Digital Marketing Updates: July 2024

Happy July! Welcome to our monthly summary of happenings in the digital marketing world, designed so our clients (and others!) can stay on top of what matters for making good decisions about SEO and paid media including Google Ads and Meta. And if you’re interested in all things analytics in the Google world, check out our in-depth July Analytics Roundup, where this month we talk Google Ads attribution, new Looker Studio features, and why including GA4’s session data in BigQuery exports is critical.


Summary by Randy McFadden

Google Is Dropping Continuous Scroll For Desktop and Mobile Search Results

Google decided to discontinue continuous scroll for desktop users starting June 25th, and will soon do the same for mobile search results. Google tested the continuous scroll method over the last few years, but they’ve determined that they can yield faster results by opting back to a paginated search experience.

This change is worth monitoring your impressions and clicks to see if users are now less likely to view and click on your site for your terms that aren’t on the first page.

Frequency of AI Overviews in Google SERP

Two studies show that in the past few months, Google is showing AI Overviews less often, reporting that AI Overviews are appearing in 7-9% of searches overall, down from 17-64% depending on the source and timeframe. In addition, 

  • Reddit’s visibility in AI Overviews has declined. 
  • Content highlighted in AI Overviews includes a link to at least one domain that also appears organically in the first ten results 85% of the time. 
  • Ads show with AI Overviews 87% of the time. 
  • Local keywords don’t show AI Overviews in results. 

Data from SEO tools SERanking and SEOClarity.

Study Shows High Correlation Between A Strong Backlink Profile And High Rankings

Internet Marketing Ninjas conducted a study to determine if sites still rely on high amounts of backlinks to rank well. The investigation involved analyzing 200 commercial keyword phrases and examining the top 10 URLs for each, resulting in 1,113 unique sites. The study ultimately demonstrated that most sites that ranked well had a very strong backlink profile. Here are some notable key takeaways:

  • None of the top-ranking sites had fewer than 50 unique domain backlinks.
  • Only 3 out of 1,113 sites had between 50 and 100 backlinks.
  • 96.3% of the sites had over 1,000 backlinks, highlighting the importance of backlinks in ranking.

Google has mentioned fairly recently that people may be overvaluing backlinks’ importance in a site ranking well, but this study, along with experiences we’ve had analyzing rankings, does show that strong backlink profiles still correlates to sites outperforming their competitors. 

Paid Media

Google announced a fix to attribution modeling in GA4 that had previously sometimes attributed Google Ads conversions to organic traffic. This update rolled out in the second half of July. Our Head of Analytics took an early look at impact and found a median change of +14% conversions attributed to Google Ads across 10 accounts. He shares more in our Analytics Roundup for July.

Google Ads announced changes in keyword matching. Negative keywords will now automatically handle misspellings. Brand inclusions and exclusions refine keyword matching when using broad match keywords, to require a brand (or brand synonym) be included or excluded in the user’s query before ads are shown. 

LinkedIn has added a new ad placement option for in-stream video ads with select publisher content, including Bloomberg, Business Insider, MarketWatch, Reuters, and The Wall Street Journal. They also announced more video options in their AI-supported ad creative maker.

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