The Search Kernel February 2017 – Search Marketing Round-up
Welcome to the Search Kernel, Further’s Search Marketing round-up for February 2017. It may be a short month but rarely does that mean less activity in the online marketing world! Search is a tough nut to crack, so on a monthly basis we’ll be using our digital nutcrackers to get make the core of this fast moving industry more digestible. We hope you enjoy reading our angle on Search and feel free to get involved in the comments below.
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What’s happening in SEO this month?
Unconfirmed algorithm update on 7th Feb
Speculation was spawned on 7th February when significant bout of ranking activity was observed across a number of trackers such as Algoroo and Accuranker. Chatter covered a number of thoughts including an decrease in signals for spammy links. Search landscape masters, Searchmetrics, called this update out as Phantom V, detailing a number of sites which have been on rollercoaster due to the traits of this particular force.
Don’t let your robots.txt return a 500 error
Gary Illyes, a webmaster trends analyst at Google, has been sharing many unique nuggets into Google’s quirky ways. This time a series of DYK tweets (did you know), suggesting that Google will give up trying to index your site if your robots.txt returns a 500 response code. Each update includes an amusing gif and cover less known facts.
DYK if you read out loud the text on your page and it doesn’t sound natural, that piece of text may weigh much less during ranking pic.twitter.com/IfXMKB1GFg
— Gary Illyes ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ (@methode) February 15, 2017
Google offers new advice on how to hire a SEO
Maile Ohye, Google’s Developer Programs Tech Lead, shared helpful advice on how to hire a SEO via the official Google Webmasters YouTube Channel. It is good to see Google provide context on how long it takes for optimisation improvements to take effect, highlighting the quote: “In most cases SEOs need four months to a year to help your business first implement improvements and then see a potential benefit”. (Search marketing tool, Ahrefs, also shared a week prior to this video, a in-depth study on how to long it takes to rank)
As well as promote the basic areas of coverage within technical and search audits, Maile encourages key questions to be asked such as: “What makes your business, content, and/or service unique and therefore valuable to customers?” and “What does your common customer look like? How do they currently find your website?”. Understanding your audience and objectives are important to clarify before engaging in any online marketing activity, as these help keep campaigns focused and measured towards your goals.
Mobile interstitial take a hit on Pinterest
Sistrix, an online visibility toolset, shared insight which links a substantial decrease in visibility for Pinterest.com, believed to be linked to Google’s crackdown on intrusive interstitial pop-ups delivered to mobile users. Google first clarified its stance on the impact of such interstitials to mobile users back in August 2016, adding an update in January to state it was live.
So Brighton SEO
It’s not long to go until next BrightonSEO event (7th April). As well being a great event to build knowledge and meet fellow SEO folks, event organiser, Kelvin, has been sharing some juicy search marketing articles via the newsletter. Go register today.
What’s happening in Paid Advertising this month?
Google spotted to test multiple ad extension types into one swipeable card carousel
It appears that Google is carrying out further ad extension’ tests with the latest one spotted in the US. As such, under the standard text ads on mobile there could now appear swipeable cards which could contain multiple ad extension types, such as sitelinks, price extensions, seller ratings, callouts and more (as per screengrab below).
What is also noted here is that the mobile text ad now takes up a significant space of the screen as under the new swipeable carousel extensions there are still location and call extensions displayed.
Read more on multiple ad extensions types.
AdWords discontinues Converted Clicks as of March this year
It appears that Google AdWords will be getting rid of the long-established metric ‘converted clicks’ while making the ‘conversions’ measurement to take over. For advertisers this also means, any automated rules currently using ‘converted clicks’ will need to switch to ‘conversions’.
Read more additional news of Converted Clicks sunset.
Bing Ads audience exclusions are finally available for remarketing ads
Similar to Google AdWords, you can now use audience exclusions campaign and ad group level. This means that, for instance, advertisers will be now able to keep users who’ve made a purchase from seeing ads promoting a price reduction. So definitely another step closer to making the retargeting strategies more flexible.
Read more about the release of Bing’s audience exclusions.
That’s it for this month. We release each edition on the last Friday of each month.
Written by Mark Hannant and the Further Search Team.