Digital Marketing News Round Up: iOS Direct Visits Issue Resolved, G+ Local Reviews in SERPs, Nofollow Press Release Links, and Cutts Comments on ccTLD Use
Welcome to this week’s SEO-centric digital marketing news round up. Without further ado…
iOS direct visits issue now resolved
Image source: developer.apple.com
Since last September, individuals accessing sites via Safari search on iOS devices were incorrectly recorded as ‘direct’ visits within Google Analytics (GA), as opposed to organic. This was reportedly the result of iOS’s version of Safari being unable to support the ‘meta referrer’ tag.
This issue has now been fixed, and so webmasters will likely see their direct traffic figures drop and organic visits increase soon. However, currently it is the case that iOS 6 data will be reported as ‘not provided’ if the referrer tag is passed by users logged into their Google accounts.
Once iOS 7 has been released however, it is thought organic data will be reported within GA. Apple has begun passing referrer data to websites from Google with its current beta version of the update. Should this be rolled out within the full version, webmasters will have greater insight regarding the traffic entering their sites, which can only be beneficial for future digital marketing campaigns.
Google+ Local reviews now in SERPs overlay
Image source: google.co.uk
If web users perform a search using keywords or phrases that trigger local listings in SERPs, reading reviews of each listed business is possible through clicking the ‘Google review’ link (see image above).While this link usually takes users to a new page, this changed last week – clicking the link now sees Google+ Local reviews appear within a dynamic overlay window:
Image source: google.co.uk
It is thought this user-friendly change – which makes leaving a review for any business far more efficient – will see more reviews published and will help to drive further success of Google’s local offering.
Good customer service for businesses with a local Google listing is set to become even more important, since users will now be able to judge the quality of a product and/or service being offered before clicking through to respective websites. It is probable that high-ranking sites that are not being clicked by users due to the presence of bad reviews will see their search visibility impaired.
Google confirms press releases should contain nofollow links
Image source: movingimage.org.uk
It’s been long suspected, but this week Google confirmed via their link schemes webmaster guidelines that links included within press releases should have the ‘nofollow’ attribute applied.
Specifically, the sentence “Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites” was added to the section detailing what the search engine considers to be link scheme violations. If it is discovered that a site’s backlink profile is breaching Google’s guidelines, the search visibility of said site will very likely be penalised.
Barry Schwartz questioned why press release links should be nofollow, to which Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller answered that many SEOs had been using the medium to artificially pass PageRank and promote their sites via links.
This update simply confirms that while press releases can be fantastic when utilised as part of digital marketing campaigns, trying to manipulate the links within for SEO benefits will not be effective.
Cutts comments on the use of ccTLDs for sites targeting irrelevant countries
As internet use grows and .com and .co.uk domains become more limited, some webmasters are choosing to utilise alternatives, such as .io (Indian Ocean) and .ky (Cayman Islands). Meanwhile, others have chosen to employ alternative ccTLDs (country code Top Level Domains) to be fashionable or quirky: recording artist Will.i.am employs an Armenian URL (will.i.am), while founding developer of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg, uses a Trinidad and Tobago ccTDL (ma.tt).
But can using ccTDLs for countries your site is not specifically attempting to target cause SEO problems?
In a GoogleWebmasterHelp YouTube video released on 29 July, legendary head of webspam, Matt Cutts, stated that applying and/or attempting to change the meaning of a ccTDL is a “disservice”, since they exist to help ensure web users are presented with geo-relevant SERPs.
However, Cutts also commented that ccTLD domains used worldwide can eventually be considered as generic TLDs, due to few people using them for their intended purpose. Google’s list of what it considers generic TLDs can be found here and is reviewed periodically.
While Cutts did not specifically say that employing an irrelevant ccTLD would cause search visibility issues, much of what he said indicated that the practice is not optimal. As such, UK businesses are best off employing a .co.uk, or a .com URL should a company have global reach.
Want to learn more about how points in this week’s digital marketing news could affect the profitability of your business? Contact us today.
Be sure to check back next Monday for all the latest industry news.