If you’ve noticed things shifting in Google’s SERPs, you’re not seeing things. This week, Google has been increasing the frequency of its paid search listings, showing up to four ads above desktop search results, and simultaneously removing the ads on the right-hand side. Read on to learn what it’s going to mean to your PPC and SEO campaigns. Google has been testing four ads above the organic results for years, though only for a small subset of searches. Now, a greater number of searches — specifically “highly commercial queries” — are likely to serve four ads. The impact of seeing four ads above the search results is yet to be seen. As I see it, there are positives and negatives in this move. Why Is This Good? According to analysis across all iProspect UK clients, ads in the banner positions receive 14X the click-through rate of the same ad on the same keyword on the right-hand side. This is partly a selection bias (ads with a better CTR … [Read more...] about What Google’s New Layout Means For Search Marketers
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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?
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?
In his book “The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding From You” and thought provoking TED talk, Internet and political activist Eli Pariser makes a broad argument about how the Internet and technology in general is evolving to keep us in a self-perpetuating personal bubble of influence. Pariser cites Amazon’s and Netflix’s recommendation engines as two of several examples of systems that create a continuous feedback loop and perpetuate our selection biases. Facebook’s news feed is another example cited of an algorithm that progressively reinforces our input biases by surfacing content from feeds of those in our network we frequently click on, and suppressing those whose content we do not. Search Implications Pariser’s argument about the online filter bubble phenomenon has broad implications for the world of search. Long-time search marketers are well aware that as far back as 2005, searchers began to see different search results for identical … [Read more...] about How the Filter Bubble Impacts Google, Bing Search & What It Means for SEOs
If you’re visiting this article before or after sharing it on a social channel, then may I offer you a warm welcome to an increasingly exclusive club. For you are just one of the 41% of people who not only shared the article but actually read it too. In news that will embolden some, depress others and possibly surprise nobody, a new study by computer scientists at Columbia University and the French National Institute reveals that 59% of links shared on social media have never actually been clicked. As the Washington Post put it this weekend in one of their best headlines ever – 6 in 10 of you will share this link without reading it, a new, depressing study says. Back in 2014, it was estimated that social media referral was responsible for 30% of total visits to websites. However according to the research published by HAL (yes, a group of computer scientists publish their research under the name HAL, what of it? Why are you terrified?) and using a dataset amounting to 2.8 … [Read more...] about Just because they’re sharing, it doesn’t mean they’re reading