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Web Search & Marketing Newsletter – July 2016

Posts Tagged ‘Social Media Marketing’

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 – March 2016

Tuesday, March 1, 2016 6:44 No Comments

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

In our first article this month, we take a look at Google’s recent introduction of a new layout for AdWords ads in the search results. This is a significant change to the way in which the ads are being displayed and should be critical information to all businesses and search marketers that manage an AdWords account, as this is likely to have quite an impact in the future.

Our second article examines Facebook’s recent roll-out of emoji-style ‘Reactions’ and the potential value of this data for the marketing industry. Our final article describes Google Grants for non-profit organisations and the eligibility criteria required to receive Google Ad Grants to the value of $10,000 USD per month in AdWords 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…

Google Introduces New Layout For AdWords Ads

On February 19th, in a move that could have a significant impact upon AdWords campaigns in the future, Google announced a dramatic change that removes ads from the right side of its desktop search results, and places ads only at the top and/or bottom of the page. Simultaneously, the company said it may show an additional ad (i.e. four, not three) above the search results for what it calls ‘highly commercial queries’, such as searches for “hotels in London” or “car insurance” and then place two or three text ads at the bottom of the page.

Google confirmed that the change is now rolling out to all desktop searches worldwide in all languages, following a period of testing and gradual implementation. As a result of this change, the search results page becomes a cleaner list of results with no ads appearing down the right hand column, with 2 exceptions: Product Listing Ad (PLA) boxes, which show either above or to the right of search results; and ads in the Knowledge Panel for brand name or some general information searches. The removal of all right-side ads obviously makes the desktop and mobile search results more similar, although on a mobile search, Google typically shows either two or three ads at the top of the results.

The changes on desktop searches mean that the total number of text ads that can appear on a Search Engine Results Page will shrink from as many as 11 to a maximum of 7, and the top 4 positions are now the only visible ads to users without having to scroll down the page. Although this ads another place to the prime positions at the top of the search results, this change will inevitably make competition for those positions more fierce, possibly leading to an escalating cost-per-click and overall AdWords advertising costs. So it’ll be interesting to see how first page and top of page bid minimums shift.

There is also an impact on the search experience for many users, and although ads have been gaining more of the primary real estate in recent years, this move ensures that the organic search results are pushed further down the page for many searches. Since some searchers dislike the ads and prefer to rely on Google’s ‘own’ results driven by the SEO techniques of relevant websites, this may mean that some searches could become more disillusioned with the apparent commercial focus of the Google results.

So far the main reaction to this change has come from the search engine marketing community and it’s too early to tell what longer term impact this change may have, or how advertising costs may increase. We’ll be monitoring this closely over coming months and will implement and required changes to keep costs to a minimum, whilst maintaining as prominent positions as possible for our advertisers.

If you want to know more about how these changes may impact your Google AdWords campaigns, please contact us now.

 

Facebook Rolls Out ‘Reactions’

Following an announcement at the end of last year, Facebook has now started to roll out emoji-style Reactions for all users, which will allow you to express your feelings to a post in a more descriptive way than just a ‘like’.

Mark Zuckerberg confirmed that Reactions were now being introduced across most countries after a period of testing. The idea, according to Zuckerberg, is to add “a little bit of complexity” to something that is very simple. “When you only have a like button, if you share a sad piece of content or something that makes you angry, people may not have the tool to react to it.” So now Facebook users are being given new tools in the form of emoticons labelled “love”, “haha”, “wow”, “sad” and “angry” – or they can still just “like”.

It is likely to be advertisers who will be most impressed about this change to the way Facebook works as it will enable them to gain better levels of feedback and market reaction to content posted on the social media site. The latest results show just how much they have bought into the social network’s message that it offers a unique way to connect with consumers and learn everything about them. Now they will have a far more complex set of data available and potentially make advertising more appealing.

Simon Calvert, head of strategy at the marketing agency Lida, says if the new system accurately reflects human emotions then it will be very interesting. “The ability to build better emotional connections with consumers is something that advertisers really prize. Facebook ‘likes’ have become a somewhat devalued currency because brands collect them mindlessly”. But he sees advertisers using Reactions in a far more sophisticated way to get insights into the emotions people feel about products.

Another social media marketing expert, Kristal Ireland of Twentysixdigital, says there is always great excitement when Facebook makes a change like this. She believes there is an opportunity to learn far more about what people think of marketing messages but says the real challenge will be to make sense of the flood of new data: “You might end up with such fragmented data that you can’t make up your mind what your ad should look like.”

But what should Facebook users think about laying out their emotions for all to see? Nick Oliver urges caution – his company People.io aims to help users take control over their social media data and realise its value to advertisers. He says “from the consumer point of view they are now giving up their emotional data for advertisers to use and manipulate. People open themselves up on social media and the data is used in ways they never expect”. He argues that the rise in the use of ad blockers, which are largely ineffective on Facebook, makes this data even more valuable. “The demand for a price of people’s attention is getting higher.”

Of course, the big question for advertisers is just how honest people will be in expressing themselves via the Reactions buttons. The social media era has seen millions sharing their feelings online – but companies have also quickly learnt just how dangerous that can be. Understanding the significance of Facebook’s new Reactions will become an essential skill for anyone working in social media marketing.

If you would like more information about how Facebook advertising can help your business, contact us now.

 

Google Grants for Non-Profits

Google Grants is a donation program that distributes free in-kind AdWords advertising to qualifying non-profit organisations. Participating non-profit organisations are eligible to receive up to US$10,000 per month in advertising within the AdWords search engine marketing platform so it provides an excellent opportunity for charities and other non-profits to get their message out to the search market for a minimal cost.

Google says that the Grants scheme tries to make it easier for people to donate to a cause and so the easier it is for them to donate, the more likely it is that they will. The more frequently the ads appear next to Google search results, the more people will be aware of a cause and so that can translate into more donations and more volunteers, which is the lifeblood of every non-profit organisation.

Once qualifying for the Google Grants scheme, a non-profit can set up and manage a Google AdWords account like any other advertiser, and compete in the search results auction for relevant keywords. However, there are some restrictions and limitations in the way this can work, namely:

  • Advertisers can only use the Google Search network, so not Search Partners or the Display network
  • All campaigns are keyword targeted only and can only use the standard text ads
  • Maximum bid levels are limited to US$2 per keyword
  • Advertisers must actively manage the AdWords account by logging in once a month and making at least one change to the account every 90 days.
  • The ads and keywords should match the organisation’s programs and services.
  • Strictly commercial advertising is prohibited. If products or services are promoted, 100% of the proceeds must go directly to supporting the program.

Getting access to this level of ‘free’ advertising is very useful for many non-profit organisations, and very active or high spending users could achieve Grantspro status with US$40k of funded advertising per month. However, the main challenge with these campaigns is to work with the maximum CPC level, which can limit ad ranking in competitive markets and makes the achievement of good Quality Scores at the keyword level much more important, so that campaign structure is vital. Also, in a market where the local exchange rate is impacted by movements against the US$, this can also affect ad ranking positions.

If you’d like to know more about Google Grants and whether your non-profit organisation is eligible for the scheme, please contact us now for an initial review.

 

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 – November 2015

Monday, November 2, 2015 5:47 No Comments

Welcome to the latest issue of our monthly newsletter, featuring 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 look at Google’s recent announcement that they will now be targeting hacked sites in the search results with changes to the algorithms, so that identified sites will be removed from the ranking results to protect searchers and improve the quality of the results.

