June 2

The Weekly Briefing: Are Facebook’s “Instant Articles” Good or Bad for Publishers?

Facebook’s new platform can make loading articles 10x faster, but is it bad for publishers?

New Business Development Coordinator Zachary Peterson discussed a New York Times report on Facebook’s new Instant Articles feature – currently available for iOS mobile devices. It’s a platform that allows readers to view articles in their entirety without ever having to leave the Facebook app – something that should save page/site load times and make them up to 10x faster, according to the report. And of course, the platform is revenue-based, allowing publishers participating in the program to insert ads in a manner that shares in part with the social media giant. However, there is some worry that it could undermine publishers – stopping people from actually clicking through to their websites. While it provides a seamless mobile experience for the end user, it’s something that could place news websites in a tricky position – leaving them more beholden to Facebook’s ways of doing things. Current participants include media heavyweights like The Wall Street Journal, NBC News, and The New York Times.    

Partnerships: An Assist for Content Marketing

SEM Specialist Andrew Vanderiet presented a Search Engine Land article from columnist Eric Enge. In the column, Enge discusses how partnerships can help accelerate companies’ content marketing efforts – especially in the area of building links. Are you wondering how? Enge notes that a major incentive is that both partners get access to each other’s audiences, providing a mutually beneficial way to increase the scope of the audience who is seeing the content – and thus posting it as well.

Google Confirms ‘Phantom Update’

SEO Copywriter Hannah Scherrer discussed a report from Search Engine Land pointing to signs that Google is yet again shaking things up with how it assesses quality content. According to the report, this updated algorithm (dubbed the “Quality Update” or “Phantom Update”) was confirmed by Google to Search Engine Land after some publishers saw noticeable changes to their search rankings. Meanwhile, one of the sites thought to of been most affected was user generator content source HubPages, whose co-founder Paul Edmondson noted that the site had lost 22% of its traffic compared to the week before. Ouch!

Investing ‘Long-Term’ in Links

SEO Copywriter Jared Townsend discussed a blog post from Andrew Dennis of SEMrush talking about why companies still need to invest in obtaining exterior links that point back to their websites – a “long-term” investment that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Dennis notes that Google’s use of links to organize websites through its algorithm in search results is what made the search engine successful compared to others when it was founded – and it’s what still makes Google successful today. Dennis, meanwhile, makes the point of noting that link opportunities are always expanding.