Posts in Round-Up

Meta removes restrictions on Trump’s accounts.

July 19, 2024 Posted by Maisie Lloyd Round-Up 0 thoughts on “Meta removes restrictions on Trump’s accounts.”

On Friday the 12th of July Meta released a statement confirming Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts will no longer be restricted. The change is made as we lead up to the US election. Trump’s accounts were suspended in January 2021 after being suspected of inciting violence at a ‘Save America’ rally. 

Meta’s initial response was to suspend Trump’s accounts to mitigate any potential spread of misinformation, as well as prevent any more calls to violence. 

Meta has now stated: “With the party conventions taking place shortly, including the Republican convention next week, the candidates for President of the United States will soon be formally nominated. In assessing our responsibility to allow political expression, we believe that the American people should be able to hear from the nominees for President on the same basis. As a result, former President Trump, as the nominee of the Republican Party, will no longer be subject to the heightened suspension penalties. In reaching this conclusion, we also considered that these penalties were a response to extreme and extraordinary circumstances and have not had to be deployed. All US Presidential candidates remain subject to the same Community Standards as all Facebook and Instagram users, including those policies designed to prevent hate speech and incitement to violence.”

Why reinstate Trump’s Meta accounts?

Meta initially allowed Trump back onto Facebook and Instagram in January of 2023 with restrictions and monitoring of the accounts. Meta will no longer be observing the accounts for guideline compliance, essentially making his account like typical users.

The shift by Meta is made to ensure Trump has an equal and fair opportunity to represent himself, his political expression, and his campaign. It will also ensure audiences can access content from all political candidates.

Meta will likely see financial benefits as a result of the change as more campaign money is funnelled into social media advertising. In 2019 alone, the Trump administration spent a staggering $20 million alone.

Since the original suspension in 2021, Trump launched his social platform known as Truth Social (2022). Truth Social enacts as a podium and safe space for Trump to share his political opinions, and as such we can expect him to continue to use this as his primary account. What may differ for this campaign is the way Meta’s platforms are utilised. Historically Trump utilised his social accounts to post divisive and reactive content, to prompt discussion surrounding key issues in America. Like in previous years, his team will likely incorporate Facebook and Instagram ads into their arsenal for this campaign.

Rise of Reddit on Search

July 19, 2024 Posted by Matthew Widdop Round-Up 0 thoughts on “Rise of Reddit on Search”

Reddits appearance on Google search results have quadrupled in the last year (Up 400% from July 2023) and with Google announcing their partnership with Reddit earlier this year, we take a look at what this means for the future of search and the SEO industry. 

Google and Reddit Partnership

In February, Google announced they would be formalising their partnership with Reddit after a long standing relationship over a number of years. At the time Google said this about the partnership,

‘’Over the years, we’ve seen that people increasingly use Google to search for helpful content on Reddit to find product recommendations, travel advice and much more. We know people find this information useful, so we’re developing ways to make it even easier to access across Google products. This partnership will facilitate more content-forward displays of Reddit information that will make our products more helpful for our users and make it easier to participate in Reddit communities and conversations.’’

Since the partnership, anonymous redditors have dominated Google search, mainly appearing high up on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for question and review based queries.

SEO Experts and Author Credibility

As the SERP continues to pivot towards Reddit for FAQs, many SEOs may be wondering where this leaves their efforts with Google. SEOs focus on producing authoritative content from industry experts, by doing this they hope Google will recognise their content as being reliable and informative for the end user. However, Google is seemingly prioritising anonymous content from Reddit users, not industry experts, throwing SEO best practices into doubt.

Google’s John Mueller responded to an SEO on X about why an anonymous reddit user can outrank a credible author by saying that there are multiple kinds of sites that can be useful to an end user and not all of them have to be from ‘credible’ sources.

‘’Finding the right tools for your needs, the right platforms for your audience and for your messages – it’s worth looking at more than just a simplification like that. Google aims to provide search results that are relevant & useful for users, and there’s a lot involved in that.’’

According to Mueller, Google still holds credibility as a ranking factor, but the process is multidimensional and content can still rank without author credibility, hence why an anonymous post from a Reddit user can still appear high up on the SERP. We cannot determine how much weight Google gives each of their ranking factors and should still strive to follow all of Google’s best practices when creating content, including using credible authors.

