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Web Search & Marketing Newsletter – August 2016

Posts Tagged ‘Company News’

Web Search & Marketing Newsletter – August 2016

Monday, August 1, 2016 7:57 No Comments

Welcome to the latest monthly issue of our regular newsletter which features news, tips and advice on effective website marketing, with a particular focus on search engine marketing techniques and trends.

In the first article this month we look at Google’s recent release of price extensions for mobile AdWords ads. This should be interesting to AdWords managers who are keen to promote products and services with prices in the first position on Google’s mobile search results.

We also look at some helpful tips on how to boost video rankings through both invisible and visible ranking factors. This should be useful for SEO practitioners who focus on improving their video rankings on both YouTube and the Google organic search results.

Finally this month, we look at the purchase of Yahoo by US telecoms giant Verizon and how it intends to turn around Yahoo’s recent second quarter loss of $440m by focusing on its brands and large existing user-base through digital advertising.

You can read more below, or you can also browse through previous editions of the newsletter by month. You can also follow us on Twitter for the latest developments during the month, or follow our Facebook page or Google+ page for updates.

On to this month’s edition…

New AdWords Price Extensions Introduced

Google has recently released a new ad extension, for prices, so that additional information can show with mobile text ads that includes the cost of services and products. This is a useful addition that allows advertisers to showcase some of their range in the search results.

These new price extensions show as multiple rows and provide valuable information to prospective customers before they click on the ad. Each row features a type of product or service, its description and price, and a link to a relevant landing page. This structured way of highlighting information makes it easier for people to compare their options and decide if they’re interested in the products or services, right from the mobile search results page.

Google claims that the addition of these price extensions can increase the CTR by as much as 18%. Also, by highlighting the price of a service or product it may encourage people to call directly from the search results, without needing to visit the website and therefore incurring a cost per click.

For time-sensitive offers like promotions, it’s possible to create multiple price extensions with corresponding start and end dates to ensure the prices remain accurate. There must be a minimum of three entries for each extension, and up to a maximum of eight.

This is an appealing addition by Google, but the catch is that price extensions will only show with mobile text ads that are in position 1. It’s highly likely that the introduction of these will lead to an increase in the average cost-per-click for that position, as demand and competition increases for that top spot, especially in peak shopping periods such as the lead up to Christmas. So the best practice we’d recommend for these is to have them running only for very short periods during special promotions.

If want more information about how these price extensions in AdWords could help your business, contact us now.

 

Video Content Optimisation Tips

This article provides helpful information on the best practices to boost video rankings and should be interesting for any SEO practitioners who need to focus on video search results. It’s divided into two sections: invisible and visible ranking factors.

Google’s YouTube is the second largest search engine on the Internet. It offers a wide range of management features and even provides its own comprehensive analytics dashboard to help channel managers determine the value of their content. These functions, together with the close link with Google, help it to achieve a competitive advantage over other platforms, like Vimeo or Vine and attract more users by doing do.

Any company that produces video content therefore has the opportunity to attract video views and website visits from this content, either directly from YouTube or from the integrated video results that sometimes appear in Google’s search rankings. However, to achieve this visibility, video content owners need to consider the following ranking factors:

Invisible Ranking Factors

  • Video Filename – Use a descriptive video filename as well as hyphens between words
  • Meta Tags – Research the popular search keywords before tagging your video and use the relevant tags, with 10 or less keywords per video. Also don’t use the same keywords you used in your title and description as ‘tag-stuffing’ can get your video removed
  • Watch Time – Create descriptive and emotional video thumbnails as well as a compelling introduction, then build up interest throughout the video with programming, branding, and packaging techniques. It’s good to use annotations in the video and links in the description to encourage users to view more content on your website, and then encourage comments and participation to get users involved and to keep them interested
  • Flags/Reports – Make sure you follow the Community Guidelines and if you feel that your video was wrongly flagged, appeal the removal.

Visible Ranking Factors

  • Title – Write a descriptive, relevant title using appropriate search keywords, and limit titles to 100 characters with the main keywords towards the front of your title for better SEO value
  • Description – Include keywords here as well but be aware of the first 157 visible characters. Describe the video without giving away too much information amd provide a clear ‘call to action’ link to on-site content
  • Transcripts, Subtitles and Captions – Your channel name, icon, banner and vanity URL should reflect your brand. Remember to fill in the channel keywords and targeting, plus the channel description and social links.
  • Quality – Make sure that you focus on delivering the best content possible (preferably in HD), ensure that the audio is comprehensive and of cousre the picture should be clear and not blurry or out of focus!
  • Engagement – Use any and all channels to get people to watch your videos and measure your views/engagement with analytics. Promote the video and moderate comments to ensure quality and recency of engagement, and respond to people who are commenting
  • Inbound Links and Embeds – Utilize any and all marketing and PR channels to build links to the channel and videos, with a focus on your best content because it will naturally attract links. Remember to also embed videos on your site or blog to build up views and engagement
  • Social Shares – Set up social buttons on your website to make it easy for users to share across networks and encourage your followers to share your content.

