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Hello Digital looks at the highlights from the week that was.

Here we are at the end of another week and almost in November. One skip, hop and a jump and it will be Christmas, and then 2021. 

In what has been a disastrous year for many, there have been plenty of industries that have been able to survive and even thrive in the pandemic. Lime scooters announced this week that they have reached 200 million rides, bouncing back quickly from a drop in riders, and Amazon tripled their net income last quarter. 

There’s lots going on with Google as well, with big changes to the BERT algorithm that could change how we do SEO and updates to Google Shopping to make it easier to highlight sales. 

Read on for more news from the week…

 

What Google’s latest algorithm change means for the future of SEO

There’s been a lot of news in SEO over the past few weeks. One of the most recent is Google’s announcement of its expanding use of natural language understanding algorithms. These changes will mean big things for how it determines what content gets shown in search results. It will also affect the way SEOs approach content and optimisation. 

Google released the BERT update this time last year and with the recent changes, it will go from affecting about 10% to now nearly 100% of all queries. BERT works as a neural network-based technique to train Google and Bing in natural language. This allows the search engines to better discern the context of words and deliver even more relevant results on SERPs. This is incredibly important for SEOs to take into account, as BERT now powers almost all of the English-langage queries on Google search. 

What does this mean for SEO? The update actually gives SEOs more freedom to focus attention on the audience, rather than search crawlers. It will help Google to identify an individual passage or section on a page that matches a query well, even if the other content on the page is slightly less relevant. 

A marketing scientist at Moz, Dr. Pete Meyers, said: “If the algorithm can understand the relevance of passages, we can hopefully relax a bit about this and not go overboard…We don’t need a page for every question a visitor might ask, for example.”

 

Lime scooters seem to be bouncing back, clocking 200 million rides

Lime, like many other businesses, was hit hard by the pandemic. They saw a 95% drop in ridership and faced some dire prospects. But now they’ve managed to bounce back and are celebrating a milestone of 200 million rides. It took them 28 months to get to their first 100 million rides, but only 13 months to get another 100 million.

The company wasn’t in the best of shape before COVID hit; in January they laid off 14% of their employees and pulled scooters from 12 cities. They have also struggled over the years to make the company profitable. However, despite everything, things are looking up now and into 2021.

Riders are coming back, possibly as things slowly return to a sense of normality, but the new CEO Wayne Ting said in an interview: “I don’t think it’s because the world has come back. I think it’s because we’re seeing a mode shift away from traditional forms of transportation, and particularly the car, into other forms of transportation.”

Have you been using Lime scooters to get around during the pandemic?

 

Amazon’s net income tripled last quarter, making a cool $6.33 billion

Another business that has seen an upswing is Amazon, with their net income tripling in the last quarter. While not surprising, they have been one of many businesses that have actually benefited from lockdown measures. As retail stores closed and coronavirus restrictions encouraged people to spend online, Amazon came into its own.  

In their earnings report, they say they raked in $6.33 billion in net income, which is up dramatically from the $2.13 billion of the same quarter a year earlier. On top of this, they’re expecting a massive 2020 holiday season and they plan to hire 100,000 seasonal workers in preparation for the surge in orders. 

As Amazon goes from strength to strength globally, they are also increasing their presence in Australia, with their new Brisbane hub set to open by the end of the year. 

 

Google Shopping makes updates to highlight deals and promotion

Google Shopping is undergoing some changes to boost visibility for retailers while also making sure shoppers are getting the best available prices. They will begin to highlight top shopping deals in search results for users and make it much easier and faster to apply product promotions for retailers. This will help businesses attract new customers and gather some meaningful insights into their promotions. 

The changes will be able to be applied to the free shopping listings they offered earlier in the year, making it a great option for retailers and businesses that have struggled with sales over the pandemic period. 

With the changes, products that are on promotion will appear in more places across Google, and will have annotations on them like ‘Sale’, promotion details like ‘30% off’, and discounted pricing information. Making it even easier for shoppers, there will also be an  “on sale” filter added to the Shopping tab on mobile and desktop. 

In other Google news, announcements have been made of it investing $350 million dollars in a shopping platform in Indonesia named Tokopedia. The online marketplace is a massive player in Indonesia, contributing over 1% of the country’s entire economic growth. 

Tokopedia also offers financial products like digital wallets and loans, and has already amassed billions from other big investors, like SoftBank and Alibaba. 

Google hasn’t commented on the investment yet or given an explanation on their end goal is with the investment, but it’s an interesting move to keep an eye on.