We also look at the new Facebook M service which has recently been announced, which is designed to be an advanced digital personal assistant, combining artificial intelligence and real people to help users complete tasks. Finally we look at the latest enhancements to the Google AdWords Display Network service, that can help advertisers improve the cost-effectiveness of their campaigns.

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 Search Results Filtering Hacked Sites

As a follow up to our article in September about avoiding getting your website hacked, Google announced in October that they are introducing a series of algorithmic changes that aim to tackle hacked spam in the search results. This makes it ever more important to ensure that your website is not affected by this problem.

There has been an increasing number of legitimate sites being hacked by spammers and used to engage in abusive behaviour, such as malware downloads, promotion of traffic to low quality sites, porn, and marketing of counterfeit goods or illegal pharmaceutical drugs. This is a significant issue for the website owners – who may not be aware of the issue – and for Google, which monitors impacted sites in their search results to try to prevent unwitting searchers coming across these bad sites.

Website owners that don’t implement standard best practices for security can leave their websites vulnerable to being easily hacked, so that spammers and cyber-criminals purposely seek out those sites and inject pages with malicious content in an attempt to gain rank and traffic in search engines. Google has recently posted a series of webmaster blog articles with tips and advice to try to avoid this happening and they are now aggressively targeting hacked spam in order to protect users and webmasters.

These latest algorithmic changes that have been reported will eventually impact an estimated 5% of queries, depending on the language. Google says that as they roll out the new algorithms, searchers might notice that for certain queries, only the most relevant results are shown, reducing the number of results shown on a page. This is due to the large amount of hacked spam being removed, and should improve in the near future.

So Google is taking steps to weed out the bad content whilst retaining the organic, legitimate results. From a webmaster perspective, following the recommended best practices that we recently outlined is a good strategy, and having a Google Search Console account to also monitor potential issues that Google has picked up is also advised.

If you’d like to know more about these new ranking changes and how to avoid your site getting hacked, please contact us for more information.

 

Facebook M – a personal digital assistant

At the end of August, Facebook announced that they were testing a new service called M. This is a personal digital assistant inside the Messenger app, that completes tasks and finds information on the user’s behalf, being powered by artificial intelligence that’s trained and supervised by people.

M appears to be a significant project for Facebook and one that they are investing in with a long term strategy to become a leading service that can effectively complete tasks on your behalf – such as purchase items, get gifts delivered, book restaurants, travel arrangements, appointments and more. It is intended to compete and perform much better than Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana.

The difference with Facebook’s M is that it’s currently a hybrid service that uses artificial intelligence combined with a group of Facebook employees who will make sure that every request is answered. If M can provide a more efficient service than its competitors, Facebook hopes to boost the number of people using it on mobile, which will in turn lead to increased revenue from their transactions.

Once a user gets access to M through Messenger (which will be free), they can send a note to M, which will be interpreted by the software as a natural language query and then ask follow up questions in the message thread, if required, and send updates as the task is completed. Users won’t necessarily know whether a computer or a person has helped them.

The unique aspect of this service is that Facebook’s M ‘trainers’ have customer service backgrounds and so they will make judgments and perform tasks that the software can’t. As the service is used more and more, the intention is that the software will then learn from human behaviour and eventually become sophisticated enough to process requests correctly itself. This may be sometime off and could represent a significant financial investment by Facebook, but they are taking the long term view that this will become a powerful market-leading tool in the future.

If you’d like to know more about Facebook M, please get in touch.

 

Google adds new features to the AdWords Display Network

Over the past few years, the Display Network part of Google AdWords has seen a range of improvements in targeting and ad formats, to reflect the increasing role of this feature for advertisers to reach potential customers on all devices. Google has recently introduced some additional new features that enhances the functionality of this service.

Firstly, Audience Insights have been added directly in AdWords to help advertisers find out more about their target market and to improve the targeting options by such aspects as age, location, and interests. These insights provide aggregate information about people in your remarketing lists, so that advertisers can quickly and easily take action through improved targeting. For example, if most people who converted on your site are cycling enthusiasts, you may wish to add this affinity audience to your campaign. Or, if many of your customers are females between the ages of 25 and 34, you might want to customize your ad creative to appeal to this demographic.

The second enhancement is that the display ads will now only be charged on a cost per thousand (CPM) basis if the ad is viewable on the screen. Google says that most display ads (around 56%) never had a chance to be viewed because they were ‘below the fold’, or in a background tab, so that although an impression may be generated, the ad wasn’t viewed. Therefore Google is changing their system to only bill advertisers when the ad impression is viewable, so that over the next few months, all campaigns that buy on a CPM basis will be upgraded to be viewable CPM (vCPM).

The third new enhancement affects dynamic remarketing ads, which will now become more flexible and automatically re-shaped and re-sized to fit all device types. These ads are linked to a Merchant Centre feed for ecommerce retailers and the design layouts will also be touched up to look great on any mobile or desktop site, or app.

These are all welcome additions and should help display advertisers see better results from their campaigns – if you’d like to know more, 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 – May 2015

Friday, May 1, 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 at look at how the correct ownership and allocation of User management permissions in a Google Analytics account can be an vital factor in the successful running of an online business, in terms of the control and security of data.

We also look at Facebook’s ad relevance score, which can help achieve greater visibility for ads and also lead to lower costs to reach your target audience. Finally this month, we review Google’s recent announcement about the use of ‘doorway pages’ for search optimisation and how recent ranking adjustments could penalise this technique.

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…

Ownership of Google Analytics Accounts

This is a critical topic for analytics managers in online businesses of all sizes, as it’s vital to know who owns and manages Google Analytics accounts and access permissions for your company. The analysis of this important data can be crucial for streamlining the profitability and success of a modern-day business, but the management of access to it is often over-looked.

At corporate, SMB, or small business levels, there can often be multiple accesses granted to numerous administrators of an analytics account over time. These can be across various departments, or for internal or third party managers who may have also created the account in the first place. Most large companies have multiple pockets of analytics professionals spread throughout the organisation so it’s possible that there are multiple users of the account/s with differing levels of access privileges.

The important issue is that the business needs to ensure ownership of their own website analytics data, and have control over access to this information to maintain security and longevity of the reporting. There have been many cases where a website developer has created the Google Analytics account, for example, but not provided the site owner with full admin rights, so that there is always a danger that in the long term, if relations with the supplier sour, then the business could lose access to their account.

Since many companies are now using Google Analytics, Google has improved the ways in which access permissions are granted, as they understand the importance of the access privileges and have therefore provided the ability of users to do this in a logical manner. Google introduced two big changes to user permissions in recent years:

  • There are now three different types of user permissions: 1) Manage Users provides full control of the settings and user access 2) Edit access enables users to make changes to the set-up options, but not provide access to other users, and 3) Read & Analyse access gives users the ability to view reports but make no changes to the settings.
  • These 3 different types of permissions can now be applied any of the 3 different admin ‘levels’ of a Google Analytics account: Account level, Property (website) level and View (reports) level.

This set of options enables Analytics administrators to apply the correct permissions based on what the User should be able to do. For example, a big company with a separate marketing team can provide access to only those sections they wish them to view. It’s important that ownership of the account is clear, as many organisations forget to audit the people that have access to the data and so this should be done at least once a year (or once a quarter depending on the required level of data governance).