As shown above, there are close similarities between the techniques for optimising videos as there are for web pages. If they are correctly implemented, they will result in a better focus on YouTube’s priorities and a business channel that has a greater potential to rank content well.

You can read more about these tips here or if you want to know more about how we can help you to improve your video rankings, contact us now for more information.

 

Verizon to Buy Yahoo For US$5bn

At the end of July it was announced that US Internet firm Yahoo is to be acquired by American telecoms giant Verizon Communications for nearly US$5bn. Yahoo was once a market leader in the early days of the web, but has slowly dwindled in recent years and will now be combined with AOL, another faded Internet star, which Verizon bought last year.

The price tag for the deal is well below the $44bn Microsoft offered for Yahoo in 2008, or the $125bn it was worth during the dot.com boom around 2000, when Yahoo and its directory were popular destinations on the growing web. Verizon said the deal for Yahoo’s core Internet business, which has more than a billion active users a month, would make it a global mobile media company.

Marissa Mayer, chief executive of Yahoo, who took the helm at Yahoo in 2012 but who has made little progress in returning the company to profit, said: “Yahoo is a company that has changed the world, and will continue to do so through this combination with Verizon and AOL.” In late July, the firm reported a $440m loss in the second quarter, but she said the board had made “great progress on strategic alternatives”.

The takeover however, which is due to be completed in early 2017, raises questions about whether the Yahoo brand could disappear. Together, AOL and Yahoo will have more than 25 brands, including Yahoo Mail, the photo sharing service Flickr, Tumblr as well as AOL’s Huffington Post and Techcrunch news sites. AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong said the deal was about “unleashing Yahoo’s full potential”, and creating a major player in mobile media.

Beyond the talk of becoming a global media company, Verizon chief executive Lowell McAdams wants a larger share of the booming digital advertising pie. He thinks this deal will help him and, as a leading US mobile phone network, Verizon already had a wealth of data from smartphone users that it could mine. Its purchase of AOL a year ago for its programmatic advertising technology allowed it to leverage that more effectively. Yahoo, meanwhile, has struggled to build its mobile advertising business.

So its appeal is that it has content. With Yahoo, Verizon gains the Internet company’s 600 million monthly active mobile users, as well as its email service, Yahoo Finance, and Tumblr, which are popular among the latest generation of users. The idea is for Verizon to take on Google and Facebook. In 2015, these latter two claimed the largest share of the digital ad market. Whether or not Verizon can compete with them, and overcome the trouble Yahoo had building its mobile advertising business, will be interesting to see. It certainly will be a significant challenge.

If you would like more information about the Yahoo takeover, please contact us now.

 

We hope you’ve found this month’s newsletter useful. As usual, if you have any questions or need help with any of these items, please contact us if you need any more information on the items covered, or our advice on any aspect of your website’s performance.

 

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Web Search & Marketing Newsletter – July 2016

Friday, July 1, 2016 6:57 No Comments

Welcome to the latest monthly issue of our regular newsletter which features news, tips and advice on effective website marketing, with a particular focus on search engine marketing techniques and trends.

In the first article this month we look at Google’s recent announcement of the largest change to AdWords in years with Expanded Text Ads, which will allow search marketers to promote their products or USPs in more detail.

We also look at how caution should be taken when receiving emails about link schemes that could improve a website’s organic rankings – both from the recipients perspective and for prospective link builders. Finally, we look at how Microsoft is to buy LinkedIn for US$26bn and what it means for the shareholders of both companies, as well as the market as a whole.

Web Marketing Workshop is a Google PartnerOn a separate matter this month, we’re delighted to announce that we have just been given the status of a Premier Google AdWords Partner, which recognises Web Marketing Workshop as ‘one of their most valued agencies’. Google says that this new badge is designed to recognize Partners who manage a substantial portfolio of Google advertising campaigns and deliver great results for their customers.

You can read more below, or you can also browse through previous editions of the newsletter by month. You can also follow us on Twitter for the latest developments during the month, or follow our Facebook page or Google+ page for updates.

On to this month’s edition…

Google AdWords Rolls Out Expanded Text Ads

Google recently announced the largest change to AdWords in years – the format of text ads is changing. According to Google, this new format – known as Expanded Text Ads – has delivered clickthrough rates up to 20% higher compared to existing test ads, during their tests.