Reddit’s Credibility

The credibility of content appearing on Reddit relies on the first-hand experience of its users. It gives Google users the opportunity to have questions answered by consumers rather than business’, giving honest opinions and reviews. This is reliable to Google as people are much more likely to believe another end user rather than a ‘credible’ business trying to market a product or service that doesn’t give a first-hand user experience.

However, due to the nature of Reddit’s content, anyone can post information and opinions, without any checks and balances. Therefore, there will be disinformation on the platform, as appears on any form of social media platform open to public discourse. Google needs to make sure this ill informed content doesn’t pull through onto the SERP, which has already happened when Google introduced AI Overviews, in order to continue giving users the most accurate information.

The Future of Search and Reddit

Given the progress made in the last year, we would expect to see Reddit responses continue to appear more frequently onGoogle. SEOs and Social Media Managers should think about building up their visibility on Reddit, as its popularity increases, in order to continue to compete at the top of the SERP.

New Google Core Update Expected Soon

July 19, 2024 Posted by Sean Walsh Round-Up 0 thoughts on “New Google Core Update Expected Soon”

Google has announced that a new core update may be released “in the coming weeks.” The exact date is still unknown because the update must go through extensive testing before being added to Google Search. The most recent core update was in March 2024, which Google called their largest ever.

Google’s Statement:

Danny Sullivan, Google’s Search Liaison, explained:

“If we knew the exact date of the next core update, we’d tell you. But we don’t know yet. These updates aren’t scheduled for a specific day. The ranking team makes changes, tests them, evaluates the results, and then we get a launch date. Sometimes I could have said, ‘Core update next week!’ because everything seemed on track, but then more work or issues caused delays. I expect we’ll see an update in the coming weeks, but the exact timing remains unknown.”

What Are Google Core Updates and Why Are They Important?

Google core updates are major changes to the way Google decides which websites to show first in search results. These updates are designed to help users find the best and most relevant information.

When these updates happen, some websites might move up in search rankings if their content is considered more useful, while others might move down if their content is seen as less helpful. It’s important for website owners to know about these updates so they can adjust their sites and keep their visibility on Google.

How Brands Can Prepare for the Google Core Update:

  • Create Quality Content: Make sure your website has valuable, original content that truly helps visitors. Regularly update and improve what’s already there.
  • Enhance User Experience: Make your site fast, mobile-friendly, and easy to use. Sites that are simple to navigate and load quickly are likely to rank higher.
  • Monitor and Adapt: Use tools like Google Analytics to check your site’s performance. Identify and improve any pages that aren’t doing well.
  • Build Trust: Show that your site is trustworthy by having clear author information, accurate details, and reliable sources.
  • Fix Technical Issues: Ensure all parts of your site are working correctly, like sitemaps and links. Fix any errors to help Google understand and index your site better.
  • Stay Updated: Keep up with the latest news and announcements from Google about updates. Knowing what’s coming can help you prepare.

Companies caught using YouTube content to train AI

July 19, 2024 Posted by Liam Walsh Round-Up 0 thoughts on “Companies caught using YouTube content to train AI”

A new report has claimed that some of the world’s largest AI developers have been using creator’s YouTube videos without asking for their permission. Once a video has been uploaded onto YouTube, any third parties must request permission from the creator, otherwise they are at risk of violating YouTube’s policies. This was discovered during an investigation by Proof News and Wired.

Which AI developers have been partaking in this?

The report indicates that Apple, Anthropic, Nvidia and other well-known AI firms have all trained their models using a YouTube Subtitles dataset. This dataset contains nearly 175,000 videos from around 48,000 YouTube channels. These videos were incorporated by companies such as Apple without the creators having any awareness of this.

What are YouTube Subtitles?

The YouTube Subtitles dataset includes the text of video subtitles which are often translated into different languages. The YouTube Subtitles dataset features a diverse selection of popular channels spanning news, education, and entertainment. This includes content from prominent YouTubers such as MrBeast and Marques Brownlee, whose videos have been utilized for training AI models. Proof News has developed a search tool to explore this collection and check if specific videos or channels are included. Notably, the collection also contains some videos from TechRadar, as shown below.

Were any other sources used?

