Search marketing news and what it means for marketers – March 17

It’s now officially Spring (well, by the meteorological calendar anyway) so let’s take a look at what’s new in the world of search marketing this month. We’re talking about a new targeting feature in Google AdWords, a new style carousel advert, star ratings and 404 pages.

New targeting feature in Google AdWords

Marketers can already customise ads with ‘keyword insertions’ and ‘countdown timers’ however, this new feature from Google takes customisation to another level. By inserting a few parameters, you will be able to tailor your ads to users who have met specific conditions.

For example, you can create specific mobile ad copy and CTAs i.e. ‘Book on your mobile today’ and easily show this to only mobile users. You could also show a ‘higher % off items’ ad message to loyal customers or a more ‘time-limited’, ‘urgent’ ad text to users who have abandoned their cart.

This is a really cool innovation that provides marketers with an additional level of control, and one that if used correctly, can help to increase revenue. Read more here

Action point: Start experimenting with IF functions to target specific user segments with different ad messaging.

Multiple ad extensions in a carousel format (Google)

Google looks to be testing a new swipeable format for displaying multiple ad extensions – this is an extension (pardon the pun) of what Google rolled out previously with price extensions, in a carousel format.

Adwords swipeable extensions on mobile

Image source:

With the swipeable carousel included, it really enhances the ad’s visibility and provides the user with a lot of information in an easy-to-use format. It looks initially to be just running in the US but marketers should be aware that Google are testing features like this all the time. Read more here

Action point: Ensure you’re using the full suite of ad extensions that are at your disposal.

Hyperlocal marketing will grow in 2017

Google Trends show a substantial increase in “near me” queries since mid-2015. Hyperlocal marketing focuses on targeting customers within your area based on their location. It gives the opportunity to brands to serve immediate needs for their prospects. Optimising your content will help you to take advantage of this excellent opportunity. Read more here

Action: Optimise your website by introducing localised content that will target people in your area. If your business has multiple locations, create local landing pages for each one of them.

Google reduces star rating threshold to just one review

Since many people rely on reviews to determine the quality of a business, Google is now awarding stars for as little as one review. In the past, it was required for businesses to have a minimum of 5 reviews before the star rating becomes available to the user. In addition, Google proceeded to change the mathematical equation of calculating the averages and they will now be using the arithmetic way instead of the Bayesian average.

This change can be good or bad for businesses, depending on the review.  Read more here

Saulet Ashworth Google review

Action: If you don’t have a review yet, don’t be afraid to ask for one. If you have one review and it is a negative one, respond. Acknowledge the customer’s problem and offer a solution.

404 pages do not have SEO benefit, but quality still matters

A 404 or not found error message is a HTTP response code that is displayed when a page that a user is trying to access on a website does not exist. Custom 404 pages are used to display a user-friendly message to the visitors to inform them about the missing content. Such pages help lost visitors by providing alternative content that might be interested in, and prevent them from clicking the back button. Recently, it was revealed that 404 pages do not have any SEO benefit, since Google does not crawl the content of the page. Read more here

Below is what Google Quality Rater Guidelines say about 404 pages

Google Quality Rater Guidelines

Action: Keep creating custom 404 pages because they add value to the user’s experience.

Any questions?

If you’d like more information or help with anything covered in this blog, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our search marketing experts on 023 9283 0281. We’re happy to chat any time!

Header image courtesy of Freepik
George Karapalidis profile picture
George Karapalidis

George is an SEO Specialist and Data Scientist in the Portsmouth office. He has worked in E-Commerce and Digital Marketing across many industries, for and with companies all over Europe. Before joining Vertical Leap, George worked as Marketing Director for his own company, for which he managed to expand the company’s activities to 5 European countries. George has been creating websites for more than 10 years and he has in depth experience in designing and bringing optimised E-Commerce websites to market.

More articles by George
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