If you’re not already testing out the Yahoo-Bing Paid Search channel, you may want to start thinking about it….Efficient Frontier launched a report this week in regards to the Revenue per Click (RPC) gains that the Yahoo-Bing transition is making on Google, most recently in Q4 2010. Note the chart that shows the 7 Day RPC average of both channels at the end of 2010. So is it time to add Yahoo-Bing to your marketing strategy?? It’s something to think about and consider if you are playing in the Google PPC game, or you are not ready to play with Google and want to test out PPC with a smaller market share.
January 13, 2011
December 2, 2010
The whole first page on Google game has gotten a bit harder recently. This is because Google has started showing up to four pages from the same domain on one page of the search results. The reason? Google wants to present the most relevant search results based on a searcher’s intent. If that searcher is interested in a particular domain or topic they might see up to four results for one domain based on relevance.
Google’s reasoning from their blog: “As before, we still provide links to results from a variety of domains to ensure people find a diverse set of sources relevant to their searches. However, when our algorithms predict pages from a particular site are likely to be most relevant, it makes sense to provide additional direct links in our search results.”
It’s important to note that when more than one page is shown from the same domain, the website descriptions for the additional pages change from two lines to one. This makes the first 10 words of a meta-description tag even more important.
Previously Google would only show up to two pages from the same domain on one page, but in the past two weeks there has been a dramatic change. Showing four results from one domain instead of one or two can create a substantial advantage in the search engine real estate game. Just like back in the day, the number of times your website is visible on a search page the more opportunities there are to click it.
November 17, 2010
This month Google released “Adwords Call Metrics,” a call tracking service for Adwords campaigns. The service is free for Adwords account holders and integrates a Google Voice number into ads on both computers and mobile devices. Google Voice is the free service that allows Google account holders set-up a phone number from any area code in the United States. For the purpose of Adwords, users can set up either a local phone number or a toll-free number. Users are then able redirect the number to any phone. The total number of calls and average duration of the calls can be tracked in the Adwords dashboard.
The same Google Voice number used in Adwords can also be used on other marketing materials or a website for increased tracking through Adwords, although we recommend setting up a separate Google Voice number for each campaign. Separate numbers allow for more targeted conversion tracking.
Although this service is still in BETA, there is an incredible amount of potential for the Google Voice/Adwords integration. First, “Adwords Call Metrics” creates another way for Adwords users to reach customers, track offline conversions, and measure the success of their ads. Also, there is a lot of speculation that Google will introduce a pay per call metric, very similar to the pay per click metric. In the future Google might also offer increased call metric capabilities for Adwords, such as recording, transcription, and enhanced analytics capabilities.
Currently Google is offering the service to a limited number of customers, but as they test the service and refine the features it will be released to more customers. You can tell if you have the option of “Adwords Call Metrics” by looking under the Ad Extensions tab in your Adwords account.
October 14, 2010
It’s been confirmed that Google has recently begun testing some new language above the right side of their search results pages, where their paid ads are housed. These have historically been (and probably still are for most readers) labeled “Sponsored Links.” But before long you may see a new label above the ads…wait for it: “Ads” (gasp!).
This screen shot below shows the new “Ads” test (provided by a Google-related blog—we’re not seeing the test here at EIM yet):
And here’s a screen shot of what you’re used to seeing:
The desire for Google to experiment with this language certainly makes sense. On the one hand, “Sponsored Links” may in fact be misleading since Google doesn’t truthfully sponsor any of those products or services. Advertisers, such as envisionit and our clients, pay Google through their Adwords program to be listed there. On the other hand, the “Sponsored Link” language could soften the search experience in the eyes of the advertising-adverse searchers out there. The word “Ads” could potentially dissuade someone from clicking. And Google wants clicks—that’s how they make money. Do they label them what they are or do they spin the label to coerce searchers into clicking? (Hmm, it actually harkens back to the Facebook switch from “fan” to “like”).
If they move forward with this, it won’t be the most dramatic change Google has implemented in recent months. From Caffeine to Google Instant, the search engine behemoth has thrown a lot of curve balls at us lately—many of which have had us wondering what Google’s true agenda is (helping the greater good quickly find the information they seek online, or helping themselves make money?). There is no doubt, Google continues to keep search marketers on their toes, no matter the size of the shake-up.
August 25, 2010
The Google Algorithm has been changed on us again! OMG!
While the case used to be that a domain could only appear twice in Google’s search results for any one query, Google has now expanded this limit. According to Google’s Webmaster Central blog, this applies to “queries that indicate a strong user interest in a particular domain.” Using Google’s example, if you do a search for “exhibitions at amnh,” 7 of the 10 results listings on the first page are from the American Museum of Natural History’s website; Google identifies pages on the site that each speak to a specific exhibit, because they want it to be easy for the searcher to quickly find info on various exhibits at that museum.
Using our own example, if you do a search for “chicago cubs jerseys” you should see our client CubWorld.com at the top of your organic results page (depending on where you live and how/if you’re logged into Google), followed by an array of other online retailers. But if you do a search for “jerseys at cubworld” you’ll see that 8 of the 10 results (as seen below) are various jersey pages on CubWorld.com. Apparently Google wants to speed up your shopping experience on that particular site.
- Your brand is important. But let’s face it, we’re not all Nike or Coca Cola. So your brand combined with rich, compelling, well-organized content is really important. “Cubworld” alone doesn’t hold as much weight as a search query as “jerseys at cubworld” — there’s a band and some boy scout organizations who prove this. So yes, keep focusing on optimizing your site for both brand name-focused searches and other keywords.
