Google’s much-talked-about ‘helpful content update’ is officially rolling out.

The company announced it had begun the process of implementing the new algorithm update via the Search Central Google Search ranking updates page.

As the update posted today says. “[Google] released the August 2022 helpful content update. The rollout could take up to two weeks to complete.

What Is The Helpful Content Update?

In short, the helpful content update intends to make content written specifically for search engines (sometimes called “search engine-first content”) less prevalent in search results while increasing the presence of content that is most valuable to actual users.

Announced a little more than a week ago, the update is being applied sitewide, meaning it will be a factor for all search results. At the same time, Google has indicated that the update will impact online education, arts, tech, and shopping more than other websites.

Early rumblings and statements from Google suggest this may be the biggest update to the search engine in years, and may radically shake up the search results users receive. 

Two Week Rollout

As with most algorithm updates, the company is gradually implementing the helpful content update. Over the next two weeks, most sites will likely see fluctuations in search performance as the update is rolled out before search performance stabilizes. Additionally, it may take even longer for the full scope of the helpful content update to become apparent following the completed rollout.

What To Do

With the update rolling out, brands hoping to make changes before the impact is felt may be cutting it too close to save their rankings. However, you can still remove any search engine-first content from your site to minimize the update’s impact on your site. 

Beyond that, there is little you can do now other than monitor your rankings over the next two weeks and beyond to track the impact in real-time.

While most of the online marketing world is still abuzz over the recent announcement of the upcoming ‘helpful content update’, Google has quietly revealed it is preparing a product review algorithm update that will go live this month.

This algorithm update seeks to improve the quality and value of reviews Google highlights in search results. 

Since the new update is coming so soon after the release of the helpful content update, many are speculating it may be tied to the helpful content update in some way – such as using the helpful content update to better identify high-quality reviews which show firsthand knowledge of a product or business.

Here’s what Google actually had to say about its product review update:

“We know product reviews can play an important role in helping you make a decision on something to buy. Last year, we kicked off a series of updates to show more helpful, in-depth reviews based on first-hand expertise in search results.

We’ve continued to refine these systems, and in the coming weeks, we’ll roll out another update to make it even easier to find high-quality, original reviews. We’ll continue this work to make sure you find the most useful information when you’re researching a purchase on the web.”

While Google hasn’t released specific guidance for this algorithm update, it has previously given a list of questions to assess your product reviews. 

Do your reviews:

  • Express expert knowledge about products where appropriate?
  • Show what the product is like physically, or how it is used, with unique content beyond what’s provided by the manufacturer?
  • Provide quantitative measurements about how a product measures up in various categories of performance?
  • Explain what sets a product apart from its competitors?
  • Cover comparable products to consider, or explain which products might be best for certain uses or circumstances?
  • Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of a particular product, based on research into it?
  • Describe how a product has evolved from previous models or releases to provide improvements, address issues, or otherwise help users in making a purchase decision?
  • Identify key decision-making factors for the product’s category and how the product performs in those areas? For example, a car review might determine that fuel economy, safety, and handling are key decision-making factors and rate performance in those areas.
  • Describe key choices in how a product has been designed and their effect on the users beyond what the manufacturer says?

TikTok is still considered a niche social media site by some, but the platform has grand ambitions to keep growing into an even bigger platform in the future. 

In TikTok’s first-ever company event, held as part of the 2022 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the company’s leadership spoke about the challenges facing the platform and their plans to overcome them.

Company leadership addressed a range of topics, including shopping across the platform, user safety, iOS 14’s impact on online advertising, and more. Let’s go over some of the highlights:

Advertising Updates

Though it has already amassed hundreds of thousands of advertisers, TikTok’s president of global operations solutions, Blake Chandlee says the company’s current goal is in the millions.

To do this, TikTok is expanding its advertising toolset and creating new features to help advertisers measure the quality of ads.

Managing director and global head of monetization product, strategy, and operation, Ray Cao, also addressed the impact of Apple’s iOS 14 on its advertising operations. 

This update made it difficult to target and track ads to many users as it gave users the option to block many forms of online tracking. However, Cao says the social network will overcome this by increasing the options for contextual ad targeting.

At the same time, TikTok is working to improve brand safety by better assessing what type of content an ad may be associated with. 

As Francis Stones, head of European brand safety explained, the company’s review process now analyzes sounds, text, emojis, and imagery to ensure brands do not become associated with something problematic.

TikTok Shopping Features

Along with these updates to TikTok’s advertising services, the platform is also continuing its efforts to develop its live shopping functionality.

