As digital marketers, we strive to be constantly up-to-date on the latest happening in the online world. We have Search Engine Optimization, Pay-Per-Click Advertising, Web Design, and more covered. Staying on top of digital news is our job and not only pushes us with our ideas and strategies but ensures our clients come out on top as well. Whether it’s a new app exploding on the scene, a Google algorithm update, or the latest behavior tracking tool we’ll review, preview, and make note of it here. So if you’ve missed checking your RSS reader or your favorite sites this week no worries. New to 2016 is our what we’re listening to section full of a podcast, song, or piece that has been in our heads all week. Check it out to find out what you should be listening to regardless of topic. Come back every Friday for a new collection of our favorites and the most noteworthy pieces from the digital news sphere.

What We’re Reading for January 22nd

How Machine Learning is Changing SEO

Machine learning is the new brain behind Google’s algorithm. Machine learning refers to the self-programming of computers. However, it’s recommended that we continue to optimize websites for humans rather than the machines responsible for algorithms since metrics like click-through-rates are factors in any algorithm. (Contributed by Technical Search Strategist Claudia Pennington)

Is Google Expanding the Layout of PLAs?

It appears that Google is now testing an expandable format for showing its PLAs (Product Listing Ads). Currently PLAs are contained in a Sponsored box and feature 5-8 listings. A new format has been spotted with an “Expand” arrow in the bottom corner. Clicking this arrow opens a larger window within the search results page that contains 16 PLAs. This expanded window, plus the search ads that were already present, and might reduce the organic result real estate of that page down to nothing. (Contributed by Paid Search Specialist Bill Hartz)

Google Announces Online Real-Time Ads

Brands looking to jump in on popular microments and trending news will have the chance with Google’s online Real-Time Ads. These pre-created ads include an element like a text overlay that can be updated when a buzzworthy consumer moment happens. Brands like will be using Real-Time Ads during the Super Bowl. For now, these ads are only available to select brands, but the ad service should expand later this year. (Contributed by Online PR Specialist Ellen Borza)

Battle of the sexes, Pinterest-style

Pinterest shares the top search trends for men and women. Men tend to favor paleo recipes, pocket squares, and Superbowl snackadiums, while women lean more toward budget-friendly travelings with kids, New Zealand, and glamping. Just in time for February 14th, both genders are searching for Easy Valentine’s Day ideas. (Contributed by Online PR Specialist Sarah Walsh)

Facebook Launches a Moments for Sports

The new channel called Sports Stadium is similar to Twitter Moments but only for sports. Unlike many of their other ideas Sports Stadium is part of Facebook overall and not a stand alone app. Users can search for games, get expert opinions, and check out what their friends are saying about the game. Currently the channel is only available on iOS but is coming to other platforms soon. I personally am hoping this frees up my timeline from ‘friends’ going on and on about the ‘big game’. (Contributed by Online PR Specialist Anna Horn)

Accidental SEO Tests: How 301 Redirects Are Likely Impacting Your Brand conducted an “accidental test” of the impact of 301 redirect linking that measured the impact of chaining redirects from pages. In the example they provided, a page’s URL was changed twice, and the 301 redirects were linked together. The resulted in an (approx) 15% decrease each time a redirect was implemented. I have always known there was decrease with 301’s but I never realized the impact was that significant. Making sure 301s are not linked in a long chain is extremely important. (Contributed by Creative Marketing Manager Adam Perry)

5 Ways Brands are Using Cinemagraphs

Cinemagraphs are glossy photos with subtle, isolated sections of movement that have been described as amped-up versions of GIFs. They’ve quickly become ubiquitous on social media in 2015. (Contributed by Digital Campaign Lead Jasper Burwell)

Cash in on These Mobile PPC Opportunities

Optimizing ads for mobile devices should be a key component of every digital marketing strategy. A few useful mobile-focused AdWords tools include: mobile preferred ads, call extensions, and call-only ads, These seemingly small adjustments can have tremendously positive impacts. In addition, another important factor to consider is simply making sure your website is mobile friendly on all devices and browsers. This step can be easily overlooked, but it is critical to enhancing the user experience on mobile. (Contributed by Paid Search Specialist Kevin Koehn)

What We’re Listening To

BBC Minute

Short on time but looking to catch the headlines for the day? This podcast is pushed live every half hour and updates you on all the happenings in one quick minute. Perfect if you’re on the go but don’t have time to browse your news app. (Contributed by Online PR Specialist Anna Horn)

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