Now that July is over, it's time for our monthly digital marketing roundup to look at the latest news and advancements in the ever-changing world of SEO, content marketing and digital PR.
According to a recent report by Search Engine Land Google is giving top search rankings to fake list sites. The report concerned scam site Top SEOs, which advertises itself as "an independent authority of search vendors" and suggests a top ranking on their site is a mark of quality. Of course, we know this to be complete rubbish - a position on their list can simply be bought, and the more cash you're willing to part with, the higher you will rank.
Seemingly, Google's algorithm sees a load of SEO agencies linking back to the dud site for "top seo agencies" and decides it's the most relevant site. What's most surprising is Google's algorithm is supposed to block this kind of link bombing, so how this site slipped through the net is confusing search marketers worldwide.
Google has been quick to emphasise that these dodgy results are rare, and appear to be getting more aggressive about calling out fake news sites. Last October, it announced a schema markup to show a "fact check" tag in Google News for news stories, which identifies articles that include information fact-checked by news publishers.
In the meantime, as publishers we need to take appropriate steps to use trusted sources wherever possible and avoid sharing information that could be viewed as false. This will benefit our position in search rankings, and we owe it to our audience.
Over the past decade, marketing automation has grown into a billion dollar industry by promising personalised marketing programs. In a generation where customer expectations are rising, content marketers are investing in AI technologies to tailor their marketing strategies more effectively.
A report by BrightEdge concluded that a third of respondents would use AI to help develop their content marketing strategy this year, with a further 8.7% claiming they were 'likely' to do so.
Just a few popular examples of how marketers are using AI in their strategy include:
Content planning: suggesting what content to create next
More targeted content: recommending the most useful content for each customer, based on behaviour
Automated copy: generating subject lines and descriptions based on data technologies. It may surprise you that robo-journalists have been responsible for generating click-bait headlines for some time now. Take this sports headline as an example.
Retargeting: suggesting the most appropriate content based on re-targeted ad units.
Content faces more competition than ever before so it must perform well to justify the investment. In an age where we're using AI to drive our cars, it's no surprise marketers are implementing machine learning to drive content strategy too.
In marketing, "search" and "discovery" can sometimes be treated as the same concept. However, according to Duane Forrester, VP of Industry Insights at Yext, search and discovery need to be treated as two separate approaches:
Search: A consumer uses a search engine to perform a query and the platform delivers an answer based on indexed data.
Discovery: A consumer does not necessarily know what they want at this stage which means their browsing is less constrained.
According to Outbrain discovery traffic is less likely to bounce than search traffic. This could be because when users consume content in 'discovery mode' they are usually watching videos/reading articles for entertainment purposes or informational purposes. It's in these particular moments where audiences are more likely to be responsive to receiving more content, as the nature of their browsing puts them in the frame of mind for new and interesting opportunities.
In order to take advantage of such moments, marketers need to understand how they impact the overall decision-making journey of their customers.
According to the latest figures from Gfk, consumer confidence has slumped back to the depths it hit just after last year's Brexit vote. Retailers have been warned this "gloomy mood" could result in British consumers moving away from making large purchase decisions. But what does it mean for brands and marketers alike? In times of instability, consumers look for certainty. Brands have the power to provide that.
Head of Market Dynamics at Gfk explains: "Politics may be in turmoil, you may get less euros or dollars for your pound, but brands stay the same – from chocolate to soap powder, fashion to technology."
"What is key for brand owners is to make sure they understand how consumers are feeling, and look to make sure their offer is seen as helping them – from providing a pick-me-up to ensuring that whatever happens, brand quality never wavers"
Of course, building trust doesn't just happen over night - brands need to remain consistent in their messaging. This means understanding your buyer personas and humanising your content in a way that establishes you as credible and reliable.
WooContent is an award-winning natural search agency specialising in SEO, content marketing and digital PR. We can help you to attract, convince and convert your target audience into new customers. Get in touch today.