Digital Digest – December 2017

Whilst there was A LOT of online activity in December (eCommerce traffic and sales were booming!) it was actually fairly quiet on the digital marketing front. We didn’t see as many updates, roll-outs and general activity from most channels but there was some major items that you should stay on-top of. Onward and upward into 2018 and everything that it has in store!

The Google Stuff (the last for 2017!)

Confirmed Algorithm Update

Probably the most important thing that happened in December 2017 was an algorithm update mid-month. Search Engine Land say that this was confirmed by a Google spokesperson. So far it’s been thought that this update effected websites using gateway pages on a large scale. According to Barry Schwartz from Search Engine Roundtable, this update mainly hit directories, travel blogs and ecommerce websites. It’s been named the ‘Maccabees Update’ and some are saying that it’s been added to the ‘core’ algorithms. There is more information in the articles linked here. We have not noticed any effects to our clients sites here in NZ and we’re sure that more information will come out as time progresses.

Further Testing of Images in AdWords Text Ads

Sergey Alakov (a resident in Toronto, Canada) Tweeted this image of an AdWords ad for a car dealership which features an image of a used vehicle in it.

A Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land, “We’re always testing new ways to improve our experience for our advertisers and users, but don’t have anything specific to announce right now.”

Testing of this was first seen in November 2016 and has been dubbed ‘Visual Sitelinks’. How widespread the testing is unknown but a global roll-out of this would be huge for Google PPC.

Meta Description Character Limit Increased!

Another exciting organic/ SEO news item was that the character limit for meta descriptions being shown on search engine results pages has increased from 160 characters to 230 characters!
We have been seeing some experimenting with this in NZ for some time and it finally hit the results in mid-December.

This means that businesses now can update their descriptions with more information to sell their products or services, which in turn can increase click-through-rate. Exciting times for SEO’s!

Updated to the Structured Data Testing Tool

A few weeks ago we wrote a blog about schema markups, and during December there were some updates rolled out to Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. It’s there to help webmasters to be able to view the structured data setup on their pages, and diagnose any issues. Read the full release from Webmaster Central here.

Test your website with the tool here.

The SEO Starter-Guide Got a Revamp

Google published a post on the Webmaster Central blog that they have updated the SEO Starter Guide! It was originally published over 9 years ago and hasn’t been updated for several years. The Guide is a great read for anyone interested in SEO to see what Google deems are good practices.

Click here to see the Guide for yourself.

New Features For Google Analytics To Be Rolled Out

In mid December Google stated that there will be 4 new features added to GA ‘in the next few months.’ You can read more about them on the GA SOlutions Blog here, but they’re mostly to give more insight into how users are users your website.

So it’s a short-and-sweet digest to round out the year. Have we missed anything? Let us know!