Get up to speed with the Digital Marketing News and Updates from the week of Mar 13-17, 2023.

1. Meta Launches Paid Verification Program – Meta has announced that it’s making its new Meta Verified program available to users in the US, which means that American users will now be able to purchase a blue checkmark on Facebook or Instagram for $US11.99 per month on the web, or $US14.99 in-app, accounting for respective App Store charges. As per the Meta Verified guidelines, you actually need to sign up to each platform separately to get a checkmark on each. Meta Verified requires users to provide photo ID to prove their identity. So you’d be paying at least $US23.98 per month to get a blue tick in both apps, which equates to $US 287.76 per annum to buy the perception of credibility. After verification is complete, you can sign-up to the program which will give you:

  • A verification tick on Facebook or IG
  • Proactive account protection from impersonation
  • Dedicated account support from Meta’s team
  • Exclusive stickers for Facebook and Instagram Stories and Facebook Reels
  • 100 Stars a month to allocate to other creators on Facebook

Elon Musk is saying “You’re Welcome Zuck!”. After all, he is the one who started this trend.

P.S: My analysis is in the show.

2. Twitter Launches ‘Unskippable’ Video Marketing Education Course – Twitter has launched ‘Unskippable’, a new, eight-part educational series on video marketing, and how to create video promos that stand out in the Twitter feed. The new series aims to provide a practical overview of all the key elements of thumb-stopping video clips. Each video in the series is around 2 minutes long, making it easily consumable, without a major time investment. The tips and advice in the series come via Twitter’s own creative team, which ’helps advertisers produce thousands of top-performing ads on the platform every year’.

The new series is part of Twitter’s ‘Flight School’ education platform, which is available for free, and provides insights into key Twitter advertising best practices.

And now may be a good time to test out Twitter ads, since around 70% of Twitter’s top advertisers have reportedly stopped or reduced their Twitter spending, as a result of Elon Musk’s changes at the app.

3. LinkedIn Adds AI-Generated Profile Summaries and Job Listings – LinkedIn’s adding a new GPT-powered tool that will provide personalized writing suggestions for creating your LinkedIn profile. To get started, tap on the ‘Start’ button, select what you want it to create, and the system will come up with your LinkedIn profile summary, based on your info, and samples from millions of user entries. The system will use OpenAI’s GPT models to generate these new summaries, which could make it much easier to put together a good representation of your skills and experience, without you having to come up with a creative way to stand out.

LinkedIn’s also testing a new AI-powered job description tool, which will make it faster and easier to write job descriptions. Here is what LinkedIn wrote in the announcement: “When you’re ready to post a job, simply provide some basic information, including the job title and company name. Our tool will then generate a suggested job description for you to review and edit, saving you time and effort while still giving you the flexibility to customize it to your needs. By streamlining this part of the hiring process, you can focus your energy on more strategic aspects of your job.

4. Microsoft Testing Ads For Doctors & Clinics – Microsoft has announced another vertical ad option for medical professionals named Doctor and Clinic Ads. This is an open beta available in the United States, Australia, India, Germany, France, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Doctor and Clinic Ads are intent-triggered based on search for conditions, symptoms, specialists, and more. These rich placements provide real-time information to consumers and inspire action, all with no keywords required. Bing said they are dynamically generated based on the data you specify in your feed file, such as specialties, locations, and service type—in-person/video. The more details you provide in the feed file, the more information Bing can include in your ads and better match your ads to the user’s intent. Other things to know about Doctor & Clinic Ads:

  • The auction for Doctor and Clinic Ads is independent from Text Ads. You can participate in the Doctor and Clinic Ads auction with the campaign associated to your feed file and also participate in the Text Ad auction with your regular campaigns.
  • The Doctor and Clinic Ads auction is cost-per-click (CPC)-based.
  • Feed automation is supported through scheduling to easily keep up with any changes you make.
  • It’s Recommend that you start with $100–$500 per day.
  • You can bring your own data in the form of audience lists.

With Microsoft Audience Network, healthcare providers can display their ads on a network of trusted websites, apps, and social media platforms. They can also target their ads to specific audiences, such as people interested in health and wellness, or people searching for healthcare services.

It’s good to see Microsoft/Bing expanding capabilities in their ad offerings. I think Google invests in hiring more offshore reps to try to dupe advertisers into spending more and more, instead of delivering results for advertisers.

