Earned Media Industry Updates

Google Adds “Swipe to Visit” Feature on AMP-Enabled Images

Officially announced on July 25, 2019 as well as being announced in I/O earlier this year, Google launched their newest feature, “Swipe to Visit”. This is a new search feature for Images, displaying a preview of an AMP-enabled website header after a consumer selects their desired image result. Once an image is selected, the consumer will then have the opportunity to swipe up on the preview to access the corresponding web page.

There are a variety of potential customers that prefer to compare offerings via visual search, and this new feature creates more efficiency. Businesses and brands can now use high-quality images and optimization in search to attract more users to their site, to increase overall traffic through a single swipe.

When a user swipes up on the image preview and is directed to the site, the publisher will be able to record traffic via page views in Google Analytics. In addition, Google has stated that sites already supporting AMP will not have to take further action to enable this feature. Simply provide quality images and optimizations, and watch as your site increases in traffic.

Gif of Swipe to Visit feature for AMP-enabled images in search


Google Maps Launches Place Topics

July 5, 2019, Google Maps launches a new feature titled Place Topics. Place Topics works by gathering data from customer reviews to provide valuable information and customer highlights about your business. Essentially, Place Topics summarizes customer reviews and transforms them into tags within the business’s Google listing.

These tags are located in the top of the review section when finding a business via the Google Maps app. These review tags are then displayed as common words and themes based on the generated customer reviews.

The main benefit behind this feature is so potential customers can easily access your business themes and highlights at a glance. The main benefit behind this feature for the business owner is the fact that it does not need to be managed, it is automated based on customer reviews. Any and all businesses with a “sufficient amount of quality reviews” can benefit from this newest Google Maps feature.

Screenshot of Place Topics feature in a Google listing


Google Business Listings adds “Request a Quote” Button

Search Engine Land Author and Google My Business Product Expert, Joy Hawkins, was the first to discover the new addition to Google Business Listings, stating that “the Request a Quote” button is now showing on branded searches on desktop and it’s HUGE”, on July 24th. Not only is this large “Request a Quote” button showing up for eligible business listings in desktop search results, but marketers are also seeing it in mobile branded search results.

This new button feature is limited to certain business listings, specifically businesses that have opted into the GMB messaging feature. If you choose to enable Google My Business messaging, you will then have the potential to generate more leads for businesses by keeping users in Google SERPs. With that being said, with this new button feature users can now request quotes without ever visiting business listing’s website.

However, with this newest feature, it is possible to generate more leads but it’s not great for traffic. So as marketers we have to ask ourselves, “is it a bad thing if Google sends leads without traffic”?

Screenshot of a Google My Business listing that displays a “request a quote” button


What’s up with the Unconfirmed Google Search Ranking Updates in July? [Maverick Update]

The Google Maverick Update (named in the WebmasterWorld discussion thread by Brett Tabke) continues to be talked about by SEO experts, but Google has yet to officially comment on the update. The search industry noticed significant volatility in Google search result rankings between July 11 and July 18 as the experts monitored the changes and happenings of their clients. When looking within common tracking tools for SEO (SEMRush, Moz, Agoroo, and more) they are all showing similar patterns that the SEO industry is noticing through client traffic and rankings.

After digging deeper, the general consensus is that this is an uncommon update where it is hard to find patterns within it.

  • Sites that saw a nice ranking increase during this roll-out, saw those gains reversed on the 18th.
  • Whereas some sites saw a gradual increase after the June 2019 update but then saw those gains erased after this specific roll-out.

Why should we care in the SEO world? It’s good to know when Google implements an update that can impact your site’s rankings, and it’s useful to know that these ranking changes may not have been something that you physically changed. Knowing that this was a change by Google is helpful. It’s not clear on how we should move forward at this time, but continuing to improve content, user experience, and website performance is always recommended.

Have you seen any changes in rankings after this Maverick Update? We would love to hear your findings!

To be continued…

SEMRush chart showing fluctuations in traffic and rankings


Clever Content Marketing Ideas for 2019

At the end of July, Econsultancy published an article that rounded up some clever content marketing ideas. There are some cool insights and takeaways we can garner from this article to close out the summer content marketing trends.

