Welcome to Episode 40 of This Week Online Today, where I will be talking to you about the big online news that has been happening this week today to make sure that you are ahead of the game when it comes to running your online brand successfully.
And at the end of the show, I will also be giving you a bonus tip of the week to help you further.
In this episode of This Week Online Today, we discuss the following:
- Mark Zuckerberg’s 2 separate statements about adjusting algorithm to focus on trustworthy publishers and local news
- the focus for Zuckerberg to make users spend less time on Facebook
- Snapchat’s new Snap Store is a potential in-app commerce
- Google has released a comprehensive guide on Featured Snippets
- Facebook will start prioritizing local news in user feeds
- Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement about spending less time on Facebook and other community news
- Snapchat’s new Snap Store is a potential in-app commerce
- A reintroduction to Google’s featured snippets
- Google’s update on Google My Business for restaurant owners to edit their menu
Welcome to This Week Online Today podcast with your host Ahmed Khalifa, where I will be talking to you about the big online news that has been happening this week, today, to make sure that you are ahead of the game when it comes to running your online brand successfully.
At the end of the show, I will also be giving you a bonus tip of the week to help you further. Let’s get straight onto the show.
Facebook’s Multiple Algorithm Updates & Announcements
What’s up everyone, this is episode forty of This Week Online Today and we are going to go straight on to the news about Facebook again, I’m sure it’s going to happen every week at this rate.
But in this case, I say again because a few weeks ago in episode thirty seven I talked about how they are changing the algorithm to kind of reduce your page visibility. Well they have made a couple of announcements this week alone over two days actually. And good old Mark Zuckerberg has released two different statements kind of things.
One of them is that they are going to start prioritising local news in their user feeds. And, I guess it’s part of the whole kind of community building kind of thing, they want to make sure it’s all about being connected with your community, with your peers kind of thing.
They want to start pushing local news more on top of the user’s feed. And I think it’s also their way of making sure that the quote high quality sites are pushed more often to the top of user’s feed, they are more relevant. And I guess it’s kind of also meant to make sure that there is no fake news appearing anywhere.
And in similar news, in similar but separate news actually, they have made another announcement, and that is they’re going to alter the algorithm to prioritise trustworthy publishers as well.
And again, just to make sure that high quality and it’s relevant and it’s real news that are appearing on the user’s feed. They’re really making a push into that and I guess they have been under a lot of pressure by all these fake articles and fake news appearing on user’s feed and people actually believing them.
And of course it looks bad in Facebook if you know, the feed is full of fake information, fake news and it’s making them look bad, which means advertisement is going to be bad, it means the shareholders are not going to be happy, it’s going to effect them in the long term.
But ultimately of course, it’s going to effect the users when you see a lot of junk in your user feed. So, they’re going to make many changes by focusing more on these kind of publishers who shall deemed to be trustworthy.
And Mark Zuckerberg has obviously released a statement again and he wanted to, and I quote this; “It will only shift the balance of news you see towards sources that are determined to be trustworthy by the community. My hope is that this update about trusted news and last week’s update about meaningful interactions will help make time on Facebook time well spent.”
And you might be wondering, what do they mean about this update? About the last week update about meaningful interaction. Well, because there was another statement on top of that and he wants people to kind of spend less time on it and I’ve talked about that in the last episode about how social media is getting kind of negative attention recently on how it can effect your mentality and your brain and children, how they kind of behave around it negatively and Zuckerberg is kind of trying to react to it by first of all, reducing the number of viral videos, and that is to help to boost the well being of the user’s on the site.
And that is a deliberate decision they had made. And he claimed that they had made changes that would reduce time spent on Facebook by roughly fifty million hours per day. Which sounds like a crazy amount.
Now, in terms of mathematics, that is a reduction of roughly 2.14 minutes per day per user and he’s taken into account of the 1.4 billion users there are on Facebook right now. And Zuckerberg did say that it’s a reduction of time spent around 5%.
