Welcome once again to the Ricemedia digital marketing monthly round-up! September has made way for October as we head right into the orange leaves and Halloween horror films of Autumn. September was another busy month in the world of SEO, PPC and Social Media and it’s time to reflect on those developments before we bring out the pumpkins. Grab a cuppa and join us to find out what happened in digital marketing in September 2020.
1. Google and Amazon are passing UK Digital Search Tax onto Advertisers but not Facebook
The UK Government’s new digital tax came into force during April of this year, charging 2% VAT to the revenues of search engines, social media and online marketplaces that derive value from UK users. The tax was introduced to recoup taxes from companies such as Facebook, Amazon and Google who have revenue of over £500m and £25m specifically in the UK. While Amazon and Google are passing charges onto advertisers, Facebook broke rank and said they wouldn’t pass on additional charges.
The tax will be an additional charge to advertisers, rather than being put into the monthly budget. This means calculations such as Cost Per Conversion will reflect the media spend not any additional taxes. For more information, Google has a Digital Services and Tax page you can visit.
2. Google Shopping Ads are now Free across Europe
While Google might be passing on digital taxes, it is however making Shopping Ads free worldwide, after being first launched in the US. The move has been made as many businesses cannot afford to pay for Google shopping listings during the economic downturn brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The move is a win-win for small business and users because more people are shopping online than ever before. Businesses can take advantage of the free listings when the free ads launch in Mid-October.
3. Google Launches Mini-Site for Holiday Marketing
To support small businesses further, Google ended September by launching a mini-site of Holiday Marketing resources. The site offers personalised advice to businesses on how they can reach more customers on Google Search, Google Shopping and Google Maps. With the busiest shopping period of the year upon us, these helpful tools are needed as this will be a huge time for online shopping. The tools included are:
- Grow My Store: Enter your store’s URL and this tool will analyse your site’s customer experience which compares it to others in the same retail category. The report, which takes several hours to generate, will give you tailored advice on how to improve your site.
- Local Opportunity Finder: This tool is designed to help users get more customers to their physical store. It will help you get more out of your Google My Business profile by offering personalised recommendations and improvements.
We love these tools and champion anything that can help small businesses during these tough times.
4. We showed you How to find and analyse Competitor Backlinks
Backlinks are an important part of ranking in Google. The PageRank algorithm judges the content quality of pages based on the amount of backlinks going to it. It is a vote of trust from one website to another. Your competitors are working hard to get those backlinks and you should be too. There are also ways you can see what backlinks your competitors are getting, allowing you to target them yourself. Find out how as we show you How to find and analyse Competitor Backlinks.
5. TikTok Banned in the US
As part of the growing tensions between the US and China in recent months, the fastest growing social media service, TikTok has now been banned by the US Government. From September 20th, the app will not be available for download and from November 12th, users won’t be able to access the service at all. This is despite TikTok revealing all their data usage and protection practices, something which they claim is more than other social networks would ever share. Instagram has already launched “Reels” and YouTube is set to launch “Shorts” in October to try and fill the gap left by TikTok. You can still use TikTok in the UK without restriction.
6. Facebook Removes 20% Text Limit on Ad Images
For a long time, marketers have been frustrated with the 20% text rule that Facebook put on ad images. With many businesses including text in their images, some ads would be rejected or have little visibility if they were posted with more than 20% text. Now, Facebook is scrapping that rule. The rule was first introduced to prevent the News Feed from being cluttered. These days, Facebook offers advertisers other ways to be flashy with their ads, so text on images are no longer a distraction they once were. Now it’s gone, advertisers who like using text in images have a better chance of finding their audience on Facebook.
7. Bing Improves Search Features
It’s important to remember there is more to search than just Google, and we’ve written about Bing previously, so it’s always good to see when they make improvements to their search engine. Users on Bing can now expect to see better autosuggest predictions as they search, more “people also ask” recommendations, intelligent answers (Bing’s version of featured snippets) in more regions of the world and semantic highlighting in search snippets.
These features have been fixtures of Google search for a long time now, but at least Bing is improving features for users which should lead to more usage and more traffic for websites. You can find out more about the changes over at Bing Blogs.
8. We explored what Thin Content is and how to Avoid it
Thin Content is on every website and it could be harming yours too, without you doing anything deliberately to cause it. Google also sees elements of thin content as a way for websites to manipulate search engines, leading to lots of penalties, even for those who haven’t acted in such a way. However, there are a few simple fixes that can be done to avoid being penalised for pages with little to no content on them. Find out more in our blog, Thin Content – What is it & How to Avoid.