Global head of business marketing, Sofia Hernandez explained that the new feature is being developed to allow brands to take advantage of user-created content quickly and easily, though further details were unavailable.

As TikTok grows into a major force on today’s internet, it is working to provide brands and advertisers with the types of features they have come to expect from social networks. While this is just a small look at the platform’s direction for the future, it shows that the newly popular social network intends to keep growing with its userbase.

Advertising has undergone a massive shift in recent years. Instead of the sleek, high-end style that many associates with ads, consumers (and a growing number of brands) are embracing a more lo-fi, “imperfect” approach to ads. According to new research from Meta, this is especially true when it comes to social media ads.

In a recent blog post, Meta suggests this is about more than a change in visual trends. It is a shift in cultural standards and expectations, or “culture codes.”

As the post explains, this is “being driven by something more fundamental, which is a shift we’re seeing away from perfection and polish, towards a culture that instead celebrates what’s unpolished and real.”

Though it is unclear just how long this shift has been happening, Meta first noticed it in a study of Instagram Stories ads conducted back in 2019. 

The results of this study showed that ads that used a less-polished style performed far better in tests for both ad recall and content views compared to those with a more refined appearance.

This is particularly true for younger audiences who tend to spend a lot of time on social media. In a recent study from consumer behavior analysts YPulse, up to 84% of young consumers reported “I like it when content from brands is not perfect” and  79% said they are “tired of seeing perfect images in advertising.”

With this in mind, the researchers at Meta dug deeper to identify 6 specific codes that brands should follow if they want to continue connecting with online audiences:

Include Real People Telling Real Stories

Including real people – especially your actual employees or customers – helps to give your message authenticity. This is crucial for getting through to today’s savvy audiences.

Use “The Language of the Platform”

Obviously, we aren’t referring to the actual language you or other users speak, such as English, Spanish, Afrikaans, etc. In this case, speaking the language of the platform is all about proving you are “one of us” to other users by taking part in the latest trends, such as participating in “challenges”, putting a new spin on a popular dance, or using the hottest filters.

This helps establish your brand’s relatability to your audience.

Establish Relationships with Creators and Influencers

No matter what your feelings are about social media influencers, there is no denying the impact they can have on social media audiences.

According to Meta, even adults aren’t immune to the reach of influencers, with 63% of adults between 18-34 saying they trust a popular creator’s view of a brand.

This is considerably more than those who reported trusting brands themselves.

The power of influencers really comes down to the fact that they have established a relationship with their viewers and have an incomparable reach. This helps build your own credibility with a whole new audience you might have never reached before.

Go Behind The Scenes

When users say they don’t want to see “perfection” in ads, they don’t necessarily mean they want low-quality or poorly made ads. They just want to know your message is based in reality. This is why viewers tend to respond strongly to brands who are willing to take them behind the curtain. 

Keep Your Video Lo-Fi

Today, it is easier than ever to get access to affordable editing and production tools that can make your ad look like a Hollywood movie. Don’t use them. Sticking with simpler, lo-fi editing and production techniques, such as the most popular editing apps for smartphones, keeps your ad feeling authentic and hand-crafted.

Use Humor to Connect With Audiences

Humor is consistently one of the most effective tools for getting audiences to lower their guard. It makes your brand more relatable and makes listeners want to hear what else you have to say. The obvious catch here is that brands must be careful because several brands have made tone-deaf jokes which missed the mark and hurt their reputation.

Google is giving users more significant power than ever to control what ads they see. As announced at the annual I/O Summit conference (and reported by Greg Finn), this will be done by launching a new and improved My Ad Center feature that aims to make ads more transparent and relevant for consumers.

In the new My Ad Center, users will be able to find information about who paid for a specific ad and why they were targeted to see it. Additionally, users will be able to select which brands or topics they would like to receive ads for and specify the level of personalization they are comfortable with from ads.

At the time of the announcement, the My Ad Center feature is limited to only Google Search, YouTube, and Google Discover. This means users are still largely unable to dictate what type of ads they might see in other areas of Google or through the Google Display Network, though there are rumors that similar tools are coming to manage ads being shown via the display network.

Select Your Favorite Topics and Brands

Probably the most significant new introduction in the Google My Ad Center is the ability to dictate what topics or brands you are most interested in seeing ads about. 

Of course, users may still see ads or topics not listed in this tool if Google believes it is relevant to them. Still, this gives you significant influence by directly telling the search engine what you want to see.

More Transparent Advertising

Beyond controlling the ads you see, My Ad Center also aims to give you more information about the ads being shown by expanding the previously introduced “about this ad” section. 

