Instagram has begun limited testing of a new ‘Layout’ option in Instagram Stories which enables users to select from a range of presentation styles for their visuals within a Stories frame.
As you can see in this tweet from social media consultant Matt Navarra (via researcher Satyam Sinha), the new option enables you to choose a split-screen grid type for your images, with six different grid styles to consider. At this stage, it seems that you’ll only be able to add still images to each grid segment.
The Layout option was first spotted in testing by reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong back in August, but now seems to have crossed over to the next stage of beta testing. At that time, Wong also reported that Instagram had been testing a range of new Boomerang modes, which would further add to your creative options.
There’s no word on these Boomerang modes being released, but maybe, given we’re now seeing public testing of Layouts, they’re also not too far away.
On another front, Instagram also appears to be testing a new ‘Shoutouts’ option, which provides custom templates for birthdays and similar announcements.
As demonstrated in these examples (via @aj_malakai and @blueasyraff) When you add a users’ Instagram @handle into the Shoutout field, it then provides a listing of images that the two of you have shared together, from which you can choose one to feature in your update. It could be another way to prompt direct engagement, and tap into the rising trend of more private conversation on Instagram.
There’s no word from Instagram on a full launch of any of these tools, but going on past history, you’ll likely see more of them in the very near future.
Google’s Latest Core Search Update is Rolling Out from Today
Digital content managers and webmasters, best to keep an eye on your Google rankings over the next few weeks.
Today, Google has confirmed that it’s rolling out a new Core update for Search, which will change the way some sites are listed in Search results pages.
Today, we’re releasing a broad core update, as we do several times per year. This update is called the May 2022 core update. Learn more: https://t.co/7kFklwdkAb
— Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) May 25, 2022
So what’s changing? Helpfully, Google never explains exactly what’s being updated, which is a measure designed to stop users trying to scam the system.
Google does, however, offer this generic overview of what’s happening:
“Several times per year, we make substantial improvements to our overall ranking processes, which we refer to as core updates. Core updates are changes we make to improve Search overall and keep pace with the changing nature of the web. While nothing in a core update is specific to any particular site, these updates may produce some noticeable changes to how sites perform.”
Indeed, Google further explains that:
“There’s nothing wrong with pages that may perform less well in a core update. They haven’t violated our webmaster guidelines nor been subjected to a manual or algorithmic action, as can happen to pages that do violate those guidelines. In fact, there’s nothing in a core update that targets specific pages or sites. Instead, the changes are about improving how our systems assess content overall. These changes may cause some pages that were previously under-rewarded to do better.”
In other words, you haven’t done anything wrong, but your SEO performance could take a hit anyway, and you’ll just have to deal with it – and maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll actually see an uptick in Search referrals because of something Google has changed.
Though you won’t know what it is, exactly, nor how to capitalize on it.
Such is the mystery of the Big G, giving and taking valuable web traffic with the winds of change, via every core update.
As noted by Search Engine Journal, the last Google Core update was in November, so you’ve had a good six months to get used to things as they are. Now they’re going to change again.
So what’s the point of me even telling you? Nothing, you can’t do anything about it anyway – but if you do notice a change in your rankings, you can point to the latest core update from Google and make it look like you know what’s happening to those less web literate.
‘Google’s putting a bigger focus on quality content, which is why we’ve seen an increase in traffic.’
That’s both vague and knowledgeable-sounding enough to get you through, while it’s also not incorrect, if anyone were to try and catch you out.
Google says that the full impacts of the May 2022 core update will take a couple of weeks to fully roll out.
If you’re looking for more insight on what’s changed, this forum thread will track responses to the update.
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