MZ Weekly News Round-Up: The Science of Rankings and Instagram’s Milestone


Earlier this week, Google’s head of search spam tweeted a surprising tip about SEO: “no need to delete your old disavow links file before uploading a new one.

You can just upload the new one.” The reason, apparently, is because when an old disavow file is deleted and a new one is uploaded, two emails are generated to the Google team, which may be confusing when they review manual actions. In light of Google’s recent announcements about search engine penalties, it would be wise to heed this new advice.

Related to the penalty news, Google took the time to answer questions regarding the consequences for SEO spam. First, the team clarified that webmasters who are targeted manually by the Google webspam team will be notified in Webmaster Tools.

Additionally, a fall in the rankings is not necessarily indicative of a penalty: there may be an implementation of algorithmic tweakings which benefit certain websites for the purpose of refreshing the ranking priorities for Google’s index. On the other hand, there are also cases in which websites will drop in the rankings simply because the competition is doing a better job at influencing their own rankings.

Google claims they are not going to introduce any major update that has the potential to disrupt rankings on a large scale without announcement.

Social Media:

Congratulations to Instagram, who just hit the mark of 200 million monthly active users! In honor of this milestone, Beta21 assembled some statistics about the photo-sharing platform:

  • 50 million users signed up in the last six months
  • 20 billion photos are currently uploaded to the service
  • Instagram currently has 75 million daily active users
  • Each day, users “like” about 1.2 billion posts on Instagram
  • 43% of the top 100 brands with Instagram accounts post daily
  • “No filter” is Instagram’s most popular filter

Content and Marketing:

It may be surprising, but over the past two months, 177 automotive manufacture sites drove 14.4 million paid search clicks from Google ads on desktops and tablets. That stat, however, does not consider the mobile market. Of those 177 advertisers, the top 20 accounted for 81 percent of the paid search clicks in that period of January and February. and currently hold the top spots in both the traditional and mobile markets in terms of impression share. This growth reflects a trend of annual higher spending on U.S. AdWords in the Automotive Manufacturer category.

A report from the Content Marketing Institute is suggesting that businesses put traditional keyword strategies to rest in favor of “owned, paid, and earned” strategies. This includes producing content, investing in native advertising, and gaining the “likes,” re-tweets, re-blogs, etc. that are needed to boost a company’s social signal. Google’s shift to semantic search algorithms is ensuring that the first-page results for any keyword don’t look the same for any two users. That’s not to say a business shouldn’t bother putting a keyword strategy in place. However, smart content marketing should take priority.


  1. Schwartz, Barry. Google Says Don’t Delete Your Disavow File Prior To Uploading A New OneSearchEngineLand
  2. Melberg, Caroline. Is It a Penalty or an Algorithm Change? Social Media Today
  3. Singh, Avtar Ram. Instagram Hits 200 Million Users: What Does This Mean For You? Social Media Today
  4. Baldock, Christopher. How an Owned, Paid, and Earned Content Strategy Can Power Your SEO Content Marketing Institute
  5. Marvin, Ginny. Car Makers Drove 14.4 Million Clicks From Google Ads In 2 Months (And That Doesn’t Include Mobile)SearchEngineLand

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