Happy February! Below is an overview of the top internet marketing news stories from January 2014.
- Webmaster Tools now displays search query data by the exact number rather than rounded out. Also, users can now see traffic to their mobile site separately from their desktop site.
- Google bought artificial intelligence company DeepMind for $400 million to improve its knowledge graph for search. The exact amount hasn’t been confirmed as some reports say it was north of $500 million.
- Google added a date selector box to the knowledge graph carousel for hotel and trip search queries. Users can now use the date selector to look for hotels over a specific time period to book travel.
- Google bought smart home device maker Nest Labs for $3.2 billion. Nest Labs works on improving household items like smoke alarms and thermostat. The acquisition could pave the way for Google to position itself in the connected home market.
- Google Now is now available on desktops by using Google’s latest build Chrome Canary. Users can click on the alert icon and see Google Now Cards just like they would on their mobile devices.
- Google unveiled its plan for a new smart contact lens to help diabetes patients track glucose levels throughout the day, replacing the pin-prick.
- Google is now dynamically changing the top search menu items based on the search query. In addition, some filters have been absorbed into the general Web results category.
- Google is testing a knowledge graph pop up on select sites providing the user with additional information about the website. Users can click on the grey text next to the URL and receive a snippet of information such as the below provided by Google.
- Bing joins Google in supporting secure search. (Yahoo! also followed.) But unlike Google, Bing did not make the switch to HTTPS by default, so for now some referrer data is still available.
- At CES, Yahoo! announced a new news app “Yahoo News Digest.” The app was built on Summly, a company Yahoo! acquired last March.
- Yahoo! joins Bing and Google on switching search through secure servers, by default, providing less data for search marketers on keyword research. Like Google, search terms on ad clicks will still be passed along to the advertiser.
- Yahoo! added local business snapshots next to search results. The snapshot features basic business information, photos, hours of operations, and, when applicable, menu and reservation links. The new SERP is featured below:
- Yahoo!’s Tumblr has adopted Twitter’s @Mention capability, which allows users to directly mention others on the site. Of course @Mention is already available and popular on Facebook, G+, and LinkedIn.
- Facebook announced they will discontinue Sponsored Stories as of April 9. While Facebook says this is an effort to streamline their advertising offerings, some believe recent lawsuits and criticism over using users’ names in advertisements contributed to the decision.
- Yandex announced a deal with Facebook which will give the Russian search giant access to public data from Facebook. Yandex already has data agreements with Twitter and LiveJournal.
- Facebook added trending topics to a user’s news stream page. Clicking on a trending topic will take the user to landing pages of relevant content. Facebook has not commented on how the topics are chosen or ranking factors.
- Facebook has updated their algorithm again reducing the visibility of page updates to focus more on status updates from friends. Again brands will have to augment their organic exposure with paid advertising to maintain their overall visibility on the platform.
- CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s Graph Search, which was launched a year ago, will soon come to mobile.
- Twitter is updating its ability to target ads via tailored audiences through a partnership with Epsilon. Utilizing Epsilon’s technology, Twitter can match CRM data to create highly targeted promoted tweet campaigns.
- Twitter announced a new website redesign to reflect the changes of their mobile apps. Below is an example provided by Twitter:
- In an effort to refine search results, Twitter is launching new people, photos, videos, news, “people you follow,” and “near you” search filters.
- Twitter’s Vine celebrated its first birthday in January. Vine is launching profile pages for users based on the vanity URLs announced last month. They also announced a new feature called “TV Mode” which allows a user to watch all of the videos in a sequence in full-screen mode.
- YouTube unveiled a new comment management portal for publishers which aggregates G+ comments into a single page. Publishers can also set filters such as the ability to approve, ban, whitelist, and blacklist users to streamline comment management.
- Pinterest acquired VisualGraph to assist in its image search functionality. Search results are currently based on user generated tags or texts, while this new technology will help tag images based on the visual content.
- Pinterest added new recipe filters to its search functionality including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and Paleo.
- Pinterest announced supporting GIF images. This is currently only available on desktop but will soon arrive on mobile devices.
- Pinterest rolled out a new tool “Interests,” designed to make exploring new topics easier for its user base. This could be one of the personalization changes Pinterest promised for this year.
- LinkedIn expands its services adding a new Volunteer marketplace, where users can search for volunteer opportunities based on specific skills. Users will see these positions in the “Jobs you may be interested in” emails or by going directly to the Volunteer section.
- Foursquare partnered with Seamless and GrubHub to enable users to order directly from a restaurant via the Foursquare app.
- Yelp’s CEO Jeremy Stoppelman confirmed they will be issuing more consumer alerts about fake reviews. Stoppelman says Yelp has issued alerts for 285 businesses thus far. Below is an example of what the alert looks like:
- Check out our Thoughts Page featuring our latest publications, blog posts, and featured articles including:
- Device Fragmentation—The Death of Web Design by Benjamin Spiegel via ClickZ
- WMT: Google Gets Personal With SEOs? by Benjamin Spiegel via Search Engine Land
- Conquering Content Marketing in 5 Steps: It All Starts With a Plan by Dan Cristo via Search Engine Watch
- Dan Cristo, Director of SEO Innovation, attended CES 2014 earlier this month and documented his experience using Google Glass. Rich Ezzo interviewed Cristo and Jeff Semones, President of M80, at the conference in the latest Coffee with Catalyst. Watch the video below:
- Sign up for the Catalyst Must-Have Digital Insights e-Newsletter for the latest thought leadership, industry updates, and Catalyst news.
- Catalyst is hiring! We have open positions in each of our offices. Be sure to check out our Careers Page for the latest open positions.
Have any questions about any of the above stories or think we missed something? Let us know in the comment section below. Also, be sure to check back in early March for our February monthly recap!