People that that don’t need access should be removed, or have their permissions adjusted as necessary. It’s also best practice to regularly assess and limit the number of users that have Edit permissions at the Account level, and of course to ensure that the login accounts with full manager access are part of the business and not an email that is linked to an external agency or could be lost in the future.

Analytics data can provide valuable insights into the way in which a website is running, so maintaining full ownership of the account is a significant consideration, which is often over-looked in the successful running of a business. You can read more about managing Google Analytics User permissions in this article by Justin Cutroni, the primary Analytics evangelist at Google.

If you would like to know about ensuring the correct levels of Google Analytics management for your business, contact us now for more information.

 

Facebook Ad Relevance Score

An increasing number of businesses are using Facebook to advertise to their customers and target market. If your business is already doing so, or considering it in the future, this information is useful to bear in mind, as it’s important to understand the advert relevance score. The more relevant an advert is to its audience, the better it’s likely to perform and advert relevance score makes it easier for you to understand how your advert resonates with your audience.

Facebook considers how relevant an advert is when determining which adverts to show to a user. When your advert is relevant to your audience, its relevance score is higher and it is therefore more likely to be served than other adverts targeting the same audience. As a result, you pay less to reach your audience and this relevancy factor is similar to the way in which the Google AdWords keyword Quality Score works.

Advert relevance score can also help you:

  • Know when to refresh your advert. When your advert’s score drops, it may be an indicator to refresh your advert’s creative or change its targeting.
  • Determine which advert creative is more relevant. You can use the score to test your creative to help determine which message, image or video resonates most with your audience.

After your advert is served more than 500 times, it receives a daily relevance score from 1–10. Ten means that Facebook estimates your advert to be highly relevant and one means that it’s estimated to not be very relevant. (You can view the score in Adverts Manager by going to Campaigns and clicking Adverts).

Your advert’s relevance score is based on positive and negative feedback that Facebook expects from the people seeing it, based on how the advert is performing. It is calculated differently depending on your objective (e.g. clicks to website or video views) but it’s based on:
– Positive feedback: The number of times Facebook expects people to take a desired action, such as sharing or liking your advert, or help you achieve your objective, such as visiting your website.
– Negative feedback: The number of times expected for people to hide your advert or indicate a negative experience, such as choosing not to see adverts from you.

There are a number of ways to improve your advert’s relevance score, with the five most important being:

  • Be specific with your targeting
  • Consider your advert’s image and message
  • Refresh your advert
  • Learn from testing
  • Avoid using offensive content

Following these tips can save your business advertising revenue by reducing the cost of Facebook advertising. You can read more about the Facebook ad relevance score here.

If you want more details about how we can help your business succeed through advertising on Facebook, contact us now.

 

Google Sets Guidelines for SEO Doorway Pages

Google recently announced that it will soon introduce a search ranking adjustment to clamp down on the use of web pages that are created solely for search engines. This is very important for webmasters and online marketers, as sites with large and well-established ‘doorway page’ campaigns might see a negative impact from this change.

Google’s Search Quality team is continually working on ways in which to minimise the impact of ‘webspam’ on users. This includes targeting these so-called ‘doorway pages’ as they have a long-standing view that such webpages are developed only to improve rankings on search engines, which in turn can harm the quality of a user’s search experience. For example, searchers might get a list of results that all go to the same site, so if a user clicks on one result, doesn’t like it, and then tries the next result in the search results page and is taken to that same site that they didn’t like, that’s a really frustrating experience.

Over time, Google’s seen sites try to maximise their ‘search footprint’ without adding clear, unique value. These doorway campaigns manifest themselves as multiple pages on a site, or across a number of domains. To improve the quality of search results for Google’s users, it will soon be introducing a ranking adjustment to better address these types of pages and this could have a dramatic impact on the rankings of sites that use this unfavourable SEO technique.

To help webmasters better understand their guidelines, Google has added clarifying examples and freshened its definition of doorway pages in its Quality Guidelines for Webmasters. Therefore here are questions to ask of pages that could be seen as doorway pages:

  • Is the purpose to optimise for search engines and funnel visitors into the actual usable or relevant portion of your site, or are they an integral part of the site’s user experience?
  • Are the pages intended to rank on generic terms yet the content presented on the page is very specific?
  • Do the pages duplicate useful aggregations of items (locations, products, etc.) that already exist on the site for the purpose of capturing more search traffic?
  • Are these pages made solely for drawing affiliate traffic and sending users along without creating unique value in content or functionality?
  • Do these pages exist as an ‘island?’ Are they difficult or impossible to navigate to from other parts of your site?
  • Are links to such pages from other pages within the site or network of sites created just for search engines?

Therefore it’s essential that webmasters who have previously used ‘doorway’ pages take notice of this imminent change and edit their website accordingly. You can read more about Google’s ‘doorway’ page guidelines here.

If you want to know more about how the use of these pages could seriously impact your business’s rankings on Google, 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 – August 2014

Friday, August 1, 2014 8:06 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 the Google AdWords location targeting options and how the limitations in this may impact the ways that you can market your business through search advertising. Next, we look at what the recent changes to Facebook Reach mean and how this signifies the end of brand marketing through business pages and community groups with organic reach. In the final article this month we review the SEO impact of Panda 4.0 and how this affects approximately 7.5% of English-language queries.

You can read more below, or you can also browse through previous editions of the newsletter here. 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 Location Targeting Options

Location targeting of ads through Google AdWords has been one of the best features for many years, allowing advertisers to target a specific country, state, city or even suburb. Targeting by geographic location is an essential tool for advertisers to help improve relevancy and control spend, however, whilst the location targeting settings in AdWords are predominantly accurate, several limitations exist.

Advertisers using Google AdWords can set location targeting options at the campaign level, either with a single location setting or with multiple locations being targeted within the campaign. Within these settings there are also some advanced options whereby advertisers can choose to include or exclude people based on where they’re likely to be physically located or the places that they’re interested in (i.e. using the location term in their search query). Targeting by search query location is usually good for relevancy, but many searchers will not use a location term in their query and so that’s where the advertiser is reliant on Google’s ability to identify the current location of that searcher.

The AdWords system uses several factors to determine the physical location of the searcher, using either the identified location of the person’s computer or from a mobile device location. An IP (Internet Protocol) address is therefore the most common way that Google uses to identify location – this IP is a unique number assigned by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to each computer connected to the Internet. With mobile devices using Wi-Fi, Google may detect the mobile device’s IP address to determine physical location or, if it’s connected to a mobile carrier’s proxy server, then the carrier IP is used to determine the device’s location. This is generally the best option for Google to include users within the defined geo-targeted area, but it’s not 100% accurate.

IP address targeting has certainly improved over the past 10 years but can still be limited by accuracy if, for example, the IP address is associated with the wrong location or if the address is associated with a very broad geographic location. In large corporates with offices across multiple locations may also provide incorrect information to Google as the main server or Intranet connection will incorrectly identify the city location for some searchers. One quick way of testing your own location identified by Google is to click on the ‘Search Tools’ menu when searching and then in the sub-menu below that, the final option shows the location Google has identified for you as a searcher. If this is wrong, then it is possible to change this setting on your device.

If searchers are using a mobile device – which is increasingly common – then the geo-targeting can be more accurate as long as users have enabled precise location sharing on their mobile device. Google looks for a number of signals in this instance, such as GPS location, Wi-Fi location, or Google’s cell ID (cell tower) location database (in the US). In many cases the GPS location can be used and provides good targeting accuracy which is ideal for local search marketers.

