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Google & YouTube Make Algorithm Updates, and Other Marketing Stories of the Week

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Significant changes are happening every day in the world of marketing, and it’s becoming quite the task to keep up with all of them. But as British conservative politician and statesman Winston Churchill once said, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”

As a marketer, think about how agile your marketing really is. Are you changing and adapting to social media and search engine updates? Have you trained your marketing team to experiment and take chances that will propel you forward? These are all great questions to contemplate as you read these top 5 marketing stories of the week.

It’s “Top Heavy 2″ As Google Rolls Out Update to Its Page Layout Algorithm, From Search Engine Land

Yes, you read that right. Google just rolled out another algorithm update. In fact, this is Google's fourth update in two weeks. To sum up the changes, first was Panda Update 20 on September 27th, then the EMD Update 1 on September 28th, next the Penguin Update 3 on October 5th, and now Top Heavy 2 has rolled out, as of October 9th. If you don’t recall the original Top Heavy update, the long and the short of it is that Google will penalize pages with too many ads “above the fold,” also known as Google’s ‘Page Layout’ algorithm.

Matt Cutts, head of Google’s web spam team, announced on Tuesday that this is a minor change but will noticeably affect about 0.7% of English-language queries. So why, if this isn’t a huge alteration, would Google feel the need to announce this? Because webmasters have consistently been asking for more frequent 'weather reports' related to Google’s algorithm updates. As a result, Google has promised to provide this type of information about updates more frequently. Of course, over the past two weeks, this new protocol has become a great challenge for busy marketers wishing to keep up with Google’s updates. So if you’d like to learn more about Top Heavy 2, you can read the full story here.

YouTube Changes Its Search Ranking Algorithm to Focus on Engagement, Not Just Clicks, From TechCrunch

With all these Google algorithm changes, it’s only natural that Google’s subsidiary, YouTube, would go through some changes too. Here's the deal: YouTube’s video discovery features previously rewarded videos that attracted clicks, rather than the amount of time a user stayed watching. But when clicks are the only metric being taken into consideration, users simply need a captivating title and thumbnail to be in good shape. But now, users are being judged on hang time, which means they need to pump up the value and optimize for engagement. This seems like a logical, natural direction for YouTube to move toward. Of course, YouTube isn't just changing its algorithm to benefit users -- its changing it to benefit advertisers, too. In the past, when you saw an interesting thumbnail on YouTube and clicked on it, you could have exited out before an ad even began to play, yet that 'click' would still have counted for the video, contributing to higher rankings. With this new change, however, users will need to actually sit through the ads in order for the video to rank higher. Do you think this was a smart update? To learn more, take a look at the full story here.

6 Tips for Creating an Analytics-Driven Marketing Culture, From MarketingProfs

So, are you an agile marketer? Is your team constantly adapting to every new marketing-related change that rolls out? If not, you’re in trouble. Thanks to inbound marketing, decisions must now be driven by factual data instead of gut feeling. Closely tracking analytics enables innovation and efficiency among your team. Each individual team member will then grow their level of curiosity, build confidence, and stay accountable based on the facts in front of them. Does that sound like a team you’d like to be a part of? MarketingProfs provides six excellent tips to consider when hiring and managing a marketing team. One tip includes asking, “do you have data to support that?” which leads to keeping your marketing team accountable instead of making marketing decisions on a whim. Another tip suggests marketers should test, measure, and adjust to stay agile. The only way to keep learning about what works and what doesn’t is by constantly experimenting, measuring results, and making modifications based on those results. If you’re interested in reading all six tips for creating an analytics-driven marketing culture, check out the full story here.

Facebook Tests Pinterest-Style Feature Called 'Collections'

Pinbook ... I mean ... Facebook just announced it's testing a new feature called 'Collections,' which allows marketers to add “Want” or “Collect” buttons to news feed posts about products. You might be thinking this sounds ridiculously familiar -- like, maybe another social network you know of that is already doing this? Although Facebook claims the new feature is unrelated to Pinterest, we can’t help but think that Facebook is trying to get in on the pinning party. Along with the new “Want” and “Collect” buttons, Facebook is also going a step further to also include a “Buy” button for making purchases offsite. This is obviously a big win for retail and ecommerce marketers, even more so if Facebook decides to make promotion of Collections posts available in its advertising tool. As a marketer, do you think this was a smart move for Facebook? Will you experiment with it for your business page once Facebook rolls it out to all business pages? To see screenshots depicting this new update, take a look at the full post here.

Twitter Quietly Launches a User Directory, From Marketing Land

If you haven’t heard of Twitter’s new ‘Directory’ feature yet, it’s probably because this feature was never officially announced. If you log out of your Twitter account, however, you'll notice a link at the footer of Twitter’s home page that says, “Directory.” This is an alphabetical collection of every Twitter username in existence. The reason Twitter never made a formal announcement about this new feature is because it mainly exists for search engines, rather than for users. As Marketing Land reported, “In aiming to attract more search engine traffic, Twitter is surely looking to grow its advertising business. More search engine traffic means more page views, and that means more opportunities to display ads -- and to have users click on them.” Between the introduction of Facebook Collections and the launch of Twitter’s new SEO tactic, it sounds like social media platforms are being more and more mindful of how advertisers are leveraging them. Are you curious about Twitter’s new Directory? Read the full story here.

What other interesting marketing stories have you read this week? Share your discoveries in the comments below!

Image credit: BiblioArchives / LibraryArchives

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