Tom Shurville
Tom Shurville Managing Director

Distinctly monthly news roundup – August 2020

Tom Shurville
Tom Shurville Managing Director

Welcome to your monthly round-up of the very latest industry news from Distinctly. Read on for stories on recent developments, rollouts and updates in the worlds of PPC and SEO.


Amazon growing its impression share in Google Shopping auctions

Since Amazon began to reactivate ads on Google Shopping in June, its paid search presence has been gradually picking up across device types and is almost back to early 2020 levels. However, its impressions share remains some way off the highs seen in 2019, and while it has also restarted text ads these are lagging somewhat behind Shopping. It remains unclear what strategy Amazon will adopt in Q4 but the advertising environment looks set to be especially competitive for Christmas.

Dynata and Google join forces to deliver comprehensive measurement of YouTube advertising effectiveness across mobile and connected TV devices

An integration between data insights platform Dynata and Google’s Ads Data Hub means companies can measure ad effectiveness and campaign performance for YouTube across all screens and devices without the use of cookies. This adds a layer of privacy protection for users while allowing marketers to close a visibility gap and get the information they need to advertise on YouTube more effectively and accurately.

Twitter and TikTok reportedly have had talks about a deal

Amid ongoing discussions around the acquisition of Chinese-owned video sharing giant TikTok, Twitter has become the latest company to reportedly consider a deal. There is time pressure to complete a deal before President Trump’s executive order against TikTok’s parent company ByteDance – based on suspicions that the app poses a potential security threat – comes into effect. However, Microsoft remains the likely frontrunner in any deal, making Twitter something of an outlier despite its size and profile. 

Automatically update Customer Match lists with Zapier

The Customer Match tool allows you to re-engage existing customers and find new ones using online and offline lists across Search, Shopping, Gmail, YouTube and Display. In order to make Customer Match lists easier to maintain and manage, Google has partnered with Zapier, which will automatically upload data from your customer relationship management system, as well as importing and updating information based on offline conversions.

New access level and account ownership for your Google Ads account

To make it easier to keep track of access levels and keep your Google Ads secure, Google has introduced a new billing-only role and updates to account ownership. The billing-only role allows certain people to access and manage billing, but not to view or edit campaigns, making it a flexible option for finance departments. The update to account ownership improves security by removing the option to have multiple owners, instead allowing one manager account to have ownership and paving the way for further updates.

Google Ads launches call recording feature

In the latest expansion to its service which adds to its existing tracking tools, Google Ads has launched its own free call recording feature. It enables users to better vet out conversion quality, and is likely to draw advertisers away from paid-for third-party providers that they may have been using to do this previously. Storing calls for 30 days and currently only covering US numbers, the new feature can be found under Account Settings > Call Reporting. 


Add me to Search: How to create your virtual Google card

To make it easier for individuals to develop a strong presence in Search, Google is testing virtual business cards that show up on SERPs when a person’s name is searched for. Currently rolling out in India, the ‘people cards’ allow users to include a picture, job title and basic personal information, as well as links to profiles on social media and professional networking platforms. To get started on creating a people card, you will simply need to type ‘add me to Search’ into Google, and the service is likely to be rolled out more widely soon. 

Core Web Vitals: Less than 15% of sites meet benchmarks

A study has shown that few websites are able to fully pass the new Core Web Vitals assessment offered within PageSpeed Insights. The three Core Web Vitals each have their own benchmark (for example 2.5 seconds for Largest Contentful Paint) and Screaming Frog’s new data found that only 15% of websites tested met all three of these. The study also showed that URLs in position 1 on the SERP are 10% more likely to pass the assessment than those in position 9, meaning there are significant improvements to be made before the Core Web Vitals become a ranking factor in 2021. 

Google appears to roll out a major new algorithm update…

On 10th August, there was a spike in online chatter among the SEO community as Google SERP rankings began to fluctuate wildly – placing lower-ranking websites in the top spot and appearing to undo the hard work of SEO professionals. While Google had not announced any update, it seemed that there may be major changes taking place with its ranking algorithm. 

… but later confirms it was just a glitch in the system

Google said on 11th August that an issue with its indexing systems had caused significant issues with its SERP listings, but that the problem had since been resolved. The bug appeared to have affected all English-speaking countries and caused significant panic for business owners and SEOs, and followed an issue in June where a bug had prevented new content from being indexed in Google Search.

How big is the gender gap between men and women in SEO?

A major new survey by Moz has looked into the traditionally male-dominated industry of SEO and found that there is much to be done to narrow the gender gap. Of the 652 SEOs who participated in the study, 68% identified as male, and the gap was found to be at its widest in agency environments. In addition, it was found that female identifying SEOs were more likely to freelance and specialise in content, and to charge less for their services than men.

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