Watch out, Google
Google is the well-established king of search engines. As fun as it can be to complain about Google and entertain the idea that Bing or DuckDuckGo might eventually take over (because what we need is even more SEO ranking factors to memorize, right?), it would take a lot to change the status quo.
As it turns out, a status quo change may actually be coming, and from one of the only companies on the planet with the resources to make it happen: Apple. Yes, there’s evidence that Apple plans to take search seriously – and this is what we know so far:
- Apple’s pouring significant amounts of cash into search. There’s been a recent uptick in Apple job postings for search engineers, a signal that the company may be ready to expand beyond Spotlight Search and Maps.
- Applebot is getting some updates. The Applebot support page received a hefty update in July with additional guidelines on various SEO-related rules and questions.
- Web pages are being crawled more frequently. Joe Henshaw of Coywolf reports that his web pages are being crawled daily by Applebot, something that never happened in the past.
The Crew’s take: Other than creating even more work for SEOs, a search engine from Apple has the potential to seriously shake up the search game. Apple’s iPhones are in the hands of nearly a billion people worldwide, meaning that it’s feasible for Apple to take a significant portion of Google’s market share.
It’s also possible that Apple isn’t getting ready to launch a full search engine, but instead may be adding more integration capabilities between Siri, Spotlight Search, and other capabilities on its devices. But, a search engine would be a lot cooler…
Yesterday, Google announced a new program, titled ‘Accelerating Retail’, that’s designed to help businesses in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa boost their recovery and growth during the current worldwide pandemic.
Here’s what we know about the small business program, and how it might provide some insights for your marketing game:
- Over the next month, Google will be releasing a whole lineup of new products, tools, and free training. These will be designed to help businesses recognize and grow their digital presence online – and may provide some valuable insights for marketers.
- There’s a new version of the Grow My Store tool in some countries. The tool, which you can check out here has been available worldwide since earlier in the summer – even if you’re not in Europe, the Middle East, or Africa, it’s definitely worth checking out!
- The Rising Retail Categories tool is getting expanded real-time coverage. This one’s accessible to everyone, and it’s a great tool to see what’s trending. As of yesterday, the tool covers real-time trends in more regions.
We’re looking forward to seeing what else Google releases over the coming month – hopefully some more tools to help marketers keep their skills sharp as the world transitions toward e-commerce by the day!
We saved you a spot…
…but only if you’re ready to put your product in front of the 16k marketers who get this newsletter every single weekday.
It’s true – and the whole process is hassle-free, from start to finish. Want your product to take over this spot in the newsletter? Here’s how it works:
- We’ll do the copywriting for you in the same style we write the rest of the newsletter (and the style you’ve seen other products advertised here).
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You might be interested in some numbers. Did we read your mind?
Here you go:
- 47.5% average unique open rate in the past 4 weeks for 7.3k unique readers every day.
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Interested? Reply to this email to get more info or head over to this page where you can see more info about who reads this newsletter and some past examples.
Let’s predict the future together!
This year might be the first time in all of human history that retail stores aren’t flooded with shoppers on Black Friday. We’re not totally exaggerating, either – with stores still in various stages of lockdown, e-commerce has seen an unprecedented surge in the past six months.
Q4 kicks off the shopping season on October 1st, and we want to know: what’s next for advertising this year?
That’s where you come in – along with 16k other marketers reading this. We want to help you prepare for a wild Q4 by crowdsourcing some insights about how e-commerce advertisers plan to spend their ad budget in the coming quarter.
We’ve put together a quick, anonymous and painless survey that takes just 3 minutes to fill in.
At the end of September, we’ll analyze it and share all the insights in this newsletter. It won’t be locked behind any form or paywall, it will be free and open to read!
If you’re working at (or run) an agency, feel free to fill it in with stats from each of your relevant clients.
And share it with your marketer friends – they don’t have to subscribe to fill in the survey or read the report. It’ll be free for everyone on our website!
