Google’s latest update, Penguin, implemented some new tricks for search engine optimization. Google has not been forthcoming about what the new algorithm favors, but there is speculation. Konstantin Kreouzis has a new essay where he lists five unknown factors that might have an impact. The essay does not provide any data to prove these rules matter, but Kreouzis hints that there might be some validation informing the essay.
The first unknown rule is a mixture of anchor texts. The more variety in the anchor text then the more authentic the links appear to Google. The bots that spread links everywhere tend to use the same anchor text, so Google uses that as a way to determine quality. Another rule to variety of links deals with spread across a website. If links point to low level pages and the top level page equally, then Google counts that as inauthentic. The top page should have the most links and they should become increasingly rare the deeper into a website Google goes. Links should also be coming in from more then .com domains. The more variety in the type of domains then the more credible Google scores a website.
The next rule is one that needs some evidence, but the explanation makes sense. Programs that spin content tend to have uniformity in the size of words. They tend to be very long or very short. Varying the size of words helps increase credibility rating in Google’s estimation. The average word length for an article should be 5.5 words.
Google is also now measuring the time people spend on a website. The way this is done is by measuring the time after search engine results are presented to the time when the user returns for another search. There are obviously problems with this measure, but there is some data to suggest a quick turn around tells Google the quality of the results is not as good as if the user returns to searching in a long time.
While the social media agency might like to stop dealing with search results altogether, for now it still represents the best investment to be made for driving traffic. Google’s Penguin update was a way to stop the gaming of the system and to move to quality as a determinant of ranking. Hopefully these rules help the agency know some of what Google is looking for.
At last week’s SMX East Conference a paneled was convened among paid search experts to talk about what the future of the digital marketing industry will be like. Some of the comments had some surprising implications for the social media agency. One of the topics of discussion was about the growing split between campaigns among PCs, mobile and tablet devices. All of the panelists agree that the social media agency needs to divide mobile and non-mobile paid search dollars. This split is important because mobile dollars buy more and require a different landing page as well as some other differences in keywords that are often searched for on mobile devices and not on PCs. Most of the panelists agree that combining tablet and PC searches is safe, but only for now. As tablets become more complex and they become more frequent, then the prudent advertiser will need to target tablets as their own category.
Paid search advertising will also increasingly draw from social cues on FaceBook and Twitter and other services that may not yet exist. Increasingly the paid search experts will be looking to the social media agency for guidance and knowledge about the social cues. What the agency needs to begin doing now to accommodate this increasingly complex environment is to begin treating clients with an eye for more sophistication. The agency also needs to begin acting as thought people and not keywords are being targeted. This orientation will help the agency place itself as a leader in the coming world.
All too often, digital marketing is seen as ideal just for consumer goods, leading businesses to undervalue and misunderstand its use in industrial marketing. Industrial companies may think that digital marketing is as simple as producing any kind of content to publish on the internet, but with the help of digital marketing services, an industrial company can better understand its options and the power of internet marketing.
Producing various types of digital content will ensure that a business can connect with all types of customers through internet marketing services like website design, social media, SEO, and mobile applications. Don’t just wait for a customer to call a salesperson; a business should provide a website that is both usable and updated with relevant product and service information. Engaging with a potential customer for an industrial business is not just done by sharing product lists and spreadsheets; social media platforms can be used to reach out to potential customers. Skillfully using SEO, customers will be able to find an industrial business first, giving the business a clear digital advantage over its competitors. Creating access to a business’s products and services through mobile applications is also an invaluable and unique way to connect with customers in the industry.
A business’s website, social media identities, and its results in search engines build a reputation for the business. All the technology and tools available make it much easier for potential and current customers to research a company without ever talking to a company employee. The internet marketing firm can determine what content will be most effective in a certain industry and cater its digital marketing services to each client.
Last week Google released a report about the 89% in incremental gains a brand earns when it has paid search advertising. After that report Google was flooded with questions and it has now released some answers to those questions. Some of which are very instructive for the social media agency.
The main question is about organic leaders in a search. If a website is the #1 result in a search organically, then is it still hurt when it cancels its paid search spending? Google answers that the question is based on a false premise. 81% of search results do not have an organic result on the first page. 66% of ad clicks occur when there is no organic result to be clicked on instead. While Google has not really answered the question, there are few times when the question actually matters. A brand should not make spending decisions on the hopes or suppositions that the question matters and should instead take the statistically likely method of maximizing its investment.
Even if a result is a highly placed organic result it can still benefit from paid search spending. When the organic result is number 1, half of the clicks are not replaced by organic clicks when paid search ads do not appear. When the organic result is ranked second to fourth, then the ad clicks are incremental 82% of the time. That number grows to 96% when the ranking is below 5.
While it is possible that a brand can dominate search rankings based on their organic rankings it is very unlikely. Even if a brand does have that name recognition, then it can still benefit from paid search ads. Social media agencies can choose to cancel it and try to strike out on their own, but those efforts probably do not return as high an ROI as paid search advertising does.
Google has updated a 2011 study with new data about the value of continuing to pay for search results. A dose of skepticism might be helpful, Google does, after all, have an interest in keeping the social media agency paying for search advertising. Despite the skepticism the results of the data pass the gut check. The conclusion is that paid search advertising results in an 89% bump in site visitors.
