Greetings fellow Internet Marketing and SEO professionals!
We’re now about halfway through the year. Hopefully, your SEO efforts are heating up along with the warm weather. New news in SEO this month includes updates to Pinterest, conference dates for SMX East and lots of big-budget moves for Amazon.
Let’s jump right in and take a look at all the IM news you need to know:
New Apps for Twitter
Twitter usually makes at least one appearance in every monthly round-up. Unfortunately, that’s often because of their long-running financial problems. This month they’re making news for something a little more positive.
Twitter is switching their in-app browser to Apple’s Safari View Controller. Both iPhone and iPad owners will now open links with Apple’s Safari View Controller. iOS users can now block ads and tracking cookies when viewing pages through Twitter’s in-app browser.
Safari’s AutoFill is also enabled. Contact info, usernames and passwords stored on your Safari browser can now be accessed when viewing a web page within Twitter. Plus, Twitter isn’t able to access this stored data.
The switch to Safari View Controller is just one aspect of Twitter’s efforts to reduce overall clutter. The platform is also removing the “Me” tab from their app. Instead, now users have a slide-out menu for their own profiles and settings. This is similar to changes Twitter made to their Android app last year.
Cosmetic changes were added, too. Circular profile photos, bolder section headers and new typography were just some of the redesigns added. Plus, retweets, replies and likes are now automatically updated live.
Twitter’s financial future is still on shaky ground. But these new features are pretty solid for iOS users. We’ll keep an eye on Twitter’s future moves – both financial and otherwise.
Medical Records are Now Removed from Google Results
Google is now removing private medical info from search results, although the search giant isn’t very forthcoming with details. Bloomberg News first reported the change. Google’s removal policies were updated to contain a single line:
“Confidential, personal medical records of private people.”
But beyond that line, Google had no other comment, including no additional info on why they were making this change now.
- ID numbers such as Social Security numbers, Chinese Resident Identity Cards numbers and more
- Bank account numbers and credit card numbers
- Images of signatures
- Sexually explicit images shared without consent
Most people are probably fine with their medical records staying offline from public view. But new additions to the non-indexed list aren’t very common. We’ll keep our eye out for any additional changes.
Facebook Announced App for Video Creators
Video is undeniably hot – and that popularity is only increasing. The two major platforms for video creators are YouTube and Facebook. Each platform is introducing a variety of features in an attempt grab the attention of video creators.
Facebook recently announced plans to launch a mobile app which gives video creators a variety of video tools including:
- Ability to produce and publish both live and on-demand Facebook videos
- Track video performance
- Connect with viewers through Facebook, Instagram and Messenger
The Creator app – which doesn’t have an official name yet – has three major areas: video creation, video analysis and fan engagement. Each area opens in a Snapchat-style camera screen. Video creators will also be able to include intro and outro segments to their live broadcasts.
The service is similar to YouTube’s Creator Studio, launched in 2014. Also, the not-yet-named Facebook app seems similar to an enhanced version of the Facebook Mentions app. Existing Mentions users will be automatically upgraded when the app is released.
Without an official name or an official release date, the new Creator app is a bit of a mystery. If you’re a video creator, this app should be on your radar. We’ll keep an eye on new developments, including info on availability, and report back when we know more.
Sprout Social Releases Bot-Building Platform
Good customer service is a key element to any successful business. Chat support is popular and effective. But there’s just one problem: staffing. Training and paying for real people to answer customer questions via text message is often logistically and financially impossible for many organizations.
Chat bots are a promising solution. Bots can answer simple customer queries without the need for an expensive live agent. This month we saw two new developments in the world of Chat Bots.
First, LivePerson announced a new version of built-in bots powered by Watson. You may know Watson as IBM’s super-intelligent AI (and Jeopardy! champion). LivePerson is a “leading provider of cloud mobile and online business messaging services.” Their new bot can resolve up to half of all user questions without the need for a real support person.
The other new news from the world of Chat Bots is from social management platform Sprout Social. They announced a Bot Builder for Twitter. This is the first non-developer bot creation platform for Twitter.
Bots have a lot of potential for any business with customer service needs. Currently, setting up Chat Bots can be a bit technical and complicated. But these new bot creation platforms show some interesting promise. Online customer service is changing. We’ll be keeping a close eye on further Chat Bots developments throughout the year.
SMX East Announces Conference Dates
The Search Marketing Expo recently announced their conference schedule for 2017. SMX will be held in New York City from October 24 to 26. This is great news for anyone interested in search engine marketing. SMX is one of the largest conferences dedicated to search engine marketing in the entire world.
The conference includes keynote speakers, clinics and instructional sessions. This year scheduled conferences include:
- Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors
- SEO & Social: A Match Made in Marketing Heaven
- Competitive Research for SEM
If you’re interested in learning more about internet marketing, this is the conference for you. Registration is already open. More conference information will be released in a few weeks. We’ll keep you posted on the details!
Amazon Attempts to Change Online Retail with Prime Wardrobe
What’s the biggest problem with ordering clothing off the internet? Sizing. People are hesitant to purchase clothing items which might not fit properly. Traditionally, this is one of the biggest advantages brick-and-mortar retailers have over online retailers.