The dataset was created by EleutherAI – who stated that the goal of building this set was to reduce the barriers to AI development for companies that weren’t considered the big tech giants. EleutherAi had also taken Wikipedia articles, European Parliament speeches and emails from Enron, according to reports.

If you have any questions about AI and how it can impact your business, please feel free to get in touch with us at info@intelligencygroup.com.

YouTube test a new feature for Shorts

July 12, 2024 Posted by Maisie Lloyd Round-Up 0 thoughts on “YouTube test a new feature for Shorts”

YouTube announce they are currently testing out a new feature for Shorts which allows creators to paste an ‘add yours’ sticker onto content.

Whilst testing is ongoing a select number of channels will be able to access and utilise the new tool. This will provide YouTube with the opportunity to get feedback and fine tune the feature before being considered for complete integration.

One of the main reasons prompting YouTube to offer such a feature to Shorts creators enhance user experience and to increase trend participation. Participation in trends helps generate discussions, traffic and engagement. All of which can have a powerful sway on the way YouTube’s algorithm works.

The ‘add yours’ sticker will allow creators to start and engage with trends on Shorts with ease. User experience is clearly being considered.

This could be especially useful for brands creating reactive content. Being able to simply click on a sticker in the moment can allow for more natural, real-time reactions. For those starting the trends, they are able to monitor engagement through clicking on the sticker. There they will be able to see all the videos made using the sticker and gain insight by looking at any responses.

How to use the feature

  • Creators will need to navigate to the sticker picker, in there the ‘add yours’ sticker can be found.
  • Once the content has been recorded, click ‘next’ and then the sticker icon and click on the ‘add yours’ sticker.
  • Create a prompt for other creators to respond to.
  • The sticker will then be pasted onto the finished video.
  • Creators wanting to respond to the content and join the trend will simply need to click the sticker and start recording.

The benefits this could have for creators is major. It will create opportunities to grow audiences and add valuable and impactful content to YouTube’s expanding library.

Why the feature is important

Trends can signify collective behaviours, opinions and feelings around topics. Trends are a fundamental part of marketing, as they help shape and influence consuming habits. Ultimately helping to sell a product or drive traffic to a blog. Whatever it is you’re trying to achieve, typically a trend is going to help you get a step closer to achieving that.

Competing social platforms like X, Instagram, Threads, Reddit and TikTok all already offer features that make hopping on trends or creating them super simple.  So, it’s pivotal that YouTube are also now creating a feature which so greatly enhances user experiences.

Google Mobile App Usage

July 12, 2024 Posted by Matthew Widdop Round-Up 0 thoughts on “Google Mobile App Usage”

Google wants to improve usage of its mobile app to continue dominating search in case it loses its antitrust lawsuit against the US Government.

What is the Antitrust Lawsuit?

The Department of Justice are bringing an antitrust case against Google, claiming the corporation have dominated search by making exclusive deals. If Google lose the case, it will put their deal to be the main search engine on Apple’s Safari under threat.

Google and Apple?

Google reportedly paid Apple over $20 Billion in 2023 to remain the default search engine on Safari. This gives them 70% of the search traffic they currently gain on iPhones. It is crucial for Google to be able to maintain this audience as 65% of searches are now carried out on phones compared to desktop which makes it a huge part of their market.

Google pushing Mobile App

Google want to become more self-reliant when it comes to search on phones and have been running extensive market campaigns to get users to download the Google app. Currently only 30% of users are searching through the Google app but Google is aiming for this number to be at 50% by 2030.

How it could impact SEO

In the past SEOs have typically centred their efforts based on Google’s best practices, trying to make sense of the search engine to appear higher up rankings

If Google loses its antitrust lawsuit and crucially, a large chunk of its searches, SEOs will need to start optimizing not only for Google but multiple search engines simultaneously.

Losing the antitrust lawsuit would also mean that Google must reduce the number of ads on the site, making organic searches even more important as they dominate the SERP again.

The future of Google

It may be the case that even if Google lose their relationship with Safari via their antitrust lawsuit, users flock to downloading the Google app as they don’t like the alternative search engine being provided and they are so used to Google.

One thing that is for certain is Google convincing more users to download their app will be crucial in protecting them from being reliant on Apple in the future.

