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The Search Kernel January 2017 – Search Marketing Round-up

Welcome to the Search Kernel, Further’s Search Marketing round-up for January 2017. We’re up to the third edition already. Search is a tough nut to crack, so on a monthly basis we’ll be using our digital nutcrackers to 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.

So what’s happened in SEO this month?

Google offer clarity on ‘crawl budget’

January was a quiet month for Google, but it did offer some insight on crawl budgets. The key points of the blog post in question were…

  • Google stated smaller sites (fewer than a few thousand pages) or sites getting their content indexed on the same day as publishing are likely okay and need not worry as their sites are being crawled efficiently. However, for larger sites, prioritising and defining how often Google crawls certain pages is of high importance.
  • Googlebot will slow down and prevent throttling user experience if it notices the site speed decreases or it starts seeing server errors when crawling. Webmasters can also specify crawl limit in Google Search Console if needed.
  • Demand for indexing will affect crawling, even if the crawl limit isn’t reached. Google determine demand by the popularity and staleness of a page. If a page isn’t picking up a lot of visits/shares or is dated it may be crawled less.
  • Site migrations may cause a spike in crawling as Google processes new pages, URLs, content and redirects.
  • Low value URLs can impact crawl budget, such as content duplication, faceted navigation, soft 404 errors and hacked/spam pages. It will also have a negative impact on how efficiently Google crawls the higher quality content on your site.
  • A faster site will improve crawl rate. A slower one will do the opposite.
  • Keeping an eye on your crawl error report in GSC is a wise move.
  • Better crawling is NOT a ranking factor. It is necessary to rank sites, but Google will not reward your site with a ranking boost for efficient crawling alone.
  • Alternate URLs or styling resources, such as embedded content, CSS, Javascript, hreflang rules and mobile alternative versions of a page, will use up extra crawl budget.
  • Long redirect chains have a negative impact on crawling too.
  • Google does not process the non-standard “crawl-delay” directive in a robots.txt file.
  • Google does honour nofollow links on websites and will not crawl them, however the URL linked to in question would need to be nofollow on the entire site; if Google finds said link on one page or more without the nofollow attribute it may still crawl it.

Google on Android will try searching offline and pulls results shortcuts into the home screen

There were some interesting changes to the Google Android search app in January.

Firstly, if you’re connection is poor and goes offline, the app will keep attempting to search until it gets a connection back and returns a result.

(Image via venturebeat.com)

Secondly, the Google search app now shows useful widgets when you enter search on Android phones, to make it easier for users to find useful information and content.

Video embeds on image searches

In another change for mobile SERPs, Google has started testing Youtube videos in image results.

(Image via searchengineland.com)

 

Google kills off “link:” advanced search

Around a year ago Google claimed the “link:domain.com” advanced search still worked, but advised against using it. This month however Google has stated the query operator is in fact not worth using at all.

Bing offers Valentine’s Day search insights

Bing has decided to release data related to Valentine’s Day search and spending patterns from 2016 ahead of the special day next month. Although it is mostly based on Bing Ads insights, it offers some insight in consumer behaviour during February.

DuckDuckG(r)o(w)

DuckDuckGo, the search engine that prides itself on privacy and not tracking users for data purposes, announced this month it has surpassed 10 billion user searches since its inception in 2008. It also confirmed a record day of 14 million searches on January 10th 2017 as part of the press release.

(Image via spreadprivacy.com)

What’s happening in Paid Advertising this month?

Bing ads can now sync updates from Adwords accounts on an ongoing basis!

A brand new feature that has possibly answered the prayers of many PPC practitioners. Not only it is possible to import Adwords campaigns into Bing Ads with few simple steps, it is also now possible to add Automated Imports. What this means is that there is now an option to add daily, weekly or monthly syncing from Adwords into Bing Ads, meaning, all changes done in Adwords will automatically get replicated into Bing Ads account. This covers anything from ad creatives to campaign budgets. Definitely a time-saver and another reason to consider advertising on Bing but I’m sure many of us will be double-checking these imports for first few times, knowing how ‘buggy’ new features can be.

Read more on Bing Ads Automated Imports.

New Google ad label spotted!

Not too long ago Google changed its ad label colour from yellow to green. According to Google, this was done to bring a bit more harmony to the page by simplifying colours and elements on the SERP.

Well, it looks like Google is carrying out further tests, as such, the current green background might get removed and replaced with a simple green outline on a white background. Whether or not this is making users more difficult to distinguish ads from organic listings, it is very likely to be the intention of such change.

Bing Ads launches ad extension scheduling

Ad extension scheduling has finally become available on Bing Ads, meaning, we’re now able to choose what days and hours to show certain extensions. This would come particularly useful for call extensions as there is no point displaying phone numbers out of business hours.

Read more on Bing Ads scheduling.

AdWords: Negative keyword lists can be now applied at MCC level

You can now share negative keyword lists across multiple accounts! Negative keywords, particularly account-level, is not something you check and update on daily basis but again, it can be a real time-saver when there is such a need. For instance, whenever there is a plane crash, airline providers and flight comparison sites would add negative keywords about this crash to avoid getting their ads triggered for these type of searches. And if you have multiple accounts i.e. split by the country or region, sharing such list at MCC level can become really handy.

Read more on this new AdWords feature.

Google rolls out automated call extensions on mobile devices, as of February 6

If your landing page displays a phone number, this is an update to watch out for! From the 6th of February, Google will start showing automated call extensions by using the number displayed on your landing page of your ads. More importantly, if you also have active location extensions, Google will use a phone number specified for this location. There are options to opt out this feature, so for more details, have a read of this article here.

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.

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