In general, location targeting in Google AdWords works best down to city level, and although there is sometimes the option to select pre-defined regions within a city, or to use more specific location or radius targeting, the smaller the area becomes the less effective it will tend to be, particularly if the main city centre / location is not included. In these cases the advertiser should supplement their activity with a campaign targeting a wider geographic area, but limiting the search terms to only include ones with location words included in the query. Once the geo-targeting has been set up, Google then provides a number of different reports to help advertisers review activity by user locations.

If you would like more information about how location targeting can help your AdWords campaign, please contact us now.

What Changes To Facebook Reach Mean

At the end of 2013, Facebook quietly changed its rules for ‘organic reach’ which has effectively ended the option for ‘free advertising’ used by many companies. It’s a move driven by revenue targets which will force more advertisers to now rethink their brand strategies on social media and put more money behind advertising, especially with ‘promoted posts’.

One of the main techniques used by companies on Facebook has been to promote “likes” of their business pages to build a large and tailored audience, which can then be marketed to, either directly or subtly through news feed posts. However, the recent changes to Facebook’s algorithm means that this content being posted by companies is now much less likely to appear in their followers news feeds – it’s estimated that only 5% of followers will see this content compared to around 15% last year.

Therefore the end of this ‘organic reach’ – which allows a post from a company to be seen, without them having to spend money on it – means that the value of these posts will be reduced in terms of visibility and impact, unless the content generates good engagement from the followers (likes, shares, comments etc). The alternative is that companies will now need to spend money on promoting these posts to ensure wider coverage of their target audience.

Facebook has said that the reduction in organic reach was due to the huge increase in published content on the network and so was designed to promote relevant content rather than push companies into paid advertisements. However, it’s also a convenient way to increase revenue whilst also putting a higher value on the role of Facebook as a business marketing tool. Companies must now decide whether to spend more in this sector or to pull back and do less if it’s not as effective as other channels.

Depending on your product or service, Facebook can still be an attractive marketing tool with a good range of targeting options and advertising tools. It also has a huge reach and is regularly used, particularly on mobile devices, but it certainly won’t work for every business, or the positive impact will slowly build over time, which is hard to measure if advertising spend increases.

If you’d like more details about how the changes to Facebook reach may impact your business, contact us now.

The SEO Impact of Panda 4.0

In Google’s continuous effort to clean up the quality of their search results, they introduced a significant algorithm change in 2011 which became known as the ‘Panda’ update. At the end of May this year, another notable change to the settings was announced, called Panda 4.0, which is thought to affect around 7.5% of English-language search queries. The aim of this new update is to remove or reduce the rankings of sites that contain poor, duplicated or irrelevant content, but there should have been no impact on well written and optimised sites.

Panda 4.0 was the first update to the Panda algorithm in over a year and seems to focus on penalising duplicate content sites, ensuring authoritative sites with original content continue to rank well. Websites that have been the victim of copyright theft and have had valuable original content stolen are now seeing a return in traffic. Websites that have blatantly plagiarised original content from other websites are now receiving penalties and reduced ranking positions. These latest Panda updates – the details of which are always kept confidential by Google – are once again increasing search result quality, ensuring that users are directed to websites with the best quality content.

It appears that certain search queries and niches have been hit hard by the latest update, with terms such as ‘pay day loans’ seeing major changes in search results due to harsh penalties handed out to poor content websites that were previously ranking well. In contrast, the initial findings across leading digital communities has been an increase in traffic for authoritative websites, which are well recognised for producing valuable original content. Some large sites with substantial link building strengths and resources but offering little value in content have also been hit hard – it’s been reported that Ebay has seen substantial drops in rankings for major queries, which may or may not be the correct way that Google intends the ranking to work, but there is likely to be an ‘adjustment’ period with further revisions after this main update.

Hopefully your website has not been affected by these latest changes, but if you’d like to know more about the Panda 4.0 algorithm change and it’s impact on the search results, please contact us for details.

 

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 – December 2013

Monday, December 2, 2013 8:30 No Comments

Welcome to the latest issue of our monthly newsletter – the last for 2013 – which covers news, tips and advice on effective website marketing and search marketing techniques and trends.

In the first article this month, we take a look at Google’s updated Opportunities Tab within AdWords and how, if used correctly, it may improve the performance of a campaign.

Next, we take a look at the importance of Google Webmaster’s search query data and how this can be very useful in helping to provide more information about the keywords that are used from the search engine to visit your website, and which are the main landing pages that are visited from the search results.

In the final article this month, we examine the different types of Facebook advertising and the different reasons and benefits of using these as part of a social media marketing campaign.

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 Like our Facebook page or Google+ page for updates.

On to this month’s edition…

Google updates the AdWords Opportunities Tab

Google recently announced some changes to the Opportunities tab within the AdWords system, which can potentially help advertisers find ways of improving the performance of their campaigns. This section in the main navigation tabs suggests different ways to increase the performance of the campaign (or spend with Google) so it can provide good insights but also needs to be managed with caution.

The new Opportunities tab is designed to be more user-friendly and presents the advertiser with suggestions based on the previous 7 days of activity (or longer for some elements). These are some of the options within the Opportunities section that can be considered to improve a campaign’s performance:

Convert more customers in your best locations
If your conversion rate differs across locations, you might see opportunities to increase your location bid adjustment where your conversion rate is high, or decrease your location bid adjustments where your conversion rate is low.

Get more out of your existing budget
If you’re maxing out your budget, you might see opportunities to lower your bids to capture more clicks – or, of course, Google might suggest that you increase your daily budget level!

Be there more often than competitors
If your ads are being seen less frequently than other advertisers competing for the same traffic, you might see opportunities to be seen more frequently with (higher) bids to show your ads more often than advertisers like you.

Show ads that are more relevant
If Google spots an adgroup with keywords related to lots of different themes, it’s harder for you to show a highly relevant ad, so you might see opportunities to create new adgroups from existing keywords. This can be a particularly useful suggestion that can help to improve your targeting and your keyword Quality Scores.

Reach more customers on closely related searches
If you’re missing clicks on searches that are very similar to your existing keywords, you might see opportunities to broaden your keyword match types – which will, of course, increase your spend.

Be seen on the first page
If your ads are showing below the first page when users search on high-quality keywords, you might see opportunities to raise your bids to show ads on the first page.

The opportunities you’ll see are tailored to your account and should be selected based on their possible impact to your performance. The new look design and presentation in this section now makes it easier to decide which opportunities are being suggested and which should be implemented.

Of course, as noted above, these opportunities or suggestions by Google do need to be handled carefully and with caution, as the simultaneous implementation of too many opportunities could result in a dramatic difference to the way in which the allocated budget is spent. The recommendations are being generated automatically based on past trends and many of them will also benefit Google from increased spend for the advertiser and income for Google, so ideally these opportunities need to be consider carefully in the context of the campaign objectives.

Best practice would be to introduce one opportunity at a time, then monitor how that impacts the campaign before introducing more, through on-going optimisation and review. The most appealing initial opportunities are those to get more out of your existing budget and show ads that are more relevant, both of which could lead to a lower average cost per click.

If you’d like more information about the new Opportunities for better campaign performance in AdWords, please contact us now.

 

Using Google Webmaster’s Search Query Data

Anybody who regularly runs Google Analytics reports would be familiar with the increasing percentage of keywords bundled into the rather unhelpful “(not provided)” data category. So the Google Webmaster’s search query data, which includes a “top pages” tab, is starting to gain more importance for insights into Google’s SEO ranking activity for a website. This data is provided through the on-going changes to improve the compatibility between Webmaster Tools and Analytics and shows search queries that drive traffic to your site, as well as which pages benefit the most from them.