Here, you will find details about who paid for an ad (using Advertiser Identity Verification) and information about why Google included you in the targeting for this ad.

Ad Personalization Settings

Personalization has become increasingly common in ads over the last few years, with advertisers using details like age, relationship status, education level, and more to create, personalize, and target ads.

Now, users can opt out of this by limiting any or all details used to personalize ads.

In this section, you can also limit or allow sensitive ad topics such as gambling, alcohol, or weight loss to be shown to you.

Lastly, My Ad Center gives users control over what data sources are used to personalize ads and where (for example, allowing personalized Google Search results or YouTube recommendations). 


The new My Ad Center feature is expected to launch soon, though an exact date is unavailable.

Google is offering a new solution for e-commerce brands interested in improving their site’s search capabilities. 

With the release of Retail Search, Google Cloud is making it possible for online retailers to provide Google-quality search results on their own websites. This means it will be faster and easier for customers to find the products they are looking for on your site, making them more likely to complete thor transaction instead of abandoning your site. 

How Poor Search Experiences Hurt Online Retailers

According to a 2021 survey from The Harris Poll and Google Cloud, at least 94% of American consumers have abandoned a shopping session because of poor quality or irrelevant search results and 76% of shoppers said that an unsuccessful search led to a lost sale for a retail website. 

Based on this, the report estimates retailers lose $300 billion each year solely because of this phenomenon known as search abandonment. 

Understanding Intent To Deliver Better Search Results

The biggest hurdle to delivering successful search results has always been understanding search intent. 

Most basic search engines struggle to identify user intent and deliver the most relevant search results quickly. Google’s systems, however, are constantly being updated with the specific goal of better understanding user intent and delivering the best results quickly.

With Retail Search, retailers can now deliver that same quality search experience on their own site. 

Customizable For Your Needs

Retail Search is fully customizable to suit the needs of almost any e-commerce site. 

As the announcement says:

“Our site search solution builds upon decades of Google’s experience and innovation in search indexing, retrieval, and ranking. Retailers can make product discovery even easier for shoppers, while optimizing for their business goals with advanced capabilities.”

These capabilities include:

  • Advanced query understanding that produces better results from even the broadest queries, including non-product searches. 
  • Semantic search to effectively match product attributes with website content for fast, relevant product discovery. 
  • Optimized results that leverage user interaction and ranking models to meet specific business goals.
  • State-of-the-art security and privacy practices that ensure retailer data is isolated with strong access controls and is only used to deliver relevant search results on their own properties.

For more information, read the full announcement here or visit Google’s Discovery Solutions for Retail.

Twitter is signaling its plans to let brands establish dedicated shops on the platform through a limited test.

The company revealed it is introducing dedicated shopping pages including up to 50 products to a handful of brands as an experiment ahead of plans to roll out the feature to more retailers later this year. 

The feature allows a brand or business to add a simple “View shop” button to its profile page, which will link to a Twitter-hosted e-commerce page. When clicked, the button will then take users to your actual online store or website, where the transaction can be completed. 

As Twitter described the new feature in its blog post announcement:

“People are already talking about products on Twitter. We want Twitter Shops to be the home for merchants on Twitter where they can intentionally curate a catalog of products for their Twitter audience and build upon the product discussions already happening on our service by giving shoppers a point of action where a conversation can become a purchase.”

Only Available to a Select Few

As Twitter Shops are currently considered a beta test, the feature is only available to a small number of brands in the U.S. Specifically, the announcement only mentioned five brands that have utilized the feature so far – Verizon, Arden Cover, the Latinx In Power podcast, Gay Pride Apparel, and All I Do Is Cook.

Additionally, only iPhone users are currently able to view or interact with the shops, though the company plans to roll the feature out to other devices in the future.

Social Stores Are Becoming The Norm

The new feature underscores the increasingly blurry line between social media and online shopping. Several other platforms, including TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram have rolled out their own shopping tools to brands on their platform, though the most obvious comparison is Pinterest’s current shopping system where users can discover brands and shop their products on the platform before finalizing their purchase through retailer’s own sites.

For more, read Twitter’s full announcement here.

The coronavirus pandemic brought unprecedented changes to practically every market around the world. While existing businesses struggled with new safety requirements, the number of new business openings slowed significantly.

As we come to the end of the second year of living with the COVID pandemic, though, it appears new business openings are close to reaching pre-pandemic levels, according to Yelp’s COVID-19 Second Anniversary Report

Specifically, new business openings in the second year of the pandemic were just 1% below rates from the year before the pandemic (2019). Over the year, at least 521,926 new businesses were established – up 14% from the first year of the pandemic. 