So, there’s a lot of changes going on and it’s really really trying to focus more on the community and the interaction between the user and less on your, you know, pitching your business, branding and getting viral videos on Facebook that’s apparently going to happen less and less and he has his reasons for that.
Some people have argued that if we spend less time on Facebook it’s not going to mean less meaningful interaction with other people on Facebook anyway. Perhaps, you never know, I mean you’re probably not going to see that and then he’s probably going to adjust it, who knows.
But on the other hand, less time on Facebook for the users means more time maybe face to face interaction instead of using the online world all of the time. And you know, that might not be a good thing for businesses they want to push their business online, you know get more visibility on Facebook ads and so on.
Well, at the end of the day, and I’ve mentioned this before, there may be a couple of things you can do about it. One is to spend more money and be a bit more clever on Facebook ads. The other thing I always say to you is you don’t focus only on one platform.
Make sure that you own your content, because whatever you put on Facebook, they own it. You put your videos on your feed and your notes and comments or these things, they own everything, that is theirs.
But, if you have your own website, and you have your own content, you kind of own it yourself, you created it, you put it on your site, hosted by yourself kind of thing. Well, that is under your control and that is something you can do something about.
Facebook, you know, we’re playing on their yard. You know, we just have to live with their rules just like any other platform, we’re talking Google, we’re talking Twitter, we’re talking Instagram.
Any platform, especially if they have an algorithm that you can’t really control at all. We are playing by their rules and frankly there’s not much we can do about it. So we can kind of do few things, you can still be on Facebook, experiment with Facebook ads and spend money on that.
At the same time, Facebook should be there to support you, you shouldn’t be using Facebook to kind of depend on it completely.
Snapchat’s New Snap Store is a Potential In-App Commerce
The next news we’re talking about is about Snapchat or the company called Snap Inc. And they have launched a merchandise store, which is quite interesting. So apparently they have a lot of merchandise, I didn’t know about it and they have released in on their app itself.
And you know, it’s kind of funny to think that the kind of attention they’re getting right now is not a lot because people are kind of moving to Instagram stories so people are making jokes about, oh, it’s a way for them to make money kind of then because they’re losing users. But that’s not necessarily the case.
As far as I understand, the goal is not for them to make money from the merchandise, at least not yet anyways, but what people are noticing more and more is that the potential for Snap Inc. to kind of half like an in app commerce platforms for, not just for themselves, but for other brands as well.
And apparently they have been selling their merchandise especially on Amazon and it seems that they used to sell a few things on Amazon, and they have removed it.
And apart from the spectacle they have removed everything else. And it’s a sign for possibly things to come in terms of what they want to do with their in app se-commerce platform. It seems that they do want to experiment with it, it seems that they kind of want to make sure that they kind of develop that and they want to focus on the premium teen audience if you like. That is kind of the main audience on Snapchat nowadays anyway.
But, they are not slowing down, they want to do something about that. And you may have experience in it yourself but e-commerce on mobile can be very very annoying.
When you have issues like, slow website or button’s that are too small you can’t get your finger on it or you know, you can’t really type information, you can’t see everything in one screen, the image is not good quality so on and so on.
You know, e-commerce on mobile can be very annoying and I get that it’s another way for Snapchat to kind of get involved in there and make it as smooth as possible because apparently it does work, apparently the Heartbeat people are experimenting with a merchandise store in the actual app and ordered it and it was very smooth.
So it’s quite interesting, that kind of direction they’re going. Who knows, the tradition goes people will copy that feature but at the same time other apps have their own version of kind of, e-commerce platform.
I think YouTube and Instagram have their own version of kind of trying to sell people products online but you never know. Maybe Snapchat will have a different way of doing it, it seemed to be quite interesting actually.