The “top pages” tab is in the search queries section of Webmaster Tools and is where you’ll find data for the pages that perform the best in Google’s search results. It shows impressions, click counts, average position, and an increasing amount of data for individual website pages. Clicking on any page URL will show a list of what search terms are sending traffic to it and users can also click on any of the search terms to see how it performs across your site – i.e. which pages get traffic from this term.

This is a very useful function within Webmaster Tools, which helps to fill the gap created by the unavailable “(not provided)” keyword data in Analytics. Data can be compared for the last 30 days compared to the previous 30, so broad trends can be reviewed to see how often a website has appeared in the search results, which search terms clicks have been acquired from, and what ranking positions have changed.

There are some discrepancies between data that is shown from both of those accounts as the information is being collected from different sources, and the Webmaster Tools data is quite generalised, but it’s a good step in the right direction. You can view more information about the reasons for that discrepancy and the best ways to use the search query data here.

So website marketers who use Webmasters and Analytics should be aware that this data is available to provide valuable information about the website and how it is driving visits from Google’s search results. The Webmaster Tools data can now supplement the reports that are withholding information from Analytics and so trends can be seen to show if SEO activity is improving website visits, and from which search terms.

If you’d like more details about the most effective ways to use this data to improve the performance of your website, contact us now.

 

What are the different types of Facebook Advertising?

If you are using Facebook business pages as part of your social media marketing activity, there are a number of ways to run advertising on the Facebook platform. Over the past year Facebook has tried to make the process of setting up ads more useful for advertisers, as well as adding more options to give advertisers more flexibility, but also to create more revenue options for Facebook! So, what are the main options and how can they be used?

Advertisers on Facebook can either use ads to direct users to their Facebook content, or to take them directly to their website content. Internal ads – that keep users within Facebook – tend to work better in most cases and these are called ‘engagement ads’. Anyone clicking on the advert can take an action without leaving Facebook, which is where they probably want to stay and interact within this social networking site.

There are several different types of Facebook advertising which can be used by advertisers – these are the traditional Facebook ads down the right hand column, as well as the newer options of Sponsored Stories and Promoted Posts. Each can be used in different ways, such as to build up the number of Likes, or to encourage more engagement with your content, such as commenting or sharing posts.

The traditional Engagement Ads on Facebook are the ones used to promote your business page and these usually appear down the right hand column, against the news feed of a target user. Advertisers can use a range of targeting options to try to reach the most relevant target audience, based on location, age range, interests and other factors. The ads include a link to the Facebook page (or external website) and also include a Like button, so that a strong compelling ad can attract more Likes without necessarily getting users onto the business page first.

Another ad option is Sponsored Stories – this can be used to show an advert based on a post on your business page, or a new Like by a user, and it will be displayed to your followers and their network of friends, so this is good to use once you start building up a strong network of Likes. It’s a way of getting more visibility for a post or an action (see last month’s issue about EdgeRank) and these stories can capitalise off a friend’s interaction with a Facebook page to reach more people on a personal level.

It’s important to remember that with these ads, the advertiser is less able to control all the content that is being promoted, because Sponsored Stories promote the actions of Facebook friends with a specific business page or entity with the goal of enticing Facebook members to like the same page as their friend, or friends, have. If a member or visitor interacts with a Facebook business page, this action will be promoted to a larger audience, regardless of the post’s contents. Sponsored Stories therefore promote a friend’s relationship and interaction with a page, to target and encourage a Facebook member to interact with that business and so Sponsored Stories can be effective in improving a company’s image and through emphasising customer satisfaction.

Promoted Posts are a newer advertising option on Facebook and give advertisers many different options through promoting links, photos, texts and videos. Page Post ads contain different formats that are classified as sponsored or promoted to increase the advertisers reach. Page Post ads can be used in a link form to promote a website or in a photo form to promote something like an upcoming sale.

A Promoted Post text ad gives businesses the opportunity to go into more detail about a service or product being offered. Offers in a form of an electric coupon can be included in an ad, which is redeemable for a member who clicks upon the advertisement. This form of Facebook advertising is popular amongst larger companies, as the content of the advertisement is totally controlled by the advertiser, unlike Sponsored Stories.

Facebook has also introduced Sponsored Results, which gives advertisers the chance to appear in the Facebook search results for relevant search terms. This is a very similar concept to the Google AdWords model to target searchers, and is also linked in to Facebook’s Graph Search which was introduced over a year ago to improve the search functionality within the site. At this stage, these type of ads can only be set up using the Facebook Power Editor – a tool we will be covering in a future issue of this newsletter.

If you would like to know more about how Facebook advertising can benefit your business, contact us now for more details.

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Web Search & Marketing Newsletter – November 2013

Monday, November 4, 2013 9:54 No Comments

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

In the first article this month, we take a look at the introduction by Google of the significant new ‘Hummingbird’ search algorithm. This is the largest change that has been made to its search algorithm for a number of years and one in which all businesses with websites should be interested. So, we discuss what this is, how it may have impacted your rankings and what the best SEO policy is to get the optimum results for your website from it.

Next, we take a look at the recent introduction of demographics and interests reports into Google Analytics, how to enable these reports and what useful data is available from them. In the final article this month, we examine Facebook’s Edgerank for Business Pages because it will influence how often followers see your posts. So, we provide details about what it is and how can it be used.

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 Introduces The New ‘Hummingbird’ Search Algorithm

At the end of September Google announced that it had been using its new search algorithm since the end of August. This is important for any business owner who is at all interested in their site’s Search Engine optimisation, as it is a very significant change in Google’s search engine.

As a result, there are a number of questions that curious business owners may like answered in relation to this change and this article serves to address those:

1. What’s a “search algorithm?”
That’s a technical term for what you can think of as a recipe that Google uses to sort through the billions of web pages and other information it has, in order to return what it believes are the best answers.

2. What’s “Hummingbird?”
It’s the name of the new search algorithm that Google is using, one that Google says should return better results.

3. What type of “new” search activity does Hummingbird help?
“Conversational search” is one of the biggest examples Google gave. People, when speaking searches, may find it more useful to have a conversation. For example, “What’s the closest place to buy the iPhone 5s to my home?” A traditional search engine might focus on finding matches for words — finding a page that says “buy” and “iPhone 5s,” for example.

Before Hummingbird, your results might have been generally related to your topic or question, and Google may have pulled pages that only had one or two words from your search question. But with the Hummingbird update, Google should be able to understand the entire meaning behind your searches; it will be paying attention to each word in the search, so the full extent of the conversation is considered when displaying your results.

4. What does it mean that Hummingbird is now being used?
When Google switched to Hummingbird (which it did so quickly that no one really noticed) it’s as if it dropped the old engine out of a car and put in a new one. Google says — it’s built on both existing and new parts, organised in a way to especially serve the search demands of today. So although it’s a new engine, it continues to use some of the same parts of the old one, like the Penguin and Panda updates to it.

5. When’s the last time Google replaced its algorithm this way?
In 2010, the “Caffeine Update” was a huge change. But that was also a change mostly meant to help Google better gather information (indexing) rather than sorting through the information. Google search chief Amit Singhal told me that perhaps 2001, when he first joined the company, was the last time the algorithm was so dramatically rewritten.

