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.”
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.
Google Drive has a new section for your Google+ Photos.
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.
Facebook Announces Its Q1 2015 Results
Ready for some updated stats? Let us take a brief look at Facebook’s latest quarter financial results.
The platform now boasts 936 million daily active users (DAU) and 1.44 billion monthly active users (MAU). Mobile numbers are at 798 million (DAUs) and 1.25 billion (MAUs), with more than 1 billion daily mobile searches.
At 4 billion daily views, 75% of which occurring on mobile devices, Facebook videos continue enjoying huge success. 80,000 of them have been embedded on third-party websites to date.
What about Facebook apps, now? They are used to send 45 billion messages every day. WhatsApp, for example, has 800 million MAUs, while Messenger and Groups have 600 million and 300 million users respectively. Further, Instagram has 200 million daily active users who spend an average of 21 minutes on the platform every 24 hours.
(Source: Mark Zuckerberg)
Other Facebook launches and announcements:
- News Feed algorithm updates – You can expect to see multiple posts from the same source in a row; content from friends is prioritized; and friends’ activity (likes and comments) will be hidden. “The impact of these changes on your page’s distribution will vary considerably depending on the composition of your audience and your posting activity. In some cases, post reach and referral traffic could potentially decline.”
- Hashtag API – The API will be deprecated on April 30.
- Events dashboard – You can now subscribe to pages to get notifications when their events are near you.
- Anthology – The new program connects brands with video publishers (e.g., Funny or Die, The Onion, Vice Media, Vox Media…) to create video ads customized for the Facebook platform.
- Riff, a new collaborative video app – “All you have to do is give [your video] a topic, like #AprilFools, then your friends can view it and choose to add their own clips on that topic. Once a friend adds a clip to your video, your friend’s friends will also be shown the video in Riff and will be able to add to it.”
- Messenger for the Web
- Hello – The new Android app connects with Facebook to show users who is calling them, block unwanted calls, and search for people and places. Note that this information is only available if the callers have shared things with you on Facebook.
- Facebook Analytics for Apps, “a free tool that brings the power of Facebook demographics to cross-device analysis and measurement.”
- Page Like box – The widget will be deprecated on June 23, to be replaced by the Page Plugin
Internet.org is losing allies in India. Some partners have started pulling out of the platform over net neutrality concerns. However, it is not the only issue Facebook has to deal with right now. A group of 25,000 Europeans is suing the company for illegal collecting of user data and mass surveillance. You can follow the proceedings here.
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.
In Other News
Amazon is suing four websites over fake product reviews and continuing its expansion. With Amazon Destinations, an extension of Amazon Local, customers can easily access local, weekend getaways. There is also a review system for featured hotels.
Foursquare launched Pinpoint, a cross-platform, location-based advertising solution that brands and marketers can use to target ads on desktop and mobile devices.
Instagram released two new creative features (Color and Fade) and Layout. The app “lets you easily combine multiple photos into a single image.” And for those suffering from FOMO, (fear of missing out) you can now be notified whenever your favorite accounts post a new picture or video. To enable the option, click the three dots at the top of any profile and tap “Turn on Post Notifications”.
Meerkat is available on Android in beta.
Have you tried Periscope yet?
Tumblr unveiled Sponsored Day, an ad product for brands and marketers that want to appear on top of user feeds for 24 hours.
Voice calls are now possible on WhatsApp.
Yahoo started rolling out native video and video app-install ads
See you next Monday for a roundup of must-read social media studies.
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Also, join us for the next #BizHeroes chat on Tuesday, April 28. We look forward to reading your insights!