59.7% of Google Searches are “Zero-Click”

July 12, 2024 Posted by Sean Walsh Round-Up 0 thoughts on “59.7% of Google Searches are “Zero-Click””

A recent study conducted by Rand Fishkin, CEO and co-founder of SparkToro, in collaboration with Datos (a Semrush Company), has provided fresh insights into Google search behaviour in 2024. This analysis, which includes data from both the United States and the European Union, highlights significant trends and raises important questions about the evolving nature of search and its impact on web traffic.

Zero-Click Searches

The study reveals that nearly 60% of Google searches in both the US and EU result in zero clicks. This phenomenon, where users do not click on any of the search results, underscores a significant shift in how people use Google. Users often find answers directly on the search results page or refine their queries without visiting external websites. Specifically, 58.5% of searches in the US and 59.7% in the EU end without a click, highlighting a trend that has substantial implications for SEO strategies.

Clicks to Google Properties

Nearly 30% of clicks in the US are directed to Google-owned properties such as YouTube, Google Maps, and Google Images. This indicates a strong tendency for Google to keep users within its ecosystem. In the EU, the percentage of clicks going to Google properties is slightly lower, possibly due to regulatory measures aimed at curbing Google’s self-preferencing behaviour.

Traffic to the Open Web

Despite the prevalence of zero-click searches, a significant portion of search traffic still reaches the open web. For every 1,000 Google searches, approximately 360 clicks in the US and 374 in the EU are directed to external websites. This amounts to over 3 billion clicks per day in the US alone, far surpassing the traffic driven by any other search engine.

Impact of AI Overviews

The rollout of AI Overviews by Google in May 2024 has also influenced search patterns. While desktop searches saw a slight increase, mobile searches experienced a notable decline. This suggests that users might find AI Overviews useful but not entirely sufficient for their needs. The subsequent rollback of AI Overviews indicates Google’s cautious approach to integrating AI into search results.

Regulatory Impact in the EU

The study highlights the effects of the European Union’s Digital Markets Act on Google’s search behaviour. While the regulations have had some impact, reducing the percentage of clicks to Google properties, the changes are less dramatic than anticipated. Nevertheless, the slight increase in clicks to the open web in the EU suggests that regulatory measures are beginning to influence Google’s dominance.

Trends in Search Behaviour

Several key trends emerge from the study:

  • Search Similarities Across Regions: The primary differences between US and EU search behaviour lie in paid ad clicks and the propensity to remain within Google’s ecosystem. EU users are more likely to click on paid ads and less likely to stay within Google’s properties compared to their US counterparts.
  • Mobile vs. Desktop Searches: Mobile searches are more likely to end the browsing session entirely, highlighting different user behaviours across device types. Nearly half of mobile searches end without further action, compared to a lower percentage for desktop searches.
  • Search Refinement: Approximately 22% of searches result in a new query, indicating that users frequently refine their searches to find the desired information.

The 2024 analysis of Google search behaviour by SparkToro and Datos provides critical insights into the evolving landscape of online search. As Google continues to adapt its features and algorithms, understanding these trends is essential for marketers, SEO professionals, and regulators. The study underscores the need for a diversified approach to SEO, one that considers the increasing prevalence of zero-click searches and the importance of visibility within Google’s

Meta threatens news blackout in Australia 

July 12, 2024 Posted by Liam Walsh Round-Up 0 thoughts on “Meta threatens news blackout in Australia ”

Meta has taken the dramatic step of suggesting it start blocking news content on Facebook in Australia. The move comes in response to the News Media Bargaining Code which aims to promote equality in media.

Why is Meta threatening a news blackout?

The News Media Bargaining Code has frustrated Meta, who have previous with regards to taking hardline stances against legislation. In 2023, they battled Canada whose laws dictated that Meta provide compensation to news companies (Online News Act). Consequently, Meta started censoring news in the North American country and continues to do so.

What is the purpose of the News Media Bargaining Code

The legislation has been introduced to address the inequality and power dynamics between digital platforms such as Facebook and more traditional news brands. It legislates that new outlets receive a fair compensation for their content which is shared on Meta.

The Australian government wants Meta to acknowledge that there is a symbiotic relationship between publishers and social media platforms. By doing this they will, be able to address the decline in advertising revenue for publishers as a result of social media’s growing influence.

What are the potential consequences of Meta’s action?