5. Google: You Should Ignore Spammy Referral Traffic – What should you do if you get a lot of referral traffic from a spammy domain? Well that’s exactly what Tom asked Google’s John Muller. And to that Google’s John Mueller said when it comes to spammy referral traffic, you can ignore it and not worry about it regarding SEO.

p.s: If you care to know what & how I feel on this topic then listen/watch the show recording. 

6. Google: Writing Content In Less Common Languages Is Not Automatically Low Quality – What do you do if you have a site with pages that contains less common languages? For example Cebuano that is spoken by approximately 22M people.

Google’s John Mueller said lesser-used or known languages published on the web are not considered low-quality content just because they are lesser known. The page can have words in any language or script, our systems will try to index it appropriately, and try to show it to users who search for those words. It doesn’t matter if there’s no ISO 639-1 country code for it. If this is good content for a niche audience, I would absolutely *not* remove it from indexing. Good content is good content. Your site won’t be “penalized” for content in an obscure language. (But also, thin content is thin content, regardless of which language it’s in.)

7. Google: Stop Using The Disavow Tool – The link disavow tool has been covered in the past (ep-137: Stop Wasting Your Time By Disavowing Random Links Flagged By Disavow Tools). 

Thai week, Farhad asked John Muller this question: ”How would an ordinary webmaster or SEO marketing exec know whether or not to spend time disavowing spam links to their domain?”

John Muller in response to a disavow link services, said, “Some people do things that they can bill, regardless of whether it’s needed or makes sense. To be honest, anyone who does not know, should *not* use it. That’s why the tool is not a part of the search console UI. That’s why our messaging has been consistently to not use it unless you know there’s an actual issue. To paraphrase: When in doubt, leave disavow out.” 

So stop using the link disavow tool unless you have a manual action.

Also recently Gary Illyes from Google reiterated his disavow advice saying at PubCon not to use it. He repeated that it hurts more than it helps for the most part.

8. Google: Nesting Structured Data Is Always Better – Google’s Lizzi Sassman answered a question in a Google SEO Office hours session about whether it’s okay to combine different structured data types. Combining multiple structured data is called nesting.

She said “Nesting your structure data can help us understand what the main focus of the page is. For example, if you put recipe and review at the same level, it’s not as clear as telling us that the page is a recipe with a nested review. This means that the primary purpose of the page would be a recipe and that the review is a smaller component of that.”

Her answer illuminated an important point about how Google interprets structured data.  and whether it’s better to combine structured data or two separate them out. 

9. Google Launches Broad Core Algorithm Update – Google Search has announced that they have rolled out the first broad core update of the 2023 year, and this one is named the March 2023 broad core update. It began on March 15, 2023, at about 10:30 am ET and can take about two weeks to roll out. This is a global update impacting all regions, in all languages. The goal of this update is to reward great web pages so some pages will be bumped off the list. Read below if you want a deeper explanation on what a core update is and what it means for you.

Several times a year, Google makes significant, broad changes to their search algorithms and systems. They refer to these as core update. Core updates are designed to ensure that overall, they’re delivering on their mission to present helpful and reliable results for searchers through improving how their systems assess content overall. These changes may cause some pages that were previously under-rewarded to do better in search results.

One way to think of how a core update operates is to imagine you made a list of the top 100 movies in 2021. A few years later in 2024, you refresh the list. It’s going to naturally change. Some new and wonderful movies that never existed before will now be candidates for inclusion. You might also reassess some films and realize they deserved a higher place on the list than they had before. The list will change, and films previously higher on the list that move down aren’t bad. There are simply more deserving films that are coming before them.

Pages that experience a change after a core update should focus on ensuring it is still offering the best content.  Also consider an audit of the drops you may have experienced. What pages were most impacted and for what types of searches? Look closely at these to understand how these pages may perform against the self-assessment questions. For example, there may be other pages that are doing a better job of helping the searcher because they have first-hand knowledge on that topic. You might also have others you trust (that are unaffiliated with your site) provide an honest assessment. You can also review Google’s advice on how to recover from a core update ranking drop.

P.S: Like I always say, unless SEO & Search Marketing is your full-time job, work with a reputable agency who can guide you through this process.