Search Engine Marketing News – June 2013

Another month, another pay check, more reports and more change in the industry (of course!). Here’s what happened in the world of marketing in June 2013:

Dynamic Retargeting Launched
Probably the biggest news from Adwords this month. Google announced in the last week of June that they are launching dynamic remarketing to any advertisers using the Google merchant centre feed. So you can now remarket to people who’ve looked at certain products on your site with a dynamic message. At this stage, I’m not sure how competitive it will be against the likes of Criteo but we’ll soon find out for sure!

Google Adwords Top Movers Report

Another nice update from Google – they have now launched a ‘Top Mover Report’ within Adwords. This report shows you at a campaign level the top moving clicks and costs each week.

The report shows the following:

  • Topline increases and decreases in clicks and costs for all campaigns
  • Top increases in costs -> Showing changes in average position, clicks, average CPC, impressions and clicks
  • Top decreases in costs -> Showing changes in average position, clicks, average CPC, impressions and clicks

The best thing about the report is that it shows you the reasons driving the changes, be that new ads introduced, keywords removed or CPC’s decreased/increased. Finally, a quick way to find out what is driving any top line changes. Monday morning report = sorted!

Payday Loan Algorithm

The latest attempt by Google to reduce the amount of spamming sites, hit payday loans website hard this month. A new algorithm was launched to combat payday loans and other spammy sites.

This update impacted roughly 0.3% of the U.S. queries, but Matt Cutts said it was as high as 4% for Turkish queries.

Apple Makes Bing the Default Search Engine for Siri

Bing had a huge win this month when Apple named them as the default search engine for searches on the web through Siri. Now when you ask a question to Siri, Siri will either give you a direct answer or will ask you if you want to search the web. That web search will now be done through Bing. Google remains the default search engine on Safari, although mine managed to set the default to Bing, safe to say that has now been switched back to Google!)

Goodbye Google Reader

Google reader has finally hung up its boots, after much deliberation about when it was actually to end. Who knows the reason why and what the plans are to replace it (if they will be) but it’s gone!

So that’s another month for Search Engine Marketing news. July will be a busy month in PPC to make the last few changes to enhanced campaigns for anyone still to switch over. And no doubt that Natural search will have a through curve balls thrown by Google!

Search Engine Marketing News May 2013

Another month has flown by and it’s been a busy-ish month in the world of SEM. With no major updates around Enhanced Campaigns and Adwords in general, the main news has been about the return of a well known animal…

Penguin Is Back With A Vengeance!

Penguin 2.0 was released late May as Google’s latest update to fight against spam. This 4th update attempts to prevent spammy, low authority websites gaining positions in the SERP’s. Matt Cutts, head of web spam at Google has said that 2.3% of English queries would be affected by this update.

Google Conversational Search Live on Chrome

So voice recognition technology giving responses isn’t a new concept. Apple have been doing it with ‘Siri’ for a while now but after having a play around on both I’d say Google’s works surprisingly well. If you have the new version of Chrome, you can click on the microphone button and ask a question which Google will respond both verbally and in the search results.

There are some flaws with the voice recognition which can only be anticipated but the opportunity for search is huge and on the whole is pretty well constructed.

Google Author Authority Algorithm Launched

Further to the Penguin updates and Google’s bid to penalize spammy sites and reward quality content, more and more emphasis is being placed on industry authority figures. Google stated this month that they are working on an algorithm to determine subject authorities across the web.

Matt Cutts said – “We are doing a doing a better job of detecting when someone is sort of an authority in a specific space. It could be medical, it could be travel, whatever. And trying to makes sure that those rank a little more highly, if you are some sort of authority or a site that according to the algorithms we think might be a little bit more appropriate for users.”

Adwords Editor Update 10.1

Adwords Editor 10.1 was available this month with changes made to make it easier to make changes within Enhanced Campaigns. The main changes were to:

  • Set bid adjustments for placements, topics, and audiences.
  • Set mobile bid adjustments at the ad group level.
  • Upgrade campaigns in bulk using CSV import or the Add/update multiple campaigns tool.
  • Use the new ValueTrack {ifmobile}, {ifnotmobile} parameters.