This month Amazon announced the beta version of Prime Wardrobe. Now Prime members can have clothes and shoes shipped to their home – without being charged. You can try, in your own home, before you buy.
Shoppers have seven days to decide if they want to keep their order or return any unwanted items. Each order includes a re-shippable box with prepaid mailing. Returning items costs the shopper nothing.
While the program is still in beta and not officially released, interest is sky-high. After all, as Amazon describes the new feature, this is a wardrobe which comes to you. Anyone interested in the program can sign up to receive an email once the program goes live.
Over one million items will be eligible including many major fashion brands. Shoppers need to order at least three items to qualify. While the program is brand new, there’s a lot of potential here. Online sales of physical products could see some massive changes. You can bet we’ll be watching this one closely.
Amazon Buys Whole Foods for $14 billion
Prime Wardrobe isn’t the only major move Amazon made this month. The online giant also took a step into the world of offline retail with the purchase of Whole Foods for a whopping $14 billion. This is Amazon’s largest acquisition ever.
So, what is Amazon going to do with over 400 stores? They’re not saying just now. But the potential options are interesting to consider. Could they be expanding their line-up of Amazon Stores? Will they mine Whole Foods for data on how people buy food?
Not much is going to change for consumers. Whole Foods will retain their CEO and Austin headquarters. Founded in 1980, Whole Foods was the leader in premium grocery, but in recent years their growth has stagnated.
One corporation sure to be paying attention is Wal-Mart. While there’s probably no immediate competition, the stage is certainly set for a retail “war” down the road. There will certainly be more info on this story as the year continues.
Google Posts Available for All Google My Business Users
Small business users rejoice! Google Posts are finally – finally! – available to all small business sites. This has been a much anticipated, and long awaited, development.
All businesses which use Google My Business now have access to Google Posts. Content appears in both Google search and map results. Google Posts are now found within Google My Business. They can be accessed via desktop, Google My Business Android and iOS apps.
This new feature allows businesses to:
- Share daily deals and promotions
- Promote events including location-based events
- Showcase top products
Customers can also use your Google listing to make a reservation, sign up for a newsletter or even buy a product. More details can be found in this Google help document.
Google Posts first launched in January 2016. Originally called Candidate Cards, they were available only for political candidates. These Cards would show politically-relevant content related to the individual candidate. A few months after Candidate Cards were launched, the feature template was added to a small number of businesses. Over time the featured was slowly expanded.
With the full launch, these features are now available for all small businesses. Google Posts are a great option for small businesses. Check them out now and get a jump on your competition.
SEO Arrives at a Theater Near You
While SEO might be interesting to internet marketing professionals, is the subject captivating enough for the big screen? John Lincoln of Ignite Visibility seems to think so. He’s behind SEO: The Movie, a new documentary which chronicles the past two decades of the SEO industry.
Featuring interviews with numerous industry veterans, the film chronicles the SEO industry from the early days all the way up to today. How has affiliate marketing changed over the years? How did the early SEO pros approach clients and make a living?
At a brisk 40 minutes, the stories of the industry are actually pretty interesting. This film is surprisingly appealing for both SEO vets and novices. Plus, the movie is available online for free.
Pinterest Lens Update
At the beginning of the year, Pinterest launched the beta version of their Lens tool. Lens is a visual search tool. You simply take a picture of something in the real world, and Lens will help you identify both similar and complementary products.
This month saw some new tweaks to the still-new tool. Basically, the updated Lens is now easier to handle. Plus, new fashion-specific features have been added.
Pinterest has also clearly taken some design inspiration from SnapChat. Opening Lens now reveals a full-screen viewfinder which closely resembles SnapChat’s main screen. Plus, the capture button on the bottom of the screen lets users snap a photo for scanning by the visual search function.
Previously, the Lens update focused on food. Now they’re expanding that focus to clothing. When clothes are scanned with Lens, users are shown outfit ideas. They’re also shown ideas for how to wear the captured items.
Lens is still in the early stages, but Pinterest very obviously has SnapChat in their sights. We’ll keep an eye (no pun intended) on these two photo-based sites as they add new features throughout the year.
Google Doodle Celebrates the Longest Day of the Year
June marks the beginning of summer. To celebrate the occasion, Google brought back a Doodle favorite: the animated mouse featured in March’s spring solstice.
This month the little mouse is taking in the summer sun with a book and a fan. Clicking on the image takes users to more info on the 2017 Summer Solstice.
“Solstice marks the official start of the summer season,” says the Google Doodle Blog. “If you live north of the equator, today you’ll enjoy the most amount of sunlight in a single day that you’ll have all year.”
The Doodle was displayed across international Google home pages throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Countries in the Southern Hemisphere are celebrating the winter solstice, so their Doodle reflected that seasonal change.
No matter where you’re located, we’re hoping your SEO efforts are helping you conquer the world. What news stories have you been following this month? Any interesting tidbits we missed?
We always love hearing from readers throughout the year. Feel free to leave your comments and questions in the comments below.