The most prominent feature of the change is an increased character length in the headline from 25 to 60, over two headlines. This will enable advertisers to maximise the space on mobile, desktop and tablet devices to promote products and services. The description lines, which currently consist of two lines of 35 characters each, will be merged into one, with 80 characters (inc. spaces). This increase from 95 characters to 140 characters in the headline and description combined is a significant one, with almost a 50% increase.

This new ad format reflects the recent change where Google moved all AdWords ads in line with the organic search results (with no ads being shown in a right hand column any more) and therefore Google wants to display the ads in a way that look more like the traditional organic results. The roll-out of this new format is currently limited but is expected to appear as standard ads on Google.com (USA) from the end of July, and globally by the end of October this year, when the current ad format will be discontinued.

AdWords campaign managers therefore need to ensure that the testing and rollout of Expanded Text Ads is included as a top priority over the next few months. Google recommends that advertisers need to rethink their entire creative by trying not to tack copy onto existing ads and initial tests have shown that advertisers who completely rethink and rewrite their ads for the new format see better performance.

The benefits for advertisers include more direct control over headlines, without having to hope that Google would automatically carry up correctly punctuated portions of description line 1 into it, which it only did randomly and not all the time. There will also be room to fit in more product specific information or unique selling propositions.

We’ll be testing these new format ads over the next few months and if you want to know more about how ETAs could improve your business’s advertising, please contact us now.

 

Caution About Link Schemes From Black Hat SEOs

In the early days of SEO, ‘black-hat’ techniques such as hidden ‘keyword stuffing’ and ‘link farms’ were prevalent. Thankfully, things have progressed significantly since then with Google’s enhancements through the Panda/Penguin algorithms penalising such unscrupulous techniques. However, there are still some shady link schemes so it’s necessary to be cautious about emails that offer to put strong links to your site upon reputable, powerful ones, as these offers are usually too good to be true!

These type of offers violate Google’s quality guidelines and can harm your site rankings. Such ‘spammy’ link-building tactics, defined by Google as ‘link schemes’ are, buying or selling links that pass PageRank (which includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links); exchanging goods or services for links; or sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it in a blog, for example, and including a link.

Google considers these schemes to be an attempt to fool the search engine algorithms. If lower-quality content can rank high just because it has amassed a high quantity of backlinks, that is not a great experience for the searcher. So Google strives to rank quality content that will meet user needs.

When it comes to spammy link building techniques, there are two types of penalties that can impact your site: algorithmic and manual. An algorithmic penalty occurs when your site loses rankings as a result of an algorithm update – in this case, Penguin. Webmasters may be able to restore rankings by getting rid of spammy backlinks before the next Penguin update, but that is not a guarantee. In any event, steps should be taken to remove or disavow spammy backlinks.

An algorithmic ranking demotion is bad, but it is not as devastating as a manual penalty, which can cause a site (or some of its pages) to be removed from Google’s index entirely. Essentially, the Google ‘Spam’ team manually reviews your backlink profile and places a penalty on the site. To remove a manual penalty, you must work to remove or disavow spammy backlinks and then file a reconsideration request, which is a process that can take weeks or months.

Ideally, all links to a site would be earned naturally, rather than acquired through deliberate link-building efforts. To gain natural inbound links, webmasters and SEOs should build content that is engaging, shareable and easily linkable. So, when receiving emails from SEO practitioners, make sure that you follow these guidelines:

  • Ignore offers of paid link-building or link schemes;
  • If the email states the person is from a reputable organisation, they would use the email address of that company, not a generic one, such as from Gmail;
  • Punctuation and spelling errors in the email should also ring alarm bells!

It’s certainly beneficial to remain cautious and ideally stay away from link-building offers that do sound too good to be true, as doing that will help to avoid link penalties, which can severely damage a sites rankings, traffic and consequential conversions.

If you want more information about how unscrupulous link-building prospecting, or black-hat SEO techniques can impact your business, contact us now.

 

Microsoft to Buy LinkedIn For US$26bn

In June it was announced that Microsoft will pay $196 a share for LinkedIn – valuing it at US$26bn – which is a deal that Microsoft hopes will help it to boost sales of its business and email software. It will also give it access to the world’s biggest professional social network with more than 430 million members worldwide.

It’s possible that LinkedIn will be integrated with a number of Microsoft assets such as Office 365, Exchange and Outlook, but how deeply integrated it will be isn’t specified at this stage. Microsoft emphasised however, that LinkedIn would continue to operate as an independent business and there will be a different approach to previous integrations, to preserve LinkedIn’s “distinct brand, culture and independence”.

