Insights from below deck: December 2022
Oxford’s top words of the year, a hat-trick of Google updates, and Pinterest’s 2023 trend predictions are some of the topics that have got the team talking this month. Here, we discuss the latest news from the digital marketing landscape and how we expect brands to leverage updates throughout January and beyond.
Google and Oxford reveal top words of the year
Understanding and leveraging language used in culture is essential for marketers. Brands are a part of everyone’s daily lives, and must become fluent in the visual and verbal zeitgeist in order to speak to the times and stay relevant. Word trends provide an opportunity to do just that.
From cacao to canny, tacit to trove, some of Google’s top word definition search trends this year are curiously specific. But, as the tech giant revealed this month, it all comes down to one phenomenon – Wordle. The word Wordle itself was the most Googled word globally in 2022, as people searched for the game and its five-letter word answers. Predictably, major events influenced popular online searches, with Ukraine and the death of Queen Elizabeth II making the top five globally.
Meanwhile, lexicographers from Oxford University Press were puzzled when the public elected ‘goblin mode’ as the 2022 Oxford word of the year. The term refers to ‘a type of behaviour which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations’. Personally, I love it – embracing the comfort of depravity as the antithesis of picture-perfect influencer content. The rise of apps such as BeReal, where users are prompted to share images of their unedited selves at spontaneous moments of the day, prove I’m not the only one.
Google makes a hat-trick of changes
The guys and gals at Google have been particularly busy recently, it would seem. Towards the end of November, Google introduced a guide to Search ranking systems to make it easier for creators and others to learn about them. This will also help Google to communicate how these systems work, and announce when they’ve been updated.
This month, Google introduced another tool – the Google Search Status Dashboard. The purpose of this is to keep the public informed on the current status of systems which impact Search – crawling, indexing, and serving. Alongside the status update, Google aims to provide information on mitigation possibilities until the issue is resolved, to reduce any resulting impact on its users as far as possible.
Finally, the tech giant is releasing a link spam update for Google Search. SpamBrain, Google’s AI-based spam prevention system, will neutralise the impact of unnatural links on search results. This means ranking may change as spammy links are neutralised and any credit passed by these unnatural links is lost.
Pinterest trends for 2023
Pinterest is the place where users plan for their future – helping brand marketers plan their future too. The visual discovery platform tracks searches from its 400 million monthly users to predict trends for the year ahead, with 80% accuracy. This enables brands to see what their audiences are up to, making it easier to establish a marketing plan with solid foundations.
With a recession wreaking havoc across the UK, Pinterest searches for ‘budget meal’ are up 320% YoY, while searches for financial saving tips and train travel holidays are set to be trending next year. In reaction to the environmental crisis, searches for drought tolerant landscaping are also set to be trending, and ‘electric car’ searches are up 16% YoY. It’s well worth considering ways your brand could help its audience navigate these ambiguous times. With regards to 2023’s cultural trends, Pinterest predicts that sci-fi fashion, cyber streetwear, scalp care, and rust-coloured weddings will be all the rage.
Google link spam update has finished rolling out
After starting the roll-out in December, the Google Search link spam update is complete. The update will allow SpamBrain, Google’s AI-based spam prevention system, to neutralise the impact of unnatural links on search results. If you saw Google ranking changes during this rollout period, they may have resulted from spammy links being neutralised and credit passed by those unnatural links being lost.
To prevent any future detriment to your ranking, Google advises that site owners “ensure that they follow the best practices on links, both incoming and outgoing.” The tech giant said focus should be on producing high quality content and improving user experience, and that this “always wins out compared to manipulating links”. It added: “Promote awareness of your site using appropriately tagged links, and monetize it with properly tagged affiliate links.”
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Written by Alice MacLaverty
Resident wordsmith Alice is dedicated to creating top-quality content that turns heads, builds audiences, gets clicks, and makes money.
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