March SEO Industry Update 2012
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March SEO Industry Update 2012

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A roundup of some of the most interesting Google updates and SEO/PPC industry news for March 2012.

A roundup of some of the most interesting Google updates and SEO/PPC industry news for March 2012.

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March SEO Industry Update 2012 Presentation Transcript

  • 1. SEO & PPCIndustry UpdateMarch 2012
  • 2. ‹#› | Copyright Guava LimitedGoogle Webmaster Tools Updates Site wide issues now split out from per page issues. Google used to report on DNS resolution failures, connectivity issues with your web server, and problems fetching your robots.txt file by URL. However these have been split so that webmasters can keep track of the failure rates for each type of site-wide error. If there aren‟t any errors then these will be summarised with some friendly check marks to let webmasters know everything is OK with their website (see below).
  • 3. ‹#› | Copyright Guava LimitedSearch Quality Updates Google released a blog post with over 40 search improvements which are being picked over by SEO‟s around the globe: http://insidesearch.blogspot.com/2012/02/search-quality-highlights-40-changes.html Increased local results in searches - searches for generic terms that often have local meaning Refreshed per-URL country information. [Launch codename “longdew”, project codename “country-id data refresh”] We updated the country associations for URLs to use more recent data. “Site:” query update [launch codename “Semicolon”, project codename “Dice”] This change improves the ranking for queries using the “site:” operator by increasing the diversity of results. Link evaluation. Google have changed the way in which they evaluate links and are turning off a method of link analysis that they have used for several years. The impact of this change has been downplayed by Google engineer John Mu International launch of shopping rich snippets. Shopping rich snippets [project codename “rich snippets”] have been used by Google to highlight product prices, availability, ratings and review counts.
  • 4. ‹#› | Copyright Guava LimitedGoogle‟s Venice Update & Local Optimisation Google released a notification regarding over 40 search improvements in February this year. There were several size-able updates within the release, one of which being Google‟s Venice update which will have a large impact on how local search results are displayed in Google‟s results. Searches for generic terms that often have local relevancy such as “flower delivery” or “eye test” are now seeing more local listings appearing in the place of more traditional landing pages and separately from the Google Places result. Google also state that this has also been linked with increased recognition of which URLs belong to which country. “This now means that any bricks and mortar businesses will need to make sure that they have well optimised and useful landing pages for all their local stores, in addition to the their normal Google Places pages.” Teddie Cowell
  • 5. ‹#› | Copyright Guava LimitedGoogle‟s Venice Update & Local Optimisation Shown Above - A search query for the keyphrase “eye test” with the location set to Oxford, UK.
  • 6. ‹#› | Copyright Guava LimitedGoogle‟s Venice Update & Local Optimisation Shown Above - A search query for the same keyphrase “eye test” with the location set to Manchester, UK.
  • 7. ‹#› | Copyright Guava LimitedBing Recommend single URL policy Bing have recommended the "one URL per content item" strategy which is becoming a popular standard for website development “At Bing, we want to keep things simple by proposing the "one URL per content item" strategy. For each website, instead of having different URLs per platform (one URL for desktop, another for mobile devices, etc.), our feedback is that producing fewer variations of URLs will benefit you by avoiding sub-optimal and underperforming results. It can help manage unwanted bandwidth usage as well. Optimise meta data and copy on store pages for local queries” Duane Forrester , Bing http://www.bing.com/community/site_blogs/b/webmaster/archive/2012/03/07/building-websites- optimized-for-all-platforms-desktop-mobile-etc.aspx Google‟s stance remains less clear with individual Googlers recommending the single URL approach yet the main guideliness still focus on mobile redirection
  • 8. ‹#› | Copyright Guava LimitedGoogle Over Optimisation Penalty? On a recent panel at SXSW, Matt Cutts (head of Spam at Google) stated: “We are trying to level the playing field a bit. All those people doing, for lack of a better word, over optimization or overly SEO – versus those making great content and great site. We are trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who abuse it, like too many keywords on a page, or exchange way too many links or go well beyond what you normally expect. We have several engineers on my team working on this right now.” However the concept itself is nothing new as Google have been making modifications to their algorithm regarding over optimisation for some time now (think keyword stuffing, aggressive footer links, too many backlinks with similar anchor text etc). Google have yet to announce any official statement or documentation about the update however it is sure to create a great deal of speculation over the implementation of traditional SEO techniques. Google have relied on a culture of fear in the past to control SEO activity so it could be a case of Googles bark being worse than its bite.
  • 9. ‹#› | Copyright Guava LimitedGoogle Over Optimisation – Guava Verdict “As with most of Googles algorithm changes, we wont know the real world impact until the update is actually live. In 2009, Matt did a video on over optimization penalties saying there was no such thing so it will be interesting to whether this actually comes in the form of an actual penalty or whether Googlebot will focus less on signals that are easy to game (h1, page title, internal links etc).” Gary Moyle, SEO Manager “It won‟t affect you as long as you continue to ensure you create a useful well optimised website with good content, this is something Matt says in the article he wants to reward. Also there are two points to what Matt described: 1) How Google can help websites that are not very well setup still be competitive. 2) 2) Penalising websites that over optimise‟. The examples over optimising given being: keyword stuffing, bulk link exchanges etc. So this is business as usual but with the dial turned up a bit.” Teddie Cowell, SEO Director