Google Testing Ads in Google Maps

Google announced that they are testing ads within Google Maps. An pretty unsurprising move from Google which had been expected. Haven’t yet seen this in action but Google are testing search ads with and without location extensions on the map and below the search box. There is huge potential for local businesses around this so I guess watch this space!

  • Search ads with location extensions can appear directly on the map and just below the search box
  • Search ads without location extensions can appear just below the search box

Search Engine Marketing News – February 2013

Well, what can we say about search engine marketing news this month…. you may have heard a thing or two about this little thing called ‘Enhanced Campaigns’. Enhanced campaigns has been the main talking point in the industry and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. I’ll recap on the main changes of Google’s Enhanced Campaigns and other changes that have happened in SEM this month (yes, there has been other news).

Google are giving us more control in our ‘multi-device world’? Brilliant…. oh no, wait!

I’ll admit when I first got the call from Google I was almost convinced (almost!) that the Enhanced Campaign change was a good thing. For some companies/agencies it may be, but not for the majority. Yes, there are some benefits but Google have gone about it the wrong way by ultimately giving us a lot less control.

  • Separate device bidding no longer possible (boo)
  • Tablet and desktop devices are now treated as one with no way of having separate bids for tablet (boo)
  • Mobile bid adjustments are available as multipliers from -100% to +300% at a campaign level (double boo)
  • Ad scheduling possible (woo)
  • Better call tracking (woo)
  • Data on individual site link extensions are available (finally!)

Enhanced Campaign changes have now been rolled out to Adwords Editor, making it easier for us to start making dreaded changes in our accounts.

Other News

Search Funnel Data

Finally some good news! Search funnel data is now available in the Adwords interface. We can now see data on assisting keywords directly in Adwords. It’s a good move by Google as we can see the number of assisting clicks, impressions and conversions without having to go to Analytics. It looks like this is one of the first steps in providing more attribution data, that most of us go somewhere else to find.

Google Penalising Inteflora

Google sent out a big message to advertisers this month by giving Interflora big SEO penalties. Although Google haven’t officially confirmed the penalty, there natural search results took a drastic turn for the worst… This great post by David Naylor shows how dramatic the shift was.

Interflora Rankings Dip

Free Shopping Comes to An End

Google shopping is no longer free to advertisers in the UK (and many other countries). It was good while it lasted here in the UK, but free shopping listings is no more, instead we have to set up product listing ads.

Google’s Unique Searches Drops

Google’s share of unique searches has dipped under 20%. Okay, so it’s still got the majority of searches but it’s slowly losing ground has Baidu, Bing, Yandex and Yahoo are seeing slightly increased global searches. Check out this post from Search Engine Land

Google Removes Not Provided From Webmaster Tools

The next place to not be able to get data on not provided terms was in Google Webmaster Tools. Just another update making it even harder for SEO agencies to explain to clients where there traffic is actually coming from.

So, it’s been a busy month for SEM in February…. roll on March!

Dealing With Life With Enhanced Campaigns

Now we’ve all had time to take in the changes from the Enhanced Campaigns, the reaction has shifted from disappointment/anger to acceptance and trying to work out the best plan of action to make the most out of the change. I’ve even stopped writing Enhanced Campaigns as “Enhanced Campaigns” – that’s acceptance for you, right there! For most of us the change is huge and will require hours of work on a lot of accounts and a change in strategy, leaving us with some very important questions to answer:

Should We Roll Out Now or Wait Until June?

The advantage of not waiting until June is that you can get a really good idea of how to make the change work. Rolling out a small number of campaigns to enhanced can teach us some valuable learnings before rolling out to all campaigns. Campaigns which target just mobile will be in no rush to upgrade, while those who could benefit from geographical bidding and site link extension scheduling will be more inclined to upgrade now.

Do We/How Do We Change Our Structure?

For accounts that split out mobile, tablet and desktop are naturally the ones who are left with a lot of questions on how to adapt the structure. Split high performing mobile keywords into their own campaigns and increase the bid modifiers by 300%? Take poor performing mobile keywords and bundle together to turn bids down/off? What to do with the keywords that convert on mobile but not desktop? Keep the curent structure and adjust mobile bids by a campaign average? The list of questions goes on!

