Google Punishment for Rap Genius, Christmas High Street Shopping, Webmaster Tools Improvements and Pinterest Acquisition – Digital Marketing News

Hello and welcome to 2014 – we hope you had a wonderful break! Here we are again to fill you in on the latest digital marketing news. In this edition, we talk about what happened to Rap Genius over Christmas, the decline in Christmas high street shopping, updates to Google Webmaster Tools and a new acquisition for Pinterest.

Google punishment for Rap Genius

Over the Christmas holidays, popular lyric website was discovered to be running a link-scheme in order for it to get rich anchor text and unnatural links pointing to popular songs on its website. Rap Genius responded with an apology, but was penalised by Google on Christmas Day. The whole domain took a ranking drop and users were unable to find even the homepage when searching for ’rap genius‘. Subsequently, the site lost a significant portion of their daily traffic.

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After a 10 day period, removed the ‘unnatural’ links to its website and Google reversed the penalty. However, many of its rankings are now lower than they were previously due to the removal of many of its backlinks.

Read more over at

Christmas high street shopping on the decline

In further evidence to the changing shopping habits of the UK, retailers announced that the number of shoppers had declined by near 5% after Christmas in the typically popular post-Christmas sales, with Marks & Spencer, Tesco’s and Morrisons announcing falls in sales.

However, online retailers have announced record increases in sales over December and the Christmas holidays, with John Lewis’ online department announcing a 22.6% increase in online sales compared to the same period in 2012. B&Q also announced its online sales rose 69% on Boxing Day and 86% on 27 December, and the British Retail Consortium announced there was a "record" amount of online sales in December 2013, a 19.2% growth from December 2012. 

The increasing importance of mobile was also highlighted over Christmas, with Paula Nickolds of John Lewis announcing 76% of their traffic was from mobile devices on Christmas day. According to IBM Digital Analytics, sales on mobile devices outstripped sales via PCs for the first time, with total online sales on Boxing Day rising 40.4% from last year. Robert Preston, the business editor at the BBC had added “a retailer without a substantial online presence, including mobile, is on a fast road to obsolescence.”

After the disappointing sales, Morrison’s are now set to start offering online shopping with a trial in the midlands on 10 January.

Google Webmaster Tools updates ‘Search Queries’ tab

A present for the New Year: Google has updated Webmaster Tools to show a vast amount of improved keyword data for your website. Within the Search Queries tab, it is now showing exact data points, not rounded or bucketed numbers. This can give better insight into how users are finding your website or individual pages – insights that may have been lost with the loss of keyword data.

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Google has also rolled out a separate update to the Search Queries tab, which shows improved data for websites with separate mobile sites. More information on both of these updates can be found on Google’s Official Webmaster Central Blog.

For further information on Google Webmaster Tools and any other digital marketing advice your business may need, contact our team here

Pinterest acquires VisualGraph

Pinterest has made a move towards improving its search with the acquisition of visual search company, VisualGraph.

On Monday 6 January, Pinterest confirmed the acquisition and said it “will help us build technology to better understand what people are Pinning.” With the help of VisualGraph, Pinterest is hoping to build a network of connected images to help users find Pins they will love more easily.

VisualGraph says its approach is to:

“Combine the state-of-the-art machine vision tools, such as object recognition, with large-scale distributed search and machine learning infrastructures.”

One interesting option VisualGraph may offer as part of Pinterest is a function the company calls ‘product recommendation’. This allows shoppers to discover ‘visually similar’ products based on their browsing history. This could help advertisers on Pinterest gain greater reach for their Pins and support further click-through.

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More information can be found in this TechCrunch article.

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