January 2012 SEO Industry Update


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A roundup of some of the most interesting Google updates and industry news for January 2012.

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January 2012 SEO Industry Update

  1. 1. Industry UpdatesSEO Industry UpdateJanuary 2012
  2. 2. Industry UpdatesSearch Plus Your World• Google announced that they are transforming Google into a search engine that understands not only content, but also people and relationships.• Whilst this started with social search and increased integration of Google+ they have now taken this to a game changing level with several new features that will redefine how we interact in Google results.• Personal Results, which enable you to find information just for you, such as Google+ photos and posts—both your own and those shared specifically with you, that only you will be able to see on your results page;• Profiles in Search, both in autocomplete and results, which enable you to immediately find people you‘re close to or might be interested in following; and,• People and Pages, which help you find people profiles and Google+ pages related to a specific topic or area of interest, and enable you to follow them with just a few clicks. Because behind most every query is a community.
  3. 3. Industry UpdatesGuava Verdict on Search Plus Your World• “I dont think Google is using this as purely a platform for Google+ despite what it currently looks like. From the recent comments by Eric Schmidt we can see that Google is keen to reach out to Facebook and Twitter. – Gary Moyle• “This change is one of a series of still continuing updates to Google that have been rolling out since the G+ project started, and whilst some marketers are pegging it to a desperate move to force G+ down users throats, my opinion is that this has been on the roadmap for the last year or more. – Mark Edmondson• “It will be more important than ever to make sure users have a good experience with your brand and that this is vocalised online. One damning photo of a bad hotel room could be enough to put thousands of people off going there, likewise one perfect sea view will mean the opposite. Rather than requiring two completely independent search strategies I think this will nudge companies further towards a more holistic strategy where everything has to be considered from both a social and traditional perspective.” – Tom Wigley
  4. 4. Industry UpdatesGoogle Forced to Act Over Paid Sponsorship Campaign• Aaron Wall from seobook.com spotted how a search for ―This post is sponsored by Google‖ brought back over 400 pages written apparently as part of a Google marketing campaign:• The campaign essentially violated Google‘s guidelines against paid links and shortly afterwards Google was forced to release a statement via Matt Cutts.• “Google was trying to buy video ads about Chrome, and these sponsored posts were an inadvertent result of that… In response, the webspam team has taken manual action to demote www.google.com/chrome for at least 60 days. After that, someone on the Chrome side can submit a reconsideration request documenting their clean-up just like any other company would.” Matt Cutts• https://plus.google.com/109412257237874861202/posts/NAWunDzJSHC• This action has met a mixed response with some SEOs worried about the consequences of a single link passing pagerank.
  5. 5. Industry UpdatesGuava Verdict on Chrome Penalty• “The Chrome team didnt actually/intentionally do anything wrong. All it now confirms is that Googles behaviour is inconsistent and they will take action in response to a media story (originally from Search Engine Land in this case) blowing it out of proportion, even if that story is fundamentally wrong. – Teddie Cowell• This raises massive questions about what actually constitutes a "paid link" and whether you can provide anything of value to a webmaster with the "risk" of an incidental link in return. Google need to be seen as being pro-active in policing themselves against their Terms of Service so I can understand the basic logic behind this decision, however it does seem rash as in the real world it only reinforces and confuses this already convoluted problem.” – Tom Wigley• An utterly pointless symbolic act. Deranking themselves for [browser] will make not one jot of difference to the amount of downloads chrome gets, and they have further muddied the waters on what digital marketers should or should not be doing by demoting themselves for an "accidental" paid link. – Mark Edmondson
  6. 6. Industry UpdatesbuySAFE Sues Google Over “Trusted Stores”• Google is being sued by a company called buySAFE, which offers a safe-shopping service to online retailers and their customers• buySafe is basically accusing Google of; – (1) Patent Infringement – (2) Stealing proprietary business information – (3) Pushing buySafe customers to switch to Google Trusted Stores• Interestingly, the lawsuit also claims that Google is allegedly offering higher search result rankings for those that participate in the Trusted Stores program (Google Trusted Stores)• It remains to be seen whether other high profile ‗safe shopping‘ services will see this as a potential threat and literally follow suit