  • 10. ‹#› | Copyright Guava LimitedGoogle "Search Plus Your World" To LaunchBeyond US "Google has announced that by default, it will begin encrypting search beyond Google.com in the coming weeks. Since the reason Google uses secure search is primarily to enable its “Search Plus Your World” personalized results, this means SPYW is likely to expand beyond the US. It also means that search marketers can expect the percentage of “not provided” data they see to greatly increase." http://searchengineland.com/googles-search-plus-your-world-to-launch-beyond-us-113840 Google has announced this roll out internationally however it seems likely that the rollout will be targeted towards English speaking countries first such as google.co.uk (Google UK) with eventually roll out to most common languages. We are already seeing large spikes in “not provided” data for UK clients occurring around 5th March and this figure looks set to go beyond the 10% figure for many clients despite Google claims that the percentage of “not provided” data should remain under 10%.
  • 11. ‹#› | Copyright Guava LimitedThe Google Display Network gets its ownAdWords TabGoogle has decided that it‟s display network islong overdue a separation from the waytraditional search campaigns are managed in theAdWords interface, and as a result has awardedthe Display Network its own tab!This will enable us to bid, target and optimisedisplay campaigns all from a single place.
  • 12. ‹#› | Copyright Guava LimitedThe Google Display Network gets its ownAdWords Tab - ContinuedSince effective contextual targeting is pivotal to the successful running of display campaigns, Google hasenhanced its contextual targeting to, in Google‟s words, „combine the reach of display with the precision ofsearch, using Next-Gen Keyword Contextual Targeting‟.In short, being able to tweak and adjust your contextual campaigns down to individual keyword level. Thislevel of transparency gives us the ability to now optimise display campaigns to aggressively target thoseparticular keywords which are proving to perform well, as well as making it „easier for you to extendsearch campaigns to display and more efficient to run the two types of campaigns together‟ (Google).As part of this update, Google are also introducing a way tovisualise the reach of your display campaigns, and access howthat reach is influenced by combining multiple targetingtypes, such as keywords, placements, topics or interests.
  • 13. ‹#› | Copyright Guava LimitedNew Ad Status Insight for AdWordsGoogle has released a new function in AdWordswhich complements existing ad diagnosis tools, toidentify reasons why your PPC ads currently mightnot be showing.The updated Status column, accessible from theAds tab, will provide more detailed insight into anyissues with ad approval or policy limitations forindividual ads.To access the new functionality, simply hover overthe speech bubble – consequently a windowcontaining whether the ad is showing for thatparticular keyword in a particular location and thereason why it may not be showing is displayed.
  • 14. ‹#› | Copyright Guava Limited New Ad Status Insight for AdWords - Continued You also have the option to re-diagnose the ad with a different keyword or target location by clicking „edit‟ next to the relevant field. For target location you can either enter specific coordinates, or more usefully search by place name.Guava Verdict “This is a nice little feature for quickly obtaining insight into your ad‟s eligibility within the AdWords interface. It‟s particularly useful for advertisers whose products might potentially infringe on some of Google‟s advertising policies, for example resellers of trademarked goods. In these instances ads often have „approved (limited)‟ status or may even be disapproved, so quickly accessible information on the reasons why enhances the ability to make quick amendments or exception requests. For those advertisers selling „restricted‟ products or services, the target location diagnostic is extremely helpful, as some restricted areas of business as deemed by Google might only have limitations in specific countries.” Melanie Wood, PPC Account Manager
  • 15. ‹#› | Copyright Guava LimitedGoogle „Near-Phrase/Near-Exact‟ Match Type Beta Google has been trialling a new match type, „near phrase, near exact‟, which has been in limited beta since November last year and is due to complete at the end of March. This is designed to broaden exact and phrase match keywords with syntactic variants including plurals, misspellings, abbreviations and acronyms, but does not include synonyms. Google has stated that the benefits of this match type are that it assists the advertiser in driving supplementary traffic with minimal effort, carefully broadens the coverage of existing exact and phrase match keywords and eliminates the need to build out extensive keyword lists covering all possible variations of a keyword.Guava Verdict “The introduction of near phrase, near exact further demonstrates Google‟s focus on driving more volume (and therefore spend) for advertisers, and will no doubt make certain, perhaps even relatively untouched or undiscovered SERPs, more saturated. Many (smaller) advertisers use phrase and exact matches to both ensure and maximise qualified traffic for limited spend, particularly in competitive verticals, so may be reluctant to diverge from these. In fact, this may better benefit the current broad match advertiser where volume can be refined without killing traffic levels altogether, but as always it will be interesting to see the results when fully launched.” Sam Vandermark, Senior PPC Executive
  • 16. ‹#› | Copyright Guava LimitedNew Google Analytics Social Media Reports Google has recently introduced Social Media Reports in Google Analytics intended to enable advertisers to more accurately assess the value of their social media activities, in particular which channels are driving engagement and are proving effective both on their website and across the web. Google says that „the new reports bridge the gap between social media and the business metrics you care about - allowing you to better measure the full value of the social channel for your business‟. The reports include an overview of social performance and its impact on conversions, visibility on which conversion goals are being impacted by social media and which of your content is being most shared across the web to name a few. For more detailed insight, Social Media & Analytics Manager at Guava, Mark Edmondson, has written an article on how these reports can now expose the true value of social media.
  • 17. ‹#› | Copyright Guava LimitedSearch Alliance happening in Q2 If you weren‟t already aware,Yahoo! and MSN have officially announced that the Search Alliance is taking place at the end of April, long overdue from their initial announcement. This means that all Yahoo! paid search accounts will be transitioned to and subsequently managed through Microsoft adCenter. In terms of management, only needing to optimise from one platform is more effective, but we will not have visibility on segmented search volume by engine. All Guava clients will be informed of the exact changeover date and our PPC teams are continuing to manage and optimise both accounts until the transition is complete, to ensure clients keep receiving valuable traffic from both accounts.