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Web Search & Marketing Newsletter – June 2016

Posts Tagged ‘Mobile Advertising’

Web Search & Marketing Newsletter – June 2016

Wednesday, June 1, 2016 9:22 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.

This month we look at 2 recent enhancements made to Google Analytics, with some new reports that provide better insights for website marketers. Firstly, we look at the new User Explorer reports that further enhance its value, by allowing website marketers to review individual actions of anonymous users.

Secondly, we review the recent introduction of more detailed search console data in Google Analytics, which enables the ability to review organic search data with User behaviour, to get more useful insights and to see which search terms generated the more engaged visitor traffic to the website.

Finally this month, we look at how Shopping Ads now target mobile Users on Google Images and the possible ramifications upon AdWords managers’ Shopping campaigns.

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

On to this month’s edition…

New User Explorer Report in Google Analytics

Last month Google Analytics started to roll out a new report – the first for some time – which is called User Explorer. This feature allows website marketers to review individual actions of users, which are anonymous but help to provide insights into user visits and paths through a website. They can also help to improve the user experience by seeing how people interact with a website.

The new User Explorer report can be found in the Audience section of the reporting menu, and the initial view of the report shows a list of anonymous client IDs collected from a visitor’s device and browsers. This basic data includes the number of sessions made by that user, their average duration, bounce rate, goal conversion rate, and transactions / revenue if applicable.

If you then click into an individual client ID, you can see their activity history with time-stamps for each site interaction and page view. You can then filter this report by PageView, Goal, E-Commerce or Event, and individual entries can be clicked for additional data, which enables website owners and marketers to get insights into individual user visits and repeat visits, leading to a goal completion, or visits to a particular page on the website.

Along with the Real Time reports which have been around for some time, the new User Explorer report advances the value of Google Analytics even more, with the kind of detail and insights that some marketers will find really insightful. For example, Google suggests that you might want to see how your top 10 customers interacted with your website (or apps) and you can gain insights into visitors that spent the most with you over a given time frame and analyse each of their journeys on your site over that time period.

By viewing these reports, it’s possible to use these individual interactions to uncover new opportunities to improve the overall experience of visitors and their common path to conversion. The User Explorer report can also help with marketing activities, such as identifying anonymous individual customers who have not converted recently and help them to re-engage with your site using different existing marketing channels.

Check out the new User Explorer report in your Google Analytics account now and see what insights can be gained about individual user interactions. You can find more information about this report here, or you can contact us for further help.


More Detailed Search Console Data in Google Analytics

In another new development for Google Analytics, there is a newer version of the Search Console report now being rolled out, which helps to provide users with more detail about search traffic coming from Google. This continues to be a valuable report and a good insight into search engine optimisation (SEO) activity, as the traditional keyword report remains limited with over 95% of search visits still being shown as ‘not provided’.

For many years, Google has enabled the linking between the Search Console (previously Webmaster Tools) account and Google Analytics, so that organic search visitor activity has been accessible in the Acquisition section of Analytics, under the Search Engine Optimisation menu. However, data has been quite limited, until now, as Google is now enabling a deeper integration of data between the 2 accounts, and renaming the menu item as ‘Search Console’, with 4 sub-reports being made available.

This new development shows the Search Console metrics combined with Google Analytics data in the same reports, so that users can now see a full range of Acquisition, Behaviour and Conversion metrics for your organic search traffic. You can therefore review organic search data with user behaviour to get more useful insights and to see which search terms generated the more engaged visitor traffic to the website.

The most valuable of the new reports is the Queries one, showing the search terms people used on Google to find your website. The landing pages report is also useful to identify the most common pages people found on Google, plus there are reports for visits by country, and a new one by device. You can therefore gain new insights into the organic search traffic coming via Google and review how visitors engage with this site, to reflect good, relevant search terms, and possibly landing pages which are not performing well.

These reports also help to identify new opportunities for search traffic, either through low ranking positions for good search terms, or pages on the website that could benefit from improved optimisation or content. In addition, the data being collected in Google Analytics can also be downloaded automatically each month by email, which is important to do as the Search Console data is still currently only available for a rolling 90 day period.

You can read more about these new reports here and to access these new reports you need to have a Search Console account set up and linked to your Google Analytics account. If you need help with this, or would like further information about how these reports can be used, please contact is for more information.


Shopping Ads Now Target Mobile Users on Google Images

Another interesting development recently announced by Google is the introduction of Shopping ads into the ‘Images’ section of its search results for mobile devices. This is as a result of mobile’s share of online retail purchases continuing to grow, with the latest figures for 2016 showing that 34% of online retail purchases (in the US) took place on mobiles.

People who search and shop on their smartphones at least once a week say that product images are the shopping feature they turn to most. The top questions Google Images users ask Google are ‘What’s the price of this?’ and ‘Where can I buy it?’. That’s why Shopping ads have been introduced on Image Search through the Google Search Partners network. (Google Image Search is not yet part of the ‘core’ Search Network, which is composed of Google Search, Google Play, Google Shopping and, from April 2016, Google Maps). So now, for Shopping campaigns that are opted into displaying upon the Search Partners, the ads for related products will appear as shoppers browse Google Images.

