Welcome to this week’s edition of Digital World, our regular series looking at key news items of interest to international digital marketers and globally-engaged businesses. This week: latest Google Panda refresh applies to rankings in all regions; Spain’s ‘Google Tax’ harms the publishers who called for it; Yandex changes ad auction method, creates delivery aggregator; YouTube ahead of Line in Japan; and a close look at Latin America.
Google Panda, the search engine’s algorithm component specifically concerned with content quality, received a 4.2 refresh over a week ago. As usual when these changes hit, the question of whether Google has chosen to focus solely on English results or apply the process globally, is raised. Thankfully, Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google has revealed that the refresh is “rolling out slowly globally”.
Google Panda refreshes involve scores being (invisibly) allocated to sites and pages based on the quality of their content. Pages with little or low quality content will receive a low score, with rankings in search impacted as a result. Though these scores have already been calculated, it takes time for them to be associated with pages and domains. So far, the rollout has been slow – as Search Engine Roundtable observes, the effects are going to be seen over the coming months, rather than days.
Last year, a law passed in Spain requiring search engines to pay publishers for showing snippets and links to their news stories. Violators can be fined $758,000, and publishers are not allowed to opt out (a move apparently motivated by the failure of similar laws in Germany and Belgium).
Chiefly targeted at Google, the search giant’s approach at the time was to simply close Google News in Spain – smaller Spanish aggregators also closed as a result. Publishers are now assessing the damage. The loss of Google news has allegedly cost €10 million – overall, 6% of traffic has been lost and smaller sites are likely to have seen a 14% drop in traffic.
In the last week, Yandex has announced a major update to its Yandex.Direct auction system, as well as a new service. First up, Yandex is switching from a Generalised Second Price (GSP) auction format to a VCG (Vickrey-Clarke-Groves) auction format. Under this structure position changes will not affect the cost of baseline clicks, additional clicks will be defined by the competitor’s nearest bid and the optimal bid will be independent of competitors’ bids. The changes come into effect in August, with a new relevance ranking formula being deployed at the same time.
Meanwhile, Yandex has announced Yandex.Delivery, an aggregator of services offering delivery from Moscow to any region in Russia. Moscow-based e-commerce sites which sign-up for Yandex.Delivery will be effectively able to promise delivery to almost anywhere in Russia. At present, the logistical issues inherent in dealing with many different regional couriers has kept product diversity low in cities a long distance from Moscow.
An oft-reported fact about Japan’s unique digital landscape is the prominence of Line, an instant messaging app with multimedia support, voice calling, and perhaps best known for its large “sticker” emoticons. Surveys have regularly put the service ahead of Facebook and Twitter (and homegrown network Mixi). However, use of Line is actually dwarfed by YouTube, as pointed out over at eMarketer.com.
According to the June 2015 research by JustSystems, 70% of users in Japan use YouTube, whereas just 45.7% use Line. Facebook and Twitter trail at 37.7% and 35.4% respectively. An earlier survey by Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) corroborate these figures, revealing that YouTube has 65.1% penetration, compared with Line’s 55.1%.
With 600 million people and an ecommerce market already valued at $88.3 billion, Latin America is a huge potential market. Gabriel Kwakyi, search account manager at Bing Ads has written a piece over at Searchengineland.com detailing the state of play in the market, as well as some of the unique challenges businesses face there. Key points include a tendency towards shopping sprees, substantial use of mobile, the prevalence of regional credit card providers and a diversity of payment options.
Kwakyi also stress that understanding Latin America is essential for businesses who do not operate outside US borders – the two markets exert significant influence over each other.
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Giant Pandas, Chengdu photo by Flickr user gill_penney
morning photo by Flickr user zoetnet
Safety! Faster! Comfortable! photo by Flickr user Mad Wraith
Untitled, Kyoto, 2015 photo by Flickr user Ken Walton
People. Lots of them… photo by Flickr user Diego Torres Silvestre