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February 2012 Industry Update


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A roundup of some of the most interesting SEO and PPC news for February 2012.

Published in: Technology, News & Politics
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February 2012 Industry Update

  1. 1. SEO & PPCIndustry UpdateFebruary 2012
  2. 2. ‹#› | Copyright Guava LimitedGoogle Page Layout Algorithm Update Google are now using page layout as a ranking factor. “If you click on a website and the part of the website you see first either doesn’t have a lot of visible content above-the-fold or dedicates a large fraction of the site’s initial screen real estate to ads, that’s not a very good user experience. Such sites may not rank as highly going forward.” Google have stated that this algorithmic change noticeably affects less than 1% of searches globally. That means that in less than one in 100 searches so most websites shouldn‘t notice any impact. Google also state that this algorithmic change does not affect sites who place ads above-the-fold to a normal degree but instead looks to target websites that place ads to an excessive degree or make it hard to find the actual original content on the page (i.e. spammers). If webmasters think they may be affected by the update and decide to remove any excessive ad placement, Google‘s page layout algorithm will automatically reflect the changes as it re-crawls the website. improvement.html
  3. 3. ‹#› | Copyright Guava LimitedGuava Verdict on Google Page LayoutAlgorithm Update “Off the back of the Panda update a year ago (Happy Anniversary!) there was a lot of speculation that ad’s, particularly above the fold, were contributing to part of the update. Nothing was confirmed at the time however this update does perhaps confirm that it was on, or has been on the radar for a while. Tom Wigley “Google’s additional phasing out of Adsense for domains further highlights the search engine’s evolving stance on demoting largely ad based (read low-quality) content from its index. The service winds up on June 27th 2012, so expect and prepare for a bigger algorithm adjustment post this closure.” Tom Birmingham “As they state “noticeably affects less than 1% of searches globally”, so they are just targeting the real poor content websites setup for ads alone, which is great and all in keeping with the ongoing PANDA updates. It would be interesting to see if they penalise any real high profile websites that may be abusing the ads to content ratio within the top fold - somehow I dont think so :-)” Andrew Thomas
  4. 4. ‹#› | Copyright Guava Markup for Videos has released further markup for videos which is now a joint effort between Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! and Yandex meaning that webmasters can now focus on one common standard. Video content should be defined with an itemscope, an itemtype=‖‖, along with the name, description, and thumbnailURL properties. You‘ll also need either the embedURL — the location of the video player — or the contentURL — the location of the video file. Google have releases a series of videos on the webmaster EDU microsite below. Further including the Schema Video Object page and Google announcement are below. videos.html
  5. 5. ‹#› | Copyright Guava LimitedGuava Verdict on Markup forVideos “Getting video content indexed quickly and efficiently will become increasingly important as more and more publishers understand the business benefits and embrace the trend in online video content. Google and other major search engines remain committed to better understanding video content and we can expect more improvements of this kind in the coming months”. Gary Moyle “With the continued alignment of search and social this year it is going to be more important than ever to make sure that anything shared is owned by you. Unless you have a very good reason, self hosting video content will be a must. The micro-data markup set out by Schema is the next step in making sure search engines understand this, so both them and you can utilise this content fully. Tom Wigley “A great opportunity for early adopters to grab more visibility in video and web search results. Search engines encouraging the development of rich media (which they can understand through mark up), is only going to be positive for users, in both the search phase and their journeys to more engaging websites .” Tom Birmingham
  6. 6. ‹#› | Copyright Guava LimitedBing Launches Linked Pages • Bing launched Linked Pages which effectively lets signed in users have more control of how they show up on Bing search results. • How To Set It Up: • (1) Login to Linked Pages with your Facebook account. • (2) Then grant Bing permission to post to Facebook on the following screen. • (3) Then Bing will show you a search query for your name, go through the results (or refine the query) and click ―link to me‖. • Pages can easily be unlinked aswell • search/archive/2012/02/22/make-a-good- search-impression-with-bing-s-linked- pages.aspx
  7. 7. ‹#› | Copyright Guava LimitedHTML 5 and Meta Data A few points came through very clearly from Maile Ohye‘s presentation at the Search Engine Strategies Conference in London recently. HTML5, HTML5, HTML5 We should be using it for everything. Meta Data / There are lots of new tags that have been released recently. We need to be using html 5 and deploying as many of the tagging standards as appropriate within the website.
  8. 8. ‹#› | Copyright Guava LimitedThis Month’s Other SEO News Google+ Badges Improvements – Webmasters can now configure a badge with a width that fits their website design and choose a version that works better on darker sites. Google+ badges now include the unified +1 and circle count. Read more. Top Search Queries Update – From 25th January Google now average only the top position that a URL from your site appeared in meaning that search query data should be more meaningful. Read more Improved Related Searches in Google Image Search – Now when users hover over the related searches links on the top of the images search results they get a preview panel pop up with related images. Read more
  9. 9. ‹#› | Copyright Guava LimitedPublisher (direct connect) brand pages
  10. 10. PPC News
  11. 11. ‹#› | Copyright Guava LimitedNew Enhanced Ad Sitelinks Sitelinks have now become a necessity for many AdWords advertisers consistently featuring in top positions in the landscape, and have been proven to increase the overall CTR of an ad. We have seen many changes made to the appearance and functionality of Google ad sitelinks over the course of the last year; including increasing the number of sitelinks eligible to show at any one time to 6, and rolling out Embedded sitelinks which although might have had potential, seem to have rarely been utilised in ads due to the fuss involved in getting them to appear. The next development in paid ad sitelinks from Google is ‗enhanced‘ ad sitelinks – these are not only sitelinks in the original sense (one line of link text) but also feature additional text underneath, essentially making your sitelinks appear as a multitude of additional ads!
  12. 12. ‹#› | Copyright Guava LimitedNew Enhanced Ad Sitelinks – Guava Verdict“This feature will surely be great for further increasing the dominance of consistent top positionadvertisers in the SERP. However, remembering that sitelinks can only be implemented at campaignlevel, these advertisers will have to make extra sure that any enhanced sitelinks which mightpotentially appear are relevant to all of their active ads in that particular campaign, to really make themost of enhancing not just visibility but relevancy too.”Sam Vandermark, Senior PPC Executive“Theres no doubt if you show enhanced sitelinks your CTR will go through the roof (Google say a 30%increase on average), but it’s worth remembering that these will show only in the top positions, abovea minimum quality score threshold, and when you have sitelinks that match closely to other ad copy.The most obvious example of when these things occur will be on branded searches. So if you have acompetitive branded landscape this is a great way to have a considerably larger share of the resultspage than your competitors. If however you already dominate your brand space, be careful the extraad space on the page doesnt cannibalise your organic traffic.”Matt Whelan, PPC Director
  13. 13. ‹#› | Copyright Guava LimitedCustomise your Standard Reports in GoogleAnalyticsGoogle Analytics updates to reporting functions oflate have been increasingly focused on not only beingable to drill down into data further, but also makingcustomisation of this data much more feasible andaccessible.Now GA users are able to customise reports while inthe Standard Reporting view, simply by clicking thenew ‗Customize‘ button in the upper navigation bar.It‘s important to remember that not all StandardReports can be customised – this button will onlyappear when the feature is available in tabular reportviews.This can be extremely useful for cases where youhappen to be looking through data and want to delve You could also simply add new metrics toa little deeper – you can use the ‗customise‘ functionto drilldown into data not usually accessible in your usual Standard Reports to provideStandard Reports. additional insight into your account performance.