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SEO & Marketing News from August 2021

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Get out your notepad and pens because it’s another deep dive into the latest news from the world of SEO and marketing. 

Whether you’re a small business owner trying your best to get by, or an in-house marketer determined to help your company increase online conversions; the news and updates that we cover are here to help you put into practice to enhance your business. 

We know the realm of digital can be as confusing as the Matrix storyline, but we’re here to make it easy for you to understand, and more importantly give you confidence in the strategy that you’re implementing. 

Pour your coffee, get comfortable, and let’s crack on with it.

SEO 

Oh Google, there’s not a month that goes by when we’re not scratching our heads and wondering why you had to make the changes you did. Every SEO in the world has been trying to keep up with August’s changes, and plenty have taken to Twitter to voice their frustration. But it’s Google’s prerogative to keep their search engine useful to users, so we can only go with the flow and do what we can.

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Google Changes Title Tags 

Hold the phone – there was a big change in August thanks to Google, and we’re still trying to understand what the hell happened. It’s like the Robbie leaving Take That saga all over again. People were confused, worried, and left scratching their heads. 

On August 16th 2021 Twitter was awash with SEOs reporting ‘massive’ changes to title tags in the results pages (SERPs). 

Now Google is known for adjusting titles in the SERPs by making small tweaks such as appending a business’s name to the end, but now it’s been found that Google is overriding titles with completely different text. 

As SEOs began to research this change the scale of the rewrites is unknown, but reports were coming from around the globe with multiple SEO experts coming across it. 

Initial evidence suggested that Google was pulling in text from H1 tags for a majority of these rewrites, but then other SEOs presented evidence of Google replacing a title with text found on a completely different page of a website. 

Many SEOs noted that when Google rewrites these titles they tend to be shorter than the original, suggesting that Google is attempting to improve readability and enhance relevance. 

At first glance, SEOs believed this to be a live A/B test, something which Google is well-known for. However, on August 26th, reports started to come in of major ranking drops with many people dubbing the change “Titlepocalypse”. 

One SEO export took to Twitter to reveal that clicks on one post declined by 60,000 in over a week.

In other bad news, one site owner with a local business revealed that Google was rewriting title tags using the wrong location. 

Many complaints have now been pouring into Google about this update and they have now created a Webmaster Forum to manage the influx of errors occurring. 

On August 24th Google confirmed that this was an algorithm update, and are working on resolving the most commonly known issues with the feedback they have received.  

Google said this “update is designed to produce more readable and accessible titles for pages. In some cases, we may add site names where that is seen as helpful. In other instances, when encountering an extremely long title, we might select the most relevant portion rather than starting at the beginning and truncating more useful parts.”

If you’ve experienced changes to your click-through rate from Google, it may be related to these changes.

Google Link Spam Update Done

If you read our July 2021 update, you’ll know that Google was planning on an update purely focused on removing spam links.

Originally when Google announced the update the rollout was meant to take two weeks, but in the end, the update took four weeks to complete. Yikes – does that mean there was more spam than Google realised?

Google’s Danny Sullivan confirmed on Google’s Search Liason Account that the rollout was complete in August.

As mentioned in our July post, the Google spam link was about ignoring, or “nullifying” as they termed it, rather than “penalize” sites with spammy links.

Since this update took a month to roll out, it’s wise to see if there have been any major shifts in your own ranks over the past few weeks as it could be connected to the spam update.

As Google wrote, “Site owners should make sure that they are following the best practices on links, both incoming and outgoing. Focusing on producing high-quality content and improving user experience always wins out compared to manipulating links. Promote awareness of your site using appropriately tagged links, and monetize it with properly tagged affiliate links.”

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Google Paying Apple to Remain Default Search Engine

Are the rumours true?

It’s long been known that Google pays a considerable amount to Apple to be its default search engine within Apple Safari.

However, financial analysts now estimate that Google is paying Apple $15 billion to remain the default search provider. Wowsers!

You may be wondering why this is important news in SEO. Well, in the United States Safari holds 53% of the mobile browser market share, which of course impacts Google’s mobile search.

Now we’re safe in the knowledge that with Google paying Apple to remain as the default browser it’s unlikely that we’ll see any major shift in traffic. Phew!

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Google Updates ‘How Search Works’

Google loves an update, even when it comes to its own pieces of information. 

In August Google updated its ‘How Search Works’ website which contains information on how Google organizes, ranks and tests search results. 

The website which was launched in 2016, explains how Google works in a way that even Joe Bloggs on the street would understand. 

With a fresh look, the ‘How Search Works’ website is the ideal place for the latest news on Google’s updates and gives site owners clarity on what these changes mean, as well as clear definitions on some of the most well-known Google terms.

 

Google Reveals About Linking to Lesser Websites

You’ve built an incredible website, a strong brand, and awesome content – but what about when it comes to linking to those websites that are a little weaker than yours? Does it ruin all your hard work?

This is a question that was posed to Google’s John Mueller on Twitter.

The question was – “Does Google think less of your website if you link to a lesser site?”

Of course, if your links are spammy, paid and manipulative, Google will not trust your links and it will ultimately impact your online presence. But if you link to a site that may be ‘lesser’ in some eyes, for example, Wikipedia, but the link is relevant, then Google says don’t worry about it. As long as the link is relevant to the content and relevant in placement Google doesn’t see it as a negative.

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Marketing

Getting your message or story out there is becoming ever more interesting as social platforms keep raising the bar of what’s possible.

As we can reach more people, anywhere in the world, many social platforms are now looking at accessibility in more ways than before, and what it means to their digital communities. These marketing news snippets give you an idea that in the realms of marketing, everything is about test and trial.

YouTube is now the second biggest search engine online. We love going to YouTube to discover how to do something. Whether it’s a home workout, keeping your houseplants alive, or making homemade slime with the kids.

We can be educated and entertained all in one place.

As YouTube knows its power, it has been working to make it even easier for users.

In August, YouTube announced two new features;

Timestamp 

YouTube will break down a video with time-stamped images detailing the different topics covered in the videos and enable you to jump directly to the section most relevant to your interest. 

Autotranslate in many languages 

YouTube will start to show search results from other languages with automatically translated captions, titles and descriptions when relevant content in the local language isn’t available. 

This means that language may no longer be a barrier, especially for educational or how-to content on YouTube. 

As YouTube continues to increase it’s creator and user base, we think this is just the beginning of what’s possible.

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LinkedIn is Shutting Down LinkedIn Stories 

In case you didn’t know, LinkedIn tried its best to jump on the social stories bandwagon, and epically failed.

We must admit that when this first launched we were sceptics, and for good reason.
First of all, you could only do stories on the mobile version of LinkedIn, which let’s be honest, most of us only use the desktop version during working hours.

Second of all, who’s got time to be doing stories on LinkedIn? Wrong content for the wrong audience.

So it’s no surprise that in August LinkedIn officially announced that it would be shutting down LinkedIn stories and focussing its efforts on a different style of video content.

LinkedIn did acquire the digital platform Jump Rope earlier in the year, so we have a feeling this could be the sign of something new brewing at LinkedIn.

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