Fresh Egg Round Up

Google Site Search Update, Facebook and Instagram Updates and more – Digital Marketing News

In this fortnight’s digital marketing news, we take a look at Google’s update to its internal search feature, a number of Facebook and Instagram updates, mobile usability and more.

Google adds the ability to disable the site links search box

A few months ago we talked about Google releasing its new site search feature, enabling users to search a particular site directly from the SERPs.

For example, if you search for ‘John Lewis’ in Google, a search box will appear under this branded result that allows a user to search directly. 

Webmasters have a lot of control over these searches and can control where a user will land on the site, or if they will land on your internal search pages at all. This enables users to navigate the site more quickly, and get to the information they need more efficiently.

Google has now allowed webmasters to completely disable this feature with the introduction of the following meta tag which needs to be added to the <head> of the site’s homepage:

When this tag is used, it tells Google not to show a site link search box in the SERPs. The search box becomes disabled as part of the standard Googlebot crawling of the page, which can take a few weeks depending on Google’s crawl frequency of the particular website.


Google Announces that Mobile Usability Reports have come to Webmaster Tools

As a further sign that mobile usability is becoming a part of Google’s ranking factors, its Webmaster Tools suite now has mobile usability reports.

The new feature lets webmasters track mobile usability issues and identify common issues, enabling webmasters to quickly fix these problems and, in turn, improve the user’s mobile experience.

The main errors the tool highlights are Flash errors, missing ‘view port’ meta-tagging on mobile pages, fonts that are hard to read, fixed-width view ports, content not sized to view port and clickable links/buttons that are too close together.

The addition of this report is a strong signal that mobile user experience will soon become part of Google’s ranking algorithm, and is a sign that businesses need to ensure their mobile site is functional and offers a positive user experience. 



eBay has dropped Google for its syndicated mobile text ads

eBay has decided to get rid of Google and test Bing as its new syndicated mobile text ad platform, as reported by Search Engine Land.  eBay has served ads from Google for many years but now, on eBay’s mobile site, the ads that were once served by Google AdWords are now served by Bing. 

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Earlier this year, eBay was hit with a Google search penalty which, according to Search Engine Land, may have seen the auction giant lose up to $200 million in revenue. This penalty may have been the trigger that led eBay to reconsider its partnership with Google. Currently, eBay still has its desktop ads served by Google AdWords as the Bing advertising platform is in the testing phase.

As the blog post states, RKG found that as a result of this change, mobile accounted for 36% of Bing’s ad clicks in Q3, up from 25% in Q1. When RKG looked at the Bing Ads accounts of several clients, it found that eBay now drives 50-90% of all tablet impressions and 30-60% of smartphone impressions.

If eBay makes this a permanent change then this could have a significant impact. However this isn’t Google’s only threat as Amazon is now working on a product that will compete directly with AdWords and will remove Google ads from its site and replace them with ads it serves itself.

As a final comment, the blog post by Ginny Marvin of Search Engine Land, says:

Bing has had recent successes in increasing search volume through partnerships with Apple, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon. Whether or not eBay was motivated by spite to look elsewhere for an ad partner, it’s a sizable coup for Bing Ads to be considered a worthy substitute to Google.


Facebook updates that make it easier to unfollow people and pages in its News Feed

As promised by CEO Mark Zuckerberg in his recent townhall Q&A, Facebook is giving users more control over what content they want to see in their News Feeds. This new News Feed option will make it easier for users to unfollow people or pages and give clearer information to users who choose to hide a post.

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Of the News Feed settings, which can be found on the ‘more’ button within the mobile app, Facebook has said that it will be available immediately on desktop and mobile.

Facebook launches new places directory

Facebook has launched a new place directory containing information and reviews for local bars, restaurants, hotels and parks.

This new update from Facebook combines graph search, page location APIs and other elements to make the directory useful for users. The directory tracks your location and provides the most popular places in your local area, showing some of the local destinations personalised from your profile, be it your local hometown or current location (if you happen to be on holiday). 

The new directory enables a place look up by city names. The search box doesn’t respond to all queries at the moment, for example: “best barbers in Worthing” doesn’t correctly provide you with a list of barber shops in Worthing; however, in the future this will change as graph search evolves. 

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Once a user has searched the city of their choice, they can select from among a list of standard categories, for example: Restaurants, local barbers, hotels, cafes, attractions and more. Each category lists results that appear to be ranked by ratings and network affinity with the user.

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Instagram introduces caption editing ability for typo clean up

Instagram has announced a new update that allows users to edit captions on their photos. Now users can quickly save time by editing their captions, rather than having to delete and re-upload a photo, in order to change any typos or errors.

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The Facebook-owned company wrote in a blog post:

This has been one of the top requests that we’ve heard from the community, and we’re excited to finally bring it to you today […] you’ll find a new ‘edit’ option in the menu beneath your image; tap it to edit your caption.

The update is available today for both IOS, and Android devices

Facebook translates its privacy policy (again) back into plain English

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Facebook has updated its privacy policies yet again; however, this time it’s stripped the language back to pure basics to make it easier for users to understand. The new Privacy Basics informs Facebook users how its settings work; this includes interactive tutorials on how to take control of your privacy on the social network.

Facebook has also expanded its ad-targeting options from US-only to regions including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, and the UK. You can find more information on how this affects users and advertisers here.

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