The Digital Marketing News Round Up: Analytics’ Redesigns, Google Opt-Out Tool, Blocked Site Feature Ditched, and Revised Keyword Rules.

Written by Nathan Kinnear - 02 Apr 2013

Just in case you’ve been too busy chomping chocolate eggs over the past week to keep up, here’s a summary of the most significant digital marketing news stories.

Previously referred to as the ‘Search News Round Up’, the items discussed within this blog series often influence the wider digital marketing sphere, as opposed to the practise of search engine optimisation alone.

Be sure to check our newly-titled ‘Digital Marketing News Round Up’ every week, for details of the latest industry updates.

New social and inbound link reports for Google Analytics

social google analytics reportLast week, Google announced a number of redesigns for social and inbound link reports within Google Analytics. The search engine’s intention behind these changes is to make it simpler to view and understand how users engage with content across social media channels, and all current inbound links.

The ‘Data Hub Activity’ report pulls in data from social sites like Reddit, Digg and various commenting systems, to track the social engagement your content receives. This information is plotted on a timeline.

Meanwhile, the ‘Trackbacks’ report allows you to view all current inbound links, regardless of the size or quality of any referring URL. Google Analytics will also show how many visits a site has received via each of these links, to help webmasters quickly determine which have provided the most traffic.

Both reports were previously available in Google Analytics, but only accessible via extended sub-menu navigation. The redesign means both can now be easily accessed as standalone reports. Improved access to these metrics will no doubt help some to clearly comprehend – and appropriately adapt – past and future digital marketing campaigns.

Google release a new opt-out tool

There is now an opt-out option for those who would prefer Google not to display their website’s content within its Shopping, Advisor, Flights, Hotels, or Google+ Local search products. Those wanting to restrict their site’s inclusion within these services must log in to their Webmaster Tools accounts, and then visit this page.

Google says site content should be removed from undesired channels within 30 days. However, the opt-out tool doesn’t allow you to pick and choose which of the aforementioned products you’d like your site to be included in – it simply allows an ‘all-or-nothing’ choice.

Despite the lack of customisation, this tool is sure to prove useful to many who’d prefer to permanently or temporarily exclude their site from supplementary Google products.

Google ditches Blocked Sites feature

blocked sites featureBack in March 2011, Google introduced its ‘Blocked Sites’ feature, which allowed users to hide certain sites from their personal search results. This feature is no longer available (though it may not be missed much, since its effectiveness has been doubted by many since its inception.)

Last December, the feature stopped working completely and users could no longer block unwanted sites from SERPs. Only now has Google confirmed the feature has been discontinued. There is however a Chrome extension which the search engine recommends is used instead.

The axing of Blocked Sites arguably makes the work of SEOs a little simpler – personal search is becoming increasingly prevalent, but there is now one less user-customisation to consider.

Google AdWords updates its trademark keywords rules

In response to countless complaints, Google has decided to no longer prevent AdWords users from including third-party trademarks as keywords within ads. This restriction will however, continue to be implemented for users in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Brazil.

Although AdWords will not prevent the use of trademarks outside of the above locations from 23 April, the owners of any trademark can file a complaint should they find a third-party using it without permission.

This change will allow PPC campaigns to be refined, and see ads displayed for very specific (and likely, competitor-related) search queries – just don’t get caught!

Majestic Webmaster Tools

Link intelligence tools brand Majestic has announced its own version of Google’s Webmaster Tools reports, used to analyse the health of a site’s backlink profile.

Majestic currently offer three report variations for users (applicable to both free and paid accounts):

  • Standard report: Shows details for a site’s most valuable inbound links
  • Advanced report: Shows the complete backlink data for a site (up to 20,000 links)
  • Tracking report: Shows your URL’s backlink quality characteristics over time

The introduction of Majestic Webmaster Tools will further diversify the reporting platforms used by those working within digital marketing industries, to track the success of a site and its content. It will be interesting to see how Majestic’s offering fares against Google’s original WMT.