6. Does this mean I’m going to lose traffic from Google?
The very subtle introduction of Hummingbird hasn’t sparked any wave of consumers or website publishers complaining that Google’s results suddenly got bad. If you didn’t have problems with your rankings since the end of August, then you came through Hummingbird unscathed.

Google’s saying this is very much a query-by-query effect, one that may improve specific searches (particularly complex ones), rather than something that hits “head” terms that can, in turn, cause major traffic shifts.

7. What’s Google’s response if I lost traffic?
Perhaps it was due to Hummingbird, but Google stressed that it could also be due to some of the other parts of its algorithm, which are always being changed, tweaked or improved. There’s no way to know for sure, unfortunately.

8. What’s the best on-going SEO strategy for Hummingbird?
Google says there’s nothing new or different SEOs or website publishers need to worry about and the main thing is still to have original, high-quality content on the site. Hummingbird just allows Google to process it in new and hopefully better ways, which mainly involves understanding the full meaning of a search query.

Since Hummingbird is focused on getting rid of irrelevant and unimportant results, this change should actually allow you to rise above your competition. If you’ve already been busy creating content and building links from trustworthy websites, the Hummingbird update will allow you to continue ranking high since Google is looking for those types of sites i.e ones that provide valuable answers to their searchers’ queries.

9. In what ways can I improve my site’s content and back-links?
Focus upon creating articles that contain a “How to” approach and that present definite answers to user queries that will help them, especially ones that aren’t widely known.

(A tip for webmasters is to use the revolutionary Schema mark vocabulary with rich snippets like ratings and reviews, recipe preparation time etc. This is the best way to allow Google to clearly understand the content displayed on your site).

Hummingbird has especially adapted itself to serve the needs of mobile users. Catering to a mobile audience by creating a mobile version of your site with a faster loading time, fewer images, easy navigation, etc. Users hate sites that are slow and Google always panders to its users.

The best way to let Google identify you and move from the anonymous web to the named web is by using Google authorship. People tend to click more often on search results displaying an author image as opposed to anonymous search results.

Following an ethical natural linking strategy through building relationships is preferable to acquiring links using the old methods of article syndication and cheap content marketing. Earn links by serving your customers well and increasing your brand value is the strategy to follow for the long term.

You can read more about these five recommended ways to improve your rankings with Hummingbird here.

10. So what’s the summary of all this and what does it mean for my business website?
Google has simply replaced its engine and made searches more on target with what users want and need in today’s world by improving its understanding of more complex, conversational search queries. So when it comes to Hummingbird, your SEO priorities should remain mostly the same, although creating valuable content for users has never been more important.

For more information about how we can ensure your SEO policy is optimised for Hummingbird, please contact us now.

 

Google Analytics Introduces Demographics & Interests Reports

In a recent development that will be interesting to many Google Analytics users, it now includes data on your users’ demographics (age, gender) and interests (affinity categories, other categories). These useful new reports provide details on who those users are that visit your site, and how their behaviour varies by attribute (e.g., male vs. female).

In order to make data available in these reports, it’s firstly necessary to make a simple, one-line change to your tracking code, more details about which can be found here.

Then simply set the enabling options in Analytics from within these categories of reports in the Audience section:

Demographics

  • Overview (overview of traffic by age and gender)
  • Age (traffic by age ranges)
  • Gender (traffic by gender)

Interests

  • Overview (overview of traffic by affinity and other categories)
  • Affinity Categories (behavior by affinity categories)
  • Other Categories (behavior by other interest categories)

This data is also available in custom reports, and they can be used as the basis for segmentation, which lets you evaluate how your users’ behaviour varies by demographics and interests; for example, do males interested in automobiles convert more frequently or read specific types of content more than females who are interested in athletic apparel?

Since these are the same demographics and interest categories that are used to target ads on the Google Display Network, it’s possible to build segments using these attributes, apply them to any of your Analytics reports, and use that analysis to refine campaign strategies.

Information for these new reports is derived from the DoubleClick third-party cookie. When that cookie is not associated with a user, Analytics cannot conclude demographics and interest categories, and so these reports may represent only a subset of your users and not the overall composition of your site traffic. In addition, some data in reports may be removed when thresholds are applied to prevent inferring the identity of an individual user. You can find out more about these thresholds here.

If you’d like more details about how we can help you set up and interpret your Analytics data to provide you with useful feedback on your site’s performance and visitors, contact us now.

 

Understanding Facebook Edgerank for Business Pages

If you’re using Facebook Business Pages as part of your marketing activity, you need to be aware of the ‘Edgerank’ system used by the site, as this will have a bearing on how often your posts will be seen by your followers, and how the interaction with your business page will be affected. So, what is it, and how can it be used?

Facebook’s Edgerank system is an advanced algorithm developed by Facebook, which ensures relevant and important content related to the user’s interests are displayed throughout the news feed. Edgerank analyses user behaviour through likes and other forms of interactions between the user and company pages or other pages in general. The algorithm focuses on time decay, showing greater importance for recent interactions between a user and company page, in comparison to older interactions.

Edgerank is based on two other components known as Affinity and the Weight System. Affinity deems repeat interactions between a user and a company page as more important than a single interaction between a user and a company page. This respects long term customer and business relationships and ensures when competing with each other, long term affinity will out rank short term affinity, provided there are even interactions between the user and both company pages. The weight system is another important component, which judges what interactions are the most important. The weight system views a comment as being more important than a like.

When you have a business page on Facebook, you can see analytics for this page and the posts that have been added. The main figure of note here is ‘reach’, which refers to the number of interactions per single post based on likes, comments and shares. Maximizing reach and interaction levels are important for effective Facebook Business Marketing campaigns as these will influence the Edgerank score and show your posts to more people.

Ideally Facebook Business pages want popular users to like and interact with posts. Through having ten popular fans with over five hundred friends each interacting with the page, the reach could potentially be as high as five thousand. By having one hundred unpopular fans that have ten friends each interacting with the company posts, the potential reach is only one thousand. So while all likes are beneficial it is important to target popular customers or fans to help content become more visible to a much larger audience.

Therefore the role of Edgerank can be governed by the type of posts being made to your Facebook Business Page, so that you develop followers who are relevant and interested in your content, and also posts should be designed to encourage interaction, whether it’s clicking a link, Liking the post, or sharing and adding comments. The more this can be achieved, the more often your followers will see your posts and hopefully interact with your Page.

If you’d like to know more about the Edgerank system, and how to use Facebook Business Pages as part of your online marketing, please contact us for more details.

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Web Search & Marketing Newsletter – August 2013

Thursday, August 1, 2013 0:15 No Comments

Web Search & Marketing Newsletter – August 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 it’s crucial for the content of a website to meet Google’s criteria for the four key trust factors, in order for it to benefit in the search rankings.

Next we examine the IAB’s recent figures that show sales for global mobile ads are nearly double in 2012 and the reasons for that significant increase, as well as the growing need for updated mobile metrics.

In the final article this month, we mark the 2nd birthday of Google+ by following up our recent story in June on “The Benefits of Using Google+ For SEO”, by examining how to make the most of this social networking platform through the use of an entirely different marketing strategy to that used on Facebook.

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…

Trust Factors that can Enhance a Website’s Rankings

Over recent months Google has been further tightening its Panda and Penguin algorithms, to target poor content websites and in turn, help to improve the rankings of sites that contain unique, valuable content. This focus on targeting low quality content and ‘web-spam’ in the search rankings means that Google is trying to identify common ‘trust’ factors on a website or web page. This means that it’s more important than ever to ensure that your website is seen as ‘trustworthy’ by Google.