How do people read online?
They don’t. They scan.
The Nielsen Norman Group has been analyzing online users’ behaviors since 2006. And despite the fact that website design has drastically changed since then, users’ behavior hasn’t.
Our brains push us to be efficient. And in that quest for efficiency, we’ve all subconsciously figured out that you can absorb nearly the same amount of information by scanning an article rather than reading it.
However, there have been some changes in users’ reading patterns that have been mostly influenced by an evolving internet.
Let’s dive in.
What has changed?
+ The rise in popularity of zig-zag layouts coincided with the development of new gaze patterns:
“[users’ eyes] begin in the top left cell, move to the right until the end of the row, then drop down to the next row, move to the left until the of the row, drop down the next row, and so on.”
This image will help you get an idea.
+ The complex layouts of search-results pages (SERPs) caused the development of the pinball pattern: users scan the page in highly non-linear paths.
What hasn’t changed?
You’ll need to accept this fact: users are not going to read all of your content. Whether it’s a sales page or a blog post, or even a newsletter (don’t lie – you’re probably scanning right now).
So, make your content scanning-friendly. Here are some principles to do it:
- Use clear, noticeable headings and subheadings to break up content and label sections so that people can scan to find only what they’re most interested in.
- Place information up front in the structure of your content, to allow people to understand the message quickly while scanning.
- Employ formatting techniques like bulleted lists and bold text to allow the eye to focus on the most important information.
- Use plain language to keep content concise and clear.
If you’re curious about the most popular scanning patterns that have stayed constant in the years, here are a few:
+ The F-pattern: This is characterized by many fixations concentrated at the top and the left side of the page. It’s the kind of pattern that you should avoid.
+ The layer cake pattern: This is the most effective way for users to scan pages. And it manifests when pages are organized in headings and subheadings.
+ The spotted pattern: This involves fixating on specific words or chunks of words that stand out from the rest of the page.
+ The commitment pattern: It’s all in the name for this reading pattern, and it usually applies when users are particularly invested in your content.
TIKTOK: Microsoft teamed up with Walmart in a joint bid, but Oracle is reported to be the frontrunner, and the sale is rumored to be announced in less than 48 hours? The suspense is killing us. Who’s it gonna be?
E-COMMERCE: In the pursuit of high conversion rates and great ROAS, it can sometimes be easy to forget one of the underlying reasons your product might be selling – the price. Check out Dan Snow’s thread on evaluating price!
SEO: Google just dropped another episode of SEO Mythbusting, and it’s a must-watch for anyone curious about how to perform a SEO-friendly site migration.
WORDPRESS: A new version for the AMP WordPress plugin has been released with a host of useful updates.
SEO: Want to check if your site has already switched over to mobile-first indexing? This easy guide from RankSense will help you figure things out.
TWITTER: If there’s one thing the pandemic hasn’t changed, it’s Cyber Monday. In fact, the already-popular online shopping day might be even busier this year, and Twitter offered up some advice for preparing.
How does a penguin build houses?
You can find the solution here.
Cool tech, (funny) business, lifestyle and all the other things marketers like to chat about while sipping cocktails by the pool.
People are using Microsoft’s Flight Simulator to fly directly into Hurricane Laura
Microsoft launched their new Flight Simulator game this month, and it’s received plenty of attention. The game lets you fly anywhere in the world, and updates with real-time weather patterns to keep the experience immersive. And in a world where travel is more difficult than ever, the virtual travel experience has been refreshing for many gamers.
This week, players found themselves exploring the force of destruction that swept across the southern United States – Hurricane Laura – and the result was impressive.
The in-game rendering systems did a fantastic job with the hurricane, and coupled with the game’s modern graphics, it’s one of the more unique gaming experiences we’ve seen this year.
Hurricane Laura itself is nothing to smile about, but we can’t help but enjoy watching Flight Simulator players take their multi-million dollar planes headfirst into a deadly hurricane.