What a start to Summer! June has flown by and yet we’ve still been spoiled with many exciting updates from the digital industry. We can’t wait to see these updates being rolled out so without further ado we’ll leave you to read our favourite updates from last month:
Google Search Console Report Update
Google has announced that changes to the Search Console reports are being rolled out. The changes are intended to simplify the way Google classifies pages, items and issues within Search Console.
Having listened to feedback from users that the amber “warning” status for a URL or item can be confusing in terms of whether the page or item can or can’t be seen on Google, this is no longer shown on the report.
The update is designed to help SEOs prioritise work and focus on the most critical issues that affect Search visibility.
The new report contains two groups: pages or items with critical issues are marked as invalid; pages or items without critical issues are marked valid.
The change is only for reporting, there is no change in the way Google crawls, indexes or serves the pages.
The update is being rolled out gradually to all properties over the coming months, so keep a lookout for it.
Shopify Unveils New Updates & Features
Shopify has launched its new additions to help brands with new ways to engage with their customers. The recent release of Shopify Editions features everything you need to win in the new era of commerce: Connect to Consumer. Check out the top 3 additions below that we love:
Shopify Audiences is a new app from Shopify that helps you find your next best customer. Shopify’s unique view on purchase intent and its merchant network help identify buyers who are looking for your products. You can create and export high-interest audiences to ad platforms like Facebook. (This feature may not be available in all regions).
Shopify has also introduced Twitter Shopping which will help highlight your products directly on your Twitter profile.
Building relationships with creators and influencers is key to growing your business and finding new customers. Dovetale is Shopify’s all-in-one creator management tool that allows you to find new creators, build communities, manage relationships, and track affiliate sales.
Instagram’s Main Feed Is Going Full Screen
Instagram is testing a full-screen feed in a redesign that resembles TikTok. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Instagram will soon launch a full-screen redesign of its main feed.
A small area at the bottom is reserved for navigation, while every other element is overlayed on the content. As per Meta, the aim is to enhance user experience on Instagram with a full-screen experience of images and videos.
Google Ends Expanded Text Ads This Month
Google will no longer allow the creation and editing of expanded text ads. Users will only be able to create or edit responsive search ads in standard search campaigns.
Existing expanded text ads will continue operating and appear in performance reports, but no new ones can be created.
According to Google, advertisers who make the switch from expanded text to responsive search ads will see an average 7% increase in conversions at a similar cost. Responsive search ads use the power of machine learning to help put relevant ads in front of more people.
Try On Shoes On Amazon
Amazon has recently announced a new feature ‘Virtual Try-On For Shoes’, which is a tool that uses augmented reality to let shoppers try on footwear before buying.
All you need to do is tap the button and point your camera at your feet to see how different shoes would look on you. You obviously can’t feel how comfortable the shoes are or how they fit, but you’ll be able to try on different styles and colours.
Shoppers will have access to thousands of different styles, including footwear from brands like Adidas, New Balance, Superga and Lacoste.
Currently, the feature is only available to iOS users in the US and Canada, but we’re hoping to see this type of innovative shopping experiences from more brands in the UK very soon.
The End of Passwords?
At their Worldwide Developers Conference this month, Apple announced that it has been working on using the biometric authentication built into their devices to bring an end to traditional passwords.
The upcoming Apple operating systems, iOS 16 and macOS 13 will feature ‘passkeys’ which will mean that their users will no longer need to enter a username and password when logging in to websites and apps. This is designed to help reduce phishing attacks as users will no longer have details that they can be tricked into handing over. Passkeys generate a unique key that is only accessible through TouchID or FaceID, which also limits the opportunities for a malicious website to steal your data.
Apple, Google and Microsoft have all committed to expanding their support for the FIDO passwordless standard. For iPhone users logging in on Windows and Android devices, a QR code can be generated which is then scanned and authenticated by the device’s biometric security.
Developers will need to update their apps and websites to support this new standard, so it is a long way from becoming a standard, however Apple has provided documentation and developer previews to help with implementation before the official release of iOS 16 and macOS 13.
New Google Maps Update – Your Online Reputation is Now More Important than Ever
Google Maps has over 154 million monthly users and is the world’s most popular navigation app. As it has developed, it has become a very popular way for users to find out information about local businesses.
A recent update has changed the way reviews are displayed which could affect how businesses interact with their Google Business Profile (formally Google My Business). Now when someone searches for ‘hairdresser near me’ the marker will show the rating of every hairdresser nearby who has listed their business on Google Maps.
Given this change, it is important for businesses to set up their profile so that it displays their reviews. especially as good reviews will help with search rankings. As Google says:
“High-quality, positive reviews from your customers can improve your business visibility and increase the likelihood that a shopper will visit your location.”
For businesses who are not currently collecting reviews on Google, this should be a strong incentive to start asking their customers to review them online.
Popular WordPress Plug-in Now Offering Instant Indexing to Search Engines
Yoast SEO is a popular WordPress plug-in that supports you to optimise your website content. It has recently integrated IndexNow which instantly submits content to search engines, such as Google and Bing.
Using IndexNow immediately updates changes to URLs, which can otherwise take days to weeks to be discovered. This recent integration aligns with YoastSEO’s approach to promote sustainable crawling and efficient indexing solutions. What a dream combo for any SEO!
Google Set to Reward Unique Content on SERPs
Google made a previous patent application which has been generating multiple online conversations about SERP strategy approaches more recently. If the patent is approved, Google will be set to reward information gains on SERPs (Search Engine Ranking Pages) which will change the direction of content creation targeting SERP positions. Information gain means that Google is keen to provide the consumer with the most enriching content possible, adapted to their historical interests, with content that doesn’t only offer them the best information but also the most varied and unique. This approach acknowledges the issues with “copycat content” where multiple articles offer minimal additions to the conversation.
If you are a content creator, the aim is to get you thinking about what new information you are bringing to the table. It’s not just about writing the best content but writing something that is different and unique. Although the patent is still pending, it highlights Google’s intentions for the future which will likely include personalised SERPs where there are multiple SEO successes that may have smaller gains. What new information can you bring to the table when creating content moving forward? How does that impact your approach and SEO strategy?