to be a well-weighted decision since the Facebook brand has been receiving a lot of backlash recently.

The platform explains:

The metaverse will feel like a hybrid of today’s online social experiences, sometimes expanded into three dimensions or projected into the physical world. It will let you share immersive experiences with other people even when you can’t be together – and do things together you couldn’t do in the physical world. It’s the next evolution in a long line of social technologies, and it’s ushering in a new chapter for our company.

TikTok Launches ‘Small Wins’

Are you a small business owner reluctant to create a TikTok account? Well, TikTok has launched ‘Small Wins’ to encourage SMEs to try out the platform.

The initiative contains a series of videos featuring small business owners that have incorporated the platform into their marketing strategy and gained immense success from it, as well as sharing creative tips that others can replicate. Overall, the aim is to highlight how valuable TikTok can be for the growth of small businesses.

The social media giants explains:

Through a series of videos featuring small businesses from across the globe, Small Wins aims to highlight TikTok’s value to small businesses, educate them on how to use TikTok to grow, and demonstrate how small businesses are turning “small wins” into big success on the platform. From the bakery owner who turned 3,000 followers into two million, to the candlemaker who went viral without even trying, small businesses of all kinds are showing that on TikTok, small does win.

Click here to learn more about the initiative and how you can make the most of TikTok.

You Can Now Subscribe to Revue Newsletter Directly from Tweets

Previously, creators could only promote their Revue newsletter by adding a ‘Subscribe’ button on their profile. Now, they’ve been given the option to share their newsletter with Twitter users by linking to it in a Tweet.

This decision will provide more monetization options to creators, as they’ll be able to raise awareness about their newsletter and encourage users to subscribe to it directly from a Tweet, instead of guiding them to their profile. 

Revue explains:

We already made it possible for followers to subscribe to your newsletter directly from your Twitter profile. And now they can from Tweets as well, some with just one click.

The great news is that this option isn’t only available to creators. Other Twitter users will also be able to promote their favourite creator’s newsletter by just linking to it in their Tweet. 

Instagram Adds More Tools to Maximise Content Partnerships

Instagram is testing new tools to give creators more monetization options and to maximise their earnings through branded content partnerships.

The test involves a new feature that will help creators get discovered by brands and track communications and sponsored content opportunities. Creators just have to choose the brands they’d like to partner with, and they will be shown in the priority list when brands will be looking for creators to work with.

The second part of the test involves a dedicated ‘Partnership’ messaging folder, found at the top of the creators DMs section. This will allow both brands and creators to easily track and manage their conversations, which can often be missed.

Instagram explains:

Brands can now use data and unique filters to discover and select the best creators for their campaigns. Then they can organise shortlists to easily manage multiple campaigns. 

To avoid scams, all message requests will be filtered through Facebook’s Brand Collabs Manager, meaning only brands that have met the Partner Monetization policies will be able to contact creators. So, if you’re interested in collaborating with influencers, Instagram has just made the process easier for you.

To learn more about how social media can help you take your business to the next level, get in touch with our expert team. Feel free to also check out our blog for all the latest news and updates within the digital marketing space.

SEO Market Updates: October 2021

Join Fusion’s SEO team as we round up last month’s major industry updates.

Google Updates Search Quality Rater Guidelines

A year on from the previous update, Google made several changes to the search quality raters’ guidelines. These come as a 172 page PDF that according to Google “help make sure Search is returning relevant results from the most reliable sources available”.

To summarise, the most recent update included the following changes:

  • Expanded the definition of the YMYL subcategory ‘Groups of people’
  • Refreshed guidance on how to research reputation information for websites and content creators
  • Restructured and updated ‘Lowest Page Quality’ section; reorganized and refreshed examples to reflect new structure
  • Simplified the definition of ‘Upsetting-Offensive’ to remove redundancy with Lowest Page Quality section
  • Minor changes throughout (updated screenshots and URLs, wording, and examples for consistency; removed outdated examples; fixed typos; etc.)

The ratings your site may receive from a search quality evaluator do not directly impact rankings, however it is worth reviewing the guidelines to better understand the type of page content that Google prefers to rank.

Continuous Scroll Rolling Out Across Mobile Google Search

As of the 14th October, Google began rolling out continuous scrolling for search results on mobile devices. Initially, this is for “most” English searches on the mobile in the U.S and is expected to be carried over to other international search results pages – including the UK – in the near future.

The change comes in to make browsing search results “more seamless and intuitive” and now means that when you get to the bottom of a search results page on your phone, the next set of results (previously page 2) will now automatically load.

For example:

Following the announcement, Google has stated that continuous scroll is not the widely known ‘infinite scroll’, as the new feature will only load up to a maximum of four pages when you will then be shown a “See more” button. Within the same set of tweets, Google also explained that this will not change how reporting works within Search Console:

Google Adds Granular Scores To Search Console Core Web Vitals Report

The Core Web Vitals report in Google Search Console is now showing more granular scoring data when you select a URL within the report to view more details.

Displaying as:

The scores shown are not however for individual URLs – as you expect from other testing tools such as the PageSpeed report – they are for the URL group, meaning Google has assigned an issue “to a group of URLs that provide a similar user experience. This is because it is assumed that performance issues in similar pages are probably due to the same underlying problem, such as a common slow-loading feature in the pages.”

Google Search Results More Volatile In 2021

Mordy Oberstein, the head of communications at Semrush posted a series of tweets claiming that Google search results have been far more volatile through 2021 than in the previous year. Data pulled from the Semrush Sensor shows that SERP volatility is up 84% on mobile and 68% on desktop for 2021 YTD compared to 2020.

Mobile SERP volatility 2020 vs 2021:

Desktop SERP volatility 2020 vs 2021:

The Semrush Sensor tracks volatility of Google SERPs based on daily changes in rankings, although these daily changes cannot be directly attributed to algorithm updates, some believe it is a good indicator that of Google’s algorithm updates, meaning they may have been more sever this year.

Testing Tools In Google Search Console Now Match The URL Inspection Tool

To further help users find and fix issues in web pages, Google has updated three of its standalone public testing tools within Search Console to now provide a standardization of features and align with the URL Inspection Tool. Previously, the AMP, Mobile Friendly and Rich Results testing tools have all advanced separately at different paces, meaning there were multiple tools from Google each showing similar information in varied ways.

A blog post from Google titled “Aligning Search Console testing tools and the URL Inspection tool explains that “we’re making changes in their designs and improving features to be fully aligned with the URL Inspection tool”. More specifically, from now on the following fields will be displayed both on the public testing tools and on the URL Inspection Tool:

  • Page availability – Whether Google was able to crawl the page, when it was crawled, or any obstacles that it encountered when crawling the URL.
  • HTTP headers – The HTTP header response returned from the inspected URL.
  • Page screenshot – The rendered page as seen by Google.
  • Paired AMP inspection, Inspect both canonical and AMP URL.


If you found this update useful, check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today.

Strengthen Your Site: A Link Building Guide

Alongside technical SEO and content, link building stands tall as one of the three core pillars of SEO. As brands across the country compete to become more visible in the SERPs, and invest more resources into these core pillars, shrewd marketers seek to maintain an accurate and up-to-date knowledge of which link building strategies and tactics are effective in today’s market.

That’s why we’ve created this link building guide; to help you guide your brand through the sometimes challenging world of link building and keep an eye on what’s currently deemed ‘best practice’.

Is link building still necessary in 2021?

Quite simply, yes. While link building is technically a violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines (as of 1st March 2020), the algorithms continue to use backlinks as a measure of a site’s authority in line with EAT principles. Brands continue to see a good uplift in performance from targeted link building activity, and there’s no evidence to suggest that a good link building strategy is detrimental to results.

That said, it’s now more important than ever to get a link building strategy right. Gone are the days in which you could blindly fire out press activity looking to gain backlinks from anywhere and everywhere as part of a shotgun approach.

Rather, Google’s algorithms have evolved to a point where they’re substantially better at determining the relevance of a backlink to your content, and better at spotting both spammy and bought links – which are subsequently devalued. 

A modern link building strategy therefore requires a targeted approach, whereby you’re seen by Google to be acquiring quality follow links from sites that demonstrate authority. This could mean, for example, sites that complement your content, or sites that are directly relevant to your business’ offering.

How to do link building

It’s important to build links in a balanced way. Brands looking to rank highly for their product keywords ideally want a good number of reputable domains linking to their site. They also may need a good volume of links pointing to key product categories, CLPs, and advice content – so link destination is an important consideration alongside link quality and quantity.

We believe there’s only one way to generate a high volume of high quality links in a relatively short period of time – which is to run digital PR campaigns. A digital PR campaign involves developing a concept that’s both relevant to your brand, and relevant to your target audience; such as prominent media publications.

Creating news through link building
Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

If your idea is interesting enough, you’re likely to attract some media attention to the landing page it’s hosted on – and the journalists you outreach to will probably want to cover your story, link to your site, learn more about your campaign, and pay attention to your exciting activity in future. 

The impact of digital PR campaigns can be maximised by pushing them out across different channels, such as social media or email. Through this activity, you could look to develop campaign concepts even further to appeal to multiple audiences. There’s even a longevity element to consider; is this a campaign you could come back to in future?

We’ll dive deeper into what a digital PR campaign should look like in a future blog, but how else can you generate links to your site in the meantime – perhaps without even requiring much budget?

The best quick-win link building tactics

Fortunately, there are a range of quick bits of link building activity you can run on a daily or weekly basis to build quality links into your domain. Don’t expect a hundred links at a time, but a slow, steady process that sees you build one quality link at a time. Our picks for the best tactics are:

1. Guest blogging

Guest blogging is a staple of SEO link building. While Google has indicated that some guest blog links are ‘unnatural’ and potentially devalued, many brands have still found that offering ‘free’ content that is both directly drawn from their expertise and relevant to their offering is an effective way of building links.

As far as quick-win tactics go, we still think guest blogging has value. It affords you a lot of flexibility and choice in the types of publications you go after, and allows you to get really specific, deep links to pages of your choosing – rather than general homepage links (which are still particularly useful for weaker domains). We’d recommend only guest blog posting if the publication you’re targeting is directly relevant to your product or brand.

2. Acquiring your competitor’s lost and broken backlinks

Over time, publishers edit and update their websites. This sometimes involves culling certain content to avoid over-egging the pudding if, for example, the site has twenty Father’s Day card ideas guides. As your competitors lose backlinks, or as they break due to this activity, you can look to capture them for yourself and provide your own relevant content to which publishers can link.

It’s incredibly easy to keep an eye on your competitors’ backlink portfolio, and Ahrefs’ Site Explorer has dedicated functionality to reveal lost and broken backlinks. Given this tactic is fairly quick to execute, and has a decent chance of you placing a link, we’d highly recommend it.

3. Creating visual assets; infographics and interactive landing pages

In a digital age whereby people’s attention spans drop further and further each year, serving content in creative formats rather than as long written articles is a great way of capturing attention.

Naturally, you’ll need to host that infographic on a campaign landing page within your website, and probably include some copy to accompany it, but infographics can make for attractive outreach emails that journalists love to engage with. That’s because studies have found that journalists prefer multi-media campaigns that include images, video and other engaging formats to make news more accessible.

It can require a little resource and touch of magic to create an infographic that’s truly special, but if you consider that journalists are more willing to cover your content if it’s interesting, and that coverage is a prerequisite to acquiring links, we’d give infographics a pass mark on a quality link building tactics test.

4. Link Reclamation

Link reclamation refers to finding lost and broken links that are pointing to your or your competitor’s website, and taking action to replace them with a better suited URL.

These are potentially very quick win opportunities, especially if they’re linking to a page that does not exist anymore. All you would have to do is provide your target site with a new URL, pointing out the damaged or missing link via a polite email. 

You can identify these links by accessing your backlink profile on Ahrefs’ Site Explorer. 

Ahrefs' Lost Backlinks tool

For most sites, you’ll see a steady influx of broken or lost links each month, so tapping into them makes for a nice bit of link building activity.

5. Unlinked mentions

These refer to online mentions of your brand such as the brand name and specific products or services. If you spot branded mentions via social listening tools, such as Ahrefs’ Content Explorer or Google Alerts, and those very mentions do not currently link to your site, then there’s a great opportunity for you to reach out to the publisher and place links.

6. Social Media Links

Another great time-saving tactic is to check whether publications are linking to your social media channels, instead of your website. These links might not provide as much direct benefit as a blog link placed within the main content of a page, for example, but they’re still useful signals to Google and are probably worth picking up if you have some spare time.

You can check for them through Ahrefs’ Backlink profile, and compare an export of social media profile backlinks to a similar export of backlinks pointing to your domain – using conditional formatting to find gaps and opportunities.

Gillette twitter links

7. Domain misspellings

We’re all human, and even the best of us can make mistakes. Even with something as important as a domain name. 

So, checking for domain misspellings is a great way to find warm links from sites that already link to you, but maybe just not to the exact location you’d hope for. Just enter your correct domain name on Domain Check to get a list of misspellings related to your domain. 

Add these misspelled domains into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer to identify any sites that should be linking to your correct domain with this useful tactic.

8. Reverse image search

Do you produce creative assets? If so, keep an eye out for sites that are using your creative without linking back to you. 

You can find who is using your content through the ‘Search Google for Image’ option. Just right-click on the asset published on your website and you can quickly access a list of web pages that have published your content. Easy links, minimal effort, and this activity does not need to be done too frequently.

9. Newsjacking

One final strategy to gain quick links is to look for hot news topics that are directly related to your brand, and share your expertise with publications that are active in that niche. 

The best way to make the most of the opportunity is to send out a quick press release in response to a current news event and specify your company’s stance on the topic, or add value to the topic through your internal expertise. 

For example, if your business produces an eco-friendly product and you’re renowned within that industry, you could serve your CEO’s expert insights via a press release in reaction to some breaking news about newly announced environmental laws that will affect your industry. We’ve had a lot of success with this tactic as publishers crave genuine expertise, and would rate it highly.

We hope you have found this guide helpful in explaining what link building is, why it is essential for SEO, and which tactics you can use to get great backlinks to your website. 

If you’re interested in learning more about how our experts can help you implement best practice link building and SEO tactics, get in touch with our expert team. Or, check out the latest industry updates via our blog.

Social Media Updates: September 2021

Professional Profiles is Now Open for all Brands and Creators

Screenshot of Twitter’s Business Profile application form.

Twitter is finally opening applications to Professional Profiles to all businesses and creators.

This new profile will display previously unavailable business information such as location, category, contact details, hours of operation and directions. The app will also include e-commerce and revenue led options such as ‘Shop’ and ‘Newsletter’ – the latter only available to accounts that have a Revue newsletter, which is Twitter’s editorial newsletter service available to all users, from aspiring writers to large publishers.

It’s worth noting that accounts can’t currently change the ‘About’ section without having to resubmit the application. Therefore, its recommended to provide the correct information when first submitting the application, in order to avoid confusion.

Twitter explains that users use the platform to interact with brands and engage in conversations about products and services. This demand has given the app the confidence to combine real-time conversations with enhanced features to allow brands to better control and enhance their identity.

The app also states that:

Professional Accounts are a gateway to a wide range of professional tools not available to non-professionals, including our Twitter Ads, Quick promote, Advanced Profile features. And our future efforts around shopping.

Make the most of your Twitter account by switching to the Professional Profile option through this form.

Business accounts on Instagram can now connect to their WhatsApp account

Instagram has announced that its users can now contact businesses directly through WhatsApp as businesses have the option to integrate both accounts. This is a great way for audiences to get in touch with their favourite brands and spark conversations about products and services.

As per Facebook, 75% of users want to communicate with brands via messaging – so being able to contact them through WhatsApp seems like a personalised way to get in touch with the business and increase connections. The option can also be used while boosting posts, with brands being able to send customers directly to their WhatsApp inbox.

Instagram says:

Boosting a post that drives to WhatsApp allow businesses to reach more people and excite them to be their next customer through personalization.

Facebook shares insights into the type of content that will be limited in News Feed

As part of Facebook’s ongoing efforts to show more transparency and how it filters News Feed content, the platform has shared the type of content that it will have its reach reduced – some of which is:

  • Engagement bait – this refers to posts that explicitly request shares, comments and likes for purposes other than specific calls to action.
  • Links to websites requesting user data – this refers to lead generation funnels requesting personal information before showing content.
  • Websites with low quality browsing experience – this refers to websites with errors and poor mobile experience.
  • Sensationalised health content – post that are trying to sell products/services based on health-related claims such as ‘lose 30kg in 10 days’ etc.

The social media giant explains:

Our enforcements to reduce problematic content in News Feed are rooted in our commitment to the values of responding to people’s direct feedback, incentivising publishers to invest in high-quality content and fostering a safer community.

This indicates that brands need to be extremely careful when producing organic and paid content for social, as some of the previously accepted rules do not apply anymore.

If you’re transparent and have original content on your site, there shouldn’t be anything to worry about. However, if you’re struggling to create original content, get in touch with our content team for more information on how we can help you.

Pinterest shares insights into upcoming trends and how brands can make the most of it

Screenshot of Pinterest’s 2021 trend predictions.

According to the recent Pinterest report, 80% of trends predicted by the platform in December 2020, gained traction throughout this year.

Now, the platform has provided an overview of new trends that will be dominating the online space in 2022. These trends are predicted based on rising search activity and engagements.

The image-sharing platform states that by providing an insight into the future, its helping businesses connect more deeply with their audiences by creating advertising strategies that reflect their preferences.

The app also noted that trends last 20% longer on the platform compared to other social media networks, which means that content has a longer lifespan, helping brands make the most of their assets.

So, if you don’t have Pinterest, there is a huge audience you’re missing out on – our team has tons of experience in helping brands grow their Pinterest accounts, so why not get in touch with us today to find how we can help your business make the most of its online presence.  

Sleep Sector Report: Beds & Mattresses

Discover what dreams are really made of in the first of our homewares sector report, this time for beds and mattresses. Our report delves into organic visibility and performance for big brands and rising stars in the beds and mattresses market using our proprietary Share of Voice tool, Natural Edge.

What will you uncover?

  • Brand table – top 50 brands with highest share of voice
  • Share of voice at a product category level
  • Keyword opportunities – where has seen the biggest growth areas over the last 12 months?
  • Keyword losers – where has seen the biggest decline this last 12 months?

Whilst it may come as no surprise that large scale retailers Argos, Dunelm and Dreams are often at the head of the bed, there are plenty of examples of smaller brands who, maybe without the lofty budgets, are dreaming big and rising up the ranks for their niche.

The bed category has seen a lot of fluctuation over the last year and what’s interesting is when we drill down to a product category level we see how quickly the lay of the land can change. Employing a highly targeted keyword mapping, research and tailored content strategy is key to success here.

Craig Broadbent – Organic Search Director

What next?

Our technical and content experts are a match made in heaven for helping you gain the visibility you deserve. If you’re interested in finding out more about how we can help you gain visibility in the SERPs within the beds and mattresses category get in touch here.

SEO Market Updates: September 2021

Join Fusion’s SEO team as we round up last month’s major industry updates.

Google Further Refines How Title Tags Are Generated In Search

Following feedback on the new system introduced back in August for generating titles in web page results, Google has made further refinements to how titles are shown in SERPs. These changes now mean that title elements (title tags) “are now used around 87% of the time, rather than around 80% before”.

Within the Google Search Central Blog posted on 17th September, Google provided some examples of situations where they detect certain on-page issues and may choose to adjust the page title shown in search results accordingly:

  • Half-empty titles – Often occur when large sites use templates to generate titles and something is missed, meaning the title does not appropriately summarise the page contents.
  • Obsolete titles – Can occur when the same page is used year-after-year for recurring information, but the title element is not updated to reflect the latest year.
  • Inaccurate titles – Sometimes titles don’t accurately reflect what the page is about, for example the page may have dynamic content and not display the same products as described in the title.

The advice does however remain the same, site owners should focus on creating great HTML title elements, as those are “by far what we use the most”.

Search Console Performance Report Back To Normal After Significant Delays

Google Search Console once again experienced reporting issues last month, a separate problem to the previously discussed widespread data loss in late August. Within the SEO community it was widely reported that site owners were experiencing significant delays in the performance report data being shown, which was later confirmed on the Google Search Central Twitter account:

Two days later the bug was fixed, with all performance report data updated and back to normal:

New Google Help Docs On Best Practices For Ecommerce

Google has added a new multipage set of guides to help developers and SEOs better understand the best e-commerce practices for Google Search. These new help documents provide developers with the tools to ensure that the site works well with Google, which will ultimately help more shoppers discover your site and products.

Here’s a short description of what is covered in each of the topic areas:

Google Clarify That Intrusive Interstitials Don’t Impact Indexing But May Impact Ranking

As a response to a query on Twitter, asking if Google would not index a page because it triggers the mobile interstitial penalty, John Mueller said that “intrusive interstitial element has a ranking effect, it wouldn’t affect indexing”. Meaning a page would be indexed regardless of any intrusive interstitials, however, this may have an impact on ranking.

With that being said, it’s worth rehashing the guidelines around intrusive interstitials to help ensure your site doesn’t incur a penalty that would negatively impact rankings. Google deems an interstitial that makes content less accessible as intrusive, for example:

  • Showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.
  • Displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.
  • Using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.

There are, however, some examples of interstitials that would not provoke a penalty, for example:

  • Interstitials that appear to be in response to a legal obligation, such as for cookie usage or for age verification.
  • Login dialogs on sites where content is not publicly indexable. For example, this would include private content such as email or unindexable content that is behind a paywall.
  • Banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible. For example, the app install banners provided by Safari and Chrome are examples of banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space.


If you found this update useful, check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today.

The Best Chrome Extensions for a Digital Marketer

The fast-paced world of digital marketing means we need tools at our fingertips to help automate, predict, replicate and scrape where we can. 

We put the feelers out amongst Team Fusion to find out their must-have Google Chrome Extensions that make our jobs just that little bit easier. 

First off, we’re heading over to our paid media…

Search & Paid Media Chrome Extensions

1) Redirect Path

This handy tool lets you know if you’ve been redirected whenever you hit a landing page. Good to use when testing to see if any ads need their final URLs updating (boosting quality score in the process).

2) Ghostery

Ghostery is a powerful privacy extension that can block ads, suppress tracking code, and show a list of sites that are trying to track you and serve you advertisements. By doing so, it speeds up your browsing experience.

Ghostery chrome extension helps you take control of your privacy
Ghostery helps you take control of your privacy.

3) Facebook Pixel Helper

Establishing a tracking pixel on Facebook is an incredibly important prerequisite to quality data gathering, but what if your pixel breaks? The Pixel Helper extension can flag this for you, negating the need for manual checks.

4) Google Tag Assistant

When activating Google Tag Assistant, you’ll see an analysis of each of the tags active on your website of choice. It can also display additional information about tags at a glance, making troubleshooting easy.

5) UET Tag Helper

This nifty extension from Microsoft Advertising is another highlight for our paid team (who absolutely love their tags). Once clicking the UET (Universal Event Tracking) Tag Helper extension, you’ll see a breakdown of which tags are active on the page and whether they’re working. You can also get quick insights into whether your Dynamic Remarketing lists are correctly configured, as well as your conversion goals.

6) Trendtastic

Not going to lie, it’s kind of fantastic. It pulls a Google Trends chart into search results when you carry out a query. Useful for getting an idea of seasonal SV fluctuations at a glance. 

Content Marketing Chrome Extensions

7) Colorzilla

With Colorzilla you’re only one click away from finding out the colour of any pixel on a webpage. Unbelievably speedy for when you’re looking to match client presentation colour palettes or mocking up a quick bit of creative.

8) Whatfont

In a similar vein, it can be difficult to know your clients’ web font without trawling through their brand guidelines. That’s what Whatfont can help you with- after only one click.

9) Edit Anything

This extension is as abstract and crazy as it sounds. You can literally edit anything on a rendered webpage, replacing copy, deleting elements, and the likes. It’s really useful for visualising changes to page copy and for ideating around design changes on the fly.

Using Edit Anything extension to change meta data
Edit on-page elements, or even meta data to visualise changes quickly.

10) Grammarly

Not the wordsmith you hoped you were? Fear not! Grammarly goes where Spellchecker only dreamt it could – everywhere you go.

Whilst copywriters may roll their eyes at Grammarly’s claim that ‘everyone can be a great writer’ it sure does help when you’re firing off a quick email and forget to include a pesky comma along the way. 

11) GoFullPage

This effective screen capture tool can capture an entire webpage. It’s handy given most screenshot programs limit you to capturing only what you can see without scrolling.

12) Momentum

Maintaining momentum for long periods of time is difficult when you’re busy. That’s where the Momentum extension can help. It opens a new tab featuring a personalised dashboard of to-do’s, inspiration, and even throws in a weather forecast – helping you to procrastinate productively.

Technical SEO Chrome Extensions

To throw a few quick helpful extras in from our tech team, check out the following:

13) Alt Text Tester

Gone are the days of traipsing through a page’s source code to identify whether images have alt text. With Alt Text Tester, you can hover over images to see not only whether it has alt text, but what that text is – speeding up page optimisations.

Missing Alt Text on DFS homepage found via Alt Text Tester chrome extension.
We found missing alt text on the DFS homepage with one tap of the Alt Text Tester extension.

14) View Rendered Source

This helpful tool enables you to spot the difference between a page’s source code, and its fully rendered final form. Handy if you’re trying to identify issues that may affect how a page is crawled and indexed.

15) Wappalyzer

Wappalyzer is a fantastic extension that can tell you a lot about a website without you having to trawl through its source code. This plugin can reveal virtually everything about a websit’s technology stack – including which CMS it is using, its hosts, which analytics integrations it has, and the list goes on. It can also show you a site’s security certificates and metadata at a glance.

Speed up your day-to-day with the right extensions

We hope you’ve enjoyed our top picks for the best chrome extensions- as voted by all the digital marketers at Fusion Unlimited. There are hundreds of hidden gems out there so we’re sorry if your favourite pick didn’t make our list – but please be sure to let us know what you would’ve included via our socials.

If you enjoyed reading, check out our blog for the latest SEO and marketing insights.

Social Media Updates: August 2021

TikTok has introduced the ‘Promote’ ad option to all business accounts

Similar to Facebook’s popular ‘Boost’ option, TikTok has launched its own quick advertising option called ‘Promote’.

This can help businesses to quickly place themselves in front of new audiences, grow their following and increase website visits.

The option is only available to public videos that use original or commercial sound – which means that if you’re thinking of using a trend or a sound that is copyrighted, you will not be able to promote your video.

According to TikTok, all you have to do is select the video you want to promote, chose your campaign goal, and wait for the positive results to come in. The three campaign goals you can choose from are:

  • More video views
  • More website visits
  • More followers

 The app further states:

Promote is available to help businesses reach more people and grow their community with their TikTok videos. You can now turn any organic TikTok video into an ad, and start reaching new audiences, build a following and drive traffic to your website.

Promote will also give you access to basic tracking information such as:

  • The number of views your video gained because of the promotion
  • Number of likes, comments and shares on the promoted video
  • Number of people that have visited your website through the video
  • Age and gender of the people interacting with your video

Instagram is replacing swipe-up stories links with link stickers

Instagram’s constant effort to improve Stories interaction has led the app to replace the current swipe-up link with a link sticker option.

This new option works the same way as other stories tools such as polls, locations and mentions – which means that users will now have more creative control over the way they use link stickers.

The tool is great for accounts that want to get reactions and feedback from followers, as the swipe-up link did not previously provide that.

Instagram says that this new option will give creators more creative options to drive traffic to their desired page, as the new link sticker can be placed anywhere on the story, resized and toggled to different styles.

LinkedIn is shutting down Stories

After a year of experimentation, LinkedIn has decided to retire its Stories option and move towards its next video project.

Unfortunately for the app, Stories did not gain much traction from its professional user base. Research conducted by the platform found that users want more creative tools to make engaging videos, as well as wanting their Stories content to live beyond the 24-hour time limit.

LinkedIn says:

We’ve learned a ton through Stories. Now, we’re taking those learnings to evolve the Stories format into a reimagined video experience that’s even richer and more conversational.

The app further states that they want to embrace mixed media and creative tools of Stories and integrate them more tightly with users’ professional identity.

This is highly possible after the platform’s acquisition of Jumprope, a how-to video platform.

YouTube has added video chapter listings in search

YouTube is looking to enhance its search option and help people find relevant content through the introduction of video chapters.

These video chapters divide content into small sections, each with an individual preview, depending on what each portion of the video is about. This means that users will be able to see the content of each video right on the search page.

Each section will include some written information, giving users the full context of the video. This is a great tool for SEO as creators can also add their own information based on keyword search and maximise their video discovery.

This is great as users don’t have to watch the full video to get their query answered or skip through a different section; they can just directly click to the part of the video that interests them the most.

To find out how we can help your business with content creation, social media management, and SEO – get in touch with our expert team here. Alternatively, browse through our blog to discover all the latest news and trends in digital marketing.

SEO Market Updates: August 2021

Join Fusion’s SEO team as we round up last month’s major industry updates.

Google Updates How Title Tags Are Generated

In late August Google announced that they had “introduced a new system of generating titles for web pages” in a new post within the Search Central blog. The statement came following widespread speculation across the industry, with webmasters and SEOs initially noticing that something had changed around the 17th of August.

According to Google, while title tags could previously alter to match a user query, with the new system this will no longer happen. Instead, webpages will now display the same title tag regardless of the query, in order to produce “titles that work better for documents overall”.

In addition, Google is now making greater use of on-page elements to generate title tags, in particular “text that humans can visually see when they arrive at a web page”. This includes key on-page elements like H1s and other header tags, alongside content that is “large and prominent through the use of style treatments” such as pull-quotes or text within links. The rationale is to avoid instances where manually input HTML title tags are too long, contain boilerplate text, or have obvious instances of keyword stuffing.

Google has made use of on-page elements to produce title tags for years, but early analysis suggests that this is now happening with far greater frequency. One limited case study indicates a 77% drop in HTML title tag usage following the change, although the search engine maintains that the updates are limited and that HTML tags are still used “more than 80% of the time”.

Despite the update, Google says that webmasters should still focus on “creating great HTML title tags”. Google also acknowledge that the new system is still being refined, and are welcoming feedback from webmasters.

Safe Browsing Dropped As Page Experience Signal

Last month Google stated that the Safe Browsing requirement would no longer form part of its Page Experience signal. The announcement came as part of a post on wider changes made to Search Console’s Page Experience report, which also included news on the the removal of the Ad Experience tool.

In the post, Google explain that as issues such as malware or third-party site hijacking are “not always in the control of site users[..]we’re clarifying that Safe Browsing isn’t used as a ranking signal and won’t feature in the Page Experience report”. This means that the signal was not considered within the recent Page Experience update, which completed its rollout on 31st August.

To further make clear the factors which now form part of the Page Experience signal, Google released the updated graphic below:

Safe Browsing issues will still be flagged within other areas of Google Search Console and should of course remain a wider consideration for SEOs and webmasters.

Google Search Console Experiences Data Loss

Google Search Console experienced a widespread data loss issue in late August, resulting in many site owners reporting dramatic drops in clicks and impressions to their websites.

The issue impacts the 23rd and 24th of August, and according to Google was due to an “internal problem”. In a post within the Search Console support hub, Google explain that “Users might see a significant data drop in their performance reports during this period. This does not reflect any drop in clicks or impressions for your site, only missing data in Search Console.”.

Although many initially assumed that the issue was a glitch or reporting delay, this appears to be real data loss, with Google’s John Mueller stating the traffic information is unlikely to be backfilled:

Google Search Console is relied on widely to provide detailed insight into organic performance, and the data loss means that many SEOs may be reporting slightly lower than average levels of traffic for August. Although unfortunate, this is purely an artificial drop, and it’s safe to assume that clicks & impressions for the impacted dates will be slightly higher than GSC reports.

Google Made 4500 Changes To Search In 2020

According to a recent post by Danny Sullivan, in total around 4500 changes to Google Search were made within 2020. These changes likely cover everything from smaller user interface changes to larger algorithm updates, with many unlikely to be noticed by everyday users. 

The announcement came within a wider post announcing the launch of an updated How Search Works portal, which is to give insight into how Google approaches “the big, philosophical questions, along with the nitty-gritty details”. Explaining, Sullivan writes:

“On the site, you can find details about how Google’s ranking systems sort through hundreds of billions of web pages and other content in our Search index — looking at factors like meaning, relevance, quality, usability and context — to present the most relevant, useful results in a fraction of a second. And you can learn about how we go about making improvements to Search. (There have been 4,500 such improvements in 2020 alone!)”

Although only a brief comment, with around 3200 changes made in 2019, and 980 reportedly made in 2014 , this indicates that Google is rapidly increasing the rate at which it updates search.

If you found this update useful, check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today.

Social Media Updates: July 2021

SNAPCHAT LAUNCHES ‘MY PLACES’ TO HIGHLIGHT LOCAL BUSINESSES

Businesses can now be easily discovered on Snapchat through ‘My Places’. This new feature can be found in Snap Map and highlights three different listing categories;

  • Popular places within a user’s Snap friends
  • Places the user has liked
  • Places that they have previously visited

Users will be able to access full information about the business listed in the platform. From opening times, contact details and locations to reviews and popular times.

With Snapchat users being able to see where their friends are at any given time, they can now share the business with them and arrange meetups.

The app explains:

Snapchatters can discover more than 30 million businesses worldwide, log their favourite local spots, and find personalised recommendations informed by their friends and global Snapchat community.

If you want to make changes to the business information already displayed or add a new business listing, choose the Place Listing Addition via the Map itself or make changes through the Map settings.

INSTAGRAM INTRODUCES AUTO CAPTIONS FOR FEED POSTS

Instagram is constantly trying to improve accessibility on its app. With the recent auto-caption option being introduced for IGTV uploads and Stories, the platform is now looking to expand this feature for Feed posts.

The news was confirmed by Vishal Shah, VP of Product at Instagram, as he responded to a user’s request of needing auto-captions for feed posts.

https://twitter.com/thebkh/status/1414969591374270467

With more people using Instagram as they go about their day, such as during a commute or while watching TV, the need for both sound on and sound off content has increased massively as brands need audiences to get the full context of posts they upload.

As per Andrew Hutchinson from Social Media Today, this new addition will provide both content creators and brands another option to improve accessibility, maximise viewership and reduce workload as they won’t have to add captions and hardcode them into the video clips themselves. 

TWITTER IS RETIRING ITS ‘FLEETS’ OPTION 

After less than a year, Twitter has decided to retire Fleets, its own version of Instagram and Snapchat stories. The decision has been made as a result of the new feature not getting as much traction as Twitter had hoped for.

Twitter users have only been using them for the purpose of amplifying their own Tweets. This defeated the whole purpose of Fleets which was to add a broader tweet experience on the platform, especially for those that wanted to share their thoughts temporarily.

Twitter further explains:

We built Fleets as a lower-pressure, ephemeral way for people to share their fleeting thoughts. We hoped it would help more people feel comfortable joining the conversation on Twitter. But, in the time since we introduced Fleets to everyone, we haven’t seen an increase in the number of new people joining the conversation like we hoped.

The platform will instead shift its focus into expanding its audio.

FACEBOOK LAUNCHES THE ‘CAMPAIGN IDEAS GENERATOR’ FOR BUSINESSES

Screenshot of Facebook’s Campaign Idea Generator site.

If you ever feel stuck for ideas for your Facebook and Instagram campaigns, Facebook’s new Campaign Ideas Generator may be a great solution to help spark inspiration for your future promotional efforts.

This new resource site contains various insights, templates and recommendations specific to seasonal events and business types. Whether you’re a restaurant, an education company or provide financial services – the Campaign Ideas Generator has ‘cookie-cutter type solutions’ for all industries based on the time of the year they’ll be running their promotions.

The tool is made up of three sections: Campaign Ideas, Data and Insights and Resources and is ideal for small businesses that don’t have much marketing budget.

If your business is feeling stuck with your marketing approach, why not get in touch with our expert team and find out how we can help you maximise your promotional efforts and contribute towards reaching your business goals? Feel free to also check out our blog for all the latest digital marketing updates.

SEO Market Updates: July 2021

Join Fusion’s SEO team as we round up last month’s major industry updates.

July 2021 Core Algorithm Update Rollout

On 1st July, the second round of Google’s two-part core updates began rolling out, this was then “effectively” complete by the 12th of July.

Much like the June 2021 Core Update, there were no specifics on what the broad update entailed – with the only given information explaining that a core algorithm update introduces changes across a wide range of indexing and ranking processes, implicating that core updates are not intended to target one specific factor.

Google has previously stated that sites which experience a drop after a core update may not actually have anything wrong to fix. The advice offered in this situation is to focus on “ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward”.

More information and advice on what site owners should know about core updates can be found in this Google Search Central Blog.  

Google Categorises Causes For Organic Traffic Drops

Off the back of two broad core updates, Google released a document titled “Analyzing Google Search traffic drops”, this provided site owners with illustrations of different drops in organic traffic that a site may experience, along with explanations to help identify and categorise the causes for each.

Examples of Google Search organic traffic drops

According to Google, there are five main causes for drops in organic traffic:

  • Technical issues: Errors that can prevent Google from crawling, indexing, or serving your pages to users – for example, server availability, robots.txt fetching, page not found, and others.
  • Security issues: If your site is affected by a security threat, Google may alert users before they reach your site with warnings or interstitial pages, which may decrease Search traffic.
  • Manual Actions: If your site does not comply with Google’s guidelines, some of your pages or the entire site may be omitted from Google Search results through a Manual Action.
  • Algorithmic changes: Google is always improving how it assesses content and updating its algorithm accordingly; core updates and other smaller updates may change how some pages perform in Google Search results.
  • Search interest disruption: Sometimes changes in user behaviour will change the demand for certain queries, either as a result of a new trend, or seasonality throughout the year.

This is the first time Google has openly shared information like this, and from the reaction across forums and social media it has been very much welcomed.

Google Now Showing Why A Specific Result Was Ranked

To provide further transparency, Google is now showing more information within the ‘About This Result’ section in search. There are now several factors that can be given as to why Google has ranked a specific result within SERPs, these will be listed as bullet points under “Your search & this result”.

Here’s what that looks like:

About This Result Example

This largely confirms what SEOs and marketers already knew as to why Google ranks specific sites for certain queries, but having all factors listed together could provide a useful tool when investigating an unexpected result.

Currently, this is only available for English results in the U.S, but it is expected to be rolled out across other counties (including the UK) in the coming months.

Google Says You Should Keep Redirects Live For At Least A Year

As a response to questions regarding how long you should keep redirections in place, Gary Illyes from Google took to Twitter to provide a “concrete answer”, saying redirects should remain in place for “at least 1 year”.

The Twitter thread goes on to explain that one year allows enough time for Google to pass any signals from the origin URL to the destination URL, any signals passed will then remain associated to the destination URL, even after the redirect has been removed.

It is also still worth noting that, if possible, site owners should strive to keep redirects live indefinitely for the user’s benefit.

SeekToAction Video Markup Now Supported In Google Search

Back in May 2021, Google pre-announced SeekToAction as one of two new video content structured data markups. At the time this was still in the developmental / testing phase, this is now officially supported within Google search, meaning video key moments can now be shown within Google Search.

Looking something like this:

SeekToAction Key Moments Rich Result

If you found this update useful, check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today.

How to Land Featured Snippets With Ahrefs (and Why You Should Care)

Owning the top spot for each Search Engine Results Page (SERP) that is directly relevant to your brand. Broadly speaking, that’s the goal of virtually every business in the modern world when it comes to SEO, right?

Well, what if I told you that not all SERPs are built equally, and that the way you engineer your organic content to target specific types of SERPs determines whether or not you can own that treasured #1 spot.

You might say, ‘Tom, I’m an SEO nerd, show me how to get the snippet already’ – but if you aren’t familiar with featured snippets, here’s a quick run down of what they involve and why they matter.

What is a featured snippet?

A featured snippet, often referred to as ‘position 0’, is essentially a selected excerpt of content chosen by Google’s algorithms that is seen to directly match the searcher’s intent.

Let’s say you’ve identified a decline in sales during lockdown and want to ramp up activity to compensate for this with a deadline set for restrictions lifting. As with many problems these days, the first step to solving it may simply be to google ‘how to generate more leads’, which would the following result:

featured snippet - how to generate more leads

This is a featured snippet – confirmed by the little ‘about featured snippets’ button below each result. There’s a good chance that the text within a featured snippet is THE result you’ve been searching for- hence it being displayed above all others.

As you can see in the screenshot above, the featured snippets take up a good chunk of space in desktop results, and even more so on mobile devices- where you’ll find snippets covering around 50% of the screen. They’re difficult to miss, by design.

Types of featured snippet

Slick paragraphs aren’t always the most helpful way of answering a question. That’s why Google’s SERP Features includes four main types of snippet. These are:

  • Paragraphs.
  • Lists (bulleted or numbered).
  • Tables.
  • Video.

Within each snippet type, you’ll see content that really captures the essence of the searcher’s intent, whether they were Googling tax legislation or how best to recruit new team members.

There are also knowledge card or entity carousel snippet results, but these are typically difficult to optimise for and niche in use- so let’s focus on what you can action.

Why do snippets matter?

The cop-out answer here would be a generic ‘because visibility is important, and sitting atop the SERPs is the best way of boosting visibility’. More interestingly, though, featured snippets comprise around 19% of SERPs according to a recent study by Search Engine Journal. That’s a huge amount.

What’s more, 70% of featured snippets found in this study were text-based, meaning integrated text that’s optimised into your existing content writing could be an easy way of maximising the return on your efforts.

Conversely, neglecting featured snippet considerations and never really looking at what type of SERPs are generated for your target keywords could result in missed opportunities.

The risk of excessive snippet visibility

For full disclosure, snippets aren’t always the best friend of a content marketer. Think about it, if you’re appearing #1 in search results for quick questions with your precise information, users may absorb that information, then get back on with their day- exiting search results.

That ultimately means that your content could drive less clicks, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A 2017 study by Ahrefs looked at what percentage share of clicks is driven by different positions on the SERP. It found that featured snippets (position 1) drive only 8.6% of clicks, while the next highest ranked page sees roughly 19.6% of clicks.

This sounds like a doom and gloom stat for featured snippets, however it’s important to also understand that zero-click searches have gradually increased over the years – and around 50% of searches today yield no clicks.

So, there’s more to the story than click data alone. Instead of a tunnel-vision approach on CTRs, it’s probably best to build a broader picture of how visible your brand is, and lean more heavily on rankings as a performance metric. Besides, SERP features can fluctuate as algorithms evolve and update, which we simply can’t control.

Let’s focus, then, on what we can control.

  1. We can identify which SERPs return snippets.
  2. We can optimise our content to pinch those snippets.

Here’s exactly how.

Navigate to the ‘Site Explorer’ tool within Ahrefs. Input your target domain, I’ve used Yorkshire Tea as an example considering that we’re based in Yorkshire, and that you’ll have earned one shortly.

