What We Learned in April 2018: The Digital Marketing Month in a Minute

John Giannandrea, chief of search at Google hired by Apple

In a move that is being seen as a victory for Apple, the tech giant has appointed John Giannandrea, the now former chief of search and artificial intelligence at Google, to lead its AI efforts. Apple has made the move in a bid to close the gap between Siri and digital assistants from both Google and Amazon, an area where Apple is considered to be lagging behind their competitors.

Giannandrea will be heading up machine learning and A.I. strategy at Apple and will be reporting directly to chief executive, Tim Cook.  He joined Google back in 2010 following the purchase of Metaweb where he had been working as chief technology officer. Metaweb was described as a “database of the worlds knowledge” and has been a building block for Google in providing direct answers to user queries in search results such as “How tall is Beyonce?”

Read the full story (New York Times)

Additional reading

Ben Gomes to take over search at Google

Following on from the news that head of search, John Giannandrea, is set to leave Google, the move was made to announce that he will be replaced by two members of the team. Jeff Dean will be heading up Google’s AI efforts, while Ben Gomes will become VP of search.

Ben Gomes has been with Google since 1999 and is one of the early Google employees. Having previously run core search at Google, he will now be running all of search.

Read the full story (seroundtable.com)

Broad core search algorithm update rolled out

Not a day, week or month goes by without Google making tweaks to its algorithms. However, the past couple of months have seen more public announcements regarding updates than we are used to. Towards the end of April, Google confirmed that a search algorithm update took place.

Google stated it had released “a broad core algorithm update”, which was a routine update aimed at improving search quality. Google then went on to state that there is nothing specific a site can do to take advantage of these changes other than continue to focus on improving overall site quality.

Read the full story (SearchEngineLand)

How Mobile-First Indexing Disrupts the Link Graph

Over on Moz this month Russ Jones, Principal Search Scientist at Moz, gifted us some research into what happens to the link structure of the web as Google push for a mobile-first index. In many instances, this is causing developers and designers to sacrifice internal and external links, as they combat limited screen space and user experience over traditional SEO requirements.

Read the full story (Moz)

Further reading

Russ also wrote a couple of great posts. We also recommend checking out his article on Backlink Index Comparisons.

Google Confirms Chrome Usage Data Used to Measure Site Speed

After speaking at SMX Munich, our very own Tom Anthony took the chance to catch up with Jon Mueller from Google, to gain a better insight into how Google is currently evaluating site speed. Off the back of that conversation, Tom headed over to Moz to write up his notes, confirming that Google is now using performance aggregated data from Chrome to evaluate site speed rather than relying on data from GoogleBot during its visits.

Read the full story (Moz)

SEMrush raises $40 million in VC funding

Search analytics company, SEMrush has successfully raised  $40 million of VC funding. The tool which is popular among the Distilled consulting team, plans to use the funding to expand beyond US-based search engines, into platforms that are owned by Amazom.com and Baidu. It also plans to buy companies that are already producing software which can be integrated into the SEMrush suite.

Read the full story (Wall Street Journal)

Upcoming Distilled meetup

If you want to find out more about SEMrush, they are visiting our London office on 21st May for a meetup, along with talks on coding for SEO, and analytics and measurement from Distilled consulting team members Robin Lord and Tom Capper. Tickets are completely free and available via Eventbrite.


Celebrity right to be forgotten likely to be denied

Google CEO, Larry Page has said the celebrities using the ‘right to be forgotten’ to remove embarrassing or outdated information are likely to be disappointed. Since the European Court ruled that individuals have the right to request information to be removed from the index, Google has received thousands of applications.

A large number of those requests have come from public figures. However, the ‘right to be forgotten’ is more applicable to “everyday people” rather than public figures, where there may be public interest in knowing such information.

Read the full story (Telegraph)

Facebook and Cambridge Analytica saga continues

While looking back it seems the dust has somewhat settled, April saw the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica saga continue, with images and videos of Mark Zuckerberg being interviewed by over 40 members of the US Senate Commerce and Judiciary Committees spread across the press and social media.

MarketingLand took the opportunity to investigate what exactly Facebook did and didn’t know and where that leaves us as users moving forward

Read the full story (Marketing Land)

TSB failed system migration to new IT system impacting 1.9 million customers

A botched system migration by TSB left many of its customers unable to access their online banking account and unable to withdraw money from their account for over six days. Issues of varying levels continue to be reported three weeks after the initial issues were identified.

The migration was a part of a move from legacy technology which had been used by former owners Lloyds. Concerns had been raised in 2015 by consultants that not enough budget had been allocated to allow the complex project to transition smoothly.

Read the full story (The Guardian)

Additional Reading



Distilled News

We kick-started April with a review of SearchLove San Diego 2018, gathering all the speaker’s slides and key points from each session. It turned out to be a fantastic conference attended by over 200 people in the San Diego sunshine. If you have a DistilledU membership, you can now view all of this year’s videos.

While we are on the topic of conferences, Lynsey Little joined us on the Distilled blog to tell us all the reasons she is excited about SearchLove Boston this year including a brand new venue and some of the highest rated speakers that have ever graced the SearchLove stage. Tickets are still available for the conference which takes place on June 7th & 8th.


Also over on the blog, we were joined by senior designer, Leonie Wharton, as she shared with us her quarterly creative round up, covering all the content that has inspired her throughout spring.

Making her first appearance, Distilled analyst Siena Sara covered commonly seen CRO mistakes, alongside some useful tips on how to avoid them.

Lydia Gilbertson revisited her post answering the question, should you use Medium for your company’s content? Medium attracts 30 million users to its content platform each month, and with good user experience as a CMS, easy Google Analytics integration, and highly engaged users, perhaps this is the platform for you.

Many of you may have seen Larry Kim has recently created a new start-up allowing users to easily create chatbots. Consultant Robin Lord took the opportunity to catch up with Larry over a webinar to discuss chatbot marketing tactics and how to build your first chatbot

Last but not least, Dominic Woodman headed over to Moz this month to discuss creating effective marketing reports and dashboards.

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About the author
Tim Allen

Tim Allen

Tim joined Distilled in March 2013 after making a considerable impression upon Duncan and Tom Anthony by wearing a Panda jumper to his interview. Originally moving from Lincolnshire to London to study acting at Reynolds Performing Arts, Tim soon...   read more