Microsoft has to be cautious about such purchases, as the entire US$7.2bn value of the Nokia’s mobile phones division, which it bought in 2013, was written off just a year later. So Microsoft’s investors may look at that $26bn price tag nervously, while anyone with a few LinkedIn shares would be pleased with the 50% premium (on the Friday before the deal) closing share price to buy LinkedIn. That price amounts to US$250 for every active user.

Shares in LinkedIn, which floated in May 2011, have fallen by more than 40% this year. The stock plunged by a quarter in February after the company issued a profit warning for the first quarter and reported an annual loss of US$166m. However, shares soared 47% following the announcement of the deal, whereas shares in Microsoft have fallen by 2.6%, bringing the decline this year to almost 10%. The takeover is by far the biggest acquisition made by Microsoft, which paid $8.5bn for Skype in 2011 and it eclipses the $19bn that Facebook paid for WhatsApp in 2014.

If you’d like to know more about this move by Microsoft, and the possible impact on LinkedIn, please contact us.

 

We hope you’ve found this month’s newsletter useful. As usual, if you have any questions or need help with any of these items, please contact us if you need any more information on the items covered, or our advice on any aspect of your website’s performance.

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Web Search & Marketing Newsletter – August 2015

Monday, August 3, 2015 7:34 No Comments

Welcome to the latest issue of our monthly newsletter, which covers news, tips and advice on effective website marketing, with a particular focus on search marketing techniques and trends.

In the first article this month, we take a look at Google’s recent enabling of local reviews through AdWords. This should be of significant interest to AdWords managers, although Google has yet to confirm when these will appear in the UK.

In our second article this month, we look at how Bing has improved its Webmaster Tools service, which includes compelling information that webmasters should be aware of, in order to utilise some of the best search tools available. Finally this month, we take a look at Google’s release of its latest quarterly financial results and what sections of its business are currently receiving most focus.

You can read more below, or you can also browse through previous editions of the newsletter, either by month. You can also follow us on Twitter for the latest developments during the month, or follow our Facebook page or Google+ page for updates.

On to this month’s edition…

Google Enables Local Reviews Through AdWords

This latest change by Google is an interesting development for businesses that are keen display good review ratings as part of their AdWords ads. Google recently announced that it will combine both ‘My Business’ listings and AdWords campaigns, to show these ratings beneath the ads. It’s yet to be definitively clarified by Google whether this will soon be coming to the UK from the US, but the rollout of this option is likely in the coming months.

At present, these review extensions will only appear within the ads on desktop and tablets, not mobiles. This is quite ironic as Google has become increasingly focused upon showing location based search results on mobiles and people increasingly rely on the opinions and experiences of others to help make decisions, such as which restaurant or dentist to visit! So we would have expected these reviews to be included in the mobile search results, but as space for these ads is more limited, this is the primary reason why these will only be shown on those devices that have more room for advert ‘real estate’.

The new ‘My Business’ reviews will be seen instead of seller ratings from 3rd party sites. Previously it was only possible to get Google Local review stars if you were using AdWords Express and typically they would show if you had at least 3.5 stars and a minimum number of reviews (in the case of seller ratings that number is 30). Google hasn’t yet specified the exact number of reviews that are required to show the local review stars, but it will probably be a similar number to reflect well-reviewed businesses.

Although the review ratings don’t include mobile ads, the local ratings seen on desktops and tablets will make ads more useful and informative to consumers searching for local information. They can also improve a business’s ad performance, so these are a welcome addition by the search advertising community.

If you want to know more about building your business reviews and using these within your AdWords ads, please contact us now.

 

Bing Improves Webmaster Tools

It’s essential for every SEO practitioner to keep track of their website’s performance, and there are plenty of tools that can be used for this. Bing is still a small player in terms of search traffic compared to Google, but Bing’s tools can be helpful in increasing search traffic and quality on both those and other search engines.

A useful feature in the Bing Webmasters toolkit is Connected Pages. This allows the connection of related pages and to get insights into the search traffic from Bing to social network accounts. For example, if your Twitter account and Facebook account are also ranking for your brand name you might want to see how much search traffic they generate. With this feature you’re able to see and analyse this data. The only requirement is that these social network accounts link back to the site that you’ve verified in Bing Webmaster Tools. This feature is extremely useful if your brand has a large social presence and so by adding all of your social networks to Connected Pages, it’s possible to keep track of their search performance.

Another good feature from Bing is the Index Explorer. This makes it possible to find old sub domains or subfolders (such as ones a developer worked with a long time ago) that are still being indexed by the search engines. It’s important to detect any duplicate content that may have been left from that work and Index Explorer is an excellent way to reveal the areas that you don’t want Bing bot to identify anymore. This allows the Bing crawler to focus on more important pages and it can also be good for finding old, lost folders that had been forgotten about!