How New Variants Affected New Business Openings

While new business openings are on the rise overall, this is not happening without setbacks. The Delta and Omicron variants caused dips in openings, especially in the largest cities across the US. In many cities, these hurdles slowed growth enough to cause an overall decrease in openings.

Despite this, other cities like Atlanta, Dallas, and Detroit helped offset these losses. 

New Expectations For Businesses

While openings are returning to pre-pandemic rates, Yelp emphasized that the coronavirus pandemic is still strongly influencing consumer behavior. For example, interest in outdoor seating continued to rise by 292% in the second year of the pandemic. 

Similarly, consumer interest continues to be heightened for outdoor activities, including scooter rentals, outdoor movies, and the newly trendy pickleball.

The Big Picture

Businesses continue to stand strong in the face of the COVID pandemic, despite new challenges like labor shortages and supply bottlenecks. Being adaptable has long been a key trait of successful businesses, especially after the onset of the COVID pandemic.

After suffering a massive drop in stock values earlier this week, Facebook is planning to pivot more towards being a short-form video platform. 

The shift in focus was announced by CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a company-wide virtual meeting with Facebook employees shortly after the stock crash, which was triggered by a devastating quarterly earnings report from the platform’s parent company – Meta Platforms. 

In its latest earnings report, Meta disclosed that it had lost money throughout the quarter as well as seeing the first-ever decline in daily active users. By the end of the quarter, the company says more than half a million users had stopped using the platform on a daily basis. 

All of this then caused investors to panic, leading to the company’s stock price dropping by over 200 billion dollars in a single day – the largest single-day stock drop in history.

Why Is Facebook Losing Users and Money?

As Zuckerberg laid out to employees, he sees three major contributing factors to the unflattering quarterly earnings report. These are a recent wave of investments from Meta to establish Metaverse, difficulties with advertising after the of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature and Android’s take on this information sharing feature, and TikTok.

The first issue is easy to believe. After the company’s hugely publicized rebrand to Meta, it has been spending a lot of money to establish its Metaverse platform – which has yet to pay off. Given the mixed-to-negative reception the Metaverse has received, it is also possible investors are nervous about the potential for eventual revenue from the platform.

Facebook is also seeing a notable loss in money from advertising, largely because the largest mobile operating systems have both implemented new features which give users more information and control over how their information is being used. 

On one hand, this is a benefit for users because they can now easily opt-out of being tracked online. On the other, it makes it much more difficult – and even potentially impossible in some cases – to target relevant ads for users. This leads to less interest in ads from users, which translates to less engagement, and thus less revenue, 

What About TikTok?

After surviving challenges from Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, Facebook may have finally met a competitor it can’t afford to ignore.

Mark Zuckerberg told employees that part of the company’s poor quarterly performance was an “unprecedented level of competition” from TikTok.

As such, Zuckerberg plans to directly focus on promoting its short-video-related content and features across both Instagram and Facebook.

As he told meeting attendees:

“People have a lot of choices for how they want to spend their time, and apps like TikTok are growing very quickly. And this is why our focus on Reels is so important over the long term.”

While both of Meta’s social networks have increasingly prioritized video in recent years, this underscores a renewed emphasis on video content – especially short, easy-to-share clips like those found on TikTok. As such, brands hoping to reach their audiences on these platforms should be prepared to similarly focus on creating video content that connects with their potential customers.

Google Business Profiles (formerly called Google My Business) has added a new waiting period for new profile managers or owners when they have been added to an account.

If you try to edit your business listing during this period, users will get an error message alerting them that their access is temporarily suspended.

This new information was discovered in the recently updated help guide for adding or removing profile managers or owners,

A single person – typically the business owner or an executive responsible for a brand’s online presence – can “claim” their Google Business Profiles listing to become the primary user without experiencing the delay. 

However, if you then add an employee or marketing agency to manage your listing, they will be required to wait 7 days before they will be granted full access to the account. 

As the new help document explains:

When a new owner or manager is added to an existing Business Profile, they must wait for 7 days before they can manage all the features of the profile. During this 7 day period, the new owner or manager gets an error if they try any of the following:

  • Delete or undelete a profile.
  • Remove other owners or managers from a profile.
  • Transfer primary ownership of a profile to themselves or a third user.
  • An existing owner or manager tries to transfer primary ownership of the profile to a new owner or manager still in their first 7 days.

If the new owner or manager deletes their account within the first 7 days, they’re removed from the profile. If they undelete their account, they must be added to the profile again.

Most likely, this temporary delay has been added as a means to prevent hackers or other bad actors from attempting to illicitly access Google Business Profiles accounts.