As always, lots has happened in the world of search marketing over the past few weeks. If you missed any of it, don’t worry, we have all the highlights below in our monthly search round-up.
Over the past few years, link building has changed a lot. Because Google applied penalties to sites using links to manipulate results, people now tend to be overcautious when it comes to links. In one edition of Whiteboard Friday, Moz’s Rand Fishkin talked about how to build links that are future-proof and won’t damage your site’s trust and authority in Google. One thing to remember from Rand’s video is that, as a general rule of thumb: “If you can’t find any way to justify how something that you’re doing for SEO also benefits a visitor, maybe you should reconsider it.”
In April, Google fully turned off the feed to PageRank toolbar. This means that SEO professionals and webmasters will now no longer be able to use PageRank as a factor. This decision was made as a result of the manipulative uses this data has had over the years. The PageRank toolbar should have been used as a guideline of judging the reputation of a website. There are a number of other ways that this could be done nowadays, so no access to the toolbar shouldn’t be a worry.
Google is focusing heavily on making the web a better place – to show more relevant and higher quality websites on front pages. The search engine is constantly reviewing sites that violate the quality guidelines and is applying manual actions as a result. In April, Google released a Webspam Report with some scary figures. It turns out that, in 2015, Google manually penalised 500 sites per hour. This is to be seen as a reminder that regardless of how tempting ‘black hat’ techniques seem, it is better to apply future-proof strategies. They might take a bit longer to show results, but you wouldn’t be putting your businesses at risk.
Since last year we have been expecting the latest Google Penguin algorithm to be updated. After a number of promises for it to be rolled out, that didn’t happen on World Penguin Day either. Google’s Penguin algorithm targets sites with low and/or unnatural backlink profiles. If a site is affected by Penguin there can be severe drops in visibility and traffic. The thing to bear in mind with algorithm updates like Penguin is that, if you’re penalised, you are unlikely to fully recover until the next update happens. To put things into perspective, I’ll remind you that the last Penguin update was in October 2014. It means that, for more than a year now, affected websites have not been able to realise their potential and are therefore missing out on new business. Looking on the bright side, the fact that the update hasn’t been rolled out presents us with a last chance to review our backlinks, submit a disavow file and prevent a potential penalty. It’s always better to be proactive, rather than firefighting later on.
Speaking of Google algorithm updates, we are expecting a mobile-friendly algorithm boost this May. In March, Google announced changes aimed at making the web more mobile-friendly. As stated on Google Webmaster Central Blog: “If you’ve already made your site mobile-friendly, you will not be impacted by this update.” This means, though, that if your website is still not optimised for mobile devices, you are likely to be affected. Non-responsive websites will be pushed down the search results, which can lead to loss of organic visibility, traffic and – subsequently – business.
Twitter introduces better targeting with its new Ad Groups tool
Following in the footsteps of Google and Facebook, Twitter has introduced ‘Ad groups’ to give advertisers another level of control.
According to Twitter:
“This level of granular control helps advertisers improve how they measure results, set promotion schedules, test different audiences, and identify which Tweets work best.”
Google testing green ad labels in multiple locations
Several people have spotted this test which is affecting around 5% of global traffic and is replacing the traditional ‘yellow ad’ label. Read the full article here
Apple building AdWords-like ad product for the App Store
According to Bloomberg, Apple has created a team to explore changes to the App Store, including a new strategy for charging developers to have their apps more prominently displayed in an AdWords-like auction format.
Bing Shopping Campaigns now out of beta in UK
Bing Shopping was officially launched in April after a successful beta. Just like Bing search campaigns, these can be imported from your existing Google campaigns or created within the Bing dashboard.
Built for mobile – Bumper ads
On April 26, Google announced a new six-second video format, sold through the AdWords auction on a CPM basis.
Bumper ads are ideal for driving incremental reach and frequency, especially on mobile, and it will be really interesting to see how businesses will utilise this new format.
Got any questions?
If you want to speak to us about anything we’ve covered in this article, don’t hesitate to call us on 0845 123 2753 and we’ll be happy to help.