September was another major month for the digital marketing industry. Google released several algorithm updates of different varieties, including a rapid-fire Core Update. While those stories dominated the headlines, we’re also sharing an intriguing content-focused case study and news from our Paid Media and Digital Analytics teams.
You can read those stories and much more right here in the September 2022 digital roundup.
Google delivers second Core Update of 2022
Google’s incredibly busy month included its second Core Update of the year, and it took a full two weeks to roll out. Interestingly enough, it launched on Sept. 12, which was a mere three days after the completion of a previous update (the Helpful Content Update). It’s still a bit too early for us to have any solid takeaways from this one, though Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Land reported that the update hit quickly but had a minimal impact compared to previous core updates.
Google releases another Product Reviews Update
While Google was rolling out the Core Update, the search giant also released another Product Reviews Update. This was an odd one at first, primarily because Google’s search liaison, Danny Sullivan, tweeted that the company has worked to avoid overlapping algorithm updates (h/t SER). And yet…
Moving on, London Head of SEO Ewan Stevenson provided the following insights on Google’s actions in September:
“It appears the September product reviews update has fixed some inconsistencies and issues with the July product review update, but we’re yet to make wider conclusions on what these updates mean for our clients’ long-term SEO strategies.”
Paid media stories
Remember external factors when evaluating performance
Did you receive a boost in your numbers during the COVID-19 pandemic? If so, you may finally be reaching a point you knew would eventually come, where your year-over-year comparisons are no longer favorable. The potential decline is only exacerbated by current world events that are well beyond anyone’s control. To that end, regardless of how you fared during COVID, it’s important to remember to keep external factors in mind when reviewing your performance. If you’d like to learn more about this, we recommend reading the Ipsos report on consumer confidence.
Instagram opens creator marketplace to more businesses—but there’s a catch
Over the summer, Instagram announced that it was opening its creator marketplace to U.S. businesses on an invite-only basis. The goal, as you may know, was to allow brands to pair up with creators to build partnerships and launch campaigns together. And as of mid-September, the program expanded. U.S. businesses can now put in a request to join Instagram’s creator marketplace, and you can do it directly through the platform’s portal.
Digital analytics stories
Denmark becomes fourth EU country to deem GA as “illegal”
We can now officially add Denmark to the list of European Union countries that have ruled the use of Google Analytics as “illegal.” It’s the fourth EU country to do so, and it follows the lead of France, Austria, and Italy. Denmark’s data protection agency, Datatilsynet, cited a lack of safeguards relating to data collection as the reason. The agency’s advice is to either implement additional safeguards or stop using Google Analytics.
Here’s some additional info from London Analytics Director Gareth Williams:
"Whilst these rulings have not yet impacted any EU-based Ayima clients, this direction suggests that regulation concerning Google Analytics usage in the EU will likely become important for our clients in 2023."
Content marketing stories
Case study: Did Google punish AI-generated content?
When Google launched the Helpful Content Update, the speculation was that the company was punishing sites with AI-generated content. And while that does seem to be true, the reach of that punishment wasn’t entirely clear. SEO expert Kevin Indig took a closer look at the topic in a thorough case study and found that yes, Google did indeed target AI-generated content. I don’t want to completely give away Kevin’s entire conclusion, so be sure to read his case study!