Featured snippet results for Yorkshire Tea

From there, navigate to ‘Organic keywords’ via the left menu. Now that you’re looking at a list of organic keywords your brand ranks for, you can filter these further using various options within ‘SERP features’.

Once these filters are applied, you’ll see a list of keywords your brand currently ranks for that actually return featured snippet SERPs. If you’re ranking in position 1, then congratulations- you own that snippet!

Ranking positions for yorkshire tea featured snippets

If not, however, then there’s a clear opportunity to optimise for queries for which you’re ranking in positions two or lower. Yorkshire tea here could improve their /how-to-make-a-proper-brew/ URL to better answer searches for ‘how to make tea’.

This individual URL could potentially capture featured snippets within two SERPs that ask the exact same question in slightly different ways. 

We’ve identified that owning the snippet may not result in more clicks, but there’s an unquantifiable value to being presented as the source of knowledge when a user searches for ‘how to make tea’, and quotes Yorkshire Tea as the source when telling their friends what the ‘right way’ is.   

Clever ways of using featured snippets

We’ve covered why feature snippets matter and the value they can bring to your business, but let’s take a look at some practical ways in which you can actually optimise for them.

  • Optimising existing content

In line with the approach we outlined earlier in the piece, you can look for featured snippets that are relevant to your existing content, then optimise for these snippets as best you can.

  • Find featured snippet opportunities within new content

If you’re doing your keyword research within ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer tool, you’ll find a similar ‘SERP Features’ button that allows you to indicate which keywords return snippet SERPs – irrespective of whether or not you rank for them.

using ahrefs keyword explorer for featured snippets

This more proactive approach to snippets could enable you to factor snippets into your content planning, meaning you can design your content to target them, rather than producing a bunch of content and retrospectiveley optimising it.

  • Researching competitor snippets

It could also be worth looking at how competitors optimise for snippets as part of their content strategy. You might identify that actually snippets form a huge part of competitor targeting, which may give you insights and inspiration as to how you could shape your own strategy.

You can review competitor snippets exactly as you view your own within ahrefs’ Site Explorer tool – so if you have the time to dedicate to research, look at the most effective optimisation tactics competitors are using to acquire snippets and factor them into your own business’ workflow.

Our approach to featured snippets

So, featured snippets are all about improving visibility, serving users your expertise succinctly, and being presented in a special position above the rest of organic search results at the potential expense of a few clicks.

The real question is: ‘how do you fit featured snippet optimisations into a wider content strategy?’

It requires a complex answer, but one piece of food for thought is that there’s a trend within content whereby long-form, substantive guide articles are reportedly performing incredibly well. Assuming this content format is at the heart of your approach, you could look to optimise normally around your core terms, while also targetting specific featured snippets within h2 and h3 sections; increasing the amount of keywords your article ranks for.

It’s commonly accepted that acquiring strong rankings is in of itself a good indicator to Google that your content is authoritative/trustworthy, and so picking up featured snippets where possible is rarely a bad idea.

If you’re interested in learning how to maximise the use of SERP features for your site, reach out to us for a quote on the impact a cleverly crafted content strategy could have on your traffic.

Social Media Updates: June 2021

Instagram is no longer a photo sharing app

Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, has declared that the platform is no longer a photo sharing app. In wake of the success of TikTok and YouTube, Instagram is looking to expand into the entertainment and video space. 

https://twitter.com/mosseri/status/1410297743285829632

To reach its goal, the app will be conducting experiments such as showing users recommendations for topics they’re not following and making video more immersive by offering a full-screen experience.

Although Instagram has been testing full-screen video experiences through IGTV, Reels and Stories – the opportunity to incorporate video far more widely still remains.

The primary reason why people use Instagram is to be entertained, however TikTok’s user and engagement surge indicates that people are looking at other alternatives.

To combat this and to be recognized as a general entertainment app driven by algorithms and videos, the platform is trying to tap into trends being followed by other social platforms such as TikTok.

Tweet sharing now available to Instagram stories

Twitter has provided another way for users to interact with tweets by giving all iOS users the ability to share tweets directly to Instagram stories.

When users will click on the sharing icon next to each tweet, they’ll be able to see the new ‘Instagram Stories’ option. The new option, when clicked, will add the tweet into a blank Instagram camera frame where you’ll be able to edit your story according to your preferences.

The tweets will not be tappable as Instagram doesn’t provide off platform links in stories, which means they can’t drive traffic back to the tweet. However, this is still a great update as it may be an indication of a future full-integration between Twitter and Instagram.

Previously, tweets have been shared on Instagram through screenshots. The update has been implemented to tackle this common method of redistributing tweets and to help boost interest in the platform.

TikTok reminds brands to make TikToks not ads

To encourage brands to embrace the flexibility of the platform, TikTok reminds them not to make ads, but to make TikToks to make the most of their marketing activities.

The app explains that while the internet platforms have evolved, ad formats have stayed the same and due to the similarity in the ad formats, users tend to skip them.

However, with TikToks, brands can create valuable, engaging and raw content that resonates with their audience. Ads like this invite the audience to participate and build on the story rather than simply receiving the story and moving on.

In fact, users may start to participate in campaigns, build alongside them and create their own TikToks for brands and products they love – which is the goal of the platform.

Katie Puris, TikTok Global Business Marketing head explains that people often say that they didn’t even realize that a particular TikTok was an ad.

“The work is so good, it fits right in and it’s celebrated… just like a TikTok.”

According to TikTok, the more unfiltered and real the content is, the better it performs. On other platforms brands really need to invest in the content and have videographers, photographers, and models – on TikTok, they don’t.

Instagram tests image and video uploads from desktop

Previously, Instagram only allowed business accounts to publish posts from desktop via Facebook’s Creator Studio app. The platform is now allowing a small group of users to publish feed posts directly from its desktop version.

With the addition of the “+” icon to the top bar of the desktop version of the app, users can upload images or videos directly from their PC storage. They will also be able to customise their feed posts by using the standard in-app editing tools and filters not included in the Creator Studio app.

The new update makes it easier for businesses and social media managers to manage their content because they can now upload edited images and illustrations in a straight-forward process.

Instagram says:

“We know that many people access Instagram from their computer. To improve that experience, we’re now testing the ability to create a feed post on Instagram with their desktop browser.”

The platform further explains that this update will enable more people to use the app and will provide a more centralised approach for social media managers.

If you want to find out how TikTok and other social media apps can help your brand reach its desired target audience and increase sales, get in touch with our expert team or check out our blog for all the latest social media and SEO updates.

SEO Market Updates: June 2021

Join Fusion’s SEO team as we round up last month’s major industry updates.

PAGE EXPERIENCE ALGORITHM NOW ROLLING OUT

On 15th June Google announced the rollout of its much-anticipated Page Experience algorithm.

Incorporating the new Core Web Vitals metrics, the algorithm measures a range of factors broadly related to page usability and user experience, including:

  • Page speed
  • Interactivity
  • Visual stability
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Safe browsing
  • HTTPS usage
  • Usage of intrusive interstitials

Sites that are marked as optimal across the above factors will be considered as offering good page experience and may be potentially favoured in SERPs as a result. However, according to Google sites should not expect to see drastic changes as an immediate result of the update.

Although the current update only applies to mobile devices, Google has confirmed that Page Experience will become a ranking factor for desktop in the near future. A timeline for this has not yet been set out, with an announcement expected closer to the time of release.

To find out more about what to expect from the new update and our approach to measuring Page Experience, read our dedicated blog post here.

BROAD CORE ALGORITHM UPDATE RELEASED ON 2nd JUNE

Prior to the release of the planned Page Experience update, earlier in June Google rolled out a previously unannounced broad core update.

Referred to as the June 2021 Core Update, the release began to roll out on the 2nd of June and finished around the 12th. Unusually, Google announced that this would be a two-part update, with the 2nd round of updates taking place at some point in July. Google’s Danny Sullivan clarified:

  “Some of our planned improvements for the June 2021 update aren’t quite ready, so we’re moving ahead with the parts that are, then we will follow with the rest with the July 2021 update. Most sites won’t notice either of these updates, as is typical with any core updates.”

Google have not disclosed any exact details as to the changes made in the two updates, simply stating the update is fairly typical and that sites may see a negative, positive, or negligible impact. As has become usual with core updates, Google also maintained that there’s nothing in particular for webmasters to do in response.

… AND A NEW TWO-PART SEARCH SPAM UPDATE

If the Page Experience and June / July 2021 updates were not enough, in late June Google also released another update, this time targeting “search spam”.

Rolling out in two parts, the first release started on the 23rd and completed within a single day, with the second following up a week later on the 28th. Confirming the update on the 23rd, Google stated:

“As part of our regular work to improve results, we’ve released a spam update to our systems. This spam update will conclude today. A second one will follow next week.”

Clarification has not been provided on the exact types of spam targeted in the releases, with Google simply advising webmasters to follow their best practice guidelines for search.

GOOGLE LAUNCHES SEARCH CONSOLE INSIGHTS

Google Search Console received another round of features in June, with the addition of a new “Insights” report.

Google Console graph

Insights joins together data from Google Search Console and Google Analytics in an effort to make it easier to analyze the performance of site content. In Google’s words, Insights aims to help site owners answer the below questions:

  • “What are your best performing pieces of content, and which ones are trending?”
  • “How do people discover your content across the web?”
  • “What do people search for on Google before they visit your content?”
  • “Which article refers users to your website and content?”

The new tool began rolling out in mid-June and should now be available to most Google Search Console users. Site owners can either access Insights directly through Search Console, or via a new portal on the Google site.

ROBOTS.TXT ON SHOPIFY SITES NOW EDITABLE

Owners of Shopify sites are now able to manually upload and edit robots.txt files. The new feature was announced on Twitter by Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke, and as of 21st June should be fully rolled out.

Shopify had previously only applied default robots.txt files to all websites, with no clear workaround should webmasters need to edit the file. However, the file can now be manually changed via the robots.txt.liquid theme template, with site owners able to:

  • Block certain crawlers
  • Disallow (or allow) certain URLs from being crawled
  • Manually add extra sitemap URLs
  • Add crawl-delay rules for specific crawlers.

While Shopify maintains that the default robots.txt “works for most stores”, the new functionality ultimately gives greater control to site owners and is likely to be welcomed by SEOs working with Shopify sites.

If you found this update useful, check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today.

Our Approach to Google’s Page Experience Algorithm Update

As of 15th June 2021 Google’s new Page Experience Algorithm is now rolling out. This new algorithm change measures a range of factors related to user experience, with sites offering good page experience favoured.

As indicated by Google before the release of the algorithm, the rollout period is gradual, with an expected completion date in late August. It’s also not expected that sites will see drastic changes to rankings as an immediate result of the update.

Back in 2020 Google announced new Core Web Vitals metrics, which now form a key part of the new algorithm change. These metrics cover a specific set of areas Google considers as important to the usability of a webpage, including Page speed, Interactivity and Visual Stability.

Other factors measured by the Page Experience algorithm are: 

  • Mobile friendliness
  • Safe browsing
  • HTTPS
  • Usage of intrusive interstitials

What You Need To Know

Page Experience is now included within Google’s wider set of ranking factors. It includes a blend of signals that Google considers impactful to user experience, and Core Web Vitals are an important part of that score.

It was initially believed that sites would receive a negative impact on ranking should they not pass all three Core Web Vital metrics. However, Google now says that you do not need all three “good” scores in order to get any boost in rankings. Additionally, some at Google have indicated that Page Experience could be treated as a lower weight “tie breaker” signal, giving one site an edge over others should scores against other ranking factors be very similar.

Google has also stated that once you do attain the “good” threshold, micro optimising for further improvements will not give you any additional boost in rankings. This confirms the importance of focusing on pages currently receiving “poor” or “needs improvement” CWV metric scores.

To help site owners measure performance against the new metrics, Google Search Console now has a Page Experience report. This includes the current site performance against each of the signals, as well as summarising the percentage of URLs with good page experience over time.

Google Search Console Page Experience Report

When collecting page experience data for a site, Google has confirmed that although they try to be as granular as possible in order to deal with page experience on a page-by-page basis, this isn’t always possible. As such, for some sites page experience data is aggregated.

Although the current release is only designed to measure performance on mobile devices, Google has confirmed that Page Experience will eventually become a ranking factor for desktop. In an announcement at Google I/O, Jeffrey Jose said “we believe page experience is critical no matter the surface the user is browsing the web. This is why we’re working hard on bringing page experience ranking to desktop”. A rollout date for desktop page experience is expected nearer the time of release.

Google was seen to be testing a visual indication within search results for sites that pass the page experience criteria. Should this be implemented, it could provide an incentive for users to click through to sites that have been confirmed to provide a good user experience. This adds another level of motivation for sites to ensure they meet good page experience criteria.

How Can We Measure ‘Page Experience’?

Google’s page experience criteria consists of the following:

Core Web Vitals

These consist of three metrics that are used to measure the user experience of a page.

First Input Delay (FID)

Measures from when a user interacts with a page, to the time the browser can process the event. Due to not being available in simulated environments, we use Maximum Potential First Input Delay and Total Blocking Time to measure this.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

This metric reports the render time of the largest image or text block visible within the viewport. Can also be seen as the loading speed of a page.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

CLS measures the sum total of all individual layout shift scores for every unexpected layout shift that occurs during the entire lifespan of the page.  A layout shift occurs any time a visible element changes its position from one rendered frame to the next.

 The new ranking signals will involve a combination of Core Web Vitals and the other four existing user experience considerations.

Mobile Friendliness

This is a measurement of how usable a website is on a mobile device. Issues can occur when elements of a page do not load correctly, or if parts of a page are not correctly optimised towards mobile users.

Safe Browsing

The security issues report within Google Search Console alerts us to any issues on a site which compromise safe browsing, which can include the following issues:

  • Hacked content: This is any content placed on your site without your permission because of security vulnerabilities in your site. In order to protect our users, Google tries its best to keep hacked content out of our search results.
  • Malware and unwanted software: This is software that is designed to harm a device or its users, that engages in deceptive or unexpected practices, or that negatively affects the user. Malware can be either installed by a hacker or the site owner.
  • Social engineering: This is content that tricks visitors into doing something dangerous, such as revealing confidential information or downloading software.

Any security issues raised by Google should be resolved as a priority.

HTTPS

HTTPS is an internet standard form of encryption. Sites without HTTPS encryption subject their users to HTTP request-response attacks, putting their sensitive information at risk.

Browsers such as Google Chrome and Apple Safari will also warn users who access a page without HTTPS encryption, making users less likely to follow through with providing sensitive information such as log-in or payment details.

No Intrusive Interstitials

As part of Google’s mobile-friendly initiative, if there are any interstitials on a page that Google deems to be intrusive this can have a negative impact on organic rankings. This can include the following: 

  • Showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page. 
  • Displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.
  • Using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.

Fusion’s Page Experience Auditing Process

We recommend focusing on improving all Page Experience signals as part of a wider technical SEO strategy. As part of our reporting & audit process, we identify any under-performing areas and illustrate how you can address these, by utilising proprietary tools which can pull core web vital metrics across a site.

We mark any poorly performing areas as an immediate target to improve in order to boost your site’s user experience and meet the expectations set out by the new ranking factor.

How Do We Do This?

We combine Google’s CrUX (Chrome User Experience Report) data with our own core web vitals data in order to provide a full picture of the performance of your site. 

Google CrUX – Publicly available data. Provides a top-line view on core web vitals data for any site within the database. Data is sorted by site experiences (amount of users experiencing a site) and if their experience passed, failed, or required improvement, based on Google’s criteria.

Fusion Unlimited’s Core Web Vitals – Core Web Vitals data retrieved via a proprietary tool. Our proprietary tool can be tailored for any site in order to pull core web vitals data for all URLs within a site, giving us control over the data that we have access to and allowing us to analyse site performance at a much more granular level.

We also include all other metrics included within Google’s Page Experience criteria.

What Goes Into Each Report?

Summary

We provide an overall site summary on how the site performs across all Page Experience factors, along with recommendations on how to prioritise any metrics which require optimisation. 

We also provide a breakdown of how each metric is currently performing on the site for each Page Experience factor.

Core Web Vitals Pages

We have pages within our report dedicated to providing a deep-dive into each of the Core Web Vitals metrics (FID, LCP, CLS). Within these pages, we will provide the performance of each page that has been tested and display the pages which are currently receiving the poorest performance. 

Want to See For Yourself?

Since Google announced back in May 2020 that page experience would become a ranking factor, we’ve been working with brands from a wide range of sectors throughout the country to ensure they’re aware of their own performance and what they need to do to benefit from the update.

If you’d like to stay ahead of the game, get in touch with the team today to request your own free report at hello@fusionunlimited.co.uk.

SEO Market Updates: May 2021

Join Fusion’s SEO team as we round up last month’s major industry updates.

Google Announces MUM – New Tech That’s “1,000x More Powerful Than BERT”

Google showcased a new AI technology called MUM (Multitask Unified Model) during Google I/O, this will help to better understand language and interpret queries for more complex tasks within search.

According to Google, MUM is built on a transformer architecture, similar to BERT, however, it is 1,000x more powerful and capable of multitasking to connect information for users in ways that present-day search engines cannot. MUM is trained across 75 different languages, allowing it to develop a more comprehensive understanding of information and world knowledge.

Here’s an example of how MUM can interpret a query to surface other helpful subtopics for deeper exploration:

Multitask Unified Model Example

It’s not live yet, and Google says they will announce once it is added to search. The only indication as to when this may be was given by Google saying, “We’ll bring MUM-powered features and improvements to our products in the coming months and years”.

Schema.org Launches New Schema Markup Validator Tool

A new schema markup validator tool has been launched as a subdomain on the official Schema.org website, this comes as a “refocused” replacement to Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool, which Google had originally planned to deprecate. However, after backlash, it was decided to improve and house this outside of Google’s direct property as a more “general purpose” schema validator.

The new tool allows for testing of structured data types outside of what Google uses to render rich results, which the Rich Results Test does not offer the ability to test for.

The new Schema Markup Validator has the following functionalities:

  • Extracts JSON-LD 1.0, RDFa 1.1, Microdata markup.
  • Displays a summary of the extracted structured data graph.
  • Identifies syntax mistakes in the markup.

Here’s what that looks like in practice:

Schema Markup Validator Tool

Page Experience Ranking Eventually Coming To Desktop

In an announcement at Google I/O, Jeffrey Jose, a Google Product Manager revealed that planning is in place for Page Experience to become a ranking factor for desktop, as well as the initial rollout for mobile pages commencing in the coming weeks.

I am happy to announce that we are bringing page experience ranking to desktop. While we’re launching page experience on mobile soon, we believe page experience is critical no matter the surface the user is browsing the web. This is why we’re working hard on bringing page experience ranking to desktop. As always we’ll be providing updated guidance, documentation and tools.”

More confirmation came later from this Tweet:

https://twitter.com/jeffjose/status/1394776921121067012?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1394776921121067012%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.seroundtable.com%2Fgoogle-page-experience-update-coming-to-desktop-31439.html

This announcement now means that the work being done across the industry to improve page experience on mobile pages, should now also be applied to desktop.

Two New Video Content Structured Data Markups

Another exciting announcement from Google I/O came when John Mueller, a Google Search Advocate, revealed two new schema markups for video content that can help to gain more visibility within search results.

The first being Clip markup, which is now live. This allows you to manually tell Google what timestamps and labels to show for key moments within the video.

Here’s an example of how that shows as a rich result in search:

Clip Markup Example

Seek markup is the other, this is not yet live and is currently still in the pilot phase, however, Google says it can “Use machine learning to analyze your video content and automatically determine relevant segments for you. All you have to do is tell us how to link to an arbitrary timestamp within the video hosted on your pages, and we’ll do the rest”.

Once both live and functioning, these new properties should be nested within the existing VideoObject schema on the page.

If you found this update useful, check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today.

Social Media Updates – April 2021

Instagram launches digital magazine ‘Instagram Insider’

Image courtesy of Instagram

Instagram has launched its first ever edition of the new digital magazine, Instagram Insider. Every issue will highlight core Instagram trends dominating the platform, list the most influential content creators and small businesses to follow as well as answering users’ questions. 

The first 9-page edition is focused on fashion and beauty which has 4 main trending topics: arts and crafts, which is all about handmade products such as clothing, home décor and accessories. Psychedelia-inspired outfit looks, DIY stick-on beauty products from fake tattoos to glam eye art, and male beauty products.

This free, downloadable magazine is aimed at users who constantly scroll through their feed, Explore and Shop tab, liking and saving posts.

‘Instagram Insider is about inspiration and discovery – not just the trends (crafty quilted fashion, stick on beauty products, vintage streetwear) but the people behind them.’

However, the magazine also provides plenty of information for brands so they can shape their own Instagram strategies and find new angles for their stories and posts.

TikTok launches lead gen ads

Image credit: TikTok

Businesses and advertisers can now gain more insights into their audiences through TikTok’s Lead Generation form. This tool will enable marketers and businesses of all sizes to create seamless interactions to reach their target audience and convert them into customers.

As the app further explains:

‘We want to support and empower businesses on TikTok with seamless opportunities to connect deeply with their customers while ensuring that our community feels comfortable and safe on the platform. This is of the utmost importance to us.’

The Lead Generation consists of a customisable background image, profile image and questionnaire. This means that brands will be able to share details of their products or services in an appealing and interesting way.

Users will be able to signal their interest to the product or service by filling out an easy step-by-step form where they will provide basic information such as name, email address, phone number and answer any additional questions the business would want to know.

TikTok has ensured to provide a simple and efficient experience between businesses and users by auto-populating key response data already available about the user (name etc.).

Any leads gained through this tool can be manually downloaded at the business’s preferred time or integrated with the business’s CRM where they’ll be immediately activated.

This is a great addition to the platform as businesses will be able to build a more accurate audience view for future content and ad campaigns.

Facebook flags changes to newsfeed rankings

Facebook is looking to change its News Feed algorithm to maximise engagement and user retention. This process will consist of user surveys asking people what they like to see on their feed, whether a post is valuable, inspirational or worth their time. Soliciting different types of feedback and deciding whether a post should be higher up or lower down the news feed based on different types of reactions (angry, emotional etc.)

Although users’ news feeds contain posts from friends, groups and pages they’ve chosen to like or follow, they don’t want to see posts about topics they are not interested in. This survey-driven approach will give the platform a complete view of the types of posts people find most valuable and inspiring and what kind of content they don’t want to see on their news feed.

Additionally, with political debates being at an all-time high on Facebook, the platform has received feedback on political content with many users being displeased with the aggressive and divisive political debates.

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg states:

‘Increasingly, we’re hearing feedback from people that they’re seeing too much content about politics and too many other kinds of posts and comments that detract from their News Feed experience. This is a sensitive area, so over the next few months, we’ll work to better understand what kinds of content are linked with these negative experiences.’

Lastly, users can also more directly tell Facebook about their preferences by hiding posts they’re not interested in within their news feed. This will inform the platform’s algorithms about what you don’t want to see as well as giving users better control over their feed.

To read our monthly social media updates, check out our blog page, or get in touch with us today to find out how we can help your brand make the most of social media.

SEO Market Updates: April 2021

Join Fusion’s SEO team as we round up last month’s major industry updates.

New Page Experience Report in Google Search Console

Google has launched a new Page Experience report within Google Search Console to help site owners better prepare for the rollout of the upcoming page experience update. The report includes existing Core Web Vitals along with the other page experience signals, listed as Mobile Usability, Security Issues, HTTPS and Ad Experience.

Speaking about this new feature, Google has said “The Page Experience report offers valuable metrics, such as the percentage of URLs with good page experience and search impressions over time, enabling you to quickly evaluate performance”.

Here’s what the new report looks like:

Google Search Console Page Experience Report

More information on the report’s full capabilities can be found in the Page Experience Report Google help document.

Along with this, Google has also introduced the ability to filter pages by ‘Good Page Experience’ within the GSC Performance report, allowing site owners to easily keep track of how pages with “Good Page Experience” compare to others on the site.

Google Search Console Good Page Experience Filter

Google Postpone Page Experience Rollout and Provide More Insight

In a blog post providing “More time, tools, and details”, Google has stated that the Page Experience update will be a gradual rollout, beginning in mid-June 2021 and not playing a full role as part of their ranking systems until the end of August. Meaning the update will now finish much later than the original rollout schedule of May 2021.

Google gave the following reasoning for the update being rolled out gradually rather than in real time, “because we’re doing this as a gradual rollout, we will be able to monitor for any unexpected or unintended issues”.

Google Updated How Cumulative Layout Shift is Scored

Changes have been made to how Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) is calculated, CLS is a measurement of a web page’s visual stability and is one of the Core Web Vital metrics. Google has updated how this is scored to make it more accurate and fair, stating they are “making the CLS metric more fair to pages that are open for a long time”.

Google now reviews CLS on each page in session windows, here’s a visual representation of this new approach:

Layout Shift Session Window Review Example

Layout shifts can occur sporadically over the time a user views a page, for this reason, Google has decided to group them into session windows. The CLS metric now follows this rule: “maximum session window with 1 second gap, capped at 5 seconds”.

Site owners should not however worry about this change. Because the new update caps the CLS calculation window at 5 seconds, Google say “no page will have a worse score as a result of this”.

More Improvements To Google Search Console

Google has improved data filtering and comparison within the Google Search Console Performance report by introducing a regular expression (regex) filter and ‘revamping’ the comparison mode.

Google explained that the new regular expression filter will help “create more complex query and page based filters”. This new feature will allow Search Console users to catch abbreviated queries within a filtered search, for example when looking at performance for a particular query like ‘gin and tonic’, the new regex filter can be used to capture all similarly relates searches such as ‘gin & tonic’ or ‘g&t’.

Google Search Console Regular Expression Filter

The newly revamped comparison mode now permits users to select and compare multiple metrics by displaying results side-by-side, the table area is almost doubled in size and does now support the new regex filter.

Google Search Console Performance Comparison Mode

Google Rollout New Product Reviews Update

Google has released a new product reviews search algorithm update. This is not a core update affecting all search results, it is specifically targeted at rewarding more in-depth, informative product reviews within SERPs.

We know people appreciate product reviews that share in-depth research, rather than thin content that simply summarizes a bunch of products. That’s why we’re sharing an improvement to our ranking systems, which we call the product reviews update, that’s designed to better reward such content”.

Additional useful information on what creators should know about Google’s product reviews update has been provided within the Google Search Central Blog.

If you found this update useful, check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today.

SEO Market Updates: March 2021

Join Fusion’s SEO team as we round up last month’s major industry updates.

Google Responds to “Misleading” Zero-Click Study

A study published by Rand Fishkin, founder of SparkToro (data courtesy of SimilarWeb) shows that 65% of Google searches from January to December 2020 ended up without the user clicking through to another web property from search results.

Google Zero-Click Study Pie Chart

Google felt the need to respond, writing in a blog post “this claim relies on flawed methodology that misunderstands how people use search”. They then went on to provide “important context about this misleading claim” in order to “set the record straight”. In short, this context included the following:

  • People reformulate their queries. Meaning users often refine their query with a new search. This initial query would inadvertently be considered as zero-click.
  • People look for quick facts. For example, searches for information on weather forecast, sports results, currency conversions and more, which all show directly on the results page.
  • People connect with a business directly. This refers to consumers accessing business information from the search results, which often does not require a traditional click. Including searches for opening hours, contact information, reservations or directions.
  • People navigate directly to apps. Some searches lead users directly to apps, rather than clicking through to a site. For example, searches for a TV program, where the user can follow a direct link to open a streaming app from the results page.

Despite this context, it is worth noting that there is an upwards trend in ‘zero-click’ searches when comparing to similar studies from previous years.

New Practice Problems and Math Solver Structured Data

Google have released new structured data markup which allows sites to display practice problems and math solver pages within Google Search as rich results.

Here’s an example of what practice problems looks like in mobile SERPs:

Example of Practice Problems Structured Data in Google Search

Whereas math solver should display like this:

Example of Math Solver Structured Data in Google Search

Google’s reasoning for this new introduction was “Practice content and math assistance have been some of the most requested information from learners. Practice material helps users gauge their mastery of a concept while a solver provides explanations to help a user get unstuck while doing math problems”.

This is now live, so sites with eligible content can start to implement these new schemas.

Google Adds More Detail To CWV & Page Experience FAQs

Google have expanded their Core Web Vitals & Page Experience FAQs, announcing in a Twitter post that “We are back with more answers to the questions we received”. A lot more detail has been added, a couple of key points include:

Our systems will continue to prioritize pages with the best information overall, even if some aspects of page experience are subpar. A good page experience doesn’t override having great, relevant content”. However, in a situation where multiple pages of similar quality and content go head to head, Google says that those with a superior page experience may perform better than those without.

With the upcoming change to Top Stories carousel, all web pages irrespective of their page experience status or Core Web Vitals score are eligible for Top Stories carousel”. Meaning a news page won’t need to meet all the Core Web Vitals requirements to be eligible for the Top Stories carousel.

New Resources For Video SEO

Google released two new resources to help site owners optimise their videos for Google Search. Firstly, a new ‘Search Central Lightning Talk’ covers the video best practices for Google Search & Discover, outlining five key tips for video optimisation.

Google also updated their Video best practices guide which provides clarification on the correct steps to be taken to help Google find, index, and understand a video.

SharedArrayBuffer Notification Explained

On 15th March Google sent out a notice to site owners through Search Console stating ‘New requirements for SharedArrayBuffers’, which caused lots of confusion.

Google promptly published a blog post to provide clarification on this. Explaining that site owners received this message because the JavaScript on their site was detected to be using the SharedArrayBuffer object. They then defined SharredArrayBuffer as “a JavaScript object to share a memory space across threads on a website. It was used by websites before the vulnerability called Spectre was found. However, because Spectre was a CPU level vulnerability and it’s unlikely to be fixed in the foreseeable future, browsers decided to disable the SharedArrayBuffer object”.

The blog post provides two options to help find the SharedArrayBuffer object usage on your site. It then recommends the following actions to be taken:

Social Media Updates: March 2021

YouTube testing removal of public dislike counts on videos

YouTube is trying to reduce the impact of negative behaviours on the platform by experimenting with the removal of public dislike counts on videos posted by creators.

The decision to remove the public dislike counts on videos was made with the aim to address concerns around targeted dislike campaigns and how they negatively impact the creator and user well-being.

https://twitter.com/YouTube/status/1376942486594150405

Users will still be able to like and dislike videos, and these numbers would still count towards video ranking in the platform. But, just like the Instagram’s removal of public likes experiment, creators will be able to see their full dislike counts in YouTube Studio. 

YouTube is hoping that the removal can help in taking away negative stigma around certain types of content and make creators feel more comfortable in sharing such content.

Facebook working on a ‘kids version’ of Instagram

With Messenger Kids being a success and having 7 million monthly users in 70 countries, Facebook is now looking at creating a kids version of Instagram.

The current Instagram policy does not allow people under the age of 13 to create an account, however many kids still attempt to join the app by adding a fake date of birth and are exposed to potential dangers from predators.

To tackle these issues, Instagram has recently launched new restrictions that will protect youngsters, such as adults not being able to message kids that aren’t following them.

However, the best way to avoid youngsters being exposed to the platform is to build a separate kids version. Instagram’s chief Adam Mosseri says:

“Part of the solution is to create a version of Instagram for young people or kids where parents have transparency or control.”

Some suggest that creating a separate version of the app may increase bullying and abuse amongst younger audiences. But by restricting who can use the app and giving parents oversight this risk can be reduced. 

Instagram is still in the planning stage on this one, so more information will be available once there is a clarification on strategy.

Instagram story drafts to be launched

Instagram story drafts have been a highly requested feature and the app will finally be launching them.

They’re great in providing users with the flexibility in how and when they want to use stories. You will soon be able to create stories, save them to your draft and post them whenever you want.

Options to save stories and downloading them to your device already exist via a third party. However, they’re not convenient within users’ creation flow, so having these features within Instagram itself will facilitate user’s creative creation process.

https://twitter.com/instagram/status/1374474601711898626

Just like a normal story, users will be able to use Instagram’s full feature set in the draft creation process and view them as they’ll appear to users.

This update will also be extremely beneficial for brands that have always wanted to schedule stories updates to be posted when their audiences are most active.

Twitter will be launching ‘Communities’

Similar to Facebook Groups, Twitter will soon be launching ‘Communities’. This new option will enable Twitter users to share their tweets within selected groups of users instead of sharing them with all their followers. 

This option is great for those who want to talk about a variety of different topics without boring their audience with updates they are not interested in. They can now simply create communities that have similar interests and share relevant information, which will also increase engagement as people will be getting information on topics they like.

These community pages would be joinable and be close knit with only members being able to share tweets. This would provide users with private engagement options and create closer communities within the platform.

 

Do you want to find out how we could help you supercharge your own social media strategy? Get in touch with our expert team here.

Why Are We Flocking To FLoC?

The phasing out of third party cookies is in full swing with Google confirming an updated plan earlier this month to appease both advertisers and consumers. 

Whilst marketers have been aware of this development since August 2019, this new chapter of advertising is here knocking at our door. 

But before we delve into practicalities let’s look at why this is all happening in the first place (and why it’s important). Fear not, there is not a single reference to the daftly named ‘cookiepocalypse’ in this article…

What are cookies and why are they important?

Let’s start off with the basics:

First Party Cookies

Stored by a website you visit, these cookies provide useful information for that website and shape how a user interacts with it. It’s everything from which pages they visit, how long for, how often and, what they do. Don’t worry – these aren’t going anywhere and will actually become more important as we find out in this article. 

Third-Party Cookies

These are tracking cookies that are stored under a different domain than you are currently visiting. They are mainly of use for advertisers as it enables them to track users between websites and display more relevant ads between websites.

How is this relevant to online privacy?

As third-party cookies enable advertisers to track the digital movements of users, there has been a growing demand for transparency and gaining back control of data. Whilst all users do have the option to opt-out of third-party cookies, it’s not always straightforward to do so.

Google’s figures show that searches for “online privacy” have increased by 50% globally year on year. A demand for anonymity from a digital presence in the era of information is no passing trend, however. You only have to look at the 1.2 million members of reddit’s Privacy community or the creation of Tor back in 2006 to see that users are seeking solutions to digital anonymity.

Google data

This demand in knowledge, or privacy as it were, has also led to an increase in content being published surrounding ‘online privacy’ over the past five years.

Bar chart of content produced
Ahrefs Data

How has Google Chrome responded to the removal of third party cookies?

With Google Chrome having a whopping 63.5% of browser market share – as a market leader the internet giant needed to make its stance on cookies clear, especially as browser competitors were doing so.

The likes of Safari and Firefox placed limitations on tracking years ago with the latter using the following disclaimer in its February 2021 release:

At Mozilla, we believe you have a right to privacy. You shouldn’t be tracked online. Whether you are checking your bank balance, looking for the best doctor, or shopping for shoes, unscrupulous tracking companies should not be able to track you as you browse the Web. For that reason, we are continuously working to harden Firefox against online tracking of our users.

Google first stated its intention back in August 2019 when it sought to “develop a set of open standards to fundamentally enhance privacy on the web. We’re calling this Privacy Sandbox”. Fast forward to January 2020 and further rollout details became apparent with the announcement of a 2-year timeframe of cookies being phased out from Google Chrome. By October 2020 Google was prepared to share more detailed insights on the steps they were taking in relation to mitigating “deceptive and intrusive tracking techniques, such as fingerprinting” which saw it throw its weight behind supporting Secure DNS. 

However, the largest development so far in this whistle-stop tour of Google’s announcements has been the introduction of FLoC.

What is FLoC?

In January 2021, Google Chrome announced the creation of FLoC with a view of testing amongst advertisers to be rolled out as early as Q2 2021

FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) proposes a new way for businesses to reach people with relevant content and ads by clustering large groups of people with similar interests. This approach effectively hides individuals “in the crowd” and uses on-device processing to keep a person’s web history private on the browser.” 

Before raising hell amongst advertisers who feared the future collapse of targeting as we know it, Google set the record straight earlier this month. “Today, we’re making explicit that once third-party cookies are phased out, we will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products.” 

What that’s to say is that Google would not be providing the ability to use third-party cookies to target individuals, thereby protecting a user’s right to anonymity, but would provide advertisers with the opportunity to target a cohort of similarly behaved groups. These interest-based groups could indeed be in their thousands so there’s no denying that the precise nature of targeting will be lost in stark comparison but Google has assured advertisers that we can expect “at least 95% of the conversions per dollar spent when compared to cookie-based advertising.” From here on in, only the performance of ads under the new targeting options will tell. 

Some naysayers aren’t convinced, with talk of FLoC undoing a decade’s worth of work and even calling into question whether FLoC is even that private as there are seemingly ways around extracting user IDs from a cohort. 

In Europe there are big question marks over whether FLoC is GDPR-compliant, prompting Marshall Vale to clarify that testing in Europe would be rolled out at a later date.

By 2022 Google Chrome confirms the use of third-party cookies will cease to exist entirely.

How can we be prepared for the change?

As a performance marketing agency, our Head of Paid Media, Jen Mottram, and Account Director, Kyle Brogan, share their thoughts on how the absence of cookies will shape the future of paid media as we know it, and why it’s not necessarily a bad thing.  

What were your initial thoughts on the announcement of FLoC?

Jen: I’m very glad that a solution to the loss of 3rd party cookies is nearly ready, and we will have familiar targeting options. However, there are still a lot of questions; what about the 45% who do not use Chrome? can the privacy issues raised by some be rectified? Ultimately something is better than nothing, but I’m watching updates closely!

Kyle: It’s reassuring that there is a recommended option available to allow advertisers to continue to target customers in a privacy-first manner. I’m keen to see how this develops over the next few months, and how robust it will be across networks beyond that of just Google.

 How will we be preparing for a cookie-less future?

Jen: From a technical perspective, 1st party data will be a focus, luckily for us a lot of our clients have already heavily invested in this or are making all the right steps towards the necessary infrastructure.

Additionally, utilisation of AI, like smart bidding and responsive/dynamic ads, will be even more important to ensure campaigns are reactive to all other signals. We have built these into our clients’ strategies and the tech behind is ever-evolving and robust”.

Kyle: Conversations with clients, as solutions are developing, is key in ensuring all parties are prepared for a cookie-less future.

We’re in the process of establishing what the potential risks are as well as what can be done now to ensure their 1st party data is in the best condition possible.

Keep an eye on our blog, LinkedIn and Instagram channels for information!

Welcome to Team Fusion, George!

We’re delighted to welcome George Bonelle to our SEO team! George joins team Fusion with three years experience in digital and is set to play a key role in helping our Organic Search team onboard some amazing new clients.

I sat down with our newest team member to find out where they’ve come from, where they’re headed, and everything in between…

 

Welcome to the team, George! We’re all delighted to have you here. What are you most looking forward to about the role?

Thanks, it’s a pleasure to be here! I’m just really looking forward to getting going, learning as much as I can from the great team here and becoming a valued member of the Fusion team. 

 

What attracted you to joining Fusion in the first place?

I’d say the wide variety of clients was a key factor. I really wanted to expose myself to working with a number of different brands and the different challenges that brings, so I can continue to keep learning and growing as an SEO.

 

You’ve been in marketing for a few years now. What’s your favourite part about the role?

I love the fact that success can be tracked. It provides great satisfaction seeing initial ideas come to fruition and even surpass expectations.

 

And what’s your favourite part about SEO in particular?

It’s great that SEO is always evolving, with industry trends and changes always keeping you on your toes. What’s great for those starting out is that inexperience in years isn’t always the disadvantage it can be in other industries.

 

What are you looking forward to bringing to the team?

I’ll hopefully bring fresh ideas and a new perspective from my previous experience, along with lots of hard work to get up to speed as quickly as possible!

 

How do you see SEO developing over the next year?

With the upcoming Page Experience update, there’ll of course be a need to prioritise Core Web Vitals and other UX focused metrics. That said, I guess that’s what’s so intriguing about SEO – you never really know what’s around the corner! But I’m confident we’ll be prepared for whatever comes.



Right, let’s get to know the real George…



Favourite marketing campaign?

Budweiser: King of Beers. Flipping the bottle cap to look like a crown. Simple but effective. Although, it’s still not my choice of larger.

 

App you couldn’t live without?

YouTube, there’s always just that one more video to watch.. next thing you know it’s 1am!

 

We put you in charge of the Sonos – what are your top 3 picks?

Steve Miller Band – The Joker

Oasis – She’s Electric

Mac Miller – Ladders

 

Dream Client?

Leeds United!!

 

Favourite film?

Happy Gilmore

 

Death row meal?

Pizza, any topping bar pineapple.

 

Interesting fact about you?

I worked in America for a year as a golf caddy.

 

And finally, if you weren’t in marketing?

Most likely still chasing golf balls down the fairway (or into the trees).

 

To get to know more of the team, check out our latest blog posts, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today.

Welcome to team Fusion, Emily & Charlie! 

We’ve all been really excited to welcome two brand new starters in Emily and Charlie! Both join team Fusion from university and will play key roles in our Paid Media team following some amazing client wins in the past few months.

I sat down with our newest recruits to learn where they’ve come from, where they’re headed, and what kind of playlists we can look forward to when we’re back in the office!

 

Welcome to the team, both! We’re all delighted to have you here. What are you most looking forward to about the role?

 

EF: Thank you! This is my first role in digital marketing so I’m eager to get stuck into all things digital and learn from everyone working at Fusion.

CT: Thank you, delighted to be a part of the team! I think I’m most looking forward to putting skills into action within campaigns and developing within the role as a whole.

 

So tell me, why marketing?

 

EF: While studying Media Psychology, I found it really interesting researching the psychological effects of marketing and how theories can be used to support decisions companies make on social media. This learning and passion has motivated me to pursue a career in marketing. I like how fast-paced digital marketing is in terms of how it is consistently adapting, there is always something new to learn and challenge yourself with. 

CT: I have always been drawn to marketing and advertising through growing up, be it through traditional platforms within print through Esquire or GQ, to more digitally driven methods today. I find myself curious as to understanding people and looking to form meaningful connections within marketing as a result. This ultimately led me to move into marketing from a more fashion-based role.

 

What attracted you to Fusion in the first place?

 

EF: The size of the team, as well as the clear culture within the agency, attracted me to apply for the role. I also love that there’s a strong percentage of women working at Fusion, especially in management positions, because it motivates me that I could reach a similar level in the future.

CT: The opportunity to learn and develop skills within a small team across a diverse base of clients was a huge part of what attracted me to the role. 


How have you found it starting a new role during lockdown?

 

EF: It has been a bit strange only meeting people through a screen, but everyone has been lovely and welcoming which makes it so much easier. Not having to commute is kind of amazing though!

CT: Everyone has been incredibly welcoming and helpful, with a real focus on making the induction and learning as simple as possible – which has certainly made the process of starting during lockdown a positive one. 

Right, let’s get to know the real you…

 

Favourite marketing campaign?