Geo-Targeting is another decent Bing feature for sites that have multi-regional directories. It speeds up the process of marking pages as localised content for a specific country/region, such as for a http://example.com/newzealand/ directory. This saves plenty of time adding canonical URLs to the pages to specify which is the preferred version for the search engine to show – which is still required in Google’s Search Console (the new name for their Webmaster Tools service) to prevent duplicate content.

Bing Page Preview is useful to show previews of your pages in its search results. If Bing bot visited your page when it was down or scripts weren’t running, then Bing could be showing the wrong screenshot of your site. Within Bing Webmaster Tools Page Preview feature it’s possible to make Bing replace the screenshot with an updated version. This feature ensures that you always have influence on how your site looks like in its search results and allows you to block images from the site that aren’t wanted to be seen.

In computer programming, an application programming interface (API) is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. For real SEO experts, the API is a great way to export a lot of available data from Bing Webmaster Tools. Even with Google’s newest version of their API, a lot of information is still not available. Bing enables the export of information on search terms and crawl settings directly from the API. It also provides search volumes on the keywords that you’ll receive traffic from and so this information is useful for a site’s SEO work, and can’t easily be retrieved from Google (at scale) anymore.

These Bing specific features are additional and superior to those provided by Google at present and enhance the SEO development to assist in getting the best performance in not only the Bing search results, but those for other engines, also. Any SEO expert should be very familiar with them and it’s possible that Google will follow Bing’s lead here and introduce similar tools to their Search Console service.

If you want more details about how to make the most of Bing, or Google’s Search Console to enhance your site’s SEO, contact us now.

 

Google Releases Second Quarter Financial Results

In mid-July Google announced its latest quarterly results which elated investors as they exceeded Wall Street expectations. They were primarily based on strong advertising revenues driven by Search, YouTube and Play, coupled with the perception of a new commitment to financial discipline as the company continues to grow and expand across more business areas.

With the latest quarterly revenue up 11% year on year, and 3% on the previous quarter, to US$17.7 billion, Google’s stock soared to a new high. Class A shares crossed the $700 threshold following the announcement of the results, up more than $100 from the trading price at the time the market closed the previous day. The spike added an extraordinary $50 billion of market capitalisation. In their primary search arena, paid clicks through AdWords jumped 30% globally compared to the quarter a year before. However, the average cost per click was lower again due to the increasing share of mobile search ads.

However, nearly a year after the launch of the ‘Google for Work’ brand, little was mentioned about its intention to storm into the enterprise market with its cloud-based productivity tools, along with a new commitment to a channel strategy. So the results provided very small insight into the health of its cloud business. Google was also quite coy about their results and didn’t go into much detail, with Ruth Porat, the new CFO of Google, only stating “Our strong Q2 results reflect continued growth across the breadth of our products, most notably core search, where mobile stood out, as well as YouTube and programmatic advertising. We are focused every day on developing big new opportunities across a wide range of businesses. We will do so with great care regarding resource allocation”.

Google is shedding partners with a new program that eliminates all but the most profitable. Those are the same partners that the company said formed the cornerstone of its strategy to become a serious enterprise cloud player. There were only two uses of the word “cloud” in the entirety of the Google earnings presentation, or Q&A session that followed. There was no mention of Google for Work and Ruth Porat only referenced the enterprise cloud business once by telling investors it falls into the “adjacent areas” category of Google’s various business pursuits.

The framework encourages a 70-20-10 split in resource dedication: 70 percent going to core businesses like Search; 20 percent to the adjacent businesses, which include Chrome and Android as well as the cloud platform; and 10 percent to developing “really sizable” new markets by pursuing “exciting opportunities,” Porat told investors. Omid Kordestani, Google’s chief business officer, did tell investors, “We’re seeing strong momentum around Google Cloud platform, with a range of great new features”. Other than that, no further information was divulged, as Google chose to keep their cards close to their chest. This isn’t surprising, as Microsoft and Amazon Web Services ramp up their attacks to win the hyper-scale cloud wars and aggressively beef up their channels.

If you want more information about Google’s recent financial results, please contact us now.

 

 

We hope you’ve found this month’s newsletter useful. Please contact us if you need any more information on the items covered, or our advice on any aspect of your website’s performance. Also, if there are any issues you would like to see in future editions of this newsletter, please submit your suggestions to us.

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Web Search & Marketing Newsletter – April 2015

Wednesday, April 1, 2015 6:40 No Comments

Welcome to the latest issue of our monthly newsletter, which covers news, tips and advice on effective website marketing, with a particular focus on search marketing techniques and trends.

In the first article this month, we take a look at Google’s ranking algorithm update, which should be extremely interesting for mobile search marketeers, as it will have a “significant impact” on mobile search results.

