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Digital Digest – August 2018

You know it’s been an exciting month when a core algorithm update was released on the first day! That wasn’t the only thing happening in the digital space though. If you didn’t have time to keep abreast of the news, our Digital Digest should have you covered. Read on soldier!

The Google News

Core Algorithm Update Dubbed The ‘Medic Update’

As mentioned above and in our blog post here, there was a core update to Google’s Search Algorithm in early August 2018. It has been named by the SEO community as the ‘Medic Update’ as it mainly effected the medical industry but other sites were hit. For more information sources, see SEO Roundtable and Search Engine Watch.

Censored Version Of Google To Launch In China, Reports Say

A few different online outlets (including The Intercept) are reporting that the Search Engine giant are planning on trying to take some market-share in China with a ‘censored’ version. Apparently code-named ‘Project Dragonfly’, this censored version will block sites and content that have content around religion, human rights, democracy and peaceful protest (presumably along other black-listed terms). According to The Intercept, the project commenced in the Northern Hemisphere Spring of 2017 and accelerated in December with talks between Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai and a top ‘Chinese government official’.
As reported in the China Digital Times, many phrases are already blocked on the popular Social Network Weibo.

Given some of the ethical and moral issues that a censored Google brings to mind, if this does roll-out it will be very controversial!

Expansion of Featured Snippets on SERPs

It seems like pretty much every month a change to the Search Engine Page Results (SERPs) are tested or rolled-out. This month it was changes to the Featured Snippets for some informational/ research based searches according to Search Engine Journal. The main change is ‘subtopic’ expansions being added. Example below:

We have tried a few searches in Chrome here (such as this one in the example and ‘bitcoin vs ethereum’) and this new feature hasn’t appeared for us. Is it working for you? Let us know!

Additional Features Added to Search Console Beta

Google has brought over more features from the old Search Console to Beta with some improvements. The Beta version was launched earlier this year but with limited functionality (see more in our Digital Digest January 2018). In August, the Search Engine reported in the Webmasters Blog that the Link Report, Mobile Usability Report and easier options for Site and User Management have been added. See a screen shot of the Links Report below:

We’re looking forward to the continuation of upgrades being included into this tool.

The Other Online Items

MailChimp Make Tagging Users Available

The email marketing platform announced in August that a tagging feature has been introduced so that marketers can now ‘organise their audience’ more easily. They describe the tags as, ‘customizable labels you can create and assign to contacts as needed.’ Tags can be added to users in relation to the information that you know about them, making it easier to categorise and send them more relevant emails and content. Click here to see more information about this and how to use it.

WhatsApp Launches The Business API

The widely used communications application has launched a Business API that allows businesses to respond to customers who have contacted them first and programmatically send order confirmations, confirm appointments and a couple of other standard messages. This is the first revenue-making scheme for the App that will apparently let a business send free messages for 24 hours to a user, but will charge a fixed rate per country for messages sent after that according to TechCrunch. It can also be used to respond to customer service enquiries via third-party programs such as Zendesk. For more information, see this post from WhatsApp.

Facebook Removes Targeting Options To Stop Discrimination

The Social Media platform has removed 5,000 ad targeting filters from with the purpose of trying to stop advertisers from discriminating against religious or ethnic groups. The latest subtractions aims to prohibit advertisers from using filters for employment, housing or credit-related campaigns that could potentially stop ads from being shown for things like job postings, housing or credit applications from being displayed to specific ethnic or religious audiences. See more on the Facebook Blog here.

We see this as a step in the right direction, however one thing that this doesn’t address is gender however, so advertisers seemingly can display job ads to gender-specific groups. What are your thoughts?

So that’s it for this month. Have we forgotten something major or have any questions? Our team are here to chat on 0800 878 833.