 

EF: I like Spotify’s campaigns surrounding Spotify Wrapped which show interesting stats about people’s listening activity over the previous year. They have a great mix of personalisation and humour, focusing on viral world events as well as specific examples, like showing that someone played the song “Sorry” 42 times on Valentine’s Day.

CT: Recently, Aime Leon Dore’s Autumn/Winter 2020 ‘The People’s Borough’ campaign.

 

App you couldn’t live without?

 

EF: TikTok

CT: Nike Run Club!

 

We put you in charge of the Sonos – what are your top 3 picks?

 

EF: Live Well – Palace, Yours to Keep – Jordan Mackampa, Silver Springs – Fleetwood Mac

CT: Heroes – David Bowie, Vapor Trail – Ride, California Soul – Marlena Shaw

 

Dream Client?

 

EF: Any makeup brand, I like the theatrical makeup Give Face Cosmetics promote.

CT: British Fashion Council.

 

Favourite film?

 

EF: Ex Machina (or if I’m being honest, Moulin Rouge).

CT: North by Northwest, or Lost in Translation.

 

Death row meal?

 

EF: Roast dinner followed by chocolate fudge cake.

CT: Cacio e Pepe pasta.

 

Interesting fact about you?

 

EF: I walked the red carpet at Leicester Square for the Bridget Jones’ Baby premiere.

CT: I used to live in Paris.

 

If you weren’t in marketing?

 

EF: I think maybe researching the psychology behind social media, I find fandoms particularly interesting.

CT: If anything’s on the cards, probably a painter, or a Jazz drummer.

 

To get to know more of the team, check out our latest blog posts, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today.

International Women’s Day: An interview with 5 of our leading women

I founded Fusion Unlimited back in 1998, when the landscape in digital was quite unrecognisable to how it is now. It’s been incredibly refreshing to see some amazing initiatives born in recent years to support in promoting more women to join the industry. The refining balance of the workforce in our sector speaks for itself as to the great change this has made, although we all still know that dial can be moved even further forward.

On International Women’s Day, I’m very proud to be able to say that 60% of the team here at Fusion are women, also making up 50% of our leadership team.

To celebrate International Women’s Day this year, I sat down with just five of the many great women here to gather their thoughts on what it means to them to encourage more women to join our great industry. 

You’ll hear from Katie Harling, our Client Services Director, who joined me 18 years ago and has since played a huge part in growing the agency to what it is now. Secondly, Hira Nasir and Louise Barber, who both joined us from University as their first roles in digital. I’ve also caught up with Danielle Wright, who joined us during Lockdown pt.1 with two years of experience in the digital arena. And last but certainly not least, you’ll hear from Helen Hargreave, our Head of Content with 10 years in the industry, the past eight of those spent here with team Fusion.

In your opinion, why is it important that more women get into the digital industry in the future?

KH: It’s important to have a diverse team, and people should be encouraged to join any industry they have an ambition to be part of.

I find a diverse team creates new ways of working, thinking and learning, which in an innovative industry, is important. This is key not only for the work we produce, but also for us as an agency team. Thriving off of this naturally creates an exciting atmosphere, and builds a happier more stable collective team.

For me, diversity should be celebrated. We need to ensure that everyone has access to the same opportunities and the same treatment. 

HN: It’s good to have a mix of genders in every industry really! I think having more women will help the industry flourish even more with more ideas as women are a huge part of the consumer audience, so having their insights and how they would approach the digital media landscape will help the industry flourish with more existing and creative ideas.

LB: The single fact that 75% of the digital workforce are male is enough to down tools and get involved in this industry.

DW: It’s important that women don’t feel intimidated to get involved in an industry that maybe was once heavily dominated by men. There are a lot of different career options and no matter your skill-set, there’s something for you.  

HH: Equality in business, scrap that, in anything, is a fundamental right. For businesses to speak to all customers we need balance from the people telling the story. So as consumers, for our voices to be heard and for us to be seen we need the people behind the scenes to understand our struggles, our concerns, passions and what we enjoy too. Joining the conversation and the work therefore becomes an opportunity to shape the conversation.

Do you think there’s a stereotype attached to digital?

KH: I think in certain areas of digital there are stereotypes, but my own personal experience has been very different. I have worked for the same agency all my career, where talent has been supported above all else, a key reason why I’m still here. The team has always been well-balanced, but on the premise of providing an opportunity to those who show ambition and desire to be part of a forward thinking team…that’s all. 

HN: I think the technical side of SEO is associated with men, there’s not many women within that sector. But having said that, the industry is changing and that stereotype has started to peel off.

LB: Of course. It’s a geeky white male. Days like International Women’s Day are active opportunities to challenge this stereotype and create space for others. That’s why I thought it was important to get involved in this piece, share my experience and encourage women to join this industry.

DW: I think historically there has been, but I think I’ve certainly seen promising signs of improvement. I’m very lucky to work with a group of very talented women at Fusion and it’s really encouraging.  

The industry can still do so much more to support and encourage women in the field. There’s a balance to be found between hiring and supporting women because they are talented and hiring a woman because you need a token woman to improve diversity in your male dominated team.

HH: Probably, but perhaps not for the reasons you may think. Starting my career working in content marketing and social media 10 years ago I was surprised how many people perceived the channel as ‘the fluffy stuff’ and that bothered me. The fact I could be perpetuating that stereotype bothered me even more. But was it the work itself or that I was a woman doing it? It was hard to tell. To effect change and deliver real results I felt like I needed to work even harder to make people listen up – to challenge the work I was doing was just as important. 

What barriers have you faced, as a woman, in becoming successful in the search industry?

KH: There have been occasions where I’ve walked into a room and felt judged – be that because of my age or my gender. However, having confidence in what I do, being able to adapt to requirements, and maintaining faith in my ability, I have always remained true to myself and represented Fusion in high regard. 

HN: I started off as a photographer/videographer and in my first few projects I was only working with men which sometimes used to be a bit daunting but I feel like there’s a demand for women within content creation and maybe even within digital advertising in general (as more and more people want to see a woman’s perspective within a certain  project) – and that’s why my journey in regards to getting in the industry has been pretty straight forward.

LB: I feel privileged to say I don’t think I have seen any barriers coming into this industry. Fusion is the first agency I have worked in, and I think I was really lucky to find myself in an environment where women are really well represented across the team. As a result of this, I have felt supported, encouraged, and heard from my first day. Hearing that this isn’t the case across the entire industry makes me appreciate my experiences even more. 

HH: Aside from immaturity, inexperience, imposter syndrome, and confidence in my craft (!) the main barrier I wanted to overcome was being heard and being heard for the right reasons. I wanted to be able to walk into a room and connect with others no matter their age, status or gender but there are A LOT of big personalities out there.

The power of rhetoric was key here, being able to choose when to speak up, delivery and how to connect with a person was a huge learning curve in my early days. I educated myself, I watched powerful women, binged on TED talks and let myself be vulnerable too (the discovery of Brene Brown’s ‘Power of Vulnerability’ was eye-opening for me) – all of this let me get over my biggest barrier – myself!    

On International Women’s Day, what’s the most important piece of advice you’d give to a woman thinking of starting a career in digital marketing?

KH: I was brought up in a loving family that educated me to work hard, (play hard), and don’t let anything hold me back. They told me to go after what I wanted and I did! I was so focused on succeeding for myself and that’s what’s key – do what’s right for you and do what makes you happy. Stay focused – with determination and passion, nothing can hold you back.

You get one shot at life…do what makes you happy. If that’s a career in digital, do it, it’s an amazing industry and we would love to see you become part of it! 

HN: I would say just go with it! I think there’s a lot of people willing to help, especially women and it’s definitely a lot easier to get in the industry compared to 10 years ago and there’s quite a few digital marketing agencies that are founded by women so the future is definitely looking good.

LB: Don’t be afraid of getting into digital – even if it doesn’t match your background. There are many attributes that are valued within digital marketing, from written ability, analytical thinking and just general confidence. Skills can be taught – there is so much room for growth within Digital Marketing. And p.s. it’s not all geeky white males!

DW: Do it! Digital is always changing so there’s always something new to learn. It’s an exciting industry to work in and can be very rewarding.  

HH: Know your craft, stick up for yourself, leave your ego at the door, give credit, be vulnerable, be human, and be kind. 


If you found this interesting, check out the Fusion blog for the latest thought leadership from our team. We’re always keen to speak to ambitious people looking to get into digital, so I’d also encourage you to take at our careers page to see if we might have something for you.

Our Favourite Valentine’s Day Campaigns of 2021

Lockdown has changed the way we celebrate our seasonal holidays. From Christmas and New Year to birthdays and anniversaries, the rulebooks have been thrown up in the air this past year. And few more so than Valentine’s Day. With restrictions on leisure, and more of us keeping a distance from our loved ones, this Valentine’s Day provided us with another challenge in celebrating this day of love as we normally do.

But perhaps this made us reflect on the meaning of love and its importance. This gave brands across the world the the chance to reflect on their strategies and discover what matters the most to their customers in times like these.

The result was a real variety of ‘out of the box’ Valentine’s marketing campaigns, from donation-drive campaigns to those appealing to nature lovers.

Let’s take a look at our top 5 favourite Valentine’s Day campaigns of 2021…

NHS 

There’s not an ounce of doubt that the NHS staff deserved a huge chunk of the love this Valentine’s Day. The support they’ve shown during the pandemic has shown us the true definition of sacrifice and selflessness.

From the NHS, we saw the launch of a charity campaign that encouraged people to ditch flowers and gifts this Valentine’s Day in favour of donations to support the NHS staff who have made the many sacrifices throughout the pandemic to get us this far.

https://twitter.com/valentinesNHS/status/1355132865621712896

Pandora

Pandora conducted a survey across countries that have a big Valentine’s Day celebration, such as the UK, USA, Australia, China, Germany and Mexico, to ask them how their perception of love and relationships has changed since the pandemic.

The results revealed that people are prioritising relationships and appreciating their loved ones a lot more and really valuing the time spent together compared to before the pandemic as they now understand what it feels like to stay away from people they love.

The campaign was topped off with a short film asking real couples what Valentine’s Day means to them.

Clover

Clover’s ‘Spread the Real Love’ campaign encouraged parents to break free from the social pressure of being perfect and instead embrace the imperfections that come with parenthood as it is not an easy job.

The side-effects of social media, where we frequently see aspirational yet unrealistic portrayals of other people’s lives, often results in many of us feeling disheartened about our own setup, with many of us under constant pressure to portray that same perfect life.

Here, Clover sought counter this, instead shining a light on the everyday family by sharing real home scenarios that we can all familiarise with.

World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

We can’t hide from the fact that 2020 has been a disastrous year for our planet, from Amazon Rainforest fires and Australian bushfires to California wildfires. However, we can use 2021 to show love to our mother nature and appreciate it before it’s too late.

This Valentine’s Day, WWF decided to raise awareness of our natural surroundings and how important it is for us to love them. The ‘Love it or lose it’ campaign appeals to all nature lovers by showcasing the relationship we have with nature and warn us of what we can lose if we don’t take better care of our planet.

Hotels.com

The holiday booking brand’s ‘V-Day Dumpster Stay’ campaign was a considered theme for singles who were feeling a little lonely this Valentine’s Day. It encouraged people to write about why their ex deserved a vacation in a dumpster, with the chance to win a $300 gift card redeemable against a holiday.

(uk.hotels.com/page/vdaydumpsterstay)

To make the campaign even more fun, all entries received a booking confirmation email for their ex’s imaginary Dumpster Stay.

So, there’s our favourite Valentine’s Day campaigns of 2021. As you can see, we saw a real range of messages and sentiments behind these campaigns, showing you can define love however you want. It’s important to express your brand’s voice on days like Valentine’s Day to better connect with your customers and find out what it is that’s important to them. 

 

Get in touch with our expert team for more information on how you can voice your own brand.

Welcome to Team Fusion, Tom!

We’re delighted to welcome Tom Harrison to the Fusion team, who has joined our paid media division as Senior Account Executive. Tom brings with him five years of in-house experience with global healthcare brand Medacs. After bringing some amazing new clients on board in 2021, we’re really excited for what Tom will add to our paid offering.

I sat down with our newest recruit to learn where they’ve come from, where they’re headed, and what they’ll be looking to bring to the team!

 

Welcome to the team, Tom! What are you most looking forward to about the role?

This is actually my first agency role, so I’m really excited to work with the rest of the Fusion team and learn as much as I can from them all!

 

What attracted you to Fusion in the first place?

The role was a perfect fit for me. Seeing the accolades and awards Fusion has won recently, as well as the size of clients and the culture within the teams, I knew Fusion would be a great first agency for me.

 

You’ve been in marketing for a few years now, albeit sitting on the other side of the table! What’s your favourite part about the role?

I do love seeing a campaign that has been made from scratch perform well and meeting the objectives set out right at the beginning.


What are you excited to bring to the team?

I’m looking forward to supporting the team the best I can every day with a positive approach, bringing some fresh new ideas to the table.

 

Where do you see paid media in the next 12 months?

I see automation coming to the forefront a lot more.. As a fast-paced agency with so many campaigns to oversee, looking closer to home I really believe automation will allow us marketers the time and space to think and strategise more. 

 

Let’s get to know the real Tom..

 

Favourite marketing campaign?

I really liked the Nike campaign from 2020, ‘You Can’t Stop Us’, and how the campaign video was made and edited as well, it was very inspiring.

 

App you couldn’t live without?

Instagram – too much good content on it.

 

We put you in charge of the Sonos – what are your top 3 picks?

A Tribe Called Quest – Jazz (We’ve Got)

King Krule – Biscuit Town

Roy Davis Jr. & Peven Everett – Gabriel

 

Dream Client?

Nottingham Forest

 

Favourite film?

The Departed

 

Death row meal?

Any pizza will be enough for me.

 

Interesting fact about you?

I travelled across Italy for a few months – take me back!

 

If you weren’t in marketing?

A DJ living somewhere warm (we can all dream).

 

SEO Market Updates: January 2021

Join Fusion’s SEO team as we round up last month’s major industry updates.

Google Search Console’s Multiple Updates and Errors

Google Search Console Mistakenly Send Messages To Users

Google Search Console users received messages informing that they are currently impressions due to domains not being verified as a domain property. These errors arose when the domains that Google were asking users to verify weren’t owned by the user.

https://twitter.com/badams/status/1354481943518334981

 

Google have confirmed that this is a bug within their system.

New Google Search Console Report for News Publishers

Google have released a dedicated report for news publishers within Google Search Console. The new performance report will show data from news.google.com and from the Google News app (available on Android and iOS). However, this report will not display traffic data from the new tab within Google Search, which is available within the standard performance report when applying the filter Search Type = News.

Google have also confirmed that all data is aggregated by page. This means that if a single site provides multiple Google News results in a single user session, each result is credited to the page URL it points to (rather than to the property containing the page).

Index Coverage Improvements in Google Search Console

Google have rolled out improvements to the index coverage report within Google Search Console, with a focus on providing a more accurate state to existing issues in order to help users resolve them easier.

The updates Google have implemented include the following:

  • Removal of the generic “crawl anomaly” issue type – all crawls errors should now be mapped to an issue with a finer resolution.
  • Pages that were submitted but blocked by robots.txt and got indexed are now reported as “indexed but blocked” (warning) instead of “submitted but blocked” (error)
  • Addition of a new issue: “indexed without content” (warning)
  • Soft 404 reporting is now more accurate

These updates are currently available for all users.

Google Will Start Crawling Sites Over HTTP/2

Users are currently receiving notices via Google Search Console that their site can support HTTP/2 crawling and that this has been implemented.

HTTP/2 crawling allows Google to crawl a site faster and more efficiently but doesn’t have an effect on organic rankings.

Core Web Vitals Comes To Chrome 88

With the release of Chrome 88, users will now have access to Core Web Vitals via the performance panel of the inspector too.

After recording the loading of a page, Core Web Vitals metrics, such as First Contentful Paint (FCP), Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), will display.

A Large benefit to viewing Core Web Vital performance information via the performance panel is the ability to hover over specific metrics, such as CLS, which will highlight the elements on the page which causing the issue. This will give webmasters a clear view on which elements are causing page experience issues and if these are unique page elements or template elements that can be resolved on multiple pages.

 

If you found this update useful, check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today.

Welcome to Team Fusion, Jonny!

Our first hire of 2021 is Jonny Tushingham, who has come on board to boost our paid media offering. After working with some huge brands including Euro Car Parts, Park Leisure and Carphone Warehouse, we can’t wait to see what Jonny brings to the team.

I sat down with our newest recruit to learn where they’ve come from, where they’re headed, and what they’ll be bringing to team Fusion!

 

Welcome to the team, Jonny! What are you most looking forward to about life here at Fusion?

As cliché as it sounds, I’m really looking forward to meeting & working alongside the Fusion team. People are always the key to any good agency and I can’t wait to properly collaborate with everyone, hopefully in person in the not-to-distant future!


What attracted you to Fusion in the first place?

Fusion represented a fantastic opportunity to work within a smaller, more close-knit agency that shared my view of working with clients directly – everything I was looking for in an agency. Add to that an ambitious and convivial atmosphere and the choice was easy to put my name forward to join the team.


You’ve been in paid media l for a few years now, what’s your favourite part about the role?

I really enjoy the collaboration involved within a paid media role, whether it be internally, with clients or even suppliers like Google & Bing – which is handy for such a dynamic and fast moving industry.


What are you excited to bring to the team?


I’m looking forward to bringing a new approach to paid media to the team, mixing past experience with Fusion’s best practices, whilst supporting the team with positive and proactive thinking.


Where do you see paid media in the next 12 months?

With Google’s steady increase in automation, I can see much of paid media’s day-to-day tasks making way for larger, more influential strategy work. I feel this shift will provide companies & agencies with smaller levels of resource an opportunity to reach out and service more clients.


Right, let’s get to know the real Jonny…


Favourite marketing campaign?

I really like Go-Pro marketing campaigns, especially the “Be a Hero” campaign. By using user-generated content Go-Pro are repeatedly able to engage with users on social platforms using an almost endless amount of inspiring video & picture assets, all provided for them!


App you couldn’t live without?

Definitely Whatsapp. Being able to easily stay in touch with friends and family (especially during a pandemic) has been essential.

We put you in charge of the Sonos on your first day – what are your top 3 picks?

Fleet Foxes – Third of May
Kendrick Lamar – How Much A Dollar Cost
Radiohead – Paranoid Android

(I hope these picks don’t affect the success of my probation period…)

Dream Client?

Wolverhampton Wanderers – an easy answer

Favourite film?

No Country For Old Men – Just perfect

Death row meal?

My life mission is to find the perfect pizza. Once I find it, it’ll be that.

Interesting fact about you?

I’m a twin. A slightly worse version of myself is roaming around somewhere in the world.

And finally, if you weren’t in marketing?

Ideally? Running a trendy coffee shop somewhere warm
Realistically? Working in financial services.

 

 

 

Social Media Updates: January 2021

Instagram Looking to Total Likes Count on Posts

Back in 2019, Instagram trialled removing their total like counts on posts as part of their audience wellbeing initiative.

The goal at that time was to reduce social comparison and its associated negative impacts on users. However, the social media giant is now looking to change that by rolling out a feature that includes both hide and unhide options.

Instagram will be giving users in countries included in the first testing phase, the option to display like counts on their posts once again. This would give users direct power over whether they want their posts’ total like counts to be displayed or not.

This option will be given both within the composer when initially posting, and after the post has been published. The app is also looking to add another setting which would enable users to hide like counts on other people’s posts that appear on their Instagram feed.

However, we’ll have to wait for Instagram to release data on the impact of the hiding like counts experiment to decide whether the new option will have a positive or negative impact on its users.

Facebook will be removing the ‘Our Story’ Section from Pages

Facebook is alerting Page owners to shift their ‘Our Story’ description to the ‘Additional Information’ section as the former is being removed from the Page presentation options.

‘Our Story’ which currently appears as a secondary information panel within the ‘About’ section, was added in 2017 to help brands provide more background on their business so they can better connect with their page visitors.

However, Facebook has now decided to remove this section. The reason for the removal seems to relate to the page presentation the page presentation as the ‘About’ section looks a little cluttered.

Instead, users will now be able to tap through the ‘Additional Information’ section and read more about a business brand story. This change means that companies will have to re-assess their Page layout and adjust it accordingly.

Twitter Acquires Newsletter Platform, Revue

After many conversations around long-form content on Twitter, the app has acquired Revue – a service that helps writers create newsletters and distribute them to their audience through a subscription basis.

This integration will allow Twitter to become a primary source of engagement for writers and allow them to satisfy their online communities by publishing content that goes beyond the 280-character limit.

Audiences and authors will easily be able to find each other, and users will now be able to subscribe to their favourite authors newsletters directly through Twitter.

Twitter further explains:

‘We imagine a number of integrations on Twitter that will help readers more easily discover and connect with writers — from easy ways to subscribe to a newsletter to new settings for writers to host conversations with subscribers.’

This is a great opportunity for brands with large Twitter followings to get into the inbox of their most loyal followers.

 

If you want to find out how social media can help your brand, please get in touch with us today! Or check out our blog to get more information on the latest social media and SEO trends. 

SEO Market Updates: December 2020

Join Fusion’s SEO team as we round up last month’s major industry updates.

Google’s December Core Algorithm Update

Google confirmed that they released a broad core algorithm update on 3rd December.

This is the first broad core algorithm update Google have released since May 2020.

Consistent with past broad core algorithm updates, these are much more significant and look at providing an overall improvement to the algorithm. As these updates focus on the general improvement of the algorithm, there are no specific focus points in regards to optimisation.

For more information on how to assess site content which has been negatively affected by this update, we would recommend reading our post on the January broad core update, in which we provide a list of questions site owners should use to optimise their site.

Google Display Page Experience Icons in Search

Within Google’s initial announcement that their page experience algorithm will be released in May 2021, Google confirmed that they will also be releasing a visual indicator within the search results page. Users have spotted instances of Google testing this feature recently.

The four-point star icon (as shown above) will be displayed beside results when the page passes the core web vitals threshold.

As this is currently a test from Google, it’s worth noting this feature is subject to change or removal.

New Google Maps Features

We have also seen several updates come to Google Maps this month.

Search Results in Google Maps

Search results now display within Google maps. This is currently being displayed within business listings.

Ensuring search results for a business adds a new level of visibility. As the search results add another method of access to a site, this could potentially lead to users accessing another site if a business’ search results contain listings for competitors or other alternative sites.

Google My Business Messages Come to Google Maps

Google have expanded the ways in which business owners can access Google My Business messages from customers and ways in which customers can message businesses. Previously only accessible via Google My Business and text, customers and business owners will now have the ability to send and access messages via the Google Maps business listings.

Customers can also start a conversation under any post within a business listing and customers will also be prompted to send a message if the business misses a call made via a listing.

Google have also implemented more detailed lists of search queries used to access a business listing within the Google My Business performance insights.

WordPress Plugin Contact Form 7 Leaves 5+ Million Sites Vulnerable

One of the most popular plug-ins on WordPress, with over 5 million active instillations, Contact Form 7 allows businesses to add multiple contact forms to their site. The plug-in recently announced that they have discovered a high-severity unrestricted file upload vulnerability in version 5.3.1 of the plug-in, and older versions. Possible consequences of this security breach include:

  • Possible to upload a web shell and inject malicious scripts
  • Complete takeover of the website & server if there is no containerization between websites on the same server
  • Defacing the website

Contact form 7 have now released a patch to resolve this issue. It is highly recommended that any sites using this plug-in, update to version 5.3.2.

If you found this update useful, check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today.

Social Media Updates: December 2020

TikTok is bringing its videos to your Home TV

You can now enjoy watching TikToks on a bigger screen as Samsung has announced a partnership with the app that will enable Samsung Smart TV owners in the UK and Europe to watch TikTok videos on their TV screens.

Users will have to download the TikTok app for Samsung TV, which is available for all 2018 models onwards. They will have access to the ‘For You’ page, ‘Following feeds’ and the most liked and viewed content on TikTok.

Samsung explains that the content is organised into 12 categories, from gaming and comedy to food and beauty and users can access all of this without having a TikTok account. In addition to this, users will have access to #LearnOnTikTok videos where they can get the latest cooking hacks, fitness tips and fun facts that TikTok has to offer.

The app will automatically operate in Restricted Mode to filter out content that may not be appropriate for all audiences. This new partnership will open new opportunities for top creators and TikTok advertisers to reach new audiences. If this integration goes well, TikTok could look at adding more ways for advertisers to reach TV viewers with customised big screen-specific campaigns.

Samsung explains that the content is organised into 12 categories, from gaming and comedy to food and beauty and users can access all of this without having a TikTok account. In addition to this, users will have access to #LearnOnTikTok videos where they can get the latest cooking hacks, fitness tips and fun facts that TikTok has to offer.

Facebook is developing a new celebrity streaming option

Facebook is looking to rival Cameo (an app which enables you to pay for celebrity shout-outs for yourself or for your friends) by introducing ‘Super’, which will allow users to pay for video calls with celebrities.

There are reports that Super will be introduced as an app as it is currently being developed within Facebook’s New Product Experimentation team which builds standalone apps and other products.

Currently, there is no other app like Cameo. However, Super’s introduction could help Facebook establish an immediate competitor for the app’s business.

Super will allow influencers, entrepreneurs, creators and celebrities to host live, interactive video events. Viewers will be able to tip influencers by buying them digital gifts or either pay to appear alongside them during the live-stream to ask a question or take a selfie. Creators (artists, Youtubers, bloggers) will also be able to sell merchandise or other products alongside the live-stream.

Twitter launches live testing for its new audio feature

Twitter has launched ‘Spaces’, an audio-only feature that will enable users to create meetings that their connections can join to listen in or to actively participate in.

Although the feature is currently under the testing phase, with only a small group of users invited to test it out, live audio meet-ups will be highlighted in purple on users’ Fleets bubbles. They will also be able to show us who is participating in these audio discussions.

https://twitter.com/TwitterSpaces/status/1339639767089238019

Twitter describes Spaces as being like a ‘well hosted dinner party’ where you don’t need to know everyone to have a great time, but everyone still feels comfortable at the table. The app is trying to create an intimate feeling of connection through its new feature.

Twitter further explains: ‘The human voice can bring a layer of connectivity to Twitter through emotion, nuance and empathy often lost in text. We see this with voice tweets and voice DMs. sometimes 280 isn’t enough, and voice gives people another way to join the conversation.’

Check out our blog for the latest news. Or if you’re interested in finding out how social media can help your brand, please get in touch with our expert team here.

SEO Market Updates: November 2020

Join Fusion’s SEO team as we round up last month’s major industry updates.

Google announce when core web vitals will become a ranking signal

From Google’s internal studies and industry research, they determined that users show they prefer sites with a great page experience. As a result of this research, Google announced they were looking to integrate page experience as a page of the ranking algorithm.

Page Experience can be split into the following categories:

  • Page loading speed
  • Interactivity
  • Visual stability
  • Mobile friendliness
  • Safe browsing
  • HTTPS
  • No intrusive interstitials

Due to Covid-19, this algorithm update was initially put on hold in order to allow businesses to focus on effectively responding to the new challenges presented by the virus.

Google announced on Tuesday that they will start rolling out Page Experience as a ranking signal in May 2021.

To find out more information on this algorithm update and how we can provide insight into the performance of your entire site, please read our dedicated blog post.

Google Search Console Updates

Disavow Tool

Google announced on 17th November that they’ve finally migrated the disavow tool to the new Search Console interface.

https://twitter.com/googlesearchc/status/1328696581776924674

Although Google have informed that they can assess which links can be trusted and which can’t, without the usage of this tool, it is still recommended for sites to utilise the disavow tool for the following scenarios:

  1. You have a considerable number of spammy, artificial, or low-quality links pointing to your site.
  2. The links have caused a manual action, or likely will cause a manual action, on your site.

Crawl Stats Report

Google announced that improvements for the crawl stats report within Google Search Console have now been implemented. The new version of the report will now include the following features:

  1. Total number of requests grouped by response code, crawled file type, crawl purpose, and Googlebot type.
  2. Detailed information on host status
  3. URL examples to show where in your site requests occurred
  4. Comprehensive summary for properties with multiple hosts and support for domain properties

On top of these new implementations, Google’s crawl stats report contains:

Over-time charts

A time series chart which provides a view on crawl statistics over time.

Grouped crawl data

Groups crawl request data by response, file type of the fetched URL, purpose of the crawl request, and Googlebot agent.

High level & detailed information on host status issues

Provides details on the site host status over the last 90 days.

For domains with multiple hosts, Google Search Console will also provide a summary for all site hosts, containing information on each hosts crawl requests, trend and status data.

Remove Outdated Content tool

Google have updated the Remove Outdated Content tool which is now consistent with the theme of the new Google Search Console layout. The Remove Outdated Content tool is used to have Google update search results for pages or images that no longer exist, or pages that have removed important (sensitive or critical) content. The tool is also available to any user and is for use on sites that the user does not own.

Google experience issues with manual actions

Manual actions are issues which Google will display to users and are generated by human reviewers that have determined that a pages on a site are not compliant with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Many users experienced issues within Google Search Console, in which these manual actions were being removed from their site properties, despite not yet resolving them.

WebP support is being rolled out in Safari

What is WebP?

WebP is a modern image format, which provides both lossy and lossless image compression. The compression offered by WebP image is much more effective than compression provided by PNG and JPEG image formats, with an average 24% reduction in file size. This is an image format which is usually recommended by Google within their Page Speed Insights as an alternative to traditional image formats, in order to reduce page loading times.

What browsers support WebP?

When compared to other next-gen image formats, such as JPEG 2000 and JPEG XR, WebP images are supported by a larger amount of browsers. Browsers which support WebP images are the following:

  • Microsoft Edge
  • Firefox
  • Firefox for Android
  • Chrome
  • Opera
    • Opera Browser
    • Opera Mini
    • Opera Mobile
  • iOS Safari
  • Android Browser
  • Chrome for Android
  • UC Browser for Android
  • Samsung Internet
  • QQ Browser
  • Baidu Browser

Soon to be added to this list is Apple’s Safari browser. After receiving no support from Safari until version 13.1 (released March 2020), the browser looks to be providing for WebP for Safari users with MacOS 11 Big Sur and later.

With Google’s page experience algorithm being released May 2021, converting images to WebP format can provide a quick win in regards to reducing image sizes and page speed.

If you found this update useful, check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today.

Social Media Updates: November 2020

Twitter launces ‘Fleets’ for its users

Twitter is the latest social media app to announce a story-like feature, called ‘Fleets’, to all its users. Found at the top of your news feed, users can now share content that will disappear after 24 hours.

Twitter believe that Fleets will provide a way for users to share their more topical, fast-paced thoughts temporarily without the fear of them being public or permanent.

It goes on to say: Now, more than ever, we think it’s critical to provide people another way to share what’s on their mind; without feeling self-conscious about it lasting on the record, and without the pressure of public replies. Those Tweets that never got past “Drafts” can finally see the light!’

Twitter gives you the option to:

  • Text fleets – just like stories, you can put a text on a coloured background (range of colour options available for both)
  • Share tweets – share individual tweets, which also appear on coloured background
  • Share video or photo – share an old or new photo or video

There are no special affects or AR tools available at the moment, however, Twitter is working on bringing live broadcasting, stickers and collaborative Fleets to the platform.

Instagram expands the ‘Guides’ content option to all users

Instagram is giving users a new way to share themed content on their profiles. In addition to the already existing ‘Posts’, ‘Mentions’ and ‘IGTV’ tabs, users will now be able to add a new ‘Guide’ tab to their profiles.

The new tab has a Pinterest-like feel as it will display a collection of themed posts linked together with a short text description under each post.

https://twitter.com/instagram/status/1328760554421325824

There is also an option for brands to add Product Guides to their Instagram Shop. Additionally, the option to share Guides via Instagram Stories will provide users another way to promote their collections.

How can you add a Guide to your profile?

  • Tap the ‘+’ icon at the top right of your profile
  • Select ‘Guide’ from the ‘Create’ menu
  • Select the type of guide you want to create: Places, Products or Posts
  • Select the posts you want to add to your Guide and add them to your collection
  • Add a title and description and change the cover image if you wish

Snapchat acquires music app ‘Voisey’

There is no denying  that Snapchat knows how to lead the way on key trends. In fact, the company has acquired a new app ‘Voisey’ which can make almost anyone sound like a professional musician.

Voisey enables users to create their own short music tracks using a range of vocal effects tools to enhance their sound. Described as ‘TikTok for music creation’, the app’s interface looks a lot like TikTok. Users can upload their own beats or record vocal tracks over the already existing backing track options.

Snapchat hasn’t yet revealed what they are planning to do with the app, however, Voisey’s popularity among the younger audiences might see Snap add its features into the main app.

The brand fit makes a lot of sense as both the apps have a young audience, however, the future will tell us what exactly Snapchat will be doing with the new app.

 

If you’re interested in finding out how social media can boost your brand, get in touch with us today.

Is a Black Friday Campaign Right For Your Brand?

Most marketers would have you believe Black Friday to be the most opportune time of year to drive sales, but how do you know whether running a promotion is the right thing for your brand? Are you making your marketing decisions based on ROI, or simply looking at running a promotion just because everyone else is doing it?


In this post, we’re going to share some of the predictions for this year and help you decide whether you should join the party or not.

What’s all the fuss about?

If shopping was a sporting event, Black Friday would be the Superbowl. Since we adopted the event from our cousins from across the pond, it’s gotten bigger by the year and is now a massive spending event, and there’s little love shared in the marketing space, with businesses of all sizes fiercely competing for a share of public expenditure for this coveted seasonal event.

The Numbers

In the UK in 2019, the public spent almost £5bn. That’s a colossal amount and, despite the climate, spending is trending, with GlobalData predicting the UK’s spending in 2020 to surpass £6bn. It’s predicted that 37% of Brits are putting off shelling out on items like clothing, electronics and furniture until the deals are here to avoid being disappointed. We all hate that moment, right? So, the opportunity to supercharge your sales at the start of the retail period dubbed the ‘golden quarter’ is a glaringly obvious one.

Working away behind the scenes, businesses of all shapes and sizes will have their own Black Friday marketing campaigns lined up, so let’s dive into a framework for assessing whether you need to be joining them – or whether you’re better off focusing on your day to day strategy.

Is your business actually suited to a Black Friday promotion?

You will be the best person to answer this question. The buzz around Black Friday is immense, so it’s no surprise that brands dive head-first into elaborate content campaigns in an attempt to be relevant and drive sales. Competition is high, forcing marketers to experiment with everything from creative campaigns rich with lifestyle blogs to innovative video content in the build up to the event.

This event-driven marketing often involves sacrificing day-to-day activity temporarily; halting content priorities such as SEO optimisation and brand-building campaigns. It can be tempting to dive head-first into Black Friday marketing, but blindly following the buzz might not be a good idea.

The first consideration you should make with any seasonal marketing opportunity is:

    Who is buying?

    What are they buying?

Without this information, it’s difficult to judge whether your product or service is likely to reap the rewards of investing resources into a content marketing campaign. Even if, for example, your campaign copy is a masterpiece, meticulously designed to drive conversion, you won’t acquire traffic if your product/service offering isn’t on the radar of Black Friday shoppers.

But this is no usual year

Fewer Brits are planning to take part in Black Friday in 2020, compared to last year. In 2019, 42% of adults planned to spend whereas this year the number has dropped down to 39%. However as mentioned earlier, spend is forecasted to surpass last year’s figures. So, what’s happened there? The increase stems from a predicted increase in average spend per consumer, rising from £251 to £296.

Unfortunately, with the arrival of Covid-19 earlier in the year, we’ve seen industries experience contrasting fortunes. At risk of stating the obvious, we’ve seen brands in the home entertainment, homeware, fitness, and health industries prosper, amongst many more. If your product or service falls into one of these categories, then it’s highly likely you’ll benefit from a well thought-out, competitive campaign.

This doesn’t mean, though, that you can’t run a campaign if your product doesn’t fit into one of these categories – which brings us onto our next consideration.

What about the high street?

55% of Brits planned to shop exclusively online during last year’s sale. Perhaps unsurprisingly, that figure has risen to a whopping 66%.

Despite further lockdowns and restrictions being introduced, shopping plans haven’t taken as big of a hit as you might have thought. 35% of consumers planned to also spend in-store last year, whereas that number has only fallen to 28%, signifying a reassuring level of consumer confidence. But with Saturday’s announcement of a month-long lockdown, an-store promotion is an option only worth considering if you plan to run a campaign extending beyond Black Friday. That is, of course, unless you fall into the essential retail pot.

How can I subtly board the hype-train?

Your campaign and offers should never feel forced or unnatural when you’re planning them. If they do, you can bet they’ll look it too. Take a bank pushing a wellbeing campaign during mental health week, for example; the link there might just be too tenuous to make.

One clever trick to bypass this problem is to base your content marketing campaign on an emotion or experience associated with your brand. Make this an opportunity for people to remember your brand. Pieminister did this perfectly back in 2016, teaming up with homeless charity, Shelter, to give away pies to shelters on Black Friday. Dubbed ‘Black Pie Day’, this returned several times in the following years.

https://twitter.com/shelter/status/1065914516603641856

This campaign executes this idea perfectly.

If you’re able to develop a campaign idea that’s directly relevant to the Black Friday promotion, then you’re better positioned to connect with your customers and have your promotional message heard.

How can I analyse whether a Black Friday promotion will generate returns for my business?

Your chances of seeing a surge in sales is likely to come down to the demand for what you sell. If you’ve never considered a Black Friday campaign, the likelihood is you’ve also never looked into the numbers to see what the opportunity could really be for you. Doing this research could give you the reassurance needed that your market is receptive (or not).


There are plenty of tools out there to help you gauge how desirable your product is likely to be. And many of the good ones are free to use. We’d recommend using tools such as Ahrefs, SEMrush or Google Keyword Planner to help you build a great understanding of your market’s intent. Or if you want to get a feel for what your competitors are doing, you can look to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter hashtags to view trends relating to your focus products and review your competitors activity.

Black Friday search volumes generated by Ahrefs

So there you go. Just remember, running a seasonal campaign is about being reactive and competitive, so don’t be scared to try and fail, testing and learning could be the key to your success. If you decide to go in for a slice of the Black Friday cake, good luck and we’ll see you on the other side!

 

If you found this update useful, check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today..

SEO Market Updates: October 2020

Join Fusion’s SEO team as we round up last month’s major industry updates.

Google Release New Google Analytics

Google Analytics has received a large update with the introduction of Google Analytics 4. This update looks to combat major shifts in consumer behaviour and privacy-driven changes to long time industry standards, by providing new and intelligent insights with machine learning at its core.

These updates will take changes like restrictions on cookies and identifiers, which create gaps in data in to consideration. Key new features include the following:

Smarter insights to improve your marketing decisions and get better ROI

Google’s new machine learning models can now alert users to significant trends in their data, such as products seeing a raising demand because of new customer needs.

Utilising churn probability (churn = customers lost during time period / customers at beginning of period), Google’s machine learning models will also be able to help predict the future actions of customers and allow users to efficiently invest in retaining customers and create audiences to reach higher value customers.

This will also have deeper integration with Google Ads, creating more focused insights for paid channels.

Google’s new approach also looks to create clearer insights between the web and apps, such as being able to see conversions from YouTube engaged views that occur in-app and on the web in reports.

A more complete understanding of how customers interact with your business

Google Analytics looks to provide user centric reporting, rather than segmented reporting (e.g. performance by device or channel). Rather than segmenting performance for insights, users will now be able to have a more complete view of how customers interact with their business.

For example, you can see if customers first discover your business from an ad on the web, then later install your app and make purchases there.

With simplified and re-organised reporting, Google look to provide clear insights on customers across their entire lifecycle, from acquisition, to conversion, to retention. With this complete view, users will be able to see which channels are driving new customers and understand the actions these customers take.

How to use these new features

Google Analytics 4 insights will be available to new properties by default. For existing properties, Google recommend creating a new Google Analytics 4 property to run alongside existing properties in order to start collecting data, as historical data from existing properties cannot be exported from existing properties.

Microsoft Releases Free Analytics Software

Microsoft have released their new analytics software, Microsoft Clarity. This user behaviour centric tool looks to provide insight on exactly how users interact with your site, utilising features such as:

  • Session Playbacks
  • Heatmaps
  • User Experience Insights

This tool is free and GDPR compliant. Microsoft have also announced that the tool will be completely scalable and will work for the largest websites, while remaining free and has also been optimised to not slow down sites.

Session Playback

Session playbacks will allow users to view individual session recordings, allowing a view on how individual users interact with the site. This feature will allow users to see how customers interact with and navigate their site, this can help pinpoint any areas of frustration from a customer’s perspective, resulting in lost engagement.

Heatmaps

Heatmaps will provide a bulk view on where users have clicked, scrolled and moved around a site. This will allow users to view which parts of a page drive the most engagement, allowing them to streamline navigation and content.

This bulk view of the session playback feature will be useful to understand overall user behaviour.

User Experience Insights

The user experience focused insights Microsoft Clarity will provide, include:

  • Clicks that go nowhere
  • Rage clicks
  • Excessive scrolling

Just like the heatmap tool, these metrics will provide valuable insights on highlighting areas of frustration that customers have displayed when navigating the site, allowing users to tackle customer experience issues on their site that would otherwise be hidden.

Microsoft Clarity will also integrate with Google Analytics. This integration will put a link to Clarity’s session playbacks within your Google Analytics dashboard.

Google Remove “Request Indexing” From Google Search Console

After the indexing issues Google started to experience last month. Google have now disabled the “request indexing” feature of the URL inspection tool, within Google Search Console.

As stated in the above tweet, this feature is expected to return after a couple of week and standard Google indexing is not affected by the removal of this tool.

In regards to the indexing issues Google have been experiencing, they have provided an update that this issue is effectively resolved and any URLs that still experiencing issues should shortly be restored.

If you found this update useful, check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today.

Google’s search algorithm updates and what these could mean for you

Google has announced new search algorithm updates in the past week, with key updates to its BERT algorithm, and improvements to spelling, indexing, subtopics and several other features now in place to build ‘a more helpful Google’.

The new updates are all geared around gaining an even better understanding of a user’s query and subsequently rank relevant results in return.

We’ve rounded up everything you need to know.

UPDATES TO BERT

The BERT algorithm has been updated to now apply to almost all queries, up from 10%. Google cites a deep investment into language research and, after last year introducing BERT language understanding systems, has revealed BERT is now used in ‘nearly every’ query in English. 

This means BERT will now understand natural language and question queries even better.

What to consider: It’s a big jump to go from 10% of queries to almost all queries! BERT is another algorithm that Google tells us we can’t optimise for, and there’s a lot of mystery around how it impacts results.

Fundamentally, this algorithm focuses on natural language and seeks to understand queries, suggesting that Google will become more receptive to content written in a conversational manner and be able to better answer questions. 

BERT also deals with query ambiguity, words with multiple meanings and homonyms – writing within the full context of a topic should be beneficial for both text and voice search.