Some brands might suspect cancelling paid search payments would raise traffic besides save the money. While it is correct that organic searches rise as a result of cancellation, the rise in organic searches is covered by the overall decrease in traffic directed to a site. The overall loss of traffic amounts to an 85% decrease even with the boost in organic search results. If a brand only decreases the spending on search ads then the loss is only an 80% drop.
Google not only has a large number of brands that have ceased paying for search ads but a number of those firms have even resumed payments. Resumption of payments, however, does not necessarily restore the traffic. From a zero base, an increase of payments only improves traffic 79%. This means there is a permanent loss of 6% of the original amount of traffic a brand was seeing. From a non-zero base, that is as specific Google is in their results, restores 78% of the original traffic.
Some brands that were unsure of the value of paid search results cancelled the payments and saw a significant drop in traffic. Some of those firms then reinstated the payments, but their traffic did not fully recover. It’s an important to lesson be aware of as the social media agency tries to maximize budgets.
It now seems that Bing is rolling out updates as fast as the previous one can be digested. It used to be, at best, every quarter. On Thursday Bing announced implementation of testing on a Broad Match Modifier. This modifier is similar to Google’s Broad Match Modifier. It will help create more precise exposures than the Broad Match package and yet still have a broader reach than the Phrase Match package.
This refinement also accompanies better interactions with browsers. Instead of a nearly exclusive focus on Internet Explorer and Firefox, Bing is also improving its compatibility with Safari and Chrome browsers.
The final update seems particularly exciting for the social media agency. Bing is bringing in rich and integrated ads. When the user hovers the cursor over an item in search results, then a new pane will open providing more information. The offered example is a restaurant. Hovering will bring forth OpenTable.com statistics where the user can make a reservation and see what seating looks like for the restaurant. For non-restaurant searches the rich results might also be part of the auctioning process. There are numerous avenues Bing can pursue and the social media agency will be able to exploit these for better brand marketing.
In preparation for the holiday shopping season Yahoo! has updated how it reveals search results. The intention is to provide answers and not just links. Whenever a user conducts a search that might yield results about shopping, recipes or entertainment Yahoo! will then produce at the top of the search results information about the product instead of links to others.
This change will help its users better find what they are looking for. This should also attract more firms to beef up their budgeted dollars on Yahoo!. Where a firm could normally hope to be represented in Yahoo! search results or on advertising space with the network, now a firm’s products can be displayed at the very top of the search results. This premium spacing is not a paid-for space, but having a strong presence on Yahoo!’s rankings can help with placement there.
FaceBook may have invented the ‘Like’ button and the placement of that button everywhere, but now Google has a similar tool. Google’s ‘+1’ button had existed only on its search results until Wednesday. Now publishers will be able to put the ‘+1’ on their pages allowing Google to obtain more data about other spaces on the internet.
Google searches will improve dramatically as a result of this. Until now Google searches would only benefit if people had clicked on +1 on the search page. Now people will see the button on many regular pages. Google also collects, just as FaceBook does, data every time a page with +1 loads on it. Even if a viewer does not click the button Google obtains some data, and even the viewer’s non-selection of ‘+1’ tells Google something. That in itself is a huge amount of data that will help refine Google searches. And increase the power of targeted advertisements.
Ever wonder how specific companies got their site moved to the top of a google search? Well they pay for that spot. A service offered by Google, called Google Adwords, allows companies to pay for the top spot on a search of any keywords you choose. As I’m sure you know, from your experience with the search engine, the highlighted sites at the top of the page draw your immediate attention, and because of this, Google Adwords is rapidly growing as a online marketing tool.
The Google Adwords program has many different options, which are adjustable to your budget. One of the most popular options is a pay-per-click option which means you pay a set amount each time someone clicks on your link and goes to your page. This seems like a pretty straight forward concept, but it does have some inherent risks. When you set up your account you choose which keywords you would like use. Your selection of keywords dictates which searches you will show up in. In addition to that there are several wrinkles to the program which makes it much more customizable, and also much easier to overspend.
An article in the Wall Street Journal discusses several businesses that were paying more than they had expected due to unwanted ad clicks. One of the wrinkles of the Adwords program is called “session-based clicks” which is something Google does to try to optimize your views. Essentially what it means is that if someone is searching for, lets say, new flooring, and they search for ten different words regarding hard wood flooring, your site will show up in all of them. They do this because, seeing that the person is looking for wood flooring, they anticipate that your advertisement will be useful to them not only on their first search, but on subsequent searches as well. Now here’s where it gets tricky: If a person searching for carpet, which your flooring site might show up on, then decides to search for something less related, like area rugs, you might still be showing up in the search results. If they stray further, say to furniture, it is possible that, if they searched for flooring enough, your ad might follow them. What this does is show your ad to, and potentially get a click from, people that maybe aren’t interesting in flooring as much as Google thought. Now, because they clicked, you have to pay. Granted this isn’t a huge problem, it probably does more good than bad, but it can lead to increased expenses if left unchecked.
Now, this isn’t to say that you should stay away from Adwords, it is a great program that offers results for a relatively modest amount. What I would recommend is that you study the program, or let professionals help you with your campaign. Luckily the Google Adwords trend has not gone unnoticed, and because of that there are a growing number of Google Certified agencies that are proficient in the Adwords program and can help you optimize your results. So if you think you might be interested in having your website seen by the masses, find yourself some help, and look into Google Adwords.