Lab Weekly: Panda Update, Local Search Ranking & More

Andrew Birkitt

Lead Technical Engineer
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Quick Google Panda 4.2 update 

Panda 4.2 started rolling out around the 18th of July 2015, Gary Illyes from Google has announced Panda 4.2 is still rolling out. The Panda 4.2 was predicted to roll out slowly over several months, and it will take a few more months to finalise. Google did announce when it started back in July that it will take time, and that still stands now.

2015 Local Search Ranking Factors

Its that time of the year once more when Moz brings us the annual survey into Local Search Ranking Factors. As with previous years the report has been broken down into four different areas, General Ranking Factors, Specific Ranking Factors, Relative Change in Importance since Snack Pack / Local Stack and Negative Ranking Factors and it is definitely worthwhile taking the time to have a read. But in the meantime have a look at this fab pie chart on the overall ranking factors and what affects them.
Overall Ranking Factors

Social Media

Twitter rolling out buy now buttons widely with shopify, demandware and bigcommerce partnerships.
Twitter have announced they are now partnering with Bigcommerce, Shopify and Demandware, this will increase the number of merchants who can sell directly within user timelines.
Twitter has been testing the ‘Buy Button’ for over a year now and it is only available for businesses selling in the US. It is obvious that not all merchants will want or like this feature, but Twitter believe it will do well with Bigcommerce and Shopify having 100,000 merchant clients in the UK and Demandware having hundreds of larger retail brands.
Facebook are also testing an in-feed buy button and Pinterest released their Buyable Pins in June for which it has just been announced that more ecommerce platforms have joined with Pinterest to offer support from their CMS most notably Magento.
Twitter’s head of commerce, Nathan Hubbard, explained the company’s thinking in a blog post:
“The goal for all our commerce initiatives on Twitter is simple: Make it as easy as possible for businesses to connect directly with, and sell to, customers on Twitter. With Buy Now, businesses can drive more conversions and remove much of the friction in the mobile purchasing process.”
Twitter have also said they are giving the Buy Button access to Adidas, PacSun and any other business that lists its products on Stripe’s Relay API.
Snapchat will charge brands to make their mark on your silly selfies. Snapchat launched ‘sponsored lenses’ two weeks ago, this new feature lets users overlay their photos and videos with animated special effects, such as, crazy eyeballs, rainbow coloured vomit and many more funky features.
‘Sponsored lenses’ will go debut on Halloween, designed by Snapchat these features will be sold to brands for $750,000 for one ‘peak day’ on Halloween, Thanksgiving or Black Friday. The Financial Times have said that on non-peak days it will cost $450,000. Hollywood Studios are going to be among the first advertisers.
Recently, Snapchat have been selling geo-filters to brands giving the opportunity to provide people who visit a location filters that they overlay on photos and videos. McDonalds were the first brand to buy the geo-filters allowing visitors of their store the ability to add images of chips and burgers to their snapchats. Since then GE, Ted 2, Terminator, The Hunger Games, Minions, Nike and others have also paid for the geo-filters.
When it comes to advertising sponsored lenses and geo-filters are a better fit for the snapchat generation. These filters are opt-in and native to the snapchat ecosystem, according to the company there are 100 million daily active users.
If you was wondering how Snapchat would be able to live up to its $15 billion valuation without extreme ad targeting which CEO Evan Speigal has promised, maybe the company is closing in on the answer.
Facebook has finally released details of what its plans are for the so called ‘dislike’ button and we’re sorry Trolls but the ‘Dislike’ has been unliked. Mark  Zuckerberg CEO of Facebook recently caused a few waves when he announced that the firm was working on ways of making Facebook more expressive, many took this to be the launch of a dislike button.

Facebook have this week announced its plans to enhance the current Like button with a set of animated emoticons called “Reactions” that will quickly allow users to express feelings of love, laughter, happiness, shock, sadness and anger alongside the more famous like button.
Initially being rolled out in just Ireland and Spain, before it decides whether it needs tweaking before rolling out further and to a wider audience.

Short Email Subject Lines

Research has shown that short subject lines get the highest performance but the big question is how many characters is ‘short’? Data suggests that under 15 characters will maximise your open rate however 28-39 characters will maximise your click rate.
Subject Line Length
Hubspot and Mailchimp recommend having your subject lines as 50 characters maximum. There’s a few different reasons why short subject lines are best, one being having short lines will encourage subscribers to open your email also most email clients display less than 50 characters for the subject line essentially replacing long subject lines.
Here are the results from analysing 61,000 emails received by MailCharts in August 2015;
email analysis
To read the full article on short email subject lines visit;
Until next time, have a great weekend….

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