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: 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: Lewis Austin

Posted on: March 27, 2013 4:28 pm

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Today a couple of members of our PPC Team, more specifically: Evaldas Balcius and Lewis Austin set off to London to attend the Google Engage for Agencies event. All in all it was a really insightful meeting that helped to outline the importance of Google’s latest and greatest developments.

Enhanced Campaigns

A major focus and point of interest for the agencies was the infamous enhanced campaigns. The main benefit of enhanced campaigns was driven by context. This means that a difference in context will result in a difference in behaviour, so to make the most of these moments, we need to be able to provide content that will encourage the user to convert.

Taking the example of Niamh Mahon; if I have a pizza restaurant and someone is searching for “pizza”, on a mobile device whilst in a 1 mile radius of my store at 7PM. It is a pretty safe bet to assume that the searcher is going home and would like to grab a pizza on the way back. This context means that the searcher is very interested in making a purchase as soon as possible. As a business, it is these moments in time that are invaluable to my business and to making a sale. Based on these behaviours, I can use enhanced campaigns to set bid adjustments for: mobile devices, location and even time of day.

YouTube

We were then brought up to speed with YouTube, not so much the stats as we all know that YouTube is the giant in video sharing networks. More so about the advertising opportunities that YouTube can offer. One interesting feature available is road blocking, this is similar to sponsoring a channel, so your ad will show for the majority of a selected channels’ videos. By doing this, you can display your message to an audience who you deem to have an interest in your product. Another good point to remember is that you won’t be charged for your ad if a viewer clicks the skip button on your ad, which will save you a lot of money and, give you 5 seconds of free exposure.

Mobile Devices

The last presentation was an eye opener of how we as consumers use different devices and methods to search. It was interesting to see that you can use Google accounts to have all of your browsing data accessible across all of your devices. This means that if I was in a shop and saw a pair of sneakers that I really liked, but wasn’t 100% about the price, I could run a search using the barcode and compare online prices to what is in store. If I feel that the high tops are a little cheaper online, I could go home and open up my laptop, load up chrome and continue where I left off on my mobile.

I think that we can take a lot away from Google Engage this year, in terms of future developments and how our target market is predicted to evolve technologically in years to come.

Before you all run off to research more about enhanced campaigns; here is a quick snapshot of Google Engage for Agencies this year, our Evaldas Balcius is in there somewhere, can you see him?

Posted by: Lewis Austin

Posted on: March 20, 2013 5:51 pm

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Google did explain when the enhanced campaigns were rolled out, that the call extensions feature would make using phone numbers in ad text a thing of the past. It looks like today is the day.

It seems as though ads that are posted as of today will be disapproved if they have phone numbers in them, however I think that ad text that has been approved in the past will remain safe, or that’s what I’m hoping for.

For those that have posted ads and are still waiting for approval, if they contain a phone number, then they are likely to be disapproved just like mine, so you might as well save yourself even more waiting time and submit some close variants.

PPC Managers and AdWords users will now have to think of another call to action to use. The phone number insertion method looked great and in some cases actually received calls. If you were extra sneaky, you would have managed to utilise a number along with call extensions, which showed your number twice, obviously this is what Google is trying to avoid.

It seems as though we will have to go back to “call us now” and our other all time favourites.

 

Posted by: Lewis Austin

Posted on: March 13, 2013 12:51 pm

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On the fateful day of March 11th , Google released an article about the up and coming access update to Google Analytics. This means that now you can grant access based on property level, as well as the previous situation of profile and account level. Also there are now three different three different levels of account access: view, edit and manage users.

This update is definitely one that will be welcomed with open arms. From an agency point of view, Analytics is about to become a lot more convenient. Previously it was often the case where a client would grant access to the whole account and sometimes clients will have multiple domains which are irrelevant to the services you are providing. This means that your profile list in GA becomes colossal; hopefully this update will help to tidy things up. With regards to the access levels, it looks like some of the inspiration for this has been taken from AdWords. This is a useful feature because now agencies can replicate account access structure into their Analytics.

Businesses will also find benefit from these updates. Data can be a very important thing and a lot of people are not so enthusiastic about simply handing over this information. Now businesses have more control over their data and who can access it.

Google has said that the update will be rolled out over the next few weeks, so some people will be getting this sooner rather than later. However, there is no need to panic about account access levels as if you are currently an admin, you will be upgraded to have full rights.

