Search marketing news and what it means for marketers – Aug 2017

This month we’re looking at a Google Search Console update, Google adding a ‘news feed’, AMP content, a new version of AdWords Editor, new call bid adjustments and Google adding ‘holiday rentals’ to its Hotel Search.

Google Search Console (GSC) update

In last month’s round-up we looked at how long it takes for a website to rank. Avid users of Google Search Console may have noticed a note placed on 13 July 2017 within the search analytics screen that looked like this:

Google Search Console

The note read:

“An incremental improvement in Google’s logging system now provides better accounting for results in lower positions. This change might cause an increase in impressions, but also a decrease in average positions. This change only affects Search Console reporting, not your actual performance on Google Search.”more about GSC anomalies and data changes.

What does this mean for marketers?

MORE DATA! You may take this as a positive or negative. The changes sure do throw off any impression or average position graphs you’ve been tracking and storing over the past x number of years.

The positives of these changes mean we’re no longer playing guessing games for lower ranking queries. We’ll be able to see beyond the average position 100. This offers further opportunities for queries we may not have even thought about targeting.

Action point: Our SEO experts would suggest starting small, just like you would with a new GSC account. Don’t try to analyse every query with average position 100+ or you’ll face a mountainous task. Start with a set of queries you’re familiar with and try looking for new opportunities and keyword variations.

Google to add ‘news feed’ to website and app

Google is currently rolling out a Facebook-style news feed to its homepage, which will be shown on both desktop and mobile devices. The purpose is to show users content they may be interested in before they perform a search.

Users will be able to click a ‘follow’ button on search results to add topics of interest to their feed. You can read more about this on the BBC website or check out this video:

What this means for marketers

This could present some new opportunities. You will be able to follow topics closely related to your business and discover relevant content. It also presents opportunities for content marketing, with more opportunities to get pieces in front of relevant audiences.

Survey shows AMP content is preferred over regular content

A recent survey by 9to5Google has suggested that users prefer Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) over regular content.

Out of 1,500+ respondents, just over 50% said, “Yes, I prefer the stripped down version of a website when reading something.” That being said, within the survey 24% of participants answered, “No, if I want to read something, I will open the link whether it’s AMP or not.”

What is AMP?

AMP pages are essentially a stripped-down form of HTML. They are designed to be super-lightweight so they load faster on mobile devices. Learn more about AMP via MOZ’s Whiteboard Friday.

What this means for marketers

When thinking about UX, website load speed has become one of the most important elements for mobile devices, especially now that mobile users make more than 50% of search. AMP pages have established themselves well in the past 18 months. If you are anything like me, you too will get frustrated when a page doesn’t open within two seconds.

As many of us have now adopted HTTPs, we should also be looking at adopting AMP to increase the usability of websites and ensure easy access to resources, or face the user switching to a competitor.

Google launches a new version of AdWords Editor

AdWords has a fresh new look, which has been designed for easier overall navigation. Also, there is a host of new features added, such as “Maximize Conversion Bidding”, which was released on the web version of AdWords last month. There are also new editable fields for responsive ads such as logos, promotion text, and call to action text.

This new version of AdWords Editor will allow marketers to use the software much like the web version, which has always been an issue in the past. Although not a perfect solution, it is a welcome next step.  Read more here.

Google adds holiday rentals to Hotel Search

Google is adding a new feature into its hotel search interface – now it will ask if you would rather search for vacation rentals instead of hotels.

Google hotel search

This will have a huge impact on the vacation rental market as now, users can use Google Hotel Search instead of sites such as VRBO or Flipkey. Marketers now have to rethink how they create vacation rental ads that adhere to Google’s rules, as well as splitting budget between multiple sites. Read more here.

New call bid adjustments in AdWords

You can now adjust bids related to call extensions in AdWords, which will allow you to show these extensions more or less often on mobile search ads.

From the announcement:

“If you’re a travel advertiser, you may see higher order values from calls because it can be easier to cross-sell rental cars, group tours and other vacation add-ons during a live conversation. Raise your call bid adjustments to show call extensions more frequently and drive more of these high-value call conversions.”

Marketers can use this new feature to better optimise their call extensions and adjust bids to reflect their business goals. Read more here.

Need to catch up on previous months?

Search marketing news and what it means for marketers – July 2017

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

Tom Light profile picture
Tom Light

Tom’s SEO experience includes working for both agencies and within in-house marketing teams over 8+ years period. With a marketing degree under his belt, he is able to think of the bigger picture and make website recommendations that have benefits beyond SEO. Tom is not one for jargon and likes to explain things in a way that’s easy to digest; because of this, he’s happy assisting internal teams as well as working with external developers when needed. Tom’s approach to SEO is heavily focused on content and usability. He prides himself on being efficient and effective, with great communication and prompt action. Tom lives in Southampton (much to the disappointment of the Portsmouth locals within the company), and in his spare time you’ll find him watching live music, playing games and attempting to imitate his favourite musicians on the acoustic guitar.

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