We also look at Google and Twitter’s new partnership which aims to benefits users by providing fast and democratic Twitter search results. Finally this month, we examine Microsoft’s recently announced, comprehensive overhaul of its Internet Explorer web browser with Project Spartan.

You can read more below, or you can also browse through previous editions of the newsletter, either by month or by subject. You can also follow us on Twitter for the latest developments during the month, or follow our Facebook page or Google+ page for updates.

On to this month’s edition…

Google’s Mobile Ranking Algorithm Update

In a follow up to our December 2014 articles on ‘Google’s Mobile-Friendly Search Results’ and ‘Using Mobile Performance’, we take a look at, more specifically, the algorithm update that will have a “significant impact” on mobile search results worldwide for mobile searchers.

Not only is it beneficial to ensure that you have a mobile or responsive site, but also to test it to see how mobile-friendly Google deems it to be, so the ‘mobile-friendly’ accolade can be displayed in the mobile search results for your site. As we covered previously, this can be done by using the Mobile-Friendly Test tool. Note that the mobile-friendly update only affects mobile search results – i.e. searches from smart phones and tablets, not those conducted on a desktop or laptop computer.

Google recently stated that on April 21st 2015 its mobile ranking factors will not only label your site as mobile-friendly (as it has already been doing for those that it deems as such), but will also use that to determine if your site should rank higher in the search results. This is expanding on its mobile ranking demotion algorithm launched back in 2013 and from that “users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimised for their devices.”

This has been announced in advance, as Google said it wants sites to prepare. So, you have a few weeks to get your websites mobile-friendly! It stated it had been experimenting with mobile ranking factors recently, and now the changes to the algorithm are almost here.

Google’s Zineb Ait Bahajji from the Webmaster Trends team was recently quoted as saying that the “upcoming mobile-friendly ranking algorithm will have more of an impact on Google’s search results than the Google Panda update and the Google Penguin update did”. Unlike those, it is only impacting the mobile results but even so, it will have more of an impact than them. She didn’t specifically release a percentage of queries impacted, but believes that about 50% of all searches done on Google are on mobile devices.

This algorithm update would not be so important if mobile search wasn’t becoming so dominant. While some industries may not see a significant number of consumer driven searches coming from smart phones and tablets, many, if not most, do. Last year saw the very first moment where mobile search overtook that of desktop and the year ahead will continue along that path.

The critical point from this is that if 50% of your traffic from Google comes from mobile devices and if it seems you are not mobile-friendly, virtually all of that traffic from mobile is at huge risk. So if that’s the case, then it can’t be emphasised strongly enough that it’s imperative to get to work on it immediately.

If you want to know more about how the imminent algorithm update may impact your specific website’s mobile ranking results, contact us now.

 

Google and Twitter Announce New Partnership

Google and Twitter recently announced that they are back together again and had reached an agreement that will provide Google full access to Twitter’s content stream.

The partnership means that Google now has access to the stream of tweets known as the ‘firehose’. The ‘firehose’, aptly named, sprays nearly 9,000 tweets per second into the ether of the Internet. Previously, Google used to crawl Twitter in order to pull out relevant tweets for search results. That didn’t work well because when Google tried to crawl Twitter at the appropriate rate, there was a possibility of a Twitter server meltdown.

Instead, Google now has complete access to the ‘firehose’ and it benefits from this because Google is about all about indexing fresh information, which is what Twitter provides. Users aren’t satisfied with the information that is four hours old. They want information that is four seconds fresh. That’s precisely why Twitter was invented.

Google’s priorities are to “focus on the user and all else will follow”, understand that “fast is better than slow” and that “democracy on the web works.” So this partnership is about users. Also it’s fast and it’s democratic, so it’s ideal for Google.

The original Twitter/Google partnership fizzled out in Summer 2011, partly due to Twitter’s growing pains. Both companies have since grown, matured, and are ready for something long-term and serious.

Twitter is the quintessential real-time news feed and soon tweets will appear in search results for the world’s most dominating search presence. But it could take as much as a few months, as Google doesn’t yet have a method of featuring tweets in the results. Then they will start to be visible in them as soon as they’re posted. Most likely, Google may feature them on the main results pages, or position the feed to the right of the results.

Social search is bigger than ever and when Google and Twitter combine forces, it will be even harder to determine where one ends and the other begins. So it’s imperative that Search Engine Marketeers are aware of social. Social Media Marketeers also need to be aware of search marketing as these days, as there’s less to distinguish between the two.

If you would like to know more about how this partnership may impact your online marketing, contact us now for more details.

 

Microsoft Announces Project Spartan

Microsoft recently announced that it will radically overhaul Internet Explorer with ‘Spartan’, a new web browsing experience for Windows 10. The new browser will have the most advanced features ever and have an all-new rendering engine, but beyond that Microsoft wanted to focus on three new features.