IMPROVED SPELLING

An improved spelling algorithm is now in place. This uses a deeper neural net to decipher misspellings, something which Google believes will see greater improvement to spelling than all of their improvements from over the last five years. Good news for the 10% of search queries misspelled each and every day! What to consider: Google says this is a better update to their spelling algorithm than all other updates in the last 5 years, and that it will improve their understanding of the context of misspellings. This might help surface sites for more misspelt queries, particularly around brand misspellings.

INDEXING PASSAGES

We are set to see a new ability to index “passages” from pages to improve results for detailed queries. This will involve a much better understanding of the relevancy of specific passages and will provide more accurate results for queries where the relevant answer might be confined to one paragraph deep within content.

This has been introduced to tackle the specific searches that Google often found the hardest to get right. This is set to be rolled out next month and will impact 7% queries. Find out more on this in Search Engine Land’s recent post.

What to consider: The announcement of ‘passage indexing’ is already infamous within the SEO community due to the semantics around ‘indexing’. Google has had to quickly announce that passages of text aren’t being indexed independently of a wider page as implied, but that passage indexing is actually a ranking change. 

It does mean that passages of text from a page of content can be surfaced in search results when hyper-relevant to a query, even if the wider page context isn’t focused on that query or topic. It seeks to find needles in haystacks.

This could have an impact on CTRs of affected queries – if an obscure query is answered within the search result there is no reason to click through, but if the answer wouldn’t have otherwise surfaced it at least raises awareness of the brand.

It also means that content producers can write in depth across many topics within one piece of content – there is less concern about being hyper-focused on one topic in the knowledge that individual passages can be ranked.

A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF SUBTOPICS

We will begin to see a greater, more diverse range of content delivered when searching for broader topics. Google is applying neural nets to help understand subtopics around an interest. We should see this rolled out by the end of the year.

What to consider: This is a consumer focused update and it will be interesting to see its appearance in situ when rolled out. The focus is on suggestions around broader topics, so site owners should ensure that their content and categories incorporate relevant sub-categories to enhance the possibility of this content being surfaced.

If you found this update useful, check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today.

SEO Market Updates: September 2020

Join Fusion’s SEO team as we round up last month’s major industry updates.

Googlebot to start crawling over HTTP/2

Google are bringing an update to Googlebot, set to be released in November. This update will allow Googlebot to crawl pages using HTTP/2.

For more information on this update, please see our recent dedicated blog post.

Google Release free shopping listings

Google have announced the release of free shopping listings for UK users. Free shopping listings were originally released to US users in April 2020, with plans to release this worldwide by mid-October.

In order to display products in these free Google shopping listings, users will need to opt in when signing up to Google Merchant Centre. For existing users, enable this option by navigation to Growth > Manage Programs > Surfaces Across Google.

Google experience canonicalization & indexing issues

Google confirmed they had been experiencing issues in September, in regards to canonicalization and mobile indexing.

As mentioned in Google’s tweet, both issues caused some pages to not be indexed. Regardless of the indexing issues, Google have confirmed that no action is required from site owners to resolve these issue. This is set to be fixed by Google.

Google will be providing updates on the progress of these issues being resolved in the above twitter thread.

Google’s new news showcase

Google have announced the release of a news showcase. This will be available soon on Google News and iOS, and will also be added to Google Search and Discover in the future.

This showcase will display news segments from Google approved publishers. Around 200 leading publications across Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, the UK and Australia are currently signed partners. This showcase is currently available to users in Germany and Brazil, and will be rolled out worldwide at a later date.

If you found this update useful, check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today.

Googlebot to start crawling with HTTP/2

Google has announced an update to Googlebot, set to be released in November. This new update will now allow Googlebot to crawl selected sites over HTTP/2.

https://twitter.com/googlewmc/status/1306563662740705282

HTTP/2 is the successor of both the HTTP/1 and SPDY protocols. Due to the limitations of HTTP/1.1, SPDY was created by Google engineers in 2009 with the aims of reducing web page latency speeds and improving web security. HTTP/2 was based on Google’s SPDY protocol but was able to provide a large improvement on performance. After its release in 2015, HTTP/2 was embraced by all browsers, with Microsoft dropping any support for SPDY quickly after HTTP/2’s release and Google Chrome dropping SPDY support in 2016.

The benefits of this update are centred around making crawling more efficient, in terms of server resource usage. Google are now looking to start with crawling a smaller number of sites over HTTP/2 and expanding this out over time.

There is no discernible reason as to why a site would need to opt out of this update, however Google have noted that should a site wish to opt out, this can be done by instructing the server to respond with a 421 HTTP status code when Googlebot attempts to crawl your site over HTTP/2. Failing this, sites can also contact the Googlebot team (however, this solution is only temporary).

 

Instagram Reels: Dud or Diamond?

As the dust settles around the newly founded Instagram ‘Reels’, we discuss definitions, developments and the general discourse to see if it could be a worthy new addition to your own social strategy.

Instagram Reels: ‘Dud’ or Diamond?

Announced a little over a month ago, Instagram coined Reels as ‘a new way to create and discover short, entertaining videos on Instagram’. The in-app feature allows you to share videos with your followers and (depending on your privacy settings) the Instagram community, through the explore page. Once the video is shared, it can then be found on a separate Reels tab on your profile, and your main profile grid.

The explore tab, which is the current home of Reels, is where you will find the latest trends on Instagram made by anyone – not just those you follow. Explore hosts a variety of different content, including regular posts, reels, videos, and shopping. You may also notice ‘featured’ content which is selected by Instagram to help you to discover original content.

Later postulates that ‘While the Reels algorithm hasn’t been locked down yet, it feels similar to the TikTok For You page. It’s likely influenced by who you already follow, what content you interact with, and where you’re located’. To give Reels a greater sense of autonomy, Instagram are currently trialling a dedicated Reel button in the control panel for Android users in India.

Instagram Reels in action

Reels for Brands & Businesses

Reels is an in-app feature of Instagram, meaning their 1 billion active users automatically have access to the feature, unlike competitor TikTok which is an app requiring a download. This means that users are more likely to give it a try with it being less of a commitment than a download. Businesses will find this useful as, if they already have a following on Instagram, they won’t need to build another on a different platform.

What’s more, due to Reels being on the Explore page, users who don’t follow you will see your content. This is a great exposure opportunity to gain awareness and followers for your brand.

One of the main criticisms of Instagram is that the content tends to be structured and ‘fake’. Reels poses as an opportunity to allow brands to have fun with their creative expression and show personality. An example of a brand who are already successfully embracing Reels is Louis Vuitton. The Louis Vuitton channel is already averaging on 8 million views and has stirred a stylistic trend following their recent videos.

An issue brands may encounter, is that the only analytics available at present are view count, likes and comments. This is problematic in seeing the all-important social conversion point. Vox reported that as a user one of the biggest issues is ‘Almost all the content is from blue checks’ meaning its ‘the same résumé-approved content that makes Instagram boring in the first place’.

Whereas TikTok is crammed full of creators, thus far Reels’ creative space feels dominated by the brands and influencer. This makes the space feel commercialised, contrived, and inauthentic.

Reels vs. TikTok

The New York Times labelled Instagram Reels a ‘TikTok clone’ and a ‘dud’, but to finally address the elephant in the room, how does Reels really compare to TikTok?

Starting with the points of likeness, foundationally both allow users to create, edit and share videos. From here things begin to differ – firstly – TikTok is a standalone app, whereas Reels is a feature on the Instagram app.

Whilst TikTok has the illustrious algorithm-driven ‘for you’ page, Reels’ home is currently the explore page, which the New York Times describes as ‘a mishmash of photos, sponsored posts and long-form videos’. The ‘For You’ page is also an easy way to go viral, while with Reels, your exposure is generally limited to a minimal SoV of the explore page.

Reels also lacks a space to post ‘friends only’ content, it can either be posted for the world on the explore page or your entire follower list on private accounts.

Reels’ explore page

Then there’s the simplicity of TikTok, you can upload videos in bulk and the platform will create a slick compilation video in under 10 seconds. Reels is noticeably more difficult to navigate and the result doesn’t have the same smooth feel.

Another benefit of TikTok is the ability to download the videos (watermarked with the TikTok emblem) and then upload to different platforms. With Reels when you download videos, due to copyright issues, the music is stripped from the video.

Finally one of the most used features on TikTok is ‘duet’, this allows users to ‘reply to video content’ and thousands of these videos have gone viral. This is just one more feature that Reels doesn’t possess.

Is it the Reel deal?

Forbes has found that ‘Almost nine in ten TikTok users who have used Instagram Reels say that Facebook’s TikTok competitor is basically the same as TikTok’. However, due to their similarities, Forbes found that ‘61% said they’ll be spending more time in Instagram’ – and unsurprisingly since – Instagram usage is up. This shows that the similarities, despite being obvious, could be beneficial in attracting users to a recognisable format.

Lest we forget the rise of Instagram Stories, once known as the Snapchat clone, it now dominates the ‘story’ scene. This proves Instagram’s ability to take an idea, build on it, and break their audience into it.

Also, a small reminder that Reels is in its infancy, a mere month and a half into its life, Instagram has plenty of time to amend and adapt the app to make it as streamlined as TikTok. Take the trial of the Reels button in India, this would solve the explore page issues discussed previously.

Perhaps Reels won’t be the new TikTok. But that doesn’t change the fact that as a feature, it could add a lot to your brand. Reels presents itself as less of a risk than TikTok, more of a means to have fun and continue to be supported by your fan base.

Take this opportunity to engage a different mass audience – those who prefer quick content that’s easy to digest — and do it quickly, before the market becomes over-saturated.

 

If you found this update useful, check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today.

SEO Market Updates: August 2020

Join Fusion’s technical SEO team as we round up last month’s major industry updates.

Search Console Insights Report Now In Beta

Following months of testing, Google has officially announced the release of its Google Search Console Insights report.

Google describes the Insights report as “a new experience tailored for content creators and publishers”, designed to help increase understanding of how users discover and engage with site content.

The report provides a combination of data from Google Analytics and Google Search Console from the previous 28 days, roughly showing:

  • An overview of all Page Views
  • A breakdown of Page Views by channel
  • Page Views & Avg. Page Duration for recently published & top performing content
  • Top clicked keywords
  • Top referral links
  • Top social channels

At the time of writing Insights is in closed Beta, and is only accessible to users by invitation. However, if don’t think you’ve received an invitation you may still be able to access data for some sites – just head to this link link whilst logged in from your GSC account to see if you have access.

As with all Beta releases, it’s unclear when or whether the feature will receive a full rollout, although it’s likely that an open Beta will be released in the coming months.

New Dev Tools & Lighthouse Features Coming to Chrome 86

Google has provided an outline of the new Dev Tools and Lighthouse report features that will be available in Chrome 86, which is currently expected to be released on October 6th 2020.

The updated Dev Tools will contain a number of new debugging and auditing features, including:

  • New Media panel: Updated to allow users to more efficiently view and debug video content
  • Capture Node Screenshots: Available via a dropdown within the elements, allowing for nodes to be selected and captured
  • Emulate Missing Local Fonts: Makes the browser act as if fonts are missing, providing greater insight into how fonts are fetched

Chrome 86 is also set to be released with a new version of the Lighthouse report. Alongside a bug fixes, Lighthouse 6.2 is also set to contain the below new capabilities:

  • Avoid non-composited animations: Reports on animations that shift during load, reducing CLS
  • Avoid long main thread tasks: Provides info on the longest main thread tasks
  • Unsized image elements: Reporting on whether image elements have a set height and width

Google “Glitch” Causes Ranking Anomalies

Around the 10th of August many within the SEO community reported widespread and sudden ranking fluctuations, leading most to assume an algorithm update was in process.

This would have been an unwelcome and unexpected surprise, as in recent years Google has largely warned in advance of updates. Google have also specifically stated that they are unlikely to make any significant algorithm changes within 2020, whilst the industry deals with the fallout from COVID-19.

However, fluctuations were soon followed by reports of stabilization, and it soon became apparent that the changes were the result of what Google has referred to as a “glitch”.

 

https://twitter.com/JohnMu/status/1293045032124059649

In typical fashion, the statement from Google on the exact causes of the glitch was fairly oblique, simply stating that the changes were a result of an “indexing issue”.

Server Side Tagging Now Available in GTM

Google Tag Manager and Tag Manager 360 have been updated with a new server side tagging feature.

 Server side tagging allows companies to host third party tags within a Google Cloud hosted server container, rather than directly on a website. This means that when a user visits a site with server side tagging in place, the tags will be loaded directly within the cloud rather than on a webpage.

Whilst primarily reported in PPC circles, the new feature should also open up benefits for those working in SEO. Third party tags are a common contributor to performance and site speed issues, and more often than not the solution to dealing with these issues isn’t entirely simple. However, if a client is using GTM to serve third party tags, the new feature provide offer SEO’s a relatively simple way to improve performance. 

 

If you found this update useful, check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today.

 

Could the ios 14 update affect your mobile tracking?

In late June, during a developer conference, Apple announced a new major update to their mobile operating system for their iPhone and iPod devices. It’s expected to be available to the general public later this year, with the beta 4 version currently only available to public testers.

Outside of the main new features, Apple announced an increased focus on privacy, labelling it a “fundamental human right”, being “at the core of everything we do”, also promising more control over data and full transparency of how it’s used. 

This includes a recording indicator for the microphone and camera, approximate location use (instead of precise), as well as changes to the inbuilt web browser Safari, which will now limit cross-site tracking and browser fingerprinting.

Apple have also highlighted privacy features included in their native Maps service, which has became (in the form of Mapkit JS) the mapping service used by DuckDuckGo, a privacy oriented search engine. 

Apple is taking a much stronger stance on user privacy than many similar brands, which has grown uncommon for a global blue chip company.

IDFA BLOCKING MECHANISM

One of the features which has attracted the most attention is the introduction of app tracking controls and transparency, which will require explicit user permission before they can be tracked. This means that the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), a random device ID that Apple assigns to each device,  can now only be used when a user opts-in, and has do do so on an app-by-app basis.

Instead of the user having to change this in the settings (opting-out), this will now become a popup seeking permission from the user, allowing or denying advertiser access to the IDFA.

Advertisers (and publishers) fear that very few people will opt in (some estimate figures between 10 and 20%). This means that apps will not be able to exchange information by default.

APPLE’S ALTERNATIVE TO IDFA

Apple is presenting a privacy-safe alternative in the form of mobile attribution using the SKAdNetwork, explaining how it will operate:

“When a user taps an ad, advertisers display an App Store product screen with signed parameters that identify the ad campaign. If a user installs and opens an app, the device sends an install validation postback to the ad network.

The Apple-signed notification includes the campaign ID but doesn’t include user- or device-specific data. The postback may include a conversion value and the source app’s ID if Apple determines that providing the values meets Apple’s privacy threshold.”

This will allow ad publishers to discover how users have interacted with their adverts without revealing the device’s or user’s identity. From what we know, it looks like advertisers are going to have to adapt to target iOS device users and become less dependant on their data.

WILL THIS AFFECT MY WEBSITE’S MOBILE TRAFFIC?

In short, no.

Based on the available information, IDFA restrictions will block ad networks, instead operating on a per application basis. It is unlikely that this will affect first-party tracking services which set cookies, such as web analytics (e.g. Google Analytics). Good news!

 

If you found this update useful, check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today.

TikTok: Myth-busting the hottest app of the year

Are you thinking about including TikTok in your marketing strategy? Or just wanting some knowledge on the topic? In this article we’re going to myth-bust the cultural phenomena that is TikTok and explore how you can look to embed it into your own strategy.

It seems a day doesn’t pass without TikTok appearing in the headlines. Whether you’re a fan or a foe of this scandalously popular platform, you can’t dispute the media storm has placed it at the epicentre of current affairs. TikTok was recently dubbed as having created a ‘completely new subculture’ and the proof is in the pudding with over 2 billion downloads worldwide. 315m of these downloads have happened since lockdown began, the most downloads any app has ever gotten in a single quarter.

800 million of these are now active monthly users, ranking it 7th in the world above the likes of Snapchat, Linkedin and Twitter. But with Donald Trump pushing for a US ban on the app, in addition to subsequent security concerns globally and the introduction of competitor apps (such as Instagram’s Reels launching at the start of August) is it worth you getting involved with the app?

Before you can make that decision, let’s delve into the truth behind seven of the biggest myths surrounding TikTok.

1. TikTok is just for Gen Z

Despite the TikTok’s world domination, many brands are put off from working with them as they believe its audience to be too young. It is undeniably true that the app has a young audience, in fact, it’s estimated that 66% of users are below 30. But this breaks down into a mix of both Gen Zers and Millennials, and the millennial sector of this (along with the older groups) is rising continuously.

As the app slips further into the mainstream we are seeing people of all age groups become involved with it, so don’t be put off by the average age.

2. My brand doesn’t suit TikTok

The issue here lies not with the age of the audience, but the perception of brands and marketers that a younger audience isn’t as valuable. This puts many brands off working with TikTok as they feel it doesn’t ‘suit’ their brand.

However, it’s important to understand the younger audience is the future of the consumer market, and the more brands place themselves into this sphere, the more they will reap the benefits in the long term.

Regardless of their sector, we are now seeing more brands stepping out and working with Tiktok, such as Manscaped, Easy Auto Savings, Chipotle, Turbotax and Experian.

3. You can’t commercialise TikTok

It’s true that, originally, TikTok was concerned with user experience as opposed to potential monetisation. But in June 2020 TikTok introduced TikTok for Business to help brands find their feet on the platform. Spearheaded with the tagline ‘don’t make ads, make TikToks’, the platform invites brands to get creative with their advertising.

They have since introduced several forms of ads, such as in-feed video ads, brand takeovers, hashtag challenges, branded AR content and Custom influencer packages. Before this, TikTok’s main source of monetisation came in the form of ‘coins’, where users can ‘tip’ their favourite creators.

It’s estimated around $456 million  (approx. £347 million) has been spent on TikTok coins since their introduction, and this is how TikTok was previously making their revenue. Following the introduction of ads in 2019, it’s estimated that TikTok’s monthly earnings went from $3.5 million to $14.7 million directly disproving the monetisation concerns around the app.

Charli D’Amelio is the most followed account on TikTok, with over 78million followers and 5.7billion likes

4. Engagement rates are higher across other social media platforms

Previously Instagram has the highest engagement rate however, since TikTok found fame, times have changed. According to a sample of 1000 influencers studied by Influencer Marketing Hub, TikTok’s engagement rates were notably higher than Instagram and Twitter. This comes as no surprise as TikTok’s primary function is for engagement.

TikTok itself postulates that the platform ‘enables everyone to be a creator, and encourages users to share their passion and creative expression through their videos’. The engagement levels prove that encouraging engagement, participation and creativity across the app is working successfully.

5. TikTok is best for targeting the Asian market

TikTok’s roots are deeply embedded in Asia, and this certainly was the first market it found its success. However, since then, TikTok has spread across the world, now active in 155 countries and 75 languages.

According to Route Note, the country with the most users is India, followed by the US. Also among the top 10 are Germany and France, proving that TikTok is rife across all continents, not just Asia.  

6. TikTok’s algorithm is a secret

That was true, up until recently. A few months ago TikTok put rumours to bed by finally revealing the truth behind their algorithm. The factors that affect your feed are; user interactions (content you like/ share, creators you follow, comments posted and content created), video information (i.e. captions, sounds and hashtags) and device and account settings (e.g. language, country and device).

These factors are then devised into indicators of interest. An example of a strong indicator is completion rates of video, whereas a weaker one would be country of origin. This means that feeds are unique, based heavily on interest and activity.  

TikTok has expressed concerns about optimising for personalisation and relevance due to the potential to create ‘filter bubbles’. This is when a user continually sees the type of content they are most likely to engage with. Tiktok has said they making moves to rectify, ensuring they are diversifying feeds to keep their audience interested.

7. You need thousands of followers to go viral

On networks like Instagram, generally, to go viral you need to have a lot of followers. On TikTok, they have moved away from this stating ‘neither follower count nor whether the account has had previous high-performing videos are direct factors in the recommendation system’. This means you can have just a few followers and still go viral, making the process far more authentic.

 

SO, IS TIKTOK RIGHT FOR YOUR STRATEGY?

Heading back to our original question, and with Donald Trump now looking to have TikTok either banned or sold by mid-September, is it worth getting involved?

The details of this answer depend on your brand, location and budget but, on the whole, if you have the capacity test and see what TikTok can do for you. As TikTok continually features in the mainstream media, it will catch the interest of a wider audience which could result in broader popularity. Just like all trends, there will be a peak and a trough. But as we’re now at a point where we’re seeing continuous growth, why not get creative and get involved while you have the chance?

 

Check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with us today.

Paid Search Updates: July 2020

Google release Google Ads Editor v1.4

Google have now introduced Google Ads Editor v1.4. This has brought two key benefits, with the new update now supporting Recommendations and Local Campaigns.

For your local campaigns, you can now easily search and replace text, move items and undo or redo changes to your local campaigns, in bulk. 

Recommendations provide customised suggestions to help improve your campaign’s performance. To make it easier for you to implement these suggestions at scale, you can now review and apply recommendations across accounts in Google Ads Editor.

  image taken from Google support

 

Recommendations in Editor are sorted by type, making it easy for you to understand where (and how many) recommendations can be applied in your account. For example, before applying a recommendation you can see how many accounts and campaigns could benefit from its implementation.

New look and feel for responsive search ads 

 

We now have an improved  look and feel of responsive search ads, with new and updated creative layouts, automatically generated video and more engaging ads to drive online sales. Three new responsive display ad layouts have been rolled out, each using automated image enhancements, including smart image cropping and text overlays. These new layouts have been designed to help you improve performance and deliver even more engaging ads.

 

According to Google, over 60 per cent of shoppers say that online videos have given them ideas or inspiration for their purchase, and adding video to your responsive display ads can result in five per cent more conversions at a similar CPA. To make things simpler and faster, Google can automatically create video ads for you by using your existing image and text assets.


We’ve also seen an improved look and feel of dynamic display ads, which now includes a single-image layout to highlight individual products. These new formats will now display your company name alongside your logo to help convey your brand’s offerings clearly. If selected, the optional “promotion” text will become more visible in most ad sizes.

Google testing different font sizes in ad headlines

 

We’ve recently seen Google test different font sizes in the ads for headlines, with Headline 1 now in a much larger font that normal. It also sits on a different line to the other headline(s) rather than sitting close together and flowing onto the next line. It appears only some users are seeing this at the moment.

Left is how they look normally, with the new style on the right:

   

Improvements made to Smart Shopping

 

We now have a ‘New Customer Acquisition’ goal in Smart Shopping campaign settings. Google have also added more visual features so the format in which your products are displayed will also respond to your customers’ needs.

For example, a customer may see a video Display ad from your Smart Shopping campaign to help showcase relevant products to them in that moment. They may also see a more immersive, browsable experience with a carousel of your most relevant products. 

 

 

Check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with us today.

SEO Industry Updates: July 2020

Join Fusion’s technical SEO team as we round up last month’s major industry updates.

Neeva clarifies their privacy policy

Last month we reported that a former Google’s advertising Executive was set to launch a new search engine with a focus on privacy, while remaining ad-free.

It’s privacy policy was examined by Ars Technica, leading to it being changed to fall in line with the company’s mission statements, whilst also providing more clarification on the 90-day data retention policy which now features some exceptions.

We have also received a message from Neeva suggesting that people located in the US will get access to the new search engine first. We’re excited to see a new player enter the market!

Schema 9 is released

Towards the end of June, the Google team working on Schema.org (but also used by Microsoft, Pinterest, and Yandex) announced that a new version has been released.

Amongst other features, it now has added ability to organise products into groups that vary by size (e.g. 2 metre HDMI cable, 3 metre HDMI cable). A distinction has also be made to clarify the difference between product collections, which have been defined as ‘products that are commonly bundled together’ (e.g. an offer).

Other changes include the addition of a LearningResource as CreativeWorks, which would be appropriate for materials with an ‘orientation towards learning, education, skill acquisition, and other educational purposes’.

Google offers paid My Business profiles upgrade

Some users in the US have received promotional emails offering an option to upgrade their profiles for a Google Guaranteed badge in the local results.

Google Guaranteed badge displayed next to local search results

This upgrade will cost £40 p/m and now offers a consumer protection programme which has now only been offered to Google Ads customers. It’s presumed that the fee may cover any claims that are typically covered by advertising feeds via Google Ads.

The change marks a shift in how businesses can de facto pay for improved visibility in local results. On the other hand, the use of the service might improve conversions giving potential consumers confidence and peace of mind in a service backed up by Google. 

Chrome support for native iframe lazy-loading

Google previously announced that Chrome will support native lazy-loading for images, meaning the time has now come for iframes.

This will defer the loading of iframes which have not yet come into the viewport (are offscreen), until the visitor scrolls near them. This means that social media embedded content, YouTube videos, maps, and other resources will now only load when they might become useful for the visitor.



We’re expecting this to save the amount of data transferred, speed up the loading of other elements of a page, and reduce memory usage.

This can be enabled by using the loading attribute with a lazy value, which will signal to the browser to defer the loading of off-screen content.

Most modern desktop browsers support (or can support) this feature when enabled. On mobile, this is currently only available on the Android browser, Chrome for Android and Samsung Internet.

Applebot documentation updated with ranking factors

Applebot, Apple’s web crawlers used primarily for Siri and Spotlight recommendations, has seen an update to it’s documentation.

Interesting points include:

  • When not referred to specifically, Applebot will now follow Googlebot’s robots.txt restrictions
  • Site content might be rendered, which includes JS and CSS
  • Meta robots directives will be followed

Apple has also shared some general factors which might be used, including:

  • user engagement with search results
  • volume and quality of links
  • page design characteristics and content relevancy
  • approximate user location

If you found this update useful, check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today.

SEO Industry Updates: June 2020

Join Fusion’s technical SEO team as we round up last month’s major industry updates.

Former Google exec to launch private and ad-free search engine

Sridhar Ramaswamy, who was responsible for a significant chunk of Google’s advertising arm, announced that a new competitor will soon be entering the organic search market. Ramaswamy stated in a recent interview that he “came to realise that an ad-supported model had limitations”, subsequently announcing the launch of Neeva.

As an move to shake up the market, the prominence of advertising towards the top of search results (especially on smartphones) has been highlighted, questioning the incentive to provide the most relevant search results. Questionable advertising placement on YouTube videos has also been brought up.

The search engine would not only index the content on the web, but would also combine it with files hosted in other places such as email servers and possibly locally. It has also been suggested that web search will be powered by Bing, maps by Apple, and stock and weather information from other established providers. Linking other accounts, such as Google, Office or Dropbox will allow for personal data access, and personalisation over time.

An early preview of how personalised results might appear on Neeva

What would also differentiate the competitor would be a ‘freemium’ model, as well as lack of advertising and data mining.

A pricing model hasn’t been officially announced yet, however access will be free for early adopters. Mr. Ramaswamy hinted, that a monthly subscription might be less than £8. Only time will tell if users will be willing to take up the offer.

Support for the WebP image format increases

Image format Webp, launched in 2010 and currently developed and promoted by Google, has been included in the developer notes for Apple’s Safari browser. This means that, in addition to Chrome, Firefox, and Edge, the addition of Safari will allow for more widespread adoption across the web.

Developer release notes for the Safari 14 Beta web browser

Google has also extended it’s support for the format, allowing for the use of WebP images as a logo in Structured Data.

Although the format has been criticised by some experts for performing below expectation, it could mean a small step towards enabling webmasters to serve more data-efficient images to mainstream audiences.

Google working on integrating Analytics and Search Console data

In the past month it has been reported that Google was sending out messages relating to the deeper integration of Search Console and Analytics data.

A screenshot of the announcement shared by a website owner

It’s also been rumoured that a Beta version is live on some accounts, however no screenshots are available at the time of writing this. Insiders have suggested that, amongst other features, Google will prominently highlight the performance of new and most popular content, traffic acquisition paths, as well as top referring and newly acquired links.

Google’s Webspam Report Highlights

Google has published a summary of their webspam report, which refers to efforts they carry out in order to prevent spam from appearing in search results. It’s estimated that a user has less than a 1% chance of encountering webspam when selecting a result from the search pages.

In comparison to 2018, user-generated spam has been reduced by 80%, and Google is reporting that this type of spam “did not grow in 2019”. While link spam continues to be popular, Google states that 90% of it can be filtered out, arguing specifically that this makes paid links less effective. Unfortunately, these types of practices are still more common in the industry than we’d all like to see.

Hacked website spam has also been mentioned. It seems like the rate of growth of this type of abuse is decreasing, as Google continues working on solutions to notify webmasters and help them recover.

Google also shares some of their learnings when it comes to spam trends, pointing out auto-generated and scraped content is on the increase. We’ve also come across this when carrying out link audits, mostly in the form of image scraping.

The search engine mentions way they have helped webmasters by introducing Site Kit for WordPress, as well as other features. Wide adoption of the two new link attributes has been reported (“adopted around the world”), but sadly with no data to back it up.

New WordPress update focuses on Security and Maintenance

As mentioned above, hacked sites continue to be a way in which bad actors might gain links to their sites. Finding attack vectors in WordPress, which now powers around 35% of the web (including this site), can often be a lucrative way of gaining such an advantage, which means that it’s critical to update CMS platforms, especially when updates focused on security are released.

In 5.4.2., WordPress fixed issues relating primarily to cross-site scripting, protection against rogue plugins, and accessing password-protected content.

You can download WordPress 5.4.2 by visiting your Dashboard, going to ‘Updates‘ and clicking ‘Update Now‘. If you have a site that supports automatic background updates, they’ve already started the update process for you.

If you found this update useful, check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today.

SEO Market Updates: May 2020

Join Fusion’s SEO technical team as we round up last month’s major industry updates.

Google rolls out May 2020 Core Algorithm Update

Google confirmed via a Twitter post that an update of the core algorithm has been implemented and was rolled out from May 4th.

Google confirms the latest update on Twitter

It has also been announced that it will take from one to two weeks to affect search results, which means that by the time you are reading this post it should be fully rolled out.

This is the second update to the core algorythm announced just this year, which tells us Google is not planning to pause updates during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

No specific guidance relating to the update has been issued, in order to improve sites which might have been adversely affected. Google have pointed webmasters to their Content and Quality Questions list, which they suggest you should use when creating site content.

Core Web Vitals to become a ranking signal

Google announced that, towards the end of May, a range of new metrics will become signals taken into account when rankings sites in the search results.

The three new metrics which combined are the new Core Web Virals

These metrics are to become parts of a larger group of Page Experience signals, which will include Core Web Viral, as well as:

  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Safe browsing
  • Client-server connection security
  • Compliance with interstitial guidelines

We recently published a more detailed blog post around this, specifically focused on Core Web Virals.

WordPress to include better XML Sitemap geration and submission

WordPress, which now powers around 35% of the web (including this site), is likely to include native sitemap support in version 5.5.

The update comes as an engineer working for WordPress and Google commented on the progress of the development of a core plugin.

The announcement of the possible integration into the WordPress core

On the other hand, the proposal only focuses on the XML Sitemap minimum requirements which would cover most WordPress content types, and are not planned to include extended features such as:

  • Image, Video, and News sitemaps
  • UI-controls which would allow for post exclusion from the sitemap
  • Sitemap caching mechanisms

Google My Business listings can link to Gift Cards and Donation pages

The local business listings offered by Google can now be, in many cases, enhanced by the addition of new features, which now allows people to offer support in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. These links became available in the search results towards the end of May.

The new feature as available on mobile devices

It has been announced that a “subset of businesses” in English-speaking countries will be eligible for these new features, possibly in an attempt to roll this out gradually and prevent congestion. These businesses must have been verified prior to March 1st, 2020 and also have a physical storefront.

Third party gift card offerings are also to be made available via a number partners including Square, Toast, Clover, and Vagaro; and donation pages can be hosted by PayPal or GoFundMe.

Google has also shared some tips on how to take advantage of these features in the best way, including crafting a personal message, which is brief, possitive, and specific.

Google Podcast Manager launches to aid podcasters a better way to understand metrics

Google has a long and somewhat complicated history with podcasting. Over 7 years ago, Google Listen was launched as an Android application that let you search, subscribe, download, and stream podcasts and web audio. It was about 3 years old before it was retired.

Similarly, Google Reader, a RSS/Atom feed aggregator, which could be used for podcast feed, was retired at a similar time.

The retired application and service was then later replaced by Google Podcasts in 2018.

Google Podcast widget on Desktop, among the search results

With the growth of the podcasting market and an appetite for this type of media consumption, Google has launched a tool that is useful for podcast publishers to help them gain insight into their audience and even grow it. This is most likely to be linked to metrics gathered via Google Podcasts, similarly to YouTube Insights.

Some of the presented features included audience retention metrics and device breakdown.

Check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with us today.

 

Google Announces New Page Experience Signal

On Thursday Google announced the addition of a set of new user experience metrics to its growing list of ranking factors.

The additions – which Google is referring to as “Page Experience” metrics – will be designed to evaluate how users perceive browsing, loading and interacting with specific webpages, and incorporate criteria measuring:

  • Page load times
  • Mobile friendliness
  • Incorporation of HTTPS
  • The presence of intrusive ads or interstitials
  • Intrusive moving of page content or page layout

Webmasters should already be familiar with many of these factors, with recent years seeing Google driving home the importance of mobile friendliness, page speed, HTTPS adherence and avoidance of intrusive interstitials.

However, the new Page Experience signal also includes areas from the new “Core Web Vitals” report, recently incorporated into Google’s PageSpeed Insights and Search Console tools.

What are Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals are a trio of metrics designed to evaluate a user’s experience of loading, interaction, and page stability when visiting a web page:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This measures the perceived loading performance of a page, or the time passed before main page content is visible to users. An LCP time of 2.5 seconds viewed as good, with higher in need of improvement.
  • First Input Delay (FID): Measuring interactivity / load responsiveness, or the time it takes for a user to be able to usefully interact with content on the page. An FID of less than 100ms is optimal, with higher scores in need of improvement.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): Measuring visual stability, or whether the layout of a page moves or changes while a user is trying to interact. Pages should aim for a CLS of less than 0.1 in order to provide a good user experience.

Largest Contentful Paint and First Input Delay will already be recognisable to most webmasters, with Google’s PageSpeed and Lighthouse tools already providing information on these metrics.

However, Cumulative Layout Shift appears to be new, with Google’s John Mueller stating that the CLS metric has been created to gage levels of user “annoyance”. CLS looks at the familiar experience of content shifting as a page loads, which Google illustrate with the below GIF:

What does this change?

Whilst most of the individual metrics within Page Experience are pre-existing ranking factors, the new announcement places them together as one part of an overarching signal:

Google state that they are aiming to provide a more “holistic picture of the quality of a user’s experience on a web page”, by grouping previously separate factors together.

Each factor will be weighted uniquely, although as Google have declined to comment on how this weight will be distributed, it will likely be up to webmasters to determine the importance of each.

The new signal is also set to bring changes to how mobile top stories are determined, with the adoption of AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) no longer a prerequisite for inclusion within this section.

In future, top stories will be based on an evaluation of Page Experience factors, with non-AMP pages able to appear alongside AMP pages.

When will Page Experience roll out?

Google state that changes around Page Experience “will not happen before next year”, and promise to give at least 6 months’ notice before any roll out takes place.

This gives webmasters plenty of time to get ready for the changes, with preparation hopefully made easier through the early incorporation of P.E into tools like Google Search Console, Lighthouse, and PageSpeed insights.

Check out our recent blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for you, get in touch with us today.

SEO Market Updates: April 2020

Join Fusion’s SEO team as they round up last month’s major industry updates.

Google Revert Chrome 80 Cookie Updates

In light of COVID-19, Google have temporarily rolled back the use of SameSite cookie labeling. SameSite cookie labeling was introduced as part of the Chrome 80 release, which took place at the start of February, for more information on this, please see our SEO market updates for January 2020 blog post.

Google will provide further updates on the implementation on SameSite cookie labeling via a dedicated Chromium updates page.

Google Warns Users When Search Results Are Poor

Google have released an update for Google Search and will now display a warning for users when they believe that the results are not to their standards.

Although Google consistently look to improve search results, with the improved language understanding of its BERT algorithm, or the daily updates on improving search rankings, Google have recognized that there are still occasions they don’t have the available information for some searches.

Previously, Google would either display low quality search results, with no warning, or display no search results.

For searches that would previously display low quality search results, Google will now display a warning to users that it has not been able to find any great matches for the user’s search query.

The warning will also direct users to Google’s search tips page, which provides information on how to fully utilize the search functionality of Google.

Google Now Track Fewer Pages Within Google Search Console

Google have announced that they are currently tracking fewer pages within Google Search Console in order to improve the performance of the reporting. This will have an effect on the following reports:

  • AMP
  • Mobile Usability
  • Page Speed
  • Rich Results

Due to the changes made, Google have informed that users should expect to see a decrease in the number of items and pages tracked in these reports. 

AMP’s New Protocol

AMP have released a new secure protocol in order to resolve the issues of users having to wait for server-side paywall process, mainly for users logging in or paying to view content.

The new protocol will move this process away from server-side to client-side. Moving premium content to this protocol will significantly reduce loading time associated with waiting to be verified, whilst providing the same amount of encryption.

Check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with us today.

Google PPC Updates: April 2020

THE RETURN OF FROOGLE?

For the first time since 2012, Google Shopping will allow you to list for free. This was rolled in the US on April 27th and will continue to roll out globally over the coming months.

As of last week in the US, the Google Shopping tab results consists primarily of free listings. However, Google still plans to charge companies for top placement as promoted listings. These will look similar to the Shopping listings on the main Google SERP; where the listings will remain paid for.   

Google hopes that this will give a little relief to smaller businesses and the retail sector in general as many brick and mortar retailers are looking to move their sales online.

According to a report on The Verge, Google has been working on these changes for some time, but the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has accelerated these plans.

Existing users of Merchant Center and Shopping ads will already be eligible to show products in the unpaid listings. To opt in, select “Growth” and then “Manage programs” in the left navigation menu and select the “surfaces across Google” program card.

New users of Merchant Center will be able to opt into surfaces across Google during the Merchant Center sign up process and start creating a product feed.

Call Ads now include a ‘Visit Website’ option

Call Ads, previously known as Call-Only Ads, will now include an option to add a ‘Visit Website’ link in a bid to give customers more ways to connect with your business.

Customers will have the option to either visit your website directly via the link or call by clicking on the headline

Google hopes that this will help businesses that rely on calls for new sales by preventing accidental calls and assisting more qualified leads.

To add this option to new or existing call ads, simply add a Final URL.

Requesting Verification

Google are going to be requesting advertisers to verify their identity in order to include further information with the ads (name and location):

Google hope that this change will increase trust in ads by providing users with more information on who is advertising to them.


It is expected that this change will take a few years to cover all global territories. This is rolling out in the US first and continue to expand globally.

Check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with us today.

An SEO Guide to SSL Certificates

What is an SSL certificate?

In short, an SSL certificate is a digital authentication certificate which provides a site with HTTPS encryption. This certificate is then used to verify the legitimacy of a website and will allow that website to display to its users that it is trustworthy, as well as providing those same users with HTTPS-level encryption, further protecting non-sensitive information, names, passwords and banking details.

The benefits of HTTPS level encryption include:

  • Providing security for users from man-in-the-middle attacks and protecting the user’s data, in line with GDPR
  • Increase in organic rankings, based on additional trust signals
  • Displaying a padlock next to the site’s URL as a visual clue to users informing them that encryption is active on the site

How does an SSL certificate benefit SEO?

With search engines pushing towards a more secure web, websites with HTTPS level encryption (as opposed to HTTP) can see positive effects when it comes to rankings.

Many browsers are also displaying warnings to users when they visit a site without HTTPS encryption, such as Apple’s Safari and Google Chrome displaying these warnings:

Sites will also receive warnings if any resources used on the site are not HTTPS encrypted, this is called mixed content warning. A few months ago we released a post detailing how Google Chrome has cracked down on mixed content, along with how this should be treated. Resources that have been targeted by Google Chrome include:

  • JavaScript and CSS
  • iFrames
  • Audio, video, and image files

Ensuring all these resources are served using HTTPS encryption will safeguard the site from being negatively impacted by “insecure site” warnings.

If an SSL certificate fails or is invalid, browsers such as Google Chrome will display a warning that the user’s connection is not private. This warning is much more severe than the “mixed content” warning and will need to be resolved as soon as possible.

How to get an SSL certificate?

For most sites, SSL certificates are provided as part of a web hosting subscription, such as SiteGround, BlueHost and Host Gator. Although these SSL certificates will usually be low-level, domain validated SSL certificates, suitable for sites that don’t receive a high amount of traffic and require minimal encryption.

All types of SSL certificates can be purchases from dedicated service providers, such as Comodo SSL Store or Digicert or domain registrars, such as NameCheap and GoDaddy.

There are many types of SSL certificates that will be suitable in different scenarios and can be split into 3 main types:

Domain Validated Certificates (DV)

Perfect for SMEs and offers minimal encryption, these are also the cheapest certificates that don’t require verification of the site owner’s information. Domain validated certificates provide just enough encryption for browsers to display the HTTPS padlock within the address bar.

Organisation Validated Certificates (OV)

A tier up from domain validated certificates, organisation validated certificates provide an extra level of trustworthiness and involves a manual investigation to take place on the information of the organisation applying for the SSL certificate. This certificate is ideal for sites that use customer login information (excluding payment specific information).

Extended Certificates (EV)

These offer the highest level of encryption and also require the highest level of validation. Extended certificates are recommended for sites that require sensitive customer information, such as payment card information for ecommerce sites.

Each of these certificates will provide sites with a padlock within the address bar, however will provide users with a varied amount of security for users.

How much is an SSL certificate?

Prices for SSL certificates can vary depending on level of encryption, level of verification and added benefits provided as part of the service. Splitting prices into the 3 types mentioned in the “How to get an SSL certificate?” segment, these can fit into the following price margins (pricing is approximate):

SSL Certificate TypePrice PointApproximate Cost
Domain Validated (DV)££5-£150/yr
Organisation Validated (OV)£££15-£1,000/yr
Extended Certificate (EV)££££50-£2,300/yr

What is the recommended validity length of an SSL certificate?

With a bill being passed on 1st March 2018 reducing the maximum validity length of DV and OV SSL certificates from 39 months to 825 days (around 27 months), EV SSL certificates are already limited to a maximum lifetime of 27 months, and 13 months for validity information. So, what is the recommended length of a SSL certificate’s validity across browsers? And is it better to have a longer or shorter validity time?

To answer the latter question, a shorter validity time on an SSL certificate can be seen to provide a higher amount of security as authenticity checks will need to be performed more often.

In regards to the recommended validity length of an SSL certificate, Apple have placed themselves at the front of this conversation by announcing that as of 1st September 2020, they will be setting a hard trust limit of 398 days, as opposed to the current acceptable duration of 825 days. This means that any certificates issued after this date for longer than 398 days will not be trusted by Apple products. Google have also been seen to show some interest in shortening their trust limit to around one year, although nothing has been passed as of yet.