Google has previously outlined some of the potential factors that Google looks at to determine the trustworthiness of any website. These may sometimes be difficult to identify through an automated programme, but it is accepted that there are four key factors they are looking at:

1. Duplicate or Redundant Content
It’s important to ensure that your site doesn’t have a number of similar content pages or articles, with just a few keyword changes. Google needs to ensure that the content pages that they will rank are driven by genuine interests of readers of a website, rather than just contain repeated content that attempts to rank individual pages well for specific terms.

2. Accurate, Quality Content
Google wants to reward websites with ‘good quality’ content, so it doesn’t favour sites that have sloppily produced content. This might include ones that have not been accurately proof-read, have been directly plagiarised, or ones which have been “keyword stuffed”. A website therefore needs to contain legible, original content that makes sense to the reader rather than just the search engine.

3. Complete Content
The completeness of the provided information is another key factor in the trustworthiness of a website in Google’s view. It favours comprehensive content about a topic, rather that one that might omit vital information. This could be difficult for Google to assess but it’s much better to focus on providing complete content to the reader, rather than simply relevant key-worded anchor text. Google would ideally like to find content that is seen as a valuable source of information which visitors would like to share and bookmark (including through Google+ – see below).

4. Expert Content
The factual correctness and expertise of the author in the relevant subject matter on the website is an important factor for Google, as this helps to determine if the site is a well-respected authority on the subject. Also, having a name, face, and bio associated with the content gives it authenticity and demonstrates the willingness to stand by the facts presented. This can be done through the use of the rel=”author” tag, linked to a Google+ profile and it therefore makes sense for Google to use this as part of their algorithm.

Therefore Google is looking for identifiable factors on a website that may indicate ‘trust’ – or lack of it – when determining the ranking potential of a site. This is just one of the factors being used in the ranking criteria, but an important one that website owners have control over and have to think creatively about developing.

If you’d like more information about how we can help your website benefit in the rankings from these trust factors, please contact us now.

 

Sales for Global Mobile Ads Nearly Double in 2012

Figures recently provided by the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, IAB Europe and global consulting firm IHS, found that mobile ad revenue worldwide increased sharply last year, rising by 82.8% to $8.9 billion from $5.3 billion in 2011. This is not entirely surprising and reflects the rapidly increasing use of mobile devices and the opportunities advertisers have to target these users.

The IAB reported that US mobile ad revenue more than doubled in 2012 to $3.4 billion. Growth was highest in North America, at 111%, followed by Western Europe (91%), Latin America (71%), Central Europe (69%), the Middle East and Africa (68%), and Asia-Pacific (60%). Among the regions, North America is now almost level with Asia-Pacific in the share of mobile ad sales, at 39.8% ($3.52 billion) to 40.2% ($3.55 billion). Western Europe represents 16.9% ($1.5 billion), with another steep drop-off to Central Europe at 1.3% ($112 million).

Broken down by ad formats, search continued to claim the lion’s share of spending, with 52.8% of the total, followed by display at 38.7%, and messaging (third-party ads in SMS or MMS messages), with 8.5%. Search and display ad revenue grew at roughly the same rate last year (at 88.8% and 87.3% respectively), while messaging trailed at 40.2%. Its share also fell from 11.1% in 2011.

Looking at formats by region, Asia-Pacific still leads the way in display, but North America for the first time overtook Asia-Pacific to become top in mobile search, with 130% growth to nearly $2 billion in 2012. This is mostly attributed to Google’s increased efforts to ramp up monetisation of mobile search as more and more of that activity takes place on devices.

Among broader forces driving mobile ad growth, the IAB study pointed to rising smart-phone adoption, the spread of 3G and 4G networks, more time spent on mobile devices and the growing focus by companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft on mobile media and advertising as well as devices.

You can read more about the IAB figures here.

Although these IAB figures are impressive, they come as no great surprise, especially as advertisers realise that mobile apps, in particular, provide a compelling canvas for engagement and brand building. Therefore marketers now need a more accurate metric to determine how much of their advertising budget should go on mobile app advertising, as the traditional metrics are falling behind in their capacity to precisely evaluate this. As a result, there are now suggestions in the industry that a new cost per mobile engagement (CPEm) metric is emerging to capture the real engagement value/ROI of mobile app advertising.

If you’d like more information about this data and how we can help to grow your sales through mobile ads, contact us now.

 

Google+ Becomes Two Years Old

Google’s own version of a social networking service, Google+, has just turned two and the benefits of it are still to be realised by many social media advocates, brands and online marketers. So what are they, and how can Google+ be better used by businesses?

Google has been extolling the virtues of Google+ since its launch and have indicated that social-media marketers should ignore it at their peril, as well as search engine marketers who should consider how content on this service can combine with SEO efforts. Using a marketing strategy that includes Google+ as a key resource is becoming increasingly important and that strategy needs to differ entirely from a Facebook one.

Google+ was developed by engineers and as a result was originally seen as too complex for the end-user, plus there wasn’t a strong reason to divert attention away from the market leader, Facebook. However, Google+ is now the second largest social network behind Facebook (693 million users) and gaining, with 500 million members – 359 million of whom are active monthly, which is a 27% increase in the past three months.

There are 3 main points of difference with Google+ that sets it apart from Facebook and need to be considered as a core marketing and general business communication tool:

Hangouts on Air
This is a powerful, free video chat function that allows an unlimited number of people to join and supercedes older conferencing platforms like GoToMeeting. Google+ is more visual and interactive, because Hangouts lets you video chat in real time with as many, or as few, people as you choose. There is the opportunity to integrate the hangout videos with YouTube, if required, and this part of Google+’s service is something that Facebook doesn’t currently have.

Circles
Another key difference is in the way users can share content. Circles enable fast, easy and precise content sharing. According to Searchmetrics, sharing on Google+ is poised to surpass sharing on Facebook by 2016. When you add contacts to circles, you can assign them to a particular group such as family, co-workers, friends, etc. Then you can easily select which of your followers will see your Google+ updates. Circles lets you decide exactly who can see which content and therefore you need to create more specific content for your circles – Facebook content is more broad brush.

Communities
Google+ has two types of communities: public and private. These communities allow groups to form around particular interests. You can even join communities as a brand, which isn’t possible to do on Facebook, so you can interact with influencers, experts, current and potential customers.

One other key point-of-difference is currently, at least, that there’s no advertising on Google+. If you’re not currently doing so, now is probably the time to create a content strategy that is unique to Google+ and then implement it with your profile. This can help your SEO strategy as well, and give you early advantages in your market if other companies are not yet using this tool.

Contact us now if you’d like more information about how we can help you improve your Google+ marketing strategy.

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Web Search & Marketing Newsletter – July 2013

Monday, July 1, 2013 9:00 No Comments

Web Search & Marketing Newsletter – July 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 the use of phone call tracking to identify conversions by source coming via this route. Next, we examine guest blogging and how it’s critical to focus on the relationship building process, rather than just as a link-building technique. Finally, we take a look at the release of Google’s Universal Analytics into public beta and the features and benefits of this.

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…

Using Phone Call Tracking

Whether your business is using conversion tracking as part of Google AdWords, or goal tracking in Google Analytics, this type of data is essential to understand where sales or enquiries are coming from, down to the keyword and advert level. However, for any business where most leads may come via a phone call, this is harder to track as the link between the source of the website visitor and the phone call being made is broken. This is where phone call tracking techniques can add more insight and value to an advertiser.