So does that mean that we have to worry about that at night, does that mean we have our app on Snapchat? No. It doesn’t mean that at all. It does mean though, is that a big emphasis, even more and more now on making sure that your mobile website, your experience of the website on mobile site is just as good as it can be.
It needs to load fast, it needs to have the relevant information in there, it needs to be easy to access everything that the audience needs to find and if they want to buy or subscribe it needs to be easy to do that.
It’s just becoming so so important that mobile experience is to the top level. And there is no hiding from that at all, you have no choice but to do it. So, it’s another way for Snapchat to get involved in that market.
Google Publishing Comprehensive Guide on Featured Snippets
Next in news if we steer away from social media and get on to Google who has published a comprehensive guide actually on featured snippet. And if you don’t know what Featured Snippet is, these are the tiny box at the top of your socials up here which give you direct answer right there and then on the result page when you have a question that you search for.
So you don’t need to go and click on the website to find an answer, you’ll find the answer to your question right there on the Google result’s page.
There are a number of things interesting about this article and one of the things I noticed is it’s written by Danny Sullivan and if you don’t know him, he was the founder and used to be editor of Search Engine Land which is like a really high, trustworthy, resourceful place for SEO news and digital marketing, PPC, that kind of thing and especially around search engines.
And he has moved over to Google to be kind of like their search liaison officer kind of thing. And he’s a link, he’s a link between the SEO community and Google.
So, he’s written this comprehensive guide and basically it explains what Featured Snippets are, the various interfaces you will see, how they work on desktop and how off of mobile and voice search as well. And Google goes into detail about why it’s important and why it’s important not just on mobile but also for voice activated digital systems like smart speakers for example.
And, you know, they claim that the traditional blue link alone does not work as well, so that’s why having the featured snippet is very very useful.
I’ll put the link to the blog post in the shownotes, you really should read it. Have a look at it, just to get an understanding of what a Featured Snippet and the different types there is and why it benefits Google and ultimately, the user’s. All they care about, it would benefit the users.
The Featured Snippet was introduced in January 2014. There were concerns by a lot of people that it means that you lose traffic and people in the SEO have voiced that but, it’s not really stopping anyone from actually attempting to appear on Featured Snippet because sometimes for the user, all they want is an answer and they just want it there and then and that’s it, done.
And that’s why people are concerned about you’re going to lose traffic because if they have an answer on Google, why should they bother visiting your website? But, according to Google, it was very clear that Featured Snippet actually helps drive traffic.
And, on top of that, we are seeing publishers and bloggers and SU experts, they are actually sharing tips about how you increase your chances of appearing in one. And, they claim because it will help you to attract more traffic.
I have mixed opinions about that. I mean, yes, it can, maybe, help you drive more traffic because if you have answered the question on Google and you have, you know, the brief top five things you can do to, you know, I don’t know, fix your kitchen sink, okay, list the top five then. But sometimes it’s not enough, you need to get into more detail so you click on the source of that Featured Snippet.
And that is what Google is saying, and that is how it can help you drive traffic because you show the kind of overview of your article and an overview of the answer to the question that people are searching for.
So, they’re claiming that it will help you anyway. But, it all depends on the content because if you know, people are searching Google, what’s the weather like in London today, or whatever it is, let’s just say London today. You can see the weather forecast right there and then on a search results page and that’s it, done, and you can go.
You could argue, what’s the point of having content around that, but on the other hand maybe they want to get into deeper about not just the weather today but maybe the weather in the afternoon, in the morning tomorrow, next week, and around the area, maybe a specific area in London. And that’s when you kind of click on the link in the Featured Snippet or not, maybe it’s not that link you want to click on, maybe you want to click on the other blue links there as well.
So, it could be a source of traffic for you, you just never know. You just have to experiment it but there’s no harm in appearing there. At the same time, it’s another way to kind of showcase your knowledge, your ability to answer the question on top of that.