With trust limits currently sat at 825 days across all browsers until 1st September 2020, any certificates purchased before this date can be valid for up the full 825 days and be trusted across all browsers. For certificates purchased after 1st September 2020, we would recommend ensuring that validity lengths are kept under 398 days, in order to keep within Apple’s (and all other browsers) trust limit.

If you found this useful then please check out our other blog posts, and if you’re interested in finding out more about how we can help with your organic rankings, get in touch with us today.

10 brands responding through social media to COVID-19

Stopped to check your screen time on your phone recently? With the world indoors in response to Covid-19 there has, perhaps unsurprisingly, been an increase in content consumption across digital media. Social media is no different to this, with all channels seeing usage levels skyrocketing since lockdown, LinkedIn alone reported seeing engagement growth rise by just shy of +3000% from January to March 2020. In response to this brands are acting accordingly – producing endless content to satisfy the insatiable hunger felt by a planet of people trapped indoors.

Newsfeeds are swamped with brands’ responses to the outbreak, company announcements and tips for the isolation period. So, the question remains, how do you get your brand heard amongst a sea of voices? To help you gauge what works, we have compiled a list of ten brands that have taken to social media to offer a response to COVID-19.

1. H&M

H&M, who have amassed a total of 8.3M followers internationally, have taken the notion of giving their voice to those that need it in a very literal sense by allowing ‘takeovers’ of their social media from global aid organisations. A simple idea but highly effective, offering an international platform to organisations such as the Red Cross to spread information and help across the globe.

2. Nando’s

How acceptable is humour in a time like this? As Harvard Business Review states ‘the nuances of brand voice are more delicate than ever’, so the real challenge here is understanding your audience and your brand perception. Nando’s is a great example of a brand that can play with humour in an effective, yet informative, way. Remember, it’s times like these that social media offers an escape through humour and light-heartedness, and we all need a laugh right now.

https://twitter.com/NandosSA/status/1240273369498636290

3. Volvo

Copy done properly. Volvo have put a minimalistic slant on this clever example of anti-advertising. As a multi-million-pound brand they have taken this opportunity to use their internationally renowned position to promote an important message in a very savvy manner.  

4. Ikea

On brand and on-point, here Ikea Israel have repurposed the oh-so-familiar flat-pack instruction manual formatting to create their most unforgettable manual yet.  

5. Guinness

A genius approach from Guinness, this social media post found its fame initially as a fake Guinness campaign that went viral. The artwork has now been authenticated by the Guinness brand who too were fans of this creative concept.

6. Nike

Playing on the conscience of the consumer this clever post from Nike tackles both the ‘play (or stay) inside’ message along with the idea of community spirit that is so tangible in the current climate. This message translates health officials’ guidelines, whilst maintaining an undeniably Nike feel.

7. Burger King

Taking to the outdoors to convey their stay indoors message, Burger King Belgium presents an industrial scale change of tack. This brand opted to change their iconic ‘Home of the Whopper’ slogan to a more contemporaneous ‘Stay Home’ message. Bold and brave, this eye-catching amendment offers a physical reminder of the government recommendations seen across the world.

8. Vogue

Powerful and poignant, Vogue Italia responded to the devastating crisis by leaving their front cover plain white for the first time in their history. Editor in chief Emanuele Farneti supplied the accompanying copy ‘Above all: white is not surrender, but a blank sheet waiting to be written, the title page of a news story that is about to begin.’ A strong sign of optimism, hope and respect in these times of darkness.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B-r-8mxqzXk

9. Gym Shark

Low cost and high impact, Homeshark (otherwise known as Gymshark) simply changed their display name in an effective PR stunt that resulted in their most liked Instagram photo.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B-cN0eygomL/

10. Go Outdoors

Following a similar path, Go Outdoors shared a short promotional video branded ‘Go Indoors’ displaying the beautiful British landscapes and urging the viewer to ‘stay at home’ to ‘protect the NHS’ and ‘save lives’.

So, there we have it, ten brands covering a breadth of audiences, nations and tones all responding in different ways to the COVID-19 crisis. What we can learn from this is the importance of expressing your brand’s voice in this time, as Ted Murphy founder of IZEA put it, ‘We see significant opportunity for brands to connect with an audience that is hungry for content, education, and online social experiences’. The answer is not should we speak, but how do we want our voice to be remembered.  Take the time to uplift your audience, praise you heroes and you will find your brand remembered on the right side of history.

Stay safe, stay home and save lives.

For more information on Social Media and SEO market updates take a look at our other blogs.

Starting up during lockdown: a Q&A with the newest additions to Team Fusion

There’s nothing like a new face in the office, and amongst the madness we had two fresh ones join the team just last week. Along with almost the whole country, Fusion Unlimited has been a work-from-home operation for almost a month now, meaning our new starters began their first day with a virtual greeting from the team and a solo tea-round. Not quite the conventional first day in the new job they’d probably imagined.

Routine has been thrown up in the air for all of us, but have you wondered what it’d be like to be starting a new job in the midst of all this? In this post our new content consultant, Dalia, and the latest addition to our paid media team, Danielle, give you an insight of what it’s really like to start a new job in the middle of a pandemic.

Q. What was it like meeting everyone virtually on your first day, rather than in person?

Dalia: “To be honest, meeting everyone on Skype rather than face to face was just about as nerve-wracking as meeting new colleagues in the flesh! I have to say, doing it from a distance takes away some of the fun of meeting new people and settling into a new office. 

It will be interesting to see how long this situation lasts and how it will be meeting the whole team face to face at the end of it. Something like “Hi nice to finally meet you in person, I’m the new team member you have worked with remotely for weeks now!..”

Danielle: “I had been working from home for 2 weeks prior to starting, and truth be told I’d gotten myself into the bad habit of wearing cosy clothes and not doing my make-up. My first day gave me a chance to reset, I made sure I wore something nice and it made me feel a lot better. 

Meeting everyone over Skype for the first time was nice but of course a little unusual. I think working from home mostly got rid of the first day butterflies, although I was definitely still very nervous. But I know that if I had been in the office, I would’ve been a bag of nerves! Because no one has met me face-to-face, it’s nice to use video on calls.”


Q. Have you found it’s been more difficult to settle in? 

Dalia: “Despite the situation, everyone has been so nice and helpful! I think they all appreciated that starting in a new company is hard enough, let alone doing it under these circumstances. I asked a million questions via Skype and was given tasks to begin with that helped me familiarise myself with clients and strategies.”

Danielle: Everyone has been really lovely, and helpful. I love that there is still a sense of friendship and comradery over Skype. Everyone is still trying to have a laugh and it’s a great morale booster. I think it’s easy to feel isolated when you work from home, but I haven’t felt that way at all since I started. I also love that there’s a Friday pub quiz. It’s a great idea to bring everyone together and it’s something to look forward to!


Dalia and Danielle, the newest additions to the Fusion Unlimited team.


Q. What would you say has been the main struggle?

Dalia:  “The lack of human interaction is quite a big one! That goes for everything these days though. I really miss going out and enjoying a coffee in a busy cafe. It is also quite hard to have a full on-boarding remotely, so I find myself wondering what the best process to do something is and if we have any company directives to follow. In that situation, asking for help is key!”

Danielle: I’d say the only downside is not being able to see everyone in person! There are a lot of positives to working from home, but I do miss office banter. I think we take for granted the value of seeing people and being around other people, it’s good for the mind.”


Q. Do you think this could have a positive impact in the long-run? 

Dalia:  “I hope so! I just know one thing though, the first day in the office will feel like a proper treat. Meeting everyone, getting to know the team better, setting up the new desk and please let’s all get a drink after! We will have survived a global lockdown, after all…”

Danielle: “It’ll be really reassuring to know that, if we can keep going on through this, we can survive anything that comes at us! Having everyone working from home isn’t an ideal situation but it’s a real confidence booster to know we can do it well if we need to. I’m sure everyone will pick up good habits and new ways of working that they can bring into the office on the other side, and we’ll all have a great new-found appreciation of proper interaction and spending time together.”

If you’re interested in joining the Fusion Unlimited team, anyone who is passionate about delivering great work is always welcome at our table. Take a look at our current opportunities and get in touch for any more information.


SEO Market Updates: March 2020

Join Fusion’s SEO team as we round up last month’s major industry updates and more.

Google prioritises NHS content for health queries

People searching for health related queries in the UK, have started seeing NHS hosted content in the Knowledge Panels in an attempt to provide high quality, localised, easy to understand and trusted health information.

Bing provides similar functionality using Focus Medica for medical conditions, as well as First Databank for medications. We have also seen results from the MayoClinic and the National Library of Medicine appear in the search results for this search engine.

Comparison of the instant answers for both Google and Bing for the query allergies

NHS content is also promoted on YouTube with an info box returned above the typical search results.

Links to NHS information featured in YouTube

Google: Mobile first indexing for all in September 2020

The smartphone Googlebot has been used for a few years, now Google have announced a shift to mobile-first indexing for all sites starting later this year. The search engine will also crawl sites using the desktop crawler, but to a lesser extent.

It has been pointed out that it will become even more important that sites comply with mobile-first indexing best practices to ensure they are represented well for both existing, as well as new sites. Google has also recommended against using separate mobile URLs for sites (such as m.domian.tld), and for implementing responsive design.

Google also recommended to set any other monitoring or tools used for site analysis to a mobile user-agent to reflect what the search engine crawlers see.

Changing the user-agent in Screaming Frog to mobile

WordPress 5.5 to include auto-updates for plugins

WordPress, which powers 35% of the web (including this site), will include a feature allowing auto-updating capabilities for plugins and themes.

This move should improve the roll-out of updates; plugins are often a WordPress attack vectors as quality control can vary depending on the authors. This should in theory allow for a “set and forget” approach to the installation of plugins, as long as they are patched by the developers.

WordPress 5.4 was released on March 31, so I you haven’t updated the CMS yet, we recommend doing so now. It comes with a new features for both users and developers, including block editor enhancement and more.

New WordPress text formatting tools

Google responds to COVID-19

  • As a response to events being cancelled or moved online, a new optional eventStatus property can help prevent the event being dropped from the search experience. Some elements of this are still under development, but can be used already.
  • New structured data for critical announcements (SpecialAnnouncement) is in Beta, designed primarily for health and government organisations. This can also be done using Search Console.
Special announcement options in Google Search Console
  • Google My Business allows brick-and-mortar stores to be marked as temporarily closed to avoid confusion. Google has also made a point that temporarily closes will not impact local search engine rankings.
Marking a business as temporarily closed on Google My Business
  • Google News has added a COVID-19 section organising news from selected sources seen as authoritative
  • On YouTube curated playlists have been created containing information from trusted sources
  • Community Mobility Reports have been published providing insights on how people move after restrictions have been imposed by local governments, charting trends by geography as well as category of location in comparison to a baseline
Visits to transit stations and workplaces have seen an decrease in West Yorkshire

Check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with us today.

Google’s New Continuous Audience Sharing Feature

What: Google has introduced a new feature called continuous audience sharing which will allow PPC practitioners to set up audience lists in sub accounts far quicker than ever before.

When: February 18th, 2020

Where: Google Ads Search and Display

Why: Previously a more manual process to set up audience lists, now all that is required is for a setting to be changed in the Google Account MCC.

How: Continuous Audience Sharing can now be activated in the MCC account within the setting tab. This will allow all re-marketing lists within a manager account to be shared throughout its sub accounts.

 

The trusty old audience list offers the inquisitive Google Ads practitioner scope to humanise what would be, under other circumstances, anonymous clicks and site visits. With audience lists, we can begin to attribute the interests and user journeys to that which eventually led consumers to land on clients’ sites and warmly beckon shoppers back to the site by using re-marketing lists, when their casual browsing took them elsewhere. Such a powerful tool, whilst fairly straight foreword to set up, did involve a decidedly manual process, but this is no longer the case.

 

Alongside a new feature called Continuous Audience Sharing launched by Google last month, we can now set up audience lists within manager and sub accounts far quicker than ever before. Account managers can simply flick a switch (pictured below) and all audience lists previously set up in the manager account will then be shared across all sub accounts.

 

 

Where more pressing account priorities meant that not all audience lists could be set up in every campaign of every account, Google have saved us not only time, but also a series of missed opportunities in the form of an unprecedented level of demographic data and user targeting. And what’s more, the advertiser maintains full control of which audience lists are active.

 

Just on a final note: The speed with which audience lists can now be set up across accounts does present great opportunities to save on time through automation, but don’t forget that you may be sharing confidential or proprietary information in the process.

 

It’s therefore paramount to make sure that all privacy policies for an account are taken into consideration before sharing is activated.

SEO Market Updates: February 2020

Join Fusion’s SEO team as they round up last month’s major industry updates.

Google’s Search Algorithm Updates

Outside of broad core algorithm updates, which Google announce on a semi-regular basis, Google also provide several small and focused algorithm updates every day. These smaller updates can have a varied impact on a site’s rankings, but all work towards a central goal of improving the accuracy and functionality of Google’s Search.

From tracking the impact of the daily search algorithm updates that Google release, using tools such as SEMRush Sensor and MozCast, we can that organic rankings saw a large amount of movement from the 9th – 12th February.

SEMRush Sensor:

MozCast:

Rather than having an effect of specific categories of site, such as news and retail, these updates had a large impact on rankings across all sites.

If your site has been been negatively affected by these updates, we would recommend reading our summary of Google’s BERT algorithm update, and looking to optimise the site with this in mind.

Google Improves Data Exports in Search Console

Google have updated the way in which we can export data from Google Search Console. Previously, specific data was exported by navigating to the specific data view; such as queries, pages and devices in the performance report, then exporting view’s information individually.

With Google’s latest update, users will now only have the option the export all views within a report. This means if a user wants to export information from the performance report, this will contain information from all views displayed in separate tabs (View Sample Dataset). This can be exported into Google Sheets, an Excel spreadsheet with multiple tabs, or as CSV files within a ZIP folder.

Despite this update, Google Search Console will continue to limit users to 1,000 rows of data. In order to export a larger amount of data, this will need to be done with 3rd party resources; such as the Search Analytics for Sheets plug in for Google Sheets, or with Google Data Studio (limited to 5,000 rows).

Google Search Console Adds the Review Snippets Report

Google has introduced the review snippets report within Google Search Console, this report will be available under the enhancement segment within Search Console dashboard.

Review schema allows allows webmasters to highlight reviews on a site, this schema can then be viewed by search engines, such as Google, in order to populate rich results; including knowledge panels and search results.

This review snippet report will be available under the enhancement segment within Search Console dashboard, and will provide details on any issues surrounding the review schema that has been implemented on a site, along with the pages that have been affected by these issues.

Review snippets will also be available within the performance report, under the search appearance view. This will allow users to access the impact of having review snippets appear on an organic listing and how this affects performance.

Google Looks to Implement Mobile First Indexing Across All Sites

Google has been sending notifications, via Google Search Console, to users with sites that are currently preventing Google from implementing mobile-first indexing, due to errors present on the site.

With Google setting a deadline of the next 6-12 months that they expect mobile-indexing to be applied to all sites, if any users receive this warning from Google, we would recommend resolving any issues that have been flagged in order to correctly prepare the site for this change.

Check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with us today.

Social Media Updates: February 2020

Instagram adds ‘Least Interacted With’ and ‘Most Shown in Feed’ following tab

Instagram has recently added two new lists within the following tab, which enable you to see the accounts that get the most visibility in your feed and those who you choose not to engage with as often.

The update provides a list of accounts you don’t engage with a lot and recommends people who you should unfollow. This is to give users more control over their ‘algorithm-defined’ feed.

For example, if you don’t like some of the accounts on the list, or if there are inactive accounts on there, you can remove or unfollow them as well.

The second tab allows you to see the accounts that frequently appear in your feed and whose posts you regularly engage with – this can make it easier for Instagram to suggest new content and accounts for you to like and follow.

 

Andrew Hutchinson from Social Media Today said: “In terms of business use, it could help you pinpoint fans who are no longer engaged in your messaging, highlighting content variables that you may want to shift.”

Another minor update alongside this is the option to reply to stories with GIFs. It is a fairly minor update, but now you can reply to any story with a selection of GIPHY GIFs. To do so, just search by keyword in the reply text box and send.

 

Twitter releases ‘Manipulated Media’ policy to limit fake content

Twitter has recently released its official rule against users posting fake, deceptive or manipulated content, whilst also launching a tag for ‘detected’ edited material.

The updates to detect and also prevent fake information include:

  • Notifying which Tweets share synthetic or manipulated media.
  • Warning users before they share or like Tweets with synthetic or manipulated media.
  • Adding a link – for example, to a news article or Moment – so that people can read more about why various sources believe the media is fake or manipulated.

Twitter explained the update: “When you come to Twitter to see what’s happening in the world, we want you to have context about the content you’re seeing and engaging with.

“Deliberate attempts to mislead or confuse people through manipulated media undermine the integrity of the conversation.”

This will help to aid the ‘fake news’ agenda often promoted within the app.

Vine revamp as ‘Byte’ to rival TikTok

The co-founder of Vine has now officially launched Byte, which is said to be the second coming of former short-second video app Vine. The app is essentially Vine (creator videos up to seven seconds) with updated features and focus.

The app is said to rival record-breaking TikTok with Byte also making headlines as the most-downloaded social app in the US on its first weekend of launch.

In addition to the functionalities of Vine, Byte will eventually enable users to monetise their content. At launch, Byte lacks any of the additional remix, AR and effects tools available on TikTok currently.

Byte is currently featured on iOS and Android.

If you’re interested in finding out even more about social media and how it can boost your brand, get in touch with the team at Fusion Unlimited today.

SEO Market Updates: January 2020

Join Fusion’s SEO team as they round up last month’s major industry updates.

Google’s January Algorithm Update

Google released a broad core algorithm on 13th January, which was rolled out over the following 2 weeks. We covered the initial release of this update in a dedicated blog post, which provides a rundown of the update and some useful optimisation information.

Looking at SEMRush’s sensor tool, we can see how the algorithm impacted UK rankings:

As with all broad core algorithm updates, these target the entire algorithm, rather than having a specific focus, such as site speed or content. Due to this, if a site it negatively impacted by this update, we would recommend checking aspects within Google’s core update help sheet, or checking out the checklist in our blog that covers the January 2020 core update.

Google Chrome 80

Google Chrome 80 is due to be released at the start of February. It will contain updates that impact cookies, push notifications and mixed content.

Cookies

Google are recommending that developers define the cookies that a site uses. With the option to choose between two settings (SameSite=Strict or SameSite=Lax), web developers will be able to define if a cookie is to be sent in first party or same-site content (Lax is a good choice for cookies affecting the display of the site, with Strict being useful for cookies related to actions your user is taking). Google also provided the following caution surrounding how these will impact the site’s security:

“Neither Strict nor Lax are a complete solution for your site’s security. Cookies are sent as part of the user’s request and you should treat them the same as any other user input. That means sanitizing and validating the input. Never use a cookie to store data you consider a server-side secret.”

Push Notifications

The infamously annoying pop-up notification requests that appear on sites are currently within Google’s scope to tackle.

Google have recognised common complaints surrounding push notifications from websites and are looking to block these, as well as enroll their “Quiet UI”.

They will be looking to block push notifications for the following scenarios:

  • For users who consistently block push notifications.
  • For websites that have low opt-in rates for their notifications.

Google’s new “Quiet UI” will alert users that these notifications have been blocked; giving the user an opportunity to unblock the notification.

Quiet UI will be available on both desktop and mobile devices.

Mixed Content

As mentioned in a previous blog post, Google are looking to crack down on mixed content on sites. From Google Chrome 79 to 81, Google will be looking to implement stricter rules on how they treat mixed content. With Google Chrome 80 due to be released, Google will implement the following rules:

  • Mixed audio and video resources will be auto-upgraded to https://, and Chrome will block them by default if they fail to load over https://. Chrome 80 will be released to early release channels in January 2020. Users can unblock affected audio and video resources with the setting described above.
  • Mixed images will still be allowed to load, but they will cause Chrome to show a “Not Secure” chip in the omnibox. We anticipate that this is a clearer security UI for users and that it will motivate websites to migrate their images to HTTPS. Developers can use the upgrade-insecure-requests or block-all-mixed-content Content Security Policy directives to avoid this warning.

With stricter rules being implemented, we would recommend ensuring all resources have been migrated to https. For more information on Google Chrome’s plan to deal with mixed content, please see our dedicated blog post.

Google Updates Their Search Page Design

After rolling out the new search page design on mobile devices in May 2019, Google have now implemented these changed to desktop search pages.

This new design looks to add site icons to organic searches, while removing the green, highlight AD marker from ads and replacing it with a more discreet, and bolded, AD marker.

After rolling this out, Google has announced that they will be experimenting further with the desktop design.

Google Search Console’s New Removals Tool

Google have launched the new version of the removals report within Google Search Console. This report will contain the following features:

  • Temporary removals will allow users to remove specific content from Google Search results.
    • ‘Temporarily remove URL’ will hide the URL from Google Search results for about six months and clear the cached copy of the page.
    • ‘Clear cache URL’ clears the cached page and wipes out the page description snippet in Search results until the page is crawled again.
  • Outdated content segment will provide information on removal requests made through the public Remove Outdated Content
  • SafeSearch Filtering section will display any pages on a site that have been reported to Google by users as adult content using the SafeSearch Suggestions

WordPress Look to Add Lazy-Loading as Default

Documentation surrounding WordPress’s 5.4 update suggests that WordPress are looking to implement lazy-loading as part of WordPress core. If added, this will be implemented by adding the loading attribute to img tags within the html on the page, rather than adding this with JavaScript code.

Currently, the loading attribute is compatible with the following browsers:

  • Google Chrome
  • Chrome for Android
  • Android Browser
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Opera

Google Adds Popular Products to Search

Available only to US users at present, Google have released a “popular products” segment within Google Search pages.

This new segment is an extension of Google Shopping and will display products in relation to the users search, as well as a list of sites that sell time item, the price this is sold at and reviews for the product.

It is free for participating retailers to appear within these search features, as long as the products adhere to Google’s best practices.

Check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with us today.

Social Media Updates: January 2020

YouTube is rolling out COPPA changes

YouTube has been fined around $200 million for breaking COPPA laws for protecting children online. The Childhood Privacy Protection Act imposes strict guidelines on websites and apps that are directed or targeted towards anyone under 13 years old and found YouTube breaching their child protection laws online.

According to Ofcom, reports show that 16 to 24-year-olds watch around 73 minutes of YouTube content every day, in comparison to 53 minutes watched by 25 to 34-year-olds. This is worrying for some YouTuber’s as content which makes up the most popular videos were mostly viewed by children up to the age of 11.

YouTube said the advertisement changes will significantly affect creators who target videos at children because they can no longer make money from targeted adverts. Changes to YouTube Studio are rolling out globally, including that videos must be assigned as ‘for children’ or ‘not for children.’

 

Instagram adds to its story creation features

Brands can now reach out to Instagram users more personally, with the creation of user-generated Instagram filters. Circulating recent Instagram story posts has been popular ‘face-filters’ added by brands such as Adidas, Gucci and Kylie Cosmetics where users can see or ‘try on’ new products.

Anyone within the app can create an Instagram filter, to use and share it; the creator of the filter will always have a direct link to their page within other user’s stories. For brands, this means that by creating a viral, on-trend filter could drive a significant amount of traffic back to their Instagram page as well as featuring across thousands of personalised stories each day.

For example, the NBA released a filter where users could snap and use AR to add a dunking basketball player to their image using the camera. This was popular with users outside of the NBA’s current following and was a great way of driving new audiences to an account through using filters.
One particular filter which went viral was by ‘2020 Predictions’ creator Filippo Soccini. Before his homemade filter went viral within the app he had around 7,000 followers and after the success of those using his filter, he is now on over 100k.

 

Tip users via Tweets on Twitter

As a result of the popularity of cryptocurrency, Twitter is said to be looking into the possibility of ‘tipping via tweet’.

According to an interview with Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, the app is exploring the idea of exchanging money through tweets.

It was announced: “Twitter is considering a feature that will allow users to tip – sending each other money from their tweets – according to two people familiar with the company’s decisions. Twitter and Square already partner to let users make donations to politicians through tweets, according to company filings.”

Although the feature is not currently in development, it could be something new to the app later in the year.

 

If you’re interested in finding out even more about social media and how it can boost your brand, get in touch with us today.

 

Google Release January 2020 Broad Core Update

Yesterday, Google announced that they have released a broad core algorithm update.

Unlike the small changes Google make to their algorithm on a daily basis, designed to incrementally improve how the Google algorithm interprets and ranks pages (e.g. Page speed, EAT and meta data) and are usually barely noticeable. Broad core algorithm updates, as the name suggests, are much more significant and look at providing an overall improvement to the algorithm.

Although Google does not provide any specific information on what to look out for if a site is affected by the update, they do recommend that any sites or pages that are hit by this should be assessed against the following criteria where relevant:

Content and quality questions

  • Does the content provide original information, reporting, research or analysis?
  • Does the content provide a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • If the content draws on other sources, does it avoid simply copying or rewriting those sources and instead provide substantial additional value and originality?
  • Does the headline and/or page title provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?
  • Does the headline and/or page title avoid being exaggerating or shocking in nature?
  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  • Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?

Expertise questions

  • Does the content present information in a way that makes you want to trust it, such as clear sourcing, evidence of the expertise involved, background about the author or the site that publishes it, such as through links to an author page or a site’s About page?
  • If you researched the site producing the content, would you come away with an impression that it is well-trusted or widely-recognized as an authority on its topic?
  • Is this content written by an expert or enthusiast who demonstrably knows the topic well?
  • Is the content free from easily-verified factual errors?
  • Would you feel comfortable trusting this content for issues relating to your money or your life?

Presentation and production questions

  • Is the content free from spelling or stylistic issues?
  • Was the content produced well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
  • Does the content have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
  • Does content display well for mobile devices when viewed on them?

Comparative questions

  • Does the content provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  • Does the content seem to be serving the genuine interests of visitors to the site or does it seem to exist solely by someone attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?

We would also recommend ensuring that page speed is also factored into these checks, as this remains an important rankings factor for Google and all other search engines.

If you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with us today.

SEO Market Updates: December 2019

Join Fusion’s SEO team as they round up last month’s major industry updates.

Google Co-Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin Step Down

Larry Page and Sergey Brin, co-founders of Google, announced that they have stepped down as CEO and President of Alphabet, the parent company of Google. The role of CEO was given to Sundar Pichai, Google’s current CEO. Sundar sent the following email to Google employees on 3rd December

Hi everyone,

When I was visiting Googlers in Tokyo a few weeks ago I talked about how Google has changed over the years. In fact, in my 15+ years with Google, the only constant I’ve seen is change. This process of continuous evolution — which the founders often refer to as “uncomfortably exciting” — is part of who we are. That statement will feel particularly true today as you read the news Larry and Sergey have just posted to our blog.

The key message Larry and Sergey shared is this:

While it has been a tremendous privilege to be deeply involved in the day-to-day management of the company for so long, we believe it’s time to assume the role of proud parents—offering advice and love, but not daily nagging!

With Alphabet now well-established, and Google and the Other Bets operating effectively as independent companies, it’s the natural time to simplify our management structure. We’ve never been ones to hold on to management roles when we think there’s a better way to run the company. And Alphabet and Google no longer need two CEOs and a President. Going forward, Sundar will be the CEO of both Google and Alphabet. He will be the executive responsible and accountable for leading Google, and managing Alphabet’s investment in our portfolio of Other Bets. We are deeply committed to Google and Alphabet for the long term, and will remain actively involved as Board members, shareholders and co-founders. In addition, we plan to continue talking with Sundar regularly, especially on topics we’re passionate about!

I first met Larry and Sergey back in 2004 and have been benefiting from their guidance and insights ever since. The good news is I’ll continue to work with them — although in different roles for them and me. They’ll still be around to advise as board members and co-founders.

I want to be clear that this transition won’t affect the Alphabet structure or the work we do day to day. I will continue to be very focused on Google and the deep work we’re doing to push the boundaries of computing and build a more helpful Google for everyone. At the same time, I’m excited about Alphabet and its long term focus on tackling big challenges through technology.

The founders have given all of us an incredible chance to have an impact on the world. Thanks to them, we have a timeless mission, enduring values, and a culture of collaboration and exploration that makes it exciting to come to work every day. It’s a strong foundation on which we will continue to build. Can’t wait to see where we go next and look forward to continuing the journey with all of you.

– Sundar

Both Larry Page and Sergey Brin will remain active as co-founders, shareholders and board members of Alphabet.

Google Roll Out BERT for 70+ Languages Worldwide

After its initial release in October 2019, which was covered in our blog, Google have announced that their new natural language processing (NLP) algorithm, BERT, is being rolled out for 70+ languages.

This is the full list of languages that will BERT will now understand:

  • Afrikaans
  • Albanian
  • Amharic
  • Arabic
  • Armenian
  • Azeri
  • Basque
  • Belarusian
  • Bulgarian
  • Catalan
  • Chinese (Simplified & Taiwan)
  • Croatian
  • Czech
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • English
  • Estonian
  • Farsi
  • Finnish
  • French
  • Galician
  • Georgian
  • German
  • Greek
  • Gujarati
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Hungarian
  • Icelandic
  • Indonesian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Javanese
  • Kannada
  • Kazakh
  • Khmer
  • Korean
  • Kurdish
  • Kyrgyz
  • Lao
  • Latvian
  • Lithuanian
  • Macedonian Malay (Brunei Darussalam & Malaysia)
  • Malayalam
  • Maltese
  • Marathi
  • Mongolian
  • Nepali
  • Norwegian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Punjabi
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Serbian
  • Sinhalese
  • Slovak
  • Slovenian
  • Spanish
  • Swahili
  • Swedish
  • Tagalog
  • Tajik
  • Tamil
  • Telugu
  • Thai
  • Turkish
  • Ukrainian
  • Urdu
  • Uzbek
  • Vietnamese

Google Update Their Search Quality Guidelines

Google were discovered to have updated their search quality guidelines at the start of December. These guidelines are used by human quality raters to evaluate websites and search page results and are used to help improve Google’s search algorithm.

These updates are important and provide the ability to see how Google think in regards to how sites and content should be viewed. This allows us to better understand how to present content and ensure guidelines are adhered to, such as E-A-T.

Within the updates provided in December, Google have been changing the word “user” to “person” and have also informed that raters should “Keep in mind that users are people from all over the world: people of all ages, genders, races, religions, political affiliations, etc”. These updates may be a result of Republicans’ allegations of anti-conservative bias within the company’s search results in the U.S., in which Google have denied such biases.

Google Chrome 79 Has Been Released

Google released the Chrome 79 on 10th December. In our previous blog post, we informed that Google will be cracking down on mixed content, starting from version 79 of Google Chrome, to version 81. This means that this is the first version of Google Chrome that will take steps towards warning users about mixed content of sites.

Google’s steps towards cracking down on mixed content will be as follows:

  • In Chrome 79, releasing to a stable channel in December 2019, Google will introduce a new setting to unblock mixed content on specific sites. This setting will apply to mixed scripts, iframes, and other types of content that Chrome currently blocks by default. Users can toggle this setting by clicking the lock icon on any https:// page and clicking Site Settings. This will replace the shield icon that shows up at the right side of the omnibox for unblocking mixed content in previous versions of desktop Chrome.
  • In Chrome 80, mixed audio and video resources will be auto-upgraded to https://, and Chrome will block them by default if they fail to load over https://. Chrome 80 will be released to early release channels in January 2020. Users can unblock affected audio and video resources with the setting described above.
  • Also in Chrome 80, mixed images will still be allowed to load, but they will cause Chrome to show a “Not Secure” chip in the omnibox. We anticipate that this is a clearer security UI for users and that it will motivate websites to migrate their images to HTTPS. Developers can use the upgrade-insecure-requests or block-all-mixed-content Content Security Policy directives to avoid this warning.
  • In Chrome 81, mixed images will be auto-upgraded to https://, and Chrome will block them by default if they fail to load over https://. Chrome 81 will be released to early release channels in February 2020.

For more information on these updates, please visit our dedicated blog post.

Windows Implements Bing Visual Search In The Window Search Bar

Bing’s visual search works in a similar way to Google Lens, both will allow users to use search with an image, or a selected part of an image and also include text recognition within images, which can also be users to search.

Windows users will now have access to usilise Bing visual search from the start menu. This feature is currently only available for U.S. users and will be shortly rolled out to international markets. With windows still controlling around 78% of worldwide desktop operating systems, this new feature may have a positive impact on Bing’s market share for search engines, depending on the success of the implementation.

Google Warn That Some Data In Google Search Console Is Not Accurate

Google have warned that, due to internal issues, data in the performance report for Discover will be inaccurate between 8th December and 13th December. This issue has since been fixed.

Check out our latest Social Media market updates for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with us today.

SEO Market Updates: November 2019

Join Fusion’s SEO team as they round up last month’s major industry updates.

Google Chrome Will Warn Users of Slow Sites

Google have announced their plans to display warnings to users on how quickly a site may load when using Google Chrome.

Rather than immediately setting a page speed score that pages will need to hit in order to avoid receiving this warning, google plan on setting a very lenient criteria and increasing this over time.

For more information on this update, including details on how to avoid receiving this warning, please see our dedicated blog post…

Google Search Console’s New Page Speed Report

As Google continues to stress the importance of page speed in regards to site performance and rankings, they have released the new speed report within Google Search Console.

Utilising data from Google’s Chrome User Experience Report, this report will split pages into 3 categories; fast, medium and slow. This will also allow webmasters to see what issues are slowing pages down. The below table shows how Google defines slow to fast pages:

Fast Moderate Slow
FCP <1s <3s >=3s
FID <100ms <300ms >=300ms
  • FCP (first contentful paint): The time from when the user requests the URL until the browser renders the first visible element in the URL. This is important because it tells the reader that the URL is actually loading.
  • FID (first input delay): The time from when a user first interacts with your page (when they clicked a link, tapped on a button, and so on) to the time when the browser responds to that interaction. This measurement is taken from whatever interactive element that the user first clicks. This is important on pages where the user needs to do something, because this is when the page has become interactive.

Although Google has classified this report as “experimental” and have informed that they will continue to improve this, the page speed report is currently available to all users, rather than being part of a closed beta.

Google Launch Site Kit for WordPress

In order to improve integration between Google products and WordPress, Google released Site Kit. Site Kit is a WordPress plugin which will provide the following benefits:

  • Easy-to-understand stats directly on your WordPress dashboard
  • Official insights from multiple Google tools
  • Aggregated insights from Google products, distilled in a dashboard that your clients or other teams can easily access. No need to copy data from multiple products to compile reports for clients.
  • Site performance stats and improvement recommendations that come directly from Google – webmasters will be getting the latest best practices recommended by Google products.

Enabling this plugin will give users access to the following Google tools:

This plugin is free to install here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/google-site-kit/

Product Filters Added to Google Search Console

Google have announced the addition of the new product filter within the search appearance report of Google Search Console. This new filter will report on the performance of product rich results, as shown below:

This new report will provide a dedicated view of the performance of the product within Google search, which can help with viewing trend data and comparing these results with other rich results.

Check out our latest Social Media market updates for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with us today.

JCDecaux Upfronts 2020

We revel in the idea of a digital world. Saving paper saves the trees and in turn, saves media suppliers on production costs! And what’s better than buying one digital screen? Securing two digital screens!

In their recent upfronts 2020 conference, JCDecaux, the pioneer for outdoor media have announced their plans to bridge the gap between OOH and the digital world. The Brand Gap 2 report aims to take the reins on both branding and activation. Brands can expect a unified synergy between what consumers see on public and private screens, making for a stronger, longer impression.

JCD has teamed with Lumen, a cutting-edge eye-tracking technology company set to make waves in the digital world, tapping into some previously ambiguous insights. In a two-screen world, the cross-channel strategy allows for a consistent image to be displayed on more than one screen such as an outdoor digital 6 screen and a mobile phone.  In effect, the brand campaign resonates with the consumer from the minute they wake up to the minute they go to back to bed. Screen time exists profoundly in our lives, fed through our phones, our commutes and our work. Building a two-screen campaign creates a persistent message without being too pushy. Picture this – you scroll through Facebook on your way to work, your phone dies as you get to the train station, causing you to look for some passenger information point. During your commute, you find a digital passenger information point. And what’s the creative message beside it? The same advert you saw on Facebook earlier in the day.

The highly targeted, cross-channel strategy not only encourages awareness but consideration and sales. Implementing a trusted narrative, then sharing it across both OOH and Facebook formats has seen a 13% increase in the likelihood to purchase as well as the 6% uplift in actual sales. Studies show the propensity to purchase products increases across Gen Z and Millennial audiences when both OOH and digital formats are active. The brand image is viewed the first time, recognised the second and by the third/fourth view recognised, remembered and recalled. The memory becomes a motif displayed across various screens, prompting the target audience towards the lower end of the sales funnel.

In their October conference, CEO of JCDecaux UK announced ‘out-of-home can act as a primer to make the private screen more engaging and work harder’ – driving consideration and descending into the lower end of the sales funnel. Now that 57% of viewable media is on the same aspect ratio (vertical six-sheet), brands mould their adverts to fit around the audience’s routine. Geofencing pinpoints the perfect audience, where there’s no escaping the programmatic messaging. Take Virgin Active, they have over 30 clubs in Greater London and wanted to target people that are regularly seen in close proximity to their sites. Geotargeting helped to gain leverage of a highly connected audience, maximise the relevance of their messaging and achieve performance uplift from proactive brand activity. Out-of-home media not only primes but permeates the digital world with familiarity and trust.

Watch this (vertical) space as the gap between our private and public worlds collapses. Experience a flawless brand activation proven to stimulate the consideration stage of a highly targeted audience and, in turn, increase sales conversions.

Google Chrome Will Display Warnings For Slow Sites

In a further push to make websites take loading speeds seriously, Google have announced a new range of plans to help pre-warn users on how quickly or slowly a site may load.

“We think the web can do better and want to help users understand when a site may load slowly, while rewarding sites delivering fast experiences.” – Addy Osmani, Ben Greenstein and Bryan McQuade from the Chrome team

The plans include the rollout of warning messages within load screens on slower websites,  alongside a new green progress bar for sites with faster load times, both seen in the examples below:

Rather than implement strict criteria for what is and isn’t a fast site immediately, Google plan to gradually increase this over time. Google’s long-term goal is to clearly badge sites that load quickly or slowly for users, with further plans to expand the badging of sites to cover a range of signals beyond just site speed.

Google recommend using the following resources to help identify areas where improvements to site speed can be made:

Google also suggest checking web.dev/fast in order to learn the best practices for site performance.

To add to the above list, we would also recommend also utilising the following resources:

These additional resources will be able to provide valuable insights on page speed performance, and can be used alongside Google’s own resources.

Check out our latest SEO and Social Media market updates for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with us today.

Social Media Updates: November 2019

Follow topics on Twitter instead of people

Twitter is adding a new feature to the app called ‘Topics’. Twitter has said this feature will help and encourage users to find a larger selection of content across a range of subjects, alongside their usual timeline.

The Topics tab will allow users to follow tweets about subjects such as sport or politics, rather than associated accounts. There will be 300 topics which users can follow from entertainment and gaming to fashion and beauty.

Twitter recently explained the new update:  “On your Home timeline and in search results, you’ll see prompts to follow topics. Tap the Follow button in the prompt and we’ll personalise your Twitter experience based on your interest in this topic.

“We may also match you with other topics that we think you are interested in based on your profile and activity, such as the Tweets you view or like.”

Twitter said their new update will help users find more content they are interested in as “the main reason that people join Twitter is to keep up on the things that they’re interested in.”

Topics will launch on the Twitter app on November 13.

Facebook expands publisher tools for brands

Facebook has announced that their publisher tools will be expanding including a feature where brands can easily find content creators to partner with. Initially, the tool was for a limited number of pages, but Facebook is expanding access to the feature.

Facebook explained: “To help advertisers find creators for branded content partnerships, we introduced Brand Collabs Manager. Creators in over 40 countries can now apply for access to Brand Collabs Manager, bringing it in line with Ad Breaks.”

However, to qualify as a content creator for the Brand Collabs Manager feature, you will need at least 1,000 followers as well as one or more of the following over the last two months: 15,000 engagements on your posts, 180,000 minutes viewed, or 30,000 1-minute views on videos that are 3-minutes or longer.

As well as this, Facebook is adding to Creator Studio with Traffic Source Insights. This is where content creators can see how their content is distributed across the app and with insights on how to optimise content. Traffic Source Insights will look at video watch time and retention metrics for pages across four key sources: Followers, Shares, Recommended and Paid.

You can check if your page qualifies for Brand Collabs Manager here.

Pinterest outlines top pin trends for November

Pinterest has released an update of trending pins forecast for November, including upcoming trends for food, beauty, home and style and how to achieve successful pins.

Interior

Pinterest revealed that ‘entryways’ will receive a lot of attention in interior trends this month. The following searches are said to be up for interior-inspired pinner’s: ‘mudroom entryway’ (+179% YoY) ‘shoe closet entryway’ (+300% YoY) and ‘small foyer decorating’ (+722% YoY).

Beauty

According to Pinterest, November is the month of bedazzling. Searches for ‘rhinestone eye makeup’ are up 550% year over year along with ‘magnetic eyeliner’ (+143% YoY) just in time for Christmas. By replicating these pins into your content strategy, Pinterest predicts an increase in engagement.

Food

As autumn turns to winter, searches for comfort food are up significantly. Recipe videos are up, such as tomato soup videos (+5809% YoY) which topped the list. Alongside ‘sausage parmesan cream cheese’ (+1314% YoY) and ‘hamburger cauliflower soup’ (+4000% YoY) making trends for the top food pins.

Fashion

For men and women’s fashion, corduroy tops the trends. Searches are increasing for ‘corduroy skirt outfit’ (+69% YoY), ‘corduroy bag’ (+59% YoY), ‘corduroy shirt’ (+51% YoY) and ‘corduroy dress’ (47% YoY).

If you’re interested in finding out more about social media and what it can do for your brand, get in touch with us today.

GOMO or Go Home?

Testing the Malleability of OOH Media in a Transitional Digital World.

For years outdoor media has remained solid yet stagnant. Time may change but the reliability of a forty-foot poster has rarely been questioned. Without realising it, we are subject to ads in our outdoor life hundreds of times a week. They have become part of our daily commute, local environment and city architecture. But, as we journey further into the digital age, we are no longer accustomed to taking in our surroundings. Instead, we are increasingly more concerned with the world at our fingertips. Since the growth of digital media, outdoor media must work harder to gain the attention of the average consumer. Today billboards must compete with their immediate surroundings, alongside online traffic.
 