  7. 7. Industry UpdatesGuava Verdict on Google “Trusted Stores” Lawsuit• “In a world that seems to have gone slightly patent crazy over the last 6 months Im left wondering whether everything is patentable. It seems to me that guaranteeing a transaction with an online store is not all that different from an ESCROW merchant who acts as a middle-man, or a credit-card provider who will protect your transactions. That said, if a patent exists it exists. The issue at hand also seems to be considerably deeper. Google have certainly acted in a bullish fashion towards many verticals online and if the allegation of them promising customers an advantage in natural search turns out to be true this could be particularly concerning.” – Tom Wigley• “Obviously the most controversial angle of this is Google allegedly offering high rankings for domains that participate in it’s trusted stores program. Whilst this would potentially represent a valid trust signal in Google’s algorithm it does represent a conflict of interest as it is a Google owned service. It remains to be seen whether this is indeed fact or part of the internal chaos we have seen at Google in recent months. – Gary Moyle
  8. 8. Industry UpdatesGrowth in SSL Queries• Guava looked at this back in October 2011 for it‘s UK client base across a variety of sectors, sizes of websites and locations, and the largest impact was just 0.4% of keywords.• After studying a range of retail clients in January this has increased to a range of 0.7 – 1.0% however it could significantly larger for other publishers.• “On balance now I’m quite looking forward to (not provided) data, since I think in exchange for the keywords we will get the demographic data of users who are logged in to Google via the +1 metrics. And now Google have just updated their privacy policy so that everyone is opted in to sharing their data across Google products, more of that data should seep into GA.” – Mark Edmondson• “I think we’ll see a steady increase in these figures over the next 12 months largely driven by the adoption of the Google+ social platform. This will give us some insight into the growth of Google+ users in across many verticals which will be fascinating”. – Gary Moyle
  9. 9. Industry UpdatesUpdated Google Privacy Policy• Google have announced that effective from March 1st, all of Google services will have the same privacy policy, meaning data can be freely shared between Google properties such as Gmail, G+, YouTube and factored into the main Google search results.• “There are serious anti-trust storm clouds on the horizon for Google and public opinion is in a fragile state with recent bad PR - see the “don’t be evil” bookmarklet designed by Facebook/Twitter/Myspace engineers in response to Search Plus My World” – Mark Edmondson• http://www.focusontheuser.org/• It uses Googles own results to show how search plus my world would look if Google wasn’t pushing G+ down everyone’s throats (see below).
  10. 10. PPC Industry UpdateJanuary 2012
  11. 11. Industry Updates Ad group impression share metrics coming soon • Previously impression share metrics have only been available at the campaign level • This was beneficial but lacked the visibility of being able to see exactly where potential volume was being lost • As part of the upcoming change, Google is improving its algorithm and will be updating all campaign level impression share statistics back to May 2011 – prior to this date impression share metrics will no longer be available • Google will now be offering ad group level impression share metrics for the Search and Display Networks • Once this is released, we will be able to use ad group impression share data to, for example, better identify high performing ad groups that arent capturing the majority of available impressions and therefore where more volume can be achieved| Copyright Guava Limited
  12. 12. Industry UpdatesAd group impression share metrics explained • Impression Share = the % of impressions you received divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive • Lost Impression Share (rank): the % of impressions lost due to ad rank • Exact Match Impression Share: % of impressions received for searches that exactly matched your keyword divided by the estimated number of exact match impressions you were eligible to receive • You will be able to select these columns from the ‗ad groups‘ tab under ‗columns > customize columns‘: • Google will now update impression share statistics on a daily basis at 8pm GMT • This change will roll out from 30th January
  13. 13. Industry Updates„Ask on Google+‟ links appearing in results• Only certain users have seen this (as it is one of many Google tests going on in the search engine results pages) – there hasn‘t been an official announcement from Google• Prominence of Google+ in search results continues - now users are being prompted to ask their friends on the Google+ social network at the bottom of the page• This doesn‘t mean much for us at the moment, but demonstrates Google leaning towards informational searches with a view to potentially using social links to find the answer
  14. 14. AdWords introduces new mobile targeting options We now have the ability to be more granular We will also be able to target users based on with mobile device targeting; within the whether they are using a faster wi-fi connection AdWords interface we can now select which or not. This will be most useful when directing mobile operating systems we want to focus our visitors to landing page content which includes campaigns on, and ensure ads are reaching media-rich content such as video. the right audience. This demonstrates the growth of mobile PPC and the need to further refine targeting methods in alignment with more sophisticated mobile marketing strategies14