Posted by: Hannah

Posted on: May 8, 2013 9:20 am

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Google has made more small changes to its search results by removing the ‘more results near’ feature in the local search results. The feature gave the searcher the opportunity to view more results in the local area as well as natural and organic results. For example, if a user was to search for pizza in Chelmsford, the search results would display pizza outlets and sellers in Chelmsford as well as addresses, telephone numbers and maps. In addition when Google showed local listings in the organic and natural search results, Google would also display a link that the user could click to show ‘more results near…’ which would display results found directly in Google Maps and Google Local.

Yesterday, this feature had disappeared.

 

Jade Wang, Community Manager for Google + posted the following comment:

‘We have seen some questions about the small update to local search user interface on Google (removal of ‘More results near…’ link –

Thanks for your feedback about the small update to the local search user interface on Google. This is one of several updates we are working on to improve the local search experience, with the goal of more seamless exploration of places and more integration of local data. Stay tuned for more updates soon.’

The new change comes after several other recent amendments that Google has been reluctant to advertise including related searches filter, previews and cache. It seems as though the search engine giant is making some small regular tweaks to explore the best ways for consumers to find local searches as well as keep results as thorough and detailed as possible. In terms of search engine optimisation, the effect on results is still unknown – after just 24 hours it is hard to tell but if Google continues to make small and unannounced changes it will inevitably have an effect of search engine optimisation listings – detrimental or beneficial.

Posted by: Stacey Cosens

Posted on: April 30, 2013 4:24 pm

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Google has announced that it will soon be launching its Google Now Service for Apple iPhones and iPads, after previously being limited to devices running Google’s own Android system.

Google Now will work with Google’s search app on the iPhone and iPad, offering users ‘cards’ filled with information designed to be useful to a smart device user without them needing to type a search request.

It works by assessing the machine’s location data and analysing the contents of the owner’s Gmail and Google calendar, as well as using past Google searches. The service could offer information such as maps suggesting the quickest route home, flight departures as well as even suggesting nearby restaurants, museums and shops to users.

The move is being described as the ‘evolution of search’ and could prove a useful asset to local businesses. By picking up on where a user is and suggesting restaurants, shops and other local services based on past searches it provides an ideal opportunity for locally orientated business to tap into their most useful clientele.

The move also allows Google to tap into the Apple user market further, after previously concentrating on its Android market after loosening ties with the gadget giant – changing from Google Maps to Apple Maps and switching its default search engine on the iPhone and iPad.

It will be interesting to see what the introduction of Google Now to the Apple market will mean for mobile search and the effect it will have on local businesses.

Posted by: Hannah

Posted on: April 29, 2013 1:46 pm

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Google has officially stopped instant previews from search results. The cancellation of the feature is said to be the result of low usage by searchers. Instant previews launched in November 2010 and were incorporated with AdWords Instant Preview and Sitelinks Instant Previews. Website owners could even see how their site looked and monitor instant previews through Webmaster Tool.

The original concept was to save time for users browsing the internet enabling them to take a quick sneak peak at a web page before clicking through and visiting the web site page. Such low usage by consumers clearly indicates that the feature was not needed or wanted or that it did not give a clear indication of the website in the preview box. It may have also been unclear to the user that the feature even existed and as a result low volumes clicked on it.

Almost two and a half years later Google has decided to drop the feature as a spokesperson explained, ‘As we’ve streamlined the results page, we’ve had to remove certain features, such as Instant Previews. Instant previews saw very low usage by our users, and we’ve decided to focus on streamlining the page to benefit more users.’

The announcement was met with some upset from Google users and the search engine giant has since introduced a drop down green arrow where a cached page can be viewed.

It is no surprise that Google has taken the decision to remove the feature if the amount of usage is low. It is also thought the preview feature did not fit the new approach Google is taking for its display of search results.

Posted by: Stacey Cosens

Posted on: April 25, 2013 4:42 pm

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It wasn’t too long ago that AdWords introduced Enhanced Campaigns, allowing marketers to target their campaigns more accordingly. Their aim? For advertisers to be able to target people based on the time of the day, location and device they’re using.

Now they’ve introduced an upgrade centre alongside to make upgrading easier for marketers with lots of campaigns to manage. Users will be able to upgrade several campaigns at a time, or merge campaigns in a few steps.

The new centre will allow marketers two options for using the upgrade centre.

Google explains:

“1. Bulk upgrade

This option provides a fast way to upgrade multiple campaigns that don’t need to be merged. Rather than upgrade campaigns one at a time, you can select several campaigns, choose a mobile bid adjustment, view traffic estimates, and upgrade with fewer clicks.

2. Merge and upgrade

If you have search-only or search+display campaigns that have similar keywords and location targets, the upgrade center automatically identifies them as candidates to merge. You’ll then be able to preview and adjust the proposed campaign settings, ad groups, and extensions for the merged campaign. By default, ad groups and budgets will be combined. Other campaign level settings and extensions in the Primary campaign will override those in the Secondary campaign.”

