Another month of 2020 has passed and yet it still feels like day 160 of March. After all the weirdness that 2020 has been, we’ve seen some great digital marketing updates. Google, Facebook, and Instagram stepped up and provided much-needed support to small businesses. We’ve also seen some predicted 2020 trends surface, such as big updates on user experience and advancement of mobile SEO requirements. And before we get too carried away with everything that 2021 has in store… Let’s see what happened in November!
Holidays 2020: Canadian consumer trends
In our October digest, we have already discussed some shopping trends of this year, including increased online shopping, which highlighted the importance of SEO for your website.
Google also just released more consumer trends based on Canadian retail insights! These are really interesting. For example, 65% of Canadians surveyed said they will shop online during the holidays. Some people are still planning to go into stores, although 68% said they try not to touch products in stores, and 61% said they plan all their purchases online. The visible trend here is that Canadians will use stores as more of a transaction point rather than a browsing experience, to reduce time spent in-store and avoid risk with touching items. This is the opposite of “showrooming” – where customers check out stores first and then shop online, often at lower prices.
What’s amazing is that 60% of those surveyed said they will shop more at local businesses this holiday season! Canadians also said they will shop with a retailer new to them. Searches for curbside pickup increased by 3000% year over year as this is a very attractive option for shoppers to keep purchasing gifts as safely as possible.
Google page experience signals in ranking
Earlier this year, Google announced that page experience will play a big role in how your website is ranked in the search giant’s efforts to serve the most helpful and enjoyable content from the web in the search results. Page experience will be measured by existing search signals such as mobile-friendliness, safe browsing, HTTPS security, and a new measure – Core Web Vitals. CWV include loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability as the vital technical measures for a website. The combined page experience signals in ranking will take effect in May 2021. What site owners need to do is leverage the power of Google’s tools such as PageSpeed Insights and Google Search Console’s Core Web Vitals report to better the web experience for their visitors. As always, it’s a good idea to review Google’s guidelines and follow best practices with your website and content posting.
Google’s mobile-first indexing
We’ve talked about mobile-first indexing a few times now, here and here. And Google has actually been pushing SEOs and site owners to focus on this for at least five years now. But now, we are talking about this again because Google was supposed to introduce mobile-first indexing for ALL sites in September of 2020 but due to the pandemic, they pushed this update to March 2021. As a fresher, mobile-first indexing means that Google will only use the mobile Googlebot to crawl and index your site.
The critical part of this update is that anything on your desktop version that is not visible on mobile will become invisible to Google for indexing purposes. This includes desktop-only content, comments, reviews, and more. So it’s actually more accurate to call this mobile-only as opposed to mobile-first, which John Mueller from Google suggested himself.
To reiterate the implications of this… If you have a block of content on your website that is not shown or visible on mobile, then you will lose out on rankings for any keywords in that content. It can also misconstrue the meaning of the page and if Google doesn’t think it provides value or is the most helpful, this can further depress your rankings.
So definitely place your #1 focus and priority on the mobile version of your site. After all, mobile traffic accounts for at least 50% of all web traffic online and with this update, there’s really no excuse!
It has to be in the (rendered / sstatic) HTML to be indexed.
I’m thinking we should just rename it to “mobile-only indexing” to make it clearer 🙂
— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) October 14, 2020
Wow!!! @JohnMu just verified that if you have anything on Desktop not on mobile (content, comments, reviews, etc…) it will not be indexable starting March 2021. If it is not on your mobile page it will not count for indexing. #seo #pubcon2020
— Adam Riemer (@rollerblader) October 14, 2020
Twitter introduces Fleets
After Snapchat’s tremendous success with stories and Instagram just… taking them, we now have yet another contender. Twitter introduced Fleets which are disappearing tweets. The feature was talked about earlier this year (LinkedIn stories made the news then too) but was fully released to everyone just this Tuesday. Guess where the disappearing tweets will sit on your Twitter? Yes, at the top, in bubbles, like another feature we are familiar with.
Twitter’s inspiration behind fleets is to make tweeting more casual. The app hopes this will inspire users to voice their thoughts and express themselves without feeling the pressure of making a “permanent” tweet and trying to rack up retweets or go viral. Twitter found that users with Fleets were more chatty in their test markets and enjoyed more conversations. As on Instagram, you can share photos and videos with text overlay, and respond to other users’ Fleets.
That thing you didn’t Tweet but wanted to but didn’t but got so close but then were like nah.
We have a place for that now—Fleets!
Rolling out to everyone starting today. pic.twitter.com/auQAHXZMfH
— Twitter (@Twitter) November 17, 2020
Our Paid Ads Technical Lead, Rory MacDonald-Gauthier, shared his perspective on using Fleets for advertising:
As with all new platforms, it will be interesting to see how marketers will leverage existing audiences for marketing goals, and how they will attract new users. Whether it is publishing limited-time offers that disappear after 24 hours, combining content from live events with relevant hashtags for increased exposure, or featuring user-generated content from their community, marketers will be able to build upon previous strategies used on other platforms (Facebook/Instagram Stories, Snapchat, LinkedIn). While it is yet to be announced, perhaps the ability to create audiences based on engagement metrics (% of video watched, users who replied to Fleets) will allow marketers to further segment their audiences.
Tune in next month for another round of your most-important digital marketing news!