In 2012, Matt Cutts, the head of the Google webspam team, posted a video in which he suggests that the phrase SEO should stand for ‘Search Experience Optimization’ instead of ‘Search Engine Optimization’.
Three years later, this video has never been more relevant. 60% of U.S. adults now conduct product search on mobile devices before local purchases. And three-quarters of mobile consumers use a search engine during the shopping process.
So, if your website is not optimized for a seamless user experience on every device, your chances of staying relevant in search results are very limited — especially in the eyes of Google.
Today’s roundup also covers the latest usage numbers for Facebook, and Twitter’s and LinkedIn’s new tools and features.
Mobilegeddon Is Here!
The mobile-friendly update has officially been rolled out. Websites that meet Google’s mobile standards–large layout and text, and easily clickable links–will rank higher in search results from smartphones. Those that don’t will experience a drop in traffic.
Note that this update does not impact desktop and tablet searches and only applies to individual pages, not entire sites.
“While the mobile-friendly change is important, we still use a variety of signals to rank search results,” says the Google Webmaster Central Blog. “The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal — so even if a page with high quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank high if it has great content for the query.”
The good news is, there are great Shopify apps allowing you to optimize your ecommerce shop for mobile user experience.
To check if your website is optimized, run the Mobile-Friendly Test or use the Mobile Usability report in Search Console. The Google Webmaster Central Blog also has a FAQ section.
Google has also streamlined its mobile search interface to load fast on slow connections, and is improving the viewing experience in mobile search results. The URL structure is replaced by a breadcrumbs-like format.
YouTube, which recently blew its 10th candle, will soon launch an ad-free paid subscription service. Costing around $10 a month, the service will allow subscribers to store videos offline on mobile devices, as well as view premium content. YouTubers who do not wish to participate will have their videos set to private.
Say hi to Project Fi:
According to The Wall Street Journal, Google launched Matched Content. The new product “is designed to help content publishers surface other articles that users might find interesting via a collection of headlines accompanied by photos, usually near the bottom of Web pages.”
It’s not all rosy for Google, though. The European Union recently filed formal antitrust charges over distorted web results that favored Google’s own shopping service. The decision was made after 30 European and U.S. companies, including Microsoft, Yelp, Expedia, and TripAdvisor, made official complaints.
Twitter Takes a Page from Storify’s Book
If you are a media publisher, Twitter has a new tool for you. Curator allows you to “search, filter and curate Twitter [and Vine] content that can then be displayed on web, mobile and TV.”
Direct Messages from anyone, even if you don’t follow one another? You bet! The feature is back. However, you can opt out. Just visit your Security and privacy settings and uncheck the option at the bottom of the page.
The “quote tweet” button has been updated. Now, you can include commentary to RTs. Quoted tweets are embedded, which means more characters for your messages (116 exactly).
The best of Twitter, customized for you is coming in the form of Highlights. The feature, which is only available to Android users for the time being, sends you a notification on your phone up to twice a day.
Ads within Twitter accounts are here. According to Re/code, they are currently just visible to logged-in users. Verified accounts are not affected.
There is a new search experience. Filters are now at the top of the page, with new options like live results and Tweets from people you follow / near you.
Twitter has retired its mobile Discover and Activity features to focus more on Trends. The former are moved to the search page.
Third-party data licensing is also over. Twitter wants to cut the middleman and focus on its own in-house big data analytics team.
Do you access Twitter.com without logging in to your account? Then, you may have noticed the redesigned homepage (for U.S.-based visitors): “You’ll find interesting topics to explore like Politics, Pop Artists and even Cute Animals. Click on the topic and you’ll see a timeline of Tweets from some of the most popular accounts in that topic. It’s rich real-time content, just like the Twitter experience for users who log in.”
Finally, Twitter is continuing to fight against abuse with an update to its Violence and Threat Policy that now extends to “threats of violence against others or promot[ing] violence against others.” The company will also lock abusive accounts for specific periods of time and is working on a product to identify suspected abusive Tweets and limit their reach.
LinkedIn Helps Elevate the Conversation Between Brands and Consumers
LinkedIn is on an acquisition streak. After Refresh, the company bought lynda.com, a widely known platform that provides premium online courses and video tutorials in English, German, French, Spanish, and Japanese on many professional topics.
LinkedIn also wants to empower employees to share valuable company content. Elevate, its newest app, provides users with recommended items from LinkedIn Pulse and Newsle, allows them to schedule posts, and shows them the impact of that activity.
“Employees can see how many times content they’ve shared has been liked, commented on, and reshared, and how many people it reached,” says Will Sun on the LinkedIn Blog. “Soon they’ll get even more insights, like who viewed their profile and requested to connect as a result of the content they shared. LinkedIn Elevate provides companies with the same data, as well as numerous micro-conversions – like job views and Company Page followers – and results that impact the bottom-line – like hires, leads, and sales.
LinkedIn Elevate is currently available by invitation only.
A deal with Marketo will now allow LinkedIn to deliver more customized ads. There is also a new site that updates members and enterprise customers on security issues, practices, research, and features on the platform.
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