The introduction should hopefully make managing campaigns far easier for PPC managers and mean that PPC campaigns can be far more easily managed and targeted to the right people – meaning that money and time invested in PPC campaigns will be more worthwhile than ever.

Posted by: Hannah

Posted on: April 23, 2013 2:30 pm

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New figures from Kenshoo have found that the price of cost per click on smartphone is less than on desktop. Smartphone cost per click were on average 46 percent cheaper priced at $0.30 than desktop which was $0.56. Figures also showed that the average cost per click for tablets was around 18 percent lower than desktop priced at $0.46.

 

The figures have come as a pleasant surprise for business that are looking to reach large audiences at a cut of the cost. Mobile internet browsing has experienced phenomenal success in the last few years with a huge surge in the amount of smartphone purchases and as a result a large increase in the amount of users on mobile search. It is for that reason that many businesses should take the opportunity to invest in pay per click whilst cost is still relatively low.

However unsurprisingly the report also showed that desktop holds the largest sector of search with 86.1 percent and 81.2 percent of clicks, a clear reason for the higher price.

In the UK, the trend also followed suit with desktop being most popular in terms of click at 72.3 percent and ad spend at 75.5 percent. However, the price difference between desktop and tablet cost per click was nonexistent costing on average £0.30 each and £0.20 for smartphone.

Posted by: Kerry Sheahan

Posted on: April 18, 2013 3:25 pm

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When we cast our minds back to 2005, Facebook was a very different scene. Little more than an upgrade from the likes of Bebo and Myspace, it was a basic platform where people could search for friends, upload pictures and reminisce from the night before. 8 years and one billion users later and Facebook has undergone a radical transformation, providing apps, games and even real time Bingo.

The most recent bow to its arrow comes in the form of Facebook Home. Described as a family of apps, it automatically shows updates on homescreen and lockscreen, allowing you to view a steady stream of posts and photos the second you turn on your phone. Put simply, it takes over your home screen.

Mark Zuckerburg’s multi-billion empire sums up the new systems when they say “everything on your phone gets friendlier.” With faster access to the essentials, as well as upfront notifications, users can even continue their conversations whilst using other apps, surfing the internet or watching videos. What’s more, the social media giant has introduced Chat Heads. Upon a friend starting a conversation, a message will pop up with a photo of that person, allowing users to tap to open or simply swipe to ignore.

A whole new meaning to the word convenience it would seem, however has this so called `convenience` gone a step too far for some people? As to be expected from any major update introduced by Facebook, the news has been met with a sense of controversy, if not hysteria. A simple internet search can take you directly to advice on how to install Facebook Home, and rumours have already begun circulation that Google tried to block it. Google’s Eric Schmidt has been quick to dispel the idea however, stating it would be “against our religion”.

Facebook Home became available from the Android Play Store in the UK April 12th on HTC One as well as the Samsung Galaxy S3. Whilst it is not currently available for tablets, the company has hinted that it would like to venture this way in the future. It appears unlikely that Facebook Home will launch on iPhone however.

With the news not having long broken, many are still in the dark as to what Facebook Home actually is, let alone installed it yet, but as more take the plunge it will be interesting to monitor the reaction it receives.

Posted by: Kerry Sheahan

Posted on: April 9, 2013 11:59 am

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You may be feeling that the one thing missing from your Facebook experience is the ability to accompany your status updates with an appropriate emoticon? No? It may not be amongst your top priorities, but like all of the social media giant’s additions and amendments, it will probably be hard to imagine life on the network without them given a week or two.

As of today, Facebook’s lucky users will be able to share how they’re feeling and what they’re up to through a drop down menu of emoticons and media, letting friends and acquaintances know precisely what they’re reading, watching or eating.

Put simply, it makes it easier to formally tag the places we attend, the TV shows we’re watching or the music we’re listening to, and so of course inviting our friends to get more involved in the things we love. For example, a person listening to an up and coming musician in their local area would be able to spread the word amongst friends, enabling them to click straight through to the Facebook profile and hit the “listen button”.

It’s all supposed to be part of Facebook’s plan to get users to open up more. But do a series of pre-formatted pictures really help us to express how we’re feeling? A more cynical approach would see this as an attempt to over simplify our moods and feelings? How often can we say we feel 100% sad, happy or confused? And more to the point why is Facebook asking us for such personal information?

Those who do try out the new drop down box will no doubt have noticed the pop-up notifying them that “details you add to posts also appear on your About page and other pages on Facebook.”

Now it is, the “other pages on Facebook that seems to be causing the biggest stir amongst critics and users. Facebook is essentially warning us that if we choose a particular pre-formatted emotion, TV programme or brand of coffee, Facebook could potentially use this data to target us with ads.

For example someone who reveals that they are listening to Beyonce could be targeted with ads for her new album or appearance. But is this all bad? If we’ve already stated an interest in the subject, is it not surely quite feasible that we should want to hear more about it?

