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Web Search & Marketing Newsletter – May 2016

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 how Google recently provided more information about ranking factors for ‘Google My Business’ listings. This should be of interest to any businesses, or SEO managers who are setting up or managing these listings to target a local market.

We also look at the identification by Google of the new and emerging threat of ‘Clickjacking’. This is a sophisticated form of online threat to Cost-Per-Click display ads, so Google’s defence against it should interest any business running AdWords campaigns.

Finally we look at the latest online advertising expenditure report from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) UK for the 2015 year, which increased to over £8.6bn and saw an increasing importance of mobiles and, more recently, videos in the online advertising space.

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 Updates Details on Improving Local Ranking

In an interesting development from Google – who are usually notoriously coy about releasing detailed information about how to achieve good search rankings – they recently added more details to their help page, named ‘Improve your local ranking on Google’. This provides more insights on how to achieve better visibility with local search results.

As reported in our September 2015 newsletter article ‘Google Changes Local Search Results’, the reduction in the number of listings displayed from 7 to 3 has led to increased competition for those spots. Therefore these recently updated details are welcomed by small business owners and the SEO industry, as any information provided by Google about these factors is always useful.

Google does still do their best to keep the specific details of their search algorithms confidential, to make the ranking system as fair as possible for everyone. Previously, the help page had about five paragraphs of text around relevance, distance and prominence for ranking in the local results. Now, Google has vastly expanded the document which now covers the newer local ‘3-pack’ results, as well as how to be included in that pack and how the ranking positions are determined.

In terms of these rankings, Google still outlines relevance, distance and prominence, but expands upon each of them. Here is a summary of the key points in the revised content:

  • Relevance – this refers to how well a local listing matches what someone is searching for. Adding complete and detailed business information can help Google better understand your business and match your listing to relevant searches. Relevant terms in a business name can be important but this should still be the correct name for the business, plus selecting the best category/ies and using a good business description can all help.
  • Distance – just like it sounds, how far is each potential search result from the location term used in a search? If a user doesn’t specify a location in their search, Google will calculate distance based on what’s known about their location, which tends to be more accurate if on a mobile device.
  • Prominence – this refers to how well-known a business might be. Some places are more prominent in the offline world, and search results try to reflect this in local ranking. For example, famous museums, landmark hotels or well-known store brands that are familiar to many people are also likely to be prominent in local search results. Prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business from across the web (like links, articles and directories).
  • Reviews – having Google reviews, including the number and rating score are factored into local search rankings. More reviews and positive ratings are likely to improve a business’s local ranking. A business website’s position in the main search results can also a factor, so SEO best practices also apply to local search optimisation.

You can read the updated Google help file here. If you want to know more about how ranking well in a local listing could help to improve your business, contact us now.


Google Rolls Out More Defences to Thwart Clickjacking

Google recently identified ‘Clickjacking’ as an emerging threat to cost-per-click display ads. This is a type of web attack where the appearance of a website is changed so that a victim does not realise they are clicking on one or more ads. For example, a user may intend to click on a video play button or menu item, but instead clicks an invisible ad unit. They reacted quickly by rolled out new defences to protect advertisers against this threat by using a combination of technology, operations, and policy.

Earlier this year when Google’s operations team identified Clickjacking activity on the display network, they moved swiftly to terminate accounts, removing entities involved in, or attempting to use, this technique to trick users. The engineering team worked in parallel to quickly release a filter to automatically exclude this type of invalid traffic across display ads.

This approach delivered a two-phase solution to publishers who violated Google’s policies: firstly, the operations team cleaned out publishers from the ad systems; secondly, engineers built a new filter as a durable defence to protect against Clickjacking traffic.

The combined Clickjacking defences operate at considerable scale, analysing display ad placements across mobile and desktop platforms, evaluating a variety of characteristics. When the system detects a Clickjacking attempt (or an normal ‘invalid click’), Google zeros-in on the traffic attributed to that placement, and removes it from upcoming payment reports to ensure that advertisers are not charged for those clicks.

Ad traffic quality has always been a priority to Google, which has consistently put in place sophisticated technology to detect and not charge for, or eradicate, ‘invalid clicks’. It’s swift to respond when such emerging threats appear and the combined defences work well to combat those.

If you want more information about how ‘invalid clicks’ and Clickjacking could impact your AdWords campaigns, please contact us now.


Online Advertising Expenditure in the UK Increases to Over $8.6bn

In their latest report for the twelve months ending December 31st 2015, IAB UK stated that the online advertising market experienced another year of significant growth in 2015, growing by 16.4% over the previous year on a like-for-like basis, to finish the year at £8.606bn. This reflects the ongoing growth of the market, and in particular, the strong trends in mobile and video advertising over the past few years.

This latest data comes from the regular Digital Adspend Study conducted by the Internet Advertising Bureau in the UK, together with PwC and shows that all online advertising segments experienced another strong year of growth in 2015. Display ads were up by nearly 25% to over £3bn, with 60% of this spend being reported as programmatic advertising. Paid Search was up by 15% to £4.36bn and Classifieds grew by 5% to £1.1bn. Search remains the largest sector of spend with a 51% share of the market, followed by Display at 35% and Classifieds at 13%. However, as usual the Search figure remains an estimate as Google doesn’t reveal their actual figures for this report and this would comprise the largest part of this spend.

Most notably, mobile advertising continued its meteoric rise, increasing by just over 60% to reach £2.6bn in 2015. This is a significant increase and mobile now accounts for just over 30% of all digital ad spend, compared to just 2% in 2010. This rapid growth should clearly be noted by all online marketers, and was accompanied by strong growth in the social and video advertising sectors.

You can read more here. If you would like more information on how these figures can be used to improve your online marketing, contact us now.


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

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