In today’s society, outdoor media is striving to be brighter, bolder and smarter than ever. Traditional billboard sites are being replaced by digital screens on a weekly basis. These screens offer the opportunity for more impressions, many creatives and a mix of ads every minute. So what is the latest step in the plight of OOH (out-of-home) media? Meet the iWalker by GOMO…
 
The iWalker is a wearable digital communication tool that moves with your audience. The device acts as a harness supporting a large screen above the head of the wearer. It also has speakers pumping music of the companies’ choice to the surrounding crowds. The device is eye-catching and attention-seeking. Used in the right location it represents a hybrid of events based promotion and outdoor media.
 
The selling point of the iWalker is, at present, the spectacle of it. The device catches the attention and not the eye of crowds, and in return, the device absorbs the data of the crowds. When presented with a scene, the iWalker analyses the situation and obtains data from the surroundings. It has the capacity to do several things, for example, viewer counting. The iWalker can detect all faces in the scene so the number of impressions is reliable and not estimated. It also tracks faces – monitoring how long a face remains in the scene – thus deducing dwell time and attention time. The device can then classify the gender and age of an individual. This means that the post-campaign analytics are tested and reliable thus improving the ROI.
 
Will the iWalker will prove to be another fad of the media world? Or will it will be as influential as the billboard was? Regardless of opinion, it is pushing the boundaries of outdoor media and offering movement to a static world.

SEO MARKET UPDATES: OCTOBER 2019

Join Fusion’s SEO team as they round up last month’s major industry updates.

GOOGLE’S NEW ALGORITHM: BERT

The biggest news of the month came with the announcement of a new search algorithm from Google, BERT. A natural language processor (NLP), BERT provides Google with a heightened ability to understand the context of search queries.

For example, the algorithm can assist Google to determine when prepositions such as “on” or “to” matter to the entire meaning of a phrase. This ultimately helps Google to display a result which best matches search intent, as in the example below comparing a pre and post-BERT result for the same query:

Google have stated that BERT is working alongside the existing RankBrain algorithm, and will affect around 10% of all search terms and structured snippets.

BERT is currently live for search terms using U.S English, and will be rolled out for other languages in the near future.

For more information on BERT, take a look at our dedicated blog post…

GOOGLE CRACKS DOWN ON MIXED CONTENT

With the next few iterations of Chrome planned to release over the next few months, Google have announced that these forthcoming updates will be taking incrementally harsher stances against mixed content.

Mixed content refers to instances where both HTTP and HTTPS resources, such as images or iFrames, are contained on a site.

Chrome is currently on version 78, and by release 81 Google expect to have implemented the below updates:

  • In Chrome 79, set to be released to a stable channel in December 2019, Google will introduce a new setting to unblock mixed content on specific sites. This setting will apply to mixed scripts, iFrames, and other types of content which Chrome currently blocks by default. Users will be able to toggle this setting by clicking the lock icon on any https:// page and selecting the Site Settings option. This is set to replace the shield icon displayed at the right side of the address bar in current versions of desktop Chrome, which is currently used to unblock mixed content.
  • In Chrome 80, set to be published to early release channels in January 2020, mixed audio and video resources will be auto-upgraded to https://. If these resources then fail to load over htttps:// they will be blocked by Chrome. Users will be able to unblock any mixed audio or video resources via the method released in Chrome 79.
  • Also in Chrome 80, mixed images will still be allowed to load, but will cause Chrome to show a “Not Secure” chip in the address bar. We anticipate that this is a clearer security UI for users and that it will motivate websites to migrate their images to HTTPS. Developers can use the upgrade-insecure-requests or block-all-mixed-content Content Security Policy directives to avoid this warning.
  • In Chrome 81, mixed images will be auto-upgraded to https://, and Chrome will block them by default if they fail to load over https://. Chrome 81 will be released to early release channels in February 2020.

For more information on these updates within Chrome, please see our dedicated blog post…

GOOGLE DEPRECIATE CORPORATE CONTACT MARKUP

Corporate contact markup , often implemented with the contactPoint schema, allowed companies to add their contact information to Google’s knowledge panel.

In October, Google announced that this method of adding corporate contact information to knowledge panels is now depreciated. As an alternative, if a company is verified as an official rep of a Google knowledge panel, they will be able to suggest changes to corporate contacts via the knowledge panel support page.

AUTOMATIC LAZY-LOADING HAS COME TO CHROME LITE USERS

Automatic lazy-loading is a feature enabled for all Chrome 76 users, allowing images and iFrames with the `loading` attribute to be lazy-loaded with the following options:

  • auto: Default lazy-loading behaviour of the browser, which is the same as not including the attribute.
  • lazy: Defer loading of the resource until it reaches a calculated distance from the viewport.
  • eager: Load the resource immediately, regardless of where it’s located on the page.

Now, this feature has been made available for lite mode users in Chrome 77. Chrome 77 will allow any <iframe> or <img> with the loading attribute value of `auto` to be eligible for Lite Mode’s automatic lazy-loading. This includes <picture> elements and CSS background images.

In Google’s experiments, native lazy-loading of images and iframes yields a ~10% reduction in bytes downloaded per page at the 75th percentile and an 8% reduction in overall downloaded bytes for the median user. Automatic lazy-loading also led to a 1-2% improvement in First Contentful Paint at the median, a 2% improvement in First Input Delay at the 95th percentile and a 0.7% improvement in median memory reduction per page.

Native lazy-loading is currently supported by the following browsers:

  • Chrome 76+
  • Chrome for Android 78+
  • Android Browser 76+
  • Opera 64+

GOOGLE ADD NEW VIDEO REPORTS TO SEARCH CONSOLE

Two new video reports are now available to users of Google Search Console, providing information on video content displayed within search results, the video search tab, and Google Discover.

The first of these reports is the Video Enhancement Report, which allows webmasters to see any errors and warnings for any video schema implemented on a website.

The second of these reports is the Video Performance Report. This will allow users to view the performance of videos within the video tab and main search page, by segmenting by “type = web”. Users will also be able to view Google Discover video performance by using the “search appearance” tab.

For users utilising the VideoObject schema these reports will allow a quick view on how videos are performing, along with providing an overview of whether schema is implemented correctly.

 

For information on last month’s major industry updates for social media, please see our monthly social blog…

Meet BERT: Google’s New Search Algorithm

BERT, or the Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, is the new search algorithm released by Google. BERT is a natural language processor (NLP) that is capable of providing Google with further understanding behind the intention of a search query, rather than relying solely on key terms within the query in order to understand user intention.

This new algorithm is going to allow Google to do a much better job of finding useful information for search queries, particularly for longer, more conversational queries, or searches where prepositions like “for” and “to” matter a lot to the meaning, Search will be able to understand the context of the words in your query.

Looking at the below examples, we can see how BERT is able to understand more complex, content driven search terms, in order to provide more relevant search results.

BERT is currently live for search terms using the English language and Google will be looking to apply this to other languages in the future.Google have labelled BERT as “representing the biggest leap forward in the past five year, and one of the biggest leaps forward in the history of search”. This no understatement from Google, as BERT will work alongside RankBrain and is expected to affect 10% of all search terms, along with affecting structured snippets.

As BERT is a deep learning NLP algorithm that is designed to process and learn how language is used, the only way to optimise content for this is to ensure that content is relevant, informative, useful and most importantly, written for humans.

The Power of Pinterest for your Retail Brand

First things first, if you’re not exactly sure what Pinterest is and how it differs from other social networks, here’s a little summary – Pinterest is basically a virtual pinboard, you can browse millions of images and add them to your virtual ‘board’. Pinterest doesn’t class itself as a social network like Instagram or Facebook – instead, it’s a platform that allows users to feel inspired and plan their dreams. They’re a personal media, rather than social media.

Brands can hugely benefit from Pinterest – firstly, it’s worth noting that Pinterest users visit the platform to get inspired and therefore they’re usually in a positive mindset. Pinners (a nickname for Pinterest users) are usually at the beginning of their buying or planning journey, therefore as a brand, it’s great to be visible at this stage. Pinterest states that 66% of Pinners have made a purchase based on the content they saw from brands on the platform – demonstrating the influence and potential for brands on the platform.

Here at Fusion Unlimited, we had the pleasure of attending an exclusive Pinterest workshop for some of the top independent agencies in the UK. The workshop enabled us to truly explore the ways we can maximize Pinterest’s offering for our clients. Read on to find out the key points we learnt and how you can apply them to your marketing strategy.

 

What makes a good pin?

Pinterest is a highly visual platform – the first thing to draw the user in is the creative you choose to publish. Therefore, it’s important to create images that are appealing to the user in order to generate as much relevant website traffic that can help you convert. The following tips apply to both paid and organic pins.

  1. High-res and high-quality photos – good quality photos always work best, they’re more aesthetically pleasing and allow the user to see the content best.
  2. Use lifestyle photography as much as possible – lifestyle photography showing your brand’s product is often more effective and attention-grabbing than studio photography.
  3. Seasonal content – Pinterest users often head to the platform to get inspiration for seasonal events like Christmas, interior design, party ideas, fashion advice and more. By creating seasonal content, you can tap into those users and appear for more keywords.
  4. Sized at 1000 x 1500 pixels – creating your Pin this size will ensure that your image is visible and not cropped.
  5. Discreet branding, or none at all – surprisingly the majority of pins (73%) are uploaded by brands. This has allowed brands to have a discreet and sustainable relationship with Pinterest users that allows them to play a key role in helping the pinner achieve their dream – instead of showering them with blatant ads.
  6. Text overlay for promoting content – adding copy to your Pin can give users a better understanding of what the image is promoting and the content behind it.
  7. Include keywords in your title and description – People are reading these, so sentences work best. But Pinterest’s robots are also indexing these, so make sure to include high volume keywords.

Promoting your product on Pinterest

Now that we know what makes a good pin, let’s put it into practice. As you can see, the image below is overly branded and doesn’t inspire the user in any way. This sort of image could be used for other social networks or ads but doesn’t work best for Pinterest and its audience. Pinterest users come to the platform to feel inspired, rather than to be advertised to.

The next two images are created with Pinterest in mind. Let’s assume that the image on the left is advertising the dress and the image on the right is adverting the trainers – the products are clearly on display in a non-branded and lifestyle environment. They resonate with the user and have the potential to inspire them, increasing the likelihood of them interacting with the pin.

 

When you click on an available product, the following appears for the user. Therefore the user can go directly to the brand’s website to buy the product or find out more.

 

Promoting content on Pinterest

Promoting website content is a little different than promoting a product. Using a text overlay can be a great way to let users know exactly what the content is about and direct users to your website’s content.

Let’s see an example of some creative with and without a text overlay. The image on the left doesn’t tell the user what the content is about, therefore you may get traffic to your website, but not necessarily relevant traffic from users that are willing to interact with your content.

The image on the right tells the user exactly what the content is about and therefore has a stronger CTA. Increasing the likelihood of directing relevant traffic to your website.

The shelf life of a pin is approximately 103 days, so it’s good to consider this when creating the content that will advertise your product.

If you want to start creating a Pinterest strategy or schedule, Pinterest has a range of resources for brands to utilize on their business website. Alternatively, if you’re interested in finding out about the power of Pinterest and what it can do for your retail brand, get in touch with our team today.

 

VoiceWorks Conference 2019 – the Growth of Voice Technology

ComScore predicts that by 2020 50% of all searches will be performed by voice. This prediction is the foundation of VoiceWorks as a company. It’s very apparent that voice technology is ever-growing and ever-prominent aspect of today’s society – as of this year, 40% of all homes owned a voice-controlled device.  Facts like these dramatically affect the way that marketing works presently, it means that instead of seeing an array of results ranked, with companies paying for their place in the ranking, we will now hear just one solid answer.

‘As technology continues to advance, the brands who are prepared for this shift will be the ones who win’ (AdWeek).

VoiceWorks offers 3 different products:

1 – Audio Content: recent years has seen a monumental rise in the number of podcast being created and listened to on a frequent basis. VoiceWorks can develop and produces podcasts, flash briefings and streamed audio for brands. A highly successful recent example of this is Pretty Little Things’ Podcast which received over 70,000 listens with just 3 podcasts.

2 – Audio Creativity & Branding: Possessing sonic branding allows businesses to exist within the world of audio. VoiceWorks helps brands find and develop their audio brand and sonic branding. Statistics say that 86% of brands rely on visual branding, whilst only 17% have audio brand guidelines. This means that brands savvy enough to focus more on audio have the potential to possess a wider portion of the market. Those with memorable jingles are those who stand out, the embedded memory of Hastings Direct’s telephone number is a testament to this.

3 – Voice Search & Voice Skills: VoiceWorks will develop Voice Skills for brands to interact and transact with customers and assist clients to navigate the use of smart devices. This allows your business to become the answer to Alexa’s questions.

The main message of the presentation stands; the audio revolution is nigh and only the savviest of businesses will find themselves on the right side of it

Google Cracks Down on Mixed Content

Google has announced that they will be cracking down on page resources in order to ensure that https pages can only load https sub-resources. This change is going to be gradually enforced in different steps throughout the next few updates of their browser, from Chrome 79 to Chrome 81 (We are currently on Chrome 77).

These steps will be implemented as below:

  • In Chrome 79, releasing to a stable channel in December 2019, Google will introduce a new setting to unblock mixed content on specific sites. This setting will apply to mixed scripts, iframes, and other types of content that Chrome currently blocks by default. Users can toggle this setting by clicking the lock icon on any https:// page and clicking Site Settings. This will replace the shield icon that shows up at the right side of the omnibox for unblocking mixed content in previous versions of desktop Chrome.
  • In Chrome 80, mixed audio and video resources will be auto-upgraded to https://, and Chrome will block them by default if they fail to load over https://. Chrome 80 will be released to early release channels in January 2020. Users can unblock affected audio and video resources with the setting described above.
  • Also in Chrome 80, mixed images will still be allowed to load, but they will cause Chrome to show a “Not Secure” chip in the omnibox. We anticipate that this is a clearer security UI for users and that it will motivate websites to migrate their images to HTTPS. Developers can use the upgrade-insecure-requests or block-all-mixed-content Content Security Policy directives to avoid this warning.
  • In Chrome 81, mixed images will be auto-upgraded to https://, and Chrome will block them by default if they fail to load over https://. Chrome 81 will be released to early release channels in February 2020.

Ensuring that all resources are migrated to https can be done within a CDN, web host or content management system. We would recommend focusing on migrating these in the order that they will be blocked within Google Chrome:

  1. Scripts, iFrames will be targeted in December 2019
  2. Audio, video and images will be targeted in January 2020

This is important because any non-secure resource could be blocked by Chrome – including images, videos, audio, JavaSript/CSS files, and even tracking pixels and scripts, both internally and externally hosted.

Chrome is still the leading browser across all devices and is currently standing at 63.72%, with the closest competitor being Safari, at 16.34% market share. It’s plausible that other browsers could follow suit and also block mixed content.

Google Chrome Market Share - October 2019

We would recommend that all resources are migrated to https as soon as possible, as this will remove the risk of users not being able to correctly view your site and will also ensure that your content is not blocked by Google in January 2020 when they remove the option to unblock resources.

SEO MARKET UPDATES: SEPTEMBER 2019

Join Fusion’s SEO team as they round up last month’s major industry updates.

BROAD CORE ALGORITHM UPDATE

Google announced that they were releasing a broad core algorithm update on 24th September.

Although broad core algorithm updates have no specific focus and are released in order provide a more general improvement in search results, Google have suggested “focusing on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can” as “that’s what our algorithms seek to reward.” Google have also recommended that sites continue to consult the search quality rater guidelines in order to view Google’s ideology on what a qualities a site should possess in order to rank well within search. Google have also recommended the following resources in order to help understand the search quality rater guidelines:

GOOGLE UPDATES NO FOLLOW & INTRODUCES SPONSORED AND UGC TAGS

Google have updated the guidance on how they will treat nofollow tags, alongside introducing 2 new tags to be used in specific circumstances:

rel=”nofollow”: Use this attribute for cases where you want to link to a page but don’t want to imply any type of endorsement, including passing along ranking credit to another page.

rel=”sponsored”: Use the sponsored attribute to identify links on your site that were created as part of advertisements, sponsorships or other compensation agreements.

rel=”ugc”: UGC stands for User Generated Content, and the ugc attribute value is recommended for links within user generated content, such as comments and forum posts.

For further information on these changes and the impact they have made, please see our Google Updates Nofollow Links blog.

FRESHER DATA IS INTRODUCED TO GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE

Following an announcement on 23rd September 2019, users will now have access to more recent data within Google Search Console.

Previously, users were required to wait a couple of days for data within Search Console to become available, meaning that site performance from over the weekend would become available around Wednesday. With the implementation of fresher data users will now have access to information from as soon as the previous day, which will then be processed and replaced with the final data within the same time period as usual (around a couple of days).

GOOGLE INTRODUCES AUTO DNS VERIFICATION FOR SEARCH CONSOLE

Following their release of domain groups in Google Search Console allowing users to views combined data driven by their whole domain, Google have released auto DNS verification in order to make it easier for users to verify their domain.

By clicking on “add property” from the property selector from the drop down sidebar, then choosing the “Domain” option, users will now be met with a step-by-step guide from Google. This will guide users through the steps of verifying their domain.

GOOGLE OFFICIALLY RETIRES THE OLD SEARCH CONSOLE

After releasing the new Google Search Console back at the start of 2018, Google have gradually migrated across functionality from the old Search Console to the new version, alongside new exclusive tools. The time has now come for us to say goodbye to the old Search Console, as Google closed accessibility on 9th September 2019.

Although the old Search Console has been closed, Google are still allowing access to the below legacy tools that are yet to receive a replacement on the new Google Search Console interface:

  • Remove URLs tool
  • Crawl Stats
  • Robots.txt Tester
  • URL Parameters Tool
  • International Targeting
  • Data Highlighter tool
  • Messages report
  • Crawl rate settings
  • Email preferences
  • Web tools

GOOGLE UPDATE USE OF REVIEW RICH RESULTS

Google have been looking into how review schema is currently being used by webmasters, finding many invalid and misleading implementations of this structured data. Google have made some algorithmic updates in order to improve the helpfulness of review markup, and have also limited the display of rich review results to only the following schema types:

Review markup that is applied to any schema that is not included within the above list will be ignored by Google.

GOOGLE ADDS OPTIONS FOR SITES TO PREVIEW CONTENT ON GOOGLE SEARCH

With structured data and featured snippets consistently increasing in importance within search, Google have expanded functionality for webmasters to inform them how they would like pages to be displayed within rich results. These include the following:

Using robots meta tags

The robots meta tag is added to an HTML page’s <head>, or specified via the x-robots-tag HTTP header. The robots meta tags addressing the preview content for a page are:

  • “nosnippet”
    This is an existing option to specify that you don’t want any textual snippet shown for this page.
  • “max-snippet:[number]”
    New! Specify a maximum text-length, in characters, of a snippet for your page.
  • “max-video-preview:[number]”
    New! Specify a maximum duration in seconds of an animated video preview.
  • “max-image-preview:[setting]”
    New! Specify a maximum size of image preview to be shown for images on this page, using either “none”, “standard”, or “large”.

They can be combined, for example:

<meta name=”robots” content=”max-snippet:50, max-image-preview:large”>

Using the new data-nosnippet HTML attribute

A new way to help limit which part of a page is eligible to be shown as a snippet is the “data-nosnippet” HTML attribute on span, div, and section elements. With this, you can prevent that part of an HTML page from being shown within the textual snippet on the page.

For example:

<p><span data-nosnippet>Harry Houdini</span> is undoubtedly the most famous magician ever to live.</p>

These new implementations will provide site owners with the power to limit the amount and type of content in the structured data.

IPAD TRAFFIC IS CHANGING WITHIN GOOGLE ANALYTICS

Due to updates within iPad OS, Apple have changed the user agent for the iPad, meaning iPad traffic will appear as desktop traffic. With Apple currently in control of 72% of the tablet market share worldwide, site owners should expect to see a reduction in tablet traffic and an increase in desktop traffic, with a specific increase in Safari users. This change took place in September 2019.

Google Updates Nofollow Links

It will come as no surprise that when Google updated its 14 year nofollow link attribute value on 10th September it caused quite the stir in the world of SEO.

This update sees an extension to the well-recognised nofollow tag, broken down by Google as follows:

rel=”sponsored”: Use the sponsored attribute to identify links on your site that were created as part of advertisements, sponsorships or other compensation agreements.

rel=”ugc”: UGC stands for User Generated Content, and the ugc attribute value is recommended for links within user generated content, such as comments and forum posts.

rel=”nofollow”: Use this attribute for cases where you want to link to a page but don’t want to imply any type of endorsement, including passing along ranking credit to another page.

Historically, the nofollow tag was initially introduced by Google to help prevent comment spam, latterly this update is regarded as a way for website owners to tell Google to ignore the link. In other words, the link wouldn’t be crawled and it wouldn’t be used as an indication to help improve rankings. It therefore became a common way for websites to still acknowledge guest blog posts, partnered or sponsored content without losing any of their site equity.

What’s changed and why does this matter?

However in the new update this view of ‘nofollow’ tags and the introduction of two new tags ‘sponsored’ and ‘ugc’ Google seems to have changed its mind stating:

“All the link attributes — sponsored, UGC and nofollow — are treated as hints about which links to consider or exclude within Search. We’ll use these hints — along with other signals — as a way to better understand how to appropriately analyze and use links within our systems.”

The idea that it could be a ‘hint’ is great news for websites looking to earn links and increase their backlink portfolio, what was once a redundant link is now being used as a ‘hint’ for ranking.

Google has made it clear that websites don’t need to update old nofollow tags to follow the new structure but instead this can be introduced by websites who want to be more granular in their link tags.

Furthermore, as of March 2020 Google has also suggested they may begin using this collection of nofollow, sponsored and ugc link attributes for crawling and indexing.

Moz have produced a simple analysis of this change which helps demonstrate before, now and how this will change again from March 2020.

If you have any questions about the impact of linkbuilding our door is always open…

Contact Us

Important Advice for Your Cookie Policy in 2019

The ICO recently updated its advice on cookie use, primarily moving from implied user acceptance basis to explicit opt-in for “non-essential” cookies, under which analytics and marketing cookies fall. This obviously has deep implications for the tracking efforts of online businesses. This post will look at what the updated advice says, and what steps businesses should take.

The new guidance is set by the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) – a full guide is available at the ICO website and can be downloaded as a PDF for reference.

 

What are the key takeaways from the new advice?

  • You must tell users about all cookies used and what they do

Whilst PECR doesn’t definitively outline the “clear and comprehensive” information you should give about the cookies you use, it should generally cover the cookies used, why they will be used, what is being placed on the user’s device, and ease of rejection.

  • Consent must be explicitly given

In the recent past, it has been acceptable to have user consent of cookies implied by continued use of a website or app. Implied consent is no longer compliant – users must freely give explicit consent.

  • Necessary cookies are exempt, but analytics cookies aren’t deemed necessary

“Strictly necessary” cookies are those which ensure a website or app can remain functional, such as cookies used to administer a shopping cart. The guidelines are quite clear that analytics and tracking cookies aren’t considered “strictly necessary”, and require explicit user consent.

  • Revoking consent should be as simple as giving consent

Whatever mechanism is provided for the user to provide their consent should be easily accessible to revoke this consent at any time.

  • “Cookie walls” are not considered freely given consent

A cookie wall refers to the act of blocking usage of a website or app if the user doesn’t consent to cookie policy. This is against the guidelines, as consent must be given “freely” – a cookie wall is considered enforced consent.

  • New guidance sits alongside GDPR

PECR compliance needs to be considered before GDPR compliance – GDPR compliance is then applied to any cookies that deal with personally identifiable data.

Who’s doing well?

Predictably, the ICO are showcasing best practise with a large pop-up, clearly outlining the difference between necessary and analytics cookies, and providing an opt-in for analytics cookies. The “C” icon at the bottom left follows the user throughout the site and can be clicked to open the pop-up to change policy acceptance at any time.

The pop-out interface used by the ICO is a plugin provided by https://www.civicuk.com/cookie-control, which is customisable to cover marketing and social sharing cookies in addition to analytics, as shown on their own website.

Cookiebot is used by some of our clients thanks to its simple WordPress plugin. Their plugin can be seen in action at Cookiebot.com and shows the explanatory detail required alongside opt-in tick boxes. Clicking “Show details” gives the detail of exactly which cookies are used, and what for.

Are you at risk?

One of the debates now is whether these new guidelines will be enforced, or even if they are enforceable – the ICO advice for non-compliance is quite woolly in terms of who could be penalised and what the punishment could be. Whilst the above examples show us what good might look like, we are seeing relatively little uptake in the wider world – either because organisations are accepting the risk, or because the relatively low key announcement has been missed by many.

This article isn’t exhaustive and shouldn’t be used as the basis of a compliance policy. Our advice would be to absorb the full guidelines from the ICO and take legal advice on the next steps to take.

 

SEO MARKET UPDATE: AUGUST 2019

Join Fusion’s SEO team as they round up last month’s major industry updates

GOOGLE’S NEW ALGORITHM UPDATE FOCUSES ON FINDING FRESH CONTENT

At the start of the month, Google’s Vice President of Search, Pandu Nayak, released a blog detailing the focuses of a Google algorithm update that was released in February 2019.

As shown above, the main focus of this update is to ensure that featured snippets contain fresh, helpful information.

Although the outcome of this update is very positive for data accuracy within many featured snippets, this also means that we will expect to see much more movement with information that is featured within these snippets with Google prioritising fresher content.

GOOGLE EXPERIENCED FURTHER INDEXING ISSUES

Early this month, Google experienced some issues that meant newly published pages where prevented from being indexed.

The indexing issues are similar to the ones that took place in May 2019, in which users saw a delay in some pages performances that were published during these issues, due to these being indexed late. This mostly affected news publications, as articles didn’t make it onto Google search, news or discover whilst issues persisted.

Along with this issue, Google also experienced issues with the URL inspection tool within Google Search Console. These issues have since been resolved.

GOOGLE UPDATE TESTING TOOLS ALLOW GOOGLEBOT EVERGREEN RENDERING

Google announced that most of their testing tools now support the evergreen Chromium renderer. This is has now been implemented within the following tools:

This update will allow these tools to render JavaScript and will continue to update along with Chromium.

In the above image, we can see that within the mobile testing tool, this is now able to render ES6+, Web Components and 1,000+ new web platform features.

PLAYABLE PODCASTS ARE NOW AVAILABLE IN GOOGLE SEARCH

During the Google I/O event in May 2019, Google released the news that podcasts are now available in Google search (more information on this in our May 2019 blog). This month, Google have announced that podcasts will now be playable within desktop and mobile search results.

Google have also implemented a “podcast series” table within the result page which holds many of the top podcast series relating to the search query.

LESS THAN HALF OF GOOGLE SEARCHES RESULT IN A CLICK

SparkToro released a study on how people interact with Google search results in 2019. This study found that June 2019 was the first month to see zero click searches accounted for 50.33% of 40 million+ searches within the United States, this is the first time that zero click searches have surpassed 50%.

The study also shows how zero click searches have seen a gradual increase since 2016.

The increase in zero click searches is due to the increase in featured snippets within Google search results providing information relevant enough for users to never feel the need to enter a website.

Although an increase in zero click searches means a drop in all website traffic for Google search channels, such as Organic and Paid, due to most zero click searches being more informational, this increase will affect top of the funnel traffic much more than any traffic further down the funnel for businesses.

GOOGLE SPOTTED HIGHLIGHTING TEXT ON SITES

Users have spotted Google highlighting text on a website after clicking through to the site from a featured snippet.

The text that is highlighted is dependent on the text that is displayed within the snippet. The page will also automatically scroll to the highlighted text.

 

SEO MARKET UPDATE: JULY 2019

Join Fusion’s SEO team as they round up last month’s major industry updates

GOOGLE LOOK TO FORMALISE ROBOTS.TXT FORMATTING

Although the Robots Exclusion Protocol (REP) has been the unofficial format for robots.txt for the past 25 years, Google released a webmaster blog post on 1st July confirming that they have submitted REP to The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in order to officialise the REP. Along with submitting REP to the IEFT, Google also updated its robots.txt spec to match REP.

https://twitter.com/LizziHarvey/status/1145766318680858625

Alongside the act of making REP an internet standard, Google also announced that they have made their robots.txt parser open source; this is currently available to view on GitHub.

GOOGLE REMOVE SUPPORT FOR NOINDEX WITHIN ROBOTS.TXT

Google announced that they no longer support noindex directives within robots.txt files, reasoning that this has never been an official directive within the REP.

In order for webmasters to update their sites for this change, Google have provided the below alternatives:

  • Noindex in robots meta tags: Supported both in the HTTP response headers and in HTML, the noindex directive is the most effective way to remove URLs from the index when crawling is allowed.
  • 404 and 410 HTTP status codes: Both status codes mean that the page does not exist, which will drop such URLs from Google’s index once they’re crawled and processed.
  • Password protection: Unless markup is used to indicate subscription or paywalled content, hiding a page behind a login will generally remove it from Google’s index.
  • Disallow in robots.txt: Search engines can only index pages that they know about, so blocking the page from being crawled usually means its content won’t be indexed.  While the search engine may also index a URL based on links from other pages, without seeing the content itself, we aim to make such pages less visible in the future.
  • Search Console Remove URL tool: The tool is a quick and easy method to remove a URL temporarily from Google’s search results.

Google also sent warnings to Google Search Console users.

Robots.txt warning - GSC

Within the warning, Google notified users that on 1st September 2019, noindex directives within robots.txt files will no longer work.

GOOGLE RANKING ALGORITHM UPDATES

With Google admitting that they made around 3,200 changes to Google Search within the past year, either with the release of new features or regular updates, it’s safe to assume that multiple updates to Google’s algorithm take place daily. A Tweet from Google’s Gary Illyes confirmed this back in 2017, stating that Google release on average 3 daily updates.

Despite being armed with this knowledge, we still see articles and tweet every month asking if any algorithm updates have been released recently, or that an “unconfirmed” algorithm update took place, but only on a specific day.

Unconfirmed Algorithm Updates

The only truth behind any of these updates is that Google release multiple smaller updates on a daily basis, these smaller updates focus on specific aspect of site ranking, such as site speed. Large broad core updates are released less frequently, having a much broader focus that looks to provide a more generic improvement to Google’s search algorithm.

The best way to track if any of these daily updates affect you is to keep an eye on your site’s traffic and rankings and look out for any sudden changes, aided with the use of online tools. Tools such as SEMRush’s sensor can provide details on times in which algorithm updates produced more movement within search rankings, categorised industries and which of these were affected the most, and with the use of an account,  the ranking of sites alongside google algorithm updates to see how these were effected on a daily basis.

CUSTOMER PHOTOS ARE COMING TO GOOGLE SHOPPING

Rolling out for the US within July, Google new feature will allow customers to post their photos, along with a review, which will be displayed within the product listing.

This feature can only currently be implemented with Yotpo, PowerReviews, Bazaarvoice, and Influenster. Google have also confirmed that they will be looking to expand on this list in the future.

GOOGLE TESTS SHAREABLE SEARCH RESULTS

Google has been spotted testing a new feature within Google’s search results which allows users to share, open a cache of the page or open the page in a new tab.

Although this is currently a test and may or may not make it past the testing stage, it would be interesting to see how users interact with this feature compared to just sharing the page once they have clicked through.

GOOGLE DATA STUDIO ADD TREEMAP

The newest edition to data visualisations within Google Data Studio is the treemap.

Added to 18th July, this new graph will allow users to view data organised into dimension hierarchies and create drill down options, such as product brand > product category > product.

SEO MARKET UPDATE: JUNE 2019

Join Fusion’s SEO team as they round up last month’s major industry updates

BROAD CORE ALGORITHM UPDATE

Google pre-announced and rolled out a ‘big’ search algorithm update on June 3rd, which took five days to finish due to the servers and data centres around the world. It took a focus on all ranking signals, including E-A-T, so this influenced initial trends for sites bringing traffic increase and drops, primarily from 20% to 90% each way. Concluding results saw large publications such as Daily Mail, which saw the 50% drop in site traffic the day following the algorithm update.

Rather than thinking of Google algorithm updates as Google changing their mind on ranking signals and random sites being punished as a result, it seems clear that these updates are Google pushing sites to improve UI, content and site optimisation in a positive direction. Sites that have been “punished” as a result of broad core algorithm updates were most likely getting away with bad/unfavourable practises in the past, such as the Daily Mail using sensationalist headlines to drive clicks.

GOOGLE INTRODUCE XML SITEMAPS TO WORDPRESS CORE

Developers at Google have proposed a plan to integrate basic XML Sitemaps in WordPress Core, as well as an XML Sitemaps API to extend functionality for developers and webmasters. This introduction could mean one less third-party plugin to rely on and a feature that will be able to offer wider compatibility and support.

Poorly optimised plugins can slow down our site and negatively impact your organic traffic, so this implementation could provide a positive improvement in site speed, which is still one of the main ranking factors for many search engines, including Google and Bing.

GOOGLE REMOVED PREFERRED DOMAIN SETTINGS FROM SEARCH CONSOLE

The tool which allowed webmasters to set a preferred domain (displayed in the image below) has now been removed from Google Search Console

With the new Search Console, Google are now able to pick the preferred domain for you, based on the various signals that Google ingest, such as canonicals. This prevents duplicated content that can be competing against each other in the search results by sending multiple different URL’s to the canonical URL.  Google have not said if they’ll communicate canonical URL changes in the index so you will need to ensure that your canonical URL listed in Google has stayed the same.

GOOGLE CAUGHT ILLEGALLY SCRAPING LYRICS FROM GENIUS

Genius has accused Google of scraping their content and serving it directly in its search results. Genius switched up their quote mark styles to form a unique Morse code which spelt “red handed” in order to catch Google out. In this case, Genius are impacted negatively because Google are using info boxes to display lyrics as a rich result, keeping users on Google rather than sending them to the creators’ website. This dramatically decreases the click-through rate for Genius.

Google have said to include attribution to the third party providing the digital lyrics text so that users and site owners will be able to know where the licensed content was sourced from.

MILLIONS OF FAKE BUSINESS LISTING SPOTTED IN GOOGLE MY BUSINESS

Google Maps is carrying millions of illegitimate local listings, growing drastically each month. The fake listings push real businesses lower down in the search results which impact their ability to reach customers and makes it easier for these customers to be targeted by scammers. Google are failing to take down fake business listings and verify the real ones which is turning local businesses to paid ads to regain their search visibility.

GOOGLE MY BUSINESS INTRODUCES SEARCHABLE SHORT NAMES

Desires for a simple URL to promote a user’s businesses have been met with searchable short names. This gives users a unique way of targeting a business. This will be a global namespace and could have competition for rankings and handles between similarly named businesses.

GMB have added more branding and promotional tools for businesses, including:

  • Logo
  • Cover photo
  • Dynamic photo module
  • Welcome offers
  • Promotional assets

These features furthermore verify the users profile to help their brand to be more effectively promoted.

GMB have also introduced ‘Local Favourite’ which offers a badge to the top 5% of local businesses in a category, increasing preference over other businesses so search result ranking will be less important.

NEW GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE FEATURES

Google announced two new features to the Google Search Console. You can now search within the mark-up quickly to find the spot in the mark-up that you want to adjust. You are also able to copy the code and mark-up and then experiment with it without impacting the original, giving you the chance to see if the tweaks you make pass validation and result in the outcome you want. These features make debugging issues with your mark-up for structured data issues faster.

https://twitter.com/googlewmc/status/1143162650332979202

GOOGLE NO LONGER USES SOCIAL PROFILE MARK-UP FOR KNOWLEDGE PANELS

Google have deprecated social profile markup, which means that Google automatically discover the social profiles to include in the knowledge panels. You are still able to specify your preferred social profiles and suggest a change if you are an official representative to claim a knowledge panel.

SEO MARKET UPDATE: MAY 2019

Join Fusion’s SEO team as they round up last month’s major industry updates

GOOGLE I/O

With Google I/O having taken place from May 7th-9th, we were treated to several announcements on features that have been and are due to be released for Google search, these include:

  • Googlebot Evergreen
  • FAQ and How To structured data
  • Podcasts & Full Coverage in Google Search
  • Google Maps AR mode
  • Google Lens features

We will dive further into these new features below.

Googlebot Evergreen

Google announced that Googlebot is now running Chromium 74, from previously running Chromium 41, which was released in 2015. This major update now means that Googlebot supports over 1,000 new features, this includes:

Google Developer Martin Splitt provided more information on the new features that Googlebot supports.

https://twitter.com/g33konaut/status/1126412496754159616

Despite these major updates in Googlebot’s ability to render JavaScript, any JavaScript on a page is still only rendered on Googlebot’s 2nd crawl of the page, meaning that there is still a delay to Google indexing JavaScript content.

FAQ AND HOW-TO SCHEMA

Google released support for FAQ and How-To schema during Google I/O. These schemas come with new rich results within Google’s SERPs.

FAQ schema can be applied to pages that contains a list of questions and answers around a specific topic. This is unlike QAPage schema, which is relevant for pages that allow users to submit answers to a single question, such as forums.

Example of FAQ Schema rich results:

How-To Schema can be applied to pages that provide step-by-step instructions in order to complete a task, such as “how to tie a tie”. For any instructions for food and drink related topics, ensure that the Recipe Schema is used instead.

How-To Schema can be displayed in a standard and an image rich result within Google SERPs.

Standard snippet:

Image snippet:

Ensure that any pages with How-To Schema implemented comply with the content guidelines provided within Google’s How-To Schema help page.

PODCASTS & FULL COVERAGE IN GOOGLE SEARCH

Announced at Google I/O, podcasts will be shown within search. Google have informed that they will be able to transcribe and index a podcast’s content in order to display results for relevant searches, rather than relying on the podcast title to display the contents of the podcast. Podcasts will also be displayed within Google’s “full coverage” segment, which previously displayed within Google News, will now be able to display within SERPs.

Full coverage displays a large range of information on a searched topic, such as top stories, videos, informational pages, podcasts and related queries.

GOOGLE BRING AR TO GOOGLE MAPS

Currently only available on Google Pixel smartphones, Google Maps now has the ability to enter AR mode, which will allow people to receive directions through their camera.

With this feature being especially useful for anyone visiting a city and trying to locate local restaurants, business and points of interest, it is becoming more of a priority to ensure that any bricks and mortar stores have been added to Google My Business and the location pins are accurate.

As an addition to this, Google Maps will support incognito mode, allowing users to hide their activity, such as places searched or directions used. Google have also been testing branded pins within Google Maps.

No announcement has yet been made in regards to how these will be implemented.

NEW GOOGLE LENS FEATURES

Google have released several features for Google Lens, most of which are focused on restaurants. Google Lens will now have the ability to recommend popular dishes and also find reviews on specific dishes on a menu by pulling information from Google Maps information.

GOOGLE UPDATED THE SEARCH QUALITY RATERS GUIDELINES

Google have updated the search quality raters guidelines in order to expand and modernise a couple of points, mainly surrounding E-A-T and interstitials. In regards to the changes mate to E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness), Google have added emphasis to focusing on page quality over E-A-T on non-YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) pages and also that everyday expertise can be assessed based on the talent/skill level depicted in cases where the content creator is demonstrating formal or everyday expertise but is not doing any harm.

Google have also added further information on how to deal with interstitials and have now been included within segments discussing that if these are to be used, they should be clear with easy-to-close buttons.

GOOGLE MAKES MOBILE-FIRST INDEXING A DEFAULT FOR ALL NEW SITES

Google have announced, via their webmaster central blog, that commencing 1st July, all new and previously unknown sites will have mobile-first indexing enabled as a default.

As shown above, users will be able to check for mobile-first indexing by using the URL inspection tool within Google Search Console.

GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE ADDS NEW REPORTS

3 new report have been added to Google Search Console this month. The first of these reports is the unparsable structured data report, this will allow users to view a list of structured data found on a site that cannot be parsed due to serious syntax issues. The final 2 reports are the Logo and Sitelinks searchbox reports, similar to the unparsable structured data report, if a site is using logo schema or Sitelinks searchbox, Google will inform of any errors it is detecting.

GOOGLE ANNOUNCED BROAD CORE ALGORITHM UPDATE

For the first time, Google has pre-announced that they are due to release a broad core algorithm update on 3rd June 2019. Unlike the daily algorithm refinements that Google makes daily which have a specific focus, such as site speed, broad core algorithm updates focus on all ranking signals.

GOOGLE DISPLAY FAVICONS WITHIN RESULTS PAGES

Announced on The Keyword, Google released a new design on their search result pages. Within the redesign, Google have added favicons to Google search results.

Along with the addition of favicons, Google has also redesigned how ads will be displayed within SERPs and have received criticism in regards to ads and organic results with favicons looking very similar.

A Guide to Influencer Marketing on Instagram

Social media advertising has come a long way in recent years and has developed into a hugely lucrative marketing platform, whether that be through paid ads or through social media influencers.

Read on to find out what influencer marketing actually means, including examples of when it’s done the right way and the wrong way. We’ll also summarise the ASA’s influencer guide, so as an influencer or brand, you’ll know how to legally promote brands through social media without having the ASA slide into your DMs.

What is a social media influencer?

A social media influencer is an influential person who usually associates themselves with a particular niche like fashion, food, travel or something even more particular. The influencer will usually have some sort of authority, position, knowledge or skill associated with that niche which helps them generate a large following.

Originally, the influencer marketing job spec was very much associated with celebrities as it usually meant they came with a large following and therefore could influence those to make purchases for a particular brand.

However, nowadays brands are gravitating towards bloggers and micro-influencers (someone who has between 2,000 and 50,000 followers) to represent their brands as they usually have a more authentic relationship with their followers by often engaging and connecting with their audience, which means brands working with them could see a higher ROI. They also usually come with a much smaller price tag and therefore making it accessible for even smaller brands to advertise in this way.

Influencer marketing by the book

The discreetness around social media influencers is quickly disappearing – a 2018 survey by Bazaar voice revealed that 49% of people would like to see ad regulators, like the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA), enforce stricter rules for sponsored influencer posts on social media platforms.

The ASA has now made a detailed guide which defines exactly how influencers should display their posts if they are advertising a product or working with a brand. Let’s have a look at some of the key findings from the guide:

  • If a brand pays an influencer to promote their brand – either in cash, products, gifts, services, trips, hotel stays etc. – AND asserts some sort of control over the post – whether that be how many posts and what time you publish the post, what’s included in the image or caption, hashtags to use, key messages or caption write up etc. – then this is considered an ad.
  • If the influencer has any sort of commercial relationship with a brand i.e. as an ambassador or even if someone was promoting their own brand on their personal channels, this also qualifies as an ad.
  • If a brand has provided some sort of payment to an influencer and has some control/influence on the post, the influencer must make it obvious to their following that it is an ad. The ASA recognises the following labels and hashtags to be used in a post where an influencer is promoting another product or business.
    • Ad/#Ad
    • Advert/#Advert
    • Advertising/#Advertising
    • Advertisement/#Advertisement
    • Advertisement Feature
  • If a brand has paid an influencer in some way, whether that be through free products or vouchers etc. but the brand has not asserted any control on what/if they post, this would not be considered an ad, but instead a sponsorship. The ASA is unlikely to pursue any complaints related to a sponsorship. But regulations still apply to these posts by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) who expects influencers to disclose when they have received any sort of ‘payment’ which gives them an incentive to post.  This is when you’ll see influencers use terms such as gifted/#gifted and gift/#gift.
  • The ASA recommends putting an ad label or hashtag at the beginning of your post so readers are fully aware of the nature of the post, the influencer guide states “burying the label in a sea of hashtags or putting it where it can only be seen by clicking ‘see more’ or clicking to view the full post, probably isn’t going to cut it. We recommend including it ‘at the beginning”.

