John Mueller States That The Significance Of Backlinks Will Drop, Instagram Provides New Ways To Get Paid, and A New YouTube Update

November 4, 2022 Posted by Sean Walsh News, Round-Up 0 thoughts on “John Mueller States That The Significance Of Backlinks Will Drop, Instagram Provides New Ways To Get Paid, and A New YouTube Update”
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Sean Walsh
Director at Intelligency

Sean is a Director at Intelligency heading up our digital marketing and client services operations. Sean has 15+ years experiencing working both in-house and agency with brands including Lloyds, Alstom, Hitachi, Lufthansa, Viaplay, DFDS Seaways and Mercedes-Benz.

Welcome to this week’s digital roundup! The best place for digital marketing news to keep an eye on.

This week’s stories include backlink clarity from John Mueller, how Instagram are allowing creators to make more revenue from the platform, and how YouTube has changed this week for creators!

Google’s John Mueller States That The Strength Of Backlinks Will Drop

A photo of a macbook pro with the google search engine on a webpage on full screen.

Whilst at a live session of Brighton SEO, Google’s number one search advocate John Mueller made a prediction regarding backlinks.

Mueller was joined by Lizzi Sassman, also from Google, and a guest called Myriam Jessler and answered several questions related to SEO whilst doing a live podcast recording.

The podcasters all answered several pre-selected questions, and one related to how Google penalises a backlink. The question specifically asked:

“As an SEO, we are interested in backlinks. However, actively working on backlinks often becomes a gray area in terms of link schemes. What are Google’s main criteria for penalizing backlinks?”

Mueller was cautious when answering this question, as Google representatives often are when one relates to ranking or penalties.

Google dislike unnatural link-building for websites and discourage it in their guidance, however, giving away too many details could lead to people walking the thin line of what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable.

Rather than speaking about how backlinks are specifically penalised, Mueller spoke about backlinks in general and their ranking signal on Google, and also why backlinks may become less important for marketers going forward.

Backlinks and their ranking signal

Due to Google’s understanding of how content fits into the big picture for the world wide web, Mueller suggested in his answer that backlinks will start to be less of a ranking signal in the near future due to the search engine’s algorithm not needing to rely on inbound links:

“Well, it’s something where I imagine, over time, the weight on the links at some point will drop off a little bit as we can figure out a little bit better how the content fits in within the context of the whole web.”

This feels like Mueller telling marketers not to worry because backlinks won’t too valuable for a website to acquire in the future.

However, Mueller suggests that backlinks are only helpful because they help understand content which invalidates all the other useful information they communicate.

A backlink profile helps to tell the story of a website, and also how much it’s trusted by other companies, and also how much it can be trusted for its particular niche.

Mueller continued with his answer:

“And to some extent, links will always be something that we care about because we have to find pages somehow. It’s like how do you find a page on the web without some reference to it. But my guess is over time, it won’t be such a big factor as sometimes it is today. I think already, that’s something that’s been changing quite a bit.”

You can listen to the full podcast below:

Live Q&A from Brighton SEO

Instagram Adds New Ways For Creators To Get Paid

Meta is currently rolling out new ways for a creator on Instagram to earn revenue from their audience.

The subscriptions feature that I talked about earlier in the year is expanding to US accounts that are eligible, and Instagram will also be releasing a tool to make and sell digital collectables.

Here’s a quick rundown:

Instagram Subscriptions

I’m sure a lot of you will have noticed that you’ve got a notification stating that you can subscribe to your favourite creator on Instagram which looks like this:

A photo of two notifications from Instagram stating that "golfwangmedia" and "aplasticplant" stating that they have subscriber features.

A subscription lets a user access content which is exclusive to a member such as a group chat or stories from the creator, with just a monthly fee.

This is arguably the best way to earn an income on Instagram.

If you’re a creator, just pop over to the professional dashboard to see if you’re eligible to offer subscriptions. If you are, you’ll see an option to set it up.

When you enable this feature, you can post or have exclusive:

  • Livestreams
  • Stories
  • Badges
  • Posts
  • Reels
  • Group chats
  • Broadcast channels

You can also promote your subscription offering with stories by using a sticker which takes a user to the subscribe page.

Users who subscribe get an exclusive sticker which will appear next to their username in comments so that other users can tell that they’re subscribed.

Instagram gifts

A photo of a present that has been gifted.

Creators are also able to gain revenue through Reels with ‘gifts’, which sounds the same as the TikTok feature.

A user is able to send a gift to a creator as a show of appreciation and to show support for their favourite reel.

To give a gift, you need to purchase Stars, with real money.

Once an account receives a gift, they receive a cut from it.

This feature is currently being tested with selected accounts, so not every creator will have access to it, and Instagram didn’t post any guidance on how much a creator would receive or what the gifts look like.

Howver, we do have pictures of what the back-end of it will look like:

Photographs of the gift process
Credit: Meta

Instagram collectables

Instagram shared some details about collectables, and functionally, they’re just NFTs.

Creators are able to make a digital collectable using a toolkit on the platform or upload their own, and then sell them to an audience.

This feature is also being tested with a small selection of U.S based user accounts.

Photographs of the NFT creation process

Instagram will allow still images and videos to be sold as NFTs, and they will be supported through Solana and Phantom digital blockchain wallets.

New YouTube Updates

A photo of a phone with YouTube on it.

Google has updated YouTube with new features such as more search insights for creators, a channel page redesign, and additional language-based search insights.

Here’s more about each feature:

Additional language search insights

First introduced in 2021, search insights allows a creator to see popular queries, to help give them ideas about trends and to help create content that people are looking for.

Search insights also help to highlight content gaps, to help a creator generate new ideas for content.

Originally, you could only access search insights in English and from user queries in the US, Canada, India, and the UK.

Now you can experiment with Korean, Hindi, and Japansese, with more languages on the way.

New channel page layout

YouTube are changing the channel page in two ways.

The first way is that the nav bar sits below the channel bio/information section, and looks like this:

A YouTube navigation bar below the channel bio.

Join and Store are more visible to users visiting a channel now as well, to help boost creator revenue.

The second change is that the video tab is split into long and short-form videos.

This will make Shorts that a creator has made more accessible from a viewing perspective.

Here’s a video explaining all the new changes:

As always, thanks for reading this week’s Digital Roundup.

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