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Evolution in Industry – 10 Significant Updates In Digital

The inbound marketing industry is constantly changing – that’s probably one of the reasons most of us in it love it so much…love/loathe, it’s a fine line! I for one always have a panic when major updates are released or a new platform emerges; it seems our industries rapid evolutionary rate could rival that of reality TV…although we don’t get bored of SEO.

I’ve compiled ten recent major updates across the digital world that I believe demonstrate the big industry players’ affinity to think for the future as supposed to reacting to the present, something our industry seems to advocate.

1. Google+ Sending “Top Posts This Week” Emails
I received an email just last week that appears to be a fairly new update on Google+. The email informed me of the top 3 posts for me on Google+. My initial thoughts on this were that this idea blatantly came from Facebook and their notification emails, my second thought was, is this really so bad? Using email marketing to entice users to log on to a site is an established practice.

Social Media SEO GooglePlus Email

2. Pinterest Updates to Conditions 
The new “picture-platform” Pinterest recently updated their terms and conditions. Updates to T’s & C’s are something most users on the internet are no stranger too and pique public interest on a large scale. Moving with the times according to new laws and privacy issues is indeed a vital part of industry evolution for us to keep pace with.

I also read recently this item sent to me about Pinterest on March 20. The post talks about copyright issues and how according to Pin Etiquette and Pinterests own rules on the topic, it’s pretty difficult to use the site at all without infringing copyright. I guess loosely linked to this is SOPA, the Wikipedia 24 hour blackout, spinning and copying content on the web. If the act passes, what could this mean in terms of responsibility, freedom and information sharing online? The response of networks to new laws takes a protective step towards their future.

3. Algorithm Updates
The immense juggernaut that is the search engine algorithm. Reports from Google say that theirs is updated on average every 17.5 hours – that’s a lot. Although mostly minor updates, I find it staggering that they are rolled out this frequently and that the SEO industry is both a) responsive enough in order to initiate change at this frequency and b) effective at anticipating, implementing or manipulating (depending upon the colour of your hat ;) ) these changes for business gains. Even the major updates seem to come along fairly regularly when you compare the frequency of these to say a change in law or legislation. There have been many more but since I’ve been in the industry we’ve had Caffeine, Panda and now the over optimisation penalty, I’m starting to infer that if you don’t like change, don’t get into SEO! Read the most recent Google Webmaster Blog here.

4. Bing’s Purchase of Yahoo in 2009
Expansion is another massive evolutionary step being taken constantly in the online world. Google has the predominant market share, followed by Bing here in the UK. Merges and takeovers of companies can be for; expansion, competition and gaining klout within industry resulting in massive evolutionary gains as companies inherit the talent of others.

5. Facebook Advertising
Facebook advertising…wait isn’t this copying Adwords? Or LinkedIn? Or site sponsorships? Ultimately part of evolution is awareness of the competition and lifting the ideas that work. Industry progression is likely enhanced by this uncoordinated, unintentional group effort and competition to be on top.

6. Facebook Timeline & Privacy Updates
After much media attention and press, Facebook updated its privacy settings giving users more choice over what information is available to others. Their new timeline too attracted a lot of press raising the question why do this? With reports the new look is similar to that of predecessor MySpace and with teams of designers undoubtedly behind the initiative, although “moving with times” may not always be favourable, it can be necessary in terms of evolution.

Facebook Timeline SEO

7. Google’s Privacy Update
A phenomenal response across the globe to this and a substantial amount of negativity! From Google’s point of view a way to collaborate their new privacy policy across all their products, from the publics point of view, a way to gain personal information from users without their consent. Making this an opt out policy too caused a degree of friction.

My personal take on this is that online we are vulnerable anyway and lots of our information gets shared, how this is so should perhaps be something we have more say over but in terms of the information itself, I feel this is an existing issue and one that we can’t arguably obtain the best search results without…

8. LinkedIn Company Pages and Open/Closed Groups 
LinkedIn implemented a number of developments in its platform, these include; company status updates, company follow company buttons, their events feature and open and closed groups. My feeling is that they appear to be moving towards a more interactive service. If you think professional network, you think LinkedIn. With a different specification to the other, more light hearted networks more innovation is required here but they do a great job implementing updates useful for the working professional.

9. Twitter and Facebook Interface
Both Twitter and Facebook have had front-end makeovers recently. A new interface for mobile and tablet viewing for Facebook and a subtle new look for Twitter some time before that. We may begrudge them at the time but as long as usability remains at the same level, an update to the aesthetics of the site can be a positive thing. Thinking ahead and moving with the times seems paramount for the big industry players.

10. PPC Prominence in SERPs & Search Plus Your World
Last but not least, a massive sign of where Google wants to take us and the industry. We have observed a steady increase in PPC prevalence within the SERPs over the past months or even longer, in addition to this the move towards social was potentially accelerated by Search Plus Your World, a massively significant step by Google to integrate and show Google+ results when searching online.

It appears in this industry you have to evolve to succeed, and that, despite many being calculated involves risks. Winners in digital have some seriously smart engineers behind them – lets see what happens next!

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