Get up to speed with the Digital Marketing News and Updates from the week of Jan 30 – Feb 3, 2023.
1. LinkedIn Now Lets You Add An SEO Title And Description – Publishing articles on LinkedIn? You can now customize SEO titles and descriptions for any LinkedIn articles you will publish or have already published. Here are the details on the 2 fields:

  • SEO title: You have 60 characters to work with. LinkedIn says: “We’ll use your added SEO title in place of your article title for search engine result pages, such as Google search.”
  • SEO description: You have 160 characters to work with here.LinkedIn says: “We’ll use the SEO description in place of the first few lines of your article on search engine result pages. We suggest utilizing keywords, summarizing your writing, and aiming to write between 140-160 characters.”

2.Twitter Will Share Ad Revenue With Twitter Blue Verified Creators – Elon Musk, owner and CEO of Twitter, announced that starting Friday (3rd Feb 2023), Twitter will share ad revenue with creators. The new policy applies only to ads that appear in a creator’s reply threads.

Unlike other social platforms, creators on Twitter must have an active subscription to Twitter Blue (depending on your location it is $8/month or more)  and meet the eligibility requirements for the Blue Verified checkmark. Eligibility for the Twitter Blue Verified check mark includes having an active Twitter Blue subscription and meeting the following criteria.

  • Your account must have a display name, profile photo, and confirmed phone number. 
  • Your account has to be older than 90 days and active within the last 30 days. 
  • Recent changes to your account’s username, display name, or profile photo can affect eligibility. Modifications to those after verification can also result in a temporary loss of the blue checkmark until Twitter reviews your updated information. 
  • Your account cannot appear to mislead or deceive. 
  • Your account cannot spam or otherwise try to manipulate the platform for engagement or follows.

3. Snapchat Releases Q4’22 Earnings Result – Snapchat has published it’s Q4’22 earnings result and it seems they have  added 12 million more active users while Snapchat+ subscriptions continue to rise. Highlights:

  • They currently have 375 million daily active users (DAU)
  • North American user growth is still flat, while European users saw a slight uptick. But it’s the ‘Rest of the World’, specifically India, which is driving Snap growth.
  • While RoW is helping to boost the overall usage numbers, however on the revenue side, it’s not contributing in a significant way.
  • Snapchat’s revenue has increased and  it’s still reliant on the US and Canada, with other markets trailing well behind on the revenue front.
  • Snap’s Revenue Per User has actually declined year-on-year – so while it is growing, it’s not bringing in revenue at equivalent scale, and it’s even going backwards in some respects.
  • In Q4’22, Snapchat+ (subscription service ) reached over 2.0 million paying subscribers (0.5% of Snapchat’s active user base).

4. Meta Released Q4’22 And Full-Year Earnings Results – Meta has released its Q4’22 and full-year earnings results.

  • Facebook’s monthly active user count rose to 2.96 billion in the quarter, a slight increase on Q3.
  • Facebook growth remaining essentially flat in every market except the ‘Rest of the World’ bucket.
  • This is a concern since RoW does not contribute significantly to their revenue.
  • Facebook’s daily active figures are much the same – largely stagnant, though people in the Asia Pacific are coming back to the platform more often.
  • Meta is closing on 4 billion monthly active users across its four apps. The current global population is 8 billion – so around half of all the people in the world are active on Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and/or Messenger.
  • Meta says that ad impressions in the quarter were up 23% year-over-year, as it continues to find new opportunities for ad placements.

5. Google Released Q4’22 Earnings Report – Google’s parent company Alphabet,inc  announced a 9% decline in revenue (fourth straight quarter of declining profits.) and 1% drop in Search revenue. It earned $76 billion in sales during the Oct-Dec 2022 timeframe and $283billion (10% increase from 2021 revenue) in annual revenue. Even YouTube’s advertising sales fell by nearly 8%.  Their operating margin dropped to 26% from 31%.