You can read the ASA’s full influencer’s guide here.

Now that we know the gist of the guide, let’s put the ASA’s regulation into practice. Firstly, let’s look at a couple of examples of when an influencer has promoted a brand the correct way:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BuKKqOnnMMM/

And now, a couple of examples of when influencers haven’t quite followed the rules and as a result, have been warned by the ASA:

The ASA gave Louise an official warning as she had not followed to official guidelines by letting her followers know that her post or story was an ad. She then changed the post to ensure it followed the guidelines and displays Instagram’s paid partnership with function.

Important takeaways for brands

  • Ensure you are clear with the influencer and advise appropriately when you brief them to ensure the ASA can’t blame you in any way if the influencer has decided not to follow the guidelines.
  • With more people becoming aware of advertising, it’s important to choose influencers that you think would genuinely be interested in your product or brand – this usually means that you’ll get a higher engagement rate and potentially bigger ROI.
  • Choose an influencer that engages with their followers and provides quality content – ultimately someone that you would be happy to represent your brand or product and that demonstrates the same values as your brand.
  • Look through the influencers previous ads to see how they display the content. Ads that are a lot more discreet tend to do better than just a picture of your product.
  • Finally, influencer marketing is hugely successful and can completely transform your brand when done properly. Try it out and see how well it works for you.

Head over to our Fusion blog for more information and updates on all things SEO, PPC, social media and marketing.


SEO MARKET UPDATE: APRIL 2019

Join Fusion’s SEO team as they round up last month’s major industry updates.

GOOGLE’S DE-INDEXING ISSUES

At the start of April, Google was found to have had with de-indexing pages for many sites, with both Moz’s and SEMRush’s Google ranking trackers picking up on a change in page rankings across the web.

Google also seemed to have an issue with fully resolving this. After confirming on 10th April that this issue was fully resolved, many users still reported having issues with getting their pages indexed again. We have since received notification from Google that these issues have now been resolved.

GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE ADDS ANDROID APP TO SEARCH APPEARANCE FILTERS

On 8th April Google announced, via their Webmasters Twitter account, that users with an Android app associated with a website will now have the ability to filter the app’s performance within the performance report, via the search appearance filter.

Activating this filter will display the clicks, impressions, CTR and average position for the sites Android app.

NEW GOOGLE DISCOVER PERFORMANCE REPORTS

Google Discover was released in September 2018, as an upgrade of Google Feed. Google Discover delivers relevant content to a user based on their interest and browsing habits, including articles and video, along with featured snippets of information from different sites.

Within Google Search Console, a new performance report is now available, showing how sites perform within Discover. This is only available to for properties that have reached a threshold number of Discover impressions in the past 16 months.

This performance report will allow users to view Discover performance within the same format as the current search report, including filters and dimensions such as country and page.

CREATE CUSTOM SHORT URLS IN GOOGLE MY BUSINESS             

Google My Business users now have the ability to create a short name and URL for their business profile. Short URLs will be in the format of “g.page/[yourcustomname]”, and will make it easier to customers to access a business’ profile directly.

GOOGLE MAY RELEASE PAID FEATURES FOR GOOGLE MY BUSINESS

Google My Business users started receiving questionnaires from Google this month, asking how much they would pay for services are already provided for free within Google My Business, such as business listings. The questionnaires also provided a list of packages that may become available for users to purchase in the future, asking users which one they would prefer.

Google also provided a list of the features within the packages they think could enhance a business’ presence, which may be added as paid services in the future. These include:

  • Promoted map pin: Show up prominently on Google Maps when a customer is looking at a map where your business in located
  • “Book” button on your Business Profile: Get an extra button on your business profile titles “book”. Google shows customers your availability (synced with your calendar system if you have one). Customers can either confirm a booking or request a timeslot.
  • Promote your “book” button: Get a “book” button on the Google.com search results, in addition to your Business Profile.
  • Verified reviews: Google verifies your reviews and shows an indication to consumers that your reviews are verified to help build trust in your business.
  • Remove ads from your Business Profile: Ads from other businesses will not appear on your Business Profile.
  • Verified Licenses: Google verifies your trade licenses and displays your verified licenses on your Business Profile.
  • Request quote: Get a “request quote” button on your Business Profile. Customers will enter details about their job. Requests come to you as a message in the Google My Business app.
  • Automated message responses: Answer some frequently asked questions (hours, services offered) so Google can respond automatically to customers on your behalf.
  • Automated response for reviews: Create messages so Google can automatically respond on your behalf to customers who leave a review.
  • Call reports and recordings: Get access to reports and recordings for all of your calls from Google My Business. This lets you evaluate quality and volume.
  • Google search results placement: Show up in a section near the top of the list on the Google.com search results.
  • Google customer support: Google’s customer support team helps you troubleshoot and get the most from your ad and Business Profile.
  • Offers: Promote a special offer or discount on your Business Profile.
  • Google Guarantee: Get a badge of trust on your Business Profile. If a customer isn’t satisfied, Google will give them their money back.
  • Get leads from competitor profiles: When a customer messages a business that offers the same service as you, Google will show your business to the customer so they can message you too. This will help you get more leads from Google.
  • Video on your Business Profile: Shows a video of your choice on your Business Profile to help customers learn more about your business.
  • Instant quote: Respond to customer quote requests with an automatic quote. You can customise the quote based on the details on the job.
  • Background check: Google performs a background check on your business, and shows this to consumers to build trust in your business.
  • Verified bookings: Google automatically tracks the bookings you’ve received from Google calls and messages, and shows this number to customers.
  • Featured review: Choose a review to display at the top on your Business Profile.

This is an extremely extensive list of features that Google is considering providing to paid users, with many features that will provide a large benefit to a listings local search presence.

GOOGLE DATA STUDIO UPDATES

Google Data Studio rolled out many new features over the past month, including:

Recent weeks also saw the implementation of chart drill-down, allowing users to define hierarchies within Cartesian charts, and allow these charts to be switched between hierarchies on view mode, such as switching from an annual view, to a monthly view, to a daily view.

Within the above chart, users can see sessions by month, by right clicking on the chart or using the charts component heading, users will have the ability to drill up (view sessions by year), or drill down (view sessions by day). Users will also be able to apply a sort to these results.

SEO MARKET UPDATES: MARCH 2019

Join Fusion’s SEO team as they round up last month’s major industry updates.

GOOGLE’S FLORIDA 2 ALGORITHM UPDATE

SEMRush Sensor for March 2019

On the 12th March, Google announced the release of a broad core algorithm update, quickly named by the industry as the “Florida 2” algorithm update, this was then renamed by Google to the “March 2019 Core Update” in order to simplify algorithm update names.

Although the algorithm update this saw a lot of reporting after taking place, due to March being a volatile month in regards to rankings, this update didn’t create much of a noticeable difference compared to the movements rankings were current seeing within March.

As this algorithm update is a broad core update, there is no specific changes that have taken place to Google rankings, but an overall update intended to improve the overall quality of SERPs.


Due to the algorithm update not having a specific focus, it is recommended that in order to optimise rankings following this, users should concentrate general improvements highlights within Googles guidelines, such as EAT and YMYL.

GOOGLE DROP REL=PREV/NEXT AS AN INDEXING SIGNAL

Announced on 21st March, Google confirmed that have retired rel=prev/next as an indexing signal.

Although this news was announced this recently, Google have also confirmed that they have not been using rel=prev/next as an indexing signal for years and recommend users to just keep using pagination as they have always done.

GOOGLE’S MOBILE FRIENDLY AND AMP TESTS NOW SUPPORT CODE EDITING

Google have announced support within their mobile friendly and AMP tests for code editing.

https://twitter.com/googlewmc/status/1110187975688839169

This update allows users to toggle between entering a URL and adding code to the tool. By adding code to the tool, Google will test this and display results to show if the code is mobile/AMP friendly, or if further edits need to be made to meet the criteria. If users don’t pass these tests, they will be able to edit code within the tool and re-run the tests.

GOOGLE PROPERTY SETS OFFICIALLY REMOVED FROM GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE

After Google announced the removal of property sets from Google Search Console, discussed in last month’s blog, they have since been displaying notifications to inform users that property sets will be available until 28th March.

Although property sets are being removed from the old Search Console interface, these are being replaced by domain properties, which are available within the new Search Console interface.

NEW GOOGLE DATA STUDIO FEATURES ADDED IN MARCH

New features added to Data Studio within March include:

  • Custom Rolling Dates – These will allow users to set up custom date periods that meet specific needs, such as “last 90 days from yesterday” or “last 52 weeks from last week”.
  • Schedule Email Delivery of Reports – This new feature will send a PDF version of the Data Studio reports to specific users on a pre-determined basis.
  • Version History – Lets users view previous versions of a report and restore the selected previous version of the report, if needed.
  • Custom Canvas Size Per Page – Rather than have all pages uniform in size, this option allows users to have each page of a report a custom size by following this procedure: Edit the report – select page > current page settings > style menu – change the canvas size options from auto to the custom size.
  • Improved Table Formatting – Users will now be able to align columns left, centre and right within tables and can now also resize table columns individually, or resize multiple columns at once by holding shift while resizing.

These new features are extremely useful with Data Studio reports and show that Google will continue to provide features that make Data Studio more user friendly and useful.

SEO MARKET UPDATES: FEBRUARY 2019

Join Fusion’s SEO team as they round up last month’s major industry updates.

GOOGLE FOCUSES ON UPDATING THE NEW SEARCH CONSOLE

As Google aims to keep closing features from the old search console by March 2019, new features continue to be implemented in the new interface in order to improve usability and move as many users over to the new Search Console as possible.

The first of the updates to the new Google Search Console seen this month was the addition of a security issues section.

https://twitter.com/googlewmc/status/1090704842870255616

The security issues section will warn users that Google has found issues on their site that impact site security, including the following:

The tool will help webmasters find and fix any of the above security issues affecting their site.

The second of the updates is the consolidation of canonical URLs.

Google has now implemented an update within the performance section of Google Search Console which consolidates website traffic on canonical URLs. This update will unify all search metrics for a single piece of content into the canonical URL. The benefits of this update include combining data from pages with separate mobile and AMP pages.

GOOGLE LOOK TO REMOVE PROPERTY SETS FROM SEARCH CONSOLE

Google announced, via email, that they will be removing property sets from Google Search Console at the end of March 2019.

These property sets were used to aggregate data from a business’ different sites, such as combining http and https, or www. and non-www. sites.

As a replacement to property sets, Google recently announced the full release of a domain properties feature. Having been in beta since November 2018, these properties group data in a similar way to property sets, including protocols (http/https) and subdomains (m, www and further subdomains). Domain properties will only be available for DNS verified accounts.

GOOGLE RELEASES REDESIGNED TEST MY SITE TOOL

Google released the redesigned version of its Test My Site tool on 25th February. Within the redesign, Google has implemented several new features in order to produce more competitive reports.

The following features have been added to Test My Site:

  • Speed estimates for both an entire site and individual pages
  • Details on whether the speed of a site or page is faster or slower compared to the previous month
  • Information on whether a site or page speed score is ranked as Fast, Average, or Slow
  • How the speed score for a site or page compares to others in the industry
  • The potential impact of site speed on revenue
  • A detailed list of recommended fixes to increase speed on up to 5 pages on a site
  • A complete shareable report containing a summary of the above

GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE ADDS PRODUCTS REPORT

With Google utilising structured data and displaying products within rich snippets on SERPs, they have now also released new ways for merchants to provide information and improve results for the products they sell.

Within Google Search Console, users will now be able to display product issues in a report that uses schema.org to annotate product information. The report will mainly display any pending issues for markup on the user’s site, and can also be used to validate if the issues were resolved.

Google are also planning on rolling out new features in Google Merchant Centre in order to allow users to provide up-to-date, high-quality information on products, which can be used on a product’s knowledge panel.

GOOGLE MY BUSINESS EXPANDS RESOURCES FOR RESPONDING TO REVIEWS

Google announced, via a forum post, that users are now able to respond to reviews directly from Google Maps. Before this feature was released, replying to Google My Business reviews was only possible via the Google My Business mobile app. With this update, users will now have the option of using a desktop to reply to reviews.

Google’s tips for replying to reviews:

  • Be nice and don’t get personal. This isn’t just a guideline, it’s also a good idea as a business owner. It’s difficult to win an argument with a frustrated customer, and you want to avoid burning bridges. Keep your responses useful, readable and courteous. In addition, responses should comply with our local content policy.
  • Keep it short and sweet. Users are looking for useful and genuine responses, but they can easily be overwhelmed by a long response.
  • Thank your reviewers. Respond to happy reviewers when you have new or relevant information to share. You don’t need to thank every reviewer publicly since each response reaches lots of customers.
  • Be a friend, not a salesperson. Your reviewers are already customers, so there’s no need to offer incentives or advertisements. Tell reviewers something new about your business, or share something that they might not have learned from their first visit.

GOOGLE CREATE FEATURED SNIPPETS THAT COMBINE CONTENT FROM MULTIPLE CONTENT CREATORS

Google recently released a list style featured snippet,  combining content from multiple sites in order to display information on each of the items within the list.

Snippets like the above have come under scrutiny recently due to the fact that Google does not display the source URL of the information until an item in the list has been expanded. Google has since replied to inform that the snippet is similar to standard SERPs but displays information horizontally, rather than the traditional SERPs and that the snippet falls in line with Google’s focus on supporting the wider search ecosystem.

Social Media Roundup | January 2019

Welcome back to the Fusion blog for 2019!

If anyone thought this year would be any different in the world of social media, three words quickly teamed up to prove otherwise. We’ll give you a hint. The first is ‘vegan’. And the third is ‘rolls’.

Read on for baked goods and more in our brand new round-up of the most buzzworthy social activations of the last month.

Huddersfield Town announces surprising new manager

Back in December, Huddersfield Town football club parted ways with their manager, David Wagner.

The club had been linked heavily with German coach Jan Siewert, when a keenly-eyed Sky Sports news team thought they spotted him in the crowd when Huddersfield played Manchester City. Unfortunately for the reporter, he quickly discovered that it wasn’t Jan Siewert; it was City fan ‘Martin from Wakefield’ instead!

A lot was made of the encounter on social media, which cameras caught in full. And Huddersfield got in on the act when announcing Siewert’s appointment, involving Wakefield’s finest in the content creation and beginning their video with Martin sat at Siewert’s desk in the manager’s office.

The Huddersfield Town coat labelled ‘MFW’ – Martin from Wakefield – is a nice touch too!

https://twitter.com/htafcdotcom/status/1087379049230594049

Greggs cooks up a storm for #veganuary

Greggs’ reputation for social media antics doesn’t need much introduction.

They made headlines in 2017 with their controversial nativity scene, exchanging the baby Jesus for Gregg’s sausage roll. But that furore pales in comparison to their latest media frenzy – which, ironically, results from something far less controversial.

At first, all Greggs did was announce the launch of their very own vegan sausage roll, coinciding with the start of Veganuary.

https://twitter.com/GreggsOfficial/status/1080403000722710528

Like a finely-grilled panini, things really heated up once the Internet began engaging. And Greggs handled the naysayers masterfully, despatching a barrage of fiery tweets that caused a good chuckle from the social crowd:

The campaign marked a masterclass in social media marketing, from the standards of creative, to community management.

Netflix brings Bandersnatch to social

January was a superb month for streaming giants Netflix, with a range of titles receiving massive pop culture interest and acclaim, from Roma, to FYRE, to Sex Education.

Another title that captured the Internet’s imagination was Bandersnatch, the interactive choose-your-own-adventure style film from the creators of Black Mirror.

Not just content with enormous success on-screen, the Netflix digital team also brought the Bandersnatch concept to life on Twitter via Twitter Polls, giving their online audience the chance for an adventure of their own.

And it continues! Head to Twitter to see how the whole story unfolded. It’s a neat way of bringing your fans an engaging experience – and utilising Twitter’s functionality in an unconventional yet stimulating way.

And the winner of the Super Bowl is… MoonPie!

We’ve written before (and at length) about US confectionary brand MoonPie’s seemingly-subversive-but-actually-hyper-intelligent use of social media. And in recent weeks, they’ve served up fresh headlines in the ad industry following a series of activations on the night of this year’s Super Bowl (and we’re aware that it wasn’t technically in January, but we’re going to cash in on our artistic license and talk about it anyway).

Last year, MoonPie didn’t run any ads in the Super Bowl per se. Instead, they posted images on social media containing scripts that would have been in their ads. And these were all about as usual and conformist as you’d expect:

This year, MoonPie took their subversive Super Bowl ads approach a step further, by turning their scripts of the year before into full one-minute video ads. You can enjoy them below:

This received acclaim from leading industry press, including a spot in AdWeek, and enormous engagements from avid Twitter users from across the galaxy.

Come back next month for more social media stories and highlights!

 

SEO Market Updates: January 2019

Join Fusion’s SEO team as they round up last month’s major industry updates.

GOOGLE SHOW RECENT SEARCHES IN SERPS

Google has announced that the release of new activity cards, which will appear in search results and display users’ recent activity.

 

The activity card will display sites users have previously visited for topics such as cooking, fashion, skincare and beauty, fitness, photography and more. However, cards will only be available if the user is logged into a Google account.

 

Just like bookmarks, users will be able to categorise and save recently visited pages. These saved pages can be accessed via menu at the top left of the search page (mobile only) and the Google app.

At present, the new feature is only available to logged-in U.S English users browsing via the Google app or mobile browsers, although it’s likely that an international roll-out will follow soon!

GOOGLE ANNOUNCES THE END OF OLD GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE FEATURES

On their Webmasters Blog, Google announced that they will be removing several features from the old Search Console, whilst also adding many features to the new Search Console.

Features Google will be removing from the old Search Console include:

  • HTML suggestions
  • Property Sets
  • Android Apps
  • Blocked resources

Many of the features being removed from the old Search Console have either been migrated to the new dashboard or to a more relevant Google tool, with the exception of HTML suggestions and property sets. Google now recommends using third-party tools for crawling page titles and descriptions as an alternative to HTML suggestions and currently have no plans to replace property sets.

Features Google will be adding to the new Search Console include:

  • Crawl errors in the new index coverage report
  • Sitemaps data in Index Coverage
  • New URL inspection tool
  • Structured data reports

Google plans to implement these new features towards the end of March 2019.

DUCKDUCKGO’S MAPS ARE NOW POWERED BY APPLE

As web users start to become more concerned about their online privacy, demand for services that help protect this, such as VPNs, continue to increase. This demand in privacy has caused DuckDuckGo’s recent rise in user base as the “search engine that doesn’t track you” recently reported to receiving 30 million private daily searches (still dwarfed by Google’s 3.5 billion daily searches) which was a 50% annual growth.

DuckDuckGo announced that map and address-related searches will now be powered by Apple via their MapKit JS. This will help power direct business searches, business type searches and nearby places searches.

DuckDuckGo’s local business is still powered by Yelp’s local business listings and a business will require a Yelp listing in order to display within map results.

GOOGLE DISPLAYS PDF DOCUMENTS IN FEATURED SNIPPETS

Recently spotted within Google’s search results, PDF documents are being displayed within featured snippets.

Although PDF documents are crawlable and indedxable, it’s unusual for Google to place PDF content within a featured snippet position.

Due to the limited functionality of PDF documents, most webmasters would generally recommend having an HTML equivalent to any information provided in PDF format.

GOOGLE UPDATE INSPECT URL TOOL IN SEARCH CONSOLE

Google has expanded the functionality of the URL inspection tool within Google Search Console.

Users will now be able see the HTTP response, page resources, JavaScript logs and a rendered screenshot of the page.

GOOGLE DATA STUDIO CAN NOW COMPARE CUSTOM DATE RANGES

Implemented on 24th January, charts and graphs can now display comparison figures for custom date ranges, with this feature previously being limited to comparing data to previous period or year.

Users will have the option to keep the custom comparison date fixed to the specific date range selected or on a rolling date window which will advance over time.

SEO MARKET UPDATES: DECEMBER 2018

Join Fusion’s SEO team as they round up last month’s major industry updates.

GOOGLE ADDS RICH RESULTS FOR Q&A PAGES

Announced at the start of December, Google is expanding its rich results with the addition of question & answer pages.

Google's Q&A Rich Results

These rich results will display multiple answers to a question on eligible search results in order to help users find relevant information quicker within Google search results.

In order to appear within the Q&A rich results, site owners will need to implement QAPage Schema within their site, along with Question Schema and Answer Schema. Google has provided examples of how to implement this in JSON-LD format.

Within Google’s content guidelines, they have specified that this schema is not suitable for FAQ pages or pages where there are multiple questions per page. This schema should only be used on pages where the focus of the page is a single question and its answer.

GOOGLE UPDATES LOCAL PACK TO DISPLAY ‘SOLD HERE’ PRODUCTS

Google introduced a new feature within its local map packs which shows whether a searched product is sold in a store displayed within the view. Google will also display if the search product is mentioned within the site.

Google displaying sold here on local listing

This new addition to the Google local map packs will make it much faster for users to decide to visit a certain store or website if they can see that the company stocks the item.

GOOGLE ADDS “RESERVE A TABLE” BUTTONS TO LOCAL LISTINGS

Spotted on some local listings for restaurants, Google is testing new buttons which will allow users to reserve a table or look at available tables the following day directly from Google, rather than needing to visit the restaurant’s website.

Google adds reserve a table button to local listings

After releasing the ability to follow businesses via the Google Maps app in October, the new hotel local pack layout and Google My Business app (discussed in last month’s blog), we can see that Google does not intend to slow down on expanding the functionality of their local business tools.

GOOGLE INTRODUCES NEW STRUCTURED DATA FOR LIVE STREAMS

Introduced at the start of December, Google released a blog post announcing the support of new structured data which will allow users to create schema for live streams.

Google live stream schema example

The Broadcast Event schema allows users to set a broadcast as a live stream by setting the isLiveBroadcast property to true. Users will then have the ability to see if the livestream has already started or is due to start by adding a time and data (ISO 8601 format) inputting this into the StartDate property. Google has provided an example of this schema within a guide.

GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE MIGRATES REPORTS TO NEW SEARCH CONSOLE

Google confirmed via the Google Webmasters Twitter account on 13th December that they have fully migrated the following reports to the new search console:

  • AMP
  • Index Status
  • Manual Actions
  • Mobile Usability
  • Rich Cards
  • Search Analytics

These reports will no longer be available to view via the old Search Console dashboard and users will now be shown a message linking them to the report within the new Search Console dashboard.

GOOGLE ADDS BRUSHING TO CHART INTERACTION FILTERS TO DATA STUDIO

Adding chart interactions to reports can create interactive reports by allowing users to use charts as filters, as discussed in our previous blog post. Google has expanded the functionality of chart interactions to include brushing on time series, line charts and area charts. This will allow users to drag their mouse across an eligible chart and filter surrounding data based on the data selected within the chart.

Within the below example, we can see that the date range of the data is from 1st January – 8th January on the time series chart. Using the brushing filter, we can click and drag our mouse from 3rd January – 5th January in order to filter the report to display data from this date range. Right clicking and hitting ‘reset action’ will reset this filter.

This filter can be used in conjunction with other filters and chart interactions. By clicking on the data within the table or pie chart, we can further filter data to suit our needs.

GOOGLE DATA STUDIO ADDS COMMUNITY CONNECTORS AND VISUALISATIONS

As a new addition to Google Data Studio, Google has added the ability the allow anyone to build their own connections to any internet-accessible data source and create custom data visualisations which can be shared between users within the community.

Community connectors will allow users to develop connectors for sources such as:

  • Platforms for social media, CRM, search, finance, HR, advertising, etc.
  • Public and other open data sets.
  • Private company data.
  • Any data source or service that can be accessed over the internet using Apps Script.

Google has created a guide in order to help developers create their own visualisations and has got the ball rolling by creating their own custom visualisations which anyone can use to visualise their data.

Both of these new features are open source with a condition placed on custom visualisations requiring these to be made public.

Fusion Natural Edge Nominated for Northern Digital Award

Prolific North’s Northern Digital Awards 2019 will take place on the 31st January and here at Fusion HQ we’re delighted to have been nominated for ‘Search Agency of the Year’ for the second time.

We’ve also been recognised for our unique SEO software, Natural Edge, which has been nominated for ‘Best Digital Tool or Software’, and we couldn’t be more proud of the recognition that Natural Edge has received.

We thought it might be a good idea to explain a little more about our Natural Edge software and how it is helping give our clients a competitive edge in an increasingly competitive SEO marketplace.

Background

As an SEO team, a key part of our day-to-day activity is keeping our clients ahead of the curve in organic search – and outranking their competitors. If a prospective customer searches for a cycling related keyword, for example, then we’d want our bike retailing client to be among the first to appear, with high visibility in all the right places.

Several years ago, we sought out SEO software that would be able to assist with doing this – for ourselves and our clients.  It needed to be adaptable to algorithmic changes (like the increasing prominence of localised search), flexible from a pricing point-of-view, and offer clear reporting metrics that clients could use to inform the KPIs they set and the ROI of our services.

However, the tools we looked into didn’t meet our clients’ needs. Ranking software would only give you your keyword position without considering how much traffic you would gain, for example. It might only benchmark a small set of competitors, or keywords would be looked at in isolation rather than holistically, missing out on larger insights that can truly drive a strategy forward.

Instead of spending big on little return, we invested in proprietary technology of our own, building a highly adaptable and cost-effective suite that could tailor bespoke solutions for our clients’ needs – giving them the Natural Edge required in order to shine.

What can Natural Edge do?

Natural Edge was nominated for the award on the basis of its versatility and the range of benefits it offers to its users – and our clients. However, here are just some of the highlights:

  • See the bigger picture

It’s easy to become obsessed with individual keywords.

Natural Edge identifies every site ranked on the first page for each relevant keyword in each location, and uses our proprietary algorithm to calculate how much traffic a site will earn from its positions. Natural Edge collates all of this data and presents a league table ordered by the highest traffic drivers, so that results are easy to understand and analyse.

  • Identify true competition

Competitors in search are very different to competitors in daily business life. In fact, the majority of brands are competing with companies they’d be incredibly surprised by.

Natural Edge benchmarks clients against anyone who ranks on the first page for specified keywords in every location they have presence. Finding out who you’re up against has never been clearer.

This provides a range of opportunities for growth, from identifying high priority keywords to target, inspiring new content ideas and analysing competitor backlinks to spot potential partners.

  • Understand what drives competitor visibility

While some sites rank for dozens of long-tail keywords, others rank highly for a couple of high volume phrases.

Natural Edge tells you how competitors have built their market share, allowing you to flesh out your digital strategy with key industry insights.

  • Understand local performance

Natural Edge offers highly localised insights, highlighting the composition of organic search results by identifying the number of localised and map results generated at a keyword level. A client can enter their locations into Natural Edge, thereby identifying generic keywords that create local results, and identify share of voice and individual keyword rankings for each of those locations.

Why we’re so proud to be up for nomination

At Fusion, we’ve been working with award-winning retail clients for over twenty years, delivering exceptional service with demonstrated ROI whilst using best-in-class innovation to create unique solutions to today’s digital problems.

Natural Edge is just one example of how our team’s outside-the-box thinking, and we’re beyond chuffed that our hard work and expertise is being acknowledged by one of the region’s leading authorities in the field.

Greatest of all, however, is the fact that it’s a testament to our team’s quality and ability, as a cutting-edge independent agency producing award-nominated software, and investing in genuinely pioneering solutions to achieve our clients’ goals.

Interested in what our services can do for you? Get in touch with the Fusion team today at hello@fusionunlimited.co.uk or learn more about Fusion Natural Edge here.

My Fusion work placement so far

This academic year, the Fusion team has been delighted to welcome a work placement student to our ranks – Marco Pellegrini – who’s taken a hands-on role within our Paid Performance team.

Now coming up to three months in, we asked Marco to write about his time with the company so far, to find out how he’s been finding it and the impressions he’s formed of all things digital marketing.

So, without further ado, we’ll pass over to Marco!

Hello Fusion Blog!

My name’s Marco Pellegrini – I’m a half Italian, half American, and now officially half British twenty-one-year-old, on a placement year as a Digital Executive within the Paid Performance team at Fusion.

I must admit, time has absolutely flown by, and as Christmas approaches I’ve just made it through my second monthiversary in the office without any major shocks – apart from infecting most of the office with a cold!

As I’m progressively easing into the team and settling into the world of paid search, it feels as good a time as any to reflect on how everything’s been so far. For this reason, I’ve decided to write a blogpost, firstly to keep track of my progress, but hopefully to provide value to all students approaching digital marketing, who are considering a placement in an agency to gain the best exposure to this exciting field.

Without any further delays, here’s a bit about my time at Fusion so far and my journey to get here!

Coming to Fusion

I’ll start by saying that though my arrival at Fusion definitely didn’t follow the conventional route, it did end up meeting the ideal conditions I was after in a placement year.

I applied while I was fully immersed in my second year University exams in late May. By that time I had gone through many assessment centres and final interviews all over the UK but never seemed to find a placement that ticked all the boxes. I had a very clear idea of what I wanted my placement role to look like. It should allow me to get hands-on experience of a digital marketer’s tasks and responsibilities, whilst being part of a vibrant, expert and united team, where I wouldn’t just be a number.

Such clear vision of my goals helped me greatly when filtering my job research, leading me to eventually discover digital agencies and their impact behind the scenes that allows most great corporate brands to shine. I soon came to realise the main differences that define working in-house compared to agency-based, with factors such as job variety, specialised expertise and a fast-paced environment proving key in my final decision to pursue an agency-based placement.

Just to knock off all my doubts, I applied for both in-house and agency-based roles to have all the elements for an informed decision. The main difference I noticed in the recruitment phase was the specificity of the interview questions and tasks required to work at an agency, as well as the higher sense of community agencies seemed to have.

Out of several agencies I looked into, Fusion clearly stood out to me due to its independent nature, variety of clients and proprietary software. I applied via a speculative job application through an email, which I only recently realised contained a clear spelling mistake. However, I was still invited to interview – it must surely have been a sign. Needless to say, the interview went great and my initial positive thoughts were reinforced by the relaxed atmosphere of the office and the passion of the team.

About five days later, just before leaving for the summer holidays, I signed my first real job contract for twelve months due to start in September.

The change

Fast forward two months. I’ve just been on my first Fusion night out. I’m officially part of the team. I’ve made it.

I’m working in paid media and literally learning something new every day. Since day one the team has been really helpful and welcoming, allowing me to quickly settle in. And I’m starting to get a clear vision of how work and student life differ. First of all, the hourly – and thus daily – productivity in the office increases by an infinite percentage, although the degree of tiredness at the end of the day remains stable across both work and ‘uni’ life.  Feeling tired from a productive day of work – rather than an unproductive day of University – has really boosted my overall mood and has allowed me to make the most of my post-work chill time.

Secondly, studying marketing theories and applying them to case studies at University only gives you an idea of the end product, whilst actually working in marketing – specifically digital every day – has allowed me to understand the process and consistent work that goes into a successful marketing campaign.

Another massive difference I’ve noticed between ‘uni’ and work life is the level of accountability one must hold towards one’s team members – as all my tasks affect the team, the agency’s performance and relationships with clients. There is an extra pressure that pushes me to perform and do well. At uni, apart from group projects, it’s all on me, which makes it easier to handle a misjudgement or result below expectations. Working at Fusion so far has given me the lifestyle shift that I wished to experience, hitting me with how time management, teamwork, attention to detail and task prioritisation aren’t just overused CV terms, but fundamental skills required for success in such a fast-paced environment.

In terms of my expectations of the workplace, I definitely thought it would be quite hectic at times, although the overall atmosphere of the office is more relaxed than I expected. This is absolutely great, as it allows all personalities and working styles to shine with greater lucidity under pressure.

Ultimately, Fusion is amazing as everyone contributes and feels part of the team. Executives have daily contact with team directors, account managers and even the MD, who works on the same floor as everyone else and is directly available for any questions! Not to mention, the insightful weekly catch-ups with the whole team, the seemingly infinite supplies of fresh fruit on a Monday and drinks on a Friday afternoon!

My growth

And, what about the actual work I do?

Well, as I mentioned at the start, I’m part of the Paid Performance team and my job mainly consists of managing everyday activity across an array of different clients and corresponding accounts, across Google and Bing. The exposure to almost all clients has thus far given me an invaluable opportunity to gain experience and market awareness in a variety of sectors. I’ve been enjoying every minute of it, from the very busy times to the quieter times, which I make the most of by gradually completing my Google exams and analysing blog articles to keep updated with the latest paid media news and tools.

Several weeks ago, like almost everyone in the Paid Performance team, I was involved in the crazy creation of thousands of ads to go live on Black Friday, which is an event I had only ever experienced from the customer side. The work that goes into the setup of Black Friday promotions from an agency perspective has allowed me to get a full sense of the level of detail and precision that are required behind the scenes for successful campaigns, as well as the enormous amount of discipline that the team showed in completing an incredibly high volume of tasks.

Overall, working at Fusion has made me realise even more how digital marketing is the career I want to pursue, as this is constantly evolving with technology and people’s shifts in needs and lifestyles, which makes it extremely exciting.

Above all else, the possibility to ask questions, network and get advice from an entire team of experts in the field is without a doubt the part I’m enjoying the most about this placement experience, and that will set the foundations for my future growth.

The future

To sum up, I’d like to round this unconventional blogpost off by reiterating my appreciation for the entire Fusion team that have given me this opportunity to pursue my career ambitions at such early age.

My learnings thus far have been both of technical nature and a general skillset to succeed in the workplace. Looking ahead at the remaining nine-and-a-half months I have at Fusion, I am very excited and curious to see how – with confidence and experience – my responsibilities will grow even more. Although I’m really passionate about paid media, by the end of my placement I aim to get in some shadowing days within the SEO, Social and Content teams too, to get a grasp of different aspects of digital and make the most of the team here’s expertise!

With the sincere hope that this piece can prove somewhat helpful for anyone, thanks a lot for reading!

Interested in a placement at Fusion and finding out about digital marketing for yourself? Drop us an email with your CV and a covering letter today, at hello@fusionunlimited.co.uk.

SEO MARKET UPDATES: NOVEMBER 2018

Join Fusion’s SEO team as they round up last month’s major industry updates.

GOOGLE

Updates that look place within Google SERPs and miscellaneous Google tools in November.

PAGESPEED INSIGHT REPORT REVAMP

Announced via their Webmaster Central Blog, Google have given the PageSpeed Insights report a facelift, along with assigning Lighthouse as its analytics engine in an attempt to help create more consistent results across Google’s auditing tools. The insights report will now also incorporate data from Google’s Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX).

The PageSpeed Insights will now provide the following information:

  • Field Data – displays real-world data, such as First Contentful Paint (FCP) and First Input Delay (FID), provided by the CrUX report. This report is updated daily and not all sites will have this data available for display.
  • Lab Data – simulating how a mobile device loads a page, this data is provided by Lighthouse and will display data such as First Meaningful Paint and Speed Index. The results from the simulation are summarised and used to provide a score between 0 and 100 to indicate how good a page’s performance is.
  • Opportunities – provides a list of suggestions on how to improve the page’s performance, these are ordered by how much of a performance improvement each suggestion should make.
  • Diagnosis – displays additional best practices in order to improve performance.

GOOGLE DISPLAYING MULTIFACETED FEATURED SNIPPETS ON DESKTOP

After being released for mobile searches this February, Google results have been spotted displaying multifaceted featured snippets within desktop results.

It is currently unclear if the same site can rank for both of the queries. Once this has been fully rolled out, site owners may see an uplift in traffic for pages displayed within these snippets, but also see a drop in traffic for standard organic results as these will be pushed further down within the SERP.

AMP ARE CHANGING HOW URLS ARE DISPLAYED

Many sites utilise AMP pages to help landing pages load near instantly, this has been seen to improve user experience, which can lower bounce rates, increase average session duration and ultimately help increase conversions. Regardless of those positives, the one glaring feature that has been receiving negative feedback since AMP pages release, has been the fact that the displayed URL makes it very obvious that users are on an AMP page, this can look confusing to users due to not displaying the sites URL as they expect.

AMP released a blog post on November, 13th to announce that they have begun a trial that will be available in Chrome 71 in which users can transform AMP URLs to look like the sites URL rather than an AMP URL.

For a demonstration of this new AMP feature, users will need Chrome 71 (or use Chrome Beta), visit https://g.co/webpackagedemo and search for “Learn AMP by Example” and click on the ampbyexample.com home page.

GOOGLE’S NEW HOTEL LOCAL PACK IS AVAILABLE

Google have released a new design for their hotel local pack which is currently displayed below paid results and above organic results.

The results are optimised to the search query used and the users Google account, if they are signed in. These results will also highlight hotels that the user has stayed in before and allow users to click on filters, such as guest favourites, budget options and luxury stays.

COMMENT ON LIVE SPORTS WITHIN GOOGLE SEARCH RESULTS

This feature was originally added during the World Cup, but has since received a dedicated help sheet and management page that will allow users to view and manage all of their comments and reviews.

This feature is currently only available for some sporting events, such as Football. It is currently unclear if Google are looking to expand on events or topics in which commenting is available.

GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE

Updates that look place within Google Search Console in November.

GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE IS WARNING USERS OF UNCLEAR SUBSCRIPTION PAGES

In an effort to stop users from accidentally signing up to subscriptions or paying more than they expected, Google is cracking down on unclear mobile subscription pages by warning webmasters who aren’t following Google’s mobile billing best practices via Google Search Console.

Starting from Chrome 71, Google will also display a warning for all users who visit the mobile subscription page if the page still does not comply with Google’s best practices. This warning will appear on Chrome Mobile, Chrome Desktop and Andriod’s WebView.

GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE TESTS DOMAIN PROPERTIES

Currently only available to a limited amount of accounts, Google is testing domain properties within Search Console. These properties will group together subdomains, protocols and subpaths:

For example, if you define a Domain property as ‘example.com’, it includes example.com, any subdomains of example.com (for example, m.example.com, support.m.example.com, www.example.com, and so on), as well as any subpaths in any of those domains, on both http and https.”

Users will be allowed to define a domain using a public suffix (e.g. .com, .org, and .co.uk), only one public suffix can be used per property, so users will be unable to mix this data within Search Console (e.g. combining .co.uk with .com data).

The above table displays examples of what URLS Google Search Console will group, depending on what is defined as the property URL.

GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE DISPLAYS EVENT LISTING AND EVENT DETAILS IN PERFORMANCE REPORT

Available within the search appearance filters in Google Search Console, the event listing and event details filters will now allow users to view the performance of these within the performance report. The event schema will need to be applied to the event pages in order for Google Search Console to track the performance.

GOOGLE MY BUSINESS

Updates that look place within Google My Business in November.

GOOGLE ADDS NEW FEATURES TO THE GOOGLE MY BUSINESS APP

The Google My Business App received an update mid-November. App users will now be able to post pictures, offers and events, view when a customer posts a review, messages or follows the user’s business listing within the new Customers tab, and view performance analytics which will be displayed from the homepage, all within the app.

In addition to the new app being released and the new ability to follow businesses, as discussed in our previous blog, Google My Business have also updated how messaging businesses works. Previously, messaging a business through a Google My Business listing would send an SMS to the business. Users are now being given the option to message through the Google Maps app rather than SMS if they prefer.

GOOGLE DATA STUDIO

Updates that look place within Google Data Studio in November.

GOOGLE DATA STUDIO ALLOWS USERS TO CREATE FILTERS WITH CHART DIMENSIONS

Released at the start of November, Google implemented the option to create filters from the dimensions of charts, tables and graphs. Within the below report, clicking on ‘United States’ within the pie chart will filter the results of the table to only display sessions for this location and vice versa. This filter will work on all grouped charts within the same data source.

Right clicking on the report and clicking ‘reset action’ resets all charts back to displaying their data without interactive filters applied.

SEARCH ALL FILTER CONTROLS ADDED TO DATA STUDIO REPORTS

The ‘search all’ filter was added to Google Data Studio at the start of the month and will allows users to filter data by phrases, numbers or regex.

EMBED EXTERNAL CONTENT WITHIN GOOGLE DATA STUDIO REPORTS

Using the new URL embed button within Google Data Studio, it is now possible to embed YouTube videos, web pages and Google Docs in order to create a rich, multi-media experience.

Northern Digital Awards 2019 Award Nominations

We’re delighted to announce that Fusion Unlimited have been nominated for 2 awards in Prolific North’s Northern Digital Awards 2019.

The fantastic news has seen us secure nominations for the “Best Digital Tool or Software Category” and for “Search Agency of the Year”.

Our team are proud to be recognised for our approach to delivering innovative search marketing campaigns with performance at the forefront of mind. We’re constantly seeking news ways to achieve market standout for our clients, be it through our own proprietary software, Natural Edge,  or through rigorous testing programmes.

Wish us luck!

Social Media Market Updates: November 2018

As usual, social’s lately been a hotbed of activity, with engaging new campaigns spanning industries from fast food to sportswear.

Read on as we look at some of the most noteworthy campaigns from recent weeks, and discuss their strengths, weaknesses and the impact they’ve had on their respective brands.

KFC cooks up a storm on social

Earlier in the year, fast food giant KFC ran a fairly bold marketing campaign across social and print to apologise for a nationwide shortage of chicken:

In recent weeks, however, Colonel Sanders has been at it again – this time around to let customers know about his brand new fries, with idiosyncratic gusto.

Social’s been an indispensable element of the news’ delivery, which has taken place through innovatively engaging with a series of negative historic tweets complaining about the company’s chips – some from as long ago as 2014.

While some tweets have simply been replied to, others have been promoted far and wide across the nation’s timelines with paid advertising spend:

Though the campaign has met a fairly mixed response, with some users demonstrating a little weariness after being overwhelmed by chip-related messaging, it’s safe to say that the majority of Twitter users are now aware of KFC’s revamped fries. And to that end, it must be said that the Colonel’s served up his plans to perfection.

Nike scores a wonder goal on social with Kaepernick partnership

They’re one of the biggest brands in the world, with an iconic heritage of best-in-class ads, so it’s little surprise that Nike was able to use social media masterfully to announce its newest brand ambassador: Colin Kaepernick.