Google explained that the goal behind this change is because many shoppers begin their research using Google Images. When they find something they like, they’re forced to click through to the website to see whether the product is actually for sale and how much it costs. Shopping ads are a natural fit for this activity, since they provide merchant and pricing information directly alongside the image. This is especially useful on mobile devices, where jumping from website to website can be particularly challenging.

If you would like to know more about how these changes to Google Shopping can be used to improve your business’s sales, contact us now.


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

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Web Search & Marketing Newsletter – September 2014

Monday, September 1, 2014 6:28 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 increasing focus upon https as a ranking factor and why that should be noted by webmasters and SEO practitioners. Next, we look at the global consternation about Google Analytics data corruption by the Semalt referral traffic. In the final article this month we examine the significant increases in mobile search share in the UK, US and Australia.

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 Announces HTTPS as a Ranking Factor

In a rare move, Google announced at the start of August that they would be using HTTPS encryption as a positive ranking factor, in an attempt to encourage websites to become more secure. Currently this is only a small signal that can contribute to a higher ranking position, but Google says that this is likely to become a bigger factor in the future.

Google’s move is a significant one and part of a strategy to ensure that websites accessed from Google’s search results are secure. They have therefore provided this guidance and details to help webmasters prevent and fix security breaches on their sites, which can be seen here.

More webmasters have recently been adopting HTTPS (also known as HTTP over TLS, or Transport Layer Security), on their website, which is encouraging. Google wants to encourage more webmasters to do this however, by using HTTPS as a ranking signal, so that websites using secure, encrypted connections will see a benefit in the rankings.

Currently, this only affects fewer than 1% of global queries and is still less critical than other ranking factors, such as high-quality content, while webmasters are given time to switch to the secure protocol. Over time though, Google is very likely to strengthen the importance of https as a factor, as they want to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.

Google is beginning to publish detailed best practices in its help center to make TLS adoption easier, and here is a useful article on how to change your website’s address. Google is also very keen to see more websites using HTTPS in the future to make the web more secure, so the sooner webmasters make that transition, the more they will benefit from the inevitably increasing weight that will be put onto that by Google’s ranking algorithms.

If you’d like more information about how your website could benefit in the rankings from the transition to https, contact us now.

The Issue of Semalt Referrals in Google Analytics

Many users of Google Analytics will have seen a growing number of visit referrals from the Semalt domain over the course of this year, although the quality of visits are poor and reflect an automated visit, which has been impacting the overall user metrics for these websites. Globally, this has become an irritation but one that Google has now targeted and provided a new tool to combat similar activity in the future.

Any search for Semalt will get some varied results, but their website describes itself as ‘a professional webmaster analytics tool that opens the door to new opportunities for the market monitoring’. However, many Analytics users just find it to be a significant annoyance as it has been skewing the data in their reports from the beginning of this year, with 100% bounce rates from a significant number of visits. These also tend to mostly originate from Brazil.

There have been a growing number of complaints about Semalt referrals, as the company seems to employ malware to crawl the web and spam server logs, potentially ruining your Google Analytics data with irrelevant data. This ‘referral spam’ is apparently used by Semalt to drive traffic to their website to get users to sign up for their €14.65 / month service.

However, this spammy traffic data pollutes many Google Analytics reports, because all crawler traffic uses the HTTP referrer header containing the URL semalt.semalt.com/crawler.php (which redirects to semalt.com). For some accounts this activity ceased in April, but for others it has continued until Google appeared to begin to automatically block it in early August and hopefully, for most Google Analytics accounts, this will mean that these referrals will now cease.

Google have also recently introduced a new Bot and Spider Filtering function in Analytics. This allows users to select this in the Admin / Views area of Analytics to then exclude all data that comes from specific bots and spiders on the IAB known bots and spiders list. More information about this new filtering option can be found here.

These recent changes should now fix this data problem, but historical reports for this year will continue to carry the Semalt referrals, which need to be considered in trend data. If you’d like more details about how the accuracy of your Google Analytics data reports could have been affected, please contact us now.

Increases in Mobile Search Share

This article highlights the increasing importance of mobile click share and advertising spend for business owners and online marketers. Recent research shows the rapidly growing speed at which the adoption of mobiles are used to access the Internet is a highly significant trend.

Data released in August 2014 by digital marketing software firm Kenshoo shows how three of the most mature paid search markets – US, UK and Australia – saw mobile search share rise by between 8 and 11 percentage points year-over-year in Q2 of this year. From those three countries, the one that had the largest percentage increase in clicks was Australia, which rose by a notable 13 percentage points in this year’s Q2 annual comparison. The search advertising share of clicks here rose to 44% (with 38% in the UK and 33% in the US).

This data indicates that mobile browsing is proving to be exceptionally popular in Australia, as average phone CPCs for search advertising spend remain 12 cents lower than for tablets and desktops. The average CPC spread between phone and tablet has narrowed in the US and UK, however, with the US figures showing that average phone CPCs are just $0.04 cents lower than tablet. In the UK, the phone CPCs are only .02 Euros less than tablets. The Kenshoo report surmises that “Higher CPC for mobile (in the US and UK) reflects marketers getting savvier about how to measure mobile and set different goals for campaigns targeting those devices.”

