Good afternoon and welcome to the weekly HubFeed, where we unpack this week's digital marketing news. This week, we're gonna be covering how Google Local SEO becomes more competitive, Instagram hits 500 million users, sending a text message directly from an ad. And you won't want to miss our take on Google and censorship.

Also available on YouTube.

Google Local SEO Becomes More Competitive

Yeah, great job. Let's dive right into the first story and that is, that is Google is giving one of the positions in the Local 3-Pack to an ad. So Chad, we've been covering this over the years as this changed. We've seen the size of this vary that were as many as, I think, 7 or even 10 at one point in the Local Pack. We've seen it come down shorter four or three. Now we're down to three and they're saying that one of those is actually gonna be an ad. So there'll be two organic results and one ad position.

Yeah. And what this means for a small business is more competition. A few weeks ago, we covered the idea that there might be Local Map Packs that had three organic results with one ad. And now, it seems like Google is saying that it might be two with one ad. So really, the story is it went from seven to three and now, we're at two.

Instagram Hits 500M Users

And I'll just move right on to Instagram hitting 500 million users. The image-sharing platform announced this week that they now have 500 million users and it's users are not messing around, that are engaged. Sixty percent of those users are logging on every day. And it's actually a pretty global phenomenon there, 80% of its users reside outside of the U.S.

Yes. So Chad, we like to talk about, you know, why this matters to Main Street and, you know, Instagram is a great place to connect with your customers. We're always talking about connecting with where your customers are. Especially if your business lends itself to beautiful and intriguing images, you know, this is a place you want to be. Now things just spring to mind there, Chad, of course are, you know, restaurants, local food, designers, jewelries, and other kinds of interesting experiences. It's just something you should consider.

Send Text Messages from Ads

Moving on to the next story. Your prospects may soon be able to text you directly from an ad and this is something that Google is allegedly testing. This would be a new AdWords extension that will allow people to text to a company directly from an ad. Now, we know that Google test things all the time, Chad, so we don't know which ones will stick. And this SMS ad extension is not something that's currently available so we can't announce that today. But if they did go through with this, it would offer another way for your prospects to reach you, find out more information using a single-click, prefilled message.

And again, I think this really matters for small business because a lot of small businesses, especially service providers, are out and about in vehicles. So now, you're gonna have the opportunity for a customer to directly connect via an application that essentially, you always have in your pocket or around you. So this is going to allow small businesses to respond more quickly to prospects and maybe land more deals.

Google & Censorship

So this takes us to our final story today where we're going to be talking about Google and censorship, some big news coming up this week. There were two very interesting stories. One was an entrepreneur and it was called "Is Google Trying to Kill SEO?" And the news here is that in Florida, a judge struck down Google's motion to dismiss a case that e-ventures Worldwide have brought against Google.

Now, this is actually pretty interesting because in the past, Google has been able to pretty successfully dismiss anyone coming to them saying that their websites have been removed from the Google index. In this particular case, there was the fact that Google actually had black listed e-ventures Worldwide. So anytime they created a new domain name, and without doing any SEO treatment to it, that it was being immediately black listed from Google. So the lawyers representing e-ventures Worldwide were able to argue that this is something different and this case is going to be proceeding.

The other big story that came out was in "U.S. News & World Report." There was a story called "The New Censorship: How Did Google Become the Internet Censor and Master Manipulator of Blocking Access to Millions of Websites?" Great title and this is written by a senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology.

And in this article, he's arguing for the regulation of Google. He goes through all these different places that Google is becoming a censor. And basically, the author acknowledges that Google needs a way to filter and block the bad stuff, "But the suppression of information on the internet needs to be managed by, or at least subject to regulations of, responsible public officials, with every aspect of the operations transparent to all, " and that's a direct quote from him.

So big news there and thank you very much for joining us today. Please comment or subscribe to our HubFeed to be notified of future updates.