August 20, 2010
Facebook recently released the information about their new location-based marketing tool so humbly titled “places”. When looking at the basics of places, all of the features seem to be right on compared to the likes of Foursquare and Gowalla. Although people called this the Foursquare killer, Foursquare and location-based marketers alike seem excited to integrate with the new Facebook feature. (Hmm, maybe it has to do with the 500 million users Facebook bring in?) However, although there are some similarities, Facebook did what they do best. (Take it to the next level)
How it works:
Like most location-based marketing tools you are able to check-in at a location via a GPS capable smart phone, and when you check-in you have the option whether or not you would like your location to be displayed to your friends, which is very similar to the features other companies like Foursquare offer. Then things start to get a little different from here on out. Not only do you know where your friends are, but also if you’re checked in nearby another friend, Facebook will send you a notification. This is a feature that has never been offered before, and one that could create some interesting interactions with Facebook friends.
Here’s a neat little video about places courtesy of Facebook:
Ok, so places seems pretty cool, but I know what you’re all thinking… How can this benefit my business? Well let me fill you in.
How it can benefit your business:
August 12, 2010
Think Google and Verizon feel today like that kid at school who makes a mortifyingly stupid or offensive comment in class that every student and teacher gets wind of and then whispers about in the hall, passing judgment as they brush by or shooting glares from across the playground? One might think so… There’s been so much negative buzz lately about the two powerhouses and their controversial Net neutrality policy proposal that one would assume they’re both at this moment begging their moms to let them stay home from school tomorrow.
But, in fact…well, they’re Google and Verizon, for gosh sake. They might turn on a convincing charm, but actually beat up those other kids for their lunch money. Or less metaphorically, they have enormous PR machines behind them that can manage a reputation or two. Just as quickly as two brand names as big as theirs can generate mass Twitter upheaval, so too can they quell the “rumors”—or spin the truth, as the case may be—and attempt to assure the public that they are in fact not the monsters that, say, the New York Times may have suggested.
The Net neutrality debate has been a heated one. The commentary has been rampant. And Google and Verizon’s identical blog posts yesterday were a direct response to the negative buzz–their attempt to lighten the controversy while asserting their position. Net neutrality is, at its simplest, the support of an Internet that remains unrestricted by Internet providers. And the joint Google/Verizon proposal that was submitted to the FCC is positioned as a pro-neutrality policy. But complaints against it suggest that it contains self-serving loopholes. For example, the companies propose the implementation of fines against Internet providers who attempt to block access to competing providers’ web properties. Could Google or Verizon afford to pay these fines if faced with them? Yep, most likely. Does this suggest they’ve designed the fines to work in their favor…and infer a potential elimination of competition? Indeed. Cue heated debate. (And this is just one element of the policy.)
July 2, 2010
The word around town lately is that Google is working on their own social media network, called “Google Me.” It would apparently be modeled off Facebook, and one can clearly infer it is intended to (attempt to) crush the ol’ FB. And things heated up a couple days ago with former Facebook CTO, Adam D’Angelo, stating on his own social platform, Quora, that the rumors are not rumors. No one from Google is commenting, but social media enthusiasts sure are all atwitter (tee hee…pun totally intended). Facebook seems so ingrained in our lives now—and became so quite quickly, really—that it feels like no one could ever top them. Of course if anyone can, it would be Google, the king of brand-name-as-commonly-used-verb companies. Shall be an interesting one to watch!
June 17, 2010
With the launch of Google Caffeine and after talk at SMX Advanced 2010 in Seattle, Google’s made it clear that they will start looking more at video sitemaps when indexing websites. Why? Because they’re sexy! Videos are slick, compelling and fun, and people like them. And what does Google like? Things that people like.
Videos and Video Sitemaps themselves are not brand new, but there are related changes in the Google landscape that make them more important.
This actually isn’t brand new either, but many people probably still don’t really know about it. I’ll guess you have noticed over the last several years that pretty pictures and such have been popping up on the Google results pages. This is Google intuitively guessing what kind of content you’re looking for, and pulling the appropriate rich media or other targeted results right into their main search results (see the results snapshot below for “monkeys jumping on the bed”). This is in contrast to a user clicking on what Google calls their “vertical search” options, like Videos, Maps, or Books, to only search that type of content.
Soul Search before Universal Search
This was actually a popular point at this year’s SMX Advanced: Before making yourself crazy trying to get your videos listed in universal search, examine your video pages. It would be a shame to nab a top spot in Google for a page that doesn’t work for you, especially if you had another page on your site already listed prominently in the search results. So just consider: Does this video represent my brand well? Does this video page have supporting copy and calls to action that encourage further engagement with my brand? Am I making it easy for people to share my video with friends or on their social media networks?
June 11, 2010
Let the battle of the search engines begin! (again)
This week Google announced it’s new web indexing system called Caffeine. The new system promises to offer even fresher web content than ever before, up to 50% more than the old Google system. The old way of indexing was not in real time as one might have believed, as Google had only been crawling fractions of the web and updating it a batch at a time. The batch updating created layers of indexed information for the searcher to sift through. Sometimes one of the layers would be refreshed by Google, and others wouldn’t. Needless to say, it wasn’t a perfect system to provide real time content.
Caffeine will change all that, with continuous indexing that will feature new content immediately, fulfilling the consumer want for their news “now” as it’s happening. From here on out, Google will immediately show breaking news stories in real time, photo updates, social media updates and more. Here is Google’s visual representation of the indexing change:
So why would Google do such a thing? What if we don’t like change? Well, it’s a good change that works in our favor. One of the main reasons for the update is to capture all the continuous new content being generated on the web, and that includes content generated by you and me. Not convinced? We posted when Google and Twitter agreed to “date” so check out the real time Twitter scroll now on a search results page:
Caffeine’s system will allow Google to index content on a much larger scale at a faster pace than ever before, stepping up its game against the other search engines. And if that wasn’t enough excitement for you, Google promises even more updates in the coming months!