On  Jan 20, 23, Alphabet laid off 12,000 workers (and estimating to spend between $1.9 billion and $2.3 billion on employee severance costs.) because they knew they are not growing the way they expected. In hindsight, the lay off makes sense from an operation stand point. But what does this mean for Digital Search Marketing? Well the tech giant is still a major player in the digital advertising landscape, and its investments in AI show its commitment to continued growth and innovation.

6. Google’s Mueller Criticizes Some SEO Service Providers – Negative SEO companies are those that will build spammy links to a client’s competitor in order to make the competitor’s rankings drop. 

John Mueller took a strong position against SEO companies that provide negative SEO and other agencies that provide link disavow services outside of the tool’s intended purpose, saying that they are “cashing in” on clients who don’t know better. His advice “Don’t waste your time on it; do things that build up your site instead.

The disavow tool was released back in 2012 (after the Penguin update that caused the link selling bust)  and was meant to be used to disavow links if Google notifies you of ‘unnatural links’ to your site. Not enlist the services of a negative SEO company.

7. Per Google, There Is No Optimal Keyword Density – During recent Google SEO Office hours, someone asked “Does Google use keyword density?” To that question, Google’s John Muller said:

Well, no, Google does not have a notion of optimal keyword density. Over the years, our systems have gotten quite well at recognizing what a page is about, even if the keywords are not mentioned at all. That said, it is definitely best to be explicit. Don’t rely on search engines guessing what your page is about and for which queries it should be shown. If your homepage only mentions that you “add pizazz to places” and shows some beautiful houses, both users and search engines won’t know what you’re trying to offer. If your business paints houses, then just say that. If your business sells paints, then say that. Think about what users might be searching for and use the same terminology. It makes it easier to find your pages, and it makes it easier for users to recognize that they have found what they want. Keyword density does not matter, but being explicit does matter and contrary to the old SEO myth, story, joke, commentary, you don’t need to mention all possible variations either.

8. Google: Switch To GA4, Or We Will Do It For You – Google has once again reminded us that Universal Analytics (UA) will stop processing data on July 1, 2023. Now Google in an email shared that starting in March, any customer who does not set up a GA4 property with basic settings, Google will configure one with a few basic settings consistent with the existing Universal Analytics property; this includes certain conversion events, Google Ads links, and existing gtag or analytics.js tags.

If you don’t want Google automatically creating GA4 properties for you, you may opt-out via the instructions in this link

My recommendation : Please migrate to GA4 if you have not already done so ASAP to maximize on historical data and take advantage of the latest analytics capabilities.

9. Google Recommendation On How To Use “lastmod” Tag – The presence of the lastmod tag may prompt Googlebot to change the publication date in search results, making the content appear more recent and more attractive to click on. As a result, a lot of site owners are fooling around with the lastmod date.

So during this week’s office hour Q&A section, Google Search Advocate John Mueller and Analyst Gary Illyes recommended that website owners use the lastmod tag when the webpage was modified significantly to require re-crawling. Do not use lastmod for minor corrections or updates. 

10. Bing Shared The Importance of “lastmod” Tag – Through a blog post, Microsoft Bing shared the importance of ‘lastmod’ tag and how Bing is going to rely on this tag for crawling. Here is what they have written about it:

The “lastmod” tag is used to indicate the last time the web pages linked by the sitemaps were modified. This information is used by search engines to determine how frequently to crawl your site, and to decide which pages to index and which to leave out. The inclusion of the “lastmod” tag in your sitemap is crucial as it allows search engines to easily determine when a page was last updated. Without it, search engines may delay crawling updated content or may over-crawl your website as they cannot accurately determine if the content has been modified.

Bing also clarified that some site owners are using the same date for sitemap generation and last modified. However that is incorrect. 

“The date must be set to the date the linked page was last modified, not when the sitemap is generated.  The “lastmod” tag should be regularly updated when the page is updated for search engines to understand the frequency of updates. To ensure this, it is recommended to generate your sitemaps at least daily.

We are revamping our crawl scheduling stack to better utilize the information provided by the “lastmod” tag in sitemaps. This will enhance our crawl efficiency by reducing unnecessary crawling of unchanged content and prioritizing recently updated content. We have already begun implementing these changes on a limited scale and plan to fully roll them out by June.”