To keep you up to date with the latest search changes and updates, we have wrapped up the key industry changes from November.
With recent political events such as Brexit and the 2016 US presidential election reportedly plagued by fake news, unreliable news or opinion pieces presented as news, it comes as no surprise that various internet firms are doing their best to inform their users as to what is reliable or not. Already, Google has implemented a number of factors to help identify the more dubious news stories. Articles in their news feed are labelled as opinion, local, highly cited or in-depth.
It seems they plan to go one step further by teaming up with the Trust Project (an organisation of news companies dedicated to transparency) and subsequently, 75 independent news outlets to add 8 trust indicators to all news stories.
This could very well affect the amount of traffic sites generate and how they will ultimately rank. Deliberately provocative headlines and ‘click-bait’ articles may have less influence than they once did.
What do you think? Will this be enough to combat the ‘fake news epidemic’?
Google is warning publishers not to use event markup in a way that is misleading to searches or else they will remove the ability for your whole website to show rich snippets in search results.
Google have specifically called out publishers in the coupon/voucher space who have been marking up their offers with event markup, as this leads to a bad user experience. If publishers and webmasters continue to do this, Google have said that they will take manual action.
An example of misleading rich snippets:
Anyone marketing discount vouchers or free delivery as ‘events’ may have to rethink their strategy.
Google will now help you track a restaurant’s waiting time in real-time. When searching a restaurant, it has been possible for a while now to see its busiest period. This update will take things a step further letting users know how busy a restaurant is at any given time.
In addition to the usual bars displaying peak times for local business, users will be able to see a live rating and an estimated wait time. This new feature comes not only from searches but also from collected data from users who opt to use Google Location History.
This new Google feature is a very valuable tool for restaurants, as they could use this to their benefit to increase the number of hungry yet happy customers.
I personally think that this is a great idea! Will you plan your dinner ahead with Google to avoid rumbling tummies?
Instagram has recently added a new feature to their stories. Users can now post polls to engage their followers and generate feedback. Not only is this a fun new feature for the everyday user, it is a great (if not particularly subtle) marketing tool.
Post a picture or a video to your story and pose a question along with ‘stickers’, which others use to give their answer. With 16.7 million people expected to be using the social networking platform by the end of this year, this is a great way to gather data on a new product or service.
In September (2017), Twitter announced it would be testing an increase in its character limit to 240. This marks the first increase in characters since the company’s emergence in 2006. The increase is said to be due to the fact that with roughly 9% of Tweeters were hitting the limit (140) hinting that many need to edit their thoughts in order to get below the limit.
However, the increase has had a mixed reception. Many have questioned the move, claiming Twitter’s brevity is what sets it apart from other social network apps. Its tendency to be used on mobile devices, smaller chunks of text work better.
According to Twitter, once the novelty of longer tweets wore off, tweeting behaviour went back to normal with only 5% of the test group going over the previous 140 character limit.
Have you been taking advantage of Twitter’s higher character limit?
The length of snippets in search results has increased to provide more descriptive and useful snippets so users can understand how pages are relevant to their searches. The snippet length has increased from 160 to a maximum of 320 characters.
Although the length of snippets has been increased, Meta descriptions do not need to be updated. The snippets are based on the content on that page as well as the search query.
Do you have any search highlights from November? Comment below or tweet us at @iThinkMediaUK – we would love to hear your thoughts!
WHAT DO YOU iTHINK?