A massive consequence of Meta pursuing this line of action is that they would see a steep decline in traffic levels. This could result in them creating bespoke social networks for news or the increase in subscriber models due to the drop in ad revenue. From a user’s perspective, there may be an increase in misinformation, as mainstream news outlets become less visible.

What are the potential global implications?

This conflict is a microcosm of the growing unease between traditional news and social media. With Meta being prepared to flex its muscles in Australia, this could signal their negotiation strategy. Whatever happens next, we should expect that the dynamic between technology giants and media outlets will continue to develop and this could have repercussions on the nature of our news and how it is shared and consumed.

Meta accused of breaching EU law

July 5, 2024 Posted by Liam Walsh Round-Up 0 thoughts on “Meta accused of breaching EU law”

The European Commission accuses Meta of breaching the Digital Markets Act. They have determined that Meta’s “pay or consent” advertising model is in breach of the current rules. Meta’s model in the EU requires users to either consent to personalized ads or pay €12.99 per month to avoid any advertising content from being shown to users.

Why is this currently in breach of the DMA?

The EC has claimed that Meta’s model doesn’t comply with the DMA which requires that users who do not consent to personalized ads must still have access to an equivalent service using less of their personal data. The European Commission has stated that they oppose this binary option.

What has Meta said in response?

Meta claims that their subscription model without ads complies with the highest court in Europe and the DMA and therefore would likely oppose any fines that were in place. The EC could potentially impose a fine of 10% of Meta’s global revenue.

Meta previously offered to lower its base subscription fee from €9.99 to €5.99 to address regulators’ concerns which shows there could be a negotiation to be had.


Why are Meta facing more stringent sanctions than other companies?

Meta is classified as a “gatekeeper” under EU rules, which imposes stricter obligations to ensure fair competition and level-playing field in digital markets. Similarly, Apple was recently targeted by the EU who accused them of breaking the same laws due to their App Store.

What is the European Commission aiming to achieve?

The investigation seeks to empower users. They want users to have more control over their data which should ensure fair competition in the digital advertising ecosystem. By creating a fairer and more level playing field users will be exposed to an array of brands of their choosing rather than any gatekeeper. The investigation is expected to conclude within the next 12 months.

Affiliate Sites Harmed by Latest Google Update

July 5, 2024 Posted by Matthew Widdop Round-Up 0 thoughts on “Affiliate Sites Harmed by Latest Google Update”

Google’s latest core update, March 2024, has seen affiliate websites being negatively impacted and losing large portions of their rankings and traffic. In this article, we’ll be looking at the reasons why affiliate marketing has taken a hit and what users can do to keep their sites on top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

What are affiliate websites?

Affiliate websites promote third-party products through links and earn commissions. For example, if a user creates a blog post around the top ten best aftershaves, he may drive traffic to the website and general sales for the aftershave companies. It’s, therefore in their interest to pay him a commission, so they appear on his blog post.

Why are affiliate sites being negatively affected?

Google released their latest core update in March 2024. The update was aimed at unhelpful, low quality and spammy content, to improve the user experience.

However, since the updates release many affiliate sites have been reporting loss of ranking and traffic, despite creating relevant content.

Sites that are using affiliate marketing and providing links without adding any real valuable content to the platform have been negatively impacted.

Also, Google has placed an emphasis on branded search terms in rankings with customers targeting specific products. Therefore, affiliate sites that are not using branded search terms in the SERP are also having their rankings negatively impacted.

How to improve an Affiliate site

There are a number of ways to improve an affiliate site and make sure it appears higher in the search rankings. These are the most important rules a site should follow:

Create high-quality content

Creating high-quality content will always be the most important way to rank on Google search. Content should be in-depth and give readers new information that can’t be found anywhere else on Google, not simply splicing other pieces of content together.

Avoid spammy content

Google regularly releases spam updates and keeps its spam policy visible to the public, so it is free for users to see. By complying with Google’s spam policy and making sure your website is up to date you will drastically improve your search rankings.

Regular site audits

A site audit is the process of analysing a website to see how well all its different components function. Regular audits are essential to maintain a healthy site that appears high up in the SERP.

Affiliate marketing still has its place on Google SERP, but sites will have to continue to adjust to the ever-changing landscape if they are to survive.

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