Chief among those new features is new linking support that lets users annotate web pages and sync all of those notes to OneDrive and share them with collaborators — a service that makes sense, given Microsoft’s focus on the stylus with its Surface lineup.

There’s also a new reading mode that strips away the clutter of a page and makes it more like reading a book, which is a feature that Apple has offered for a while in Safari on both the Mac and on iOS devices.

A second major feature for Spartan will be the integration of Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant. Microsoft is planning to use Cortana to surface information on flights, hotel bookings, package tracking and other data within the traditional address bar. Cortana integration in the Spartan browser is planned to replace every instance of the existing Bing methods in Internet Explorer.

Another key feature includes a new way to group tabs together to de-clutter the occasionally messy interface of multiple browser tabs. Spartan will allow users to group tabs however they want, making it easier, for example, to split up personal tabs from work ones.

Microsoft is planning to keep the look and feel of Spartan very similar across phones, tablets, and PCs as it’s designed to be a single browser across all devices. It will be a Windows Store app, enabling the company to quickly and easily update the browser in future. The desktop version looks like a simplified version of Chrome, with a tabbed interface above the address bar, alongside options to go back, forward, and refresh a page. It’s all designed to look lightweight, without the bloat typically associated with older versions of Internet Explorer.

Microsoft will continue to include Internet Explorer in Windows 10, primarily for legacy compatibility reasons. Spartan is the main browser in Windows 10 however, and most users will be accessing the web using it. While Spartan is a codename, it’s not yet clear if Microsoft plans to continue the Internet Explorer branding with its new browser.

It you want more information about Microsoft’s Project Spartan, contact us now.

 

We hope you’ve found this month’s newsletter useful. Please contact us if you need any more information on the items covered, or our advice on any aspect of your website’s performance. Also, if there are any issues you would like to see in future editions of this newsletter, please submit your suggestions to us.

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Web Search & Marketing Newsletter – June 2013

Monday, June 3, 2013 6:41 No Comments

Web Search & Marketing Newsletter – June 2013

Welcome to the latest issue of our regular newsletter, which covers news, tips and advice on effective website marketing techniques and trends, to help you keep up to date on the latest developments.

In the first article this month we take a look at how the use of Google+ can lead to SEO benefits. Next, we assess Google’s recently released Display Benchmarks tool and how that can be used to improve the success of display campaigns. Finally, we report on Yahoo!’s acquisition of the social networking tool, Tumblr, and the implications of this move.

On to this month’s edition…

The Benefits of Using Google+ For SEO

Although Google+ is still struggling to establish itself as a viable social media alternative to Facebook, the number of users is increasing as Google integrates the tool with other services and starts to create a community around the range of features being offered. There are also some SEO advantages to having a well set up Google+ profile with both personal and business pages.

With any link-building strategy, it’s very important to network and build genuine connections and relationships that will help spread your content. Google+ facilitates this by allowing the linking of all of your social media profiles, sites and blogs in an organised manner. It’s also possible to link to sites to which you regularly contribute and, importantly, all of these links are “followed”, rather than “no follow” links and you’re able to select the anchor text (in your bio).

Google will follow the links in your posts and the more people share them, +1 your posts or link to your profile, the more valuable these links become to you. If your post goes viral or is shared by a high authority profile, the value of the links increases more. Content on Google+ is indexed rapidly – some say almost instantly – so it’s a great way to get posts by you into Google’s index quickly when there is a hot topic.

With many social media sites, you have little to no ability to edit your content once it has been posted. However, Google+ allows you to go back and make edits to posts as you see fit. Furthermore, Google provides the option for you to take ownership of that content and so it’s important to set up an author tag (for an individual claiming content on a page) or a publisher tag (for a business to claim ownership of a site).

Both the author and publisher tag can’t be used on the same page and if the publisher tag is used, it’s only for the homepage, not internal pages. You can use the author tag for internal pages with content. It’s still a good idea to use Google’s “rel=publisher” tag, but you won’t get the image in your SERP listing like you do by using the authorship tag.

It’s important to remember that a Google+ profile needs to be set up in order to implement the Authorship Markup and take advantages of its benefits. To set up a personal profile, you can go here. Business profiles can be set up here.

The benefits of doing this are:

  • It makes your listing more robust, because it includes a photo, your name and links to more content by you. There are also indicators that your authorship markup may give you a boost in rankings. While some say it doesn’t directly help, others have reported an increase in rankings after implementing it.
  • Your authorship markup also helps you build trust as it establishes you as a real person in the often-anonymous online world.
  • It also allows you to claim your name (you don’t want someone trying to steal your name!) and your content (you’ll be seen as the original and rightful owner of the content and won’t have to worry about a “copy scraper” outranking you).
  • You can improve your click-through rate by playing with your profile image that’s shown in the SERPs. Images that perform best seem to be close-ups where the eyes are looking to the right towards the listing in the SERPs.

