Your search marketing round-up for April 2016

March saw the launch of Google Analytics 360, the warning of an SEO mobile ranking update due in a matter of days, and the testing of images in search engine results pages snippets.

There has also been a ‘little’ (industry-shaking) update to how PPC ads are displayed that you may have heard about too.

All in all, March has been a great month for search marketing innovations and updates – take a look at this and everything else that has been going on with SEO and PPC over the past few weeks in our round-up.

In this digital industry round-up:

Google can now remove spam referrals for you

From discovering spam referrals through to frequently having to update Google Analytics filters to remove them from your data, spam referral sites are a marketing manager’s worst nightmare. This is especially true when it comes to data integrity and making meaningful decisions from search marketing.

As covered by The SEM Post, this update will not retrospectively impact data (so all your website data will remain as is), but it will block spam from skewing your website information in Google Analytics moving forward.

Google launches Analytics 360 Suite

Introducing the Google Analytics 360 Suite

On March 15, Google announced the new enterprise-class solution for a multi-screen world; the Google Analytics 360 Suite. This has been quoted by Google as addressing the following needs (and more):

  • Users can see the complete customer journey
  • It provides useful insights, not just more data
  • It enables better sharing within your organisation
  • It delivers engaging experiences to the right people

The suite includes six products (four being brand new to the market):

  1. Google Audience Center 360 (beta)
  2. Google Optimize 360 (beta)
  3. Google Looker Studio
  4. Google Tag Manager 360
  5. Google Analytics 360, formerly known as GA Premium
  6. Google Attribution 360, formerly known as Adometry

As you might expect, some of the biggest brands are already jumping on board:

The Google Analytics 360 Suite has a native integration with DoubleClick — that’s a game-changer. Now I can personalise my media based on website user behaviours, such as what they purchase,” said Khoi Truong, Director of Media and Data Optimization at L’Oreal Canada.

Expected May mobile update

mobile marketing data for SEO

In April 2015, Google launched the first of its pre-announced mobile updates. This effectively meant that websites not optimised for mobile search would likely see a drop in rankings and traffic from the Google search engines.

Google has since announced that mobile-friendly sites can expect to see potential search result improvements from May 2016.

Klemen Kloboves, a Google Software Engineer, wrote:

“Today we’re announcing that, beginning in May, we’ll start rolling out an update to mobile search results that increases the effect of the ranking signal to help our users find even more pages that are relevant and mobile-friendly.”

Here are some related reads if you are looking to make the most from this SEO opportunity:

Images are starting to be tested in the SERPs (again)

Search Engine Roundtable picked up on some interesting changes in Google’s results pages that relate to an increase in images appearing in-line with standard text results.

This is another example of the need to revisit content, add more engaging elements (in this case images, but it’s also pertinent to videos and other content types), and consider the wider potential value of images in general (including at a pre-click level).

This is also another hint towards the return of more integrated search results like the previous authorship integration – personally, I feel this is a very positive thing.

Here are the examples they shared – I have not been able to get these type of results to appear on my own searches, though, which suggests the testing is restricted:

images in google serps

images in google serps - longer form results example

Winners and losers of the latest paid advertising layout changes

winners and losers of Google PPC ads update

Last month our search engine marketing update covered how Google announced an important update to desktop search results. Barring two exceptions, Google will no longer display ads on the right hand side of search results.

This month we get to share thoughts on the winners and losers from this update courtesy of Search Engine Roundtable.

Here is the summary of their identified winners, losers and non-movers:


  • Heavy ad testers
  • People who have a bid system in place
  • Ads in position four
  • E-commerce – expect to see more shopping ads on a consistent basis


  • Aggregators
  • Unsophisticated advertisers in competitive verticals
  • Low-margin businesses/arbitrage


  • Brand-based bidders
  • Niche companies
  • Any display and video campaigns
  • Advertisers primarily using mobile, as this got another ad slot last year.

Scrolling Product Listing Ads (PLAs) on desktops

Following a similar structure to PLAs on mobile search results, Google has started testing a right and left arrow next to PLAs on desktops, allowing users to easily scroll through products.

scrolling product listing ads

Bing testing social extensions

Although it is currently in beta in the US, this is definitely something to keep an eye on if you are in the UK. Direct links for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are appearing below text ads and are nicely standing out on the page to help users contact businesses.

Bing testing social extensions

Need help dealing with any of these changes?

If you want to chat about SEO or PPC, book a telephone or face-to-face appointment with one of our specialists in our London or Portsmouth offices:

  1. London office
  2. Portsmouth office

Lee Wilson profile picture
Lee Wilson

Lee has been working in the online arena, leading digital departments since the early 2000s, and oversees all our delivery services at Vertical Leap, having joined back in 2010. Lee joined our company Operations Team in May 2019. Before working at Vertical Leap, Lee completed a degree in Business Management & Communications at Winchester University, headed up the online development and direct marketing department for an international financial services company for ~7 years, and set up/run a limited company providing website design, development and digital marketing solutions. Lee had his first solely authored industry book (Tactical SEO) published in 2016, with 2 further industry books being published in 2019, and can be seen regularly expert contributing to industry websites including State of Digital, Search Engine Journal, The Drum, plus many others. Lee has a passion for management in the digital industry and loves to see the progression of others through personal learning, training and development. Outside the office he looks to help others while challenging himself, having skydived, bungie jumped and abseiled (despite a fear of heights) with many more fundraising and voluntary events completed and on the horizon. As a husband and dad, Lee loves to spend time with his family and friends. His hobbies include exercising, trying new experiences, eating out, playing countless team sports, as well as watching films (Gangster movies in particular – “forget about it”).

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