Google also mentioned that they are going to introduce more Featured Snippets, when I say more I mean they’re thinking about showing more than one Featured Snippet that is related to what the searchers have searched for. And they want to do that to help people better look at information and also help in situations where there are kind of contradicting topics.
And, they had used an example of a question, of all questions to choose actually, about reptiles. The question on Google, because you know you can search for it, are reptiles good pets? Are reptiles bad pets? In Google perspective it’s actually the same question in different ways, you know. Is it good or bad is kind of contradicting so one way of answering that question is to show more than one Featured Snippet.
And alarm bells are ringing obviously for people that more than one Featured Snippet means that the organic listing of the ten blue links would be pushed down even further.
So imagine on mobile how much further your listing will be if you have two Featured Snippets appearing at the top on mobile. There’s absolutely no reason for anybody to visit your website or any website if the answer to that question is there and then in two separate boxes, in two separate Featured Snippets.
So, I’m interested to see how that looks like, but apparently that is coming soon. So we will keep an eye on that, I don’t know what you can do about that at the moment. You just have to wait and see whether you should be worried about it, anything you can do, who knows.
And on top of that, you know, we have all seen mistakes on the Featured Snippet, and Google knows that, they are aware of that. So, they are encouraging people to submit feedback using the feedback link within the Featured Snippet.
That way, they can continue to tweak it, they can continue to improve it and just make it more relevant for the users as well. So, apparently they are using the information that they receive from the feedback form. So if you have spotted errors or any major mistake just submit feedback and they will do their best to fix it.
Bonus Tips of the Week
And now, it’s time for bonus tip of the week.
This week’s bonus tip of the week is going to be focused around local SEO. And the reason I want to talk about that is because one of the news that Google had announced and updated recently is around Google My Business, and that is an area where you should absolutely have an account there, you should have your business on Google My Business and that is how you are going to appear on Google Maps and appear on local search and that’s very very important.
But, anyway with regards to the news, Google has made an update to the listing on Google My Business which will make restaurant owners very very happy.
And that is, they are able to edit links to their menu’s, and they’re able to edit the titles and descriptions and prices of the menu’s and you can break it down in to appetisers and main course and dessert all that kind of thing. And it’s a new editor that is there to help you edit the menu that will appear particularly Google mobile search actually.
But, just another thing to point out that if you are really focusing on local search and your local market is important to you you absolutely need to have Google My Business. Just, Google it, that’s all you have to do. Google My Business.
When you’re there, fill in all the relevant information and the most important thing you need to do is to fill in, at the very least, your name, your address and your phone number.
These are the bare minimum, and afterwards you can see other places that you can fill in, the description, you need to get maybe reviews and maybe for restaurant owners, talk about the menu and then maybe you can add in your opening hours, that’s kind of important as well.
And when you have an account there, it’s not just about filling in the information there, keep it up to date. You know, people will be searching on mobile while they’re out and about. Potentially you’re looking for your business and if you have the wrong information in there, for example, the wrong phone number, they can’t talk to you.
If you have the opening hour as close but that’s a old one you are actually open, then you have lost a customer. Very very important to have Google My Business a tonne and also maintain it and update it where relevant.
And on top of that, you can also encourage people to leave a review on your Google account, on your listing actually. That’s another great thing to have, that will make a big difference in terms of making sure that you are visible to your audience and Google will take notice of that.
If you have a lot of reviews and more than other competitors in the area, well of course you are going to appear better for Google and also your customers will like that more, if you have hopefully positive reviews. So, encourage that as well, encourage that. But, at the very least, just have Google My Business.
Go from there, start filling in the relevant fields and then keep an eye on it. But make sure you are updated as well.
Thank you for listening to this episode of This Week Online Today. I really do appreciate it and I hope you find it useful. If you have enjoyed the show please do leave a review on iTunes, it would mean the world to me, I really would appreciate that.
Thank you again, you rock. And one more thing, I just want to remind you to do your thing, because it matters. And I’ll see you next week.
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