What Bidding Strategy Shall We Use?

While we are no longer able to have separate bids for tablet and are really restricted to mobile bidding at just a campaign level, there are some benefits to enhanced campaigns in geographical bidding. How do you change your bidding strategy to best target people in your location? Turn down bids in locations where you don’t have a physical presence, or increase bids when people are near a store/dealership or try target areas where you see better conversion rates?

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The Winners and Losers Of Enhanced Campaigns

Okay, so it’s still a little too early to be declaring the winners and losers from the recent Enhanced Campaigns announcement by Google but it’s still clear to see who will benefit from this change, who will lose out and who will have to work extremely hard in the next months to find a campaign structure(s) which works best with the changes.

Winners

  • Businesses who have never bothered to target mobile devices and create mobile friendly landing page – They’ll now be able to automatically opt in to targeting mobile without ever spending the time to build an account which is optimised for mobile performance
  • Marketing agencies and PPC specialists – One thing that this change has highlighted is that you need the best PPC experts handling accounts to be able to adapt to these changes best.
  • Businesses with lots of physical locations – Arguably one of the best parts of this update is that you can now adjust bids based on geographic location. So if you own a retail store in the city centre you can raise bids to people on mobile devices within a few miles of your store. Free call tracking is also a bonus. Call extensions and phone numbers can be automatically replaced by sitelink extensions out of office hours.
  • And the biggest winners?….. Google! There might be a nice video and explanation on all the Google blogs to make it seem that Enhanced Campaigns are the best things since slice bread, but it’s pretty transparent to see their intentions. CPC’s on mobile devices were around 50% lower than desktop ones and with an ever increasing volume of mobile searches, how do Google increase revenue from mobile? Make everyone opt into mobile and make it more difficult to adjust mobile bids, easy!

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Search Engine Marketing News This Month

November has been a quieter month for Google with no major algorithm changes (good news for SEO). Here are some of the main search engine marketing news this month:

Google Make Changes to Help Businesses Get Local for the Holiday Season

Google have made a few (small scale) changes to location targeting and location extensions to help small businesses ‘get local’ in time for the holiday season. The latest Google Adwords updates include:

  • Airport targeting – A great opportunity to target people who travel
  • Location extensions and extensions shown together – up until now you have been unable to have both showing at the same time. A great way to get more visibility and target consumers with relevant links.
  • More detailed maps – location extensions on desktop and laptops will now show a bigger, more detailed map.
  • Conversion reporting for location extensions
  • Geo-targeting and location extensions rolled out to more countries

Bing Publishes Its Webmaster Guidelines

Bing have recently published its first webmaster guidelines. Not surprisingly, there isn’t any groundbreaking guidelines that stray to far from Googles.

The Bing webmaster guidelines can be found here

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A Busy Month For Google

Well, it’s been a busy October for Google and there’s still time for more changes yet before November creeps in!

SEO

Google Disavow Links

Good news for the industry! Google has developed a tool allowing webmasters to indicate bad links, meaning you can disavow any spammy links to your website. And it seems with the Disavow link tool, it’s simple to implement.

Updates to The Above The Fold Page Algorithm

The page layout algorithm, launched in January, following the Panda update aimed to lower the rankings of pages which were seen to be too ad heavy. In this algorithm update, websites which don’t have much content ‘above-the-fold’ could be affected by this change. This is said to affect 1% of all search queries globally, have you seen any difference yet?

PPC

Changes to Conversion Optimizer and Enhanced CPC

Google are making changes to the conversion optimizer and enhanced CPC settings on campaigns to help with conversion rates. Campaigns using optimize for clicks will be automatically changed to Optimize for Conversions. Campaigns with rotate evenly settings on ads will automatically begin to optimize for conversions when ads are unchanged after 90 days.

So if you’re not targeting conversions, you’ll need to change your settings back when they come into affect from the 12th November.

Call Reporting Available in Adwords Express

Google’s new call reporting allows you to see how many calls you receive from your PPC ads in Adwords Express (other than the ones using call link extensions). You can now see in the Adwords Express dashboard the number of calls received.

In other news in October, Bing has introduced Sitelink extensions…. Only two years after first introduced by Google. More about Bing’s sitelink extensions here