Oddly, in Australia, Kenshoo found that clickthrough rates on both tablets and phones fell, bucking the overall trend reported by Google in Q2. The gap between mobile clicks and spend also widened in Australia year-over-year, with 35% of spend allocated to mobile and 44% of clicks generated from mobile ads. This indicates that due to the lower CTRs causing a lower level of competition in targeting mobiles, marketers here still have the potential to get excellent ROI from them before the CPC gap between the devices narrows.

If you would like to know more about how we can help to improve your online marketing ROI from mobile targeting, contact us now.

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Web Search & Marketing Newsletter – April 2014

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 6:29 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 role and importance of landing pages and how they can have a significant impact on how an online marketing campaign performs – in particular, with Google AdWords. Next, we examine how 2014 is likely to be a revolutionary year in the search environment as it’s predicted to be the first year in which mobile search queries exceed desktop search queries based on global searches.

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…

The Role and Importance of Landing Pages

If you’re using Google AdWords, a good landing page can provide your business with a series of important benefits, including improving your Quality Score, which in turn can help to improve your ad position and lower your cost per click. A good landing page can also improve conversions, save you money and have a substantial influence on whether a campaign succeeds or fails.

Landing pages are those pages on your website that people first see when they find your site through a search engine – either from the ‘organic’ results, or via the paid listings such as AdWords. Each landing page therefore gives the site visitor a first impression of your business and plays a key role in conversion optimisation – getting a visitor to complete the task on your site that you want them to, whether it’s to make a sale, send an enquiry or sign up for a newsletter.

As noted above, a landing page is an important element in Google AdWords as it can contribute to an improved Quality Score. Each time you create or amend an advert, Google will automatically visit the landing page being used from the ad and assess how well the landing page will work, so there are some key requirements to consider.

The following tips need to be followed to ensure visitors enjoy your landing page experience and that you can maximise your Quality Score for each keyword:

  • Make sure your landing page has content that is relevant and closely to related to the text ads and keywords used. You should check the title tag, description tag and body content for the terms being used.
  • Visitors should be able to easily find what they want. If your text ad is selling a product, make sure the product is easy for visitors to find once they are sent to your landing page.
  • Ensure your landing page offers unique and useful information, including offers that are unique and only available from your site.
  • Contact information on the landing page should be easy for visitors to see, and if a landing page requires information through a form, it is important to let the visitor know why and for what purpose.
  • Make sure the privacy policy of your business is easy to access from the landing page.
  • If you are selling online, make sure that personal data is collected using a secure processing server (https) with a valid certificate.
  • If you are showing adverts on your landing page, make these clearly distinctive from your own content.
  • Avoid pop-ups and other features that can be considered annoying to visitors.
  • Make sure that the back button works if visitors want to return to the search results.
  • You should also consider how your page is viewed from a mobile device if this is a core part of your advertising market.

In summary, a landing page should be easy for visitors to use and it should portray a sense of trust. The landing page should be highly related to the text ad and keyword that enticed the visitor to click the advertisement. A landing page should be easy to understand and visitors should be able to quickly locate more information if it’s needed.

If you’d like more information about landing pages, or a review of those you are using, please contact us for more information.


Mobile Queries Outgrow Desktop Queries

2014 looks set to be a revolutionary year in the Search Marketing sector, with mobile search queries expected to overtake desktop search queries for the first time. The news has been indicated by several industry leaders, including Google’s Matt Cutts, and comes earlier than expected with most predicting such a shift was still years away.

Mobile search queries are expected to exceed desktop search queries based on global searches, which shows the changing nature of the search environment. Google is reluctant to confirm these reports, as the company wants to encourage cross platform promotion, and this does of course remain the smartest strategy for advertisers who still need to target both desktop and mobile users.

However, the increasing trend in mobile searches are hardly a surprise for industry experts, considering there are estimated to be two billion desktops actively being used across the globe, which is well short of the five billion active mobile devices. This mix does vary by country, with India, for example, being well ahead in mobile v desktop usage, whereas globally, mobile traffic is seen to be about 30% of all Internet activity.

The increasing search trend on mobile has made it more important for website owners to ensure their websites can be accessed through these devices. Also, advertisements targeting mobile platforms are becoming ever more important as a result of the booming mobile search queries. The data available within AdWords can clearly show mobile usage and advert interaction. Plus, Google Analytics also provides website marketers with information about visitors arriving from mobile devices and how they interact with the website.

When this data is reviewed, AdWords advertisers can understand the behaviour of their specific market and then determine what type of mobile ads are created. Both mobile text and image ads can be implemented to either high-end smartphone users – which include users of iPhones and Android devices – or to the declining number of WAP users, which includes mobile devices with smaller screens.

If you’d like to know more about reviewing and targeting mobile search users in your marketing activity, please contact us for information.

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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.

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.

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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