Facebook plans significant changes to news feed
Facebook seemed to be always in the press through January, as it announced major changes to its news feed, with the main action to make posts from businesses, brands and media less prominent. The overall aim of these changes is to reduce the number of posts that are “crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other”.
Will Critchlow added commentary around potentially the real reason Facebook was making these announcements, while Facebook advertiser and writer Jon Loomer explained how he thought this would impact advertisers.
Read the full story (BBC News)
Users spending less time on Facebook
Users are spending less time on Facebook, and according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, this is a good thing. Reportedly users are spending 50 million hours less per day on Facebook, equating to a 5 percent decline in time using the app versus the previous quarter. But what if this is a cover on the part of Facebook as speculated by Shira Ovide, a writer for Bloomberg Gadfly?
Read the full story (Recode)
Massive vulnerabilities in essentially all processors
Reports in early January indicated that almost every processor produced in the last 20 years contained fundamental security flaws. These flaws dubbed Spectre and Meltdown would allow attackers to access information that was previously considered protected. The response from major operating systems and chip manufacturers including Apple, Google, Microsoft, Intel and AMD has been to release patches throughout January to address the security flaw.
Read the full story (CSO Online)
YouTube changes monetization criteria
YouTube has moved the goal posts for channels to have eligibility for monetization. The new requirements state that channels must achieve 4,000 hours of watch time within the previous 12 months and 1,000 subscribers to be able to monetize the channel. It is thought that the changes will affect “a significant number of channels”, though the vast majority of channels affected were believed to have made less than $100 in the last year.
Read the full story (YouTube Creator)
Using page speed in mobile search ranking
Google has announced that in July 2018 it will be releasing its “Speed Update”. The update is targeting pages that deliver the slowest experience and will only affect a small number of search queries. This update shouldn’t come as a surprise, site speed has been on the Google radar for a while now, particularly with tools such as the Site Speed tester openly available. As ever, site speed will continue to have a direct impact on user experience and conversion rate, and as such should continue to be high on the priority of webmasters.
Read the full story (Webmaster Central)
New chairman at Google
John Hennessey has been revealed as the new chairman of Alphabet/Google. Until 2016, Hennessey was the president of Stanford University, has been on the board at Google since 2004, and also serves as director for Cisco Systems, the Daniel Pearl Foundation, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. He is known for his sense of humour, and his willingness to be blunt on occasion. IEEE Spectrum questions whether this role will be Hennessey’s side hustle to being a professor, only time will tell.
Read the full story (IEEE Spectrum)
New Google Search Console rolls out for nearly everyone
The end of January saw the new version of Google Search Console rolled out to the vast majority of users. Fortunately most of you probably already knew this due to the millions of emails that Google sent to remind everyone.
Read the full story (Search Engine Land)
Stripe gives up on bitcoin as a payment method
Four years after becoming the first major online payment platform to accept bitcoin as payment, Stripe has reversed its decision. Stripe cited its main reasons for the decision being due to the amount of time a transaction takes to process and the massive fluctuations in the price of cryptocurrency. Meanwhile, on the other side of the coin, Square has been testing buying and selling Bitcoin through its app and on January 31, fully rolled out the acceptance of Bitcoin as a payment method.
Read the full story (Recode)
Apple releases HomePod voice speaker to compete with Google and Amazon
Apple has finally entered the voice speaker market with the release of its HomePod smart speaker. The HomePod missed its original release date in December and comes with a $349 asking price. Apple claims the HomePod will have better sound quality than other smart speakers, making it more of a speaker with smart features than a smart device. It faces stiff competition from both Google and Amazon products, both of which significantly cut their prices on entry-level smart speakers over the holiday season.
Read the full story (Reuters)
Leaked Snapchat numbers
Early January saw a vast amount of Snapchat’s usage data leaked, showing that the company had been seeing slow growth, and the number of users using Stories is flat. The lack of growth also gives deeper insight to the recent redesigns in an attempt to grow the number of total users.
Read the full story (TechCrunch)
This has been a busy month for Distilled CEO, Will Critchlow. This month Will shared his processes for building business cases and improve forecasting in the marketer’s guide to models. He also wrote down his thoughts on reports that organic traffic on Facebook is in decline more than had been reported.
Discussing a recent study by conversion.com, Will discovered that 59% of e-commerce sites are not testing their most important channel, and finally he took the time to speak to Edge of the Web covering topics such as voice search, AMP, SEO split testing and SearchLove San Diego 2018.
Senior Designer Leonie Wharton gave us her winter edition of creative content that has inspired us (extending the series: summer, autumn) and Seattle office manager Kayla Walker lead us through her tactics to improve the workplace and get people working from the office.
Over on Moz, Senior Consultant Dominic Woodman reacts to the Maccabees update and investigates the impact it had on some of his sites.
We are super excited that SearchLove San Diego is now less than two months away and tickets are selling fast! For more information you should head to the SearchLove San Diego page where you will find:
- Early bird tickets with $200 off full price tickets (offer ends February 23)
- Full speaker lineup and schedule, including all topics and full session descriptions
To remind you why this is such a great event we are offering three of last years top speaker videos for free. It’s not just the presentations, of course, San Diego is a fantastic place to spend a few days for search, sea and sun. Head of Events, Lynsey Little talks us through her top five reasons to attend SearchLove San Diego. Best be quick: super early bird tickets sold out, and there are only 2 VIP tickets left.