Nike made the announcement by retweeting a post initially made by Kaepernick, featuring the iconic Just Do It branding and the high standards of copywriting that Nike’s ads are famous for, which was also replicated on Instagram:

Its results were revelatory. The tweet received close to 1,000,000 likes, and the Instagram post proved a personal best for Nike in terms of engagement, gaining the brand gain more than 170,000 new followers. And between the two, Nike received more than five million mentions on social media in just three days, which isn’t a bad return in the slightest!

Significantly for brands, Nike’s social success also transformed into sales. As part of the sponsorship, Nike has produced Kaepernick merchandise, which sold out within a mere matter of hours, as Nike’s stock prices flourished to a sky-high $83.49.

It’s always great to see brands utilising social to its best potential, creating content that shines and converting that engagement into commercial excellence. We’re intrigued to see what Nike delivers next!

Burberry climbs out of the saddle and into social

Of late, fashion brand Burberry has made a range of changes to increase its desirability to contemporary shoppers.

Firstly, it dispensed with its classic logo, exchanging its knight on horseback for a modern new strapline of ‘London, England’ and brandishing its heritage with a sleek new look.

More interestingly, however, is that the company’s announced a new strategy for promoting new inventory to the industry, which is that it’ll launch new products directly from its Instagram feed.

As part of this, products will be purchasable directly from social streams, thanks to elements like Instagram Shopping which make social more viable than ever before for e-commerce businesses. Meanwhile, functionality like Instagram TV will be used to advertise products in innovative new ways.

The high esteem in which a brand like Burberry holds Instagram is a testament to the channel’s credibility and opportunity, and we’re excited to see whether other brands follow suit moving forwards!

Join us next month for more social news from the team!

SEO MARKET UPDATES: OCTOBER 2018

Join Fusion’s SEO team as they round up last month’s major industry updates.

GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE ADDS NEW INSIGHTS TO SERPS

Many SEOs, including ourselves, started noticing at the start of October that Google was now providing us with a glimpse into our Google Search Console data when searching for a keyword.

Google Search Console Data in SERPs

This window will only appear if you are logged into Google Search Console and have a property that ranks for the keyword. If multiple properties rank for the same keyword, a drop-down menu will become available to allow users to switch between properties. There is also an option to ‘see ways to improve’ a keywords ranking, although, the same two suggestions will appear for every keyword:

  1. Compare this query to your overall data
  2. Find out how to use this information to make changes to your site so that you can increase your chances to show up for the queries that you care about.

IS DYNAMIC RENDERING GOOGLE’S SOLUTION TO READING JAVASCRIPT?

As an answer to search engines difficulty with reading JavaScript, Google believes that dynamic rendering could be the answer for some sites, and released a guide on how to implement this.

Although Google confirms that dynamic rendering is not the full answer to this problem, they recommend this as a workaround solution for public JavaScript-generated content that changes rapidly, or JavaScript that uses features not currently supported by crawlers:

Dynamic rendering will allow sites to deliver a static HTML to a crawler, so they can index the page’s information, while still displaying a JavaScript-heavy page to users, in order for them to experience the page as intended.

GOOGLE’S OCTOBER ALGORITHM REVIEW

Although we saw unstable fluctuations in average rankings, one of Google’s daily algorithm updates saw a much larger spike in fluctuations than on any other day. On 17th October the fluctuations had an impact across all industries according to SEO tracker tools. The only industries which seem to have been affected the least are sports, news and art & entertainment. The law & government, jobs & education and finance categories were affected the most, with other categories not far behind.

Google have said that their algorithm is constantly refreshing and that due to the large amount of updates that take place, they are unable to provide information on what changes have been made each day. As Google have not released a statement on what caused these fluctuations, we are unable to see the cause of this. Daily fluctuations were seen across October and we will possibly see this throughout December too.

GOOGLE SHUTS DOWN GOOGLE+

Google announced on 8th October that they will be closing Google+ over a 10 month period to give users full opportunity to transition, with an aim to close the site by the end of August 2019.

Released in 2011, Google+ was Google’s answer to social media, after dominating the search engine market in the early 2000’s, taking over the online video industry in 2006, and surpassing Internet Explorer as the top web browser in 2012.

However, poor uptake by users has led Google to pull the plug on Plus. And so social won’t be an area that Google will compete in.

GOOGLE MY BUSINESS ANNOUNCES NEW PRODUCTS FEATURE

Spotted by an SEO and posted on Twitter, Google has released a product collection and product menu on selected Google My Business accounts. This feature replaces the services menu and will allow users to add a product collection, along with products within the collection.

Google is yet to release any documentation providing more information on this feature or when it will be released from beta.

GOOGLE MY BUSINESS RELEASES NEW MIGRATION TOOL & BRANDED INSIGHTS

Announced on 22nd October via Twitter, Google’s new migration tool will allow users with organisation accounts to easily migrate locations from a personal account into the organisation account.

Users have the option to remove the transferred locations from the personal account or keep the locations on both the personal and organisation account, Google recommends that locations are removed from the personal account and the personal account is added to the organisation account in order for the account the view the properties for the best experience. Other information on the organisation account migration tool includes:

  • Locations from several personal accounts can be added to the organisation account.
  • Users who opt to keep locations available on both the personal and organisation accounts, when a property is added on the personal account, this will not also be added to the organisation account.
  • Location transfer requests will only work for transferring locations from a personal to an organisation account, users will not be able to transfer locations between organisation accounts.

Google has also implemented the ability to see branded searches within the Google My Business insights. Branded searches will be classed differently to direct searches (a customer directly searching for the business’ name) and will display within the chart of the dashboard.

GOOGLE MAPS ALLOWS USERS TO CONNECT WITH BUSINESSES BY FOLLOWING THEM

Google announced on the 24th October via their blog, ‘The Keyword’, that users will be able to follow businesses within the Google Maps app in order to receive updates which will be displayed within a ‘For You’ tab in the app.

Businesses that are not yet open will also be able to connect with users before their open date. The business’ profile can be visible to users up to three months in advance of opening. This can be used to tease the opening date, make users aware of any opening events or keep people updated on the types of products or services soon to be provided.

NEW BOOK AND SCHEDULE BUTTONS INTRODUCED TO LOCAL GOOGLE RESULTS

Google has expanded on giving mobile users access to call a company from the local pack listings and has implemented ‘book’ and ‘schedule’ buttons which allow users to book or schedule a service within the ‘Reserve with Google’ platform.

Google has a full list of booking software companies that work with ‘Reserve with Google’ along with a list of companies they will soon be working with.

PUBLIC TESTING STARTS FOR GOOGLE ASSISTANT’S DUPLEX TECHNOLOGY

After Google’s incredible unveiling of Google Duplex, a new artificial intelligence to be implemented within Google Assistant that can converse with businesses on behalf of the user in order to accomplish tasks such as book a table at a restaurant or make an appointment at a hairdressers, Google has released a blog post confirming that they will begin public testing for Google Pixel users at restaurants within New York, Atlanta, Phoenix and the San Francisco Bay Area.

We’re more than intrigued to see how this develops in the future!

Social Media Market Updates: October 2018

Though Instagram’s starred in marketing news repeatedly in recent weeks, with a host of updates that we covered in our last blog post, there have also been significant changes on many of the Internet’s other leading social media channels.

Read on as we round up several of the biggest social platform updates in recent weeks, with analysis of its impact on the industry.

Facebook cracks down on sensationalist headlines – and you won’t BELIEVE the reasons why!

Well, actually, the reasons why probably won’t shock you. In fact, this is exactly the type of rhetorical grandiosity that Facebook’s looking to crack down on with its new ad policy, which is set to penalise click-bait ads which sensationalise their content or omit meaningful details in order to manipulatively improve click-through-rate, Marketing Land reports.

Facebook’s stance follows a new policy announcement in May 2017, that they would be implementing steps to minimise the impact – and reach – of disruptive, malicious or sensationalist posts.

As an indication of the new policy in action, Facebook has already removed more than eight-hundred pages in recent weeks that consistently misled users with overly-dramatic and disingenuous headlines.

While the vast majority of these pages were political in kind, the policy change will have ramifications for digital marketers, who’ll need to ensure that their posts aren’t withholding key information purely to bait site sessions out of users. And though we certainly won’t be posting this to social with the promise that it’ll change your understanding of the industry FOREVER, we hope you’ll get something out of it, anyway.

Pinterest revamps Ads Manager for the first time since 2016

In recent years, Pinterest has slowly but surely picked up the pace as a content curation channel of choice for aesthetically-minded users the world over.

To capitalise on its audience’s size and its unprecedented reach, the channel has updated its ads system for the first time in two years – in fact, since its inception – with the addition of a host of new features that make it a more viable option for marketers than ever before.

To kick things off, Pinterest has given its Ads Manager a considerable overhaul. A campaign set-up wizard is now available to help users create and optimise campaigns – which will be particularly beneficial to first-time marketers exploring the channel’s merits to their brands. Optimisation options include setting campaign goals, choosing specific audience targeting, and determining the exact Pins that are to be promoted within the feed or search results.

Complementing this, they’ve also brought in more comprehensive reporting elements with a snazzy new reporting dashboard, making ROI easier to monitor – and, thus, deliver – and allowing advertisers to vary campaigns in a more flexible and intuitive way.

Pinterest has also redesigned its Shoppable Pins, introducing reactive stock controls and dynamic pricing, and allowed greater numbers of pins to use the shopping bag feature, which lets users click-through directly from the Pinterest Shoppable ad to the checkout on the native site. For e-commerce brands in particular, this is something to be sure to look into.

We’re always interested to see new channels taking strides to allow users to more easily see and purchase the products they love. In coming months, we’re keen to see how the channel develops!

New research finds ways of using social media to proactively monitor mental health

Healthy social media usage has been frequently in the news in recent months, with several channels taking steps to increase and safeguard its users’ well-being, such as Instagram’s introduction of an anti-bully filter to its ‘You’re all caught up’ indicator, encouraging users to be mindful of listlessly scrolling through photos they’ve already seen.

In a new and intriguing development, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania – and the World Well-Being Project – have created an algorithm that’s able to trawl through users’ Facebook posts and, from their choice of language and manner of expression, identify whether they could be at risk of any mental health problems.

Johannes Eichstaedt, WWBP founder, explained in interview that ‘Social media data contain markers akin to the genome.

With surprisingly similar methods to those used in genomics, we can comb social media data to find these markers.

Depression appears to be something quite detectable in this way; it really changes people’s use of social media in a way that something like skin disease or diabetes doesn’t.

The hope is that one day, these screening systems can be integrated into systems of care’.

If social could unobtrusively keep an eye out for its users’ mental well-being, then this is just another way that channels could take strides to look after the health of users online.

Twitter takes steps to make its rules’ enforcement clearer

Currently, when you report a tweet, what happens next is a little unclear. You aren’t notified if the tweet – or the tweeter – is penalised, and the tweets remain visible in your feed, despite the fact you’ve shown you think it shouldn’t be there.

Twitter’s acknowledged the issue and, in response, is introducing new measures that will make it much more apparent when they’re taking action, and why they’re doing so.

Moving forward, when Twitter deletes a reported tweet, they’ll indicate it on the user’s timeline by showing a warning in place of the now-removed message. This will include a link through to the Twitter rules, explaining how the removed content violated terms of service:

Additionally, any tweet you report – regardless of whether Twitter takes action or not – will also be hidden from your timeline and replaced with a placeholder:

It’s interesting to see Twitter taking greater strides to improve its transparency, and we wonder whether this will roll out onto other channels in the future.

That’s all for this month, folks! We’ll be back next month with a round-up of all the most significant changes on social.

Instagram Market Updates: Recent Updates and Changes Coming Soon

September saw some significant updates arrive on Instagram.

Though many of the changes focus on improving the experience of regular Instagram users, there’re also several changes of note to help marketers and businesses perform – and convert – on the channel.

Let’s have a look at some of the key changes, as well as what we can expect to arrive on the channel in the near future.

Recent updates

Convert from Stories with product tagging

Instagram Product Tag for Stories

One of the most significant updates on the channel is the introduction of product tagging in Story posts.

This’ll work similarly to product tagging on regular IG posts. Businesses can directly link a URL to the product that appears on their stories, and users can then click on the tag to be re-directed to the product landing page.

This functionality creates an easy buying experience for the user, and a brand new avenue for businesses to gain sales with vivid creative content. It’s just another sign of Instagram becoming a highly viable choice for marketing!

GIFs slide into the DMs

GIFs in direct messaging Instagram GIFs in Instagram DM

When direct messaging, users can now choose from a selection of trending GIFs.

Simply type a word or phrase that is relevant to the GIF you wish to send and suitable options will appear.

Alternatively, users can click on the mysterious ‘random’ button for an Instagram generated GIF, passing the creative baton over to the algorithm…

New nametags let you connect with friends more easily than ever

Instagram name tags

In an effort to put more users in touch with each other, you can now create an Instagram nametag, which works a little like a business card. Simply scan another user’s and you’ll follow them!

This new feature is particularly handy when meeting someone new as you can easily exchange details and follow each other with a simple scan. It’s an incredibly intuitive new addition to the app’s UX.

What’s next?

As well as new updates, there are also plenty of Instagram changes in the works.  Let’s have a look at a few of the things that’re keeping the Instagram team so busy:

Shopping channels arrive in Explore

shopping box in Instagram explore

You will soon be seeing a shopping box in the explore section of Instagram. It will potentially put more e-commerce businesses in touch with relevant users. It will also allow users to explore and gain inspiration from exciting, unfamiliar brands.

Instagram takes stand against bullying

Instagram bullying comment filter

A few months ago, Instagram introduced a bullying comment filter which proactively hides and detects negative comments from feeds, profiles and the explore feature.

The bullying comment filter allows users to customise their blocking preferences or leave it to Instagram to automatically filter offensive comments out.

Instagram will now be applying this feature to comments on live videos.

Tag followers in Videos

Instagram has confirmed that soon you will be able to tag followers in videos, similarly to how you would in photos.

Connecting Students

Instagram connecting students

The social network has announced that they are working towards making it easier for students studying at the same institution to connect via the social network. This is currently being tested at select universities the USA.

This feature will allow users to add their university details – including graduation year, course and any teams/societies they were part of. Instagram will then create a University directory that can be filtered by year, making it easy for current and alumni students to connect and message each other.

This is something that’s long been a part of the Facebook experience, so it’s cool to see it arrive on the Gram, too.

Channel bids #goodbye to #hashtags

According to a TechCrunch report Instagram is considering disabling hashtags from captions in an attempt to limit the heavy use of hashtags within the post caption, resulting in the text being incredibly hard to read. Instead, there would be a ‘add hashtags’ option under the caption composer, keeping any hashtags and text separate.

Geo-Restriction for posts and stories

 

 

Instagram is testing a geo-restriction feature which will allow users to restrict their posts and stories to selected countries, rather than being universally available. Marketers will be able to choose what countries they wish to show or hide their content to.

Now that you are officially clued up on the latest Instagram features – stay tuned for the latest digital marketing updates that can drive your website and sales.

SEO MARKET UPDATES: SEPTEMBER 2018

Join Fusion’s SEO team as they round up last month’s major industry updates.

SEARCH CONSOLES RECEIVES A NEW LICK OF PAINT

On 4th September, Google announced on their Webmaster Central Blog that they’ve now fully released the new Google Search Console interface from beta testing.

Welcome to the new search console

The new Google Search Console interface was originally released at the start of January 2018. Alongside aesthetic updates, the main change this brought to the functionality of GSC was the ability for SEOs to download sixteen months of data – a large increase from three-months which was previously available.

Along with fully releasing Google Search Console from beta, Google has also implemented a ‘test live’ function within the URL inspection tool. This will now allow users to inspect live versions of a page rather than only being able to inspect the latest indexed version.

Not all features are available from the old Google Search Console within the new interface, but Google is still allowing users to use the old interface to utilise these missing tools.

BING INTRODUCES AMP SUPPORT

Bing released a blog post on 19th September announcing that it’s introducing Bing AMP viewer and Bing AMP cache, which enable AMP web pages to load almost instantly via Bing’s mobile search results.

As an average 30% of mobile users will bounce from a page that does not load within three seconds, the speed boost will bring a range of benefits to well-optimised sites.

Bing AMP NASA Example

Bing started rolling out its AMP viewer and AMP carrousel in the US on 17th September, for the news carrousel only, and will continue to roll this out across more sites and countries in the future.

GOOGLE ADDS CAPTIONS AND GOOGLE LENS TO IMAGE SEARCH

Announced on 27th September – the same day as Google’s 20th anniversary – Google Images received a couple of updates as a result of Google’s quest to make visual content more useful.

In order to make image search both more powerful and versatile, Google has added image captions, providing details of the page – such as the page title and site name – to give users a better understanding of the page behind the image.

Google will also be implementing Google Lens within image search. Once a user selects Google Lens on an image, Lens will detect objects within an image, allow the user to select any of them and provide similar images to it. Failing this, the user can draw on the image to select a desired area and will be presented with relevant images based on their choice.

Google Lens

 

Although this feature is not currently available, Google has stated that this will receive a full release within coming weeks.

Lastly, following in the footsteps of Instagram and Snapchat, Google has worked with the AMP Project to create AMP stories. This feature is currently only available for celebrities and utilises AI to create a timeline of facts and important moments of their life.

SMART ANSWERS BEGIN APPEARING IN SEARCH BOX

Within Google’s release of the latest version of their Chrome browser, they have announced that ‘smart answers’ can now appear within the search box. These answers can range from displaying rich results, providing local weather and translating foreign words.

Google Omnibox Example

GOOGLE ANNOUNCES SMALL ALGORITHM CHANGE

Finally, Google confirmed the release of a small algorithm update on 27th September.

Unlike the broad core update which took place on 1st August, Google considered this update less impactful, and didn’t cover it on their blog. However, it was noticed by SEOs due to shifts in site traffic and rankings.

Danny Sullivan, Google’s public search liason, commented:

Keep checking in with the Fusion blog for more updates from the leading services and suppliers in SEO today. 

SEO MARKET UPDATES: AUGUST 2018

Join Fusion’s SEO team as they round up last month’s major industry updates.

GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE ANONYMOUS QUERIES

Google updated how anonymous queries are displayed within Search Console, the result of which is that anonymous queries will no longer be included in chart totals when a “query not containing” filter has been applied.

These anonymous queries are queries submitted by only a few users as these can sometimes contain personal identifying information. These queries can equate to a small or large amount of data depending on the site, which can lead to a noticeable drop for some sites when viewing exclusionary query data such as non-brand terms.

GOOGLE BROAD CORE UPDATE

We covered the initial release of the broad core update in our July Blog, but wanted provide an update on how this has affected organic search results within August. This update, unlike Google’s focused updates that take place daily, focuses on a more general, widespread change which takes all aspects of SEO into consideration. The update caused some large fluctuations in rankings across many industries. Moz provided a week 1 cast of how the updated affected each industry via their MozCast system, this chart provides a breakdown of the top 20 categories that were affected by temperature (the hotter the temperature, the more Google rankings have changed).

MozCast Broad Core Results Week 1

NEW GOOGLE SCHEMA COMING SOON

During the Google Dance Singapore even Google revealed that they are currently testing three new types of display for the Q&A, FAQ and HowTo Schemas. Previews of the new displays show snippets filing the entire screen of a mobile results page, with an option to click and expand the answers or instructions.

A Google spokesperson released the following statement via Search Engine Land: “We’re always looking for new ways to provide the most relevant, useful results for our users. We’ve recently introduced new ways to help users understand whether responses on a given Q&A or forum site could have the best answer for their question. By bringing a preview of these answers onto Search, we’re helping our users more quickly identify which source is most likely to have the information they’re looking for. We’re currently working with partners to experiment with ways to surface similar previews for FAQ and How-to content.”

BING INTELLIGENT SEARCH UPDATE: HOTEL BOOKING, HOME SERVICES AND COUPONS

Bing announced on 3rd August, the release of 3 new intelligent search features all designed to help users save money. Bing’s hotel booking feature was originally released in May; now, in order to make this tool more powerful, Bing have implemented intelligent tips, a price trends view, and a comparison view.

Intelligent tips are displayed at the bottom of the feature panel and will provide users with information such as higher rated hotels at the same rate near the ones currently being searched for, whether there are cheaper hotels that are further away from the search radius, alongside further tips on saving money or having a better experience.

Bing Hotel Booking Feature

Bing also provides historical price trends within the date range users are searching to provide a view of times in which prices can typically fluctuate, this will allow them to make a more informed decision of when to book the hotel.

Bing hotel price trend data

A Price comparison overview has been added which breaks down hotel information and allows users to compare information such as hotel class, Wi-Fi and the hotels distance from key areas such as the airport.

Bing hotel price comparison

In addition, a new home servicing intelligent view allows users to determine the price range of service providers such as painters and plumbers for particular tasks like painting a 300sq. ft. fence. Due to the data for this being provided by Porch, it looks like this service is currently only going to be available to the US.

Bing service cost guide

Bing will now aggregate deals from first and third parts listings and display these when users search for retailers or coupons.

Bing coupons

GOOGLE MY BUSINESS MENU & SERVICE EDITOR

Allowing business to display services such as food menus and service lists with pricing via Google My Business has been a feature that Google have held in beta since April. However, in August, they announced that this feature will now be available to all relevant business via the Google My Business forums and will available for the following businesses:

  • Food and drink businesses can list menu items under “Menu.”
  • Health and beauty businesses can list services under “Services.”
  • Services businesses can list services under “Services.”

GOOGLE CAMEOS APP

Google released its ‘Cameos’ app at the start of August which allows celebrities to record short video responses to questions which are currently split into 3 categories; most asked questions about the celebrity, questions from fans and trending topics (e.g. what is International Women’s Day about?). These videos also show up within Google search results, but currently only display on mobile results for users within the US.

SEO MARKET UPDATES: JULY 2018

Join Fusion’s SEO team as they round up last month’s major industry updates.

GOOGLE ROLLS OUT HTTP “NOT SECURE” UPDATE

On 24th July, Google confirmed via the Chrome Developers twitter account and Google blog post that any site not encrypted with HTTPS will be marked as “not secure”.

https://twitter.com/ChromiumDev/status/1021806746283651072

Google initially started to crack down on unencrypted sites in 2015 by prioritising HTTPS pages within the SERPs, which soon escalated into adding the “not secure” marker to any unencrypted password fields. This increasing implementation of warnings has now resulted in any unencrypted site receiving the “not secure” marker starting in the latest version on Chrome (68).

Google’s efforts to create a safer browsing experience for users have been extremely successful so far, with roughly 83% of the top 100 sites on the web now using HTTPS, up from 37% just two years prior.

The next step in Google’s campaign will come in October 2018, with plans to implement a red “not” secure warning when users enter data on any unencrypted page, which will be accompanied by the removal of the “secure” tag from HTTPS pages.

GOOGLE’S NEW SCHEMA MARKUP

In July Google announced support for the Speakable Schema.org property which can be used to identify sections within a webpage that are suited best for text-to-speech. This schema is currently in beta and is limited to valid news sites, and is also only available on Google Home devices for English speakers with the U.S.

The content guidelines from Google recommend that data is structured in the following ways when writing content for Speakable:

  • Content should have concise headlines and summaries that provide users with useful information.
  • If the top of the story is included within the Speakable structured data, it is recommended that the information is broken up into individual sentences to allow to content to read clearly in text-to-speech.
  • For optimal user experience, it is recommended to provide 20-30 seconds of content per section of Speakable structured data.

Although currently limited to valid news sites it’s expected that the mark-up will become available for all sites in the near future, allowing businesses to ensure that their site is primed for the increasing use of voice search.

GOOGLE’S SEARCH QUALITY RATING GUIDELINES UPDATE

Google released an updated edition of the search quality rating guidelines on 20th July. The extensive, 164 page PDF document provides a full guide for Google’s 10,000+ quality raters worldwide to adhere to.These raters evaluate and rate the quality of pages that appear in the top results on SERPs for lists of searches they are contracted to perform.

In this update of the search quality guidelines Google place more focus on the importance of the “beneficial purpose” of webpages, with a particular emphasis on flagging clickbait, fake news, conspiracy theories and pages which spread hate as low quality. Google has also placed a new focus on the authors of content, with quality raters required to research, evaluate and factor in the reputation of authors when rating a website or webpage.

GOOGLE’S BROAD CORE UPDATE

On August 1st Google released a new update to their broad core algorithm. Unlike Google’s “focused updates”, which are daily changes designed to focus on specific objectives like site speed or security, the broad core update is a more general widespread change to the algorithm, and is confirmed to be rolling out globally.

On Twitter, Google’s Danny Sullivan provided some clarification on the purpose of the update but ultimately confirmed that from an SEO perspective, there is no specific ‘fix’ for any traffic fluctuations this may cause.

Instead, Google has continued to place emphasis on the importance of “high quality content”, suggesting that SEOs take a “broad” approach to improvement that considers factors laid out within the official search quality rater guidelines.

Google states that it will continue to release core algorithm updates several times a year, to further tailor the SERPs towards their ideology of sites that provide the best user experience based on the request of the user.

NEW DATASET SCHEMA

On 31st July, Google released a blog post announcing its support for the dataset schema, making it possible for websites to display charts, tables or data directly within search results.

Within the blog, Google informed that “news organisations that publish data in the form of tables can add additional structured data to make the dataset parts of the page easier to identify for use in relevant search features”.

The below is an example from Google of what the dataset schema looks like:

Dataset Schema Example

Google explain that the purpose of this mark-up is to improve discovery of datasets from fields such as life sciences, social sciences, machine learning, civic and government data and more. Google states that the below site features can qualify as a dataset:

  • A table or a CSV file with some data
  • An organized collection of tables
  • A file in a proprietary format that contains data
  • A collection of files that together constitute some meaningful dataset
  • A structured object with data in some other format that you might want to load into a special tool for processing
  • Images capturing data
  • Files relating to machine learning, such as trained parameters or neural network structure definitions
  • Anything that looks like a dataset to you

GOOGLE’S MOBILE PAGE SPEED UPDATE

Following the initial announcement of 17th January 2018, Google confirmed via the Google Webmasters twitter account on 9th July that the page speed update was being rolled out.

https://twitter.com/googlewmc/status/1016276644321996800

Google states the update will only impact mobile rankings on what it considers to be a small percentage of the slowest websites on the internet.

Page speed has been an important optimisation factor within Google’s search results on desktop for years, with conclusive evidence from studies conducted by Google confirming that users find page speed as important on mobile. Alongside the move to mobile first indexing, the update reflects Google’s continuing focus on maximising user experience for mobile searchers.

GOOGLE UPDATE HREFLANG USAGE DOCUMENT

In early July Aleyda Solis, founder of Search Engine Land, discovered that Google had quietly updated their official documentation on hreflang usage to expand on existing guidelines and resources.

https://twitter.com/aleyda/status/1014993990125572096?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1014993990125572096&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.seroundtable.com%2Fgoogle-updates-hreflang-official-documentation-26006.html

If a site has multiple versions of a page for different languages or regions, using hreflang code will help Google point users to the most appropriate version of the page by language or region.

In the new documentation, Google recommends indicating alternate pages for the following scenarios:

  • When keeping the main content in a single language and translating only the template, such as the navigation and footer. Pages that feature user-generated content, like forums, typically do this.
  • If content has small regional variations with similar content, in a single language. For example, a site might have English-language content targeted to the US, GB, and Ireland.
  • If a site is fully translated into multiple languages. For example, both German and English versions of each page may exist.

Content Case Study: MoonPie’s Twitter

Join Fusion’s content team as they take to the stars for an in-depth look at one of social media’s most surreal but successful brands: American marshmallow-cookie makers, MoonPie.

As in our analysis of Spotify’s 2017 Wrapped, we’ll explore how the MoonPie cookie crumbles and highlights the lessons that other brands can use to inform their own approach to social media success.

How does MoonPie work?

MoonPie’s Twitter – as comic as it is cosmic – is truly a channel of the third kind, a meteor shower of eclectic jokes, sassy asides and graphics cooked up in an MS Paint rush. It’s not every day you see a brand complimenting another brand’s looks, literally talking about being a brand, or repeatedly sending semi-ridiculous questions to @NASA:

Meanwhile, whenever a user sends in something strange, the account’s more than happy to get even stranger back (and regularly does so late into the night). The brand’s commitment to its zany sense of humour and meme-based jokes, which are incredibly popular with today’s social media users, is absolutely unwavering, and departs substantially from how we might ordinarily expect a brand on social to be.

However, hundreds of thousands of likes, retweets and followers later, it’s clear that today’s digital audience has embraced MoonPie’s quirkiness like no other. One particular tweet coinciding with last year’s solar eclipse gained over 500,000 likes and almost 200,000 retweets:

It’s more than apparent, too, that social success has seen sales soar astronomically. Maseena Ziegler for Forbes wrote that, following August 2017’s viral tweet, US ‘demand for the product […] exceeded production capacity for the first time in decades’. Soon after, in September 2017, MoonPie’s sales hit the highest on record in the company’s one-hundred-year history.

When scrolling through MoonPie’s Twitter feed, it’d be easy to perceive all this success as being purely aleatory, as if they piloted their account bravely into the void – leaving strategy and ground control in the dust – only to emerge from a black hole with a winning formula completely by chance. And yet this would also be considerably short-sighted, for although MoonPie’s creators have said in interview that they’ve certainly required more creative freedom than usual to deliver their creative vision in full, the channel’s success is a consequence of exceptional strategic thinking which takes many cues from traditional advertising best practice.

David Ogilvy, one of advertising’s all-time greats, famously said that ‘if you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think’. If you apply this filter to MoonPie, it becomes apparent that their decisions surrounding tone of voice, engagement and creative quality signify a masterful use of the ‘language in which [its target audience] thinks’. By getting weird on social, following in the footsteps of its target audience (young social media users), and posting high quality creative that’s as fun as anything anyone will find elsewhere on their feed, all sense of the MoonPie Twitter belonging to a brand vanishes, becoming eclipsed by the sheer emotional response that the brand elicits – namely, laughter and joy. Ultimately, the channel leaves its visitors forgetting that they were ever looking at a branded channel in the first place, that the channel’s goal is to promote MoonPie and its products. I don’t think we could put it much better than MoonPie do themselves:

Evolving from heritage to challenger through social

MoonPie’s weirdness is a bold new outlook for a brand that’s been around for over a hundred years. Its appeal was its heritage – think Wagon Wheels in the UK – and its target audience a relatively older purchasing demographic. Needless to say, MoonPie certainly hasn’t always felt at home firing strange clapbacks at strangers across the Internet.

From our point of view, what’s so remarkable about the way the brand has revitalised itself in recent years is that its new-found success was so heavily reliant on its social media strategy. Twitter let MoonPie come to life, express a personality that resonated with a new audience, and flourish. The MoonPie Twitter, in this way, is a real testament to the transformative opportunities that social offers, that, when utilised well, can truly bring brands to life.

Thoughts to take away

• Use social to its full potential, to make your brand a personality.

• Think about what your target-audience values and shape your content to their perspective. This doesn’t mean you need to become as surreal as MoonPie; to the contrary, there are many ways this might be achieved.

• Embrace change – as MoonPie has shown, thinking outside the box for your strategy can be incredibly rewarding.

• And once you start something, commit to it – users value consistency and they’ll be more likely to follow an account when they’re confident about what they’re going to be served!

SEO Market Updates: June 2018

Join Fusion’s SEO team as they round up last month’s major industry updates. 

New ‘URL Inspection Tool’ released within Google Search Console

Google confirmed through the official Google Webmasters twitter account in late June that a new URL inspection tool had been released in Google Search Console:

https://twitter.com/googlewmc/status/1011215993602011137

Once provided with a URL that you own, the ‘URL Inspection Tool’ will provide crawl, index and serving information to allow users to check if an URL is being displayed. If errors are found within the URL, the tool will provide an error report detailing what issues it has found.

Google My Business Agency Dashboard

Google has released a new dashboard which allows agencies to access and manage multiple Google My Business listings from a single page.

Using the Google My Business agency dashboard, agencies will now be able to access the following features:

  • Manage all locations under one account: Manage thousands of locations within a single account rather than being limited to 100 locations per account.
  • Send and receive invitations to manage listings: Send, receive and manage invitations within a dedicated section of the agency dashboard.
  • Location groups: All locations within an organisation are required to be held within a location group to simplify location management. Agencies can send/receive invitations to co-manage customer’s locations group listings.
  • User groups: Create and manage groups of users to easily manage access to certain locations groups.
  • Search: Quickly search for locations within the account or specific location group.

Google Search Consoles API now has access to 16 Months of Data

Although Google has provided users with sixteen months of historical data since the release of the new Google Search Console interface, a tweet from the Google Webmasters account confirmed in mid-June that users can now access this volume of data through the Search Console Analytics API. As a consequence, sixteen months of data can now be integrated within CMS and other tools:

Bing Announce Support for JSON-LD within Webmaster Tools

A month after Bing started supporting JSON-LD markup, Bing’s principal program manager, Fabrice Canel, announced extended support for JSON-LD markup within Bing Webmaster Tools during his appearance at SMX Advanced.

Bing Webmaster Tools announcement of JSON-LD support

 

This will now allow users to enter their JSON-LD code into Bing Webmaster’s markup validator and receive debugging information.

Winter Olympics: Content Highlights

Throughout the last month, the world has keenly followed all the action taking place at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Media outlets and journalists from all across the globe have flocked to the tournament, broadcasting around the clock coverage of all the biggest highs and lows. So too have many of the world’s biggest brands, turning the biggest talking points into social media spectacles, building buzz on the ice and keeping at the fore of the moment’s most compelling conversations.

We’ve rounded up our four favourite instances of brands mixing content with skis and showcasing digital talent on the slopes!

Red Stripe’s new sled for the Jamaican bobsleigh team is on the house

Ever since its debut at the 1988 Games, the Jamaican bobsleigh team has been an iconic fan favourite.

The men’s team failed to qualify for this year’s tournament, but all wasn’t lost for Jamaica, as the female bobsleigh team qualified instead, marking their competitive debut on the international stage.

However, the bobsledders’ time in PyeongChang has been all but plain sleighing. The campaign was beset by off-the-slope disunity and a frosty team spirit, which resulted in the mid-tournament resignation of coach Sanda Kiriasis. To make matters even worse, Kiriasis owned the team’s only sled; her departure made their future prospects look incredibly slim.

When it all seemed to be going downhill at near-terminal velocity, Jamaican beer brand Red Stripe stepped in to save the day. The brand reached out to the team via a Twitter @ mention with the generous proposal of gifting them a brand new sled of their own with no strings attached, which was a sizable financial commitment at around £40,000. An amusing Twitter exchange between the brand and team ensued:

https://twitter.com/RedStripeUSA/status/964169363854151680

https://twitter.com/RedStripeUSA/status/964539273079939072

Eurosport dances on the ice with Wasserman

The advent of social media changed the relationship between sports and its fans forever. Today, 24/7 coverage and content creation from teams and journalists alike means there’s never been less of a delay between a newsworthy event happening and fans knowing about it.

To this end, sports media giant Eurosport saw the 2018 Winter Olympics as a chance to deliver the first ever completely digitalised Olympic Games.

Eurosport partnered with global ad agency Wasserman, and subdivision Cycle Media, to conceptualise and execute a compelling ‘always on’ digital strategy for the brand’s social portfolio, creating highly responsive content for fans’ entertainment and driving huge volumes of reach and engagement for the Eurosport social channels.

Jonathan Davies, managing director of advertiser partnerships at Eurosport, said that ‘this partnership brings together Eurosport’s outstanding Olympic Games content and audiences with Cycle’s cutting-edge creativity in the social space – giving brands the opportunity to produce bespoke content that engages with younger audiences in new and innovative ways’.

See a few examples of the content they produced below!

NBC calls for an Uber (and sends a Snap)

Eurosports have led the way in European coverage of the Games, and NBC have been putting in a similar shift for their North American viewers, reporting on the action around the clock and creating digital content for users to interact with.

To place their content in front of as wide an audience as possible, the broadcast organisation partnered with global transport company Uber, in a digital campaign that enabled Uber passengers to access exclusive NBC highlights and interviews from the Uber app while in transit.

‘We’re excited to partner with Uber to reach Olympic fans on the go’, said Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics. ‘Through great partner platforms such as Uber, NBC is able to fuel the Olympic excitement by surrounding the American audience with the great moments and stories unfolding in Pyeongchang.’

To complement this, NBC have also become the world’s first company to directly stream Olympic action through Snapchat.

‘We do believe that the best place to watch a live game and a live awards show is on television’, Ben Schwerin, vice president of partnerships at Snap, told The Wall Street Journal. ‘But if we can show the one moment that matters most on Snapchat, we think we can create a complementary experience’.

It’s interesting to see how the world’s biggest digital channels take to the phenomenon of streaming live events and matches; we’re sure this is something that will only grow more and more prevalent in the build-up to this summer’s World Cup.

P&G pushes back against prejudice with emotional TV spot

P&G, one of the world’s biggest brands, haven’t strayed far from the advertising industry’s spotlight recently, amid repeated threats from CEO Marc Pritchard to reduce P&G’s ad spend unless marketers could demonstrate greater ROI (spoiler alert: marketers did just that).

However, the brand – an Olympic Games official partner – recently demonstrated how on-point their advertising strategy so often is with an incredibly moving TV ad celebrating the diversity of the tournament’s myriad competitors.

It’s a brilliant piece of creative, which masterfully gets right the precarious equilibrium of channeling emotion and becoming overly sentimental whilst championing a powerful and relevant message.

Thanks for reading! We’ll be back next month with more.

Content Marketing Predictions for 2018

As one year ends, another begins.

Throughout the month, join Fusion’s SEO, social and content teams as they explore how 2018 will shape up for digital marketing.

To start, we’ve identified the challenges of the year ahead and how the content we’re creating will change in response to developments both inside and outside our field.

Closing the book on machines

For a large part of SEO’s history, keywords have been an essential part of Google’s ranking equation.

Initially (and in the most basic of terms), if a site contained myriad mentions of the word ‘cat’, Google’s crawlers—its machine readers which continuously scan the web for new pages and changes in sites’ infrastructure—would determine it to be a useful source of cat-related content and raise its ranking position for cat relevant search queries accordingly.

Because of this, many SEOs would create content that tactically targeted keywords with an extremely close focus, which was often at the cost of scansion and readability. In essence, content was being created to be legible not for humans but Google’s bookworm machines.

Over the years, Google’s algorithm has been continuously refined, to the extent where ranking determination has become the responsibility of an incredibly sophisticated artificial intelligence, which is capable of judging content quality with a critical eye that’s very similar to human thought.

As entertaining as it might have been for Google’s hivemind to tirelessly wade through gigabyte upon gigabyte of keyword-dense articles, Google has now decided to minimise the bearing of keyword presence on ranking position. If a site’s content is unsuitable for human comprehension, Google will now deem its value to be much lower and ranking will be lowered in kind.

This marks a major (and much-needed) change to the field. Ranking will now be much harder to game through content that focuses solely on uncompetitive keywords and high-volume search queries. Instead, in order to have the desired SEO effect and be high quality, content must provide genuine insight that’s intelligible for human readers.

Following this, we expect all content writers to turn towards longer form pieces, covering articles comprehensively rather than merely flooding pages with now inert keywords. As a consequence, the web should become much richer with higher quality content, which will be great for both brands and users alike.

Lights, cameras, content

In line with the changes to Google’s algorithmic thinking, it’s evident today that legibility and content delivery are more crucial considerations in shaping quality content than ever before.

Traditionally, blogposts have been the most common way of providing web users with information. While we don’t expect them to vanish from the net, we anticipate another format to soon enter the ascendancy across both desktop and mobile browsers: video.

Chiefly, this is because video has one unique advantage over prose: the capacity for delivering information to your audience with greater flair and creativity. This is particularly apparent if your content features the involvement of influential figures – be they social media influencers or star names.

An excellent example of high standards of branded video is the digital offering of current Premier League leaders Manchester City, whose creative form is almost on par with their footballing ability.

City recently became the first team in the UK to accrue one million followers on YouTube, with an account that regularly posts varied and engaging content featuring a range of their star players and staff, such as tunnel footage before and after matches, unique interviews with players and humorous (and slightly off-kilter) seasonal content, like a Christmas singalong with Kolarov.

The channel combines ‘the creativity of De Bruyne, the execution of Aguero and the intelligence of Guardiola‘, said Tomos Grace, YouTube’s head of sport.

In addition, it’s arguable that no form of content has showcased a greater potential for reach than video has in recent years. These could come through social shares to users’ news feeds and timelines or native views on platforms such as YouTube; with over one billion users, the site’s visited by a third of web users worldwide.

The transition from still life to moving pictures might not be one that brands need to do straight away. Nevertheless, we anticipate that video in coming years will become more and more of a feature of brands’ creative output and content budgets.

ASA demands greater diversity – and brands need to listen

While Google has started to pay more attention to human reading, many of the world’s biggest brands and watchdogs have begun to think more critically about the messages that ads and content are presenting.

One instance of this is new legislation that the Advertising Standards Authority will enforce this year, set to punish campaigns featuring the representation of harmful gender stereotypes.

After undertaking a review of the effect of harmful stereotypes on viewers, the ASA has found that ‘harmful stereotypes can restrict the choices, aspirations and opportunities of children, young people and adults’.

‘These stereotypes can be reinforced by some advertising, which therefore plays a part in unequal gender outcomes, with costs for individuals, the economy and society’.

These ads are not just negatively impactful – they’re also negatively received. A survey undertaken last September by global ad agency Havas Creative found that 47.8% of UK television viewers ‘resented’ ads presenting negative stereotypes, with women agreeing more strongly than men (at 50% and 45.2% respectively).

It’s clear that negative stereotyping not only puts brands in jeopardy with the UK’s advertising authorities; it builds distrust between the UK’s brands and customers.

Think about your creative content and ads. Are there areas in which your content could be more inclusive of a wider spectrum of people?

Come back next week where our social team will cover what 2018 has in store for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more!

Content Case Study: Spotify’s 2017 Wrapped

2017 has been a happening time for digital content: Wendy’s broke the retweets record; the world began reacting to the proliferation of suspect news; Twitter doubled its character count; and the world’s biggest brands continued capturing our imaginations through brilliant campaigns, as content proved that it firmly remains the king.

One of today’s greatest producers of digital content is leading music streaming service Spotify. From quirky Times Square billboards to esoteric partnerships with leading franchises like Stranger Things, its creative campaigns have continuously made headlines and captured the popular imagination.

Last month, Spotify rolled out 2017 Wrapped – its end of the year campaign – which may well be their best to date. The campaign collates each user’s top one hundred most played songs of 2017 into single playlists, and as users keenly published their enigmatic soundtracks to the year, these quickly filled the web.

Read on for our analysis of how 2017 Wrapped wrapped up Spotify’s 2017 so brilliantly.

Excellent presentation leaves excellent impressions

We’re all well familiar with the age old aphorism of never judging books by their covers. Nevertheless,  at a point in time when the Internet is brimming with curated content, and users’ attention spans are becoming slimmer and slimmer for engaging with the same, it’s crucial for content to lead immediately with points of interest that compel.