We know that the digital landscape is ever-changing.

This is why we’ve created our weekly roundups to provide you with the latest updates to social media and SEO algorithms, so you can adapt your tactics and enable your strategy to stay strong.

Covered in this month’s round up:

TikTok Adds Downvote Button for Comments

TikTok users can express their dislike for individual comments with a new thumbs down button. Earlier in the year, TikTok announced its aim to proactively remove abusive and hateful content or behaviour that violates its community guidelines. One of the features born in its test phase was the downvote button – and it’s here to stay.

Google Core & Product Review Updates Finish Rolling Out

Both the Google Core and product review updates completed on the 26th September. From here, you should assess your website’s rankings and traffic patterns to see if it has been affected. If you do not publish product reviews, you will not be affected by the product review update. If you see changes that are limited to product review pages, it is likely caused by this specific update. If you see overall changes, this may be the result of the core update.

WordPress Considers Plugin-First Approach for Core Updates

Matt Mullenweg, developer of WordPress, proposed moving core WordPress functionality to a plugin-first policy; this means new features will first appear as plug-ins. They are developed by the WordPress team rather than third parties and by avoiding adding new features that might not be needed by the majority of users, they promise faster core development.

Google Updates Its Meta Description Documentation

Meta descriptions docs now contain examples of good and bad ways of writing them! Google has listed 4 categories of good and bad meta description examples to guide users of the best practices to use when creating them. Overall, the snippet should be accurate and descriptive of what the webpage is about in order to be considered as high quality.

New Advanced Search Query for Easier Shopping on Google

When you’re shopping for clothes on Google, you can now “shop the look” or “what’s trending” to help you easily assemble the perfect outfit. It enables you to expand and explore your options, discover new trends and styles, and make sure you’re getting the right product for the right price. This new update enhances usability as well as the overall shopping experience.

LinkedIn Rolls Out 3 Updates to Pages

“Post Templates”, “Pinned Comments” and “Page Commitments” are the new LinkedIn features to try out. These new features enable you to create more engaging and actionable content with clickable links and no third-party tools required. The “Page Commitments” will be a section to showcase your most important values for job seekers and potential partners.

WordPress 6.1 Contains “Massive Improvement to Database Performance”

Scheduled for November 2022, this new version will produce significant performance gains by caching database queries. This new post query caching promises to make website perform faster due to the billions less repeated database queries. Instead of making a database query, it enables checking the cache first to see if the information can be pulled from there instead.

AMP is Dead

Google removes references to AMP from Article schema guidance. Accelerated Mobile Pages was once necessary to qualify for inclusion in top stories, however this is no longer the case so has been completely removed.

John Mueller Confirms ALT Tages Can Be Left Empty for Decorative Images

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) also says you should do that. Alt text is only considered to be a factor for image search, rather than a regular web search, so there is no need to include it for decorative images. Alt text is treated as regular on-page text; if you would like an image to rank in image search, it is recommended you fill this in and for accessibility too. 

Google Replaces Title Tags with Site Names for Homepage Results

The aim is to make it easier to identify the website that’s associated with each result on mobile search. This update is not applicable for subdomains, however non-branded searches for keywords and brand name and keyword searches still show title tags. Currently available in English, French, Japanese and German languages, it will start appearing in other languages in the upcoming months.

WordPress 6.1 is Jam-Packed with Performance Upgrades

Arriving November 2022, this update is jam-packed with performance improvements – this may be the update that many have been waiting for. Improvements have been made to WP_Query performance, REST API Database Queries, additional Caching improvements and both Post and Post Type improvements. We’re excited to see what November brings!

Google Ads ‘Sponsored’ Label is Now in Bold, Black Text

New label: replacing the ‘Ad’ label with a new bold, black text ‘Sponsored’ label. Alongside the new site names and larger favicon updates, this new label is to help “make sense of the information you see is ensuring that ads are clearly labelled.” It appears in the top-left corner of Google Search ads, clearly distinguishable from organic search results.

New “Search Essentials” Documentation Launched for SEO

Covering technical, spam policy and best practices. This full refresh removes the term “Webmaster” and has simplified the 20 year old guidelines for the modern day. A lot has changed over the past 2 decades and these new Search Essentials reflect this. Make sure you review the new documentation to scrub up on your SEO best practices.

TikTok Hints at US Product Fulfilment Centres

ByteDance have a way to go with proving privacy, but it may be time for marketers to embrace social commerce. These assumptions have stemmed from job openings being posted on the platform for merchandise storage, delivery and customer service returns. If the entire user journey is restricted to TikTok, this could be a complete gamechanger.

Google October 2022 Spam Update Completed in <42 Hours

Google said, “sites that violate our policies may rank lower in results or not appear in results at all.” Beginning on 19th October 2022 and completing on 21st October 2022, this was a quick update that has had some major impact. As a global update impacting all regions and languages, Google will continue to perform periodic refreshes to the update and will penalise techniques that are against spam policies.

Numerous Reports of Google Doing Mass Removal of Reviews From Local Search

It is unclear just yet if this is a bug or a new filter being applied to already approved reviews. Mass pruning and review removals are completed every now and then but it is uncertain if this is the case or it is a mistake. Apparently, this came not long after Google randomly published more reviews, so this could be related in some way.

LinkedIn Adds Automatic Captions to Videos

LinkedIn is upgrading video content with automatically generated captions and adding several new features to assist people with accessibility needs. The captions will be added during the upload process and there will be the ability to review and edit if necessary. High contrast mode to the mobile app, accessibility job titles, alt text for ads and many more new features are being added so make sure to look out for them.

Google Lets You Disable Targeted Ads & Keep Personalised Searches

Google’s new My Ad Centre lets users disable targeted advertising without giving up helpful features like personalised search results. Users will now be able to personalise their ads they see across search results, YouTube and Google Discover without blocking Google from collecting data. It’s the perfect compromise, so you can see what you want to see and be targeted how you want to be targeted.

Google Tests New “Local Business Finder” Design With Expanded Services Listing

Google seems to be testing a new local finder for local queries that trigger the local pack. It seems to have a new design and layout, as well as making more use of the “services” tab than before, so businesses may now be able to list their services on their Google Business Profile.

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