Lab Weekly: Content Marketing, Panda 4.2, Instagram and More

Andrew Birkitt

Lead Technical Engineer
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Content Marketing Budgets are Growing
It is no surprise really that senior management are getting behind content strategies this year. The Content Marketing Benchmarking Report 2015 states that content marketing budgets have increased by 3 percent over the last 12 months. The number of marketers receiving support from management for content creation has climbed by 91 percent.
It is nice to have the stats to back up what people within the industry of acutely aware of. Content strategies involving the creation of videos, white papers, infographics, and case studies are also found to be the most effective.
“92 percent of B2B marketers use content to drive leads for companies” (Source) Jonathan Crowl
One of the most interesting suggestions to come from the report is that although content is now accepted as a crucial element of any marketing campaign it is not seen as something that has a direct impact on conversion/referral rates. This is because it is recognised as a brand awareness booster rather than a method to encourage direct sales. The report states that more effective tools for measuring ROI are needed to fully appreciate the impact of content marketing.
The reports recommendation, which ties in with our own approach, is to build a strategy that has its foundations in analytics so KPIs can be isolated and monitored. That way the somewhat elusive ‘brand awareness’ can be monitored in terms of organic traffic, link earning, user journey, and direct traffic.
One clear message the report highlighted once again was:
“71 percent of executives have a negative reaction to content that reads like a sales pitch” (Source) Jonathan Crowl
Again, we urge you to make sure all of your content is written for users and not for bots – Google isn’t looking for keywords alone, they are looking for content that people respond positively to.
Panda 4.2 has rolled out
This week finally saw Google confirm that the long awaited release of Panda 4.2 was happening but that it was rolling out slower than expected, in fact Google have said that it could take months to fully roll out. As far as the industry is concerned it seems to be having little noticed effect with very few webmasters even noticing that it was being rolled out and Google are saying that it has affected about 2-3% of English queries.
The positive news of course is that if your site was previously penalised by Panda then it now has a chance to re-emerge if you have taken the right steps to correct things. Of course if you having been living in a cave and are wondering what all of the fuss is about there is a great piece here that explains about Googles Algorithm Updates.
Does https give you the edge?
Well it seems that this has finally been clarified for us all as well this week but not quite how you would expect so don’t all go racing off to switch. Matt Southern the well-known and respected news writer at Search Engine Journal, reported earlier this week that the top ten sites verified in Google’s Search Console according to search impressions are all https and so decided to see what the correlation was by reaching out to Gary Illyes Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google on Twitter.
This was Gary’s response:

So basically what it appears is that if two sites in a similar niche and with similar rankings are competing in organic then if one had https it would be looked upon more favourably in the eyes of the Google Algorithm.
Instagram Becoming more Desktop Friendly
Instagram just keeps on getting better! We all know about the new features available on Instagram’s mobile app and if you are new to these features you can now use the search bar to search for location tags and hashtags as well as other accounts, well this week it was announced that this same functionality is coming to the desktop version.
Instagram is slowly becoming more desktop friendly, although you can’t upload photos and videos to your Instagram account via your desktop, there are many useful features you can do. Instagram announced today that it’s bringing the search functionality of its mobile app to desktop. Released on the 20th of July Instagram now allows you to search for other accounts, locations and hashtags on your desktop, when you have searched the top posts that have the most likes and comments are shown first then the most recent posts are shown.
This new feature is very useful if you are wanting to browse through Instagram but don’t have access to your mobile device.

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