One of the biggest challenges that SEOs, bloggers and digital marketers have when it comes to digital marketing, is trying to keep up with the constant changes and SEO news. Google – and therefore SEO – is in a state of ‘permaflux’ and never stays the same for very long. And the same can also be said for digital marketing generally, for social media marketing and more. Take your eye of the ball for a week and everything can change.

This month has been no different, so let’s dive in and take a look at some of the biggest things to happen in digital marketing last month!

What We Know About the Core Algorithm Updates

Back in January, Google confirmed that it had introduced a major update to its core ranking algorithm. Users saw significant fluctuations in their rankings speculated that there was something interesting going on. Shortly after, Google confirmed suspicions that this was not Penguin but that the update had more in common with Panda and that it was incorporated into the main algorithm. This was unusual in itself. Google hasn’t confirmed an update since May 2015 and usually prefers to keep us guessing. This tends to suggest that the update was a significant one. And then, only a few weeks later on the 25th, Google rolled out another update! Now begins the speculation as to what those changes were about. An article on Search Engine Land took a look at a brief history of algorithm updates including the most recent core changes.

Google Algorithm Updates Search Engine Land

In the context of historical changes, the assumption is that the algorithm is only further emphasizing Google’s push for quality content. The conclusion? Be proactive and not reactive. Stop adapting to change and instead, push forward with high quality content!

Footer and Site-Wide Links Downgraded

Another bit of digging occurred over at SEO Roundtable. There, it was found that footer links and site-wide links would carry less weight than content in the main body. This is something that many of us have previously assumed but this was the first official confirmation on the topic.

An Awesome Article on Growing Your Visitors

There are loads of new articles on digital marketing, SEO and online business being posted all the time. But it’s only the odd few that really stand out as offering brilliant, high quality advice. One really good article that falls into this category is Growing a Site from 0 to 10K Visitors a Month: Nat Eliason Edition, which was posted on SumoMe.

An incredible article!

The author, Nat Eliason, explains that the staff at SumoMe were discussing what made the difference between the sites that got to 10,000 unique hits a month. Using his own site as an example, Nat showed how we could all boost our traffic.

Definitely worth a read!

Facebook Ads Coming to Messenger

Facebook ads might be annoying but there’s no doubt that they’re working well for Facebook and that they haven’t put us off of logging in.

Facebook’s Head Of Messenger David MarcusFacebook still gets a billion users logging in daily and the company is finally raking in some profit as a result.  And now the search engine will be doubling its efforts by introducing ads to Messenger. TechCrunch was the first to break the news after obtaining a leaked document.We can expect to see this making its way in Q2 2016. The question is: does this present a good opportunity for marketers? Facebook ads has been a very viable platform for highly targeted PPC, so it will be interesting to see what this move brings to the table! Facebook Reactions!

Of course the really big move from Facebook though is the introduction of ‘Reactions’. For a while we heard that we might be getting ‘dislike button’ but it seems Facebook has dropped those plans. Instead, you can now like, love, haha, wow, sad or angry a post. Is angry going to become a verb? Can you angry a cup of tea?

Facebook Reactions

Facebook’s product design director, Geoff Teahan, took to his blog to explain why we can’t dislike things:

“The like button is really valuable because it’s a way for you to very quickly express a positive emotion or sentiment when someone puts themselves out there and shares something. Some people have asked for a dislike button because they want to be able to say, “That thing isn’t good.” That’s not something that we think is good. We’re not going to build that, and I don’t think there needs to be a voting mechanism on Facebook about whether posts are good or bad. I don’t think that’s socially very valuable or good for the community to help people share the important moments in their lives.”

Basically, what he’s saying is that people will probably abuse the button and that will mean feelings get hurt. And he’s probably right… Read the full post here.

Goodbye Right-Side Ads!

Just as Facebook has begun introducing more ads, Google has been getting rid of them. Specifically, it’s ditching ads that used to appear on the right hand side next to the organic results. The question is how this is likely to impact on your PPC campaigns and how it will impact on your organic results. Because in theory, it might mean that everyone gets a boost in their organic traffic. You can find more reaction and discussion on the matter over at HubSpot.

New Webmaster Guidelines

Right at the end of January, Google rolled out new Webmaster Guidelines. The new additions generally discuss guidelines for HTTPS (and the importance of providing secure websites for ranking), mobile SEO and accessibility.

Google Webmaster Guidelines Change January 2016

Another new addition is a focus on the importance of using dynamic pages. Again, it’s all stuff that you could probably have guessed yourself and this is another great example of why you should be proactive and not reactive. Let’s make that ‘phrase of the month’!

How Foundr Got 10,000+ Email Subscribers from Instagram

Now it’s time to showcase another example of great internet marketing content currently doing the rounds on the web. This time, we’re looking at the Smart Passive Income blog by Pat Flynn and a great guest post written by Nathan Chan. Here we learn how Foundr managed to get up to 10,000+ emails from an Instagram campaign.

10,000+ Email Subscribers A Month from Instagram in 1 Year - A great read!

It’s not an immediately obvious place to go scouting for emails and again, it’s a well-written post that is definitely worth a look! Check it out here.

Linking Out Won’t Help You Rank?

First we were told not to link out in case it we lost ‘link juice’. This led to everyone jealously guarding links and not linking to other sites even when it might be of value to the reader. Then the advice was turned on its head and we were told that linking out was key to making yourself a great resource. And then last month, we heard from Google’s John Mueller that external links were not a ranking factor.

“External links to other sites, so links from your site to other people’s sites, isn’t specifically a ranking factor. But it can bring value to your content and that in turn can be relevant for us in search.”

Confused? I guess he’s saying that linking out won’t directly impact on your ranking. But it’s encouraged nevertheless and perhaps it can help Google to identify the subject matter of your content etc. On a similar note, John Mueller also said that you don’t need to add a ‘no-follow’ when you’re linking out to other blogs on your own site with similar content. It won’t be recognized as spam. Let’s see what the man himself had to say on the matter again:

“Essentially, what you are creating there is an internal linking structure between articles that are related on your site. And if you can do that automatically, that is up to you. “The important part to us is that the primary content on these pages isn’t automatically generated. That there is really something valuable on those pages.”

Targeted Link Building Still Matters!

Another great piece of content this month came from Ran Fishkin who took a look at the importance of targeted link building and why it is still crucial for SEO. Rand showed that it could help you in a number ways and recommended that we reach out to relevant communities, build a link acquisition spreadsheet and continually execute, analyse and reiterate. Check it out.

SEO News February 2016: Conclusion

As you can see then, February has been a surprisingly big month! Not only has Facebook introduced more ways to react to posts, but we’ve had speculation on core algorithm updates, Google is removing some of its ads, Facebook is adding more and there’s been a ton of great content.

And even bigger stuff is just around the corner – such as a much anticipated ‘live algorithm’ coming to Penguin. So stay tuned for coverage on all the breaking news as it happens. And if we’ve missed anything big, other SEO news or you have wind of something big coming up, be sure to let us know about it in the comments!

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