Either way it will be interesting to hear feedback from Facebook’s one billion active users.

Posted by: Lewis Austin

Posted on: April 2, 2013 1:46 pm

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As a continuation from a post just a few weeks ago, “Google’s Ads Aren’t Numbered”, Google has taken a step further with the use of phone numbers. As of 2 weeks ago, AdWords users were no longer permitted to submit ad text that contained a phone number as this would be disapproved.

This morning, I was welcomed into one of our clients’ accounts with this lovely message:

The learn more link forwards you to this page: http://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/176098?hl=en-GB&rd=1 .

However, the section that we should really be interested in is this:Phone numbers and vanity phone numbers can’t be used anywhere in ad text or in a sitelinks extension because doing so is confusing to users who might be expecting to be led to a call session as opposed to a website. To let customers call you directly from your ad, use call extensions instead.”

So we have been warned and we have just a few weeks to implement the required changes, or we must feel the wrath of Google. Understandably, the use of a number in the ad text as well as using a call extension can seem a little pointless, especially from Google’s perspective. Despite the fact that we marketers think it is a brilliant strategy and really emphasises the user to make a call, this is Google’s own way of ensuring quality listings.

Instead of complaining, it’s important to develop a strategy quickly to prepare for another change in the AdWords horizon. The easiest thing to do would be to use the AdWords editor and replace the phone number with “us now” or “today”. Doing this doesn’t really add much to the ad so maybe it could be worth using dynamic keyword insertion to make the ad more relevant in terms of quality score and directly to the user. For arguments sake, let’s say you are a florist in Manchester. Your ad might now say: “Call Now for Manchester Florists”. In my opinion this looks very compelling and relevant, certainly more so than just “Call Us Now”.

We will be preparing for the new implementations by keeping our ads that have a phone number and introducing are newly revised ads, running them side by side. This will allow us to gather data and compare the two different ad formats, along with what substitution performs the best. Then when Google decides to implement these changes we will be fully prepared and won’t have to make any changes to the account.

 

Posted by: Stacey Cosens

Posted on: March 27, 2013 1:03 pm

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According to a recent Google study in partnership with Nielsen, three out of four mobile searches trigger follow up actions. These could be actions such as further research, a store visit, phone call, purchase or word-of-mouth sharing. On average, mobile search will trigger at least two follow up actions.

77% of mobile searches occur at home or at work, while 17% are on the go. Shopping queries are twice as likely to occur in store.

Taking these statistics into consideration, it is important to be aware of the impact of mobile search to your business. 55% of conversions such as a store visit, phone call or purchase happen within an hour, so the information and usability you provide mobile users is extremely valuable.

With these statistics in mind, your mobile site usability is incredibly important. Customers need to be able to find the information they need quickly and easily on a smartphone so they are aware if you supply what they need.

By making sure you have a mobile website or a website compatible with mobiles you have a hugely beneficial advantage when it comes to converting searches and website visits into conversions and sales.

You also need to think about integrating mobile search into your PPC and natural SEO campaigns, so you are visible to mobile searchers. The recent launch of Google’s Advanced Campaigns allows for advertisers to focus campaigns depending on the device and locations of potential customers – meaning that you could focus your mobile search campaigns on the most valuable customers.

Mobile search is now more important than ever, and it is becoming increasingly vital to make sure you’re website is integrate.

Posted by: Hannah

Posted on: March 22, 2013 4:21 pm

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The PPC landscape is continually changing as Google introduces new features and settings and advertisers become more experienced with getting the most out of pay per click campaigns. In light of this SEO Positive has noticed three important pay per click trends.

1.       Cross device browsing

Mobile traffic is ever increasing as more people purchase smartphones and tablets spending additional time browsing the internet on the go. However, figures also show that conversion rates are lower on smartphones and more effective on desktops and tablets. A study on Econsultancy showed that the average conversion rate on desktops and tablets was 3.7 % and just 1.9 % for mobile. Mobile is still important and therefore it is worth investing some time and effort in it to reach audiences, even if they do return via desktop or tablet to make the purchase. Smart AdWords users are investing in enhanced campaigns which show the amount of traffic from each platform which gives insight into consumer’s behaviour.

2.       Mobile and Enhanced Campaigns   

As described above, enhanced and mobile devices are Google’s new tool for businesses. Cheaper than desktop and tablet cost per click, Google are encouraging business to invest time and effort into mobile, claiming that this is the year of the mobile. Mobile campaigns also have less competition that desktop which in turn should mean a higher chance of reaching customers.

3.       Google Shopping  

Since their launch in the last 2 years, Product Listing Ads have made a major impact on many ecommerce clients with most drawing significant proportion of sales from them. After its changes were implemented and all listings were free, many businesses have had to rethink of ways to draw customers in. This has produced higher quality natural listings and higher paid pay per click campaigns. In short, the change demonstrates that webmasters should not rely on one aspect of advertising alone.

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