Here are some content marketing ideas for August 2019:

  • Provide informative content through engaging videos – In the article, the author highlights Patch Plants, a direct-to-consumer company that sells indoor plants online. What’s really cool about Patch’s content strategy is that they have a whole section dedicated to plant care. The “parenting course” is full of informative articles and, more importantly, videos. Video continues to be a rising platform and is being consumed as much as, if not more than, written content. We can use this example to show that video isn’t going anywhere and is actually continuing to gain popularity.
  • Capitalize on influencers to build your brand – In 2017, MVMT was named the “world’s fastest growing watch brand” by Forbes. The brand has a strong social media presence and branding strategy. They use applicable influencers to further this brand and partners with online creators to widen their audience.
  • Use a blog to build brand identity – There are countless “mattress-in-a-box” companies today, but Eve Sleep sets themselves apart because their blog, “Sleep, etc.” is also a content hub full of articles on wellness, health living, interior design and, of course, sleep. This expansion helped grow the company’s brand awareness from 1.4% in December 2016 to 6.6% in November 2017, less than a year later. Companies might not immediately see a value in blogging, and especially blogging outside of the company’s core topics, but Eve’s example shows that when you set yourself apart as a thought leader in a space, brand loyalty will come.

These are just a few of the content marketing trends we continue to see throughout the summer.

Luggage brand website, Away, and their online blog interface


Pinterest Launches Wellness Activities

To help users cope with the stress and anxiety of life, Pinterest has launched a new feature so users can access wellness activities while pinning on the platform. These emotional wellness activities were introduced to target users specifically searching Pinterest’s pinboard for “emotional health” and other mental health related topics.

Created by a Pinterest partnership with Brainstorm, the Stanford Lab for Mental Health Innovation, these emotional health experts offer guidance combined with advice from Vibrant Emotional Health and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to create this newest social media feature. Throughout the day, if people are feeling anxious, sad, stressed, or just plain moody, these interactive activities allow users to access tools to help improve their mood and mindset. Pinterest wellness activities will include breathing exercises, relaxation exercises, self-compassion walkthroughs, and more to come.

How to Access Wellness Activities

When users search for pins having to do with “stress quotes”, “work anxiety”, or additional “mood” related searches, they will then be presented with a prompt to explore these wellness activity resources. This feature is not meant to replace professional care, but simply offers additional support right then and there.

These wellness activity resources shows a different interface than the rest of Pinterest because this experience is meant to be kept separate. Wellness activities completed are made private and anonymous, are not linked to the user’s account, and are not tracked, meaning no search recommendations or ads will be used based on participation with the wellness resources. This newest collection will be available through the app for IOS and Android (V 7.25) users.

Why is Pinterest Launching this Feature?

Users come to Pinterest to discover new ideas and find inspiration through a simple search. However, real-life emotions and thoughts can carry over into our online lives and search behavior. In response to this, Pinterest has worked with efforts throughout the years to make it easier for stressed users to access more supportive resources.

“Together we wanted to create a more compassionate, actionable experience that tries to address a broader emotional spectrum of what Pinners may be looking for.”

The goal that Pinterest has set for themselves is to meet people right where they are, online and connect them with the proper tools to take offline, into the real world.

Demonstration of Pinterest wellness activities in a GIF animation


LinkedIn Modifies its Algorithm to Create a Better News Feed for Users

If you’re a LinkedIn user, you’re probably expecting a more professional newsfeed rather than finding funny videos or motivational quotes (something that is more common for your FB feed). In an effort to get back on track when it comes to the updates that you see on your feed, LinkedIn has announced algorithm changes that will help prioritise more accurate conversations in your newsfeed.

LinkedIn currently functions by using the maxim of ‘people you know, talking about things you care about’ while also trying to filter through the “garbage” as it’s ultimate framework. LinkedIn prioritises users by filtering through direct interactions and connections, and gauging profile information such and interests and common experiences. This then helps generate the ‘talking about’ section to show authentic conversations that create back and forth conversation, display appropriate hashtags, and can help link to additional pages.

“Despite the rumours, the algorithm doesn’t favour any particular format.”

However, during this algorithm update, the company took time to advise users on best practices for the LinkedIn platform:

    • Use no more than three hashtags
    • Mention no more than five other users in a post to avoid being seen as a spammer
    • Authenticity is key

Pete Davies, Consumer Product at LinkedIn, stated on June 25th:

“All the tips work out better when members talk about things they truly care about, in a way that’s natural for them. Genuine conversation around real experiences spark better and deeper conversation. Better conversation, in turn, leads to stronger community and connection.”

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