In this article, we summarise July's SEO and PPC updates, including LinkedIn's new campaign features and objectives, Google dropping support for noindex in robots.txt and changes to Google's image search.
Another end to another month and the world of SEO and PPC is as turbulent as ever. No worries, though. We're here to guide you through the latest updates and changes. So sit back, relax and enjoy the content.
1. LinkedIn adds three new marketing objectives to its campaign manager
There are now three new ways for you to achieve your advertising goals on LinkedIn!
Using the Campaign Manager, you can now optimise your marketing campaigns for the following objectives: brand awareness, website conversions or job applicants.
But what do each of these objectives do?
Brand awareness: Increases share-of-voice through top-of-the-funnel campaigns that charge by impressions.
Website conversions: Optimises campaigns for specific website actions, like purchases or event registrations.
Job applicants: Ads can now be created to drive job applications.
Here’s another cool update that’s in the works; in the future, LinkedIn will optimise its pricing depending on your objective.
For example, if your objective is website visits, you will only be charged for clicks that go to a landing page on your website.
Why is this important? These updates provide marketers with more variety when it comes to campaigns. With different pricing models to match eye type, marketers will be able to get the results they need in a cost-effective way.
2. LinkedIn introduces new ways for pages to generate leads
Want to generate more leads on LinkedIn and measure their impact? Your requests have been heard!
Custom call-to-action (CTA) buttons
LinkedIn, having listened to feedback from page admins, is introducing custom CTA buttons.
These buttons can be set up to generate leads in five different ways, including:
Page admins will have access to brand-new analytics dashboards to measure the results from these CTA buttons. The new dashboards can be accessed either via the home dashboard or at the top of the visitor analytics tab.
As well as custom CTA buttons, LinkedIn has also added ‘Communities hashtags’. These hashtags enable you to associate your pages with relevant terms using the communities feature in the admin centre. Now your pages can be found by the right people, at the right time!
You can also engage directly with LinkedIn members through the hashtag content feed.
Mobile admin editing
Need to update your LinkedIn page while you’re on-the-go? Now you can do it easily from your mobile!
LinkedIn’s mobile admin editing update allows page admins to update key page details and edit published posts via their mobile device.
Please note, the communities hashtags and custom CTA buttons are only available on desktop.
Why is this important? LinkedIn has more than 303 million active monthly usersand over 30 million companies. With these latest updates, LinkedIn is demonstrating its commitment to companies that want to take full advantage of the platform.
3. Google to stop supporting noindex directive in robots.txt
Using noindex in your robots.txt? From 01 September 2019, you won’t be able to.
As of 01 September 2019, Google will no longer support the noindex directive in robots.txt files. This comes as part of Google’s plan to “maintain a healthy ecosystem and prepare for potential open source releases…”
So, what are your alternatives? Well…
Noindex robots meta tags
If you want to allow crawling but remove URLs from the index, this is the most effective method. The tags are supported in both the HTTP response headers and HTML – you just need to add a meta robots noindex directive on the web page itself.
404 and 410 HTTP status codes
You can use these codes to inform search engines that a page no longer exists. That page will then be dropped from the index after it has been crawled.
This one is straightforward – you can prevent Google from accessing a page by making it password protected. It’ll eventually be removed from the index.
Disallow in robots.txt
Using this option, you can block a page from being crawled. Typically this will prevent the page from being indexed as search engines are only able to index the pages they know about.
Search Console Remove URL tool
Probably the quickest and easiest method. The URL removal tool within Google Search Console can temporarily remove a URL from Google’s search results.
Why is this important? Google has announced that it’s working on making the robots exclusion protocol a standard and this is probably the first change coming. As a result, it is important to make sure that you are not using the noindex directive in the robots.txt file. If you are, you will want to make the suggested changes above before 01 September. Also, look to see if you are using the nofollow or crawl-delay commands and, if so, look to use supported methods for those directives going forward.
4. Google adds 'Request a Quote' button to Google business listings
Want to give potential customers the option to request a quote from your business? Don't fret, Google’s done it for you.
Recently, Google added a large ‘Request a Quote’ button to eligible business listings in search results. It was first spotted by Joy Hawkins – a Google My Business Product Expert – who had made no changes to her account whatsoever.
The button also appears in mobile search results when the business’ name is searched for, but it’s limited to certain business listings.
Businesses that have opted into the Google My Business messaging feature – think WhatsApp for businesses – will be able to add the ‘request a quote’ button to their listing.
Why is this important? While this has the potential to generate more leads for businesses, searchers can now automatically request quotes from businesses without ever visiting that business’ website. As a result, traffic could suffer – but it’s up to business owners to determine just how useful the button is.
5. Google launches 'Swipe to Visit' on Google Images
You know what’s annoying when it comes to Google image search on mobile? How many images you have to go through until you find what you’re looking for. Even then, it’s not easy to get access to the information.
Fortunately, Google has heard our pleas and rolled out a new feature: ‘Swipe to Visit’. This new feature is powered by Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), and makes it easier for you and I to see the source website of a selected image. With this update, it will be much easier to scan through images and compare offers without opening up several tabs.
OK, so how does it work?
Swipe to Visit springs into action when you select an image from the results. A small preview of the AMP version of the source website will appear at the bottom of the screen. If you swipe up on the AMP page, it’ll be pulled up and maximised. The website will only receive a page view if you swipe up to open it.
Why is this important? People want accessibility and speed when it comes to search results. By making it easier for people to scan and compare offerings, companies and brands can attract more interested parties to their website(s).