This week was unusually quiet among the search and social big players. Perhaps it’s the calm before the storm? Or maybe it’s the post-Thanksgiving and Black Friday lull. Either way, nothing groundbreaking has been rolled out, though there have still been some interesting developments.
Google announced a few updates, including the removal of Content Keywords from Search Console and the arrival of Android pay for New Zealand BNZ customers. We also noticed a slight change to the Mobile Friendly testing tool that allows you to add your pages to the indexing queue.
Facebook and Twitter popped up in the news as well, with the introduction of games to the Messenger platform and Twitter Moments rolling out to mobile devices.
We’ll continue to keep our ear to the ground for any major changes in the content marketing space…
Android Pay arrives in New Zealand
Simply tap and go – that’s all that’s required.
Google announced via their company blog that this contactless payment option is now available in New Zealand. Anyone with an Android phone and a BNZ Flexi Debit Visa card can download the app and pay with their phone.
It works just like PayPass with your debit card, except you load your card details into the app on your phone instead. Businesses that already have a PayPass option on their EFTPOS terminals don’t need to do anything further. As long as you have the Android Pay app installed and your account details stored within it then your phone is used just like a physical card. Lots of businesses already contactless payment, including The Warehouse, BP, McDonalds and BurgerFuel.
The app is available now from the Google Play store.
Content Keywords says goodbye
The content keywords feature used to play a large role in monitoring Googlebot activity across sites but is now being removed from the Search Console.
When Search Console was still referred to as Webmaster Tools, the content keywords feature allowed users to see what a Googlebot found when their website was being crawled, or to tell whether the site was being hacked. It was limited in its functionality however as it could only track one keyword for a site – which is not that helpful for SEO purposes.
Now that site owners have access to Google Analytics, and methods for informing users about possible hacking are much more streamlined, the content keywords feature is no longer needed.
In the blog post announcing the news, Google reassured users that keywords still play an important role in indexing and ranking.
“The words on your pages, the keywords if you will, are still important for Google’s (and your users’) understanding of your pages. While our systems have gotten better, they can’t read your mind: be clear about what your site is about, and what you’d like to be found for.” Google said.
Mobile friendly testing tool upgrade
Users can now submit their website’s pages directly to Google’s index.
Google’s mobile testing tool has been around for some time now, allowing users to check the mobile friendliness of pages on their website. This tool has now been updated, allowing you to submit your page for indexing immediately after testing.
While submitting the page will add it to the indexing queue – the action has no bearing on that page’s ranking. It will be helpful, however, for sites that are making the transition to mobile optimisation, particularly now that mobile-first indexing has become a reality.
Games in Facebook Messenger
In a bid to potentially keep more users on the site, Facebook has introduced ‘instant games’ to the Messenger platform.
Far more advanced than the ‘secret’ games users would stumble upon from sending a random emoji, like paper toss or soccer ball kicks, Messenger now has a whole host of solo or multiplayer games. The range currently includes Words with Friends, Pac-man, Space Invaders and more.
Users need only open a message conversation with a friend to start playing. The score will be recorded after each game and shown to all people in the conversation. In the company blog post, Facebook said “the 1 billion people who use Messenger every month connect, banter and share in so many ways…now they can connect and compete over their favorite games.”
The games will be rolled out to 30 countries worldwide, available on newer operating systems for both iOS and Android.
Twitter Moments now on Mobile
Even though Twitter Moments did not exactly make a big splash on the desktop version, the site has now rolled out the feature on mobile devices as well.
The idea is that users can group a bunch of related tweets into a slideshow in order to promote short-form content on the platform. Tweets can be pulled from your favourites, by account or through search in Twitter. On the mobile version, users just need to tap the top right icon and select ‘Add to Moments’ from the drop-down.
— Twitter (@twitter) November 29, 2016
The feature could be compared with SnapInc’s style of photo and video sharing, or Instagram Stories. In a tweet on the official Twitter page the company said “with Moments, you can bring together your favorite Tweets, whether your own or someone else’s, to share your perspective on the topics you care about.”
Twitter Moments is available on all mobile devices now. For more information on Moments, check out the series of GIFs on Twitter.