Once you’ve completed the profile and you start posting, keep in mind that the first sentence of your Google+ post becomes part of the title tag, which impacts rankings and influences click-through rates. A word of warning is that Google doesn’t tolerate “spammy” practices, so it’s vital not to turn your profile into a link farm!

There are a lot of different ways to connect with influencers in your industry and networking on Google+ with those is one of the core focuses of Google+ users. It’s fairly easy to do because there are so many ways to do it, but be sure you don’t abuse the privilege, as if you become seen as a spammer, it will be very difficult to grow your presence.

While Google+ numbers aren’t as large as Facebook, they are growing and as with most things, it’s the early adopters that do well in the long run. So it’s worth beginning now to establish your position. Google+ is probably here to stay and also likely to get more important to your rankings and traffic.

If you’d like more information about Google+, or help with setting up a profile, please contact us now.

Google Introduces a Display Benchmarks Tool

During May, Google announced the launch of a new tool called “Display Benchmarks” that provides useful comparisons or reference points aggregated from ad campaigns across the industry. If you are using display ads as part of a marketing campaign, this new tool facilitates an understanding of how your display campaigns compare to the rest of your industry, which helps to better plan and measure the success of those campaigns.

The comparisons can show average expansion rates for automotive creatives, expected Rich Media interaction rates for retail creatives from France, or just the average clickthrough rate for Entertainment ads from the US. So if you’re looking for comparisons by country, industry vertical, or how different ad formats and sizes perform compared to each other, the tool offers up-to-date benchmarks across 10 key display metrics, such as interaction rate and time, expansion rate and video completions.

For example, through its own use of the tool, Google has shown that people are increasingly choosing to interact with video ads. They state that video completion rates are the highest ever seen, increasing by approximately 24% since Summer 2012, to a 60% completion rate. This improved interaction rate correlates to larger ad sizes: the bigger the ad, the more frequently people will interact with it. It also found that rich-media-expanding formats are better for getting people to interact frequently, while in-page formats are better for encouraging longer interactions.

So, if this tool is used to its full potential, it can certainly shed some valuable light on the best way to improve display campaigns by reaping the benefits of the industry-wide information it provides. You can learn more about it here.

Contact us now if you’d like more information about how we can help you improve your display advertising with this tool.

Yahoo! Buys Tumblr for US$1.1 Billion

During May, Yahoo! acquired one of the leading blogging services – Tumblr – for US$1.1bn. This is a notable deal, made by Yahoo’s chief executive Marissa Mayer who was appointed in July last year, and she has called the move a “unique opportunity”. However, it could also be a huge risk for Yahoo!, which now has to generate revenue from the deal without alienating the Tumblr user base.

The plans for the acquisition are for Tumblr to continue operating under its own brand and independently of the new owner, with co-founder David Karp continuing as Chief Executive. Tumblr combines elements of blogging with social networking, and its simple design has attracted millions of users since its launch. According to the site, it now hosts 108 million blogs, with over 50 billion posts. Crucially, it also has a significant presence on mobile devices.

Observers says that the move is partly an attempt by Yahoo! to regain favour with the younger ‘hip’ market, where Tumblr has proved a great success. Yahoo! has lost favour in recent years, both in terms of search and also as a social site, although the initial reaction from Tumblr users to the takeover has been mostly negative – which would be expected.

However, Yahoo! is hoping that its purchase of Tumblr will boost traffic to its other properties, such as the photo sharing site Flickr, which is being relaunched with new features to compete against Instagram. But the question is really whether the US$1.1bn fee will also help to boost revenue?

Analysts suggest that Yahoo! has significantly overpaid for the deal – Tumblr’s 2012 revenue was just $13m, according to a recent report by Forbes magazine, and despite its fast-growing user base, it has struggled to make money and has traditionally resisted advertising. Yahoo! says they will be working with Tumblr to create ads that “are seamless and enhance the user experience”. However, there is a danger of alienating users with more advertising – a challenge that faces most social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter.

Yahoo! has struggled in recent years, with a lack of direction and innovation, which is the reason why Marissa Mayer was brought in from Google. Despite this, Yahoo! remains a major online property, with around 700 million visitors to its website every month and the majority of its revenues comes from advertising. However, it has limited mobile reach and lags behind Google in the search engine rankings. It also shed more than 1,000 jobs during 2012 and has long been divided over whether it should focus on media content or on tools and technologies.

If you’d like to know more about this deal and the role of Yahoo!, please contact us for details.

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