Time for another monthly round-up of what’s been happening in the search marketing industry over the past few weeks. Google has introduced a couple of new ad extensions: ‘Click-to-message’ which allows users to text your company from your advert (pretty cool!) and ‘affiliate location’ which helps consumers find local stores that stock your product. Read all about this and more below:

Google rolls out its click-to-message ad extension

This extension gives consumers another way of communicating with businesses directly – users can click on the message icon that appears below the text ad and send a text message to the business.

Google click to message

Google’s new click-to-message ad extension

For advertisers, these extensions are a great way to start a conversation with your audience and with all the chat about chatbots, this extension fits in nicely with the developments of the conversational element of digital marketing. It also provides businesses with an opportunity to tap into consumers who prefer to message people rather than call them.

Below is a screenshot of the set-up screen. You can even customise the message the user receives when they first click on the icon e.g. Hey! How can we help you today? Read more here.

click to message extension set up screen

Google launches affiliate location ad extensions

These new ad extensions help consumers find local stores that stock your products and unlike traditional location extensions, advertisers won’t need to have a Google My Business account.

On a mobile device, users can even get directions to their local store. This is a great way to drive in-store purchases and makes it easy for consumers to buy your products by giving them several different location options.

They are currently being rolled out in the US but they have been spotted in the UK, so keep any eye out for these. Below is an example of how they appear in the search ads. Read more here.

Google click to message ads

Google’s new affiliate location ad extension

Google’s Possum algorithm update

The landscape of SEO has once again changed with Google recently rolling out a Penguin algorithm update as well as introducing a brand new Possum update. The latter focuses on local search rankings, just like the previous Pigeon update which first appeared in 2014.

Unlike Pigeon which looked at SERPs in general and changed the way we see the map listings, the Possum update impacts the 3-pack rankings within the map results.

Key takeaways:

  • The update diversifies the local results
  • Businesses outside a physical city/area boundary have seen spikes in rankings
  • Google is now filtering based on address and affiliation
  • The physical location of the searcher is more important than it was before
  • Slight variations in keywords searched are showing different results

Penguin 4.0 – links devalued rather than punished

Penguin 4.0 got announced on September 23rd with the roll out first occurring in the US before making its way across the pond to the UK. It’s been a full month since the update, so here’s what you need to know.

  • Penguin 4.0 now devalues links rather than punishing sites – great for those who were hit originally by Penguin with potential recoveries on the cards for those who have seen the errors of their ways.
  • Penguin 4.0 is now part of the core Google algorithm updating in real time.
  • Links secured the right way will show benefits to webmasters –  sites propped up by spam will be devalued.

Read more on Possum and Penguin.

Did you miss these previous updates?

Search marketing news and what it means for marketers – Oct 2016

Search marketing news and what it means for marketers – Sept 2016

Search marketing news and what it means for marketers – Aug 2016