Well, what do we have here? Another week of exciting digital news? Yes please!

Google Cracked the Whip 

Last weekend Google sent penalties to a large number of webmasters for ‘unnatural outbound links’. Inbound links are an important indicator of site quality, so many businesses have participated in buying links on other websites to help their own site look better. This is against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

In an effort to curb this practice, they identified sites that have patterns of unnatural or irrelevant links as it indicates the links have been paid for. Google then handed out manual penalties to sites it confirmed were doing that.

Many bloggers make a living out of this business model, so it will be interesting to see how they respond to this development!

Facebook Opened the Floodgates

Up until now, Facebook has restricted the way that influencers can distribute branded content. Influencers, celebrities and bloggers have had to seek Facebook’s permission before distributing paid-for posts, images and articles, but a new update will allow anyone who runs a verified Facebook page to post content without having to let Facebook in on the proceeds.

In short, this means that publishers and brands can make more money. There are some guidelines that still must be followed to ensure transparency, but this change will likely provoke a shift in how branded content on Facebook is distributed.

Facebook Added Filters

In more Facebook news, the social media giant has added search filters to its iOS mobile app. It might just be something you never know you needed until now, but you can now refine your search by source, date and location by tapping on the aptly-labelled ‘Filters’ button in the top corner.

While you can only apply this to the ‘Top’ and ‘Photo’ results, it’s sure going to make it easier to find that old embarrassing photo. For now, this function is only available on the iOS app, but hopefully will appear on Android devices soon. It’s the little things that count, right?