Phone call tracking has been around for many years in different forms, and as the need to track and optimise conversions grows, this technique is becoming another important tool for the advertiser. There are a number of good phone call tracking companies operating in the UK market and they can provide a reasonably low cost way of tracking the source of conversions, whether they come from Google AdWords or any search engine visit, or from any other third party website. Google AdWords also provides a call tracking system in the US and UK.

Call tracking usually works through the addition of some javascript on a website or web page, which identifies the source of a visitor and displays a unique phone number on the website. If the visitor calls the business, that number will track the lead by source, potentially down to individual search term level. Whether the website has their standard phone number displayed in the text or as an image, an alternate number can be displayed depending on where the site visitor come from, although images will need to be changed or adapted to cater for this.

The advertiser will buy a range of phone numbers – usually 1300 or 1800 – to be used for the various advertising sources and displayed on the website. The call tracking company will generate these numbers and track the calls made, including the option of recording the phone conversations, and provide analytics to show which sources have generated the calls. This data can sometimes be imported into a Google Analytics account as well, as a goal source.

One potential issue for advertisers is if they use a memorable number, such as 1300 FLOWER, as call tracking won’t be able to replicate this number and make it so memorable to the user – which can be an issue if the number might be used in a radio advert or on a billboard. The other main question is how many numbers might be needed, as these can be generated as ‘absolute’ (one number for each source) or session based (where a pool of numbers are used and displayed in time segments to identify source). The former method can be very expensive, particularly if there are lot of search terms being used in an AdWords campaign, but is more accurate. However, the latter method should be sufficient for most advertisers.

Although the cost of call tracking isn’t that high, it is an additional cost to include as part of the marketing activity. However, the insights that call tracking can provide is extremely valuable and enables advertisers to see the real cost per lead being generated by source, which will provide a more accurate figure for a Return on Investment calculation. Otherwise, call enquiries will remain a general ‘pool’ of new business leads which can’t be attributed to a source or the advertising spend.

If you’d like to know more about phone call tracking for your marketing campaigns, please get in touch for a discussion.

 

Best Practice for Guest Blogging

The regular changes that Google’s been making to its search algorithms recently to clamp down on poor quality links or content has started to change the focus of many website’s link building strategies. Outsourcing link building to agencies that use bulk link techniques on dubious sites has never worked that well, but now more than ever, an effective link building program should be focused on ‘relationship building’ rather than simple link building.

One of the popular ways to go about relationship building is by being a guest blogger on a reputable blog. This has always been an incredibly effective means of generating high quality links from popular and relevant web pages, but more recently the over-use and poor implementation of this technique has resulted in many bloggers cringing at inboxes full of poorly written, self-serving pitch requests, and ultimately ignoring the vast majority of would be ‘guest posts’. In the same way that numerous linking request emails started to flood into mailboxes several years ago, the same is now true for guest blog requests, so that a number of blogs are now closing their doors to guest post submissions.

Furthermore, according to Matt Cutts – the head of Google’s webspam team – “Google is willing to take action if they see spammy, or low quality guest blogging…which is basically putting low quality articles with embedded links on that site”. He goes on to say that “article-spinning, or low quality syndication are the areas in which Google are going to take an interest”. You can hear more about his comments in a video here.

Guest blogging still works however, and works well, but it has to be done effectively as genuine relationship building, rather than blatant link building. The links will come by building real relationships with the people running the sites so that a level of trust and respect is developed and the guest blog posts add to the quality and tone of the original blog.

Here are some useful tips on the best practice for guest blogging:

  • #1 Research potential link sources well: Research sources through social media channels, especially Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Seek out high quality blogs and get to know the blog first, before making contact.
  • #2 Don’t be too direct: The first time you contact a blogger, don’t pitch to them – instead, get to know them. If you are targeting a larger blog with multiple writers, then you might want to go by the way of an introduction. Most bloggers are happy to help out people they like with a link, but the only way to get that is to focus on the relationship before the link.
  • #3 Approach through social media: Better yet, skip email altogether for the first contact. Instead, make contact through social channels, where you are much more likely to get a response. Twitter is one of the best social networks for finding and connecting with bloggers and should be the first point of contact. Start by following, then tweet directly to them, but don’t ask for a link on the first tweet.
  • #4 Personalise the pitch: What if you don’t know enough about the blogger to make it personal? Then it’s probably too soon to be pitching for a link! Nothing will get your guest post denied quicker than sending a generic pitch.
  • #5 Offer value: The best way to get what you want is to give something back. The primary value you should be offering is excellent content to the blog, so create valuable, unique content to submit to the blogger. Also, offer to promote and share their content on your social networks, bring technical issues to their attention, such as dead links or broken forms, and leave good quality comments and participate in discussions.
  • #6 Maintain the relationship: Often when guest bloggers manage to get a link placement, they don’t continue the relationship with the blog’s owner. So follow up with the blog owner / editor to see if they have any feedback, positive or otherwise. If your content is good, the blogger will be eager to publish more of your submissions in the future. This is particularly useful for agencies that can leverage these relationships with multiple clients.

As outlined above, the process of guest blogging can be time consuming but should reflect the natural process of relationship building rather than a quick link request. If you would like more information about how guest blogging can improve your relationship building (and links), please contact us now for more details.

 

Google’s Universal Analytics in Public Beta

In March this year Google announced to all Google Analytics users the option to use Universal Analytics. This offers a new way for businesses to understand the changing, multi-device customer journey through the conversion path, as a typical consumer today uses multiple devices to access the web and interact in many ways with a business. This is likely to become the default system for Google Analytics, so websites have the option to try this for themselves now.

Universal Analytics introduces a set of features that change the way data is collected and organised in a Google Analytics account, so you can get a better understanding of how visitors interact with your organisation. In addition to the standard Google Analytics features, Universal Analytics provides:

  • New data collection methods
  • Simplified feature configuration
  • Custom dimensions & custom metrics
  • Multi-platform tracking.

Therefore some of the benefits of using Universal Analytics to businesses are:

  • Understanding how customers interact with the businesses across many devices and touch-points
  • Gaining insights into the performance of mobile apps
  • Improving lead generation and ROI by incorporating offline and online interactions to help understand which channels drive the best results
  • Improving the speed of a website by reducing client-side demands.

The aim is to change the way that data is collected and organised in the rapidly evolving online world of multiple platforms. Multiple platforms are not just limited to desktop, tablet, phone, but also game consoles, the point of purchase (POP), the shopping trolley, ski lift, billboard and so on.

Many of the benefits promised by Google’s UA hinge on two updates to the platform. Firstly, the ability to get data into UA from any source, and secondly, the shift from tracking visits to tracking visitors. The future of data does indeed seem to be blurring the lines between online and offline, and with these new tools, the hope is to make more sense of it all and to paint a better picture for the brand, the client, or any user’s understanding of the data and trends. Through an understanding of this data, business and individuals can better understand how visitors interact with their business online.

UA is an exciting development that holds significant promise for solving some difficult issues such as multi-device measurement and online/offline integration. Currently, the technology is still new, so more experimentation is needed in order to test UA’s promises in real-world environments. However, new Analytics accounts have the option to use this code, or existing accounts are gradually getting the option to upgrade as UA is being rolled out by Google.

If you would like more details about how the use of Google’s Universal Analytics can help your business, contact us now.

 

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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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