Digital Digest: Check Your AdWords, Enough with the Clickbait, & Kill Your Interstitials!

Welcome to the January 2017 edition of the Digital Digest! Here we collect the most important and helpful SEO, SEM, Inbound Marketing, and general Digital Marketing stories from this past month. The new year kicked off with some slight Google shake-ups that may be a sign of things to come. We also saw a few enlightening advice columns published in January. Let’s dive in!


  • Google confirms rolling out the mobile intrusive interstitials penalty yesterday (Search Engine Land):
    • On January 10, 2017, Google officially rolled out the intrusive mobile interstitial penalty. Google will potentially lower the rankings of web pages that:
      • Show a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.
      • Display a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.
      • Use a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.
    • Key Takeaway: Don’t have an intrusive interstitials occur directly after a user goes from a Google mobile search result to a specific page.
  • Chrome’s DevTools for SEO: 10 ways to use these browser features for your SEO audits (Search Engine Land):
    • Aleyda Solis explains some of the excellent uses for the Google Chrome browser’s DevTools from the perspective of SEO. Working similarly to the Firebug plugin, the built-in DevTools toolset allows users to go far beyond the constraints of simply viewing the source code. Dive deeper into JavaScript and CSS construction to strike at the heart of technical SEO issues.
    • Key Takeaway: Many of these “10 ways” to use DevTools for SEO can easily be done with other tools though, like Web Developer Toolbar. I’ve found the tool incredibly useful for functions like its Mobile Device Mode, which allows for vital testing in our new Mobile-First landscape. Speaking of Mobile-First…
  • Google Mobile-First Index Not Launching Too Soon (Search Engine Land):
    • Google’s John Mueller thinks Mobile-First indexation might not be fully live until later this year.  He says Google currently does not have a date for when it is going live.
    • Key Takeaway: You may have a little more time to get your website ready for Mobile-First indexation  But I certainly wouldn’t recommendation inaction on that front.
  • Google has officially killed off their link command (Search Engine Land):
  • A Google spokesperson has confirmed that the Search engine’s link command is no longer functioning. Using a command will now return irrelevant results.
    • Key Takeaway: RIP a very valuable SEO tool. You can now no longer be certain of the indexed backlinks of competitors in Google. You’ll need to use tools like Majestic or Ahrefs to assess competitor backlinks (though there’s no way to know for sure if Google’s considering them). Those same tools can be used to assess your own website, as can Google Search Console data.


  • Why Google AdWords Isn’t Working for You (Search Engine Journal):
    • Ron Dod, co-founder and owner of Visiture, explains the many reasons users fail to set up effective Google AdWords campaigns. He cites the following missteps:
      • Focusing solely on the Short Tail
      • Lack of Strategy
      • ROI Focus Goals Are Off
      • Landing Pages that Fail to Convert
      • Price
      • Lack of Account Optimization
      • Lack of Retargeting
    • Key Takeaway: It may be time for a gut check to see how seriously you’re taking your paid media efforts. Ad buys without strategy will not yield returns, so get serious or bring in an expert. Your bottom line will thank you.

Inbound Marketing

  • The [Adjective] [Number] Things You Need to Know About Clickbait (First Round Review):
    • Former MyFitnessPal and Under Armour marketing VP Tara-Nicholle Nelson explains how to create real engagement through content that truly resonates with the user. Her first rule for content marketing law: stop publishing clickbait.
    • Key Takeaway: Clickbait is an unforgivable offense. Create valuable content that your customers and prospects want to consume. And make sure it aligns with their goals, challenges, and interests.