Hi! Hey! Hello! You all, my vacation was amazing in terms of the sheer relaxation it provided. To not have to focus on work or answer emails or zoom into any meetings was such a gift. I feel refreshed, relaxed, renewed, and ready to jump back into work with a much clearer focus. I also enjoyed the time with my family. We stayed with my mother and stepfather and our last night there involved night swimming and a dance party fueled by margaritas and Whispering Angel on the part of the adults involved. It was DJed by my 14 year old daughter who has a playlist on Spotify called “S$%^ My Dad Probably Has in His Record Collection”. It was the stuff that my “mom dreams” are made of. Coincidentally, my mom’s “mom dreams” are also made of these events. My kids even tried to teach my mom a tik tok dance. I’ll spare you the footage.
So here I am back in the saddle and presenting you the news of the week. This week’s topics include housing affordability, Google updates, and…. Data privacy because what would this newsletter be if we weren’t talking about that again.
DON’T HATE THE PLAYER HATE THE GAME
In this case the game is SEO & SEM and we’re the players trying to keep up. May will bring forth the new Google Page Experience Algorithm whose primary component is Core Web Vitals; of which, Cumulative Layout Shift, is one of 3 key metrics. There’s news to share about both this week. Google’s John Mueller was asked about how often Core Web Vitals will be calculated and it sounded like that is TBD but will take into consideration the fact that there’s a 28 day lag based on the way they’re collected. In the meantime, there’s been a correction to the way that CLS is scored. The update will make scores more accurate and will improve how some sites fare in this portion of the CWV calculation.
That’s the SEO part of the game. On the SEM front, we’ve been having an internal conversation recently about the role of search ads vs display ads on Google. Stacey, our Search Conversion Manager, has been telling us for a while now that search has evolved from what used to be a place that we considered to be middle to low funnel in it’s targeting to a place that’s far more ambiguous now. Earlier this week she shared this article from Search Engine Land about the role of the keyword moving forward. Turns out Google’s so good at the personalized search experience that keywords alone no longer indicate where in the sales funnel your ads will show up. It’s now more of a topic or category according to the article. Don’t get us wrong, search is still a very important place to be, but it’s even more important now to make sure you have a strong organic presence as well.
NOW WATCH ME WHIP, WATCH ME NAE NAE
I can actually do neither, but I was really struggling for a strong watch me pun and this was the song that was in my head from it. Because in data privacy land this week we have a new state coming forth with their own data privacy law and some data (albeit kinda biased) that shows that maybe people don’t mind being tracked after all.
From the state that brought me my dance party dreams, comes a new bill, SB-1734. However, it turns out that there are a fair amount of businesses in Florida who make money from collecting said data and they’re not super happy about this bill so while it made it through the house and the senate, there’s now a proposal to strike the whole senate bill and replace it completely in favor of a bill that’s a little more friendly to those businesses.
As it turns out, Data privacy is a tricky thing because so many businesses rely on that data. And yet, so many people don’t like that it’s collected. However, this brings me to my second piece of news here which is that according to AppsFlyer (who for sure has skin in this game) the IoS update that has everyone in a tizzy, might not actually be as detrimental as was assumed. Because ApplFlyer says that 40% of people will opt-in to being tracked. I mean look, if I’m being honest, I will opt-in. I like my personalized ads. I’m just going to pretend that all the other ways in which that data collection could negatively impact my life down the road don’t play out.
CRASH BOOM BANG
The debate rages on, is it a bubble? When will it crash? Why should I buy a home now? Why are homes so expensive? We’ve been talking about this for months now because it’s our job, but the rest of the world is catching on and Google Trends spotted a spike in housing bubble searches. While that’s going on, mortgage applications and refi’s both fell to their lowest levels in over a year. And there’s been increasing conversation about housing affordability and the widening gap that this boom has contributed to.
We noticed a bit of a slow down in web activity for our clients over the month of March which I think might be partially attributable to the idea that the general public is now well aware of the housing situation. Based on news like this and feedback from clients saying they’ve got so many people lined up to buy, I think it’s changing their behavior. Instead of passively filling out a form or making a phone call, people seem to be going in person to buy their new home, knowing full well that the inventory is limited, the competition fierce, and the chances of finding a home available to buy are slimmer than it normally would be. For the record on this one, I don’t think there will be a crash but I do think that maintaining this crazy pace will prove difficult.
Thanks for reading today’s edition of the ONeil Edit. As for the rest of my day, I’m looking forward to being back on air for Homefiniti & Beyond this afternoon after a month off from broadcasting. Today’s episode is a look at benchmarks for digital marketing and websites for home builders from the first quarter of 2021 which actually connects with several of today’s topics to show how builders are actually being affected by these items. Tune in and join the conversation.