In the last couple of years, search engine marketing (SEM) has exploded as a viable form of marketing. We are seeing a growing trend of more companies shifting their advertising budgets towards the Internet. Some of that is spent in the form of paid advertising, such as pay per click or pay for inclusion, while some is allocated towards gaining better positioning in the organic or unpaid search results. This process of improving one�s position in the organic search results when certain keywords or phrases are searched for is called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short. This new trend in online marketing has spurned the emergence of numerous companies offering services that help companies turn searchers into customers. It is like the gold rush of �49 with firms trying to capitalize on the ever-growing number of businesses looking to find their place on the search engines. However, with the abundance of growth also comes the lack of any standards among SEO … [Read more...] about Look Before You Leap – What to Look For and Look Out For When Choosing an SEO/SEM Firm
Yesterday before Google’s annual meeting of shareholders, Google CEO Eric Schmidt and co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page fielded questions from reporters on a range of subjects, including a potential paid search deal with Yahoo and its anti-trust implications. Their argument was that a future paid search deal could be set up in a way to allay such concerns, currently being explored by the US Justice Department. And because of the auction structure of the model, there are no price-fixing implications, Brin said. Schmidt simultaneously reiterated his desire that Google and Yahoo work together but said there was no deal to announce at the moment. The Google-Yahoo paid search test and potential deal was cited in Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s letter withdrawing the bid for Yahoo as one of the reasons. Google said at the meeting yesterday that the company reached out to help give Yahoo “choices.” “They were under hostile attack and we want to make sure they … [Read more...] about Google Executives Defend Potential Yahoo Search Deal, Microsoft Releases “Proxy Directors” And Looks Beyond Search And “The Last Click”
Last week there was a report that “four out of five FTC commissioners” favored going forward with an antitrust case against Google. The Reuters article in which the claim appeared mentions but doesn’t emphasize the litany of “vertical search” complaints against Google raised by competitors. Those “Google favors its own results” claims have been at the center of the European antitrust inquiry and, perhaps until now, at the heart of any potential US case against Google. Yet the article seems to suggest that the FTC is looking elsewhere for Google liability — or vulnerability. Reuters writes, “the FTC commissioners have given weight to other complaints that Google refuses to share data that would allow advertisers and developers to create software to compare the value they get on Google to advertising spending on Microsoft’s Bing or Yahoo.” There’s also mention of “Google’s handling of valuable … [Read more...] about FTC Playing Antitrust Poker With Google And Looking For A Way To Save Face
Recent moves by Google indicate that the search volume metric for keywords will become less available and by default, less important. In this article, you’ll find out what metrics may actually be better at demonstrating keyword value and opportunity so that you have a more holistic content optimization strategy. We’ve read about and experienced firsthand the impact of limited data coming from the Google AdWords Keyword Planner as of late. Search volume is a metric that many SEOs have come to rely on when creating a content optimization strategy, but it’s seemingly on its way out. And is this really a bad thing? In this post, I’ll explore why search volume should already be a metric of the past, and what other approaches and tactics yield better results in a holistic content optimization strategy. The Background In the summer of 2016, marketers were noticing some changes to the Keyword Planner tool. In June, some observed that search query data was lumped … [Read more...] about Stop Looking at Keyword Search Volume (And Look Here, Instead)
Continuing my promise to deliver a slightly more wide-eyed ingenue spin on all things search related, here is an exploration of another important term that crept into the SEO conscience way back in 2013: semantic search. What is semantic search? It’s probably easier to give you examples rather than trying to paraphrase the rather verbose Wikipedia entry. Remember how ‘back in the day’ you would type a search query into Google and it would hit you with a result based purely on your keywords? Like if I had typed in ‘Portishead’ without context I would have been offered a mixture of results based on the band and possibly the town in Somerset. However right now in this modern semantic world of ours, if I type in ‘Portishead’ I’m purely given results about the band, mainly because most of my search history is music related and not at all Somerset related. That’s semantic search at its most simplistic. Taking various details about the … [Read more...] about What is semantic search and why does it matter?