Posted by: Lewis Austin

Posted on: March 6, 2013 5:38 pm

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Enhanced campaigns are a fairly new update, about a month old, for Google AdWords. There are some great new features available once you upgrade such as: location targeting and sitelinks. But to get all these great features, you must upgrade to enhanced campaigns.

So how do you go about upgrading? Well, the first step would be to identify whether or not you need to upgrade. If you go into your campaign, you should have a pop up box telling you to get started.

Once you click through you get a lovely new pop up box that explains all of the new features waiting for you in enhanced campaigns.

The next page you’re taken to will ask you to select your mobile bid adjustment. Bear in mind that the “recommended” percentage is based on what other people in your industry have done, so unless you have historical data to base your adjustment on, it is probably safer to stick with the recommended amount.

Just like that, you’ve upgraded.to enhanced. There are loads of great new features available, but we will be releasing a sequel to this tutorial that will outlines the new features and how you can make the most of them.

Posted by: Kerry Sheahan

Posted on: February 14, 2013 11:58 am

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We often talk about the phenomenal growth of mobile search and how too many digital marketers aren’t doing enough to adapt their strategies to this trend. However, recent research from Marin Software, the leading paid search management platform, shows that this may be changing.

The data shows that mobile devices achieve higher click through rates (CTRs) than desktop when it comes to UK paid search ads, a somewhat surprising discovery when considering the length of time they have been in regular use.

The study looked at how different devices performed last year, with smartphones leading the way with the highest CTR at 5.87% compared to 3.93% on tablet and just 2.29% on desktop. The gap between smartphones and the other two devices is quite significant, and what has surprised many people in the online marketing arena the most is the difference between smartphones and tablets with most people expecting these to be more similar to each other than desktops.

As well as achieving the highest CTR, smartphone clicks are cheaper than the corresponding desktop and tablet clicks, which may prompt more paid search advertisers to target their ads towards this device.

Generally speaking, keywords and ads that are closely related to each other and your business will give your ads the best chance of achieving a higher click through rate.

The research also delved in to cost per click, this time with tablets coming out highest. Tablet CPCs saw the most significant growth during 2012, averaging a 36% increase in the UK compared to 24% for smartphones and 14% for desk top.

The recent move to Enhanced Campaigns may affect mobile CPCs during the 2013, so it will be interesting to keep track of how this develops. The new method of managing paid search means that advertisers will be able to target people based on the time of day, their location and the device they’re using.

Posted by: Kerry Sheahan

Posted on: February 7, 2013 9:36 am

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Yes we all know that more and more people are browsing the internet using a mobile device. You may even know that one in seven searches is now on mobile. But are you doing enough about it? Most people are now aware that they need a dedicated mobile site, but in order for this to be successful you need to think about your keyword selection too.

Why? Because you could be missing out on keywords that your audience uses on mobile that they may not use on a desktop. Those using a mobile device to make a search are often on the go and may accompany their usual search term with words like “local” or “nearby”. Make sure you’re not choosing the wrong keywords for your intended audience.

Before you start making your choices however, be sure to have a clear idea of what you want your keywords to achieve.

Once you have defined your goals there are a number of tools that can help you find the most profitable search terms for your mobile site. You need to establish how mobile searchers discover your site as well as how people find your competitors.

  • Google Webmaster Tools allows you to see where you rank for the keywords that mobile searchers enter.
  • Google Analytics gives you keywords used by mobile and tablet users. You can even separate results to show the difference between mobile and tablet.
  • Google Keyword Tool can provide you with mobile specific keywords that you aren’t already optimised for.

The next stage in your quest for the perfect mobile search terms is selecting the right ones. Easier said than done- these tools can help you estimate traffic and competitiveness but they aren’t enough on their own.

Google Webmaster Tools mobile search queries report is useful for comparing desktop queries with mobile queries and establishing the differences in the search behaviour of users accessing your site from different platforms

Mobile/non mobile tag clouds can also help you see what other search terms your mobile audience is interested in and is a quick way of finding out which keywords are used more by mobile users than desktop users.

Remember also to calculate the mobile percentage of total traffic using Google Keyword Tool. This should help you determine keywords that are not only relevant to your business but most likely to provide you with more search traffic.

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