As we reported over the weekend, Google has removed all PPC ads from the right-hand side of the search engine results page with immediate global effect. There’s been a great deal of speculation on what this means for businesses, advertisers and users alike, with many postulating that the top-of-the-page paid search is going to become even more cutthroat (and expensive), organic listings will be pushed even further off the first SERP (Google will start to show four ads at the top instead of three for “highly commercial” search terms) and that Product Listing Ads will gradually take over the SERP (PLAs are still allowed on the right-hand side). The change has already happened. Here’s a search for ‘london hotel’ carried out two days ago… And here is the same search today… There are now four paid search results at the top, with nothing on the right. It looks oddly blank now, and worryingly the entire above the fold space is entirely … [Read more...] about Google kills Right Hand Side Ads: what does this mean for marketers and users?
It’s hard to meet anyone in the digital industry who hasn’t heard about RankBrain. And it comes as no surprise that this system along with its impact on search results raises endless questions and disputes. We’ve made an attempt to understand the way RankBrain operates and if there’s anything we can possibly do to optimize for it. Let’s start from the very beginning. What is RankBrain? RankBrain is a machine-learning system developed by Google to help improve search results and to interpret brand new queries that haven’t been previously searched for. Some experts consider it to be part of the Hummingbird search algorithm, which was launched to help Google better understand the meaning of the entire query behind exact keywords. The first official statement about RankBrain was made by Google senior research scientist Greg Corrado on October 26, 2015. Here’s how Greg explained the operating principle of the algorithm: “If you’re … [Read more...] about How does RankBrain work and what does it mean for search marketers?
We’ve written an awful lot about Google’s open source accelerated mobile pages project (better know as Google AMP) over that last 12 months. AMPs implications are far reaching, for marketers, for publishers (big and small) and for ecommerce. Implementing faster mobile web pages mainly benefits users, who are increasingly frustrated with slow loading times. The latest Google research shows that 53% of people will leave a site that fails to load in three seconds or less. But AMP will soon be a key battleground in search, as AMP listings are now spreading throughout organic mobile results. Publishers and organisations may find the need for AMP implementation will reach the tipping point early in 2017. And although AMP may not be a ranking factor yet, time will tell. In order to celebrate AMP’s one year anniversary, David Besbris, VP Google Search, AMP Project Lead at Google has revealed a plethora of stats to convince you of AMP’s success, as well as an infographic … [Read more...] about Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP): one year on – stats and infographic
In 2017 it is essential that SEO professionals secure the buy-in they need from their business leaders so they can accomplish their professional goals. Understanding how to do this will not only help the brand succeed, but it will also build your reputation as a marketer, paving the way for a successful future within the industry. This year we witness the rising importance of the micro-moment, the new mobile index, and the growing importance of machine learning and automation in the marketing process. Understanding this potential and the direction of the industry can help you establish yourself and your business within this changing field, laying a firm foundation for a strong brand moving forward. Here are seven ways you can elevate your SEO performance on both a personal and professional level. Seven ways to elevate SEO performance 1) Communicate the importance of SEO within your organization To elevate your personal and professional SEO performance, you must begin by establishing … [Read more...] about Seven ways to elevate your personal and professional SEO performance in 2017
Since July 26, 2016, expanded text ads (ETAs) have been live in AdWords. This new ad format, which was launched with mobile users in mind, allows advertisers to create longer text ads with two headlines of up to 30 characters each and a single 80-character description line. Advertisers have been testing the new format alongside standard text ads, and dozens of analyses looking at click-through rate (CTR) for standard vs. expanded text ads have been published across the industry, with varying levels of detail. (Google’s July announcement also came with its own assortment of impressive case studies touting massive CTR spikes.) We even included some data points in our Q2 Digital Marketing Report, though we now have much more data to work with in establishing meaningful comparisons. Here, I hope to provide the deepest look yet at how CTR differs for ETAs using data from dozens of large Merkle advertisers using the new format across thousands of ad groups. The details of our own … [Read more...] about Getting to the bottom of Google expanded text ad CTR and CPC